We have 200 stories to print for Volume III of "A Pilot's Pilot"
Ordering Volumes I, II, & III
The end of JANUARY is the deadline for all stories wanting to be in Volume III.
All stories submitted after JANUARY 31st will be added into Volume 4
As we begin to see through our own disguise, as we start to strip off the layers of our own deception, we begin to feel free - unburdened. It's almost like backwards thinking, like convincing ourselves that letting our crazy show is the only way we can survive. It gets tiring carrying our own baggage (problems) on top of keeping up a disguise. By letting the "crazy" show, not only gives us less to carry - It also is our first step to fixing the crazy and finding peace in all this chaos. I've found that it's easier to admit that I'm struggling with something, but it's even harder to actually start dealing with that problem.
I'm more of a "talker" than a "do-er" when it comes to facing my problems. I can talk about how I need to change and how I want to change, but actually doing - actually stepping up to the edge of the cliff and taking that leap?? I might need a push. But that's OK! The point is that whether it's a push or a leap, that feeling of falling is terrifying and exhilarating, and when I reach the bottom, I will be changed.
And(!) Everyone's fall is different! Everyone's cliff is different. Branches, storms, mud, snow, hot weather (I hate hot weather... bring on the snow!), slopes, plains, jagged edges, peaceful rivers, raging rapids.... you get the picture. We all hit different things on our way down. The point is, the challenge is, not to cling to those things on our way down. We need to finish the race... er the fall! Ok, enough about ourselves and our battles. Why do we open up to others about our battles? Why write your story on this site?
There is something to be said about the courage we gain from others. You never see a one man army, even though it may sometimes feel like we're on our own. Many us have started to realize that we (EVERYONE) is fighting a battle. We were not created as a species to give up. It is not in us. That is why we feel pain and sorrow, because we know all is not right, that something needs to be fixed. Our battles, most of them, come from that desire for all to be set right. To me, I believe that we begin telling our stories, out loud, because it gives us courage to keep fighting. We know all is not lost, all is not without hope because we continue to fight. Even though it is painful, the pain lets us know that we are still alive and fighting. When others know that it is ok to not be alright, to be broken inside, we can have help picking up the pieces. The more the merrier! "We're broken people!" There's two reasons why those lyrics are so amazing to belt out... alone and with a crowd: one - we're admitting that we are not ok... SO freeing! and two - WE'RE... we're not alone!! We're not singing alone, we're not fighting alone. We tell our stories, Tyler and josh play these songs because it gives us courage to step out of the shadows and feel the warmth of the sun again. There is a comfort in words, and a comfort in being surrounded by people who are saying those same words, singing the same lyrics.
SO, after this long rant - I guess what I'm trying to say is - keep fighting. Don't be afraid of the cliff you are on. Step off the edge and if you hit something on the way down, keep falling. The ride might be long and tiresome, but the end is the bright morning sun. Keep sharing your story, don't be ashamed or afraid of your battle. You were made to fight.
“Don’t give up. Push through the droughts. Channel the inevitable disappointments into your craft. Break molds. Think. Create. And most importantly, stay alive. And in the meantime, make it about others. That seems to work. Stay strong. Live on. Power to the local dreamer.”
"Please tell them you have no plans for me! I will set my soul on fire.. what have I become, I'm sorry. #twentyonepilots
Why are plans so scary to us? Why is that the line I choose to scream when no one is around? Why does it bring me to tears when my screams aren't enough?
Plans are for a future. We plan because we have hope. We plan because we're searching for something better. We calculate steps, set dates, work, sweat, and bleed to try and bring these plans to pass.
We do this because we have Hope.
But we also fail and there is a fear that comes with that fall. We can climb so high just to slip and plummet back down to our darkness. See, the thing is, we KNOW there is more to this life. We know that this can't be all there is. We know that WE were made for better, and we search and strive to find that perfection, that sun hidden behind the clouds.
We can see WHO we're suppose to be but the road to that person is horrifying. All of us have blemishes we wish could be burned off. Our imperfections are what's thrown us into this darkest pit. Sometimes it's easier to remain in the dark. To ignore our faults and struggles, our regrets and fears. But this blindness heightens our other senses, and it doesn't take long for us to become sick of our imperfections.
And this is why we climb. The light may blind, but it's what we yearn for. Our bodies, our mind, and our spirits cry out for light, for it's warmth. The light reveals all that we try to hide and the full realization of our ugliness scares us. "What have I become?"'
But this is our crossroads: We can either stay in the light and fight, or return to our dark corner.
So, yes, we may fail hundreds of times. Plans fall though or don't go as expected. But there's always hope. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot conceal it.
It's okay to fail, it's okay to be imperfect. Don't be ashamed of your journey. Run the race! Fight the fight! Refuse to go numb.
This was a piece of encouragement that was given to me when I needed to hear it...
Your journey in this life is uniquely and beautifully your own, no one else can do it. No one else can live your life exactly they way you would. No one will ever have the exact same thoughts, dreams, opinions.... Anything. So even though you maybe be going through a rough time, take comfort in the fact that we are all fighting our battles. Each of those individual, unique, battles signifies that we are still alive. The fact that we're fighting shows that we haven't given up. If things aren't right in your life, that means its not the end. I believe that life has a hopeful undertone, that one day the grey storm clouds in our life will break a part and the sun will shine out and clear the darkness. Keep Fighting. Your battle is hard and sometimes seems hopeless, but you were made for love and joy. You were made to feel peace and to know that your life on this earth is not an accident. You were made for so much more. Don't listen to the lies that things are hopeless, that you're nothing... You are something! Find those hopeful undertones because they are a signal to that there's still hope, joy, and peace even in my darkest times. Remember to encourage others because sometimes these battles make us feel alone. Everybody is a somebody and it only takes somebody to encourage everybody.
To state the obvious, I like music. A majority of the lessons that I've learned and values that I hold important are thanks to the music I've discovered throughout my life.
We sang, "A Whole New World" in choir when I was in 4th grade. This song taught me to appreciate Harmony. I was an alto and our teacher was playing the notes for our line, "Let me share this whole new world with you". If you've ever sang as an alto, you will know that it is a rare occurrence to sing the melody of a song. The notes that my teacher was playing sounded NOTHING like my beloved, "A Whole New World" (give me a break, it was fourth grade and Disney was everything) and I, along with my fellow 4th grade altos, thought my teacher had gone crazy and was reading the music wrong. Nonetheless, we learned the part and waited to sing along with the rest of the choir. We started from the beginning and when we came to this section, I had to stop and listen because what hit my ears was something beautiful. The blending of 4 different vocal sections with their individual notes created a sound that forever tied me to music.
Lesson learned: One note, one vocal section, while it can create a beautiful sound, is only one part of a greater symphony.
How have I applied this to my life? It sounds cheesy, but we are all notes. Our individual lives are songs in themselves, but when we accept others and their own songs, a symphony is created. Our lives, just as a song, move between high and low points, fast and slow, soft and loud. While some parts are more enjoyable than others they make the song unique and complete.
Each of us is trying to find the true melody to our self, but in this finding, no matter the tune, must also come acceptance. An old teacher of mine once said that a song sounds horrible when one section is domineering over another. Each section must listen for the other. only then are they singing together, The same goes for our lives. We get nowhere when we shout out others melodies. Only when we listen to others can anything be accomplished. While many songs take after other songs, in the end, each has it's own individual tune and sticks to it. In our lives, there are times where help is needed, opinions given, and actions taken. We are allowed to be influenced by these things, but in the end... the melody is ours and we must take pride in it.
So please, don't forget to listen to the music. Take pride in your song and accept other's. Know that there will be times when you're singing solo, but don't be afraid... make your voice loud and clear and sing to the world your song. However, remember that music only truly fills a room when everyone is singing. Listen to others, accept their songs, and know that they have worked just as hard on it as you have yours. Theirs is equally important and deserves to be heard just as much as yours. "Down in the forest we'll sing a chorus, one that everybody knows. Hands held higher, we'll be on fire, singing songs that nobody wrote."
What kids are doing are killing themselves. They feel they have no control of their prisoner's cell. And if you're one of them then you're one of me, and you would do almost anything just to feel free... Am I right? Of course I am; Convince me otherwise would take all night. Before you walk away, there's one more thing I want to say, "Our brains are sick but that's okay!"
The song, "Screen" by Twenty|One|Pilots, was on repeat for me today. Sometimes I feel like a broken record on here, but I also feel as if we, sometimes, live our lives as broken records. We all have our own struggles, and many of us have that one thing that trips us up every time. For me, this continuous tripping is exhausting and disheartening. I know my weakness... and I hate that I'm conquered by it.
Really encouraging, right?
Here's my hopeful undertone: I'M NOT PERFECT. Yes, my imperfections are my hopeful undertones. Who I'm ultimately supposed to be as a person... my finished product... is still a work in progress. The struggles that I'm going through - that YOU'RE going through - is our refinement. Refinement is the process of removing impurities or unwanted elements from a substance. People don't fight for nothing; there is always a cause even if we are unsure of it. For me, the underlying cause of every battle is a fervent pursue for peace - a "freedom from disturbance"... an end to the battle. Our battles tell us that we still have things we need to work on… that things aren’t perfect yet.
My struggle reminds me that this is not the end. No matter how exhausting it is, I’m still fighting. Things still aren’t right; however, I’m going to keep fighting until they are. “The only difference between life and dying is one is trying, that’s all we’re called to do” (lovely), we can’t have life if we don’t try. “There are things we can do, but from the things that work, there are only two. From the two that we choose to do, Peace will win and fear will lose. There’s faith and there’s sleep. We need to pick one please because Faith is to be awake, and to be awake is for us to think, and for us to think is to be alive.” Pilots, Peace will win! We can choose to trust (have faith) that our battles will one day be over or we can sleep through them. But we ultimately have to pick our battle. Is one easier than the other? Yes! Holy cow, yes! There are days that I want to give up, there have been many night where I’ve cried… wishing that things would end. But I’ve come to the decision that I would rather fight back instead of closing my eyes pretending that things are ok. “To be awake is for us to think”, by fighting back, we’re choosing to be awake, to face our demons head on. “For us to think is to be alive” – to be awake, to think – are actions of a living person…. Not a mindless zombie.
So where does “Screen” come into all of this? I want to encourage you guys, and myself, to NOT HIDE YOUR BATTLES.
I do not know why I would go
In front of you and hide my soul
Cause you're the only one who knows it
And I will hide behind my pride
Don't know why I think I can lie
Cause there's a screen on my chest
I'm standing in front of you
I'm trying to be so cool
Everything together trying to be so cool
Trying to act as if we’re asleep, we’re cool, fine and dandy is exhausting. Don’t be ashamed of your battles! It shows that you have not given up. “We’re broken people” “Our brains are sick but that’s okay!” When we accept our battles as a good thing... a refinement... we conquer them! Our acceptance also shows us that others are fighting too! We’re not alone! I’ve said this so many times before – we are not made to go through this life alone. Battles are not won by one soldier. It takes an army, and we have an army of skeletons. Let’s accept our battles, fight together, and encourage one another.
This is not the end pilots, and you are not alone.
I wasn't really sure how I wanted to end this volume, but I feel like everyone needs reminders, so that is how this will come to a close. The song "Forest" is my personal go-to song when I need reminding that I'm not going through this life, my struggles, battles, and victories alone. Everyone is going through their own journey: sometimes we are confident in our chosen paths, other times we are crawling and dragging ourselves through our uncertainty and fear. Whichever season we find ourselves in, it always helps to know that we are not journeying alone.
"Down in the forest we'll sing a chorus, one that everybody knows. Hands held higher, we'll be on fire, singing songs that nobody wrote."
These lyrics, to me, mean that we, humanity in general is singing the same song. We are singing a song of fear, excitement, uncertainty, and hope. This is comforting because it shows that no matter how alone we feel, we are never truly alone. As we walk through this life trying to find our purpose, we are not walking alone. That is why this book and site was created. To let others know that their battle, while it is truly unique to them, does not have to be fought unaided.
To that end, Pilots, I encourage you to keep fighting. While the battle is exhausting, and at times, may seem hopeless, the act of fighting, the act of struggling shows that you have not given up... that this is not the end. Look everyday towards life's hopeful undertones, and remember... You are not alone.
We're all together in this weird life!
Tonight, my family and I had a student from Italy eat dinner with us. Throughout the night, we were trading stories from our elementary and high school years until the conversation turned towards our families. "A" was just laid off from an internship because they did not need her anymore. Obviously she was upset, but she told us a story that always reminds her to never give up.
Her grand father's brother was captured by Germans and put into a concentration camp during WWII - (he was in his 30's). Upon entering the camp, you had to prove that your were strong... useful or you would be killed. He began to panic because he didn't know what his abilities were. As the soldiers reached his spot in the line, his mind blanked.
"What can you do?" the soldier asked.
"I can sew." He couldn't sew. The soldier looked at him, nodded, and gave him a list and number of uniforms that needed to be sewed by the next day. If the order was not completed, he would be deemed as a waste of space and killed.
He sat in a room with the order, knowing that his life depended on his notability to sew. Instead of giving up, he asked for a "sample uniform" so he could see what the finished product should look like. When he was alone, he took apart the finished uniform to see how it was all sewn together. Through that, he taught himself how to sew and finished the order.
This is where she paused in her story, looked at all of us and said, "he has taught me that in any situation, there is always hope, always a way out."
He survived the concentration camp. "A" told us of the day that he was rescued. His eyesight was very bad from sewing day after day. On the day that he was rescued, he heard a loud sound and looked out his window. He could tell that a tank was coming but he could not tell if it was a German tank or American tank. But he ran to it as quick as he could and thought, "I'm either running towards my freedom, or running towards my death." But he ran, and was saved.
(I can't thank "A" enough for telling this wonderful story, and it was amazing to meet and get to know her tonight!)
I took two lessons from this amazing story.
1. NEVER GIVE UP - THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE - no matter where we are in our journeys, no matter the hole that we're in, or the mountain that we're on top of, there is always hope. Even when we're in the blackest night, never give up... the sun will shine again. The clouds will clear. The dust will go.
2. RUN WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT - we can't win our battles by sleeping through them. We have to get up and fight! Our paths in this life can be scary as hell... filled with doubt, mess ups, regrets... but we need to run. "The only difference between life and dying is one is trying". We need to try.
I hope this story is encouraging to you as much as it was to me. Please remember that we are not fighting our battles alone. Don't be afraid to ask for help - we're not meant to go through life alone. And don't be discouraged with your battles. The fact that your are fighting shows that you are still living, that there's still hope, THAT THIS IS NOT THE END.
Hang in there my friends.