lover’s balm or hater’s bombs?

In North America, self disclosure is both very common and a direct sign of trust and friendship. Self disclosure is measured in terms of 1. how common knowledge of the information is, and 2. how personal the information is. Although self disclosure can bring us closer to people and allow us to connect with them on a deeper level, it also has its downsides. 

On a test that I recently took in my Human Communication and Interaction class, there was a quote that read: “. . . when you permit yourself to be known, you expose yourself not only to a lover’s balm, but also to a hater’s bombs. When he knows you, he knows just where to plant them for maximum effect.” 

Let that sink in. 

Opening up to someone that you trust can either be a significantly rewarding and comforting feeling, or one of absolute regret and embarrassment. I’m sure that we have all been in both situations, hopefully the positive one more than the other. 

I, myself, am a very open person, and find that sharing my personal experience can often help people in some way, whether that be inspiring them to do something amazing, discouraging them from doing something stupid, or simply letting them know that I completely understand where they are coming from. However, this has definitely come back to bite me in the butt on more occasions than I would like to admit. The idea of being raw and real with people genuinely entrances me, as I have talked about in my previous blog post, be real, unique is chic.https://emmakdietze.com/2018/08/08/be-real-unique-is-chic/

In my human communication textbook, 5-10 questions were discussed that people should ask themselves before engaging in a high level of self disclosure. 

Here are a few that I considered very important

  1. is the self disclosure reciprocated?
  2. does the person that you are self disclosing to care?
  3. is the timing appropriate?
  4. is the environment appropriate? 

Due to my less than fortunate past experience with engaging in self disclosure, I am often overly cautious about sharing things that I consider very personal to me. Even on the somewhat rare occasions when I do share, I often play things off as a joke and refuse to let emotion accompany my personal information. The two have often been an awful pair on one too many occasions: emotion and personal information. 

My purpose in writing this is not for sympathy. Instead, it is to encourage all of my readers to care and listen. When people tell you things that are clearly meaningful to them, listen. Show them that you care about them and about what they are saying. Put down your phone, your laptop, your book, your pen, and be in the moment. Make eye contact to portray your level of care. Nod, smile, shake your head, frown. Respond, but don’t interrupt. Simply keep in mind how much trust they are placing in you when they begin to self disclose. Put yourself in their shoes and consider how you would feel if they were treating you the way that you were treating them. 

This has hurt me, and I don’t want others to have to experience the same pain that I have. Next time that someone begins to speak to you about personal things, listen, look, and care. 

Just think: are you going to be the lover’s balm, or the hater’s bombs? 

Thanks for reading, 

Emma

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why I don’t consider myself a feminist

Although feminism is supposed to promote equality, the name itself deters it from the ability to do so. Although the definition makes it clear that it is pushing for equality, it also points out that it is attempting to do so by focusing solely on women’s rights. Why not call the massive push for equality exactly what it is: the massive push for equality? Having the name of the advocacy for equality itself clearly favour one gender does not make any sense to me. 

Now before I get hate mail or angry feminists blowing me up, I am one hundred percent in favour of equality. I truly believe that in most things in life, no one gender is more capable or greater than the other. Of course, men are genetically built to be physically stronger and taller than women and women are genetically built to be more nurturing to the children that they birth, so on, so on, but generally speaking, both genders’ abilities are fairly equal.

There are great female CEOs and great male CEOs, great female dancers and great male dancers, great female engineers and great male engineers, etc. To think that, at some point, gender roles were incredibly oppressive, stripping people of both genders of their freedom to experience what would typically be a ‘man’s job’ or a ‘woman’s job’  is horrifying. There was no substance to claims that one gender could lead a company better than another; these claims were (excuse my French) bull crap. I believe that educational, professional, and career opportunities should be completely equal for both males and females and should not discriminate. However, I think that we should revel in the fact that men and women are so very unique and different, rather than trying to make two very different things the same. Oranges and apples are not the same, but they are equally important and should have equal opportunity. 

Now that my little disclaimer is out of the way, back to my point. In my personal experience, feminists have been known to take their ‘push for equality’ much too far, which I simply do not support or respect. I find that much too often nowadays, rather than choosing to fix discrimination by creating equality, people try to fix discrimination by simply switching it. Oh, a certain gender was discriminated against? Let’s fix it by discriminating against the other one instead! Oh, a certain race is discriminated against? Let’s fix it by discriminating against the discriminators instead! Fixing pain with pain and inequity with inequity will only snowball the problem into a much bigger one. It is unreasonable, especially because of the amount of pain or suffering that the victims went through, that those that were discriminated against would want to bring that same unrest upon anyone else. Why not instead be the bigger person (or group, as the case may be) and simply treat those who treated you poorly as you want to be treated, rather than how you were treated? Sure, it must be incredibly hard for these people to find it in their hearts to treat those that caused them so much turmoil kindly, but I genuinely believe that it can be done; it is the only way in which we will be able to put a stop to the circular pattern of discrimination and therefore help to our world be able to thrive. 

So, rather than focusing on females only, let’s continue to advocate for equality for both genders. Let’s not ignore the occasions in which women have pushed back so hard that they themselves have began to take away from men’s opportunities. Let’s not ignore it when the victims of discrimination become the enforcers of it, even if it is on a smaller scale. Let’s pay attention, say something, and continue to stand up for and protect those that are being treated unfairly. 

The simple truth is that this world will never achieve complete and true equality. There will probably always be an unequal number of men and women in parliament, or an unequal number of men and women in writing, or corporate positions, or acting positions, and so on. But rather than dwelling on that and allowing it to discourage us from attempting to make any change, let us instead focus on what we can do.

Frankly, men and women are not equal in a lot of ways. They are equal in importance and intelligence, but it’s simply untrue to say that they are equal in ability in every way. There are and will always be things that each gender can do better than the other one. Rather than trying to ignore or push aside that obvious truth, I think it is important to accept and cherish our valuable differences, while still being offered the same opportunity. Feminism, to me, has become a drive towards the idea of men and women being equal in all ways, rather than in men and women having equal opportunities, as it should be. 

I believe that in choosing to support equality rather than feminism, I am aiding in that little push towards equality. Back in the day, before women had rights, feminism itself was necessary and is the sole reason that the playing fields have become much more balanced in this day and age. However, now that things have evened out greatly, and women are much more often getting the equal opportunity that they deserve, I believe that we can replace feminism with a push for equality. I highly appreciate, value, and respect the things that feminism has done for women in the past, but believe that it is now time to choose to advocate for equality in a different way and under a different name. 

Thanks for reading and allowing me this platform to express my ideas. 

Yours truly, 

Emma 

 

 

 

be like the sun

I was looking through old pictures about a week ago and I came across a picture of a poem that I wrote 2 years ago.

 

be like the sun

rising and setting every morning and evening

so sure and confident, giving off a sense of unwatered independence

not relying on the approval of the world

but continuing to paint the sky

despite the absence of pictures, oohs and aahs, and Picasso name tags

 

be like the sun

casting light on the future, leading the way

with new excitement and enthusiasm for each new day

learning from the shadowed past 

but never dwelling in the dark

constantly looking forward and enjoying the light

 

be like the sun

distributer of hope, icon of positivity

always looking forward to the exceptional and overcoming the inferior 

staying optimistic and bright

completely unaffected by the inevitable darkness that will take its place every night

ready to rise and illuminate the world every morning

 

be like the sun

ever-giving, ever-shining 

generously enlivening the world

never looking for gratification or recompense

unselfishly putting others before itself

an inspirational, shining example

 

Although I’d love to change some of the vocabulary, flow, diction, and more, the message of this still rings true today. The lessons that the sun can teach us are never-ending: confidence, generosity, positivity, a goal-oriented mindset, an excitement for the future, and a self satisfied independence. I know that I, for one, was truly lifted up by this message, and I hope that it can inspire even one other person.

 

xo

Emma

 

 

the calm within the storm

Hello world! Long, long, long time no talk. I apologize for my inactivity on this blog. I thoroughly miss this outlet! I’m sure you’ve probably already heard much too much about university and school, but, it’s midterm season, so that is pretty much all I hear about at this point, and if I can survive, you can too. 😛

Quick update: I LOVE school. I feel so purposeful and productive, and I absolutely love both that I get to learn every day, and what I get to learn every day. I have been doing well in my classes and working really hard to be able to achieve that. Schoolwork is immensely time consuming and often wakes me up early and puts me to bed late, but I truly do enjoy it. Midterm season is in full swing, and the first few rounds of major assignments/tests are just coming to an end. I’ve spent countless hours lounging in various places across campus (and in my bed) and studying my heart out. Thankfully, this has paid off for the most part so far. I have met and made so many friends and become close with some of the most interesting, inspiring, and caring people. I have wonderful people to rely on, to talk to, to study with, and to celebrate the weekend with. This truly is my home, and I absolutely love being here.

In among all of this crazy busy excitement, I am feeling incredibly grateful for my family. The main non school related reason that I moved to Edmonton was to be able to be closer to all of my extended family. I don’t have time for much, but I always know that I can count of my family for some hugs, some good laughs, and all the support in the world. My family is kind, generous, loving, compassionate, supportive, and so much more. I am so, so blessed to have such a strong support system that I always know I can rely on. I receive offers daily for dinners and quiet weekends and dog walks and visits and talks. Despite the business of their lives, my family is constantly reaching out to me to include me in it. Although sometimes I don’t think that I express my appreciation enough, they really are a shining beam of light in my life, and I am so beyond grateful for all that they do for me.

My Gramma Ethel has been in a care centre for quite some time now. She is lonely, and I try to visit her as often as I can. I feel so blessed to be able to make a strong connection with her after so many years of living far away.

I don’t have pictures with everyone that I have had the privilege to visit so far, but here are a few of my treasures that I have collected with my loved ones. I am so blessed and so thankful.

 

Delicious eats with Katie and Lee

Another delectable dinner with lots of chats and laughs

All you can eat brunch with lots of the Orr gang 

Cousins, cousins, cousins… and Colton!

My precious Gracey 

And my precious Hayley

My beautiful bff, Hope

lonely vs. alone

alone animal bird clouds
Photo by Gabriela Palai on Pexels.com

Loneliness:

  1. affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome. 
  2. destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, support, etc.:
  1. lone; solitary; without company; companionless.

Alone:

  1. separate, apart, or isolated from others

I think that far too often people confuse loneliness with being alone. However, the two are drastically different. Here is where they vary from each other in a simple, but essential aspect: to be alone is good, but to be lonely is not. An overgeneralization? Maybe. A simple, useful contrast? Definitely.

I believe that to enjoy spending time with others and to love others, one must love themselves first. Not only is spending time alone important, but also enjoying that time with only yourself.

Loneliness is often a fantasy more than a reality. The idea of being completely isolated is, generally speaking, one that is not supported by actual evidence. You are not alone. Reaching out for help and support from friends or family is natural and healthy, and can help you to abolish the feeling of loneliness. It is important that complacence does not take the place of motivation to change the imperfect situation in which you find yourself; do not settle for loneliness when you have not done your part to reach out to others. Those around you do want to help you and show their love for you, they sometimes just do not know how. Loneliness is something that is often both self inflicted, and accentuated by others, not entirely up to those around you. Becoming content with being alone, as well as reaching out to others for friendship and love, are two simple ways which can help to either remove loneliness, or at least replace it with simply being alone.

Being alone allows us time to think and reflect, exploring and understanding ourselves better. Contentment with life will stem from legitimately knowing and appreciating oneself.

Nowadays I feel as though people consider time on social media ‘alone time’ which is sad to me. The fact that we feel the need to fill our time apart from others watching and checking up on their lives seems twisted. I understand that social media is fun and enjoyable, and can be used for good things, but it has created a sense of longing for constant interaction with others.

I remember times in life when I have been too afraid of my own thoughts to spend time alone and without another distraction. I would always blast music or watch a TV show, sit in rooms full of strangers, spend time on social media, or immerse myself in a book to get away from my own thoughts. Hiding from my own self was probably one of the most unhealthy things that I could have done for my mental health. Eventually, I turned around and discovered ways to cope with being alone and facing exactly what was going on in my head. I trained myself to sit and watch sunsets and just ponder life and myself as a person. I was not lonely; I knew I had support and love from people around me. However, I was truly alone, and genuinely okay with it. I allowed myself to rejoice in my successes and find disappointment in my failures. I reflected on what I could do to better my relationships with friends and family, I thought about what I could do to do better in school, I pondered what it was that I wanted to do with my life and what I needed to do to get there. I remember feeling very at peace with myself. I felt as though my purpose and direction were clear to me, and I knew I would enjoy my company along the way: myself. Although the idea of being your own best friend is cheesy, it brings a brand new spark to life, that is simply not attainable through any other friendship.

This summer, I lived in a house with a lot of busy people. I had my own room and although I spent time with friends and roommates, I often found myself alone. So, I decided to love that alone time. A conscious decision was made and things began to change. Walking around the lake, writing for my blog, painting pictures, finding new music, editing my movie, reading books, and running were just a few of the things that I began do on my own. I loved the time that I spent finding and enjoying hobbies; I increased my skill in certain areas, and just provided myself with an overall better quality of life.

I am thankful to have been able to learn to enjoy spending time alone before life became busier and more fast paced. The importance of taking time to just do me is a lesson that I will forever be grateful for. Among busy schedules, lots of schoolwork, and a lively social life, I always am able to remember and respect the importance of being alone. My health, both mental and physical is much better due to this time for self care, and I feel as though I am able to be a better friend and student because I also take time alone.

 

writing about writing

In my opinion, writing is an art form: creative and free flowing, allowing voice and melody and personality to shine through the words on the page. The freedom to express yourself in whatever way that you please is alluring and captivating. I feel as though writing provides a plethora of opportunities and experiences to be had, and aids in expanding my knowledge and understanding.

Many of my writing mentors and teachers have commented on my ability to integrate a very specific voice into my writing, making it personal and unique. As I wrote, keeping the idea of voice in the back of my head, I discovered that having a strong and specific voice is one thing that comes simply from writing, itself. Working towards voice, or focusing on it specifically while writing actually hinders your ability in the long run. When it becomes a chore, or a specific, monotonous goal, (similar to better comma usage), a choppy, unnatural sound will push through and take over your writing. Voice has to be natural, improving and becoming stronger with each and every piece of writing that you take on. The more you write, the more unique and melodic your specific writing will become.

One of the biggest issues that I have encountered whilst writing is writing the first word, phrase, or sentence… where do I start? Often finding that initial push and motivation to just start is the most difficult aspect of writing. One method that has proven to be quite successful for me over the years has been simply starting. Generally speaking, I have no desire to put words on the page that are unimportant or not grammatically sound; however, when  attempting to begin writing, I find that it is just important to start. Allow messiness and lack of direction because organization and direction can come later. Once you begin, the words seem to just flow out, not allowing anything to be in their way. First phrases or sentences can be returned to and fixed, so just begin.

I have never been the most eloquent speaker, always tripping over my words or being unable to find the correct words to express exactly what I desire. However, when I write, I have power over every aspect of my thought-into-word process: formulating the ideas, attempting different words and phrases to get them across sufficiently, and displaying my ideas as well thought out, intelligent forms of opinion or fact. In the writing world, I can rewrite my sentences and paragraphs as many times as I desire, only showing them to the world once I believe that they are everything that I want them to be. I feel in control, and powerful as I write, as I am able to be the master and director of every word that I put on a page.

I have been taught, over and over, that words are my tools, and I can do with them as I please. There are over 218,000 words in this English language: over 218,000 tools for me to utilize to speak my mind. The challenge of writing truly intrigues me. Each form of sentence variation and each poetic clause hold so much potential. The meaning, the form, and even the artistic aspect, all join together to create endless opportunities.

I strongly believe that for someone to be good at writing, at least some aspect of it needs to be enjoyable. For writing to become a monotonous chore, or just another assignment to hand in removes the intriguing and inspiring aspects of it. To write well, write because you want to, and write completely for yourself. Often I will allow drafts of blog posts to sit unedited, unread, and unpublished for weeks on end. They are enjoyable and exciting to return to and work on, and I allow them to be my little personal projects before they are available to the world. Having the ability to successfully write to specific audiences is highly essential to academic writing; however, when writing is a hobby, keeping your readers out of the process can actually be quite enjoyable. Write entirely for yourself, and not to impress or please others. Allow your opinions to be portrayed loud and proud, as if you were writing for your eyes only. Let your writing be solely yours before it becomes anyone else’s.

Something that I have been taught by one of my writing mentors is that experimentation is essential to improving writing. Sticking to the processes, methods, and forms of writing that you know best is comfortable, but almost never challenging. To expand your skill and genuinely find what your favourite kind of writing is, trial and error is definitely the key. Another extremely important strengthening tool is editing, feedback, and constructive criticism; if possible, having a more experienced, exceptional writer read your work and point out things that you can change and improve can help immensely. By pin pointing weaknesses that can be focused on and corrected, your editor/critic will be able to aid you in smoothing out the rough edges of your writing, allowing you a higher level of competence and, therefore, confidence.

Although I’m no expert, open-mindedness seems to also be an essential quality for successful writers to uphold. However, having a strong sense of personal beliefs and values holds just as much priority and relevance. Opinionated pieces of writing often hold the reader’s attention, allowing them a peek into the writers mind and drawing them in with the uniqueness of the stance and opinion. However, the writers must also be willing to hear out and respect other’s opinions as well. So much can be learned by listening to other’s ideas and beliefs; having the maturity and respect to appreciate and be considerate of them, whilst still upholding your own opinion, will only be beneficial to you in the long run. In conversation, I generally much prefer speaking to people who have had vastly different experiences than I have, and who stand by very different opinions than I do. It is both fascinating, and helps me to improve my writing by increasing my knowledge of the world.

 

I love writing, and here’s a little bit about why, and a few tips that I have seen help me to improve.

Thanks for reading,

Emma

person typing on typewriter
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academic goals: first year

As I’m sure I have talked about thousands of times since I started this blog, I am starting university this week (hence the unexplained, extended absence). I have thought long and hard about what I want to do, and put countless hours into preparing and setting myself up for the best first year. I want to succeed, and so I will succeed. I have the power to choose how well this year goes for me, and have decided to set a few academic goals for myself for the next eight months to help me achieve the successes that I desire. Goals are essential to success, but have to be set the right way. Attainability is essential when creating goals for oneself; for example, I would love to be able to become chief editor of my school newspaper this year, however, I know that that is not attainable. Instead, I could aim to volunteer for the newspaper once and week, and try to get published a few times as well. Setting goals high enough that they challenge us, but low enough that we can achieve them is difficult and can be a very fine line to find, but is definitely essential to becoming successful. I have attempted to make each of my goals attainable yet challenging, and am excited to look back come April and see how I did.

Start on assignments or papers as early as possible to allow extensive time for editing, extra research, collaboration with other students, inquiries with teachers, brainstorming time, etc.

For lectures, do the reading prior to class, taking notes and highlighting along the way, record more notes in class, tape the lecture and fill in any missed notes listening to it at home that night.

Study long and hard, but do not over work myself. Work on assignments, studying and papers to my best possible ability and then trust in my hard work. 

Dedicate as much time in a day to schoolwork as I possibly can.

Put schoolwork before social life or recreation; prioritize education.

Collaborate with classmates as much as possible. Ask for feedback from them on my work, and ask to do the same with theirs. Try to discuss ideas, worries, questions, etc. Be friendly and helpful to facilitate good relationships. 

Take advantage of professors office hours and their availability and willingness to help me.

Do not let a not so great mark bring me down or discourage me from trying harder on the next assignment. Forgive, forget, and do better the next time around.

Use study and assignment processes that I am comfortable with and that I know will work well for me; make use of my strengths.

Aim for A’s, don’t be super disappointed by B’s.

Try my best to find interest in what I learn. Utilize passion, curiosity, and enthusiasm to aid in my studies.