Inspiration for Change.


It’s been too long since I posted something.  I guess that’s what you get for not having Internet or any other connection to the “real world”.  As much as I love my satire and ruthless criticism of both irrelevant and current issues, it’s nice to take a break from something I get paid to do and just write something that’s a bit of a reflection.  Today’s break is a reflection on something I dislike entirely: confrontation.

The quote is “You can’t change what you refuse to confront.”  I see this in two lights.

The first light is me being caught up on that word, confront.  I hate confrontations.  I will go completely out of my way to avoid people and conversations about things that make me uncomfortable, which is a lot of things…  I take this feeling to a whole new level; the conversation doesn’t even need to be hostile for me to fear addressing someone on an issue.  In fact, today I had a spark plug go bad in my new car and I almost walked 3 hours after sunset in the snow because I was unwilling to ask my friend for a ride.  That’s not even a confrontation, that’s just asking for help.  But it meant admitting I had a problem and asking for resolution.  I finally wised up and called, and the friend is even offering to drive me to work in the morning instead of me biking (as I had planned to do… in the snow).  But, no, what about real confrontations?  Those conversations that you know are just going to go bad, whether they will start bad or end by blowing up in your face.  Someone isn’t living up to someone else’s expectations.  Someone failed to follow directions at work or on a test.  Or even someone noticing I skipped dinner and then making me feel like a criminal for it.  Things that I’ll see coming from a million miles away that make me swerve so far out of the way that it becomes absurd.  I hate confrontations.

The second light in which I see this quote is a much more simplistic view: I focus on the change.  If there’s something wrong in the world, you’ve gotta go fix it!  It won’t fix itself.  Sometimes things need someone standing there, saying they’re broken before anyone will acknowledge the fact that something does indeed need to be fixed.  That’s kind of how I view the work I want to do for the reservations; just because I’m native doesn’t mean I’m obligated to care about it, it’s just something that every American should have in the back of his or her mind.  I’ve realized, in some situations, maybe I’ve gotta be the one to put it there.

So whether you’re worried about making that change or having that confrontation, we can see now how the two come hand-in-hand.  In my efforts to acknowledge this fact and to better myself, I’m making strides to fear confrontations less – to realize that I have the right to speak out against things that aren’t as I think they should be.  And, as always, I will continue to volunteer my time to the causes that are nearest and dearest to my heart: indigenous cultures and rights, hard work, virtuous living, local food, protecting the planet, animal rights, and respect.


Wednesday Inspiration

It’s Wednesday of the first week where I haven’t been bombarded by training at my new job.  I’m launching into new projects and already feel fairly accomplished in just a short time of being at my first real, non-internship engineering position.  I moved into a bigger apartment, am getting a new car, and have a whole summer of stories from traveling abroad to tell (  It would seem like things are just falling into my lap, but they definitely didn’t fall there.  Seeing this quote got me to thinking about it.
Waiting for the perfect moment is something I would normally prefer.  When I first read this quote, I was imagining me as an artist.  I can sit down to my favorite pencils and paper and just be completely incapable of drawing anything.  Then there are the times when inspiration just hits, I drop absolutely everything, and I crank out my best piece to date in less than an hour.  Just two nights ago I was watching my favorite movie (Silver Lining Playbook) when I was sparked to draw Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence).  I’m not sure how I did it, but I drew her without looking up at the screen and undoubtedly drew Jennifer’s portrait.  On just any spontaneous moment, I wouldn’t ever be able to do that.  So I feel like inspiration is not a spontaneous thing.
But inspiration doesn’t mean the “perfect moment” or the perfect reason to start something.  This quote has a little deeper of a meaning than just that.  When you know something needs to happen and you find the inner fire and drive that will fuel that thing to happen, that’s generating your own inspiration.  That’s almost like a survival instinct kicking in and forcing you to seize an opportunity that you have to make before you can seize it.  That would be me at my art stand when I was an artist at Kaman’s, forced to replicate a human with pastel in less than five minutes of seeing his or her face.  That would be me almost exactly two years ago.
I hear so many people who don’t have jobs and who are shocked when they find I came back from a summer abroad to begin work.  They find it hard to believe that I picked up a job as quickly as I did.  But I never had that perfect moment.  In fact, my resume is now so full that it only contains things within the last two years.  It took me years to build myself – personally and professionally – before I could make it to where I am now.  It took encouragement from some friends and a feeling of both urgency and need to land the interview that got me this job.  But more important than the interview and everything else was that moment two years ago as a junior when I realized I was in a terrible position to be hired in a year and decided to take a year off of schooling to find work in my field.  I think some of it was incredible luck finding the first company to give me that opportunity, but nonetheless the inspiration came from my acknowledgment of having absolutely nothing on my plate.
There was no perfect moment; I had to make it.  In two years, that moment finally bloomed to its full potential and none of it was easy for one second along the way.  Sometimes I feel like a steel rod supporting everything and I wonder – if you bend me too much and stress me out – if I may suddenly just snap from fatigue.  But I guess that’s everyone.  Even wild animals have their own daily stresses to deal with.  But they’re prey.  They don’t get to sit back and make educated decisions.  They just run with it.  You do.  You have the time.  And you’re capable of making more of it.  So don’t wait for that perfect moment; just make it.