Without My Purpose, The World Would Be An Empty Lie

An essay I just recently submitted to DirectTextbook.com for a competition. The grand prize is money for books which I will use for my senior year at Eckerd. The theme was about how your purpose effects your life. Lucky for me, I believe I turned it in just as the competition reached it’s limit. However, the short essay I wrote spoke so much truth about who I am that I felt I should share it especially since I have a) been extremely lacking on new content, something I hope to improve on and b) because I enjoyed what I wrote here and felt I should share. Hope you enjoy and wish me luck! 

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In the opening of her novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s character Robert Walton writes to his sister about embarking on his dream expedition to the Northern Pacific. He states, “I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven; for nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose-a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”

Upon reading this passage, it spoke to me on a level that rivaled the inspiration of Shelly herself. A woman before her time, she was the inventor of science fiction and it began as nothing more than a competition to see who could tell a better ghost story.

As a writer myself whose many stories seem to revolve around the supernatural and science fiction, I know that I would not have a future without women like Shelley or Anne Rice or Jane Austen or JK Rowling or even film directors such as Kathryn Bigelow, the only woman to win an Oscar for Best Director in it’s 86 year history.

These women have followed their purpose in life, to tell stories of such power that not even those who question their abilities due to their gender could muffle their explosive force.

I was exceedingly lucky to discover my own purpose of story telling at a young age. I had an inkling of my path in elementary when I prided myself in using the word “scrumptious” to describe a cookie.  However, it wasn’t until I was in high school, in love with theater and film that I realized just how much of an impact stories and words made in my life.

This revelation came in the form of another quote, one that came from the Noble Prized Writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn. In my sophomore English class, we had been studying one of Solzhenitsyn’s works about the power of words. In it, he stated, “One word of truth outweighs the world.”

As the rest of my classmates scratched their heads trying to figure out what he could mean by that statement, to me it made perfect sense. “Of course one word of truth could hold such power,” I thought. “It has happened so many times before and continues to happen today. It destroyed and built nations, religions, and lives. How come none of you understand that?”

That was the moment that I knew I was unquestionably a writer and one that knew of the power that she has with her words. Ever since I learned those words, I have allowed it to guide me on my purpose to tell stories and spread new ideas through out the world with the power of my words.

In all honesty, I’m not sure what my life would be like without this purpose. All I know is this: without my gift of understanding the power of the written word, the rest of the world would seem like nothing more than an empty lie or Shelley’s cold corpse of a monstrosity.

Dillard’s Dare

I started writing this after an exhausting day towards the tail end of May, twenty minutes past midnight I might add, because Annie Dillard dared me to. Not directly, no. Well, that much is obvious. I had only read her book “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” a few months ago for a class that was required for graduation. But in my quest to become a better writer I thought I had to write at her level, write something significant to be recognized as something exceptional. I had to win a Pulitzer or earn a grant so I could be sure I wasn’t one of those starving artists with no where to go as an independent adult after I graduate. I was about to become a child pushed out of the womb of familial security after twenty-two years of being encompassed in it’s warmth.

Then I had an epiphany that clawed it’s way into my mind.

Dillard changed the rules.

Many artists before me changed them too.

Why couldn’t I do the same?

And so….life began to become a whole lot more interesting for me. It began a new as it always seems to do every passing second as if it were a passing phase of the moon with the same face looking vastly different from the night before.

I’ve decided that I am going to write.

An Hour Away From Your Phone

A little moment of inspiration came to me today in the least likely of places.

I had just dropped my youngest sister, Emily, off at her church so she could join my other sister, Katie, who was babysitting at the time. Emily had heard that her friends were there too and wanted to hang out with all of them. Feeling a little tired and a little down since I’ve been neglecting to refill my medication (a story for another day), I decided to get some gummy bears at Publix (the local grocery store in Florida). They are my favorite candy. So much so that I can eat an entire bag by myself in about an hour.

Anyways, I decided to get a refill on my prescription while I was there, which I was told would take about half an hour. So, I decided to wander around the store to waste time. Then I realized something……I forgot my cell phone.

Now those of you who know me and might be reading this know that there are two main things that I have nearly know concept of: time and a sense of direction. So, needless to say, I was a little worried that I would either spend too much time or not enough time around the store as I waiting.

Then I decided to just let go. I decided to not worry about time for once and decided to try feeling a little more present in my life for once. I figured this would be especially good for me since my brain has been a little fuzzy lately.

I ended up not only getting my gummy bears and some of my favorite cereal (I ate the last of the cereal this morning and was missing the Special K Vanilla Almond cereal I love), but I also found the latest issue of two magazines I’ve recently discovered: Mindful and Afar.

After that, feeling like I still had time, I was able to find and chat with my friend from high school, Kristy, who works at Publix. Found out that she’s finishing up her AA and that she’s trying to be a physician’s assistant. I also ran into my family friend David Russell. Then I decided to sit and read a little from my new magazines.

And wouldn’t you know it, my prescription was ready to go when I went to check.

Then, as I was leaving the store and walking through the parking lot, I suddenly heard music. Apparently, a local restaurant I’ve been to several times, The Surf Shack, has live music on Mondays. In that simple moment, getting in my car to head home from the grocery store, I began to feel so present. My brain finally felt clear and I found myself driving home with the windows down.

Driving home, I saw my surroundings with new eyes. I noticed the families going home from the park. I had an urge to yell encouragement at the late day runners. I noticed the people having fun on the local playground and courts, even noticing a guys abs from about three yards away (I was impressed and it stuck in my head). I smiled at the golden pink that was painted across the sky, one of my favorite colors that only appears at sunset. I even smelled Jasmine (my favorite flower) in the air, although I couldn’t see their source.

I was amazed. I didn’t feel so disconnected from the world as I do sometimes, especially off of my meds the last few days. I was there. I was living. And I wasn’t constantly checking my phone.

The mountains in Park City, UT back in January. I was there attending the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

So, this is what I’m going to suggest to myself and others now. Put down the phone. Even if it’s only for a few minutes in the day, put it away. Take a walk, read a book, get a tan, see a movie, anything as long as you’re off your phone.

I’ve experienced this calming sense of presence before: in moments with friends and family when I’m sucked into their stories and antics, in a small new age shop I fell in love with in Park City, UT back in January, and in every movie I see in theaters. However, I guess I never truly realized it’s potential until today.

So, be present of an hour and enjoy the world around you. Who knows what you might discover.

A Fresh Start, A New LIFE

Photo by my friend Kara Brown back in January before we went off to the Sundance Film Festival. She is a brilliant photographer and I just love this photo.

If you have been to this site before then you know that I have a tendency to change my blog up A LOT. It seems that I’m always looking for a new, fresh way to write about my life that feels right to me. And nothing seemed to feel right.

However, as of tonight (May 4, 2014) you might be noticing a drastic difference.

EVERYTHING IS GONE!!!!! AHHHH!!!

No, you’re computer is not acting up more than usual.

I’ve been contemplating doing this for some time, deleting all of my past content to start fresh with a blank slate and I almost always talked out of it by people around me. Mainly my mom, Julie Escobar, actually since she liked seeing my own content.

Yet, as I am about to embark on my senior year of college and I’m preparing myself for my next chapter in my adult life, I have realized something extremely important.

I have realized that this is MY life and I need to start doing things the way they feel right to me. It’s a bit like a Bansky piece that I recently discovered (and is now my current screensaver to serve as my inspiration). The image says, “If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking permission.”

My current background…..not my photo. Just using it as an example.

This comment struck me and I thought back on how much I ask permission to make decisions on my life on a daily basis. It’s what has made me feel caged and anxious as if I were an actual bird rather than just a Hailey Bird, my nickname since I was a baby that seems to stick to my small frame and constant singing.

So, I’m going to take a step forward beginning with this blog. My blog. My rules. And due to my constant desire to change things to fit into different molds, you’ll notice that I’m going to start adding different pages to the site for different topics that I desire to write about and a brand title for the full blog that I feel will encompass everything.

The title was inspired by the fact that my life, like any life, is a work in progress. It’s constantly changing and being manipulated by the world. It’s widespread, involving a mind boggling amount of factors. It’s filled with stories and conversations and rants and poetry and I hope that I can share all of this and more with you if you, the reader, are willing to join me.

So, welcome to “Life: A Working Title. “