Wednesday, September 9, 2009
To me, I believe that humility is being able to place your pride aside and being able to help others, regardless of how you feel. I also believe that humility is a great indicator of what true friendship is.
My freshman year of college, I met a girl who became my best friend. Tammi and I always hung out together, and our sophomore year, we decided to be roommates. We figured that we would have a blast, and it would be a great transition for us. However, we didn't exactly make a good fit as dorm roommates.
Tammi is very neat, and focused. Whereas I'm a bit of a slob, and I need distraction to help me stay on track. Tammi I did have a lot of fun with each other that year, but we also found ourselves arguing alot as well.
The day after a particularly horrible fight, while walking home from class I called my sister to see how she was doing. I only got her voicemail. Resolved to use my cell phone minutes one way or another, I called my home to see what new was going on. My mother answered the phone frantic.
"KENDRA,-I-CAN'T-TALK-RIGHT-NOW!! -SOMEONE-JUST-THREATENED-TO-SHOOT-YOU-SISTER-WITH-A-GUN-ON-HER-COLLEGE-CAMPUS,-YOUR-FATHER-AND-I-ARE-TALKING-TO-THE-FBI!!- BLESSINGS-AND-FAVOR!!" *CLICK*
I stopped in the middle of the street, and traffic started to come. cars started honking at me, and drivers started yelling. A guy dragged me out the middle of the street as I looked stunned. I stood in front of my dorm, with my cell phone still in my hand and didn't know what to do. Horrible thoughts ran through my head: "Is she dead?! Is THAT why she didn't answer her phone?! What type of situation is this? Can I get to her school somehow? Should I call the school?"
I continued to call my sister, and kept on getting her voicemail. With each unanswered phone call, my heart sank a little bit lower, and I cried a little bit harder.
After walking aimlessly around my campus (because sitting around made me feel as if I was about to jump out of my skin), I ran into a friend. Like I was hypnotized I quickly explained my sister situation and kept on walking. Within five minutes, my cell phone was ringing, and I looked and it was Tammi. I answered my phone with a myriad of emotions running through me. I was still upset from the argument the night before, but I really needed one of my best friends.
"Kendra, where are you?"
"I'm at the Union."
"I'll be there in three minutes."
Two and a half minutes later, Tammi found me, and gave me a huge hug. The night before, we both said things that truly hurt each other, however, when Tammi heard what I was going through, she immediately put our argument aside and found me.
The gun threat turned out to be a hoax, but in the midst of the terrible tempest of emotion, I learned how much of an amazing friend Tammi is. Tammi and I still best friends, and we've had good luck being apartment roommates later on. But, I will forever be indebted to Tammi for showing me what a true friend is. Her amazing show of selflessness, in a time that I needed someone the most, cemented our friendship and taught me the true meaning of humility.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
What would you consider to be your greatest test of success? For some, it's having that title of being number one. Others would consider that having genuine joy is their greatest feat of entitlement. But for some, I've realized that their greatest call to success is being able to beat someone else.
Now, I'm not speaking in the sense of competing in a race and winning, or being picked for a job over a list of other candidates. I'm talking about specifically picking a person and making it a goal to beat them.
I was watching an old episode of "Ren and Stimpy" where Stimpy had a fan club and began receiving letters telling him how he was their favorite, and they hated Ren. ("What is he, some type of mosquito?")
For Ren to deal with his feelings of inadequacy, he decided to become Stimpy's Fan Club President. However, that just impacted his feelings, and almost drove him to insanity (and murder... should I have been allowed to watch this as a child...?)
This made me think of instances in my own life where I was put in a position of being around someone who made me feel insecure, or vice versa. I remember staying up late in college looking for obscure quotes from anyone, Nietzsche, Marx, Shakespeare, John Lennon, Bugs Bunny, just to one up this guy who would smugly answer every question the professor said with: "Well, as Robert Frost said..."
I remember in high school girls telling me how they were going to get hair extensions and "it's going to be so much longer than your's." I'm sorry, but when did we start competing? Can I at least stretch first?
It wasn't until I realized that the time I spent to one up certain people in my life, could be used for so many other important things. I decided that instead of seeing this person as a threat, to see them as inspiration to better myself. When I made that decision, I was able to focus more on where I needed improvement. In class, I focused more on what the teacher said, and my own obscure and "deep" quotes and comparisons came much more naturally.
So to you, dear readers, you will always find someone who could challenge your position as top dog in one aspect of your life. However, if you focus more on encouraging yourself, instead of trying to beat the person next to you, you could still win the race your running.
Humility, it's like Gatorade, but for the soul.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Happy Labor Day, and welcome back!! I thank you all very much for having a lot of patience with me while my relationship with my blog teetered due to work. I truly appreciate it, and I thank ALL of you who decided to give me another chance!! To show you just how much I appreciate you all coming back, I’ve brought you something, A NEW TOPIC!!
I moved back home, and finally got a job in publishing. However, with this move came the fact that I had to resubmit myself to the law of my parents. Having my job, and feeling as if I was a grown woman was always fleeting whenever I had to ask my parents for rides to places (because I’m saving up for a car… and a studio apartment in New York City… whichever one comes first is fine with me).
The transition living back home has been admittedly difficult, due to the fact that I feel as if my parents treat me as if I was still in high school, rather than the college graduated, Corporate America working vixen I have become. I was very used to living in a world that whenever I wanted to go somewhere I could, and didn’t have to explain where I was going, who I was going with, how did I know this person, how long was I planning on being out, and why did my head just explode? This has caused tension between my parents and myself, so whenever there’s an opportunity to leave the house, I jump on it like a grasshopper.
This weekend, my friend Jocelyn and I decided to go to a street wide celebration in St. Louis. My alma mater (University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign) played the Missou Tigers. Jocelyn and I decided to go, at the last minute. While she lives very close to where the celebrating was going down, I had to vie for a ride from my father to take me to the metrolink station.
When my father dropped me off, he made note of a man standing in front of the station, and told me to watch out for him. After rolling my eyes and feeling frustrated that my father doubts my abilities to take care of myself, I got out the car. My father then proceeded to speed off, to catch a tennis match that he was late for. The moment I stepped towards the station to buy my ticket, the mysterious man mumbled something at me: “Ma’am… please call for an ambulance, I think I might be having a heart attack.”
“WHAT?!” I immediately looked back to where my father’s car used to be, and I realized that he was long gone. Time was critical and I needed to do something to help save his life, so I did the only thing I could think of. I asked stupid questions. “What’s the number for an ambulance?!”
I called 9-1-1, and proceeded to answer all of the questions for the man, and then after getting very overwhelmed, I just handed him my cell phone, and proceeded to look aimlessly while he described his history of having a bad heart to the 9-1-1 operator. I frantically looked for an ambulance, and listened for a siren that I was sure to come, but never did while I was there.
After he gave me back my phone, and the operator hung up on me, I stood stunned. I looked at the man expectantly. Was his heart going to jump from his throat? Was I supposed to stay there with him? Should I elevate his feet? Should I give him ice chips? Where in the CRAP do I get ice chips at a metrolink station?!!
After a few awkward seconds, I guess the man got tired of me staring at him like he was in a sideshow at a carnival, and politely told me to go away (“Ma’am… I don’t need you anymore. Thank you for helping me, but you can go ahead and catch your train.”)
As I waited for my train to come, I couldn’t help but think about my first reaction, to have my father save the day. I immediately realized that I wasn’t as adult as I thought I was. A strong sense of humility covered me like a wet blanket, and I began to feel as if I was a little girl again.
Humility can be a tough thing to handle, especially when you’ve convinced yourself that you already know all the answers. However, on the other hand, humility could be something to help liberate you from your ignorance and enhance your growing abilities. Regardless, you’re never too young, or too old (like I painfully realized) to receive a lesson that humbles you. When that lesson comes, will you be a willing student? This week, LET’S DISCUSS!!