In my free time, I really enjoy videography. Specifically, for the past three years, I have been videoing moments in my life that aren’t necessarily significant, but moments that remind me to live each and every moment to the fullest. After a year, I combined all of the videos into one comA very significant part of these videos are the songs that I choose. Through this, I have come to realize how powerful some songs are even without lyrics. For example, “Outro” by the M83 has very limited lyrics, but the instrumental section is so powerful that I get chills every time. When I listen to songs similar to “Outro,” I close my eyes and visualize my life. This situation that I create in my head, while it is not real, makes me motivated to keep working hard academically and athletically. The intention of these songs is to express emotion, and to not focus on the words in the song rather everything else. The simplicity of this creates space for one’s thoughts and interpretations, which is why songs with little to no lyrics are so powerful.
On TikTok, a social media app, there is a creator named Paravi, and she did a series of her singing songs titled “Lyrics hit differently when you get older.” Until I saw one of her videos, I never realized how many different ways a song could be interpreted. Specifically, she did multiple covers of a song titled, “Cloud 9” and simply changed the pronoun used in the song. Even if the pronoun remained the same, such as “he,” users interpreted the song with their fathers, brothers, husbands, boyfriends, and even pets. They used her cover of the song to show how much someone they love has impacted their life. Through the use of a certain pronoun, each sentence we say can be differently interpreted.
Rhetoric is not always expressed through words. Personally, I interpret rhetorical situations best through images. One of my best friend’s fathers suddenly passed away, and my softball team was there to support her family no matter what as many of us have known her for several years. One of the dad’s on the team designed stickers with the father’s initials and a cross. While this is a simple design, it is extremely meaningful because it reminds us that our team is not just a group of talented softball players, but we are family. If anyone outside of our team were to look at the sticker, they would not understand that deep meaning of the sticker. This relates to Hers by Gloria Maylor, discussing context surrounding a word. Similarly, this sticker has no meaning until you understand the context surrounding it.
After traveling alone across the country, and leaving my family for a week, I realized how close I had become with my family, specifically my brothers, since quarantine began. It has been difficult to see the bright side of COVID situations, however I am very glad I became closer with my family. While in Hawaii, I began thinking about the meaning of “ohana” and how important it has become to me. It is not the word itself that is important to me, but rather what the word means. “Family” prior to quarantine meant coming home after a long day of school and softball practice just to eat dinner and go to my room. Now, “family” means genuinely enjoying time, and being fully engaged.
“Die with memories, not dreams.”
For this week’s commonplace entry, I decided to focus on impulsive decision making. Why? Well, I just bought myself a flight to Hawaii, and I rarely take risks in life.
After about ten minutes of research, I discovered that impulsive decision making is perceived as a bad thing. I have to disagree. If we were to weigh our decisions in life based on fear of consequences, imagine how boring and gray life would be. For example, my senior year of high school, I impulsively decided to apply to go on a mission trip to Haiti. After discovering I was chosen, I began to regret my decision and worry about the risks. I had never been out of the country before, let alone go to a third world country with some people I had never met. However, I went, and it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I would do it again.
There are plenty of good impulsive decisions such as deciding to go on a run because the weather is nice, or telling that person you love them, or even going on a spontaneous road trip with your best friends. Sure, bad things can happen along the way, but sometimes not thinking and taking a leap of faith (even if it is a small one) can prove to be worthy. I usually am the person to overthink every little decision, however, for a year now I have been stuck in my room sulking, thinking about how these are supposed to be the best years of my life. Rather than continuing to sulk, I decided to take action, and make the best of my situation.
This quote is more commonly known as the “Five by Five Rule.” As an athlete this quote plays a large role in my life because it helps me move on from errors I make in a game. However, I apply this quote in my life outside of the softball field, such as failing a quiz or making a fool of myself in front of people. This quote humbles myself, and helps me calm down when I am frustrated or worried. Now especially, it is very easy to only focus on the negative things in life, however this quote may help get over small things that happen.
Due to the fact that I am stuck home this semester, I have taken the opportunity to start building my resume, and this semester I am assistant coaching my high school softball team. They are ranked in the top 15 teams in the state, however this past week they lost their first game. Many players were down and very frustrated after the game, but I told them the Five by Five rule. I hope that the players will find the power behind this quote that I have over the years.
I talked to my grandma not too long ago on the phone. She lives in Ohio and I have not seen her since July, so whenever I call her, it turns into an hour phone call which I am very grateful for. During these calls she asks me about my life, (boyfriend stuff, softball, family, friends etc.) but recently she’s been asking how I am feeling. I ask her all the same questions, but she always expresses how she wants me to be able to live “the best years of my life” freely, but in reality my college experience has consisted of me sitting at my desk and staring at a computer screen.
On February 7, 2021, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers miraculously won the Super Bowl. I lived in Cleveland for 13 years (I am a diehard Cleveland fan), but I moved to Tampa Bay seven years ago, and that night I was rooting for the bucs. After the game, my friends and I rushed downtown, and celebrated the win with thousands of people. It was one of the best moments in the past year that I could recall. Complete unison and normalcy, it was truly beautiful. Everyone who was there, wanted to be there by choice.
I asked my dad what he would do if the Browns were to win the Super Bowl, and he told me he would pay any amount of money for a ticket, just to be in person, and celebrate until the sun rose, even during COVID. What my father told me brought me back to what my grandma, his mom, preaches to me. Life is too short to wake up with regrets, so I am going to live my life to the fullest.
“You are not fool’s gold, shining only under a particular light. Whomever you become, whatever you make yourself into, that is who you always were. It was always in you. You are gold.”~ Tara Westover Educated
This quote, taken from my favorite book, has pushed me through a lot of things, especially in the past year, but I wish I would have known its existence sooner. Thirteen years ago, I made it a goal to play softball at “the next level.” I spent hours in my basement practicing my tee work and taking videos of myself to show my dad. Softball is, was, and always has been a part of me. In 2014, my family moved to Florida. I knew no one, I felt like an outsider, but softball was the one thing that still felt like home.
I decided to try out for my high school team as a seventh grader because “you only get better playing against the best”, and high school softball was just that. I gave it my all despite my immediate fear of the coach, and after three days of tryouts, I made the team.
I was surrounded by women. These women became my role models; I wanted to be just like them. Two years down the line, I started getting emails from college coaches, but I only had one goal in mind, winning states. For the first time in my school’s history, the Academy of the Holy Names softball team was in the running for the state title. It is all I ever wanted. Mid season, my team was just about to claim our first loss. My coach used me as an example in front of the whole team. After striking out, he yanked me into the dugout, crowded the team around me and screamed in my face, “If you all hit like her you’ll end up on the bench where you belong.” (minus some provocative language) I felt like fool’s gold, practically worthless.
Later that season, my coach was fired, and I began to thrive. I no longer felt the need to be perfect out of fear, but rather I became even more motivated to win the state title to prove him wrong. Region finals was against our rival, but nothing was stopping us. It was one of the best feelings in my life, despite everything, we made history. We were going to states. Two weeks later, it was time. Our entire student body was gathered in the gym, and sent us off. Our athletic director, who became our coach, pointed up at the softball banner, 90% empty, and told us to win it all. The game was later that night, but it felt like a century. I have never had so much pre-game anxiety. I went into the bathroom and screamed my heart out, and was ready to play.
The game was back and forth, until the top of the seventh inning, the last inning. It was 6-7, one out, a runner on third (a senior) to tie the game, and I walked up to the plate. All I had to do was hit the ball to the right side of the field in order to score the run to tie the game. I, a freshman, had been on this pitcher (who was committed to Elon) all night, and I was reading her pitches well. I knew I could do it, I had prepared for this moment my whole softball career. All those hours I spent in my basement trying to hit a hole through the wall, the extra reps taken after practice, my summer breaks sacrificed to perfect my game, all the people who told me I couldn’t do it, this was the reason. I was prepared. However, I hit a pop up right to the catcher. The feeling of worthlessness, embarrassment, humiliation, and worst of all guilt all fled right to my heart. While many more things had taken place to make the game 6-7, I felt entirely responsible for the loss, for failing the seniors, for failing my school. It was pure heartbreak.
Not that this quote would have helped me during that moment, but after because that moment ate at me for years. It’s moments like that where I wish I had known about Educated by Tara Westover, moments I felt worthless and ashamed to tell my father how I had played, moments where the little voice inside my head was telling me to put down my bat for good. I wish I would have read this book prior to that moment, prior to the first moment in my life where I felt pure pain in my heart and hated myself more than anyone or anything else.
Whether I could recognize it or not, whether others could recognize it or not, I have worth. I am not fool’s gold existing simply to reflect the light of others. My worth comes from deep inside me, something immeasurable. It has always been there, pure gold.
Hello, my name is Samantha Miller. I am a softball player at Georgetown University, and I am currently a freshman set to graduate by 2024. For the entirety of my freshman year, I was unable to live on campus. This impacted my life greatly as it was always my dream to play collegiate softball. Having to wait another year to play on the clay again, I began to write and fell in love with in. It is the best way that I know how to express emotion. Thank you for viewing my WordPress, and I hope that you enjoy!