Mightier is the Pen

Mightier is the Pen
a poem by Jeremy C Kester

If I could step away
Indiff’rent to this day
Would I be stronger then
As to sword is the pen?
Could I grow tougher still
Against my ego’s will?
As if he wasn’t me
Blind I in mirrors see

Poem written by Jeremy C Kester
©2019 Jeremy C Kester – All Rights Reserved

Resolve

There’s 23 days until the new year. That’s 3 weeks until the rush of the population to create a list of things that they want to change. It’s 3 weeks until everyone will spend a few hours trying to show to everyone else (or most notably: themselves) that they are serious for once, that this year they will get their goals in order. The cycle repeats every year. Sometimes we are victorious; mostly we simply resume our lives as they were before the holidays.

What is it that we desire? Losing weight? That’s a common one.

Maybe learning a language?

Or learning an instrument?

Or maybe giving up on that one habit that we feel derails many of our goals?

Perhaps using social media less is a goal worthy of running for…

We all want to change, so why not participate in the New Year’s resolution? It always feels like it is the right time. All the energy that runs through the air at the metaphorical shedding of the old into the new makes it tempting to follow the crowd into goal setting.

The thing is, we can change at any time. If it is important, waiting until New Year’s to make a change, waiting until the next year, the next day, the next reason, we are in fact deciding that the change we are seeking is not worth it. It’s not important.

Is it important?

If that answer is yes, then why aren’t we working to make the changes right now? Why are we waiting for the next day? Why are we procrastinating?

Make the change you want today. Don’t wait another 3 weeks. Do it now.

Blocked

“Blocked”
a short story by Jeremy C Kester (all rights reserved)

She was quiet as she looked at the dish in front of her. I wasn’t paying much attention to her as Instagram had my attention piercing my brain through the digitized images transferred to the screen of my phone. Honestly, it wouldn’t have mattered much if I was, she had already made up her mind by then. Only I didn’t know it at the time. 

I was scrolling through another update after having posted the meal in front of me with the caption: “Enjoying great food with even better company!” I added a few witty hashtags for extra effect. 

As soon as it loaded, I was back to scrolling through a barrage of models, actors and actresses, art, and the random images that decorated my feed.

A sigh came from her as she absently poked at her food. Once again I really didn’t notice it. I didn’t notice that she was looking out towards the couple that sitting across the restaurant from us. What I did notice was that the one model I followed had posted a series of new bikini pics. I liked them. Then I clicked over to view her stories.

All the while, Jancie was looking out over the crowd. Plenty of other people were all engrossed in their phones. Why was it such a big deal anyway? Not like we would’ve talked about anything useful. She always wanted to talk about philosophy… specifically about that crap, what is it? Stoicism or some shit that she’s been reading lately. Or she’d want to talk about some weird dig that they were doing in some other far away country about some other ancient civilization like we should even care about. Those people didn’t have iphones or 4K TVs or cars. They lost; we won.

What I didn’t get was how it was possible that they could have been happy given that I normally felt like shit and that was even with all this stuff.

“Are you going to put that down?” Jancie asked, interrupting my thoughts. 

“Sure,” I said with no intention of doing that. I moved over to Snapchat as soon as I ran out of interesting posts on Instagram. I waved dismissively. 

“Really,” she said as she stood up. “I’m done.”

“Oh, OK,” I said absently thinking that she was done with her food and just going to the bathroom.

Honestly, I don’t even know if I was thinking that or not. Anyway, she left and I really didn’t notice until the waitress came back, some sloth-looking woman obviously in her 40s or some shit, and she asked if I wanted the check. I looked at her, then back at the plate that Jancie left. It was full of food. Like she never even ate a bite.

I wondered just when she left. I didn’t remember. I tried texting her, then calling her. I got no answer. Eventually I let the waitress know I was done. I was a little stressed. Not even the notifications to all the likes and comments were getting through to me. I looked around, embarrassed that she would have left me like that, but besides the waitress, I can’t be sure that anyone even noticed.

It wasn’t until later, after I got home to find all her things gone that I checked my notifications. Because that’s what I did when I was feeling stressed, confused… I checked social media. It made me feel connected. And there it was, from Jancie:

“Since this is the only way you’ll bother to listen to me. I’m leaving you, you piece of shit. Enjoy your digital life. I want a real one.”

I blocked her. I couldn’t have that tarnishing my brand.

Values

Black Friday has come and gone once again and like last year, I avoided it. At least the commercial part of it, the insane sales, the advertised pressure to buy buy buy. Not that I don’t enjoy shopping on occasion, and not that I don’t wish to purchase gifts for friends and family alike at the best possible price, it is simply that I don’t place it very high on my list of values. It is something that over time I have learned is more of a drain of values than anything useful to bolster them. As such, rather than succumbing to the innate desire to gather resources this Black Friday, I’ve been working to ignore it. And I’ve felt strengthened through that resolve.

It is tough in this modern society. We are constantly assaulted with ads, images, suggestions, all to pull us towards this idea that we can’t be whole unless we grab more, buy more, succumb more to this idea that we’ve created. It has gotten so bad that many of us have created a game of it, forgoing Thanksgiving, a holiday about giving thanks, about spending time with family and friends, in order to beat the competition to getting the (perceived) best deals. And sure, why not? We’re hunters. And we’re resource gatherers. But are these the resources that add value to our existence, or is it just stuff?

Unfortunately, most of what we see advertised to us can truly be regulated to stuff. There’s a fine line between what we need and what we want, and we often confuse the two. I know that for many years I struggled to understand the difference. Everything that I wanted I thought that I needed. I paid dearly for that too. Because along with the pressure to buy, we have the pressure to accumulate debt. Or maybe it’s not so much pressure to accumulate debt, it’s that debt is so easily gotten, making the idea of exchange of it for those things that we desire much easier to swallow.

We need to begin to question if those items we are eager to own will bring value to our life. Is the debt we are putting on ourselves worth the addition of that material thing to our lives? Will that item add to our personal growth, our value, our friendships?

Or are we sacrificing our very being to fatten someone else’s coffers?