Learn Facts, Spread Truths

checkfacts

With the political climate as it is currently, I am constantly seeing posts about who should talk about what topics and who shouldn’t be allowed to speak at all.

The general consensus is that celebrities should not speak up on their political views because they are not “common men.” They do not struggle as we struggle; they do not understand the woes of this country.

Celebrities are people, too. It’s ridiculous that I have to say that out loud, but apparently it needs to be said. They are not monkeys that we keep in a cage and force to perform. They are people who have their own opinions about their life. You are sorely mistaken if you believe that elections don’t affect them; they do.

Many celebrities that we hear from on the daily are voters and US citizens, which gives them the right to vocalize their opinions. We know the true reason behind your anger about this though, don’t we?

Celebrities have power. They have a podium that waits for them to speak up and say influential things. We hate them because they can reach millions upon millions of people. We hate them because what they say overshadows any greatly intelligent thing that you have to say. Their tweet about going to the restroom has more likes than your discussion of charities that you’ve helped.

It’s annoying; I know.

The thing is, they have this privilege, and though they don’t have to use it, it’s better that they do.

You see, they are using their privilege to speak out on issues that they care about. The same way you do when you post a status/talk to people. When it is a cause that you care about and they are on your side, you feel lucky to have them.

Think about how much money celebrities have given and made for charities all over the world. We applaud them for this; some of us thank God for sending them so that our cause would receive help.

There are always two sides to any situation. They don’t have to be on your side; there is no written rule that states that your favorite actor/actress/musician/performer will always side with your views on what the world should do. (In my case, I got ashamed when my favorite actor threw a phone at someone’s head, but ya know.. it’s his life).

I will disagree with celebrities, but I will never ask for their voice to be taken away (and if I have in the past, I was wrong to). If you believe they are ignorant in their views, please post their views and give facts and evidence as to why they are wrong. Don’t use your opinion to fight against theirs, especially if theirs is backed by facts.

Maybe you won’t reach the amount of people that they do, but do so to inform those around you of the lies/ignorance they spread. Again, in order to do this, you must back up your argument with reputable facts, not opinions. If someone finds a false fact (or alternative facts), it can easily ruin any credibility of the argument.

But here’s the big kicker, it doesn’t matter about age or struggles. Some of the most intelligent, well-informed people I know are younger than I am. Some are privileged and some are poor. The important thing to focus on is simply the facts. Do your research: read books, newspapers, and scholarly sources. Read informational gathering documents instead of biasedly spun articles. Sure, they won’t be interesting, but they will be informative. Read history books.

The key is to never stop learning. There are many opinions that I had when I was younger that I see huge flaws in now (some even just a couple years ago). The point is, be open to changing your mind. Don’t worry about what political party you align yourself with; instead focus on learning the truths.

It’s okay to believe in something that doesn’t align with your party’s views. It’s okay to let go and not be aligned with a party. If you really want to make a difference, stop thinking there’s a certain line you must follow and branch out. If you really want to save this country, become well-informed and speak out with facts, not opinions. I know that the opposite is the cool thing to do right now, but don’t fall into that… don’t be oblivious… don’t be naïve. Learn facts and spread truths.

Lessons from the Playground

We're all stories in the end, just make it a good one, eh?

They say high school is supposed to prepare you for college and that college should prepare you for life. However, I’ve found that the lessons that I learned at recess in elementary school were much more accurate than what they feed us now.

Let me explain.

  1. You learn of cliques… yes.. there are cliques even at the lovely (and completely unawkward) age of 7. Though you don’t necessarily pay attention to them, you know that there are certain people that you want to spend time with, and then there are the people who throw sticks in your general direction when the teacher isn’t looking. Either way.. you’re learning to base your socializing off of those you treat you better than that… unless they’re throwing sticks with you, then.. well.. it’s a very fine line.
  2. You learn the evils of the gossip mill. There must have been a million grapevines on my playground because if someone whispered everyone heard it; it’s also important to note that this is where you learn how things can get misconstrued. There was once in elementary school when I slugged a boy in the arm (he probably deserved it), and by the time it had made its way to the teacher, there were much more serious implications. Luckily, for me, the boy told the truth about where I had hit him.. for a second there it had turned into an awful game of telephone.
  3. You learn about the unfairness in life. One word. Kickball. You know what I’m talking about. Many of us have stood in that line waiting to hear the captains call our name out, but one by one, the group dwindles. People that didn’t necessarily play as well as you were chosen first because they were friends, and then, it got down to you and that other kid, ya know, the one that didn’t really want to play but they conned him/her into it so there would be an even number. The only thing going on in your head is, “Please don’t pick me last. Please don’t pick me last.”
  • There is a caveat to this one… I’ve found that if you’re actually really good at said sport (or whatever), kids on the playground tend to overlook the fact that you’re female faster than adults do. You peg one kid directly in the head.. and you’re golden. Don’t try that as an adult.. that’s how people get sued.
  1. You learn that having a crush on someone is terrifying. Sure, once you’re an adult it’s scary… you’re wondering, “Is this the one? Will I screw this up? Are they going to dump me? Do they actually like me?” All in one thought process.. (overthinking FTW). However, when you’re young, it’s much worse. Possibly the only thing we have to base our “love life” on are Disney movies. By sending over the “Do you like me? Check: Yes or No” letter, you could be sealing your fate for happily ever after. Girls.. don’t act like you didn’t already start signing his last name in your binder. Playing MASH? You cheated so his name was circled. People worry about being heartbroken now, at least now you know it’ll get better. You’ve had the experience to be able to know that even if you take the risk, it won’t destroy you. But, then again, maybe it was better then.. “loving” without fear. Plus, holding hands with somebody is just so nice. 🙂 Go on now.. go hold hands.
  2. You learn that good friends are a MUST. When I was in 5th grade, I had short hair.. REALLY short hair. I didn’t care.. long hair took effort, and I really was more concerned with enjoying sports than fixing my hair. However, because of this, some of my classmates decided that it would be funny to call me “It.” They said that there was no way to tell if I was male or female, so it fit me better. My best friend at the time and I were in line to get some ice cream, and one of the boys in our class was being especially cruel that day and made some comment about me looking like a boy. My friend.. being the amazing girl she was.. put her arm around me and said, “Well, if she was a boy, I’d choose to date her over you any day.” Right there, ladies and gentleman, is a true friend. It’s not about saving face or what you can do for them, it’s about love, compassion, and trust.
  3. You learn to pick yourself back up. Though maybe the drama you experience now is a bit more serious than it was then. Who cares? If there’s one lesson in life that I’ve always cherished, it’s the one that shows you that no matter how bad it gets, it can always get better. Not to make you start singing the Frozen soundtrack, but let it go. Don’t let anything hold you back from your dreams. Don’t let anyone hold you back from anything. Sure, we’re all going to have baggage… but it’s how you store it that matters. You can choose to lug it around with you, or you can choose to vacuum-seal that junk and put it away. It’s not about getting some place.. it’s about the journey. Don’t let your past hold you back from being happy. Find yourself. Find what makes you happy… and when you find that, never let it go.

So there ya go.. a few lessons from a 90s playground. Go out and live your life! Find your bliss! Kiss someone! Join a nudist colony! Whatever! Do what makes you happy! Because as much as you can want everyone around you to be happy, you’re spending the rest of your life with yourself. If there’s ever a moment where you feel like there is no bouncing back, don’t give up. Sometimes fear holds us back from happiness, sometimes it’s heartache, sometimes we’re just being stubborn/stupid, but don’t let yourself wake up one day and regret what could have been.

Just think:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

New Year.. New Post

Tenth Doctor New Year

With the New Year in full force, I have consistently been seeing Resolution posts all over FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Honestly, I think it’s good to set goals and continue to build upon them. Though I’d love to be thinner, richer, and healthier, these things don’t happen without hard work. Just because we can say “This is what I want from this year,” it doesn’t mean it will lead to next year and on.

I’d love to think that people think further than a year into their future when setting goals. I mean, I most definitely do. Some might say I look a little too far into my future. It’s a personality flaw.. what can I say?

But, okay, you want to make a New Year’s Resolution. Why not focus on something bettering yourself as person. Sure, we can say we want to “look hotter,” but why not focus on being healthier? We can say I want to be richer, but why not make a goal to set a certain amount of money aside per day/week/month into a savings account. Not an astronomical amount, but enough to make a little bit of a difference. The best way to make goals and stick to them is by using specifics.

For example, though I choose to call them goals and not resolutions, my list for the next year (and beyond) is:

  1. Graduate with my BA (May 2014)
  2. Write at least one page 5 days a week on my novel.
  3. Learn a new language (At this point, it is set on Scots Gaelic)
  4. Read the Bible (As a English major, I find that this is my weakest point for analysis)

These are merely four things that I want to do with my life. Yes, I want to be healthier and stronger and fitter, but those goals are a minority to the development of my mind.

So, find a non-superficial part of you that you want to develop and go with it. Or, do a superficial part… I don’t judge.

The end result of every goal/year should simply be happiness. If you’re not entirely happy, don’t blame those around you. Look inside yourself and find what it is that is keeping you from happiness. Don’t attach yourself to someone simply to help mask the sadness, anger, etc. that you are feeling.

Find something within yourself that makes you feel alive. I know, I know… easier said than done. However, if you’re not truly happy with yourself, you will never be truly happy with someone else. Find your passion… find that one thing in life that sets your soul on fire and makes you want to work harder, learn more, and smile wider. It’s the simple things in life that are important. Never lose sight of that.

“Our lives are different from anybody else’s. That’s the exciting thing. Nobody in the universe can do what we’re doing.”
The Second Doctor, Tomb of the Cybermen

Painting my Future

Danny Kaye creativity quote

When Spring semester let out, I knew I needed to find some way to make some extra cash during the summer.

I work in a Mexican restaurant Thurs-Sun, but I wanted something different than just serving people.

So, I came up with this idea to paint shoes. I had already made myself a pair to wear to Dragon*Con last year, so I knew I could do it. However, I wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to sell them.

If you ever frequent Etsy, you know that they sell on there, and they’re quite expensive. I’ve always been the nerd that *loves* the idea of wearing all these nerdy creations but doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them… mainly because I have more important things to spend money on… like food and rent. So,  I wanted to make the shoes affordable for everyone.

Captain America Shoes

Captain America Themed Shoes

I started out simple, with a pair for myself to see if there was any interest out there. I painted a nice and modern version of Captain America shoes.

A couple of my friends got onboard and ordered a couple from me. I was really excited about the prospect of creating something special for them, and then, everything started taking off.

I’m not saying that I’m packed to the limits with shoe orders, but this has become a pretty fun and profitable way to save some money for grad school.

Last night, while waiting on a couple at work, we got into a discussion about all things nerdy (I have a Sherlock Holmes tattoo on my wrist, which tends to start conversations), and he had a huge Star Wars tattoo. I had just finished some Star Wars themed shoes, and so I showed them to him.

They gushed about my shoes and art for about 10 mins, and I’m not going to lie, it was nice. I would have stood there longer if it hadn’t been for the whole “I’m at work” thing.  The man at the table suggested that I could probably do this for a living and not worry about school, but let’s be honest.. not going to happen.

I love painting these shoes, and I love watching people nerd-out over my creations for them. However, painting shoes is not my passion. I will, however, be continuing to paint them.. probably well into grad school because who doesn’t love a bit of extra cash? Plus, painting shoes reminds me of arts and crafts at summer camp so many years ago.

 

Grad School on the Horizon

Grad School

Literature has always been a big part of my life. Everyday, when I was younger, my mother would read to me. Each evening, I would close my eyes, and the words transported me to imaginary worlds filled with enchanting adventures and wondrous happenings. Within those pages, anything was possible. My obsession with literature and the places that books could take me began then.

As time went on, I read everything I could get my hands on. My brothers were years older, and because of their classes’ reading list, they introduced me to classic literature at a very young age. While my friends were reading “The Babysitter’s Club,” I was spending time with Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare and making up lesson plans for a classroom filled with my most intelligent stuffed animals, their eyes wide with excitement for the day’s lessons.

My love for literature has stood the test of time. I fell in love with the intricacies of the classic novels. I loved analyzing the text and explaining to complete strangers why these authors were such geniuses. Slowly, throughout high school, I broadened my literary spectrum to include Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Oscar Wilde. I began writing research papers about what I was reading, so I could explain to others a different way of looking at the novels. Every now and again, I would pull those same wide-eyed stuffed animals out and give them a brush-up lesson on literature.

In Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen wrote, “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” Though this is a bit of an exaggeration, I believe that literature is able to open the mind to new possibilities. Going deeper than the words on the page allows people to build their critical thinking skills, sometimes without even noticing it. This is why I want to teach literature. Because the beauty of literature is that it is able to sneak up on the reader and show him or her something they never thought they’d see. I want to help people make that journey.

I don’t want to just teach literature; I want everyone to be able to experience it because literature isn’t about words and paper; it’s about emotion and imagination. True literature doesn’t have to be a novel; it just needs to be able to transport a person to a different place. It’s magical. Words that can cause the human body to experience emotions by connecting to fictional characters and creatures that the authors create in his or her works.

For this, the next step in my journey to achieve this goal is applying to graduate programs. I have several schools on my list, but currently, my favorite is University of Edinburgh (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle attended). They have a MSc in Literature and Society: Enlightenment, Romantic, and Victorian, which is where my passion for literature lies. I will be applying later this year, and hopefully, I will be accepted.

You may ask, “Why Europe?” or “Aren’t there plenty of schools here?”

Yes, there are plenty of schools here, and many of them are great schools. However, it has been a lifelong dream of mine to live abroad.. and more specifically, live in the UK or Ireland. So much so that, when I was a child, I would speak in a British accent whenever my mother and I were out in public (and by British accent.. let’s be honest.. I was 6 or 7.. it probably was an awful attempt at a British accent).

Even more so than that, though I love many American authors, books, and stories, my true passion for literature lies in British literature.. and more towards the classics than anything. As, I stated above, I loved Shakespeare when I was very young. By fifth grade (aged 10), I had the complete works of Shakespeare in one book and spent a lot of my time reading his sonnets and acting out his plays. When my brother was a freshman in high school, he had to read Great Expectations… I read it as soon as he finished it (I was also still 10). I read Les Miserables when I was 9… I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I loved it. Needless to say, I was weird child.

Now, I have the chance of a lifetime to travel to and live in the land that produced so many of my favorite authors that helped shaped my childhood.. and my life. I have no husband, children, or any plans to have either on the horizon. So, the question shouldn’t be “Why?” It is most definitely and will forever be “Why not?”