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The Hate In Art

Recently, I read an article about a young adult novel under fire by the YA twitter community. Influencers claimed the pre-released book was racist. They questioned the publisher for publishing it. Members of the campaign advised their followers to stay clear of it. And whatever good reviews it previously received… well, those were buried under a 1-star average rating on Goodreads. But, while I scrolled through the article – it was really long, so I skimped through – I found myself frowning. I frowned not because the book was supposedly racist – I frowned because I felt for the author. And after I wondered how she faced the criticism without breaking down, I feared… for myself. Reminded that this world is unafraid to voice its opinions – most of the time in a brutal manner – I was anxious.

Yes, we know not everyone will love our work. There’ll be haters. Many will bash the good out of our art. Some will even take it personally and attack us as creators. It’s a scary world we live in. And as much as we wish for harmony, kindness, and our faith in humanity to be restored, the reality stirs warranted anxiety. It’s something we, unfortunately, cannot avoid. So, I guess now’s the perfect time to say, we can change the world, right? Alas, I can’t say that. Because, we can’t. At least, we can’t change how people chose to respond. We can’t convince others to go easy on us. We can ask, but it doesn’t promise a kinder response. However, there is hope. Because amidst the hate, there is love.

Out of curiosity, I headed to the questionable book’s Goodreads page. There, I found an average 3-star rating. Outside of Goodreads, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, it had an above 4-star rating. It’s safe to say, the heat it took prior to its launch didn’t burn it to the ground. Now, I’ve not read the book itself nor do I intend to -I’ve long past my teenage years obsessed with supernatural YA novels – but I’m glad. I’m glad for the author. Though the review section alternates between good and bad ratings, the book has its defenders. There are those who saw what some found negative to be positive. There are those who chose to give the author the benefit of the doubt. While I don’t dismiss the bad reviews, because some of them are objective, not all hope is lost for the future of this book.

Using this book as a case study, I realised how fleeting events are. No matter the intensity of a campaign, for or against something, it will come to an end. It has to come to an end. Though some crusades last decades, there’s always a finish line. Just like a ripple, its waves eventually abate. We cannot predict how long it takes, or when the remaining residue evaporates, but we can find rest in knowing it’ll end. And such is the case with hate.

I believe hate has no lasting throne. Despite its countless attempts to crown itself, through events, people, and circumstances, it’ll ultimately be dethroned. So the next time we find hate in a battle to take us down, let’s look at the end. Let’s find love in those who’d stand by us. And let’s not forget, that in time, it’ll be over. Hate may have the power to set us off track – detouring our dreams and destroying our passion – but hate can only do so within its short term. If we stand firm during it’s brief tenure, it’ll lose its power… and we’ll win the war.

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Posted by on August 10, 2017 in Writing Journey

 

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Eulogy

eulogy

Paige Livre was the worst person I know. I knew her well enough and I can boldly say this. Paige was a selfish girl. She always thought about herself and contemplated on whether someone was worth her time. She was envious, always trying to compete with her friends and making a huge effort to outdo them. She was very vain, always standing in front of the mirror and spending hours just to be sure she looked better than anyone else. And she was prideful, always judging people and seeing them as inferior.

Paige was also hateful. You wouldn’t believe the ridiculous things she had announced hate upon. She hated the sun, because it was too bright and it made her sweat. She hated the sea, because its breeze would mess up her hairdo she spent hours on. She hated people, the ones that she could not see eye to eye with and the ones she just hated out of pride. She hated lifts that moved too slowly, she hated carton fruit juices that lied about containing real fruit juice, and she hated waiting for anyone and anything.

Seeing Paige everyday, I sometimes wondered if she had trouble dealing with all of those flaws. But I soon realized that all those flaws made her unique. Paige was a hateful person and the worst human being I’ve ever known, but she was also the best one I’ve ever met.

Paige Livre was the best person I know. She was very thoughtful, always thinking of ways to make someone’s day… even a stranger’s. She was positive, always encouraging those who had a hard time and constantly looking at the bright side of life. She was helpful, always putting aside her selfishness for those she cared about and going out of her way to put a smile on their faces. And she was careful with her words. She knew that words had the power to destroy and she tried her best to not say anything hurtful.

Paige was also loving. She loved the rain, because it gave her a chance to unwind with a hot cup of chocolate and a book. She loved the birds, because she always heard a song in their cheerful chirps. She loved the stars, because it gave her hope that tomorrow would be better. And most importantly, she loved people.

She loved her parents more than anyone else. She loved her father for begging the doctor to let her visit Disney Land. She loved him for pushing her wheelchair at the park and standing in line so that she could see her favourite Disney characters. She loved him for reading her stories on the nights when she was too weak to read to herself. She loved him for simply being there.

Paige loved her mother too. She loved her for trying to give her a normal life when things started to get rough. She loved her for driving her to the mall and to parties so that she would not feel left out. She loved her for preparing her favourite meals everyday, helping her get dressed, putting up with her random moments of tears and screams, and for hugging her when it hurt. She loved her for simply being there.

There was also a bunch of people she loved, and they were her friends. She loved them for visiting her and bringing her cards and balloons. She loved them for writing her encouraging notes with hope of her recovery. She loved them for sleeping over at the hospital to keep her company. And she loved them for hiding their tears from her. It was hard knowing her days were numbered, but her friends spared her the agony of seeing them in grief. She loved them for simply being there.

Being someone who knew she was dying was not easy on Paige. She had dreams she wanted to achieve, places she wanted to see, food she wanted to taste, and words she wanted to hear. But when she thought about all that she was missing out, she couldn’t help but think about all that she had gained. It was in that hard time that Paige learned to love herself.

She loved all her unique traits; the good and the bad. She loved how her teeth were not even and how her hair was always messy. She loved not being able to wear the colour yellow because it did not match her skin colour. She loved her healthy self when she could run, dance, and laugh, and she loved her sick self when she found it hard to speak, eat, and move.

Paige Livre died with love. The kind of death the world envies. That is all that matters, don’t you agree? I love you, Paige Livre. Thank you for the few good years.

That was it. I could not write anymore. There was a pain in my chest and my fingers were too weak to scribble another word. I wished I could reread what I just wrote, but my head was spinning and the words were starting to appear blurry.

As the monitor beside me beeped slowly, almost fusing into a single dead note, I began to wonder if that night was my last. Two days ago, my family and friends came to see me. They said I could let go and rest, but I couldn’t even utter a final goodbye when they walked out the door. I knew I had to leave them with something, so I gathered all the strength I had left and wrote my own eulogy. It’s not normal to write your own eulogy, but let me be the first.

Well, I guess I can close my eyes now. I hope that last page of my book would bring more smiles than tears. Goodnight Paige, goodbye world.

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As depressing as this story was, I want to leave you with a question; do you love yourself?

We are not perfect and there will be parts of ourselves that we dislike, but those imperfections make us unique. Understanding that we are special and loving ourselves for it, is what we should all do. It is definitely not easy as we are our own haters, but loving ourselves will make a huge difference in the way we view life. I hope you love yourself, but if you can’t, I hope you find a way 🙂

As always, let me know what you think of this story in the comments below! I would love to hear your thoughts and I hope you enjoyed it. 

© 2014 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

 
12 Comments

Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Original Works

 

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I Hated Her

I Hated Her

I hated her. It is undeniably true. When I needed her the most, she wasn’t there. She was a useless woman who couldn’t care less about me. And it got easier and easier to despise her as I grew up.

When I was 7, I was chosen to represent the school for a football game. I was so excited, I came home with a big smile on my face. But when I told her about it, she said she was too busy to watch my game. She did not even look at me when she handed me a few dollars for my bus ride to school the next day. So I went for the game myself, and we lost. No point telling her, cause she didn’t even ask about it.

When I was 12, I made it to the top of the class. She never once bothered with my report card, but I couldn’t help but share the happiness I had when I finally had gotten number 1. As I handed her the paper, she stared at it so long, I thought she was going to praise me. But I was wrong, all she did was nod. Was it so hard for her to just spit out a few words to her son? I guess she found no reason to.

When I was 15, I won the heart of a girl I liked in school. I wanted to start our relationship right and I was looking for the perfect gift. She found me in my room one day, browsing through online stores and magazines for a gift… but she didn’t say anything. She just told me to take out the trash and left me after that. I really wanted her advice, but I didn’t bother to ask as she didn’t even care. When I was finally so desperate, I called over my best friend and after he left, I found a box with a pretty jewel necklace in it. Even he cared enough to bring something over to spare me the failure of courting a girl.

When I was 18, I graduated as a valedictorian. She never came to my graduation, and she never heard my speech. I made it a point to thank everyone except her, because she did nothing for me. When I looked at all the faces in the hall and did not see her’s, I made up my mind to stop thinking about her and carry on with life.

Immediately after graduation, I got a letter from Harvard with a full scholarship. I was ecstatic! I told everyone, except her. One afternoon, I purposely left the letter with the other mail. But when she picked it up, she said nothing. She just handed it back to and told me not to leave things lying around. That was the last straw. I left for UK shortly after and I never bothered to call home or visit during holidays. Even during my graduation, I didn’t care enough to inform her, after all, she was not going to come anyways.

I stayed in the UK for a few years after graduation, and I was working for a pretty big company. I was finally able to let her go and pretend she never existed, until I got a call from a lawyer who said I was mentioned in her will. I was confused for a moment and the lawyer awkwardly told me she had passed away a week ago. He knew more of her illness than I did, and yet I felt nothing. Call me cruel or in-filial, I didn’t care. Who was she to me anyways; the woman who did nothing but nod.

Since my name was in her will, I decided to come home for a visit. I caught up with my buddies who knew well not to ask of her, and then I saw the lawyer. He read her will and I laughed. It was the stupidest thing I’ve heard and yet I was not surprised. The will stated that the house, car and all her savings were to be given to charity. The only thing she left me was a book, a small book that was not even worth five bucks. Honestly, I laughed so hard the lawyer thought I was insane.

When I told him I didn’t want the book he insisted I took it, so I did and chucked it in my bag. I have never touched that bag until now. Out of curiosity I wanted to see what cooking recipes she left me, and after three years I finally read the contents of that brown, creased book.

July 7, 1992

My dear Tristan,

I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to your football game. I really wanted to but I am struggling right now. I didn’t want to tell you this because I didn’t want you to worry, but if you must know… we are in a lot of debt. Your father left us with loan sharks and bank loans that I can’t seem to pay off. I know that is not an excuse to miss your game and it hurts me to see you walk away looking upset, but I promised myself to keep a roof over your head and I just didn’t have time for you. I know… I know you would have preferred me to be by your side, but I couldn’t imagine you homeless and hungry. I just couldn’t. I’m sorry Tristan, I’m sorry for missing your big game. Forgive me?

Love, mum.

December 12, 1997

My dear Tristan,

I am so proud of you. I really am! I knew you were a smart boy, and I know you would do great things in the future. When I saw your results, I was so happy! And I know you were waiting for me to say something, a praise of some sort, but I didn’t. I regret that now, and I wish I had fought the spinning in my head to just utter a few words. I didn’t want to tell you this, but working two jobs and settling all these debts has given me bad migraines. Sometimes, I don’t say anything because I just can’t. The pain in my head is so unbearable, I’m constantly struggling to hide it from you. I don’t want you to worry, but I know I have disappointed you. I just want you to know I’m so proud, and that I’m sorry I never said it. I wish I did. Forgive me?

Love, mum.

January 15, 2000

My dear Tristan,

I know you are dating that sweet girl from across the street. You really know how to pick them! I also saw you searching for a gift for her, and you seem to be a little confused. I would have given you some advice but I knew you didn’t want any from the way you looked at me. I understand how you feel towards me, and your silence has made it clear. But I still wanted to help, so I left the necklace my mother gave to me on your table. I just noticed it is gone, and I’m glad you have given it to her. I hope both of you would last, and I know it sounds strange coming from me, but I hope you find the love you need from her. I seem to have been failing at giving you any, and I’m sorry for that. Forgive me?

Love, mum.

August 18, 2003

My dear Tristan,

I got a call from your school this afternoon, asking if I was going to attend your graduation on the coming weekend. It pained me to say I wouldn’t be there. It is not that I don’t want to, but I just can’t. I’m a selfish person, I know. I have been seeing the doctor for my migraine, and he has asked me to do a full medical check up. I can change the date of my appointment, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to because I don’t want you to ask questions. Yes, I know this reason does not stand well with you and it only makes it seem like I’m making excuses, but I want you to know that I am sincerely thinking about you. I don’t want you to worry Tristan, you have a full life ahead of you and you are already on the right track. I don’t want to be your detour. I’m really sorry for missing your graduation, would you forgive me?

Oh, I also submitted an application to Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge for you. I hope you get it! I really don’t have enough money to send you to the best university, but I can try my best to get you into one.

Love, mum.

February 22, 2007

My dear Tristan,

I know what day today is. I’ve checked with the school and have gotten all the information I needed. I planned on surprising you, but my doctor said I shouldn’t leave the country in my state. I’m not getting any better and I regret not being at your graduation today. I really thought I could fly, and I’ve even saved up enough so that you didn’t have to pay for my expenses, but I didn’t know that my doctor would not give in even when I pleaded. I’m so sorry Tristan, I know this is a big day for you. I feel so horrid that I can’t even look at myself in the mirror, because all I see is your disappointed face staring back at me.

I’ve missed you so much, and I understand why you don’t call or visit. Every time I pass by your bedroom, I imagine you in it, and as crazy as it sounds I would stop to say hi. You would probably laugh if you read this because I sound like a crazy person, but my imagination of you is all I have left. I’m sorry I have not been a good mother, but I’ve never stopped trying. If you could, please forgive me for being a failure in your life.

Love, mum.

May 25, 2010

My dear Tristan,

I hope you’re reading this, I really do. My days are numbered and this is the last thing I can say to you. I didn’t want to call you because I was afraid you would reject me in this horrible time of my life. It would break my heart to know you do not care, and I’m too scared to face the truth. Death seems more comforting than knowing I have no place in your heart.

I don’t expect you to love me, or feel sorry for me. I know what I have done, and  wouldn’t forgive myself if I were you. I’ve read through all my past entries and I realize how stupid I was for asking for your forgiveness. I know I don’t deserve it, so please don’t feel like you have to forgive me.

Tristan, you are probably angry at me for a lot of things and my will might have angered you more. I know the house and the car could have patched up some of the holes I have created in your heart, but I also know it would not do much. So, I have decided to give all my earthly treasures to create a fund under your name. This is the last thing I can do for you.

People will now know who you truly are, the man who is making a difference in many lives. This small investment I’ve made cannot make up for all the wrong I’ve done, but I hope it will help you in your future.

I’m sorry for all the birthday presents I’ve failed to get you, for all the events I’ve missed, for the times I never spoke when I should have, and for all the hate I have caused you to feel. You don’t have to forgive me Tristan, I don’t deserve it. I just want you to know that I love you and I have never stopped.

Love, mum.

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I have decided to write something other than horror this time, cause I wanted to test my skill in a different genre. And since Mother’s day has just passed and Father’s day is arriving, I wanted to write a short story that would show a parent’s love towards their child. It is hard to understand how a parent feels until we become one, but I hope this short story carries enough volume of love.

It’s also my mum’s birthday today, so happy birthday mum!

It’s crucial for you to let me know what you think, because I need to know if I can actually write this genre. There’s a comment box below, so hurry up and leave a comment! 😀

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)

 
42 Comments

Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Original Works

 

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