(Pictured artwork is by Madeline W.)
Ms. Geyer’s English students are studying The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler.
In her book, Gendler personifies a variety of emotions and states of being that are apt for our times such as Fear, Defeat, Worry, Confusion, Uncertainty, Anger, Boredom, Blame, Longing, Change, as well as Patience, Courage, Wisdom, Resignation, Creativity, and Compassion. Students are encouraged to imagine their own “person” who embodies any of these traits.
This exercise is a good way to release and better understand feelings that are dragging us down or to explore the essence of empowering states.
By Owen R.
Anxiety trusts no one, as it has learned that to trust is to be hurt. He doesn’t even trust his best friends, paranoia and stress. He has learned over the years to overanalyze every little detail. Every interaction is self-sabotaged. Anxiety goes around and around in a cycle that never seems to end.
Empathy comes in the form of a tool. Looking through a person’s eyes, understanding their motives and reasons for why they are the way they are, feeling the emotions they are feeling; this ability is a tool to become more understanding of anyone you interact with.
Tenacity comes in the form of a single mother working three jobs while taking good care of her children. Many days she may be exhausted; no matter what she does she always seems to come up just a little bit short. However, instead of succumbing to those emotions, she rises above, working harder than ever to support her family. One day her tenacity will pay off.
By Lynn S.
People say happiness will find you.
People failed to mention that sadness finds you first.
People hide their emotions.
Sadness finds a way to sneak up on you when you at least expect it.
Just when you think you’ve made it through.
It comes back like a boomerang.
The mask within her hides the tears that fall like a waterfall.
The mask that people see everyday.
The mask that hides the real her.
Low self esteem once told her...
“Make another joke”.
“Put make-up on”
“Dress like them”
Confidence once told her...
Pretend you don’t care what they think, it’s bull.
People say we’re all unique.
We are laughed at for being different.
We’re criticized by others.
Sure people treat me like I’m nothing.
Sure people may not like me.
I need to love myself.
I need to accept that I’m not like others
I need to know her, but how?
I need to understand her.
Until I do
I will take the mask off when I know her
I worry a lot that..
My friends only tolerate me and I’m just mere entertainment.
I worry that I’ll fail at everything and achieve only the minimal.
I worry that my fears have prevented me from living life while it was still normal.
I worry what people think of me, and I mostly worry that what they say is true and I’m just too blind to see it.
My worrying just feeds the inner self doubt and sends me into a never ending spiral.
Will I ever be able to trust again?
I’ve been burned so many times, my trust is badly singed.
Although the fire is extinguished, the flames still linger, making me wary of everyone.
How am I supposed to trust when all it’s gotten me is false hope and disappointment.
Day by day I start to step out of the shadow that looms over me and one day, the fear inside of me will subside and I’ll step out into the glow of the new day.
Creativity and Courage
Creativity is a whimsical fairy
That flies by me
Like a bird for a companion.
She is as bright, sparkly
And petite as TinkerBell,
Colored in a rainbow,
Sprinkling me in fairy dust
Whenever I’m discouraged
And dreary and in need
Of some creative sparks.
She introduces me
To a wise, bold lion named Courage,
Who teaches me how to be brave
About my talents,
And how to express myself
And with great vulnerability.
The two of them inspire
My creative flow to spread
Along white sheets of snow
Through vibrant paint,
The songs of my voice,
And through words of poetry
Written in fresh ink.
In my darkest, scariest times,
They are my best friends.
In the moments where
I want to push them away,
They stay loyal and loving to me,
Giving me patience and space,
Allowing me to return to them
Whenever I truly need them.
Loneliness is a gray, shadowy cloud
That hangs over me like depression.
She has lingered with me
Ever since I was a small child.
Her shadow is divided
Into two halves of me,
One half longing for connection,
And another half feeling
Completely empty and disconnected
When she is around those
Who are supposed to be my friends.
No matter how many times
I allow the compliments and love
To sink into my soul,
Her gray shadow
Towering over me
Is always raining
Over my existence.
My heart and stomach
Are bottomless pits,
Empty of affection,
As if the rain from her cloud
Washes it all away.
Loneliness leaves me numb and immune
To any glimpse of blinding brightness,
Dragging me away
From any vibrant colors,
Leaving me as grayscale and monochrome
As the feeling of melancholy.
I have always found a home with mommy. She comes into my bed, holding hands with anxiety while they lay on top of me like a weighted blanket she whispers thoughts in my ear. With the intention of stirring the contents of my stomach around and around until I’m too sick to eat and too uncomfortable to sleep tonight she has succeeded.
All emotions have a connection to love. Whether they’re old friends or offspring of her and one of the many suitors. Ribbons of different colors tie love to others good and bad. Love conquers hate, anxiety, born from the fear of losing love. Lust, a step before loving a stranger. Love, the mask reversible emotion. The first love a human feels is parental, she holds your hand until romantic love takes her place at the age of only 16. He consumes you, he brings his friends and invites them to stay in your house without questions. Empathy, jealousy, insecurity, and love are remedies. (no remedy comes without side effects however)