While attending the ALANA Welcome Back Dance, reading “The Birthmark,” by
Nathaniel Hawthorne, understanding “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and carefully analyzing “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, I related the word “appreciation” to my everyday life. According to Webster’s dictionary, appreciation is gratitude or thankful recognition towards something. While this is true, appreciation to me is more about understanding why you’re thankful for what you have or have been given. And in my situation appreciation didn’t come along until after I realized what I left behind.
On Friday evening I attended a party on Loyola’s campus with some of my roommates. As soon as we arrived we noticed students engaging with one another while dancing and talking. Although the event wasn’t filled to capacity I could tell everyone enjoyed just being around one another. But, I just couldn’t seem to enjoy the excitement. Watching everyone around me mingle and have a good time only made me miss my hometown more. It made me miss my family and friends more then I had before. These weren’t new thoughts that I had running through my head, they were old thoughts just being brought up again.
Never would I have thought that I would appreciate my hometown and the people in my life as much as I do until I moved to Loyola. It’s the little things that I miss the most. And I’m ashamed to say that it took me months to understand. Did it really take seeing others having fun with their friends to make me miss mines? Yes, it did. I should have paid more attention to what was around me while I had the chance.
Growing up as a child one of my older friends at my school use to tell me “You never know what you have until it’s gone.” And I thought about this quote while reading both “The Birthmark” and “The Yellow Wallpaper.” In both situations a male lover rejects and criticizes their significant other for reasons that didn’t quite make sense to me. By doing so they caused a tragic outcome. Although both stories didn’t say how the lovers felt after the outcome, I can surely imagine. In “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the male lover refuses to marry the girl he loves because of a birthmark on her face. He continues to tell her that he will remove the birthmark then marry her. During the procedure to take away the birthmark, something goes wrong and his lover dies. If he had appreciated her for who she was and looked beyond her birthmark, she would have still been there with him to engage in matrimony. Along with the lover in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins who rejected his wife. He continued to lock her in a room because of an illness he claimed she had. As time went on the narrator becomes insane and mentally disabled. If her lover did not belittle her and forbid her to do anything, this would not have happened. Although the lover in this story might not have wanted to appreciate his wife at least if he tried, things would have been a lot better.
In conclusion, relating my appreciation to the appreciation in these stories might sound completely opposite. Now that I have learned to appreciate what I need to, I can go back and fix things. Unlike the men in these stories who can never turn back the clock. But, just like the speaker in “ I Wandered Lonely As a Child,” it took my mind time to wander before I could notice the important things. It is completely amazing to me how things can be right in front of us and we never even notice. But it is real life situations or events like the one I encountered on Friday that help people open their eyes and finally notice what was in front of them.