Because some people need it spelled out for them, ya know?
1. Check your pulse
If there is a steady beat, this simply means you are not dead, not that you are necessarily alive. But in order 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 naturally 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, *cough*Chris Brown*cough*. If you've never felt something, after all, 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 and family, civil rights, love - whatever. If something tried to destroy any of those things and you become angry, sorrowful, uncontrollable, then you are by no means a complete waste of space and flesh. But passion means nothing if you can't check the final box.
People suffer when those who can do something, don't. When the Jackson Public Schools' board cut the Strings program concerned parents went into frenzy and acted to have the decision repealed. Had they sat by and hosted a pity-party instead of storming board meetings, the program would still be dead and many underprivileged kids would not have an opportunity to study classical arts.
They had passion and action. One simply can't exist and expect to be alive. Just as one may feel passion and expect there to be love also, that is not always the case. 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, you can be a terrible person out to corrupt. But please, for the love of humanity, act! Passive people have killed more human beings than Hitler, King Herod and the like ever did, because what do those people care? They're not even alive anyway.
Sarah, I LOVE this. The last sentence is pretty powerful, in that so many people think that passively allowing things to occur is not harmful, a horrible misconception that has burdened society for waay too long.
This wonderful, Sarah. Everyone else: Please check out the Youth Media Project site and send young people to us who want to help create a special issue and do video pieces and blogging about young people in Jackson this summer! They can get in touch with me directly at [email protected] or call 601.362.6121 ext. 16.
Oh, and we also need more adult volunteers to be mentors and coordinators (could use some organized folks to help coordinator Treshika Melvin organize shoots and such, not to mention pick up kids without transportation and so on). And people in media who know video, writing, editing, etc.
Come on! This is fun, and you get to hang out with the cool kids at the JFP (them, not me!).