Snowballs of Trust

If you ever wanted to understand how trust works, here you go!

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I’ve determined that trust is a snowball.

More precisely, when you give people any amount of trust, you give them one of your own personal snowballs of trust. And, in turn, they give you one of their personal snowballs of trust. So then you each have one of the other person’s snowballs of trust.

Confusing?

Yeah, I know. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:

1) Usually, you give someone a snowball of trust as soon as you meet them. Yes, I know, why would you trust anyone as soon as you meet them? Shouldn’t you get to know the person first?

Well, in order to let the person get to know you to any extent, you have to give them some amount of trust, right?

So, the moment you meet someone, you give them a snowball of trust.

There are, of course, some exceptions (as there always are), but generally this rule holds.

2) The snowball you give them can come in a variety of sizes, depending on who you are and who (you think) they are.

For example, I generally give everyone an apple-sized snowball of trust when I meet them. Give them something to work with, you know?

(Note that I actually have trouble trusting people, which you might think conflicts with my previous statement. Continue reading, you’ll understand somewhat by number 4, entirely by number 7.)

3) The snowball you give them can also come in a variety of shapes (spheres, cubes, pyramids, dodecahedrons, etc.), colors (white, black, purple, rainbow, clear, etc.), and even materials, though most people stick to the usual snow.

Though I do know someone who gives rubber snowballs… They’re very hard to work with, and I’m still trying to figure out how to work with mine.

Anyway, I personally usually stick to a regular white sphere made of snow, though I have varied the shape on occasion, and maybe even the color once or twice to see what would happen.

4) You may also choose to vary the conditions in which someone can build up the snowball in order to make it more difficult to build up trust.

This is one way that I deal with my trouble with trust. You see, there are dozens of weather conditions that you can face people with while trying to build up your snow(wo)man. You can give people sticking snow, of course, but you can also give them non-sticking snow, ice, force them to work in a blizzard, increase the temperature, decrease the temperature, whatever.

It may seem rude to make it so difficult to build up the snowball, but this is your trust we’re talking about. If they’re willing to fight through a blizzard in order to build up your trust, then you can be certain that you can trust them.

5) You don’t always necessarily give someone the snowball. Generally, you give someone the snowball and they accept it graciously because manners, but there are other ways to go about the snowball exchange.

The friend that I discussed this with said that one of her best friends from high school basically just stole one of her snowballs and went crazy building it up.

On occasion, I choose to throw one of my personal snowballs at someone. It’s a bit of a risky move, of course, as they then have to take the time to gather up the snow bits covering them, but if it works out, they usually end up being one of your closest friends.

6) The ultimate goal is to build a snow(wo)man, which generally means building up three or more snowballs of trust and stacking them on top of each other as you would with a snow(wo)man.

This can be interpreted many ways. Perhaps you and the other person each build up the other’s snowball of trust, then you build one up together and stack them into a snow(wo)man.

Or, perhaps, you each have layers of trust, and you must build up one snowball for each layer, and you each end up with separate snow(wo)men of trust (or perhaps a very large combined snow(wo)man of trust).

Or perhaps you work together on each snowball that you add to the snow(wo)man, or perhaps you go through some other process entirely. Honestly, this part of the process varies the most between relationships.

7) You may choose to throw some sludge in while someone is trying to build up your snowball. Or you might accidentally kick some sludge in. Or someone else might throw the sludge in without your consent.

However it works out, the person you’ve given a snowball of trust may be forced to work with sludge. This generally leads to two possible outcomes: either they give up on making the snow(wo)man because now the snow’s ugly and it’ll never look good enough, or they’ll continue building the snow(wo)man regardless of how it might look in the end.

Now, remember how I said I have trouble trusting earlier? And that messing with the conditions is just one of the ways that I deal with my trouble with trust?

The primary way I deal with it is by throwing sludge into the mix. Sometimes, I do it intentionally. Sometimes, it’s entirely unintentional.

(I have a very good example of this, but you’ll have to read through to the end to see it.)

8) Some people won’t ever even try to build up the snowball. You’ll meet hundreds up people throughout your life, and they’ll all meet hundreds of people throughout their lives, and you can’t build up everyone’s snowballs of trust, and not everyone can build up yours.

Sometimes it’s because they don’t care, sometimes they don’t have times, sometimes they have more friends then they can count, sometimes they just can’t. There are a variety of reasons why someone might not build up the snowball you give them, or you might not build up theirs.

(The important thing to remember is that this all goes both ways. Not only do you give someone a snowball of trust, but they also give you a snowball of trust.)

If someone just tosses away your snowball of trust, don’t be upset. It’s okay. You can’t build a snow(wo)man with everyone. Just focus on building snow(wo)man with the people who want to. They’ll be enough, I promise.

9) Sometimes, people will build a giant snow(wo)man with you, then tear it down. It happens, and it hurts. Of course it does! When someone puts so much time and effort into building up your snowball of trust, manages to build a freaking snow(wo)man of trust, then goes and tears it down?

Not only does it not make sense (because why would someone spend that much time and effort just to tear it all down?), but it hurts because you let them.

Everyone goes through this. I went through it at least three times with the same person. I gave her a snowball of trust, but I was desperate for a friend and I made it far to easy for her to build it up, gave her perfect conditions to build the snow(wo)man.

When she tore it down, I was upset, but then she apologized and asked to try again, and I was all too happy to let her. She built the second one even faster, having had practice with the first, and it ended up being even bigger and better than the first.

The second time she tore it down, I wasn’t as quick to forgive. It took quite a bit of convincing before I gave her a third chance, but that time, the conditions weren’t nearly as good and she struggled in building the snow(wo)man. That time, she eventually just gave up and left the snow(wo)man unfinished.

The important thing to remember is, when you go through a situation where someone tears a snow(wo)man down, you aren’t alone. Look around you. Look at all the other snow(wo)man people have built from your snowballs of trust. No matter how much it hurts, you’re never alone.

10) Every situation where a snow(wo)man is built is different, and sometimes the strangest situations build the best of friends.

For example, I did not make it easy for my best friend to build up my trust. From the very beginning, it was crazy. Rather than exchanging snowballs, we started off with a snowball fight. Then, when we finally settled down and agreed to actually exchange snowballs, I gave her a stella octangula.

When she asked what she was supposed to do with it, I responded that she was supposed to roll it. So, after first rolling her eyes, she complied.

She didn’t make it far before I threw some sludge into the mix. She glared at me and asked, quite simply, why? And I just told her to keep going, and after a few more moments of glaring, she complied.

I continued throwing sludge into the mix every once in a while, and every time, she would glare at me before continuing in her attempt to build a snow(wo)man. Of course, seeing as she was working with such a strange shape, it wasn’t an easy task.

Then a terrible and unexpected thing happened in my life (which I explained in my post “The Darkest Night: The Essay“) and I found myself chucking a whole pile of sludge at her because I honestly didn’t know what else to do.

I’d never done something like that before, actually, and I can’t tell you why exactly I did it for her. You see, sludge can be a tricky thing. I use it often to test whether I can truly trust people or not, but I only use small amounts of it. There generally already has to be a snow(wo)man present for me to chuck even a handful of sludge into the mix.

But with my best friend, I chucked a whole bucketful of sludge into the mix before she’d even finished building up the first snowball.

I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know what I was expecting. And I definitely don’t know what I would have done if she had just given up then and there.

But she didn’t leave. Instead, she did something absolutely insane. She used the giant amount of sludge to fill in the gaps of the stella octangula I had given her, and when she was finished, she had a nasty, dirty sphere to work with.

And she built a snow(wo)man out of it. The biggest snow(wo)man anyone had ever built out of my snowballs of trust.

Since then, we’ve started building snow(wo)man together just for fun, then blowtorching them because why not? But we’ve never torched the original sludgy snow(wo)man. Honestly, I think it’s the most brilliant snow(wo)man I’ve ever seen.

 

And that’s basically how it goes. This is the easiest way to understand how other people trust. The more you understand, the stronger your relationships can be.

 

 

Why Do We Dance in the Rain?

Answering life’s most impossible questions through the power of storytelling.

Millions of years ago, when mankind was no longer new but still relatively young, there was born to this world a girl. She was no different from any of the other girls born at the time. Sure, she had her own unique attributes, but she didn’t particularly stand out in a crowd. She was just a normal girl, with a normal family and normal friends. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Now, by this point in history, magic still existed in the world. However, the magic was a commonality in everyday life, and so was generally ignored and forgotten. This usually wasn’t much of an issue, as most of the magical things were happy to just be with their own kind. Or, if they were the only of their kind, they were happy to watch the world as it grew and breathed and lived.

The girl knew nothing of this. Why would she? She was just a normal girl, after all. If no one else knew, why would she?

Of course, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, the girl did eventually learn of such things. The day she learned of such things was not a particularly special day. Just as any other day, the girl woke up in the morning a little after sunrise and hurried downstairs to begin her chores (because, back then, the entire day was spent doing chores). I would go through her list of chores, but it was a rather long list and I’m sure you don’t actually care about such details. So, just know she had already done quite a bit before the afternoon came, at which point she set out to gather herbs.

The girl wasn’t particularly excited to gather herbs, as it was a rather rainy day, but she knew better than to complain and was on her way in no time. The rain quickly soaked through her clothes, and before she even reached the woods where the herbs could be found, she was fed up. And after two hours of it not letting up, she found herself glaring at the sky.

“Would you please just stop?” She yelled into the rain. “I’m trying to do my chores, and you’re making my life very difficult!”

She, of course, didn’t expect the sky to respond, and she thought she was losing her mind when she heard a rumbling voice murmur, “I’m sorry, dear girl, I’m just so sad.”

The girl dropped her basket of herbs (which she would regret later when her mother yelled at her for it) and stared at the still-stormy sky. “Did… Did the sky just talk to me?”

A burst of wind blew into her, almost as if the sky had just huffed in annoyance. “Excuse me, I’m not the sky. I’m just Sky, with a capital S, thank you very much.”

The girl continued to stare at the sky—sorry, Sky—for a few moments before stammering out the first thing that came to mind, which just so happened to be, “Why are you sad?”

The girl heard a soft rumbling that she thought could be a laugh. “How could I not be sad? Every day, I watch the life that exists on the world below. It’s beautiful, really. I can see everything from up here: Every birth, every success, every smile. And though I never meet any of you down there, I still find myself loving each and every one of you, and everything that makes each of you different.”

Sky paused, and when the pause became too long, the girl asked, “So why are you sad? That seems like a wonderful existence.”

Again, the girl heard the soft rumbling of a laugh. “It would be. But I don’t just see the things that bring you joy. I also see your pain and fears and misery. I see you suffer, see your tears. And I’ve watched as each and every one of you eventually dies. It brings me such great pain to see any of you upset, but that pain is nothing compared to how I feel when one of you leaves this world.”

The rain came down harder and when lightning flashed, the girl recognized it as Sky lashing out in anger. And when thunder rumbled in the distance, the girl recognized it as a sob.

The girl swallowed down the sudden tightness in her throat. “I’m sorry,” she eventually stuttered out. “Is there any way… I mean, is there anything I can do to make you feel better?”

There was a moment of silence, then, “I really don’t know. No one has ever asked me that before…” Sky trailed off, but the rain seemed to lighten ever so slightly.

The girl pondered this for a moment. “Well…” she began, “Is there anything that we humans do that brings you joy? Anything in particular?”

Another moment of silence, then, “Well… I always enjoy watching you humans dance.” The girl was surrounded by a soft rumbling of laughter. “The way you all move in time with your music, how your faces light up, your laughter reaching all the way up to my ears…”

The girl didn’t let herself think about how terrible of a dancer she was, or how she had eventually given up on dancing and just learned how to play an instrument instead. She didn’t let herself debate how she’d never been the best instrumentalist either. The girl didn’t think about any of this as she took a deep breath and started hopping around.

“What are you doing?” Sky asked in surprise.

“Dancing!” The girl called up in the middle of what was supposed to be a leap but was really just flailing. “To cheer you up!”

There was only a second of silence before Sky shook with its laughter. The girl grinned and continued her manic movements. It was difficult dancing without music, but after a bit, she realized that she did, in fact, have music. Every sound of life and movement in the world around her was music, and she danced along to its beat.

The girl only stopped when she realized the rain had let up. She blinked and looked around at the dripping trees, then looked up at Sky.

“Do you feel better now?” She asked.

“Yes,” Sky said in the whispery voice of the wind. “Thank you.”

The girl grinned. “No problem! Any time you feel sad, all of us down here will be happy to make you happy again!”

Sky chuckled, and the sound moved like a comforting wind. “You should be off. Your family is waiting for you to return.”

The girl gasped. “Oh! That’s right!” She took off running but skidded to a stop after just a few paces. The girl turned to look at Sky and waved. “I’ll talk with you again later!” She called up.

“I look forward to it,” Sky said, and the girl was off.

The girl ended up telling everyone of the tale, and from that day on, whenever it rained, they would all join together and dance in it so that Sky would be happy once again.

 

Let Someone Love You

“Let someone love you just the way you are — as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.”

– Marc Hack

Ending on the Right Note

Where you end decides where your audience begins.

It was recently brought to my attention (by my own mother, strangely enough) that certain endings sit well with some people, and sit terribly with others.

music noteMy mother, brother and I were sitting at Qdoba, eating our burritos and discussing what movie my brother should watch with his friends that night. He said that one of his friends liked sappy romances, and I said that Fault in Our Stars would be a good choice.

(Hey, I don’t watch romantic movies much and I thought it was pretty good when I saw it, though the book was definitely better.)

I was immediately met with this almost disgusted look on my mother’s face. I asked what was wrong, and she responded, “doesn’t that movie end in a sad way?”

I nodded. “Yeah, it ends on a pretty sad note. Why does that matter?”

She shook her head and said, “I just don’t like movies that end in sad ways. I mean, come on! It’s the ending. It should be happy!”

I stared at her a bit, then burst out laughing. She asked me what I was laughing about, so I told her, “If I ever publish a book, do not read it. You will hate it. There is rarely a time when I end anything I write on a happy note. Every novel I’ve planned ends on a bittersweet note at best. You would hate me as an author.”

She changed the subject immediately.

you are my sunshine (2)


That little anecdote should be enough to tell you what I’m getting at. Certain people like certain endings. Others like something entirely different. There’s no way to make everyone happy.

So, what ending should you go with?

That… Is entirely up to you.

That’s the honest truth. I can’t tell you what to write or what ending is best. I can tell you that I love those bittersweet endings that leave you with something to think about, but that doesn’t mean that those endings are the best. They’re just one type of ending that some people like.

What’s that? You’re wondering what all the different types of endings are?

Refer to the following image.

baymax

That, my friends.

That is how you separate all the different types of endings.

I know, I know. I always have the best answers.

There really isn’t anything else for me to say. How you end your piece of writing is entirely up to you and your style. I can’t tell you what ways are the best and what ways are the worst. It all depends on you.

The best advice I can give you is to end your piece of writing in a way that reflects everything you’ve been building up to that point.

….. What?

Still stuck?

If you still have no idea how to end your piece of writing, think about the following questions:

  • What sort of tone have you been creating over the course of your writing?
  • What has happened to your character(s) over the course of your writing?
  • And most importantly, what ending would most interest you?

Note: I did not say to think about what ending you would most want to read. Everyone wants a happy ending, but a happy ending isn’t always the most interesting. You need to think about what ending would most interest you, what ending would keep you thinking about the book days or even weeks later.

Now, seriously, there isn’t really anything else I can say on this topic. Only you can know what the best way to end your writing is.

Until next time!

P.S. The stanza up there is the last stanza of a common lullaby-type song. If you comment what song it’s from, you get a cookie!


Picture sources: abcnotation

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