a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

how to make headlines

< by Mitra >

Until the year 2007, I never read the daily news.

I was 21. My best friend was (and in her own way, still is) a journalist. Why should I read the news? For years, I had been getting all the latest issues, direct from the ideal source – a trusted intellectual who could explain things to me in layman’s terms. She made university funding seem interesting, Wisconsin environmental policy spellbinding, and foreign policy events of the day feel like I was living out history in technicolor.

Outside of my bestie’s reports, I couldn’t be bothered with things like “the news.” In some regards, I had made the immature mistake of assuming that “the news” were purely external events unrelated to my daily life. However, on a deeper level, I realized on New Year’s Eve in 2006 that I wasn’t making an effort to engage with journalism for one simple reason: I was intimidated by it.

Looking back, I know it all sounds ludicrous. But insecurity is a powerful force – one that can keep you trapped in your own ignorance for literally years. I was afraid of where to start with “the news” because I realized that doing so would require me to confront that I don’t know enough about the world, and that due to what felt like a tremendous volume of stories, I feared I would never be able to keep up.

Then I thought about the fact that I was a person who had the privilege of attending college. I thought about how our country is blessed and fortunate enough to allow freedom of the press, to the extent that we actually have to question its comparative advantages at times. I thought about my growing sense that by failing to be an informed citizen, I was increasingly putting myself in an indefensible position in life.

On January 1, 2007, it was time for me to start engaging with the world like an independent adult. I ordered a daily subscription for the newspaper to start coming to my front step. Sometimes they would pile up; I would fall off the newswagon, stories would expire, and I would gather up all my yellowed papers feeling like I had failed. Still, bit by bit, as I pushed myself each day to sit for 20 minutes in contemplation with the important goings-on of the state and beyond, I realized something else was happening.

In this mental diligence, I was unlocking doors to conversations with myself and others that were going to change my life.

In 2012, I am somewhat of a news fiend. I realize now that my younger self really was letting the shame I had in my own perceived shortcomings keep me from going after something that has ultimately changed my life. If you’re feeling like in 2013, you have nowhere to start, just ask yourself this: What’s holding you back? Because if it’s fear of looking stupid, or not being able to do it, or any other kind of anxiety, don’t listen to the voice inside that’s telling you you can’t.

Listen to this one, right now, that’s telling you: You can.

Happy reading,

Mitra

2 Comments»

  runesandrhinestones wrote @

I find it hard to read the news because I don’t know where to start and I don’t find the politics very interesting. I shall start making the effort though, even if it’s only for a little bit each day!

  Larry Who wrote @

I’m listening. Thanks.


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