Author Archives: Jenny Sullivan

Letters to Myself: Words or Wisdom

You’ll never be happy if you keep comparing yourself to others.

I know that you know that. But it’s so hard to live, isn’t it? It’s so hard to escape from the mindset that being different equals inadequacy, that not doing what the world says you should do means you are wrong and misguided.

Stop listening to the voices. Stop listening to the pressures that speak in the night, the ones that tell you that you are not enough, that you are a failure who has chosen poorly. You are forging your own path. No one else can come there with you, because they are not you. But there is a reason, a reason for every step. Please believe me.

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The Perils of People Pleasing

I have never been the kind of person who is eager to spark conflict or garner hostility. I suppose most people don’t deliberately create confrontation, but I’m not referring to a disposition merely not inclined to seeking ill will. In my case, it might be more accurately described as avoidance.

Perhaps it’s due to overthinking. Does everyone exhaust all the gruesome possibilities of unfavourable reactions from others? For every actual conversation, my mind fabricates many more divergent paths, unpleasant outcomes that will surely arise if I say something to ruffle the feathers of my companion.

What should I say? What will she think if I say that? She might be upset. I think she might be mad
at me. Oh no! I said it. I can’t tell if she’s mad at me now. She might be offended. What is she thinking about me now?

Sometimes reason responds quite succinctly: Why do you care?

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The Vision

What would a life look like without fear?

I don’t pretend to have the answer.

I have frequently fallen victim to fear, disarmed by its silent attacks, a prisoner of the worries it spins out of empty air. I have been tentative, tiptoeing around the fears I have buried, anticipating shadows surely lurking in wait. Fear is a presence I know well, the kind of enemy that, once eradicated, never stays away for long.

No. I’m not entirely sure what a life looks like without fear.

But I know that I want to find out.

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Circumstances

Life hands out my chances,
I cannot but comply
Follow them in trances,
And either smile or sigh

For I live within them,
A slave of what they say
Joy is a fragile gem
And peace a flick’ring ray

They fade when darkness falls,
And shatter under stress
In worldly triumph call,
Dependent on success

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My Place

I’m looking for a place,
A place where I belong
For one familiar face
Who’ll listen to my song

The melody’s inside,
I treasure it within,
How long can it abide
With clips upon its wings?

I struggle to be heard,
My soul tries to take flight
Quite like a fragile bird,
Kept captive from the light

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Receiving

That time of year has come again. Valentine’s Day. The day on which a lucky few receive chocolate and flowers and are lavished with love and affection. The day on which the rest of us wish we were on the other side.

What is it we feel we’re missing? Love may seem like the obvious answer, but we still have family and friends who care about us deeply. So where does the stigma of being “single on Valentine’s Day” come from? And why does the absence of a significant other qualify one as “alone?”

One of the utmost longings of the human heart is the desire for love. We want it. We crave it. But what is it about love that draws us in? Although most of us have been loved since the moment of our birth, those childhood attachments somehow seem insufficient.

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Knowledge isn’t Power

Throughout my life, I’ve often been confronted with this simple phrase: “Knowledge is power.” I’ve always assumed it was true. The more you know, the better off you are. The more you know, the more likely you are to succeed. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, but wouldn’t you rather be powerful? Wouldn’t you rather have control? Wouldn’t you rather know all the things that are important, to be able to shape your life carefully and always keep your footing firm?

Knowledge is pretty significant in our world. But does it provide power?

I’m not so sure.

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Who do you think I am?

Who am I?

It’s the age-old struggle, the question we’ve all asked ourselves at least once in our lives. This search for our genuine identity begins when we are young and never seems to be completely done. There’s peace with continued self-discovery, but is there ever a point where one can at last leave the doubts behind and say “Aha! That is who I am”? As I ask this very question to myself, I can’t help but sing the familiar strains of the song “Who am I” from Les Miserables. So perhaps before going on, I’ll take a brief musical interlude.

Jean Valjean’s moral dilemma brings to mind the difficulties involved when attempting to create a new identity. We probably haven’t escaped slavery and then adopted a new persona as mayor of a small town, but there may be pieces of our past that we’d like to leave behind. Haven’t you ever wanted to start anew? Think of the possibilities, of the freedom, the power. Imagine if you moved to a completely different city where no one knew you at all. Then you could be whoever you wanted to be. Couldn’t you?

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Walk the Wire

I want to walk the wire,
To wander through the clouds
Removed from mud and mire,
No slave of jostling crowds

To keep my footing sure,
And walk this narrow road,
Strong, balanced and secure,
Relieved of earthly loads

I graze the leafy tops,
Trees strewn across the sky
This strung path never stops,
It stretches past the eye

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