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Grateful and Guilty – Barnes & Noble: The Scene Before Me

Grateful and Guilty – Writing Prompt

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Note: The prompt asks the writer to discuss a guilty pleasure. If you haven’t guessed, my guilty pleasure is spending my free time in Barnes and Noble, preferably in the seated cafe area, and soaking up the environment. There’s so much more to learn beyond the books that line these aisles. Following this statement is my description of the scene before me on today’s trip to Barnes and Noble. I hope you enjoy it.

As I sat on the floor of my local Barnes and Noble accompanied by my purse and laptop, the building swamped with locals taking shelter from the rain, I took a good luck around at the faces present among me at the filled seats. Students, potentially from my university, families with small children giggling at the sight of a new picture book, middle-agers catching up on the latests magazine publications, hot coffee warming the palms of their hands. There’s a lot you can learn about the people you see around you just from observing their choices. What do I mean by that, you ask? What they’re eating, what they’re dressed in, how they present themselves among the crowd. Do they smile back when they catch your gaze? Are their faces buried into a novel, concealed? There are so many factors that come into play when you’re evaluating strangers. I often do this before I sit down, if there are choices to be made between seats. I like to scan the area and make mental notes. Who could I see myself talking to? Who seems to have the same interests? Are they reading that psychology book for study, or for pleasure? Do they look intrigued, bored, indifferent? Are they accompanied, did they bring their work from home?

This time, however, there are no seats. I begin fiddling with my fingernails, picking off the remnants of my icy blue nail polish. I can feel my leg falling asleep, and shake it out from under my other leg, stimulating the blood flow to my dead limb. I look up to see a woman packing her work in a rushed manner, the individual on the other side of her phone line consuming her thoughts. Purse and laptop in both hands, I wait for my approach. As I wait, I catch a glimpse into the conversation of the woman sitting behind her joking with the cafe cashier about prioritizing the production of the pumpkin spice latte. I feel like gagging at the mere thought of pumpkin. She evacuates, and I claim the table before anyone has the chance to grab it first, a little table in the center of the room. The room has grown silent, aside from the scattered orders at the cafe every couple of minutes. An increasingly apparent chatter has grown with the expansion of the cafe line, attracting the attention of the readers. They seem agitated by the sudden introduction of noise. And that is simply what it is at this point: noise. Words exchanged between the ten individuals are essentially indecipherable. Even with such a diverse audience, such a broad spectrum of types of people, Barnes and Noble still captures the essence of calmness, focus, productivity. It’s an environment that sparks and nurtures my creativity.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

Comment below.

The Personality Fluctuation of an Anxiety-Ridden Student of Life

Ready, Set, Done! – A Response to the Daily Post prompt

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It’s strange.

I feel like I am a different person every day, or maybe every other day. One day, I will be confident, persuasive, extroverted, rambunctious. The next, I will be reclusive, introverted, perfectly happy surrounded by nothing more than my drawing tablet, cup of coffee, and my laptop on full-charge playing some Ingrid Michaelson as background music. How does this change? How do I transition between two completely different phases, two personalities that could essentially house two different bodies but instead cozy up to each other in this one individual: me?

Some days, I am pained by the glance of strangers, while other days, it’s perfectly easy to return a smile, strike a conversation. On the days when I don’t wish to return the favor, I can feel their eyes burning into my cheek like they’re branding me with their look. I can actually feel the blood rush to my face, rising and burning like flames under my skin. But when I smile back, there’s mutual acknowledgement, and the glance is dropped. Something about people avoiding elongated eye contact… At these points, I feel like I reversed the reaction.

There are days when I enjoy the spotlight, basking in the glow of my accomplishments. And then, on the opposing end, there are moments when I hope to god that no one mentions that I was the culprit of something, even if it were a wonderful thing. The pressure to perform on these days makes me feel like a seasoned actress.

The weirdest part of it all is that I’m never really too sure which personality will be more dominant each morning I wake up. I accept them both lovingly though. I adore my extroverted, loud-and-proud side just as equally as the less showy introverted side I possess. I believe it all really depends on the anxiety I experience on a day to day basis. When its grip isn’t as strong, I’m more outward and upfront. There’s no barricade preventing me from projecting myself. But this isn’t to say that on the days I prefer being alone, I am generally anxious. Anxiety certainly contributes though, at least to some of these days. I have to wonder if the anxiety I experience is what maintains my ambiversion, or if naturally I am comprised of elements from both sides that sometimes just separate more distinctly on specific days.

Anyone else feel like they’re housing two opposing personalities in one body sometimes?

Do you prefer one side over the other?

The Common Question on Blogging: Profession or Pastime?

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Do you consider yourself a “professional” blogger? Why or why not? What does that mean to you?

Many define the act of being a professional as “one who receives payment for the work they produce”, but the definition, according to Google, our lovely and highly-reliable search engine, defines “blogging” as “having or showing the skill appropriate to a professional person; competent or skillful”. I don’t believe that you have to receive your primary source of income from something in order to be leaning more toward profession. Am I skillful? I would like to think so. I’ve been told I’m skillful, and I do consider myself a jack of many trades. I would also go as far as to say that I invest a tremendous chunk of my time and energy toward this particular journey in my life, so I personally do consider my writing and blogging as somewhat of a profession. I feel that, in an idealistic world, there’d be about 10 extra hours each day for me to put forth toward this long-term project and that I would bring in at least some pocket change when I’ve fully established myself, but I know and accept the fact that building that kind of literary empire and being able to create a community among my readers is easier said than done and will take plenty more years to establish. I am in no rush to develop my skills and expand my audience to a more diverse range, nor am I discouraged by the bumps I’ve run into along the way. Writing takes time and patience, just like many of the things we’ve learned to do. Learning a language takes time, riding a bike takes practice. Many of the abilities we possess today were not “second nature” from the start, and I believe that blogging is no different. It takes passion, determination, and the ability to accept failure. Yes, there will be failure at times. In the beginning of this journey, I couldn’t help feeling discouraged by the lack of an audience. I felt like I was writing in an empty room. No feedback. It was me, myself, and I. But I’ve become more skillful at exhibiting my work, about my marketing my abilities, and about growing what I believe to be a little sub-community within the blogging community. I probably spend about 5-6 hours a day working toward improving my writing and my blog, whether through editing, marketing, sharing, or interacting. Even though I consider myself a professional when it comes to my work, I consider this also to be a major pastime. I believe that my love for creating and exploring has brought me to writing and that desire has kept me going strong from the founding of my blog to its current state. I don’t see this as a struggle or a chore. It’s an effective exploration of myself, and regardless of whether I define it as a profession or a pastime, it’s a major chunk of who I am today and the milestones I hope to reach in my future.

How do you define yourself as a blogger?

Leave a comment below!

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HRChallenge: “Awakening by Sirens”

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The sound of sirens echoes through the empty corridors of my abode, booming threateningly in my ear drums. “Are you awake? Do you hear the sirens wailing? Get up, my fair commoner. Your day has begun,” the winds hiss faintlyMy work apparel is strewn across the floor on my bed side, and I begin to creep to the edge of my bunk with the hopes of not causing a stir, positive that I am the only worker not yet active at her station. One of my greatest felonies yet so far. The guards could hear even the slightest movement, the faintest sound. They are waiting for the next victim they can “justly” torture. Bloodthirsty. Every pin drop, every inhale taken hungrily from the outside world. Only our supreme Master allows their animalistic behaviors to arise, believing that only those who disturb the well-oiled machine deserve the greatest of punishments. However, anything that cuts the silence that fills this everyday existence is eligible for what is believed to be eternal pain and suffering. No one can verify this, of course, because those who experience such things are obliterated. The world is their highly-regulated, obedient oyster, that has had it’s only pearl reaped for the sake of what they believe to be “the greater good”. “Greater good”. Ha. How I long for the days when I could exercise my rights as a human, to express what lies boiling underneath the surface. How I long for the days when I was real, when I wasn’t just a plastic “product” of their flawless mold, nothing but submissive blood and bones.

Let’s Do Something Different Tonight!

There are so many of you that I have yet to talk to, and I would love to get the opportunity to interact with the whole community of writers that make up this website! I thought it would be a fun idea to do something like a Q and A session to keep the ideas flowing while getting to know what you guys think about. If any of you need advice ON ANYTHING, and I mean ANYTHING, go ahead and ask. Tweet me @Madirito, comment a question, or you post your question as a new post on WordPress with the tag #AskMandirito, and I will create a post answering your question. It can be a prompt, a question, an idea, a thought, whatever! Show me what you got 🙂 

Mandy

Daily Writing Prompt: Dig through your purse and discuss the contents that you find.

One of the best methods to learn about an individual’s interests it to investigate the contents of their purse. Obviously that doesn’t mean dive right in without their permission. With that being said, let’s get started on the contents of my own purse, one that I frequently use and rarely clean out!

The first object I pulled out was my Nexus 7 tablet. This tablet was originally given to me to assist me in my extracurriculars at school, and has proven much more useful than that. When my computer has issues, the first device I turn to is, of course, my tablet, because it’s compact, it can hold all of my assignments, I can access all the necessary resources to get my work done, and it has the same essential capabilities! During the Summer, I like to bring it with my on my Barnes and Noble outings, and other places with free wifi! 

The next item removed from my purse was my Trublend Minerals powder makeup. My skin gets really shiny throughout the day, so I’m usually carrying this when I’m headed out for a busy day so I can manage to get some touch ups every now and then. I’m not a sponsor or anything for this brand, but if you have severe acne like I do, you should definitely give this powder product a shot! It has a beautiful, light finish, lasts a decently long time, and is relatively gentle on the skin! What’s not to love?!

Next up is my “Blazing Lava” lipstick, by L’oreal. It has a red, glittery tint and applies lightly at first, which looks great for everyday use and, when applied heavier, is essential for a night out. I found this lipstick to be a great buy. Originally, I was skeptical about purchasing this particular one because someone in the store had broken it, but I really wanted to try the color, so i let the doubt slide off of my back. And turns out it’s an essential part of my beauty routine!

Here we go. Two Yogurtland spoons. A couple of days ago, my sweetheart and I ended up going on a date to Yogurtland to get some froyo before he went out on a trip with his family. We had an amazing time, I filled my belly with all kinds of sweets, and I got one of those cute little Yogurtland spoons that they give you with your froyo! The best part is that the spoons are all cute and colorful. I don’t even know if they’re reusable, but I reuse them in college. I really can’t ever have enough silverware.

Lastly, I have a water bottle because I can’t go anywhere without one. I have a real problem with not drinking enough water on a daily basis, so having it on hand and weighing down my purse gives me incentive to drink it, and it works! I tend to drink much more water without thinking about it, if I’m carrying it around.

So tell me, what do you have in your purse?

Daily Writing Prompt: Put your music playlist on shuffle, take the song it lands on, and discuss it.

I apologize for the lack of time and inspiration lately. It’s been a hellish week, but I am back for good (I know, horrible, right?) so here goes nothin’. The daily prompts will, once again, become a daily thing. I’ve missed being able to write. It’s like the flesh and blood of my inspirations, and the absence of the ability to put my thoughts down in physical form has made me feel…..introverted. I share so much here that when I don’t, the thoughts just fester within my head.

Back to the topic at hand. It says to put my library on shuffle and talk about a song that it lands on. The song I landed on is called “The Hunger” by Fireflight. It’s a Christian song originally, but I’m not very religious, so I’m going to analyze it from the perspective of someone who doesn’t associate specifically with one religion. The following lyrics are the lyrics associated with this song.

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“The Hunger”

Cut it out, cut it out
I know it’s what you’re wanting to say
Burning up, burning up
I know why you’re feeling this way
There’s an ache you can’t erase
A yearning that you can’t replace
And you want Him, and you need Him
But you act like He’s not there
Yeah, you know that you’re hollow
And something’s missing here
So you push and you pull the hole in your soul
But you can’t make the hunger disappear
You got a rusted out lock on your door
Getting ready to break
You’ve held back love long enough
I think it’s time to cave
You’re waiting for a sign
The fact is faith is blind
Do you want to spend your whole life jaded?
Stuck in a rut that you created
Why don’t you break the cycle?
Let love win

To my understanding, this song reminds me of the feeling you get when your decisions are poor within a romantic relationship with another due to negative past experiences. You’re guarding your heart and building walls up around your feelings, begging your partner to not break them down, because you’ve learned from your past mistakes and refuse to get hurt again. You want your love to surpass your pain, so you begin digging yourself out of the hole you had buried yourself within, and let the light show into your soul. It eliminates the aching in your heart, replacing it with the fulfillment of bliss and unconditional acceptance.

I love this song because it tells a story beyond its original purpose. For those who don’t affiliate with the religion it represents, it can provide a powerful story to several different human experiences, and make the listener feel as if they aren’t alone in their suffering. I feel that any music or other creative outlet that can give you support just through words is a major accomplishment for the artist of the piece.