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An Ode to Arkansas

Posted by adrionna on Aug 3, 2016 in Random Ramble

I’m from Chicago, Arkansas
where the skyscraper and the leaves
are sometimes just as tall as I
when it’s time to visit the Southern me.

The Southern “I” is a little bit different
quite softer, but more playful, too.
I yell across the room
and practice my “y’all” when speaking to you.

I’m from Chicago, Arkansas
but you’ve accepted me from the start
with loving arms and warm embraces,
I can almost say, “Now bless her heart.”

Like Momma’s fingers running through my hair
to create waves that curl and flow
Your breeze tells me, O Arkansas,
that there’s more of you to show.

So when others ask why I’m with you, Arkansas,
and they furrow and tilt their right brow
It’s easy for me to respond to them,
“I’m so much better for it now.” – Adrionna Ray

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“I’m so happy for you!” versus “I am so happy with you.”

Posted by adrionna on Apr 20, 2016 in Just for Giggles, Just Wondering, Random Ramble

I’m not sure when I began to use the phrase “I’m so happy with you” instead of “I’m so happy for you.” Perhaps it’s because the latter no longer conveyed everything I was feeling when someone expressed their exciting news with me. Let’s break it down:

I’m so happy for you!

It’s what I have heard people say to one another in times of celebration for as long as I’ve been alive. This is an exclamation of camaraderie and support, echoing moments when others have celebrated your achievements – big or small. So what’s wrong with it?

Nothing!

I have just found that there is more meaning in standing in solidarity when I say “I am so happy with you.” It means that I understand that my excitement, joy, and overall contentment cannot possibly overshadow that of the one who is directly affected by said achievement. It means that I have seen the hard work, the struggle, and the hope of the achievement, but I have not gotten my hands dirty in this endeavor. “I am so happy with you” means that I will celebrate with you for as long as you want to celebrate, joining you in jubilation and joy. Perhaps it’s how the preposition has changed through the years (has it?), but “I’m so happy for you” seems like my friend cannot be happy without my selfless desire to stop everything and be happy for them. I’d rather stop everything and be happy with them.

 

 
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Why do we say “That made my day!”

Posted by adrionna on Dec 26, 2014 in Just Wondering

We seem to say “That made my day!” so casually. But I’m thinking there’s more to it than meets the eye.

When do we say it? And why?

I posted a picture of my dad on Instagram on Christmas Day. I had received a beautiful scarf from my mother and was showing it off in the kitchen. Dad was telling a story, or trying to, when I wrapped my scarf around his head similar to how the images of the Virgin Mary show a face wrapped in gentle fabric. He took on a very serious persona right away, amusing himself by looking in the mirror, trying not to laugh even though my mom and I were close to tears. Right next to the mirror is a picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa, so I had Dad stand right next to it. With some filters and focus adjustments, the photo was ready for the internet.

My Dad received many nods on Instagram and close to 50 “likes” on Facebook. We kind of expected that (Dad even said, “I’ll be famous by tonight!”), but what I hadn’t expected were the responses of “This just made my day!” This made me so happy to hear and it made me wonder why.

So it seems we say ‘That made my day” when we see something that made us happy, or experience something that makes us laugh. But I also think it goes deeper than that. Think about it – what happens to your body when you experience something that has you saying, “Wow, that just made my day.” Also, if this thing that made you happy happened early in the day, does that mean that you just write off the rest of your day? “Awesome, this thing made my day and now I can just kind of chill until tomorrow. Hopefully something makes my day tomorrow, too.” It’s almost a passive way of seizing the day. Or is it?

So why do some things make the “make our day” category while other seemingly-equally-great things pass us by? Here are some of my ideas:

1. The thing that “makes our day” surprises us, which makes it memorable. We didn’t expect to experience anything like this today. It is spontaneous but real and that’s what makes it great. The spontaneity is also what makes it memorable in a way that we keep returning to it all day long, replaying it in our minds and finding joy in it even after 5 hours have passed – thus, “making” our day, regardless of what might happen next.

2. It gives us hope. Maybe we were feeling a little down in the dumps. Maybe we’ve been in the pits for a while. But then this thing happened and it made us forget the negativity, even for a little bit. It made our day because it reminds us, until we fall asleep, that there is good in the world. At least for a couple minutes. Makes you wonder why we don’t surround ourselves with more of these moments more often.

3. It can be anything. A view from a mountain-top, a small coffee that we received for free, a stranger giving us a compliment, a new car, an old photograph, a cancelled class, getting into a class that we’ve wanted to be in for a while, a day off, an extra shift that we really need. It is very relative, based on what we need: a reminder that life is good, that good things can happen in a moment’s notice, and that this moment can give us some extra fuel when we’re running on empty.

4. It’s usually facilitated through human connection. I love spending days all by my lonesome like the next girl, but the things that “make” my day are usually grounded in human connection, whether it’s incredibly profound or not. We can’t have unbelievable, unforgettable Carpe Diem days without another person – whether it’s someone we know and love or someone we just met. The relationship between people isn’t as important as the idea that another person is usually present. And yes, eating carry-out while watching Netflix by yourself involves human connection.

It’s funny how something that seems to casual can give us insight into what human beings need: things that are joy-giving, hope-giving, and life-giving. So when we say “That made my day!” it’s nice to know that, for the most part, we genuinely mean it and that we experienced some kind of human connection to make it happen.

 

Here’s the picture of my Dad, by the way. He’s quite the character. I hope it makes your day.

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Exploring new cities like religions

Posted by adrionna on May 21, 2014 in Random Ramble

How visiting new cities is like exploring different religions:

1. You have to be okay with leaving what you know, at least temporarily. If you’re looking for new cities to move to, it’s valuable to ask why your current city isn’t meeting your wants/needs and what else you’re looking for. If you’re not cool with the religion you were born into (or that you weren’t born into one at all), you need to start with why.

2. It’s helpful to have a general sense of what you desire in a city, but the beauty of just jumping into a new place is how you surprise yourself by falling in love with things, people, and ideas that you had not considered valuable before. You end up loving things you never knew you needed.

3. You’ll imagine yourself as part of the new city, just like you might try to envision yourself as a member of this new belief system. Whether you’ll move to the new city depends on how well your beliefs and values jive with it.

4. You’ll realize what keeps you in your home city goes deeper than what attracts you — are you okay with leaving anything that might be tying you back? Leaving a tradition that you experienced with your family?

5. You’ll probably compare the new city to your current home countless times, as evidenced by “I wish Chicago had ___ or offered ____.” (My blanks would be filled in by the words “random pianos on Michigan Avenue” and “a free shuttle up and down the main street” respectively). You’ll also realize that your city offers things that this new city might not have.

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Becoming Resilient – Countdowns, Part 2

Posted by adrionna on Aug 1, 2012 in Random Ramble, Wisdom and Life

I always agreed with my uncle’s notion that “Life is a series of countdowns.” When the event I was waiting for didn’t work out, however, I was crushed. I had counted down MAJORLY (I’m talking about 8 months of crossing off days on my calendar). And this didn’t just happen once – no, I didn’t learn my lesson. This happened twice. I finally realized that just because I counted down didn’t mean it was automatically going to be perfection and bliss. I told myself I would never count down again and I have kept that promise. Instead, if I’m planning on meeting someone for dinner, or looking forward to a fun party, I always take into account the option of it not working out. It prevents me from getting too excited so I’m not heartbroken 8 months later.

Even though I started believing this, however, I didn’t apply it to the long-term plans I always let myself plan. I’ve always pictured my life the way girls usually do: I want to get married, have kids.. live a long, full life. When I was 17, I had the incorruptible determination to have all these things happen, and them not happening was just never an option. Now, at 20 (and a half!), I have experienced my dear friends lose their spouses. I can’t imagine the pain of losing someone you’ve been married to for 30-50 years. I’ve also heard horrific stories of parents losing their children, who never got to celebrate their 20th birthday, much less their 5th. I understand now the possibility of losing everything in the blink of an eye. I understand that maybe the wheel of fortune might land on me and throw me something unimaginable that would prevent my plans from working out the way I’ve always imagined.

So I dream big, but with hesitations. Just like I give my short-terms plans a little slack, in case they change and surprise me, I leave the option open for the “big stuff” to have different ways of ending: the wedding of my dreams, the lifestyle I’ve always pictures, etc. I don’t know what my wedding dress will look like, because I wait to see a ring on my finger first. I try not to imagine how many kids I’ll have, or whether I’d like a girl or a boy more, because I don’t even know if I have a “baby-makin'” body. It hurts to think about the possibility, but I think it’s healthy to discipline my hopes this way. It’s interesting putting myself in a foster parent’s shoes while still dreaming about holding a little one of my own one day.

Ultimately, it’s okay if the world ends tomorrow, because I know I’ve lived the way I’ve wanted to today. I try to live positively, never allowing myself to wallow in self-pity for too long. I let go of anger quickly, knowing that the fire of hate burns quickly, and I love the freedom I feel when I extinguish it and replace it with positive thoughts and calm energy.

Even if the wheel of fortune lands on me and hands me the great misfortune of my life, I can’t suffer forever.
Besides, it’ll hurt, but the mental preparations I had given myself earlier will have made me more resilient. And in this case, resilience is peace and happiness, despite adversity.

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