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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This I Believe essay #1

Please post your essay here before class on Tuesday. Please also remember to bring a printed copy of your essay to class and be prepared to read it aloud.

46 comments:

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    1. My superpower is trying super hard. Writing this is one example of that. I wrote one already, posted it, was given some constructive criticism and took that as a sign to completely scrap it and start fresh. So here I am. Being super difficult and not being able to write, out of fear it won’t be my best possible This I Believe. I put a SUPER evil amount of pressure on myself to be conscious of all my decisions, and try and make everything meaningful. When that is not the case, I crack. And I project this pressure on to other people; friends, family, especially those who love me. When they don’t do their best or don’t live up to how good and amazing I see them to be, I crack on them. I want to see the best in people, and I want to try and find the best in myself in everything. Even the most insignificant things. It’s frustrating most of the time, like when I make daily lists for myself and only 9 of the 10 things I get done, I freak out and can’t sleep. But it’s also awesome when I am able to put things in perspective and comfort one of my best friends crying over thinking they won’t be successful when they graduate. I can see through this pain for them. Because obviously I can see how strong this person is, how much they care about other people, how much they care about what they do and how good they are at that. I can see these things because I know what they're best is like (I would be cracking if I didn’t know they had a best). I know that they are perfectly capable of achieving that. In that way, I hope that I am mostly using my power for good for others, and not just evil against myself.

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    2. Teddy I am now very curious what your original super power was!! Though I definitely believe you use the above mentioned power for good most of the time :-)

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    3. Sorry to find out you can't sleep at night at times. And long lists of things to do are dangerous. Always. But I like you, just as you are :)

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  2. This I believe: I have been grated the amazing power of collecting small and useless objects. I discovered my superpower when I was a child; I kept rocks that my mother believed were just dirt, and seashells that my sister always wanted to throw back into the sea. Little did they know, I was just training to find gold. As I grew older, my collecting abilities expanded from simple particles of the earth to Hot Wheels cars, Pokemon figurines, and even eraser residue. Do not think, though, that I purposefully go out of my way to find or buy these things. On the contrary, these are things I literally encounter by mere chance or are given to me.
    My most recent acquisition has been a small, black circus elephant that I found at my cousin’s quinceaƱera. It is possibly one of the most beautiful objects I have collected. I also have the capacity of asking for permission to take these things—I am no thief! For example, I got the elephant like this: “Aunt, after the party is over, can I keep one of the elephants you put on the table decorations?” And she said yes. Most of the time, if I encounter something that requires approval for being taken, people say yes.
    I keep these objects because I believe they are unique and I like unique looking things. Not only are they cute, they are also completely useless, so there is no special or necessary place to put them. They can go on the shelf or I can dispose of them at any time. What matters the most to me, however, is the memory each object carries.

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    1. Love your essay! And your superpower. A few years ago, CETA's main project was to curate an exhibition of collections that people in Transy's near-neighborhood to the North have. It was a great show and we all (even I) realized that we are collectors.

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  3. This I Believe: Superpower
    Willingly, I ran down the hill of my grandparents’ on the edge of Oldham County and Crestwood, Kentucky; knowing that I would have to trek back up the hill as fast as my short legs would allow me so that I could do it again. I loved feeling the wind rush through my veins as the hill came to its steepest point and I began to slow down. Whether the greatest part was the anticipation or the steadiness of my breath as I gazed over the muddied creek and the landscape created by the courtesy of the property beyond, I could not tell. I can recall the rocks that I excitedly waited to discover—it was about the fossils, really. Like the quickness of the dirty water, the excitement that awaited flooded out of the cracks and crevices of my soul into the free world where the opportunist in me wished to strike. The process of cleaning and washing the dirt to a more purified state always gave me a strange thrill. Before long, it was made new again.
    Like those rocks that I found in Oldham County, I can see the potential that resides in the spirits of those around me for greatness; anyone could be a fossil. There is no such thing as a wasted life and I firmly believe that there is something good in every person I have ever met. My superpower is that I am able to find the best in people that others deem ‘unworthy’. Each person I meet is someone that can impact the world in a large way or more likely with a small ripple. All of these people that surround me, whether our paths cross for moments as I wait for the walk sign on Fourth Street and North Broadway, the aspirations are out there. Even with seemingly ordinary people, the virtues in them ignites my soul anew.

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    1. Love your extended metaphor--rocks that you carefully clean in order to see their greatness AND ordinary people with great potential--and love the spirit of your superpower. I hope you have this power for a long long time, forever.

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  4. My superpower is self-assurance. In a world where so many people question themselves and their abilities I am proud to say that I have grown into a person who knows what they want and trusts their gut. I didn’t always have these powers, they grew over a long period of time and I’m sure that they will grow stronger in the future. The first time I realized that I possessed these powers was when I was choosing a college. Many of my peers were concerned about choosing the wrong institution, the wrong major, the wrong roommate, and for the first time, I realized that I knew exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. I also knew that these things could change and that that would be just fine because I would just figure it out again. By having confidence in myself, I save myself a lot of time and a lot of worry. As a teenager, I was always very concerned about making mistakes, saying the wrong thing, or whether or not people would like me. As I got older I started to realize that my obsessive worrying was slowing me down and holding me back. I learned not to worry what others thought of me because as long as I am happy with myself, that’s all that matters. As a woman, my superpower is especially helpful. Our society lives to tell girls that they need validation from an outside source to feel good about themselves and their decisions and that is simply not true. There are few things more powerful than a woman who knows what she wants and I strive every day to be one. In the words of Abraham Hicks, “People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.” This I believe.

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    1. This was really awesome to read and I really admire your super power!

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    2. Yes! Confident women are powerful and amazing. I hope all my female students will grow to be confident women, if they are not already...

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  5. I believe my superpower is the ability to adapt to my own rash decision making. I understand that this sounds a bit strange, but let me elaborate. When I was a Senior in high school, I really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life besides attending college, and to be honest I wasn't even entirely sure I wanted to do that. While many students were visiting schools all over the country and carefully weighing their options for the future, I was just trying to use my excused college visitation days so I could skip school. I only visited 4 schools and paid very little attention to my tour guides each time. I didn't really have strong feelings about any of the places I visited, including Transylvania. However, when it came time to decide where I wanted to go, I chose Transylvania on the sole basis that I had a hunch I might like it. Once I was here, I didn't know what I wanted to study. I took a variety of courses in an effort to see what struck my interest. By the second half of my second semester, I decided that I wanted to major in art for no reason other than it seemed pretty fun and I was halfway decent at it. Once I was part of the art program, I experimented with a variety of styles of art with little to no research. I essentially just kept making work until I found a style that suited me. Said style involves very little thought or planning, as I have found that I gain ideas through the act of working, not planning or journaling. I think this style works for me, and other people seem to like it as well. Now here I am, in my last semester at school, with no clue where I should go from here. Hell, I dont even have a resume, but I know that no matter what I decide to do, I feel like I can figure it all out by simply existing and adapting to whatever life throws at me.

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    1. I really like how you phrase your superpower and how you've learned to adapt too your own life :)

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  6. From what I have been told, I have always been quick to “think on my feet.” Regardless of the situation, I tend to, somehow, find another route or additive to guarantee a successful outcome.
    For example, I work with wounded warriors and kids with disabilities at a therapeutic ranch. One of the kids had a bad experience with horses, leaving him scared and holding on to the horse’s neck with a white-knuckled grip. He refused to listen to the main instructor, so I took on the challenge to gain his full attention. I
    took away his saddle and reins, leaving him only with a bareback back for some comfort. He still would not participate, but I figured out that he likes to view everything as some kind of playtime. So, I used this to my advantage. Instead of giving him a pony ride, I came up with the idea of “steering” with his arms as airplane wings. Soon after boosting his confidence and security, he began earning his tack back and actually enjoyed riding. Every lesson he continued to grow and do more and more on his own to the point that we surpassed the goals for the session. It was all about finding what worked for him.
    Another way is with my tutoring students in math and science. Some students understand the material quickly, while others tend to struggle in comprehending the question being asked. I have had to find ways to relate the information to candy, boys, sports, and etc. I find something that the student is interested in, and find an analogy to bring the information complexion down.
    Whether or not it is in teaching, getting out of a sticky situation, working in the lab, homework, rigging some kind of contraption, or literally anything—my superpower is ingenuity. THIS, I believe.

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    1. It seems I should ask you for help next time I need to understand something. There are so many things I don't understand about our society... (This started out as a fun response, but it's become something else altogether...)

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  7. Seventeen years ago I fell in love with an animal. That animal happens to be a horse. Seventeen years ago I was first placed on a horse. Thirteen years ago I decided to take weekly horseback riding lessons and dedicate my life to riding horses. Thirteen years ago I also realized my love of horses was also one of my biggest fears. I will never forget my first horse riding lesson that did not consist of my aunt leading me in circles on a small pony. My mom had to hold my hand and basically force me to get on the horse. Making the move from a small, child sized pony to a full sized horse was not what I had in mind when my mom agreed to let me take riding lessons. However months and months of lessons and experiencing different horses my fear shortly disappeared. My fear became the passion I knew I had all along. This passion for horses quickly grew deeper and deeper as I continued lessons. Once I got a little bit older I began competing and dedicated a large amount of time to horses. Shortly after my first event, unexpected life events occurred and soon enough horses became the best therapy that could exist. After years of growing my experience with horses I now teach children how to ride. Within the last year not only is riding horses a passion of mine, teaching has become a passion. Watching my kids grow and become better riders makes me feel accomplished. I taught a child that wanted nothing to do with horses and after one month she asked her mom for a horse. That was one of the best feelings in the world. This I believe my superpower is teaching others about horses, how they can become a passion and how they can heal you.

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    1. I like the structure you set up at the beginning of your essay: seventeen years ago...thirteen years ago... It would have been fun to stick to it and trace your life through your experiences with and love of horses.

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  8. I believe my superpower is the desire to be prompt. I am always ready to go and thinking ahead. I hate being late to anything it stresses me out. This superpower of mine goes back to when I was in elementary school. I would wake up for school and hop out of bed. I would get ready, wake up my little sister, eat breakfast, and pack my lunch. The reason I began to care so much about being prompt is because my mom is a rather “slow” person. She likes to take her time and enjoy every sip of coffee while watching the news. I am the exact opposite. I like to be fast pace and moving in the mornings. Because of my mom’s slow pace, my sister and I were habitually late for school. I would constantly be nagging her to pick up the pace at home and in the car. I use to say, “Drive like you stole it, mom.” I learned how to make coffee at a young age, just so it would cut down on time in hopes that we would leave the house on time for school. Not only was promptness important for school to me, but also my after school activities. Mom was always late to pick me up from dance and piano practice. Sometimes she would be so late to get me from piano that my piano teacher would stop the lesson after me and allow me to call my mom on her house phone (this was when cell phones weren’t all the rage). Ever since then, I have valued being prompt and on time. I still am that way today. I am always early to class, work, meetings, doctor appointments, etc. I may annoy people with being so punctual, but hey that’s me.

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    1. You do a great job of showing us how and why promptness is your superpower, Elizabeth. Well done!

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  9. I never really cared for my voice very much. It bothered me that I couldn’t hear it the same way it sounded to others. I’ve always felt my voice was awkwardly low but in recordings and according to others it’s more often than not, shrill and higher pitched than what I hear. I don’t know how my perception of my own voice got so skewed.

    I did a podcast for a final last semester and I felt my voice was coming across as whispery and creepy but was assured by those who heard it that my voice sounded normal, if not kind of unrecognizable as my own.

    I remember in high school people accusing me of being angry, of being upset. And this always bothered me. I was never angry, or upset. I had just felt comfortable enough to talk loudly. I wasn’t taken as seriously because the volume of my voice had gotten past my control. People stopped listening to me because I was being “aggressive” or “too passionate” when I thought I was being conversational and engaging and it was so shocking to me to realize this wasn’t how I was being perceived.

    I remember in high school my kind of friend Noah cradling my head in his arms, whispering to me that my voice reminded him of a praying mantis. I saw him the other day for the first time in years and he told me when he spoke of me to people who did not know me, without fail, he mentioned my praying mantis voice. I was touched even though I’m very certain he was referring to how squeaky it can be.

    I’ve learned to be proud of my shrillness. My ability to scream and screech. I can fill up my car with my voice, almost to the point where I can physically feel the sound swelling to the car’s limit, as if my car is saying god Katie please stop screaming. And I stop. But only because I know that I could go much louder.

    My superpower is my voice and I mean this in the most concrete, physical way possible. It’s not something I play with at will. I can’t control it on command, situation and context dictate my volume. But I am becoming increasingly more comfortable with my shrillness, my tone. Coming to terms with this aspect of myself has made me more confident, more sure of myself in arguments. I’m very confrontational by nature so any edge up I can get is something I value highly.

    It sounds arbitrary almost, but something you were once embarrassed of becoming a strength even in meaningless situations must be significant somehow.

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    1. It is very strange to me to hear your voice described as "loud, squeaky and shrill." I've always thought of it as "quietly smooth and cool" LOL. I really like your last statement though, that kind of meaningful transformation makes for the best superpowers.

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    2. Like Kristen, I never thought of your voice as loud or of you as shrill. Like Kristen, I love that you've discovered a source of confidence in something that people used to give you a hard time for. I love women (and men) who are confident.

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  10. My superpower is adaptability. When I was 15 years old, I came to America by myself. I could barely speak English at that time, and I did not know anyone here or much about the culture, but I was not afraid to go to a place I did not know. I lost my checked bag in the Los Angeles airport on the first day. I did not eat anything because I was afraid to order food in a different language. It was really hard to understand what people saying in the beginning, however, things changed quickly. I went in an international high school in Arizona and lived there. I quickly got used to the life style, the culture, and food in the United States. I learned how to do laundry, order food, how to talk to people. I enjoyed the culture so much I eventually started to listen to hip hop, and went to watch the NBA Phoenix SUNS’ game.
    I developed an outgoing personality that helped me try many different things. I eventually joined the Cross Country team and the basketball team in my high school. Because I was willing to be social, I had the opportunity to go horse back riding, rock climbing, and camping. My English got much better after I started high school, which allowed me to get accepted in to a college. I was again required to adapt to a new surrounding at Transylvania. I did not know anyone at Transy before I came here, but I got used to this new lifestyle really quickly. I quickly was able to make some new friends, pass August term, decide to a major, and join Greek life. I became the first international student member in that fraternity, and the men in my fraternity have helped improve my English, and help me understand the culture in Kentucky and America even more. Because of my ability to adapt, I am able to live the true college experience that I dreamed up while in China.

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    1. Yours is a great story, Brian. Yes, adapting to (new) people and (different) cultures is a great way to ensure more experiences and more fun times :)

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  11. “Don’t you want to be a leader?” That is the question I have heard people ask me all my life. No, actually. I do not want to be a leader. It is in that statement that I find my superpower: I have no interest in being authoritative. I am okay with following instructions, I am okay with listening to others, I am okay with not being in charge. I will speak up when I have to, especially if my values are being challenged, but I would much rather work behind the scenes. To me, a peaceful environment is much more important than butting heads for a leadership position. This does not mean that I am blindly following whatever people tell me to do. I think for myself, I just prefer to keep my thoughts to myself. This may seem selfish, but I think that we need people like that. If we were all in charge, there would be nothing to be in charge of. As long as my principles are not being challenged, I will support your right to do what you think is right. It is important for there to be leaders who stand up for what is right. We need leaders. But we also need followers.
    I believe that we need followers just as much as we need leaders. This may be an unpopular opinion, but what will happen when everyone is trying to lead and there is nobody left to carry out the instructions of the leaders? You can tell the world to change, but it will never change if you’re working alone. So the ability to follow, I believe, is my superpower.

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    1. I like the simplicity and power of your statements, Leslie. I am convinced!

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  12. A full-size coffin held upright by its own lid—swung open on repurposed kitchen-cabinet-door hinges—hid me from a room full of parents, competitors, and judges. They all knew I was there. Still, I made myself invisible as I operated the crudely animatronic, 6-foot-tall banana. Like all good corpses, the banana fit perfectly into its plywood box. Unlike most others, it blinked and rolled its eyes. It blew thick smoke from its ears to demonstrate rage without relying on flailing arms. Bananas don’t have arms.

    I was 14 years old when I built the animatronic corpse of Top-Banana for an Odyssey of the Mind competition. My team included 4 others. They invented characters, wrote a script, and practiced their comedic timing for weeks. (Outside of the search for a solution to acne, there is little in life important enough to demand weeks of commitment from a 14-year old.) While my teammates rehearsed jokes and debated what they would wear on stage, I ran plumbing from the eyes of Top-Banana to a bladder I could squeeze during the performance. The show had to end with music and tears.

    The music never started when I hit the play button as the judges, parents, and competitors were watching. No one on my team knew because I whistled the tune as I squeezed the bladder. Tears soaked the face of Top-Banana. 7 minutes after we moved our props to the stage, our performance was over.

    We won. None of the judges saw the tears. I solved this by making Top Banana cry tears of blood when we repeated the performance at the next level of competition.

    And I came to believe in my superpower: I can build anything. I can make cheek-staining tears visible from 30 feet away.

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    1. Would love to see Top Banana. And his tears of blood. (I have no idea who Top Banana is...)

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  13. Thinking about my superpower was very difficult. I know that everybody has a lot of great qualities, but I didn’t notice anything that stuck out and deserved the name “super.” I’ve thought about it since last tuesday, but I wasn’t sure until today, the day this is due.
    My first instinct was to say being understanding was my power. I am really great with helping people understand themselves better, and I can usually determine what people’s motives and thought processes were while making a decision. However, there are some flaws because I can’t understand everybody’s reasoning for things all the time. Superman isn’t super because he can glide through the air sometimes; he can fly and lift all the time.
    Then, I turned to positivity. I am able to remain joyful even through trying times, because I believe things always get better. For example, I once talked my parents into going on a hike right before a thunderstorm was supposed to tear through. We got stuck halfway through and I just laughed and sang while we sat under a rock and watched trees get struck down all around us. However, I have my bad days where I feel like I’m going to be stuck for a while. That’s not the attitude of a person who wears a cape of positivity.
    So I looked at the qualities I had picked before and some others and I looked for a common theme. I noticed that I can’t pick any traits because I strive to do them better. I know that I can always improve, and I am eager to do so. I decided that my superpower doesn’t have to be loud and open, and that it can just be a common theme that you find when you look for it. Now, I believe that my superpower is my willingness to grow, because it’s the only power that gives me room to change and become a better person.

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    1. Yes to your superpower, Shelby! (I also really like your writing style...is writing another one of your superpowers?)

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  14. My superpower is giving hugs. I wasn’t always this way—I came to school late, tenth grade before I quit home school, and used to love having as much time alone as a person could want. Like most people, I wanted touch and was also afraid of it. I didn’t know how to reach out to others, awkwardly holding myself away for fear of being weird for wanting contact.

    I learned to hug from other people. The fall of my junior year, I was cast in a play alongside a girl who would become my best friend; our characters were attached, literally braided together by our long, brown hair, and suddenly my space was our space and the easiest way to sit backstage was on Jasmin’s lap. I had felt fragile with my friends the first year of school; they all did theater and their natural state was a tangle, unsure whole limbs were whose. I realized they liked having me around that fall as I started to tangle in too.

    I learned my muscular arms had the power to make people feel safe. I learned the new kind of warmth I got from loving people I wasn’t required to love. I learned what I was like to hug when I was in love—what it was like to kiss, too. I learned that you can’t always say the right things or fix someone’s problems but you can hug them late at night and let them cry on your shoulder. I hugged Jasmin the next summer before she left for the airport, crying that we’d see each other again soon; we’ve kept that promise every summer since, hugging each other in airports.

    My superpower is hugging, because when my heart beats into someone else’s, I can’t help but feel human.

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    1. So beautifully written. So much tenderness. Love your essay. And your superpower.

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  15. Maybe it happened because no one had told me how to address a police officer. Maybe it was because the America I knew was free from honorary titles and last name. It was 1999. New to this country, I was fresh off my first hit-and-run accident.

    After I dropped Kaplan off at the airport, I stopped at the downtown library on the way home. I was driving his car. Kaplan was boarding a plane to spend a long Christmas break with his mother while his car slid to a stop across two lanes of oncoming traffic. Dusk and new snow gathered around me. Unable to break on the slippery road, another car hit me. Though I knew I should have waited on the side of the road, I continued to my house. I was scared. It was my first accident.

    Upon his return, Kaplan found 3 letters requiring he report to the local police station. Each subsequent letter assumed a tone of increased urgency. By the time he and I faced Officer Stoyanof, Kaplan felt like a fugitive.

    Maybe because no one had told me how to address a police officer, I was taken aback when Kaplan called him Sir. It sounded stiff. I asked, “Your last name, Stoyanof, is it Bulgarian?” We talked about his grandfather who had arrived in America in the 40s. His grandfather altered his Bulgarian name to more easily blend with Americans. I told the officer my grandmother’s maiden name was Stoyanova, a common Bulgarian name. We had a great time talking.

    Afterwards, Kaplan informed me I should have addressed our interrogator as Officer Stoyanof, that I shouldn’t have chatted idly with a policeman on duty. I knew nothing about appropriate distance, that I shouldn’t swap stories about grandparents who haven’t met.

    I incurred no penalty for causing a hit-and-run accident. And I learned, in swapping family stories with a police officer with an odd name, that I can chat up anyone. Since then I’ve enjoyed idle chats with college presidents, famous artists, and men begging for money. I smile and ask questions, lots of them.

    This is my superpower. I ask questions and let people know their lives matter. I believe I can have a good conversation with anyone.

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  16. I believe my super power is making playlist. I’ve made a fair few in my life, girlfriends properly receive playlists, maybe it will give them a glimpse of what they may or may not be getting into. But I think the best thing about this superpower is making playlists then testing them on people at parties or another function, maybe a car ride, an intimate night full of conversation. I’ll try to gauge the room and decide what to play next, I have two collections of what I call the “Party Party Playlists,” one on YouTube for classic disco rips and various songs you just can’t find on itunes. You can all get the groove on without having to think about the lyrics or care if you know it or don’t, rarely no one knows these records to be honest, you just feel thrown back in time, feeling the distillation of your brains chemicals bouncing off of one another extracting meaning out of the music. I think that’s what I like the most, just sharing in a new experience with others. I just wish the music could be louder like really loud so loud that you can only have a conversation by getting right next to their ear, telling them something that just crossed your mind about the girl across the room, the bro over there who needs a pick me up, everything and nothing becomes a priority. Every conversation becomes rushed and inadvertently intimate, hopefully your breath smells ok, but I also hope it smells of booze and that your body language means you’re enjoying yourself. One time someone said great playlists, I almost cried, Chic was playing I think the song was “Everybody Dance,” a classic Nile Rodgers bass line swirls into your mind as piano chords and high hats punctuate your increasing heartbeat. I hope the music stops time for a moment that you become free in the music. I remember the lyric from this song “music will never let you down,” I think it certain moments it really wont. I believe my super power is making playlists.

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  17. Like some others, I have trouble naming my one representative superpower - the thing I do consistently well. Mostly because I don't feel that I do anything particularly consistently, or well for that matter, and certainly not consistently well.

    But as I've been sitting here, staring at the blank space, I've realized that my superpower is patience.

    My family has always had a lot of doctor's appointments. It might go without saying that those appointments come with a lot of time chalked up in waiting rooms, unable to concentrate on doing anything else for various reasons. Chair discomfort. Blaring TV. Worry about my family.

    My mom also had a hysterectomy which altered her memory hormones a lot, so she forgot to pick me up sometimes from school. It's because she had so much she was responsible for, financial and business stuff, figuring out how to help our family and being on the phone all the time. Running into town to the grocery store or bank or loan place or lawyer's office because the workers compensation people had stopped dad's check again. I understood.

    She would also be controlled by her hoarding impulses to buy a bunch of discounted stuff if we went shopping and would ask me to wait while she talked to managers and things...lots of situations where I would just wait. Not knowing how long I'd have to wait. How many hours I would be there just waiting.

    I feel it is largely to these numerous occasions of having to intimately occupy my own mind that I owe my patience to. My ability to think myself through the hours. I don't mind the hours that go by when I'm trying to write an essay or draw something and all I end up doing for the day is looking at a white rectangle.

    I know it might not seem like much, but for a lot of people, I think they go crazy if they're not occupying their attention with some outside force in those kinds of situations. So while it's a little counter-productive to be so okay with the completion of nothing, I think it's a skill I'm glad I have. It keeps me calm a lot of times, to know that I'm really okay with just thinking to myself when I need to.

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    1. Love your superpower, Kristen. And you are so funny writing about it....

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  18. Choosing only one of my traits to be called my one true super power is quite difficult for me because, unironically, one of my traits happens to be that I have trouble making decisions. After consulting a few friends, I was informed that this inability to make decisions, along with my super procrastination and my unwavering power to always be late, are in fact not actually super powers. So last week, without any clue of what my super power could be and what I could write about, I started polling my family and friends about what they considered my best trait to be. Obviously, some of the answers I received were very creative, some were even a little mean. One of my favorite answers was “my wardrobe”. But it was the answer that both my mother and boyfriend gave me that was a little less humorous and a little more true. According to them, I have the gift, or the super power of empathy, or my words, being overly sensitive to what others are experiencing, as if i were happening to me.
    They are both right, I always have been overly sensitive to the plight of others. I cry at ASPCA commercials because I feel bad for the poor animals. Just this weekend, I had an incident with a lost dog darting through the parking lot of my apartment building.
    She was this young little dog, possibly a Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix, with lots of energy. Though she was nervous to come to me, she seemed very eager to play. It wasn't long into our playtime before she finally trusted me enough to pick her up. It was so cold it broke my heart to feel her ears felt like little icicles. But holding her a while I noticed she seemed very docile and well fed. There was no way this dog was homeless, simply lost. Unsure if I should troll the neighborhood looking for her owner, I made some calls and decided I would walk up and down the street with her to see if anyone was calling. As I turned to pick her up and again she ran off and I couldn’t find her again, since then I have been all torn up worrying about her. I wonder if she found her home. It is just so cold out.
    We can chalk it up to empathy that I am so sensitive. Either way I make a fool out of my self. I’d like to think it is the reason I’m always trying to help everyone. I never want to see them suffering, because I will feel that pain for them too.

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    1. I considered writing about empathy as well... It seems good to say "I'm empathetic so that means I care about and am sensitive to the needs of others," but it's actually a huge hassle oftentimes, as you point out. "Making a fool of oneself" because you're so empathetic...I definitely understand that feeling of hypersensitivity. It's hard for me to really say that extreme empathy is a completely good thing, because sometimes it makes it impossible for you to achieve goals or change (like when one is so emotional that decisions/progress are difficult to make). But caring about lots of things/people must be the starting point for change anyhow...so it's just a matter of finding a balance, I think. Not worrying until you can't function, but also not distancing yourself completely. It's tough, though...I feel that.

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    2. It's hard for me to consider the negative aspects of empathy. Maybe because I was brought up to believe empathy and helping others are essential qualities. Then again, I am not sure how empathetic I am. I am not sure I learned those lessons very well...

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  19. For my own superpower , I believe I have the ability of stillness and enjoying seemingly menial things. It took me a while to realize my power within but I came to this realization as I was observing a cricket in my animal behavior lab. The whole point of this lab was to observe the behaviors of a single cricket and well, my cricket fell asleep more or less for the entire twenty minutes. Even though the cricket was making absolutely zero movement, I could not help but to watch in silence and fascination of another living organism that is made up of different DNA yet still shares some distant similarities to everything else, including humans. This might sound obtuse but I felt as if me and the cricket held a lot of common ground . We have completely different behaviors unique of each other and obvious physical differences but hey, we are both alive and live off the energy from the sun! And this does not stop with the cricket, I feel this whenever I watch thin branches of a tree dance in the wind to the earthworms sifting underneath. I guess this enjoyment is more or less this childlike fascination of almost everything and although I do not feel like this makes me as if I am ‘super’ to other individuals, I feel like this ability grants me the power to have a genuine appreciation of the life around me and the life which I carry within myself.

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  20. So glad you realized what your superpower is, Devin. The picture you paint--you watching a sleeping cricket in utter amazement--seems so fitting of who you are!

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  21. I believe that heroes come in various forms, and very rarely do any of them wear capes, costumes, or masks. I believe that there are everyday champions, that are usually commonplace people with winning attitudes, that make a real significant difference. Those who strive to do good face the quixotic call of their endeavors without shying away. Sometimes the difference is made through hours of effort and efficient planning. Other times it may be as simple as a kind gesture. Whatever the case may be, these people provide hope through actions that are hardly considered “superpowers.”
    I do not personally possess super strength, I am not the smartest, fastest, most flexible person. Nor do I possess the ability to climb up walls or see through objects. I can not fly, nor breath underwater. Sometimes I’m not even the nicest or most thoughtful person I know. But I have found that I do not need to be to make a difference. Sometimes, all I need to have to embrace my “superpower” qualities is to just simply be. Oftentimes, I found that I can be someone's hero if I’m present, if I choose to be a good listener, If I am thoughtful, conscious, caring, grateful, honest, or whatever else someone may need. I’ve realized that all of these times, simply “being” was as much of a superpower as any other incredible feat or ability. My name is Cromwell Castillo and I believe my best attribute even on my worst days is to simply be as authentic to whatever that may mean.

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  22. I believe that heroes come in various forms, and very rarely do any of them wear capes, costumes, or masks. I believe that there are everyday champions, that are usually commonplace people with winning attitudes, that make a real significant difference. Those who strive to do good face the quixotic call of their endeavors without shying away. Sometimes the difference is made through hours of effort and efficient planning. Other times it may be as simple as a kind gesture. Whatever the case may be, these people provide hope through actions that are hardly considered “superpowers.”
    I do not personally possess super strength, I am not the smartest, fastest, most flexible person. Nor do I possess the ability to climb up walls or see through objects. I can not fly, nor breath underwater. Sometimes I’m not even the nicest or most thoughtful person I know. But I have found that I do not need to be to make a difference. Sometimes, all I need to have to embrace my “superpower” qualities is to just simply be. Oftentimes, I found that I can be someone's hero if I’m present, if I choose to be a good listener, If I am thoughtful, conscious, caring, grateful, honest, or whatever else someone may need. I’ve realized that all of these times, simply “being” was as much of a superpower as any other incredible feat or ability. My name is Cromwell Castillo and I believe my best attribute even on my worst days is to simply be as authentic to whatever that may mean.

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  23. This I Believe
    Another year, another age. Birthdays come and they go, but the traditions stay the same. You go out with your friends and family to dinner and they get you presents. Everyone looking at you while they sing the birthday song. You can’t forget the cake and candles, adding a candle each year to match your age. Make a wish as you blow out the candles, but tell no one. Well, I am going to tell you mine, that this birthday would be over. I hate my birthday not because I don’t want people knowing my age or things like that. I just do not like the traditions. I do not like cake, the presents aren’t bad though, but the worst part is the singing while everyone is looking at you. There was a little girl who every year on her birthday would run and hide when they started singing. She even cried once, because they wouldn’t stop singing. She got so nervous and hated the attention, she just wanted it to stop. I hate my birthday, because of the attention solely on me. While most people can’t wait for it to be there birthday, I am dreading the day, because of that song. I believe that the birthday song is the worst song anyone has ever wrote.

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