[Rutland] How to Know If You're Alive | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Rutland] How to Know If You're Alive

Some people need it spelled out for them, you know?

1. Check your pulse. If you have a steady beat, this simply means you are not dead, not that you are necessarily alive. To be alive, you must ascertain you're not one of the walking dead among us, which would open up a whole new can of worms.

2. Ensure that you have working organs, especially in the metaphorical sense. I've never been in a relationship. I'm scared of commitment and independent; I have always been focused on school, shutting out the kind of distractions puppy love brings. I chose scholarships to college over cubic zirconium promise rings, so naturally, my heart has never been broken, nor has it fluttered, flitted or ached beyond any sense I could quickly stifle.

There is a beating in my chest, but that doesn't mean I have a heart. Plenty of things beat: drums, basketballs on a court, Chris Brown (cough). If you've never felt something, how do you know for sure it exists? I do know, however, that my heart can breathe because it is often suffocating under the pressure of my brain. And that is different and more indicative of vitality than a simple beat.

3.Determine that you feel so passionately about something that any threat to it evokes a passionate response; your art, music, writing, sport, friends, civil rights, love—whatever. If something tried to destroy any of those things, and you become angry, sorrowful, uncontrollable, you are by no means a complete waste of space and flesh. But passion means nothing if you can't check the final box.

4. Act. People suffer when those who can do something, don't. When the Jackson Public Schools board cut the strings program, concerned parents went into a frenzy and acted to have the decision repealed. Had they sat by and hosted a pity-party instead of storming board meetings, many underprivileged kids would not have an opportunity to study classical arts. They had passion and action.

Sand put into a sieve simply falls out. To be alive, you don't even have to act in the name of goodness or peace. But, please—for the love of humanity—act!

Hope and Sarah are 2010 graduates of Murrah High School, and helped start the Youth Media Project, housed at the JFP. To get involved with YMP, write {encode="[email protected]" title="[email protected]"}.

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