Category Archives: Nonfiction Prose

Swing

A few weeks ago, swinging high on a swing in the park, grasping the metal chains warmed by the sun, I looked towards the sky like I always do when I’m swinging. Swing forward, closer to the sky, swing back, further. Lean back, feet to the air, kicking the clouds. Let go of the chains for a while, reach for the sky. Touch its wondrous, soft blue that only a good day can bring about. Then fall back for a while and propel forward again.

It is only on the swing that I have the few positive philosophical musings of my life. It is on the swing I feel as if anything is possible and that maybe if we just keep swinging–keep moving forward, no matter how many times we are kicked back–we can achieve anything.

As I touched the blue sky with the tip of my fingers, I felt like I could grasp anything if I could touch the sky. The sky, however, is not the limit. With the breeze passing over my face, disheveling my hair, I knew I could reach as high as I wanted, even if the place I’m aiming for is beyond the sky–not in my world–because I’ll make it part of my world eventually: Whatever position I’m vying for, whatever career I am aiming for, I can make it one day even if it isn’t part of my world, life, yet.

Then, I got off the swing, with that sort of uplifting feeling warming me–as the sun warmed the black swing–and tripped on the steps. Laughing at myself, I got back to worrying and stressing out about my life and where I’m going with it.

Such is the life of a realist that insists on being a romantic.

V-Neck

“I think I’ll stop wearing V-Necks,” I said.

And then I caught myself. I was being a hypocrite. I always believed that women shouldn’t put the blame on themselves for men’s wandering eyes and lack of self-control, yet here I was feeling ashamed of myself for accidentally exposing a little extra skin when my true crime was almost deciding to never wear any of my favorite shirts again.

Some men may think that telling a girl that she turns him on because of her appearance or the way she is dressed is a positive thing, a compliment. Maybe that was their intent, but the way it is received, the outcome, matters much more than the intention. When a man rapes a woman and says that he didn’t intend to traumatize her, does that make it okay? I’m willing to guess your answer is no. So why would it be okay for a manĀ  to make a girl feel harassed and uncomfortable–yes, it makes us uncomfortable, not confident–in her own skin, her own favorite shirt, with what he intended as a “compliment”? It is not okay.

To anyone that has ever spoken, please think before you speak. Your words, intended compliment or not, lighthearted joke or not, can create long-lasting insecurities and negatively affect the mentality of the people around you. You may think your one comment does not mean much but it does; even if it doesn’t mean anything that one time, remember that there are a lot of other people who think what they say once doesn’t matter. Imagine how one comment from each person who doesn’t think twice can eventually build up into hundreds, causing perfectly fine people to become utterly self-conscious. No one should be made to feel that way, and absolutely no one needs to change their lifestyle or their clothes for anyone.

“Don’t stop wearing V-Necks,” he said.

Okay. I won’t. But I don’t wear them for you, your pouting face, and your good-willed words. I won’t wear them to suit your preferences, to garner compliments. I will wear them for myself because I like the way they look on me, not the way you look down them.

The Game of Life

The world inside the screen is an unlimited territory, an expansive, sprawling landscape, a horizon that never ends. Not only that, there are thousands upon thousands of these worlds. They allow for harmless, comfortable adventure where your character could never do something wrong, and if they do, it’s because it’ll actually end up being right or easily corrected.

In these beautiful lands, we can explore the depths and soar to the sky. In our vivid fantasy space, we are gifted, we are important, and we are brave. We are who we want to be, going wherever our hearts desire. We become the best, tap tap tapping away at our arrows keys, our combinations programmed to set up a perfectly aimed shot towards our always inferior enemies or allowing us to spew the perfect comeback to NPCs that always want us to do something for them because, again, we are the best.

If only life was that easy.

If only in life we could teleport to exotic lands, undo our mistakes with a click, take a position among the best and admired, and never be outside of our comfort zone. Right?

Contrary to our beliefs, everything we do and have in life is better than in-game. Minus the teleportation.

It may be harder than sitting at a desk, swiftly moving our muscle memory-dependent fingers over our keyboards, but isn’t it more rewarding as well? If we got everything in life so easily, we would only want more. It wouldn’t be as great or as special as it would be to us otherwise. When we work for what we want–whether that be a dream job, respect, fame, money to travel and buy what we want–it’s more valuable to us because of the blood, sweat, and tears put into it.

Instead of interacting with NPCs, interacting with real humans and helping them out, not because we are thought of as the best, but because we are thought of as good people, is where the real value is at. It’s where we get our warm, happy feelings from (and if I might add: it’s scientifically proven); it would certainly feel less like a chore needed to progress in a storyline and more like an opportunity to do some good.

In life, to get what we want or to experience novelty, we do have to go out of our comfort zones, but that makes it mean all the more. When we travel and journey in-game, there is no stepping out of the comfort zone. There is no stepping period, just sitting and tapping at the keyboard. In life, when we come out of our security, we don’t just get the experience, we change as people and gain knowledge, gain real bravery (yes, it’s not in-game and therefore not automatic).

Lastly, adventures and mistakes in-game might be harmless, but aren’t those mistakes and the possibility of harm what makes us smarter, better people? Without our mistakes, where would we be? Probably stuck in perfect, fragile bubbles in our own little worlds of ignorance and naivety.

Unlike video games, the game of life involves mistakes, character development and progression without quantitative leveling up, risky adventure, and a ton of effort. Because of this, we can get everything and do anything we typically could in the gaming world plus so, so much more.

The only thing we might not be able to do is revive ourselves when we’re dead. But I’m sure the scientists are working on that too.

So get out there, and play the real game.