Song of Choice: Digital Disguise by Sea of Tranquility
The average American spends more than five hours on their phone every day, checking it approximately fifty-eight different times. This song reminds me of how we can allow the beauty of technology and the information it brings us to take away from living life. Instead of living in the moment, we spend the moment checking social media for how our lives compare with others. When I listen to this song, I remember to be authentic, open, and present.
The story that has most impacted me is the story of my family. My grandfather, W.S. Cox, collected the story of my family history. Before the internet was a common accessory in every house, my grandfather talked to relatives, collected the stories that formed my family, and traced the lineage of his last name back to original settlements in North Carolina. He stored all of this information in a giant binder along with some framed coats of arms for the Cox family name.
When he passed away a few years ago, we began going through the house piece by piece, and I discovered that binder at the back of a closet. I flipped open the first page, saw a picture of someone supposedly related to me, and thought it might make an interesting read. Little did I know that reading my family’s story would change my life.
Once I got home, I started pouring through it, page by page. I learned stories about my grandfather as a child, stories that he didn’t have the chance to tell me for himself. But more than the specifics of my lineage, I learned about the person behind the glasses and the quiet voice.
Even though I’m in my mid-twenties and should know this already, I learned that each person has their own story, their own wants and needs. My grandmother is now living in an assisted living facility. Even though I’m not able to see her often (due to constantly changing pandemic restrictions), I make it a point to talk with her regularly. I’ve been getting to know her, not as an old woman who comes to birthday parties and gives me money at Christmas, but as a former librarian, as a young wife, and as an aspiring writer. I learned about her first house and how my mom would ride her tricycle around and around the center and how she and my grandfather used to spend their weekends.
Most importantly, I learned that my grandmother is a real person, which, while obvious, is something that many people might miss. There is so much more to people than the quick snapshot from a first glance.
Reading has taught me that there are so many perspectives in the world, and we should respect each one, give each one consideration, and never make a person feel like they are just a side character in a play about your life.