I’ve heard life put into the context of many other things. I’m pretty sure that everyone has heard of the old saying, “Life is a marathon.” Quite a few people don’t just view life as life; it’s usually followed up with a comparison of some sort. How we view life will affect how we view our circumstances. If you see life as a race you may think everything is a competition. You’ll see failure as a loss and achievement as a victory. If you see life as a game of cards you may always try to read between the lines, thinking everyone has a poker face. You might put emphasis on intelligence as well as stealth (the only card game I’ve ever played is UNO and if we went based off that I’d think that every friend who betrayed my trust was throwing Draw Fours down on me and I’d never look at them the same again). I’ve seen a pretty hilarious post in which someone said that life is a merry-go-round filled with “fake ass ponies” which is by far the funniest comparison I’ve ever seen. If you’re like me you may just see life as a pain in the ass. And if you’re a person who sees life as a battle you’re just probably violent; please seek help. One of the points that Jamie reiterates in “If You Feel Too Much” is that everyone is living a story. It’s more than everyone having a story; we are instead actively living out our life stories. I believe that’s the best comparison that I have heard. Stories involve a beginning, character development, conflict, climaxes, and at some point an ending. In a way this is comforting, but at the same time it can be disheartening. Since these are our stories we are supposed to be in ultimate control of them, but how many times does it feel like we have absolutely no control in a situation? And how much of our stories are being directed and written by someone other than us? It could be some controlling parents, maybe an abusive significant other, or possibly demanding children. Sometimes just the thought that we are the authors of our lives seems unfathomable. It can also be scary! Think about the divorce from chapter 3 of your life and how it affects chapters 4-7. In my case becoming a college drop out in chapter 19 and how it affects chapter 23. All of our choices and decisions tie together because this is how stories go. There are other times where it may feel like other aspects of life are writing our stories. Could be a mental disease, a physical ailment, income, race, gender, etc. I spent my childhood years in Batesville, MS (that’s right, I’m a southern belle. No, not really. I’m just southern) raised by a single mom who made less than $21,000 a year. There were three of us: my oldest brother Jonathan, my older sister Quoya, and lil ole me. My mom made some choices in life that had impact on her as well as us three, which I don’t fault her for, but I still acknowledge that chapters of my childhood were written by circumstances beyond my control. She also had some chapters that she couldn’t help but have written. She was among the first students to attend the newly integrated school system. She tells me all the time about the bomb threats they would have, and how she loved to be told they had to evacuate. There was a teacher there who didn’t like my mom and wouldn’t let her eat lunch. My grandmother had to come to the school and tear the woman to shreds, but ma never had a problem out of her again (my grandmother was an OG before OGs were even thought about). We will all have chapters that come along and blow our whole life up in ways that are undesired and most times unsuspected. I think my greatest unwarranted co-writers are anxiety and depression. Someone made a post on tumblr about how they struggle to differentiate between their depression and their personality. I relate to this struggle A LOT. I make a lot of choice, or DON’T make any choices at all, because of these two. Some Saturdays I’ll get out of bed long enough to shower and I’m back in bed the rest of the day. That’s a whole day of wasted pages in my story. Some days I don’t eat. There are times I’ll pick up a new book and breeze through it. Other times I’ll read two pages and then just lose all desire to even finish the book (I’ve recently done that with the Book of Lokk<<<A really good series might I add. I pre-ordered the latest book and I’ve barely read it. I just don’t want to read anymore). A patient’s wife called in and she was yelling at me about his wheelchair order and I just stayed quiet while she yelled (because what would have been the right thing to say???) and she said, “It’s almost like you don’t care!” And I really didn’t care. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy the thought of someone who isn’t able to walk not having a wheelchair, but I didn’t care anything about her yelling, her complaint, or her in general. There’s a great deal of my story that I absolutely hate and a great deal I love (like growing up and being a kid). I know that’s how it is with everyone. But the most important thing that Jamie said was that our stories don’t have to be tragedies. I think that’s the awesome part of storytelling/storywriting. Stories don’t just up and end when shit hits the fan (unless of course, your story is actually manga and the particular you’re manga reading is Hunter X Hunter. Then yes, it does end when shit hits the fan. More specifically, goes on HIATUS FOR A YEAR). There are still chapters to be written, still romance to be had, character development to…develop…There’s more out there for us to create. And that’s the most special thing about living. We’re creators. Think about it. If you’re a Christian then you believe we’re made in God’s image and our Father is a creator. We are designed to be creators and this life is our creation. If you’re not a Christian then that’s cool. Just think of the fact that we can create as well as destroy. It’s odd to be such a small speck in this huge universe and still have such power. In the end, we’re just hoping that we create something beautiful and meaningful. I hope we all can write beautiful and meaningful stories.