Supplemental Mentality

You might be wondering “What the heck is Supplemental Mentality supposed to mean?” Let me explain what I mean by Supplemental Mentality by defining the terms that make up the title. First, supplemental is essentially the adjective form of supplement, which is defined as something that is added to another thing to complete it. Mentality […]

A Fear of Loss.

First of all, I’d like to preface this post with the fact that I got a job. Throw the confetti, bring out the cake, I actually managed to get a job, I know. Naturally, getting the job has made me think a lot about growing up and the future, so I thought I’d those thoughts with you all.

I think there’s a part of us that naturally contradicts itself. It’s this idea of growing up. Even when I think of the word I’m torn inside. I hate it, but love it. I want it, but I delay it. This is a delicate topic for me, and as I explain myself, I realize I’m going to have to be a bit vulnerable with you all. See, when I think of growing up, it involves a lot of things. Intricate details aside, this includes a job, a car, responsibilities, education, and a whole lot of choices and decisions that are exceedingly and increasingly important. Now. I’m decently okay with this idea of growing up in age and accepting responsibilities, and even though I have a real hard time with choices, I understand that it’s necessary and important. I also get that all this needs to be approached with wisdom, understanding, and maturity. Life isn’t a joke. However, when you talk about growing up in a more personality way, I sort of have this hard time agreeing and finding myself wanting anything to do with it. This idea of maturity I understand does not mean that you become some person you never were, nor that you can’t enjoy life anymore, and that with growing up means maturity. However, I find myself being sort of pushed into this mentality of “Oh, you’re not a kid anymore, stop acting so random and energetic and joyful. That’s simply unacceptable. You need to fit in. Be like everyone else. Be normal.” And that simply is something I refuse to fall into.

Along with that, I struggle a lot with the fact of leaving. When I talk about my future and when I think about it, I really don’t feel like I’m called to stay in my hometown my whole life, or to pursue my career here, but at the same time, every part of me doesn’t want to leave the incredible people I’ve met here who have become my family. Something that I struggle with and have been scarred by is the idea of losing people I care about. It’s therefore become a sort of fear of mine I guess you could say. The thought of leaving, and essentially starting my life completely over by doing so, honestly frightens me. I feel like doing so means I’m going to lose the family I’ve built in the city here. I know that even though they won’t be around, I’m not going to lose them, but there’s more to it than that. It means they won’t be involved in my life since I won’t be with them. Something I realized that’s the worst part about leaving to live somewhere else is the fact that the people from your original living area won’t be able to be involved in your life. Your ups and downs, daily struggles and successes won’t be rejoiced or comforted by those so far away. The future you build there can’t possibly be shared with those people anymore unless you return or they join you. Those late nights where you just hang out, goof off, and act like general goons create such incredible memories that I never want to give up. Experiences I’ve had and continue to have with these people have made my life a joy, and helped me get through some really difficult times in my life. Distance is such a pain, and a destroyer of relationships more often than not. Something I value probably the most in any kind of relationship is the idea of sharing life together. Both parties needs to be able to go through life with the other, like a family does. No matter what. I don’t want to know that if I wake up one morning with a heavy heart, and a craving for a chaotic adventure, that I’ll have to do it alone. The goons I’ve grown with in this city won’t be there with me anymore. Even that though, there’s more to distance than that.

Recently in life, I’ve realized that losing someone doesn’t really necessarily mean cutting yourself off from them, or being separated. There’s something that’s specifically mentally about it. If you think that you’ve lost them, even if they’re around you plenty, then it’s almost just as if they left and moved. There isn’t a physical distance, but there’s a disconnect in your attitudes and conversation. You act differently and sort of close yourself off. You justify your actions, but it’s not really an excuse. It’s entirely your own fault for the way you act around them. There’s this sort of wall one of you puts up. And that creates a distant entirely of itself that can be just as devastating. As soon as that wall breaks down though, it’s as if you finally got to come back home after weeks of being gone. This also, though not as frightening, still terrifies me at times. I can’t imagine being shunned and distanced from those that I hold closest. Losing that person, losing their respect, their attention, their opinions, their words, their ideas, their trust, and just their overall friendship and relationship is devastating to me. If I lose someone in that sense, I’m just as shocked and traumatized as if I moved out of town.

Naturally, both of these things I’m having to confront as I “grow up.” The closer I get to graduating high school, the closer I am to moving and leaving practically everyone I know. The more I get into my job, and face responsibilities and the consequences of my actions, I’m left making choices that I don’t want to make. And as a result, I end up losing people I love through walls as well. Either by mistakes, by not thinking, or by them choosing to leave me, it all brings reality crashing down on me. And eventually, I will have to leave a lot of the people I love, and it’ll probably be the most traumatizing, terrifying experience of my life. But at the same time, it’ll lead to so many new incredible people and opportunities that I would never have been able to meet or experience. And so, I’m simultaneously ecstatic to “grow up,” and also terrified. Either way, I know that it’ll be an incredible experience that will definitely change my life. So here’s to growing up, and to losing as few people as possible. I know that no matter what, the plan for my life will be something I could never imagine, and that it’ll all be wonderful in the end. I’m trusting in God that He’ll guide me through this stage of my life as I grow. And so I continue sharing life with those that I love the most while I still can. And no matter where I go or what happens, those memories will be with me forever. I’ll never forget those that I love.

“Growing up”,

Josiah Serravalle.

The Spirit of Freedom

It’s been awhile. It feels good to be back though. I’ve just had a lot on my mind and a lot to do these past couples days, that’s why I haven’t been writing, but here we go. I’m back.

It’s funny now, being able to look at life and realize that it’s summer. There comes this sort of adventurous spirit that I feel with it. Possibly it’s just me, but when summer comes around, I take the time and freedom I have and just enjoy life with the people I love. It’s wonderful, and some of my favorite and best memories come from these times. But occasionally, there comes times when I sort of get this feeling of being trapped, and I get extremely restless. I begin to want to go places, but since I’m limited by transportation the only way I can go much of anywhere is with other people. And being an introvert, sometimes I really just don’t want to be with people either. I just feel like driving to an open field and laying down to think by myself. (When I get a car and my license, it’ll be so nice for me.) So that places me at a dilemma. I tend to deal with this by going for a walk and just walking wherever my legs take me, but sometimes even that only takes me so far, and it often feels a bit out of place. Usually it doesn’t get too bad, and I manage to get over my introvert-ness and hang out with some of the fantastic people in my life, but I’m finding especially this summer that if I don’t accomplish this, it affects me very poorly.

Being trapped in the same place, or doing the same thing for an entire week kills me on the inside. And so when I don’t get that freedom, I sort of dig down into myself deeper and deeper. I get very thoughtful and self centered. I have trouble paying attention, and I found out recently that I even become sort of a spaz. A sort of depression and loathing comes, where I don’t want to do anything, nor do I want to not do anything. I especially have no interest in being very productive, and being around people for too long sounds like cutting off my oxygen supply. I didn’t think it could really last for a long period of time before, but I find that when stacked with stress and pressure, it simply gets worse. I’m sort of writing this as I figure out how it all works together myself, so bare with me. I don’t entirely understand how it works, however, it’s enough to make me not myself. And it’s enough to literally give myself a fever simply from exhaustion and stress. I know some people that have slept less than I have the past days, and worked way harder than I have, so I really don’t have anything to complain about, and I understand that. I simply can’t help but express the importance of freedom and relaxation I require in my life to operate like I should. Perhaps you or someone you know can relate.

I was given this kind of spirit of freedom as I like to call it, where if I’m locked up too tight, I end up grouchy, short-tempered, lazy, self-centered and upset. That simply is not who I am normally. One of the best ways I found to recover from this is by taking it a step at a time.

First by actually sleeping, so that way I’m not exhausted physically. That’s a very important step, although difficult at times. Secondly, I tend to be in a introverted state, so anything with a large amount of people sounds like my own personal hell and therefore I avoid those situations. Instead, I’ll grab one or two people close to me that I feel extremely comfortable and open with, and get coffee or sit and talk to them for a bit. Even just listening to music with them somewhere more open like a coffee shop or a field or a large auditorium. Sometimes even a car will work, as long as it isn’t a very closed building like a house. Especially my house. Also, I can’t be doing any kind of work unless it’s only at the minor stage of the feeling. It especially helps if I plan it out the day of, making it something new and different sort of. A change in plans I guess. This helps with that feeling of being locked up and lost. Thirdly, I then just let my worries and unnecessary thoughts go. The things I’ve been keeping deep down and either just let them go mentally, or more often times by talking to these people about it. That will generally bring myself back. There’s something about planning a day differently with things that I enjoy the most, it’s an incredibly freeing thing for me. Of course, it doesn’t always work, and if it’s something deep set that I need to let go, the only way I can manage to be free from that is through prayer and by giving it over to Jesus. Then I can be myself once again. He releases the door to my cage once more so I can be free.

Sometimes I kind of just wonder why I was given this sort of spirit of freedom, since it definitely seems more of an annoyance than a benefit. But it’s who I am, and it does have some perks to it. It means that I’m really easily pleased, and I can have to time of my life simply by sitting in a coffee shop with my best friend, or walking through a forest. I enjoy the small things in life, and even though it means I most definitely won’t find myself at an office job or working at some intensive business, it does mean that no matter where I end up, I can easily find ways to relax and take life in. Every person has so many different little things to them. It’s incredible and astounds me whenever I think about it. I’m most definitely not an extrovert who loves parties and huge social gatherings, instead I’d rather be with two people who I’m comfortable and close to. But there are people who would just die to only be with themselves or just one or two people at a time, and have the time of their life with tons of people. We’re all so very different and yet so similar. For me, that’s just how I am, a personal yet close person. And despite it’s downsides, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In keeping with the tradition of putting some sort of quote, phrase, or work of mine in almost every one of these posts, here’s a snippet of a song I wrote about this Spirit of Freedom.

I want to, be, as free, as the horses that run through the plains.

I want to, feel, the wind beneath my wings, and I, fly a,way.

At times I feel like running away, because the things that I find hope in, others find as strange.

Anyways, I hope you all can relax some this summer and enjoy life. Relax, seek Jesus, and love on some people.

Freely,

Josiah Serravalle.

Striving for Hope

As I start this post, I realize that this topic is going to be more emotional for me than my other ones have been. Or so it seems. So it might not make a whole lot of sense, but here it is anyways. Bare with me here. Partially because hope is something of my main painful traits and yet positive quality. Anyways, might as well jump right into it.

I find it extremely important that as you grow up and mature, an important part of this is figuring out who you are. I don’t mean asking people who you are, or what you’re good at, I mean you looking yourself in the eyes and being able to tell yourself what kind of person you are. Describe to yourself your flaws, your character, your qualities. The things you struggle with and things that you achieve and succeed at. It takes a lot of maturity to be able to confront yourself with all your failures and successes. And just as much maturity to realize who you are. Since I’m constantly trying to become as mature as possible, I try to challenge myself by attempting this. And I don’t always succeed, occasionally I even forget who I am. I get lost. It sounds silly to forget who you are, but it’s so simple and easy to fall into without realizing it. That however, is an entirely different discussion I’ll get into some other time.

I’d also like to note that when I say maturity, I’m not referring to being a lame adult who can’t have fun and always works. I’m referring to the maturity that is becoming a man or woman, accepting responsibilities, and being able to accept your own actions and take the consequences without excuses. Integrity. Good character, the list goes on. Anyways, back to my main point.

In the process of doing this, and through some experiences that I’ve recently gone through and their challenges, I’ve realized that I’m an extremely hopeful person. This is a good thing, and not necessarily a bad thing, however it can be a painful thing. It means that as things happen in life, even in the worst circumstances, I somehow manage to find hope that things are going to get better. Life will move on. Things will progress. And when something is uncertain, I always try to see the best outcome.

So, let me define Hope real quick, completely, from a dictionary.

“Hope – A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”

A desire for a certain thing to happen. And assuming we want the best outcome, (even if it is only the best in our eyes, and not truly the best), it’s then a desire for the best thing to happen. We have a phrase for that, one that is pretty much my life. “Well, just gotta hope for the best.” And that’s what I do. You’ll probably hear me say something similar to this a lot if you bring a problem up to me. “Do as much as you can, glorify God, try with all your heart, do your best, then hope for the best.” That has sort of become the motto of my life. No matter how bad things get, and though I almost always think of the worst things that could happen, or how awful something just was, I stop and give myself some time to collect myself, and then tell myself this same phrase. Usually just something similar, not identical to this.  This especially applies when I’m looking forward to something, for example, when getting ready for an AP test. Then I prepare myself, and just let whatever happens, happen. It helps to get me through situations. Afterwords, I go through the things I don’t regret, the things I do, and the good things along with the bad. I re-analyze the situation, paying special attention to things that made it worth it. And because of that, I feel less regret, because I realize whatever it was, it was worth it. Even if things ended horribly, the experience built you. The decisions you made might have been terrible, but because of them you can learn more. I’m not saying do whatever you want, because the experience will shape you and everything is worth it. The consequences can be and are dire, and some things genuinely aren’t worth it, and can ruin your life. These things don’t come without their awful experiences and traumas. You were made for so much more than momentary things and experiences. So don’t make terrible decisions, you’re life doesn’t have to be terrible. Since I tend to make big deals out of small things, I’m especially referring to little things you go through like taking a certain class that you hated but got stuck in. And so that part of this is a good thing.

However, this is also where it becomes a sort of flaw. I say flaw, but I’m not entirely sure one can call it that. Going into a situation, I always instantly see the worst that can happen, but deep inside me, I instantly find hope in it, and latch onto what good might come from it. When things seem hopeless, or are hopeless, I find a sort of hope to keep me from gnawing away at myself. I keep thinking of how things aren’t going to end poorly, and find myself thinking that just maybe something will work out. And so I constantly find myself getting my hopes up for nothing. And it’s the most crushing feeling one can experience. But since it’s a part of me, I just constantly return to that hope. I understand that a majority of people after enough times, simply shut down to hope. And as I reflect on moments in my past, I realize that I used to have more hope before than even now. But as it got crushed, I began to slowly back away from hoping, and removing those thoughts of hope when they try to arise. There’s no way that could happen. I find myself thinking that those positive things are hopeless and pointless, and there’s no reason to hold on to them, because it’s just going to hurt when they fail. Still, at the same time, not hoping can hurt just as much. Without hope, things seem pointless. Without hope, things seem worthless, and all seems lost. Reasons for things get thrown out. And so when I fail to hope, rather than just having a chance of getting hurt and failing, you are guaranteed failure. Sure, some things might surprise you, but the feeling doesn’t pass. Hopelessness latches on. There have been times in my life when I’ve felt hopelessness to it’s fullest. I felt more lost and depressed in those moments than any time my hopes have been let down. So when I re-analyze these moments like I do most of my experiences, and weigh out the different aspects of it, I find hope to be worth it. Hope is worth it. So strive for hope. In fact, though things in this life will destroy our hope, when we put our hope in God, we put it in the one thing that won’t let us be put to shame. As Psalms 25:3 says,

No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.”

Naturally, I had to end it on a positive note as I somehow managed to string together my thoughts.

Striving for Hope,

Josiah Serravalle

Senior Day (And Senioritis)

It’s been awhile. Anyways, for my high school, graduation is right around the corner. (Literally, it’s tomorrow.) And though I’m a junior, and not graduating, I’m becoming a senior. Which means it’ll be my last year as a high school student. Kind of a crazy thought. Now, you might be wondering what all that has to do with anything. Well, this senior class has been my favorite classes, and the class I’ve grown the closest to out of all my years at school. So, I’ve dedicated this post to listing each one of them and listing off someway they’re special or have impacted me. Some I know better than others, but all together they really sort of made me into the person I am today. The school I attend is extremely small in comparison to most schools, so the reason I can list all the seniors, is because we have a small number in the class (Though, it’s a large class for our standards). Anyways, enough explaining, onto the people.

Jessica, I know that you are for sure not disappearing on me anytime soon, but still. You’re one of my best friends ever, and we’ve both gone through a lot with the other around to help. All your random hilariousness will never be matched or forgotten. I know I’ll always be able to be myself, and be crazy and just laugh away life with you around. Thank you so much for being able to support me in the little things. It means more than you might think. No matter what happens, I’ll always remember you, and you better freakin’ keep in contact ya freakin’ goon. Keep doing amazing things for Christ, He’ll take you to some crazy but wonderful places. Don’t stop being yourself and being able to laugh. Also, don’t stop eating. There’s so much food to eat. Italian life for life.

Danny, I remember the first day you came to school, and when I heard you were a writer. I got pretty excited, and when I found out how awesome you were too, that just made me happier. Keep writing, being awesome, and making crazy jokes. Always keep seeking out your dreams, and don’t grow old. Also, don’t be afraid to share your stories with the world. You’re awesome man.

Ana, it’s great to know someone else shares my love for all things Doctor Who and Sherlock. Also, your snarky comments and love for writing (stories), are greatly appreciated. Keep writing and..commenting? Don’t stop being yourself and loving the things you love. It’s awesome.

Braton, you’re a punk man. But in a good way. Love you dude. You’ve helped me find a love for others that I didn’t have before. You’re enthusiasm and love for pretty much everything is brilliant and has impacted me more than you know. Even though your hugs and bites are kinda really weird, it’s all good. Keep being confident, bold and loving on people with all you got for Christ. It’s going to impact people.

Adam, keep encouraging people and being funny. It’s some really good dang traits that have made my days a lot better. Also, keep singing dude. You have a fantastic voice, don’t be afraid to let others hear it. Be confident in what you want to do and do something awesome out there. It was awesome having you as a member on the baseball team, keep it real. Is that still a normal saying? I don’t even know.

Jack, keep leading and putting yourself out there. You’ve definitely impacted me in the way you’re willing to defend what you believe or think is right, no matter what it is. Even if it’s which way to put on a belt. You’re confidence is great, and you definitely are gonna be a great leader out there. Keep being a genius and doing what you’re called to do. Lead people towards Christ with your attitude, confidence and love.

Nathan, you’ve made some of my days bearable simply by stating in your tone of voice how unbearable some days are. You’re humor and attitude towards people is absolutely hilarious and it brightens my day all the time. High school definitely won’t be the same without you there to make sarcastic conversation with. Also, you’re a phenomenal singer, and are the backbone to the tenors. It’ll be really tough without you. Anyways, it’s been great to be able to hang out some more as the school year ends. Don’t lose that humor ever, and don’t forget that sometimes us weirdos don’t have it all together, but we still love you, and you’re a part of the family. If that makes any sense. You get the point.

David, you’re pretty much a boss. You’re strange philosophical random points that don’t always make sense have always baffled and confused me. Which is good in a way. You make sure you think the thoughts no one else does. Your hard work can be seen by your dedication to sports like football and yet still being super interested in things like robotics and scouts and doing good in school.  That kind of hard work is brilliant, so don’t lose it. You’ll go some pretty sweet places.

Daniel F., It’s the Freeman! Anyways, Daniel, it’s been great to have you next to my math class at SF. I’ve greatly appreciated our random small rants there about school, life, and your sweet bow. Your creations in drawings and movies are phenomenal, I for sure look forward to seeing some of your stuff in the days to come. You have some awesome imagination, and so be sure to never waste it. It’s wonderful, and I wish I had that much imagination. Use that gift wisely, I’m sure you will. You’re awesome.

Daniel B., Oohhhh Daniel.  Dan the Man, despite not being able to get to know you very well, since you often keep to yourself, you’re pretty much a genius. And keeping to yourself isn’t a bad thing either, it’s kind of better to be that way than in everyone’s face. Anyways, your quips are hilarious, and you’re also pretty much a genius. You’re goin’ places kid. Don’t forget it.

Taylor A., You’re pretty much the coolest kid. It was always nice and comforting to me to know that I wasn’t the only one who was generally quiet. (Though I sort of stopped being generally quiet, that’s my Italian genes there.) You can always make an atmosphere seem calm and cool, and it was an honor to be able to talk to you occasionally. Also, you’re Batman, so there’s not much else to say there. Keep saving people’s lives.

Clint, Oh my word. Clint, you’ve easily been one of the most influential people in my life at high school these past couple of years. It’s hard for me to even describe it. The way you handle music, life, relationships with people, and how you’re able to just have Christ’s love shine through you is something amazing. God is going to use you in ways we can only imagine man.  Your voice and talents are an amazing gift that I wish I had like you do. It’s going to be really hard to see you leave, but I know it’ll be great for those that you’re going to be with. I’m going to miss you man. You’ll do great.

Jamison, mister president. Honestly, I’ve always sort of thought you were a punk. But I’ve realized throughout the years that you’re much more than that. You’re a leader, who can be responsible and is confident in everything he does. You’ve taught me that no matter how serious and important something is, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, or that you can’t make some crazy joke. Despite almost always having something to say, you take responsibility for your actions and it’s impactful. You led the baseball team well, and the senior class. Keep having fun and leading man. You’re pretty legit.

Kameron, Oh Kam. You’re the reason I started to play baseball, and though it was a lot of work, I’m glad you got me into it. It was a lot of fun, and I made tons of memories for it. So thank you. Also, you’re awesome and always up for a laugh. Keep being a fantastic friend to everyone you meet, and loving those around you. Though you might not always think you’re leading, you certainly are. So keep leading those under you by your example and attitude.

Jenny, I hardly know you at all, but that’s probably mostly my fault for being a bit of a recluse. However, I know that you’re always joyful and ready with a smile on your face. It seems like you’re always open for encouraging people and that your joy and laughter is really contagious. Don’t ever stop smiling and looking at the good things in life. We all need some really good optimism in our lives.

Taylor H, I also don’t really know you that well. Which I feel kind of bad about, since my brother knew you decently well. Again, that’s just me being a recluse. Anyways, you’re always open to crazy jokes and just having fun. Your laughter is contagious and great. All I gotta say is; keep being a zebra. Nobody will hunt you down. I promise. I think.

Ben, even though you probably won’t read this, you’re hilarious and talented. It might seem like everyone else around you is a bit crazy, (we kind of are, but that’s besides the point), but you’re able to put some sense into things and still make the simplest things hilarious. Keep being yourself and don’t worry about what others think. Keep using that mind of yours and the imagination you’ve been given. You got this Ben.

Sarah, I never really got a chance to tell you, but I really love horses. Yeah. Used to ride them when I got a chance at my parents’ friend’s house, and went trail riding some with my family friend. And though I don’t know nearly as much as you do about them, I know they’re phenomenal. I also wish I got to know you a bit better, but I know that you’re full of plenty of talent and that you’ll succeed at pretty much whatever you want to do. I’d definitely trust you with my horses if I had any. You can also handle those techies like no one else. You’re going to do great out there.

Ellie, you’re fantastic. Your little encouragements and bursts of happiness are phenomenal and uplifting like you wouldn’t believe. Keep being yourself, and I really appreciate your comments, especially when in a car while I’m being antisocial. There’s nothing quite like your smile and love for everyone you meet. It’s outstanding and impacting. Always love others like you do, and just displaying Christ’s love for everyone so openly. It’s a wonderful gift and trait to have. The people out there need you to share it.

Jake, you’re a goon. But a good goon. You have a really friendly sort of attitude, and you’re always up for joking around. Not to mention you’re a phenomenal athlete, and you can for sure go some crazy awesome places using that athleticism. You’ll be great out there. Keep having fun and being willing to help others out.

Timothy, you’ve changed a lot over the years. But it’s been a good change. You’ve been given a plethora of gifts, like your voice and academic excellence, and I know they’ll be put to good use. You got a head on your shoulders, but you’re also able to enjoy the little things, have a sense of humor, and be up for having fun. Keep singing, playing Starcraft II, and bothering Nathan’s life as much as you can. Mwhaha. It’s been great to have you as part of the “geek squad” here, if you can call it that. It won’t be the same without you.

Sean, I also didn’t really get to know you very well, besides the few times I got to eat lunch with you guys. I can tell though that you’re excellent at planning and leading events. You’ve got plenty of good ideas that are sure to come to the light some day. At the same time, you’re hilarious and you and your brother are kind of even more hilarious together.

Andrew, it’s been fantastic to get to know you more this school year. I can’t believe it took me this long to see how awesome you are. Our game conversations and news conversations in Economics and Government kept me awake and actually interested in things that early in the morning. I’m not sure how I would’ve handled that class without you. You’re not only smart, but you’ve got wisdom, and that’s even more important. Not to mention you have a dedication for things that I only wish I had. Together, those two traits are going to take you great places. You’re awesome, I’m glad I got to know you, and it won’t be the same here without you. Also, dirty white boyz all the way. (That’s a sort of inside joke. In case you couldn’t tell.)

Christian, though I didn’t really get to know you very well, you seem like a guy that really is set on chasing after his dream. And that’s encouraging. Keep chasing that dream. Also, your always up for a joke and saying something unexpected. Don’t worry about those trying to crush your dream. Keep loving people and being a pretty cool dude.

Pheeewww. That’s a lot. But that’s everyone. If you expected more, I’m sorry, I’m kind of tired, so I started to trail off there for a bit. Anyways, as I finish this, I realize I’m going to soon be a senior like these students. And it’ll be phenomenal, terrifying, wonderful, depressing, but overall an experience I won’t ever forget. And for that, I’m looking forward to it. It’s a shame I won’t get to share it with these students that are leaving, but that just means there will be new people for me to reach out to and have impact my life. I’m looking forward to it. However, even today I’m finding myself with terrible senioritis. It’s going to be a long year.

 

With Honesty and Sincerity,

Josiah Serravalle.

The Beauty Queens

So this might seem like a bit of a deceiving title, but it makes sense, trust me here. So this one is about music. Of course I was going to talk about music at some point.

So, I felt like I should explain some things about music for myself, especially after the fact  I recently performed my first original song ever in front of a decently large amount of people with one of my best friends who was able to keep me from collapsing from nervousness and freaking out into a panic. Might have been having a small panic attack. But the fact I survived and did it is a huge accomplishment for me. For myself, even performing music on stage is nerve racking. For whatever reason, I can perform tons of complex dramas that have plenty of lines and be fine, but as soon as you ask me to perform something musically, I get the most crazy dosage of stage fright ever. It doesn’t even have to be to a crowd. If you simply ask me to sing, or play guitar and wait for me to do either, that’s when it kicks in. It can often result in some pretty terrible reactions from myself, such as forgetting words or simply going silent suddenly, (or singing off-key, but whatever). Usually, I’m unable to eat the entire day due to this as well, if I’m performing on stage. This results in crazy amounts of food being inhaled after the performance, which is glorious, but besides the point.

Anyways, after that night, I couldn’t help but wonder why I do this, and why this night was especially terrifying. Everything went fine, I got plenty of compliments and I did the best I could. If nothing else, I got to do what I love to do. That makes it worth it no matter how  I do. And I believe I brought glory to God in using what I’ve been given, so in that sense, I succeeded. Yet, I still freaked out about it, and the day after, it turned out to be so emotionally and mentally exhausting I was barely capable of much else that day. As I reflected on all this, I realized a lot of it has to do with my process of writing a song.

So, I’ve mentioned before that I often believe that in order for art to be special, effective, and true, it has to come straight from the heart. A song especially isn’t just a piece of work written down. It’s a part of the author himself being put into words and notes. It’s an incredible thing to do, and just as incredible to witness at times. This doesn’t always mean in words, I’ve heard instrumental pieces on guitar that have been far more impacting than the average pop song you hear on the radio. This is because the true musician doesn’t just make music. They make heart, soul and beauty in the form of music. It’s fantastic, and I can’t fully express my love for it in words. It’s special and specific to music. Now all this makes it sound like every song created is a piece of beautiful art. Which, in a way it is, but I guarantee you most pieces will not sound incredible or like a true piece of art. Mine is especially unpolished and incomplete, and hardly art. However, I feel like I put myself into it.

One of the hardest things about writing genuine music is the heart behind it. Since you’re putting yourself into music, in the words you write and the chords you strum, it becomes dear to you. It’s like telling your best friend your whole life story, your fears and failures, hopes, dreams and successes, and somehow know that they’ll keep it as long as you want them to. They begin to understand you. It’s like this for song writing. When I wrote my song, (and I’ll probably include some lyrics from mine to show you what I’m talking about later), I had this kind of mindset. What I wrote about were my inner thoughts and opinion on something. Something I can understand and sort of went through in a way. It’s a part of me that I still have a hard time dealing with and when I first wrote it, it was a way for me to address the issue within myself. Using the friend analogy, it’s like talking to your best friend in order to sort of deal with what you’re going through by simply talking it out. You don’t really want a specific response from them, besides that they listen.

For me, I’m extremely bad about sharing the intricate details of my life with other people. Sort of surprising since I post some deep stuff about my life on this blog, but it’s not everything, and it’s not the same as talking. Anyways, I’m not a really open person. You have to be really close to me in order for me to share my heart with you. Especially when it comes to my feelings about people, things, places, or dreams. I’m much more likely to write it down and tuck it away. So using that friend analogy, we already have a problem. I just shared my life to my best friend. I don’t want to go and tell him to share it with other people, even if I’m there to share it as well. That’s terrifying to me. To put so much of my heart into something, then have it displayed extremely openly in front of a lot of people, that is definitely not something I’m going to want to do. And that’s why it was so emotionally and mentally exhausting. I had just placed my heart in front of the eyes of a crowd of people. And for me, it was exhausting to do that with even one or two people. It’s only natural that it took a toll on me.

So, with all that being said, because I personally make my own music and when I sing it’s me sort of creating my own form of a song, it’s much more difficult for me. A drama someone else wrote, or a play that everyone knows, you only have to worry about messing up your lines, or where you’re supposed to be. But for music, a creation of something, if a person doesn’t like it, they’re rejecting your heart, your thoughts and hard-work, and that is much more significant to me. They’re not just rejecting your talents, they’re rejecting who you are. And that’s the kind of fear I face when I get confronted with presenting music I create. And that’s the reason I freak out about it so much. So now you know a little bit more about me. Yeah, sort of depressing, but the good thing is we don’t have to worry about how people view us and our hearts. Which I constantly forget and get distracted from.

Now, I don’t have a video of the song, though I’m sure there’s one floating out there somewhere. It was overall something rushed, but well worth performing, and I’m glad I got to do it. Hopefully, it impacted at least someone somehow. So, lemme throw at you a line or two from the song, and I’ll explain them and how they’re related to my life.

“Oh beauty queen with your little screen,
Won’t you stop and just look, at, me.
Oh beauty queen don’t you know there’s more?
You just have to look around, some, more.”

So, obviously this is talking about a girl. And the story behind that is that as I started taking college classes, I often saw this girl who would constantly be on her phone, and never looked up. I can’t say whether she did this all the time, what she was doing, or whether it was really that bad, and I have no right to judge. That’s not what I’m saying.  But in my mind, I created a sort of fictional beauty queen who became obsessed with a guy based on this premise. And her whole story sort of unraveled in my head. And though I wrote about this character, who kept looking at her screen to only spend time with her man, and saw nothing else in life than being with this guy, there’s more to it.

Though I address the person as beauty queen, I also mean myself. Even though I don’t obsess over a girl crazily, and I don’t find that the only thing in life, I find other things much more important than they should be. I can easily become obsessive, and even dreams and ideas can become more important than everything else happening in life, which is just as important, especially people. Not a lot of people know that about me. And so that part of my life was being opened to everyone. At the same time, I felt they should hear it. That’s where I felt like it’s important for others. Not everyone is going to be easily obsessive like myself, but what does happen is we tend to ignore others around us, and what we can do to help. We don’t observe that which is in front of our eyes.  We put things we want in our lives as more important than people and others themselves. A man who can easily be helped by you may be placed in front of your eyes, but we’re too busy looking at our “screens” to see him. There’s more in people, but we just don’t look for it. Oh beauty queens, don’t you know there’s more? Just look around some more.

And that’s the idea behind my song. It’s not completely finished, and it’s pretty unpolished, but I’m proud of what I’ve gotten done so far, and I’m willing to put this idea out there enough to perform it. Enough to overcome my ridiculous stage fright.

 

A Sort Of “Beauty Queen”,

Josiah Serravalle.

The Writer, The Poet, and The Philosopher.

I know, I’ve been writing about myself more than life experiences lately, and things that I’ve learned, but hang tight with me for a bit. I feel as though I should explain more of myself to you all. Let you in on the craziness that is my life, and how I go about writing and creating things. Now, I often find myself full of indecision and at a loss with myself. Not because “I don’t know who I am”, or I haven’t “discovered myself”, or some such shenanigans, but rather I find myself switching mindsets. And I can’t always really control it. It’s sort of strange.

Now, I talked about this sort of thing a bit in my post Sometimes, I Pull Myself Apart, and if you read it you’ll know I struggle a lot on deciding on a single thing to pursue or focus on. This concept I’ve found is sort of based on the fact I have a hard time focusing with one mindset and outlook. I should probably specify that in this case, my mentality and mindset here are primarily the different forms of creativity my mind works in, and not a certain worldview or outlook in the sense of normal life. Anyways, as I was walking home one day I realized my creative mindset switches between three specific, main sort of personas if you get my meaning: The Writer, The Poet, and The Philosopher. In fact, I notice these mentalities the most while I’m simply walking home or to school, probably because I don’t have anything better to do. But anyways, these mindsets majorly affect how I do things when I’m in each, and I tend to only be able to use my creativity a certain way while in each. Occasionally there’s overlapping, but it seems the majority of the time there’s not. And so understanding each is incredibly important for me, and that makes them important in order for all of you to understand me as well. So let me start off with the first and explain myself from there.

 

The Writer. This is probably the first sort of creative mindset I found myself in. I’ve always loved books and stories of all sorts, and I sought after them almost greedily. I wanted to hear, see, and read it all. I really sort of still do. And I think that’s a big part of why I am who I am today. But anyways, back to my point. I found that the first way I could creatively process things was through stories. I would create them, live them, imagine them, and even reenact them. Which might even be the reason I’m decently good at acting now. A family friend and I when we were really young children would create our own worlds and create scenarios that we would act like were real. It was fantastic. Again, that’s besides the point. At about the age of twelve I believe, I started writing for fun with a family friend of mine. And that was the first time I think that I found myself truly enjoying myself in creating something. And I was pretty good at it for a twelve year old, though if I went back and read the stuff now, I’d probably just about throw up in my mouth. Ahem. Anyways, from that point on I sort of found myself thinking in that creative output. I never created much of anything else, I was a pretty boring twelve year old. However, the fact I noticed that at a young age and began to develop it really paid off in the end. Or so I believe so. Especially since everything I have a passion for now includes some sort of writing. Which moves me forward. It was several years after that when I discovered the wonderful world of poetry.

The Poet. Originally, I thought that I had to include my mindsets into four, but I realized my fourth was simply a standalone form of poetry, at least the writing part of it. The Musician. Now, you might think that a musician is NOT a poet. And I believe myself able to argue to the contrary. However, a poet is not necessarily a musician, since you have to, you know, create music and play an instrument. Obviously they aren’t exactly the same thing. However, I’m going to categorize them into the same creative outlook of the poet. I believe poetry to not just rules for writing a story or a telling of a scene. For me, poetry, true poetry, is writing that is an outpouring of the heart. A poem expresses an author’s feelings discreetly but powerfully with creative strings, and the best ones should be extremely impactful. Something that has been imprinted in the author’s mind or heart forever is being placed into words and transported directly to the reader. That is my definition of a poem.

On a side note, it makes me a bit upset when I read things that the world now passes for poetry. A good friend of mine took an English course where she had to read a book full of the best poems of 2013, and the majority of them simply didn’t fulfill these criteria for me. I’m not saying they are all terrible, nor am I saying all poets now are awful. I’m simply saying the ones being noticed are for the majority, not worth being noticed.

Right, continuing. And using that definition, I can relate a poet to a musician. I can define a musician in two ways. And a musician can be either, or both. The first way would be to define a musician technically; as one who is able to play an instrument and perform a piece of musical art. This includes those who sing, play, and perform pieces that have already been created on pretty much any instrument requiring a form of talent. The other definition, the one I’m using in this case, is more of the song-writing musician. This musician is one who creates beauty in sound through the outpouring of their heart, through any means of instrument. And when this beauty coincides with words written as a poet, the result is often wonderful and impacting. And that’s where the two connect; both the poet and the musician create art from the outpouring of their hearts. A passion or emotion that inspires them into a creative piece. They compliment each other wonderfully. I might have gotten a bit sidetracked there. Oh well. Onward I go.

This poetry I discovered at school years later. Obviously I knew about poetry, but I never thought that I could really be able to write any, or that it could actually be good. And then English class in middle school showed me a different view of poetry. I remember reading a piece by Poe and thinking how wonderfully written it was, how it evoked a sort of emotion within the setting itself that not much else was able to do. I loved it. And I believe it was soon after that when I began to start attempting my own poems. Generally, they aren’t all that great. I do like some of them, especially the key analogy I made in one of my older blog posts. But, since I do this, here’s another that’s alright, and is partially based on a dream I had a while back. Not sure if it’s “technically” a poem, and it’s kind of long, and written a long time ago, but here is is anyways.

“A well, a wish, a star. That winter night on the slippery ice. A wish was granted, a well had been planted. That star was in my arms.

A staircase of blue, a case of the flu sent me on my way up those blue stairs.

Darkness lingered around me, as the steps turned into a path, the life of my past. Slowly I walked up and up, turning round and round, when suddenly an angel made it’s way up to where I was.

She said hi, I simply stomped on by, my path going ever onward and upward.

Fortunately my angel failed to stop there, she once again passed by my path, this time colliding with me, our icy feet slipping on that lonely street.

For the first time my path truly met with another’s. We walked together, and our roads collided. That night we talked about everything, but just as always, too soon was it her time to leave my path.

My bones shook as she took off on her own way.

We said goodbye, and I left my name, but she only left her gaze, forever trapped in my mind the laugh and eyes of an angel. That was the night I laughed with an angel.

A well, a wish, a star. That winter night on the slippery ice. A wish was granted, a well had been planted. That same star was in my arms this night.”

Right. And this mentality has grown into one of my stronger creative outlets, since I started becoming more of a musician. Ever since I got my first guitar (which I almost never played sadly), I wanted to be a musician on the road going wherever. But it wasn’t until recently I discovered my ability to strain and sort of make that poet in myself into a musician. So far it’s managed to work out somehow, and I’ve been able to become a MUCH better musician because of it. And as a result, I spend more of my time in this creative outlook currently than the other two. Or so I try. I find myself occasionally having a hard time not becoming the last one.

The Philosopher. This is why I write blog posts like this one. Because I find myself occasionally spending my creativity towards this outlook. A sort of more depressing one, and a bit more dull I suppose. I think I began to grow this outlet simply by the fact I find myself being around some pretty wise people, and usually older people. Generally, I find myself currently struggling between this mindset and the poet, since I want to get working on my music, but in the process I end up thinking about ideas for songs, which then begins a deep mental conversation with myself. Which then usually leads to posts like these. I have about 4 other topics I want to talk about from these kinds of conversations already. Usually I get the main theme and simply save the theme as the title and save a draft here to remind myself later. This mindset usually starts kicking the others out when I study people, or nature rather than experiences or individuals. Naturally, I find myself stuck in this mindset most of the time when I get to class, or leave the college campus. Oh humanity.

 

Anyways. I believe that sums it up. The tough thing about all this is that I find myself stuck in one, when I really need to be in another. For example, I’ll be headed home from class and realize that I need to really get started on a song with the little bit of free time I have, but then I’ll pass a couple people doing something strange, and I simply can no longer get out of this philosopher mindset. Occasionally I can combine them, like I said earlier, and it’s wonderful when I can; I usually accomplish many things when this happens. However, too often I find myself stuck in one when I need to be in another. That’s kind of my whole point here. I sometimes wonder if anyone else thinks the same kind of thing, or has the same kind of struggle. So now you know more about my crazy brain. Congratulations. Hopefully you didn’t feel like this was a complete waste of your time. If so, I apologize.

But it’s kind of your own fault anyways.

 

The Poet, Writer, and Philosopher,

Josiah Serravalle.

Let’s Talk About Rain.

I’d like to start off by apologizing for the long hiatus. I’ve found myself extremely busy, exhausted, and a bit overwhelmed lately. However, with the end of school right around the corner, things are beginning to become more manageable. I’ve also naturally found myself thinking a whole lot, and so a good list of blog post ideas have come out of that. Starting with this topic of rain.

 

So, what is it about rain? It develops an atmosphere and evokes particular emotions, and is commonly associated with specific themes. Some people hate it, others love it. I personally absolutely love rain, even if I have to stand in it while I wait for the bus, or I have to walk home in it; there’s some sort of satisfaction I receive from watching it or even partaking in it. It’s hard to explain, for I don’t completely understand why I enjoy it so much myself, but I have some ideas why. That’s sort of the point of this post, to actually explain my reasoning and hope it leads you to better understand how I think about things. Who knows, maybe you’ll even think a bit differently about it yourself. It conveniently just so happens to be raining today, so lets dive right in.

First of all, as I mentioned earlier, it develops a sort of special, kind of dreamy atmosphere. The day becomes a bit lackadaisical and relaxed. It brings out a sort of muse within me, which might be simply because I’m a writer, but at the same time it applies to all sorts of other situations. People find themselves wanting to stay home and read a book or watch a movie and relax. I find it to be a especially simple and calm. Like the weather is telling us we need to sit down for a second and calm down, whatever we need to get done will still be there after the rain stops, and the world keeps spinning.

It’s as if the outpouring of the water from the accumulation in the clouds is like each of us. Roaming the world we collect all sorts of weights, baggage, luggage, worries and anxieties. Yet there comes a time when we slow down, and we just can’t keep moving while being so weighed down, so we cast all our accumulations out in the rain. And so as the rain pours down, we sit down in our cozy chairs with a good novel and a cup of coffee as we sip the day away. No need for worries, or anxieties, there’s no work to be done today. The rain will take care of the world outside. For just this moment you can wait and have peace. The world can wait until the rain stops.

Just like this, I constantly find myself having to cast my worries and anxieties at the feet of Jesus to keep myself from going a bit crazy. And he relieves me, reassures me, and gives me the strength to push on, as the clouds disperse and the sun shines once more. This atmosphere and relation I have with the rain from knowing this gives me an appreciation and peace that I can’t entirely explain. It’s relaxing and inspiring at the same time. I feel as though when the rain falls down as a torrential downpour, I can feel my problems and anxieties just fall away. If you haven’t simply stood out in the rain in a long time and peering skywards, I highly encourage you to do it when you can. It’s humbling and awe-inspiring at the same time.

Of course, some people will think of rain as a more depressing event, a more depressing theme. An interruption and interference in their daily life and routine. A bother. A bore. A dull roar against their struggle towards success and accomplishment. Who can bother with getting soaked and having to change when heading to school or a job? Or, a truly saddening occasion coupled together with traumatic events such as funerals, break-ups, and family ruin. This can be true at times, it’s pretty easily seen that the opinion and emotions raised by rain is influenced primarily by the issues surrounding the individual. That makes sense. However, this more upset approach makes sense to me as well. There is truly a somber feel to rain. And the sadness portrayed when we cry is paralleled in the raindrops that fall from the sky. Our raindrop-tears fall from clouds of irises and eyelashes. The outpouring of rain as an emotional onslaught of depression and worry. We can’t help but explode with inward growling and rumbling as we try to hold back our tears, failing miserably. It’s quite a depressing picture, and a lot different from the one I painted earlier of inspiration and peace. But at the same time, that theme of being able to establish an atmosphere of its own remains. In these events, everything else is still placed aside. Your thoughts can’t help but grow and wander, and though they might rain into a more upsetting approach, the thoughts process nonetheless. The world doesn’t matter at this point, you’re caught up in that moment. In the moments following an individual, a memory, a life past. Rain, whether a thunderstorm or a simple overcast drizzle, manages to create its own stage and setting. A theme in itself. And it captures my attention and enthralls me. I find that if I have one of these moments, that I can actually feel more free and at peace simply by standing under the downpour of teardrops, knowing that I’m not the only one that cries as my tears mix with the raindrops. Some things are simply out of your control. Just like the rain can’t be stopped from outpouring.

Naturally, because I can’t have a blog post without a small piece of a poem I wrote, or a quote from a classic, here’s just a tiny scene that I wrote that I feet summed this entire conversation.

 

“As I stood there upon the lush carpet of the earth, staring into the outpouring of the clouds, I involuntarily realized something. I realized that life is not just made of these moments. No. Life IS these moments.”

 

An Outpouring Stranger,

Josiah Serravalle