Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

With the coming of the new year, it's time to bid this year goodbye. We say goodbye to the various news stories of the year and a few fads. For some people, the coming of the new year can mean the coming and going of various times/things in their life (including myself) . Some things, of course, remain constant including our crappy economy and the beauty of high school [insert comment here]. 2011 has been an interesting year for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. and I have mixed feelings about seeing it go.
This year has been a roller coaster for me. It started on a rather down note, I'll admit and as of January 2011, I was a very unhappy eighth grade girl with low self-esteem and a best friend in the high school. That, fortunately, changed. As of the end, I am now a happy freshman who is able to be fulfilled mentally and emotionally in a high school setting (much to my surprise) and has a decent amount of friends (most of which go to my school).

I have to admit I had a lot of milestones. I went to high school for the first time, got published in Teen Ink, started a blog, got interested in some stupid celebrity case for the first time (the Casey Anthony trial), got involved in my first debate... I'm sure that there are even some more important ones that I'm leaving out here too.

It's been a great year for a lot of other countries too, especially those in the Middle East. A lot of ugly dictators were brought down in Arab Spring and, telling from the uprisings in Syria, may still be brought down. For this country... Eh, not so much. We're technically out of a recession and Wall Street is doing well but for the majority of Americans? Well. Not so much. With the quelling of Occupy Wall Street by the government and the media (a movement they totally misrepresented, I suspect), any change in the system is probably not going to happen.

I suspect that by now people are quite upset about the resolutions that never ended up being fulfilled, resolutions that will probably become this year's resolution. My three resolutions are to finish The Face Behind the Mirror, the novel I've been working on forever, finish that goal of losing ten pound since I started exercising (I've lost seven) and make some more friends (also, maybe a boyfriend would be nice though I don't have the best feeling about that). I also hope (not sure if this counts as a resolution) that I continue to challenge things, take risks that I'm scared as hell to take and to live life to the fullest.
Of course, I'll be kind of sad to see this go and a little scared to venture into slightly new territory. Yet what can I do?

This year will bring forth a lot of opportunities, as the beginning of all things bring. Hopefully the majority of people take advantage of those opportunities and don't just let another year pass by hoping for something they need to put the incentive in. Hopefully, I will be a part of that majority and not a part of some sad excuse of people.

Also, let's hope to I get in my New Year's resolutions and a bunch of awesome things in before the world ends (just like my oh-so-humble-and-super-intelligent sister says will) next December.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bursts of Creativity

They happen on the good days, good periods of time when our muses are free and our fingers eagerly tap on the keyboard to capture it all. Bursts of creativity. I imagine that the average non-writer imagines that these are quite common with us writers, us creative people.Of course, life writing isn't always that easy and can be incredibly frustrating.

I've been in a good patch for a long time now. I've been generating a lot of ideas both in my prose and poetry pieces, leaving me scrambling to write them all down. I haven't been stuck for a while, which always leaves me running to come back to it. I almost feel that this means I'll hit a dry spell soon so I'm trying to suck all this up while I can.

In the good writing life, I can write and write and write without being interrupted. If one idea isn't working out, I can jump to my next piece. This means that I can fulfill my writing deadline for the day (at least two pages on Word) fairly well. Bursts of creativity leave me eager to come back and thirsting for words more than I usually do.

Of course, even the good writing life- life in this creative stage- can have its downsides. It often means a great increase of ideas, ideas that I am not always equipped to handle (such as greatly involved ones or ones that involve a great deal of research). In addition, it can also mean that I cannot possibly write so many of them at once, leaving me to prioritize. I also have to go days at a time without even touching one. As ridiculous as it sounds, all this can also cause a great deal of stress.

That sounds ridiculous, stress. On top of trying to perfect a story and worry about its details, I have to do this for a couple of stories. While I enjoy doing this, it also leaves me worrying about them and whether I did a good job with it.

To demonstrate to the reader exactly what these bursts entail, below is a list of my writing history. The following are my writing projects, not including the ones I still plan to write. Keep in mind that the novels take precedence over the short stories but that I work avidly on both nonetheless:
1) The Face Behind the Mirror. I've been working on this since seventh grade and it's about to hit the six-hundred pages mark and end soon. There's a lot of rough edges to work out.
2) The Freedom Wars- Relatively new but I've been making somewhat good progress. I'm just getting over a rough patch with this. In the process of the bursts of creativity, this story has often been abandoned because of these very rough patches.
3) Standing in Hailstorms- I'm still in the beginning with this one but it's making good progress. I wrote this before I meant to because I just felt like I would burst with all of my ideas inside of me.
4) Untitled fantasy novel- I picked this up after ditching it in seventh grade. My major issue was delving into the mind of a male adolescent but I think I can fix that now.
5) Untitled short story- I'm at a bit of a rough patch because I don't know what to do with this one to bridge the beginning to the end. It's basically about a college student's descent into this world of angels and demons, which is brought full-circle at the end. Inspired by watching the terrible movie "The Beaver" (I wanted to make something better).
6) Untitled short story 2- I decided to make a mental illness series after my friend reviewed my story about a girl about to go off to rehab to deal with her anorexia. It's about a husband who is dealing with the fact that his wife has Dissociative Identity Disorder, which she developed after repeated sexual abuse as a child.
7) Miscellaneous blog posts here. Pretty much self-explanatory.
In addition, I also have a numerous amount of ideas that are in the waiting list but fortunately these happen to be short stories.

I'm attributing this flow of ideas to my new perspective on the world lately. When I am able to read more things and see thing, I can analyze them and it can get me thinking. For example, a combination of an article I read in Huffington Post that popped up on my AOL screen and my trip to New York City yesterday, I am inspired to write a short story about a homeless lesbian teenager named Andi who was kicked out of her home upon discovery. That's only one of the many examples I've had for inspirations.

 I'm also contributing the easiness I've had with writing to many of these stories being in their beginning stages. The beginning stage of a story, of course, is the honeymoon period where stories come easily and you only want to focus on them. When the story progresses and things get harder, the original lust fades into a more solid dedication. Sometimes, when the lust fades, the story crumbles and I am forced to move on. Making a story is kind of like making a marriage, I guess.

Being as I do have quite a deal of time off this week, I'm hoping that I will be able to have quite a bit of time to write. This has come at a good time for me, being as I will probably need something to entertain me for the week.

Now dear reader, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my works. As you can see, I have quite a deal to catch up on.

Ah, bursts of creativity. Like all the things in my life, they certainly keep me busy.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Songs (and Why They Suck)

Today is Christmas Eve, the day before that special holiday that undoubtedly has children everywhere riled up. This makes me excited for multiple reasons, the chief one being how close it is to Christmas. A smaller one may sound a bit less of a big deal but still important all the same. Christmas Eve marks one of the last days I'll have to hear those stupid Christmas carols on the radio.

Christmas songs are some of the most cloying, grating pieces of "music" that I have ever heard. Instead of "getting me in the spirit", it makes me want to cover my ears.

Christmas carols are either sung by super-old singers or very modern, trashy ones. Think of all the mainstream singers that have covered Christmas songs over the year. Some of them make them slightly more bearable to listen to but others only make it worse. Think Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey. Nothing makes me want to change the radio more than the sound of their voices. Even some of the good mainstream singers make me want to do this for they often cover songs that don't suit their voices.

That probably sounds incredibly cynical of me. However, can no one can seriously tell me that no one else feels the same, though.

It's always happy, happy, happy. The saddest these carols get are about singers nursing broken hearts during the holidays. Do I care? No. Maybe I might if it was done in a way that actually made me care (as in well-written song or a decent, emotion-filled voice). I've always appreciated emotional resonance in pieces of art(which is often only found in sad pieces) and Christmas carols lack this to the extreme.

Christmas carols highlight all of the terrible things about the music industry today, such as the terribly-written lyrics and the terrible singers who cover these songs (singers who often employ Auto-tune). I would really love it if there was a more nuanced Christmas song, such as a singer singing about a loss they are experiencing or something that they are really grateful for (such as a new baby).

The problem with this, I would imagine, is that most are not like me. Most do not appreciate depth and the issues people face, especially during the holiday season.

I suppose that those who don't appreciate Christmas carols can avoid the radio or turn on stations without these songs. Of course, for the past couple of weeks, I had to experience these songs day in and day out on the bus on both ways home. This disrupts my usual time for reflection when I'm on the bus. It doesn't help that the same songs are played over and over and over again. I kind of feel bad for those who don't celebrate Christmas. It's almost rubbing it in when these songs are played.

Leaving this on a happy note, I am so excited for Christmas. Not even terrible Christmas songs can ruin this for me.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Break! Random thoughts

It's here, finally. I have been toiling away day in and day out, counting down for it to finally come. I have been rushing, rushing, rushing, waiting for me to finally be awarded the chance to take a break. And now it is here.

I feel as if a huge burden has been lifted off of my shoulders though I do confess to still worrying about some little things. I'm trying to forget about it for a little bit (it will come back and overtake me like it so often does, though).

Life just can take so much out of a person. I feel that all I've been doing is rush, rush, rush. I have so much that I have to do and so little time to complete them. On top of that, I have to deal with the anxiety that comes in waves about the stupid little things. A break is definitely much needed on my part (I only wish that it was longer).

Not only do I have a break but I actually have some time to relax and to recuperate again. I have a homework-less time in which I am free to do whatever I want. Plus, I have the joy of the holidays around the corner.

Breaks, of course, allow the necessary time for recuperation (as I stated above). It has allowed me the ability to breathe and move freely. Breaks are like breaking free from a cage for a breath of fresh air. Of course, it would be nicer if I had longer than a week but beggars can't be choosers.

Right now, I can't help but feel a huge sigh of relief. With that relief also comes worry. I am still worrying about my grades, about my families coming over the holidays, about being able to hang out with my friends... When I say that it never ends, it really never ends.

Breaks should mean breaks. Of course, I imagine that for many that the holidays are far from breaks. For many, the stress lurks underneath a smiling facade. For some, that smiling facade hides so much inner turmoil and family dysfunction (my heart goes out to those people). Also, it's not even a break for some high school students like myself. My crazy English teacher is also my friend's crazy English teacher and he gave her four chapters to read.

Speaking of the holidays, the holiday bug has taken a little long to bite me but it's here. I am definitely excited for the holidays themselves. My mom said that she has some surprises for me under the tree and part of me is squirming in anticipation. It's almost like Christmas when I was a little kid again (I haven't felt really excited for Christmas in a long time).

I can't believe that the break came so late, though. It's kind of ridiculous. I totally say that I should celebrate Christmas Eve Eve.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to take my break.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Being Sick

Right now, I'm sniveling as I right this. I am sure that colds are evil, especially after the two bitter pills that I forced down my system. I am officially prevented from iceskating and from any sort of exercise because of this ailment.

Colds suck. Being sick sucks. There's simply no other way to put it. As I write, I am captive to something that makes me feel tired and sick. According to my sister, I look as terrible as I feel and she wonders whether or not I'll be able to go to school tomorrow.

Of course, I can't stay home from school in high school. Not with all of the tests that I'll miss and all of the things that I'll have to make up. In elementary school, staying home sick was kind of fun because schoolwork was so easy to make up. Unfortunately, middle school took away that luxury and high school is even more impossible.

It could be worse. I mean, there technically is a chance that I'll go to school tomorrow even if I have to struggle through it. I've been through worse before.

Of course last time I did this, in sixth grade, I turned out to have a head cold. This doesn't feel like it did then though I certainly still feel bad. I mean, I guess it might be beyond a cold if a headache and tense shoulders accompany it. Yet I cannot consider such things because that would be bad luck and that would surely mean that I would have to stay home from school.

I hope that these sick feelings don't persist into the holidays though it really does seem to be just the passing cold. The irony of this is that I specifically remember suffering from something similar to this a year or two ago and I took it as a bad omen.

There is no cure for the common cold. Of all the medical miracles that science has brought, there is no cure for something as simple as this.

I'm afraid this is something that I will have to suffer through. Oh joy.

Friday, December 16, 2011


It's a part of life. It's the little things that give life its rough patches, that make you groan in frustration and raise your blood pressure. We wish we could smooth them out or delete them but such things never seem able to happen. Those things are the inconveniences that life throws our way.

These inconveniences can be anything from waiting in line or having a flight cancelled. They are minor things but on bad and/or stressful days, they are enough to make anyone burst.

I have been having a series of inconveniences lately. Inconveniences are much better than catastrophes of course but still enough to make anyone's teeth grind.

My major one has been my anxiety and that unfortunately has been consistent. Thankfully, the meds seem to be effective and the physical systems are only minimal but... The anxious thoughts still persist and they are like the gnats that constantly pick at me. I'm starting to learn how to manage it better but it's still quite annoying and hard to deal with sometimes.

Writing block, it should be of note, is another inconvenience that is not fun to deal with but fortunately I've been having some good luck with my creative juices so I've been somewhat lucky there.

Of course, it didn't help when another inconvenience came into play. The debate bus came much later than it was supposed to. The inconvenience came in waiting when I would have otherwise been at home chilling out and doing what I do best. It was loud, I was tired and the seats in the cafeteria were uncomfortable. Plus I had to deal with my rumbling stomach, which usually eats dinner at 5:30 (I live with my grandparents. They eat early dinners." Of course my anxious mind was thinking in run-on sentences like it usually does when I'm in/or on a verge of a panic attack (or lately, without the physical symptoms, a panicked string of thoughts). That was a big one.

Then of course, there was the three tests I had today and the super-hard one in Spanish, my last period class. A lot of tests planned on the same day... that's always a nice touch, especially at the beginning and end of a week.

What I've learned about inconveniences is that they bring you down to Earth. They teach you patience and they ground you even in your worst days. Without them, I suppose that we would all expect instant gratification. That, of course, would make us pompous, arrogant and a little hard to deal with. After all, who would we without all of those daily mishaps? What would fill them?

Perhaps the thinking above sounds a little silly but hey, it's somewhat true. Life would be too easy with a smooth path and that would be incredibly boring.

So I will push through those inconveniences and be thankful for them in some warped sort of way in the back of my mind because they are what make life the way it is.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Divisions and Labels

Human beings constantly put up divisions and they constantly put labels on things. Divisions are walls that exist throughout society to keep us apart and to make human beings feel better than one another. Labeling is the next step, when these divisions have been made. Once society has put up divisions, those on one side will belittle the other. They will make up exaggerated stereotypes and titles, losing sight of the fact that another person exists on the other side. When people on one side happen to the minority in a country, they are persecuted.

People divide others in all sorts of ways. Sometimes, people are labeled on things that they cannot help such as skin color and what people they're attracted to. Yet, other times, people are labeled by things they can help like what religion (or lack thereof) or political party they ascribe to.

Really, divisions limit our scope of possible experiences and make is lose sight of every person's worth as a human being. Labels diminish to one thing when human beings tend to be so much more complex than that. They turn us into caricatures and cut-out cardboard pieces.

This weekend, I was watching an episode of The Tudors. The show always gets me thinking (and, I admit, other things. The show isn't for the prudish and weak-stomached) and it has definitely done that for me this weekend. Not only did the show successfully bring the historical figures to life, it also managed to bring up the issues they had to deal with. In that episode, people were being tortured and killed for being "heretics". A "heretic" was basically anyone who didn't accept the ceremonial cracker and wine as the literal blood and body of Christ. I couldn't help but think how ridiculous it was that people were willing to kill and be killed for such a basic concept (as well as some other Protestant beliefs).

After I watched the show, I noticed the divisions and labels present in our society and I was quite troubled by it.

In some cases, labels are seemingly harmless and go by without a thought. Yet, these thoughts seep into our subconscious. While they might not actively hurt people, they do fence us off much of the time. That, of course, is a missed opportunity yet a missed opportunity alone.

Yet, other times, they do far worse damage and breed prejudice and hate. Currently, people are still fighting over religion and over long-time divisions (e.g. the Irish and North Irish, Israelis and Palestinians, Sudanese Muslims and Sudanese Christians). These fights are deadly and have led to heinous crimes against humanity and individuals. This is where the real trouble starts. Hate starts with a few words that become a lot of words that eventually form thoughts. When people start thinking, "I'm white and they're black so therefore they must be [insert adjective of choice here]" or something like it, that's when things start to get to get heated. Often it means that these bigoted thoughts turn into action.

Obviously, people aren't all the same. People will pair up and define themselves in words but that is language. Yet when these teams become divisions and when these definitions become labels that we live by, that's when things go wrong.

As I said before, "society" includes each and every one of us. It's not a vague concept but people that we all know. We are all guilty in at least some of these thoughts and we all need to work on correcting that. Some of the things I believe we can do are eliminating stereotypical thinking from our thoughts, keep open minds and refuse to define ourselves by solely labels (especially by one label or by a group label). This is a complex human problem that we all need to fix.

Labels and divisions should not exist in a civilized society. Let's work on trying to fix it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Skepticism Vs. Faith

There are two ways to view the world. You can view it through the eyes of a someone who takes everything on faith or you can through the eyes of a skeptic. This relatively easy decision has ramifications greater than many are willing to believe, life-altering consequences. With that very decision, a series of other decisions must be made with it. Do you choose to believe everything you hear or question things (or, the third option, you can choose to believe what you want to hear and question what you don't)? Do you choose to shut out all differing opinions or do you choose to open your mind to varying worldviews and seriously try to at least understand them (or, do you choose to do this with selective opinions)?

Faith and skepticism are often terms applied with religion, but not religion exclusively. As I have stated before, I am a proud skeptic. I question everything that I hear, even things that I don't agree with. My analytical nature has made me seem quite cynical to others and at times too mature for my own good. Sometimes it's exhausting. I wouldn't take it back for the world, though. When I see other people who cannot open their minds and their hearts, I am only more reminded how of great of a gift my skepticism really is.

Today I told my grandmother that I'm an atheist. That's right. After a full two years of questioning my belief in God, I finally outright said my position. I think she's been putting the pieces together but nonetheless, I stayed silent on the issue even though she rambled about it. I wish that I could have been more articulate but I was too nervous to form words. My sister applied to a Catholic school and got in so of course the conversation came up.

Of course, my grandma made a big deal about it. She kept trying to make me promise that I would pray because God would answer my prayers. I said I would. Then she tried to blame my mom for not taking me to church enough.

I'm glad that I told her, even though I am still stressing out about it. I know that she loves me but she will continue to shove it down my throat. That's just the way she is. Unlike my mother, she won't even try to see why I'm thinking the way I'm thinking or see where I'm coming from. She just sees that I don't believe the way she does and that I have to.

Of course, if she did, she would see that I would need solid proof or at least a string of events. She might even see how fine I am without believing in a god and how I do not have that same need. She then asked me what I would do if I met and fell in love with a Catholic boy. I told her that I would discuss things with him and that I might sort things out, but I wouldn't let him shove it down my kids' throats (they would have to make their own decisions about it). Personally, I don't see myself falling in love with someone who has so many contrary viewpoints to mine (I wouldn't be very cool if he didn't want to use birth control with me or wanted to donate a significant portion of our money to the Catholic Church).

I have yet to meet an open-minded devout person. I've talked to one on the Internet a couple of times but I've never actually met one (before everyone goes all stranger danger on me, I read her story on the Internet and I've had a discussion about it a couple times. Religion is a big part of it and the writer is a devout Catholic. I've learned a lot about Catholicism from her). Religion seems to influence their whole worldview in general and the way that they think.

My maternal family members seem to have a very closed-off, narrow-minded way of thinking. If it doesn't make sense to them or goes against what they believe, they won't hear it. Both my grandmother and my aunt have denied the legitimacy of GAD and told me just to "stop worrying" (what kind of logic is that? That's like telling a person with depression to "be happy").

The problem with this kind of thinking- this narrow-minded, faith-driven emotional reasoning is that it leaves people gullible and with poor critical thinking skills. They are also extremely gullible and will believe anything that they hear. Anything that the priest tells them, they'll take for granted. They take these beliefs to heart and then they just can't let go of them.

The beauty of being a skeptic means that while you question everything, you are also open-minded possibilities. With faith, you are close-minded and can only accept the few things you hear but that still fits into what you believe.

Life with that kind of thinking is a path. There's only one option, one way, and its the one that fits with your beliefs. No one else fits. Skepticism and open-mindedness open your mind. Under that way of thinking, life is a maze with a variety of paths. There are multiple truths. It gives you a greater understanding of the world and a greater sense of self. It's like color as opposed to black-and-white.

If I try to explain that to my grandmother, she wouldn't believe me and she wouldn't understand. She might say that she does but she wouldn't understand.

I can't change the way my grandmother thinks. I can, hopefully, make a difference to the people in my own life and attempt to remain the way I am now.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Death. It's the natural end in the cycle of life, something unavoidable. Some people believe that it is only physical and that the "soul" will transcend it; others think that the spirit dies with the body. Either way, it's always hard for those it leaves behind. I've been thinking about this after an incident at school where someone I knew was dealing with her dying grandmother, and after watching a YouTube video about dealing with death as a nonbeliever by speakers at Skepticon.

Death is a hard topic for me to think about as an atheist. I personally think that the brain works like a machine. When the machine dies, it dies. That's it. It shuts off for good. I don't think there's anything after that because all of what I have seen so far has led me to that conclusion. Originally, I was afraid of my own death. I can't say that I'm as afraid now. Death may mean a literal end but... I do not think that I would like to live forever. At some point, I hope that I will feel as if I have served my purpose in the universe and die in peace. That very hope is what makes me live my life to the fullest extent now. I don't think nothingness is so terrible; I imagine that it would be like the time before it was born. That doesn't necessarily mean it's good or that something isn't lost. What it means is that it isn't painful or anything.

What's harder for me to think about is the idea of my own loved ones dying. I've never officially had to deal with grief yet, though I've had close calls. There's no way to take some comfort out of that and no way to talk about any good that could come out of it. When the time does come for me to deal with it, it will be difficult (isn't it for believers, too, though?). I, however, don't want to have to force myself to believe something out of comfort. At least I can say that this has forced me to think of and deal with the concept of death, unlike many religious believers.

Like I said, I have had some experiences with death. My first and most alarming experience with death was the death of my former classmate, Avery. She was coming back from vacation and her father was the pilot of the small plane she was on. It crashed as he was trying to land it, and she and most of her family were killed along with the babysitter who accompanied them (her half-brother stayed home to watch the Superbowl game). She and I were both in third grade. I can't say that I grieved for the girl I barely knew, though I was quite alarmed. Avery was young and healthy; there was no indication that she would die before her tenth birthday. But she did. It struck me that if she could, it meant that I might too. Sure, other kids have died before but she wasn't some statistic that I didn't have to deal with but she was a girl I knew. A girl whose signature was in my yearbook, a girl who worked with me on stuff in class, a girl I had once seen every day. Just like that, she was gone.

My second experience was with my grandfather, who almost died a while back after his bowels ruptured. Afterwards, my mother had said that God had saved him (I find that belief erroneous and a bit immoral for a variety of reason but that's a different story) He was older (though he was healthy and pretty strong) so it wasn't as shocking for me. Plus, it wasn't as sudden and I didn't have to deal with it actually happening.

My final one was with my great aunt, who passed away from lung cancer earlier this year. While I was fond of her and did like her, I didn't know her enough to truly grieve for her. At this point, I was already an atheist so once again I had to think about death and what it meant. When my grandmother and my other great aunt talked about how she was in a better place, I could say nothing.

I'm not sure if comforting (or trying to comfort) a grieving person counts as an "experience with death" although it made me confront it. In sleepaway camp, I met a lot of friends. In the span of two weeks, somehow we managed to share our demons/struggles with each other. Her friend's mom, a second mom to her, had passed away a few days before camp started. She's told me she's agnostic so I'm not sure what her beliefs on the afterlife are. I felt absolutely terrible for her though I wasn't very good with consoling her.

It hasn't gotten easier. Each time, I have been left shocked and without words. Death is looked upon society as an awkward, painful subject best swept under the rug. Yet I refuse to do that. I want to think about it so that I can deal with it. I don't want to view death as something painful and scary. Dealing with grieving people as if they are contaminated is a mistake, and dealing with death by not talking about it is too.

Recently, I began to deal with the concept of death through my story, Standing in Hailstorms. The protagonist has to deal with the death of her father. She, like me, is an atheist and has to deal with everything that goes along with that.

There's no way to get around the horror of death. There is, however, a way to talk about it and confront it. As a society, we should. I have taken my first step. Reader, can you?

A side note: If you want to read a great blog post about death and how we deal with it in a society, read this.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Facing Demons

It's walking in the doors of a classroom of people unlike me. It's admitting to things you never wished I did. It's finding the courage to put my hatred at the side of the road and finally begin to forgive the people who made me as flawed as I now am. Facing demons is a cliché phrase used by people to describe the things that haunt them. I do think it's an apt term because that's what they are. Demons. Ghosts. At this point in our lives, most of my peers must surely have them.

Last night, I had a dream. I was choking on algebraic expressions alone as I was hunched over a book (when I told my friend this via text, she was quite concerned). Well, if I was to be more specific, the alegebraic expressions came up and choked me. It wasn't fun but fortunately I woke up and promptly went back to bed without incident.

My struggle with Math, as well as a few other things, has made me had to face my demons. It's made me feel tired, stupid and just frustrated. If Math was a person, I would have long been arrested for murder for killing her (if she didn't kill me first). It's set off a string of self-hating thoughts and anxiety attacks quite often. It's been making me start to doubt myself again but at least I can control those thoughts better.

Math, I'm afraid, isn't the only thing that has made me feel this way. Lately, I've been trying to win over these group of girls and make them my friends. I've tried everything but I don't feel as if it's working. I feel like even if I did make friends with these girls that I would be the friend who cares more once again. I keep worrying how they see me, if they think I'm a pest, if I really am the terrible, pathetic person I've so often seen myself as. That's not enough of a reason to give up, I know, but still it has required me to man up and face my demons.

And, of course, there is what led to those feeling of insecurities around them. Or, at least, what exacerbated those insecurities. There's seeing the girl I've mentioned so often on this blog (I'm sick of it but she comes up quite a lot) every day in some way and having to deal with the lingering feelings of anger I still have for her. I'm about to perform a poem about my feelings over what happen. This poem is obviously quite personal to me and I'm starting to wonder whether or not my decision to perform it was a mistake. It's also forced me to deal with some repressed feelings and each time I practice reading it... Well, the hurt comes each time as well as some of the other feelings.

I've learned from all of this that facing your demons is an unfortunate but necessary task. Your past, and those feelings from the past, are with you whether or not you try to face them. If you don't face them, they will only come up in unexpected and unforeseen ways. The ways that you do face them, of course, can be varied (I prefer writing).

Facing my demons has been a daunting task I wish that I did not have to take. My writing has lately been a confused jumble of words that, while cathartic, probably doesn't make much sense to the outside reader. And that's alright.

I will continue to have to face my demons. We all will. We will have to face them when they pop out unexpectedly, when they sneak up on us in quiet moments, when they spill out of our mouths as we confess it to a friend. They are varied, different in scope and they mean different things for everyone but they are real all of the same.

It hasn't been easy but... I am ready. I have to be.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Facts about Evolution

When it came out a hundred and fifty years ago, it brought forth a fire storm. Often, when it's talked in school, it still brings forth a fire storm. Only a few states explicitly teach it. It's been called "just a theory", been misconstrued in every way possible and is even rejected by biologists whose fields make without it. That is the "theory" of evolution.

On Friday in Social Studies, the topic came up. We were talking about Social Darwinism which, of course, is the theory of evolution being applied socially. My Social Studies teacher as well as those in my classroom were using language that was incorrect. This may seem like a minor thing but it really irked me anyway. It's intellectual dishonesty and as a scholar and skeptic, that irks me.

The following are common misconceptions and misunderstandings of evolution and the language surrounding it.

1) It's "just a theory."
I put the word "theory" in quotation marks for a reason. It's been misused and manipulated so many times. It's been made to look like evolution was just a guess Charles Darwin came up with. In every day vernacular, a "theory" does mean a guess. However, in science, the word "theory" is the closest thing to a fact. A fact would be the sky is blue (that would also be considered an observation). A theory is not so easily observed but is accepted as true. Rather, a theory is an explanation coming from a series of facts. It's what the facts put together. When something becomes a theory, it basically has been questioned extensively by scientists and no one has found holes in it. It means that scientists, with the information that they have at that moment, can find no other explanation. Take this example. There are clouds in the sky. My hip scar throbs as does the scar's on my knees and my grandmother's arthritic joints. The weather man predicts rain. It isn't necessarily a fact that it's going to rain but considering the facts, that's the most reasonable thing we can conclude. Unless new evidence comes into light, there's no reason to believe otherwise.

This belief has lead to the belief that evolution shouldn't be taught in a science class as fact or that it should be taught alongside intelligent design. "Intelligent design" is a guess. This isn't about "both sides of the story". Intelligent design hasn't undergone the same degree of scrutiny as evolution and hasn't got nearly the amount of evidence for it. I do agree that intelligent design should be taught. It just should be taught in a Social Studies classroom under the title of "religion". Evolution is far more than "a guess."

Gravity and germs are theories too. They are equally as valid as evolution. Rejecting evolution is equivalent to rejecting those. In America, you are free to believe what you want. However, your beliefs should not be taught in a science classroom if there is no scientific evidence to back them up.

Teaching evolution is considered a guess because some people think it is is wrong. There's a lot of facts that people don't believe. Can you imagine what the following would be like if "both sides of the story" were taught, even if one side went against evidence? Elvis is dead. Or he might be alive. The Holocaust might have happened. Or it might not have.

2) "In evolution, something comes from nothing."
"Something comes from nothing" is an incredibly misleading statement. First off, the people who say this usually are combining the Big Bang theory and evolution. These are two completely different theories that should be treated as such. Evolution states that species gradually evolve over millions and billions of years through the process of natural selection. Basically, the ones more suited to adapt will survive to produce offspring while those who aren't suited to adapt die. This, over time, means that animals with certain characteristics will survive and gradually all of those in that species will have those characteristics. This isn't "something coming from nothing." It's not like this happens overnight or even over the process of centuries. This happens over a period of time longer than we can imagine. Anyway, isn't that what creationism is? Something coming from nothing? I mean it's nothing, God, and then bam! There's something, created by God in only seven days. One creationist girl I met said that God was always there. If God was always there, then what was He doing? Where did he come from? I digress, this post is not to criticize creationism but to bring about the truths about evolution.

3) "According to evolution, humans come from monkeys."
This isn't even true but it's blatantly false. Biologists DO NOT think that people come from monkeys, although humans and monkeys share 99% of DNA. Humans and monkeys are believed to both come from the same ancestor.

4) "Evolution is survival of the fittest. Survival of the fittest means the strongest survive."
This doesn't necessarily come from people who don't recognize the validity of evolution but from people who don't understand it. "Survival of the fittest" means "survival of those most able to adapt". That doesn't necessarily mean the strongest. My Social Studies teacher used this to mean the smartest but it doesn't mean that either. It means the ones most able to adapt. For example, in the business world today, social skills and ability to work with technology are also needed. The person who is super book-smart will not win over the very sociable person who works great with technology but may be of mediocre intelligence. This wouldn't be limited to the smartest person.
5) "Evolution is immoral."
I never understood this one, though I've heard it often enough. Evolution states nothing about morality but simply about the way nature works. Maybe it's because it doesn't come with a set of moral code with it. Creationism, on the other hand, is a part of a religion which does have a set moral code. Is gravity immoral? Evolution, unlike creationism, does not come with a set of code. That is an entirely different thing.

6) "Evolution isn't compatible with [insert religion here]."
It's not just atheists who buy into evolution. Plenty of Christians, Muslims, Jews and those of other religions accept it. The Catholic Church has even accepted it. Of course, I can't answer for them but they made it work. Obviously, there must be some way they've made it fit.

7) "Evolution isn't important."
Evolution is the core of biology. Without it, the rest of it doesn't make sense. Biology explains the natural world and it explains to us where we came from. Many may find it boring (which is fine. I find a lot of science boring too) but that doesn't make it any less true or any less important. When evolution is not taught, children are being cheated out of the truth.
Evolution is probably the most misunderstood part of science but it's also one of the most important. Rejecting evolution is rejecting science. There's no way around it. No amount of politically correct language is going to change that.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Story Ideas

My head swirls with them day in, day out. They are welcome companions though, like close friends, they can be a little overwhelming and hard to deal with. When a new one comes, I must scan it and map out the basics of it before polishing/adding to it again and again. And then, if I feel like it's complete and if I'm not too busy, I write it down on paper. And then it's a toss-up to see whether it sticks or whether it fails. Sometimes it even fails before I write it down, either being too insubstantial to stick or not enough to go on. Most of them, in fact, fail and many of those failures end up becoming future short stories.

It's an exhausting process but it's a part of being a writer and I don't know what I would do without it. My story ideas, those flashes, are what keep me up in gym class and in every day life. They are the glitter in my life and everything would be so much duller without it.

Coming up with story ideas, unlike story titles and character names, is an exhilarating and freeing process. It doesn't even feel like I'm coming up with it but it feels more as if I am discovering it. My characters come to me after random things and it's just so interesting to meet all about them.

The more I think about them, the more I feel that I know them. Coming up with a story idea is like fitting pieces of a puzzle together. I see scenes in the book I'm planning to write and then I find out about them. Sometimes I see random scenes that I think are different stories and I connect them later.

Lately, I'm in a bit of an overload right now. Most of them are short stories but they are still overwhelming all of the same. Now, since I've been delving into realistic fiction, most of them require research. Which will take even longer and make it even harder to write. Some of the research, especially historical research, seems a bit difficult but fortunately I have found a way to blend it into an actual story.

The worst part about coming up with a bunch of different story ideas is sorting them all out and writing them all at once. Often, I try to limit myself but I feel such an anticipation to write them. A new story idea is like hot food and it too cools down with time.

Coming up with the story ideas are half of what make writing so fun, though, so part of me wants to do it as often as I can. But then capturing them, putting them down on paper exactly as they're seen in my head... That's breathtaking.

What's so great about story ideas is that first month when I write that story idea. A story idea, of course, is best in the first month or so like any human relationship is. I have that jittery feeling writing it and it's great. Then, of course, I get used to it after a while and my relationship cools. Writing can be fun but it's just not the same. When I've been writing a novel for a while, I really yearn for that feeling and that's what makes it even harder to resist a story idea.

Ah, story ideas. They're that beautiful scent that I just breathe in, in, in.... They're that great, surreal thing that eat up my time and suck me into another story commitment.

Unfortunately, I have my hands full right now so I will finish some of the projects I have right now. No matter what, I must resist their call at least for the moment.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anger, Hate and Love

Hate is such an all-consuming feeling. It sucks up your soul and leaves dust in its midst. It leaves you tired but it always demands more. Some have even developed a rather fondness to it. There's anger there mostly. Anger raw, hot and intense. But there's more than that. Many times hate is connected with love; many times the people that we hate we loved once. Our feelings have soured because we have been hurt. The one and only person who I genuinely hate I once considered to be a good friend of mine. It goes beyond dislike but it enters the realm of loathing. I hate her, hate her so much that the hate could spill and make rivers of the tears I have shed over her. Those tears are acid rain and they have corroded so many good things inside of me. I want them gone and I want that hatred gone too.

It's an issue I've been struggling lately. Everyone around me has just told me to let it go and I want to. I really do. I just can't. Because we have mutual friends, I come in contact with this girl every day. Now that I didn't come begging to her and refuse to tag around with her, she ignores me and treats me as if I'm invisible. I've alluded to this girl various times on my blog and those close to me know the full story. I don't feel like going into the whole story but for those who don't know, I feel like she didn't care about me and only used me as her accessory or something to boost her ego. I feel like I trusted her and she only ended up manipulating me in the end. Enough of that though because me venting about how much and why I hate her will do nothing to help me.

I had a dream a few days ago that I wrote about how and why I hated her on my blog. Then she came running up to me and demanded an apology. Things got physical and I had her on the floor crying as I punched her. Now, I could never do something so brash in real life (nor could I win against her in real life). That dream definitely revealed my pent-up issues.

I really don't get people who hate all of these people. I only hate one person and it kills me. It drains me and it makes me feel so helpless just hating. It can feel good sometimes but mostly it just feels useless. It's like a bag on my shoulders that I can't shake off. I know people like my grandma hold grudges but how? I don't want to be like this anymore because it's changing who I am. I don't want to be a bitter person.

I've forgiven my bullies. I've forgiven them for the memories I've had to repress and the self-esteem issues that resulted from their taunts and how they've all taken away my ability to trust people my age. I've forgiven them and what they did was just as bad. And yet... Yet I haven't forgiven her. I'm not sure if what she did was necessarily bullying but it was just cruel. Maybe it's because I told her all of these things and she did what she did anyway.

I've thought that maybe when she used me she could have just been selfish and thoughtless. That she could have thought of me more as an object than as a person with feelings. That I simply wasn't enough to keep around but she didn't want to give me up "just in case". I'm not angry because she didn't care but I'm angry at how she lead me on and pretended like she did. I'm angry with how she made me feel stupid and small when I tried to explain how I felt to her. I think I'm just angry over everything that happened last year (that wasn't all her fault. It was mine, my math teacher and some of the others, the student body who created the atmosphere it did, a few thoughtless assholes...)

I just wish she said she was sorry. Even if she said she didn't mean for things to be the way they ended up but they just turned out that way. Or that I was interpreting it the wrong way. I just don't think she ever will so I'll have to find some other way. I'll have to find some way to make peace with it all.

At first, the anger was a good thing. It was so much better than the anger I felt against myself, an anger that was poisonous and seeped in the deepest parts of my soul. Again, that was partially my fault but I'm angry that she turned some of her own actions against me and made it look like it was my fault. At the time, I thought that anger was progress. Now I only think that it is holding me back.

I don't have to forget what happened and I don't even have to like her. I just don't want to have to deal with this anymore. I'm done. I'm hoping that with getting sick of this, I'll finally embark on my first steps of freeing myself from this.

School's been in session for a little more than three months. Summer has been about two and a half months long. That's a little more than five and a half months. I've had plenty of time to deal with this. It's time to let it go and move on.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Twilight, Passivity and Feminism

It was the sensation that took the book industry by storm after a few stagnant years after Harry Potter. It sent teen girls swooning and pledging their allegiance. It was followed by a stream of movies that are still gushing out. Yes, at one point I was one of those girls and part of that sensation. That sensation, of course, was the Twilight series.

I just saw the latest Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn, Part 1 Wednesday. The movie was surprisingly good, full of action and gore and suspense. Quite frankly, I only go now to see the movies out of curiosity and not out of true, intense interest.

I became a so-called "Twihard", or fan of the series, when I just got out of fifth grade. At that point, the book was only beginning to pick up in momentum. It was summer time and the books were getting me through a camp I hated. Each time I put down the book, I was annoyed and thinking about the next time I would get back to it. I read the whole series in about a week.

Of course, back then, I didn't have the experiences that I have now. I've read more books since then, most of those books written at a higher reading level than Twilight. Most importantly, I lacked the critical thinking skills that I have now.

What finally made me revoke my allegiance of it was the criticisms  I heard about it. These criticisms got me thinking about it more and I realized that they were right. I attempted to read it again a while back and I couldn't get through the first page. The topic of Twilight came up this Thanksgiving with my cousin and I, furthering my thinking on the subject. Even though the frenzy has died down somewhat, I still find the subject relevant.

Twilight does not set a healthy example to young girls. It doesn't even set a healthy example to boys either (though most boys don't read Twilight or at least won't admit to reading it). Bella is a weak, passive character who is poorly developed and not explored very well; her relationship with Edward is creepy at best and emotionally abusive at worst. For those who have not read the series and are planning to, there are some spoilers ahead.

Bella, the main character, is torn between Jacob, her werewolf best friend, and Edward, her vampire boyfriend. In the end, Edward wins though this internal struggle did show itself in the movie. In the series as a whole, all that she does is sit and wait for them to save her and to help her. Not once does she try to make decisions for herself or even to try to help herself in any way. A Twilight fan might make the argument that being a human, Bella could not defend herself. I do agree that yes, she could defend herself physically. However, she could have made sure to have input with Edward and she could have been an active part of the plans to keep her and the ones she loved safe. She did, a couple times, pipe up and say stuff but she was usually dismissed by Edward (unless, of course, what she was saying did make sense). Usually, she just sat at the sidelines and did nothing. I would like to point out that this is the case even when she turns into a newborn and thus is actually stronger than Edward.

More importantly, she did this in her own love life. In Eclipse, she was pursued instead of the one doing the pursuing. She often turned to Edward to have this decision made for her. She didn't sit down and seriously think about how she felt and how either decision would impact her life. She was just like, "Edward, I'm so sorry for cheating on you. Please tell me that what I did was wrong and that I don't love Jacob."

I would also like to point out the flaws in their relationship itself. It's all about how much they love each other and how much they need to keep each other safe. That's it. They don't have fun together, they don't have mutual hobbies (Edward seems to develop some. Bella, however, seems to be devoid of any hobby except being in love with Edward) and they don't really have any other people they really spend time with beside each other (yes, they have friends but they're really side thoughts). All they seem to be is obsessed with each other. I do recognize the fact that their relationship is constantly under attack and that this would end up having tension but to never have fun, to never laugh? That's a bit much.

There's also that tiny problem of how they're obsessed with each other. Obsession in a relationship is never healthy. People in a truly loving relationship have interests outside of the person they're with. People need breathing time. Bella literally never gets time away from this guy; he's even there when she sleeps, watching her. From day one, Bella can't get this guy out of her head and seems to "love" him from the start. There isn't even any buildup in the relationship. All that happens is that Bella tries to go after him, he rejects her, she continues to go after him/ tries to find out what he is, he tells her what he is and then she announces how she irrevocably loves him(you don't "irrevocably" love your boyfriend. There has to be conditions in a relationship or else the other person gets stepped on). And when their relationship starts, her sole purpose is him and only him. When he breaks up with her, she doesn't move on like any normal person should but instead gets depressed for months. And then when they meet up, she just takes him back and everything is good. The story doesn't deal with any lingering resentment or distrust but it's just fine and better than ever.

Oh and Edward himself... His behavior is borderline abusive if not already abusive. He will do anything to "protect" her, like almost kidnapping her to get away to slashing her tries to keep her away from Jacob (he also gets angry when she talks to him as well as other guys). He also stalks her at night, as I mentioned and forces to drive her places. See "Ways Edward Cullen is Abusive" on Fanpop if you want to see a better and more thorough analysis of it. What's disturbing about this is the way that this behavior is addressed as normal and even romantic.

This isn't a concern for women and older women. However, younger girls read this book and they are getting a skewed image on relationships and women's roles in them. Unfortunately, there are plenty of girls in abusive and unhealthy relationships. Reading this book only normalizes this behavior for these girls. Also, this is just another media influence telling these girls to be weak and submissive in the face of their boyfriends. That romance is all that is important and boys should be the spotlight of every girl's life and that is a very negative thing indeed.

In conclusion, Twilight is a poor portrayal of love, abuse and women in general. If you have any young girls you love, try to steer them in other directions.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It comes once a year, the final Thursday of November. It's a federal holiday but it is also one deeply ingrained in to American culture. It's the apparent day when the pilgrims ate with the Indians they would later oust after barely surviving. It's been known as "Turkey Day" or "Thanksgiving". I suppose it is a shame to say that for me it is something to dread, a burden to bear.

First, I hate the food. I'm a seafood/steak/expensive meals kind of girl. I like spicy, exotic things like Indian food and gumbo. Thanksgiving food offers nothing for me. Usually I eat a meal consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes and rolls. While the rolls are quite tasty coming from the oven, I am only permitted to eat two of them and thus am unable to have a full meal based off of it. Mashed potatoes and turkey are not terrible certainly but quite bland. My family always ends up with the leftovers, which end up tasting worse than the original meal itself.

Then there's that whole retrieval of the meal. There's so many people in our kitchen all at once and I get claustrophobic from it all. Then there's the waiting. Even though I don't like most of the stuff at Thanksgiving, I'm still hungry at that point but usually I have to end up waiting forever. Then my mom feels the need to segregate the kids from the adults and I always end up relating better to the adults than I do to my sister and my cousin.

Then there is all of the people just being there. We have quite a lot of people who come over for Thanksgiving and they all come over my house. I don't mind my family one-on-one but all together they make me quite uncomfortable. They all seem to come over in a flood and take over my house. I have to deal with this flood of Puerto Rican woman affection, which is smothering alone but all at once... Ah. Usually I do my best to retreat but they can be quite loud. The sound gives me a headache sometimes and it makes me feel smothered.

At least with Christmas, I have presents to look forward to. That sounds terribly materialistic, but it's true. I do quite enjoy getting gifts and the thought makes me look forward to it. Just the thought of presents alone, I am able to bear all of the other things that go with it. With Thanksgiving, I have no such thing to look forward to. All I can do is grin and bear it.

Thanksgiving gives me such an icky feeling. I know that probably sounds terrible but it's true. There's just so much hassle and it's just awkward for me. My mother says that I'm not alone in that but still. It's not like my relatives are horrible (occasionally obnoxious but not intentionally mean or anything like that) but they just are overwhelming all at once.

Oh well, it's only a few hours. My therapist (the one who is supposed to help with my G.A.D. though I don't really know what she's doing yet) gave me a few tips and I hope they work.

I don't know. Just hope for the best for me. For the rest of you, Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you like it better than I do!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pain in the Rain

Rain, rain, rain. It seems to darken the whole mood of the day, to make it that much drearier. When I was younger, it meant being trapped in the house and unable to play outside. In school, it means slippery floors and yellow warning signs. Of course, there is one thing that makes even worse for me in particular. The rain brings about a pain for anyone who has had the misfortune of having to have a surgery or who happened to have a terrible injury happen to them (mostly people with scars though it's not limited to us alone).

When I was two years old, I had to have hip surgery to fix the dislocated hip the doctors never caught (my mom could have sued that doctor and made our family rich but she says she was too stressed out at the time to go through legal procedures). Then, I had another surgery again in fourth grade when my hip bone came out of the socket. Those two things did not only just result in yearly (or well, less than yearly now) visits to CHOP but also for my two scars and for the things that those scars produced.

I like my scars, don't get me wrong. When my mom had originally talked about putting aloe to lessen my most recent scar, I was horrified. My scar from when I was two is barely visible, a faint little white line on my hip. My scar from my fourth grade surgery... Not so much. It's bluish purple, bumpy and it extends down most of my upper leg. Back then I considered it a mark of what I went through and I still do. Also, it marks me as unique. Sure people might stare when I wear shorts or bathing suits but... Whatever. The only drawback of having a scar is the pain in the rain.

I pretty much know when it's going to rain or if it's raining. My leg/hip area gets all sore and achy and it throbs when I walk. On a few occasions, I've even gotten terrible spasms there though they don't usually last long. My mom, who got into a skiing accident when she was eighteen, can too although she feels pain more so when it snows.

This pain in the rain is a tad bit irritating especially with all of the steps I have to walk to get to classes in high school (a pain felt yesterday, not today). It's also kind of annoying just to walking out of the house with it, especially when the Advil hasn't kicked in yet.

Of course, it had to rain all day and yesterday. This is where the whole "rain, rain go away" nursery rhyme comes in it. Hopefully, my holiday won't be too overshadowed with this kind of thing but oh well.  It is what it is.

Rain is never fun. However, rain is not very compliant with anyone's wishes. At least the plants are enjoying it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Not Getting It

First comes the denial. Then comes the bad grades and getting past the denial. Then after getting past the denial, there's the hope. The hope is there like an ember because you think that things will get better for you. It may be a foolhardy, desperate hope but it's a hope nonetheless. Then, with each failed attempt at comprehension be it getting answers wrong with a tutor or on a test, comes the disappointment. After repeated instances of the above, there comes the frustration. And then, after dealing with the frustration, there's the defeat and the total surrender. That's about where I'm at right now.

It's Math. Math is like that bitch I've fought with all my life, from elementary school to high school. My problem started when I switched math classes, from the below-average, slower class to the fast-paced, normal classes. Now she's come to haunt me in an even worse form. Algebra is the bastard child of words and numbers and quite an ugly one at that (who the hell cares when Train A comes to the station? Why can't the conductor just time it?). I'm afraid we hit it off poorly from the start. I'm currently getting myself out of the hole after two failed tests. It's a sad state of affairs when my mom is ecstatic over a C on a quiz from me yet that's what Algebra has reduced me to.

The weekend before, I was bursting blood vessels trying to do some of the math problems. I was pretty sure I was focusing on it to the point of hyperarousal (concentrating on something to the point of the concentration becoming a distraction) and after a while I couldn't sustain it. At one point, my mom mistook this to be me slacking off but I literally couldn't do it anymore.

It's not like any of the people I've went to for help do anything for me. I'm just as lost as ever after each tutoring session but I feel only more stupid. I feel that no one knows what to do to help me, not even the professionals themselves, but they just wave me off and say I'm good enough after I'm done. They say that and then I fail.

The worst part is that each time I feel I'm getting a grasp on the subject, the class moves on and I am yanked away. At least in my other class, they moved much more slowly.

I don't know what to do. I'm not one of those slacker kids that don't care. I try and I still fail; I go to help again and again and again but I still don't get anything at all. It makes me want to just throw Math to the side and give up on it. However, moving back will only delay the problem so I'm doing my utmost to prevent that. So far I am not successful in my attempts.

So that's what Math has been reduced to for me. Each test taken is just nausea in my stomach, each test returned just a head hung in shame.

For me, Math is the only subject I've really had trouble in. I've never had to study much for anything and everything else has pretty much come easily to me. I have gotten bad grades before but I don't usually get a string of them. I suppose, all things considering, that I'm pretty fortunate in that regard.

I'm starting to understand why the "slackers" are the way they are. A lot of those people are the ones who have eternally given up on school and who constantly face a struggle. I can't even imagine what they must feel. My perfectionism may cause me to be harder on myself and feel stupid quickly but that has to wear down on them after a while.

However, I hope that the joys of Thanksgiving break will allow me to wash these feelings away and come back to it later.

I'm constantly locked into a struggle with Math. Right now, Math's winning and I'm about ready to lay my sword down. English is much more compliant.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Getting Sleep

It's a biological need that the human race constantly takes for granted. No one thinks about it much even though our entire day basically depends on it. That necessity, of course, is sleep. I can basically get everything else I need but sleep is the one thing that constantly eludes my grasp. Breakfast? Check. Constant water drinks throughout the day? Check. Eight hours of sleep? Eh, not so much. Sleep basically recharges our brain and even helps us remember stuff yet people, myself included, constantly put it on the backburner.

Of course, sleep is hard to obtain for anyone who goes to high school. In our district, high schoolers are the first ones to go to school. We need just as much sleep as any kid in elementary school technically but we just aren't the ones who get super grumpy when we don't get enough of it. So, of course, sleep is that thing we all long for and are never able to get. At fourteen, I am already forced to put concealer under my eyes to hide the dark circles under them and I am sure I am not alone.

Time is sleep's enemy and it's people's too. When you have to deal with homework, after-school activities, stress and all the things we love to do in our free time, it's difficult to get it in. It's easy to just admit I need more sleep but the true question is how. Time, as well as sleep, is something that I can't get enough of and the need for it often wins out in the end.

Another problem that teenagers have is their penchant for staying up late. According to my psychiatrist, my problems with falling asleep are not simply due to my being a teenager but with my GAD. I must be utterly exhausted for me to fall asleep successfully, which is why on weekends I stay up until as long as I possibly can. Sometimes, my worries cause me to stay up much longer than I should and I am left tossing and turning in my bed.

This means that the weekend serves as my time to catch up on my sleep. Both days this weekend I ended up staying asleep until eleven in the morning. I actually even suddenly fell asleep as I was reading my magazine and I woke up a few hours later to find the light on and the magazine across my chest. Being as I was stressed out all week, that could have been enough to get me down. I was also warned that sleepiness might be a result of my anxiety meds, which might also be a probable cause.

Apparently, too much sleep makes a person equally as tired as not having enough sleep. This is something I can definitely believe, being as I was super-tired out on the ice rink today. Instead of having my usual energy, I started out tired and sluggish from the start. By the end, I was too tired to function properly and I was stumbling on of the ice rink.

I might be better but I must say that I had a difficult time at it today. Even now, I feel incredibly sleepy.

Sleep is definitely that I need more of and yet am unable to have enough of. I know that my sleep schedule is unhealthy and I wish so badly to change it. However, being as I have three and a half more years of high school left to go, I doubt that will happen.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hitting That Creative Vein

I have met another writer! Yipee! Perhaps she may not be as serious as I am but she is a writer nonetheless and that always gets me excited. Hanging out today with her was all cool and fun and good of course but one detail particularly worthy of blog writing is of our writing discussion.

Writing discussions, of course, always get me thinking of things and this was one of the things that I started thinking about. She told me how she had trouble finishing a lot of her stories and everything and I told my theory to her.

I can think of a couple of things that I needed to hit the creative vein with. The first example would be my first completed novel which I finished when I was ten. Perhaps for some that might seem young but I technically started to write when I was six. So I can definitely tell you that I wasn't that young, it wasn't easy and it took a good effort. Being as I wasn't serious about my writing then and didn't write daily, I wrote a story in about a year that was about three hundred pages in a notebook that I later discovered was factually incorrect and full of grammar errors.

My second one would be keeping up a diary. I had kept up a diary for a little bit in fourth grade but I didn't really enjoy it and the poor, stale writing reflected that. It was in sixth grade when I had discovered a way to have fun capturing my life that I was able to do it. To this day, I still keep a diary. Of course, my writings have changed as I have. Originally, I wrote as if I was writing to people in the future, explaining my thoughts and daily life references in great detail. I occasionally was philosophical. My diary is more the typical sort now. I write about my daily life and my daily thoughts; philosophical writing is interspersed there and rarely get their own entries. Despite how I swore I would never write anything personal, I eventually did and this prompted me to change the names of those I write there (though they would know who they are anyway if they read it).

My third thing, of course, was this blog. There is at least one blog attempt under "theweirdworder" and the rest I've deleted. That took me plenty of tries to successfully maintain a blog but I believe that I have successfully found the trick. I knew it a couple entries in and I couldn't have been more ecstatic at my discovery.

Perhaps writing my first debate prep could be considered that too, though that's hardly creative. It certainly was painful writing the first one but then once I got my act together, the neg one was super easy for me to write.

The trick is to hit that creative vein. It's like striking gold. Once you hit it, everything gushes out and there's no stopping the words from flowing. Of course, there will be days of writer's block and there will be days when you don't want to write. Yet once you hit that creative vein, there's no turning back. Your writing will only improve from then on out and those writing droughts won't last for long.

A family friend once asked me how I could do it. She told me how she had a story idea but she didn't know how to get started writing it. So I told her. You have to hit that vein. Your first novel will probably not be any good but over time you will get better. And once you complete a first novel or your first couple journal/blog entries or your first debate prep, you have that beautiful knowledge that you can go back and do it again. And that, of course, is the challenge that I live for as a writer.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Being the Friend Who Cares More

Disclaimer: I wasn't trying to hate on the friend mentioned below or anything. All friends fight. I was trying to talk about my own issues and how that fight made me think of this.

The friend who cares more. They're the friend who always pushes to schedule the playdates (later called "hang outs", of course), the one who always gives in, the one who tries so damn hard to please the other person, the one who analyzes every move they make in fear of judgment... There always is that friend even if they both deny that's truly the case.

That's, I realize, what's I've always been. That's always been my goddamn problem. It's why I let myself get stepped on or ignored in a group or why I do things I don't want to do. And today, I realize, I'm through with that. I'm not trying to make this a self-pity party post but I'm simply musing and slightly ranting.

I suppose I should inform the reader of the origins of this story. One looking back could say that it was today when I was stressed out because I fought my best friend. I do think the more logical explanation is that it really started out in fifth grade. I was the girl who was always left out of things and even occasionally teased. I suppose that left me with an inferiority complex that I haven't fully dealt with until I had to once again in eighth grade.

The friend who always cares is the one who always takes the burden for everything. By everything I mean, everything. In defense for all of the people I took burdens for it's not like I was usually asked. Nope, I just take it anyway. I take the blame from everything from breaking into lockers with people (I only did ones already rigged so it wasn't like there was anything valuable in there) from apologizing for things I didn't actually feel I did (like just recently). Sometimes taking the burden for things isn't actually required but I mentally do it. Kind of like, Oh, of course she couldn't come with me at lunch. I shouldn't have asked her to come. Taking the burden for everything means getting stomped on and not communicating your needs to the other person.

The friend who cares more is setting herself up for rejection. Sometimes people can only give so much. No matter how much you give in, you will always be disappointed that they don't care as much back. And, quite frankly, that sucks. Usually, the friend who cares more stays quiet. This makes it worse because they stuff the disapointment inside of them until it becomes something only felt in their subconscious. Sometimes, as I found out in the case I will mention below, it leads to later resentment of that individual.

Most of all, the friend who cares is the one that has the least power in the friendship and probably has their senses the most distorted. In the past, I was manipulated by someone who I thought was a friend. Now, I realize that I was more of a pet and accessory than anything else and that while she might have cared about me once, at some point this waned. Now, being as I never talked to her about this, I cannot be for sure what she was thinking but I'm getting this from all of the evidence and from looking at it in hindsight. Like I said before, it wouldn't be something I would go into fully but my being the friend who cared more hurt me a lot in the end. However, that was probably the more dire of my case.

Now today and Wednesday, same thing... Basically, she wanted me to wait up for her/ get her later even though she was doing her homework and holding me up. She made this big deal about me not doing so and I got stressed out over it the rest of the day (even though we have a locker on the same part of the building and she does know where I was). I suppose since it was on a bus, over the phone and since I was already nervous over my upcoming debate, I didn't tell her how I felt. Instead I only apologized. I won't go into full details about what happened (I haven't talked to her yet and she wouldn't to say her side of the story on this blog) but now that I've cooled down I am planning on talking to her. Basically, I felt and feel, like she expects things out of me that she isn't willing to give in return and that she's taking out some of her school stress on me. If I don't talk to her about this, something similar will happen and the resentment I'm feeling now will only fester. I do, however, thank her for leading her to these epiphanies about myself which extend farther than her own actions towards me.

Perhaps this is my distorted perception of things. This could possibly be a matter of which friend has better social skills or which friend has more self-confidence. I always felt I had to make them want to care because they wouldn't otherwise. Like when I'm meeting someone I have to work so hard to put up this casual persona so I don't look stupid. Most of all, I can't let on how much I desperately want to be friends with them. I feel as if I don't do things right, I'll be that weird girl who says all the wrong things and butts into everyone's conversation. Yet, at the same time, I don't want to be just that girl in the background. I'm constantly afraid of doing the wrong things around people and I absolutely scrutinize the hell out of my interactions with afterwards.

When I told my mom that (with reference to the girl I talked to at debate who I am now sitting at lunch with), she rolled her eyes and said of course it's not like that. That them not being the one to initiate further contact or hangouts doesn't mean they don't care. That oftentimes they're nervous or just don't how to do it. That they want me to be the one to do it first.

Along with scrutinizing myself, I scrutinize other people. A lot of times I even do this well most of the time (with the exceptions of the times that my views are clouded. That's a notable exception). I think that the girl I'm hanging out might be like I am in this regard and that she might even see me as the friend who cares less. That her case may have been exactly like what I described above. And that, in the most terrible sort of ways (terrible because I know it's so mean to wish my ailments on people), excites me and puts me at ease a little bit.

Being the friend who cares more sucks. There's no other way to put it. It's better than being "the friend nobody likes" (as Dane Cook so aptly put it) or the one with no friends but it still sucks.

Maybe a reasonable goal to set would be having my friends care as much about me as I care about them. But until then...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Aff Prep

Again, possible typos. Sorry!
            Abraham Lincoln, former President of the United States, said, "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." If we evade the social responsibility of assisting one another then the results will come up in unexpected and unforeseen ways.  The assistance of the needy is beneficial to the society and to the individual while not assisting the needy is harmful to both society and the individual. Because I recognize the impact of individual actions upon a society and government, I establish this topic as Resolved: Individuals have a moral obligation to assist people in need.
            Before I proceed, I would like to define a few terms that are relevant to the topic. The following are as defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary.
            Obligation- A social, legal, or moral requirement, such as a duty, contract, or promise that compels one to follow or avoid a particular course of action.
            Moral obligation- is an obligation arising out of considerations of right and wrong.
            Assist- To assist someone is to give aid or support.
            Need- Need is the necessity arising from the circumstances of a situation or case.
            My value is societal welfare. Societal welfare, also known as social welfare and social responsibility is defined as "an ethical ideology or theory that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act to benefit society at large." Throughout history, various institutions have been given the responsibility of withholding this value such as the government, church, and the individual. Society, of course, includes each and every individual of a particular group and therefore includes the welfare of the individual themselves as well as needy individuals themselves.
            My criterion is altruism. Altruism is defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary as "unselfish regard or devotion for the welfare of others". The term was created by French philosopher Auguste Conte who contributed much to altruism and his own similar theory, positivism. Usually "altruism" can refer to biological and ethical altruism, the latter being a philosophy and the former science. Altruism states that the end result of every moral action is the action's benefit to others. It states that every individual has the responsibility to add to the pleasure and lessen the pain of others. The theory of altruism states that one must love others at one's self and to do behavior that promotes the survival of others even at the cost to one's self. Also it's stated that altruism is even one's following of benevolent impulses. This would follow biological altruism which states that living beings often behave altruistically as to benefit other organisms.
            My first contention is that the assistance of the needy is beneficial as a whole to society while a lack of this in a society is harmful. For example, according to the BBC, in Finland citizens are required to pay 50% of their taxes to the government and in many government services for the needy. Their school systems rank some of the best in the world. In other words, the contribution of their citizens directly benefits themselves. Finland has one of the best health care services in the world and according to the UK's newspaper the Guardian, ranked number one on the OED (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)'s test for numeracy, literacy and science tests. Another example of this would be volunteering. Each year thousands of dollars is saved because of volunteer's efforts, money that the United States government would have to spend on employees for charities. This money is given directly back to the people in services that benefit people as a whole. On the other side of this, an example of the needy not being helped would be pre-revolutionary France and other societies where the proletariat, or working class, were oppressed. For France, these people's time of need came after a series of crop failures that  lead to the price of bread rising. Being as this was the staple of food for many of them, this lead to starvation yet they were forced to pay heavy taxes and received no help from the upper class.  The proletariat later revolted against the upper class in the French Revolution.
            Secondly, my next contention is that not helping the needy is harmful to one's self, as helping others builds a sense of morality necessary to the building of one's foundation. I mentioned volunteering above. As well as the benefits it has to society, it teaches responsibility, resourcefulness, and duty. Volunteering also makes one more aware of one's self and of the issues in the world around them. According to certain studies, volunteering can increase your well-being, decrease chronic pain and lower depression (Kellicker). However, helping someone in need is not limited to volunteering but can be helping someone one sees in need and other actions. Giving blood and donating money are other ways to help people. Giving blood is especially important because there is no telling what situations might make one need blood. According to the Red Cross, a single car accident victim may require one hundred pints of blood. Helping others makes one a more contributive and useful person and as a person one has the responsibility to give back.  
            Finally, my last contention is that it is in one's best interest to help the needy. According to the theory of reciprocal altruism developed by Trivers, organisms who behave altruistically will have others behave the same to them and hence they themselves will later be benefited. Also, helping the needy contributes to the well-being of society as stated above. This, in turn, contributes to the well-being of the individual as they are a member of society and dependant on its health. only do they have an obligation to society to fulfill it but in a way, they have it to themselves. What they dole out will come directly back to them. Also, it is important to note the definition I provided for need. Anyone can be involved in situations and cases in which they need the help of others. For example, one could easily be involved in a disaster where they would need blood or financial assistance. Yet if one does not feel that it is their obligation to help others in need, how they can they be expected to be helped in their own time of need?
            I now stand ready for cross-examination.  

My First Debate Meet

In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. In, In, In, oh God...

That was basically my thought process as I walked in the door of the school the meet was at. Everyone, people who have debated already included, said I would be fine but of course I can never listen to them. I was struggling to keep it together.

What if I suck? What if it's terrible? What it my opponent is a senior? What if I'm not really good enough, never will be? What if I'm not good at this and then will have to get out and not have this on my college transcript? Will my other clubs be good enough. Oh God, what if I humiliate myself and they think I'm terrible and stupid?

Even as I went in the buildings, the thoughts wouldn't stop. Fortunately, I was able to talk to one of the other kids there (she was shadowing, not debating). And then it came to actually do it...
 Strangely enough, when I was actually about to debate, I didn't feel as nervous as I thought I would (my meds kicking in, I suppose. I feel calm at random moments now. Yay!). I still had the racing thoughts but it felt kind of weird, like something was missing. And then I saw my opponent and as her brown eyes bore into mine, I steeled myself to debate. Somehow I dissociated a little bit and this strange surreal feeling began. And then she began to speak

Of course, I was creamed my first round. Creamed. It turns out that she was a junior, which might explain it, and the fact that I didn't do a number of things that would have been useful to do (like writing down her contentions, or points). She sounded so mean when she was talking, saying how terrible my points were and how I totally didn't link to her contentions. Afterwards I got to talking to her and she turned out to be really nice (and that it was just debate talk), as well as the judge who gave us feedback.

I actually won my second round. It turns out that the people putting everything together screwed up and I got neg, my better argument, for the second time in a row. I was up against another kid who was doing it for the first time. By no means was he bad but I was just better and somehow my points flowed more.

My final round was close. I ended up talking to my competitor for the first fifteen minutes because the judge who was supposed to judge us wasn't there. She had interesting views and also was a socialist; we talked about school and different forms of government until we realized that our judge was supposed to be there. I suppose that made her harder to oust in the end, as well as our nervousness over debating a side I didn't get make minimal edits to my aff argument).

As usual, all that worrying was for nothing. I ended up ending it eating pizza I bought and having a very interesting conversation with a girl I met that resumed on the bus (yay, another intelligent person! I don't find those too often).

I'll get to repeat the process two weeks from now with possibly less stress.