A GIRL AND HER STICK BY ALLISON DYKES
What happens when a young 21 year old senior is tasked to bring a stick, any stick, to her class without much information beyond that? Well it all starts with anything but a stick…
Walking along the quad near McCracken, Allison spots a stick. Not just any stick… but a BRANCH. I’ll definitely impress with a branch. A stick has nothing on a branch, she thinks to herself. This thought is where the adventure begins and how Allison decided to create her own assignment outside of the required one, and make a pet out of a tree branch.
Time to get creative, Day 1
Think about it, if pet rocks can be a thing, then surely a stick is no different! Perhaps walking around campus with a branch could spark some sort of creative thoughts? I decided to start day one off walking around with my giant branch as if it was a common walking stick. Granted, Miamians don’t often walk around with walking sticks, if at all. This concept of someone carrying a stick seems more wacky and abnormal to people so I definitely received a few stares, especially walking through Armstrong. Keep it together girl, dismiss the VoJ! Was I able to push past these looks and feelings of self consciousness? Honestly, no, the VoJ won day one and I kicked the stick under the table while I ate lunch. Now I just have to get to the bus and go home and hide.
Okay, so I make it home. No more plans for the night! Perhaps I should name the stick, leave it in the house as if it were actually a pet? My housemate immediately defaults to “Sticky” when I introduce her to the new pet and ask for a name. Perhaps something better is needed? Here’s where thinking creatively comes in handy, let’s think outside of the box. We originally name the stick Katreesy (get it?) giving it a powerful name, however, I take to Facebook and survey my FaceBook friends for a better one. Maple won out because it was namey and snapchat text convenient, and thus the tree branch came known to be Katreesy. The day isn’t over yet, however. My other housemate arrives and reminds me that I promised to go to the library with her tonight. Oi vey. Time to bring a branch to the library! It was rather moderately full in the music library and Maple stuck out like a sore thumb. This time, however, it remained standing tall next to me as I worked. My housemate made sure to walk a few steps behind me and peer at her phone for disassociation, however. This was going to be a loooong week.
Day 2, Show time!
I have actually forgotten Maple TWICE in one day. Once before my early 8:30 am class, and again after going back to get it between classes but getting distracted by Facebook and nearly missing my bus. After naming something you begin to get attached to it and become more creative with it, so I decided to make a documentary story on snapchat of my temporary pet. Yes, I forgot my stick, but I carried a smaller stick around as a temporary replacement for Maple However I even forgot that one in my classroom which was thenoccupied after I came to the realization that I had forgotten it! I am not going to make a good mother am I? Well, I grab a third, much dirtier stick and take it to lunch with me, it frustratingly sits on the table in front of me garnering a questionable look from the waitress. I dismiss it and carry on, dirt getting everywhere.
By the end of the night I prepare for Matt Bellasai (a comedian and star of Wine About It,) taking Maple with us [housemates and I] to the show! The MAP student at the door stopped me and asked why I carried a branch with me. I responded, “It’s my shtick! Every comedy show has to have one! ;)” I then gave her a quick explanation of its actual purpose afterwards, though. The show went on, and then I went home, me, my stick, and my housemates who then stated they wanted to carry a branch around as well for the sake of humor.
Days 3-5, A Show
The following days consisted of attending Sketched Out!, Minecrafting with Engineers who were not fond of a branch in their apartment nor understanding of the concept of the branch, being told “It suits you” after politely confronting two guys who gave harsh judgmental glances my way at a dining table next to me, and ending with a nice accessorization of the branch to bolster the pet personality.
Why am I sharing such a weird story of how I actually made a pet of a branch and decided to actually carry it around with me very visibly so for 5 days? Because I wanted to overcome the nagging VoJ, Voice of Judgment, that pesters us in the back of our minds in any aspect of our life. It’s an even louder voice during our creative thought process. I wanted to not only overcome my own VoJ, but step out of my comfort zone and face the looks of judgment from others, as well. Carrying a branch around received a lot of weirded out stares, whispers, laughs. We often do things to avoid the criticism of others, such as I did when I first attempted to hide my branch. I even considered breaking it down to fit it more easily into my bag and keep it well hidden from judgmental eyes, but if we can carry our branches proudly we can carry creativity far! Creativity derives from the weird, it thrives on pushing boundaries and existing outside of the norm. The longer I had the branch, the more creative I got with it too. So let ideas simmer. Stick with one and ponder it for a few days until you can take your ideas no further! Finally, and most importantly, have fun with your creativity!