Friday, June 22, 2012

Going Away

I feel like I should go away skipping and with Spongebob and Patrick by my side like in the movie. Tomorrow I am going to embark in my family car and then drive for five hours and a half to Virginia. Sleepaway camp looms in my future, and I can’t quite make out how it’s going to end up. I feel like I’m going on an adventure and yet I keep thinking of all of the things that could go wrong along the way.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve went away to sleepaway camp, of course. I have went away one time before and it was one of (if not the best) experience of my life. I went there because the camp I’m going to now and wanted to go to before was cancelled. My mom searched and voila, it was there. It was different though, and didn’t ask so much of me. My parents were an hour away, could visit in between and the camp was just girls. Not to mention I could exercise to relieve my weight anxieties.

In this camp, I’ll be alone. I thought that I was close to family friends, but it turns out I’m an hour away. If something happens, I’m screwed and I’ll have to deal with it on my own. I’m thinking about so many things that can go wrong that I feel like I’ve regressed to the early days of my anxiety. 

Not to mention, there will be boys at that camp. That factor alone makes me think twice about I’m going to apply my makeup. Think twice about the way that I’ll act. All of the things I might say to them. What if I like one of them and I get tongue-tied? What if that destroys any possible chance that I might have concerning friendship? I have a feeling that the boys down in camp won’t be as stupid as most of the boys who go to my school and that makes things so much worse for me.

I’m making sure to pack all of the right things and to think of things to say to people and how to apply makeup but… I keep thinking about all of the things that I might not get right and all of the things that I’m not thinking about.

Overthinking things usually makes them worse. When I show people how much I’m thinking about things, it makes me look paranoid and vulnerable. I can’t help it, though. I might be able to hide most of my anxiety, but every once in a while an anxiety attack becomes visible and even can turn into a full-fledged panic attack. 

It will be fine, of course. I’m going to be surrounded by all writers this time and not just artists in general. I will be in my element with all of them (many of whom will end up being just like me probably) and I will feel like I belong. I’m probably going to be able to talk to them because I’ll understand them and they’ll understand me; for that reason, I’m probably going to be making quite a bit of friends.

Despite what everyone around tells me and what I tell myself, I’m still freaking out. It will be okay, though. It will be.

In the end, I’ll be smiling and shaking my head at my current worrying self. Until then, I’ll be spending a lot of nights with a racing mind and my eyes wide open.

Note: Because I’ll be in camp, I will be on a two- week hiatus from this blog. I might post a blog post or two when I have the time (and might even post some that I wrote while I was there), but I will most likely be dormant. Don’t worry, I haven’t died. I don’t know how I’ll be though.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top American Taboos (And Why I Think They're Stupid)

No one should ever say or do a taboo, not unless they want to face social ridicule. Taboos are those naughty things a good person would never say. Never think about and never mention in any good conversation, no matter what the nature of the conversation is about. Americans have a particularly interesting set of taboos instilled by our Puritan ancestors that for some reason still exist today. Recently, however, Senator Lisa Brown of Michigan broke all of these taboos by uttering the word "vagina" when she was speaking about laws regarding new abortion restrictions. Clearly, it is amazing that she had the nerve to say such an ugly word in a professional setting. After all, the word "vagina" is far from the clinical and professional word for female anatomy. Though this happened a couple of days ago, the buzz seems to be even greater than ever so I find the conversation quite relevant.

Lisa Brown struck the nerve of the Senate by hitting on all of the greatest American taboos. Strike number one: the word "vagina" alone conjures the idea of sex (even if not in a sexual context, such as in this case), which clearly is a dirty curse word. Strike number two: She was challenging their ideas on abortion (which is a controversial subject enough in the great U.S.A) which they claim to have moral outrage over because of their religion. Strike number three: In her entire speech (as a woman), she was voicing her opinions on politics. Clearly, since her speech hit it out of the ball park with all of the taboos, she was regarded with a reaction like the ones below. Because of this juvenile reaction, she was eventually banned from speaking on the floor of the Senate along with her friend who proposed restrictions on vasectomies alongside abortions. 

she just say


Okay, so why are these taboos stupid? Or at least why is it stupid to make these topics as taboo as they are? That's a good question. Let's work our way down from the kind of taboo which is least offensive to mention to the one most offensive to talk about. 

4) Cursing 
Cursing, both in words and gestures, is one of the most profane acts that one can do in the course of a conversation. God forbid, one does it in the presence of a child! Never mind the child is A) not a child but a teenager who already curses or B) a kid who has heard it already. Cursing is the ultimate rite of passage for a kid, who most likely is already tentatively expanding their curse word vocabulary already. Because cursing is considered so terrible, that only makes kids want to say curse words more. Wow. What an odd concept! Now, I will agree that cursing has a time and a place. In more formal setting, cursing shouldn't be permitted because a more formal set of language should be expected and used. The reason small children shouldn't be cursing is that they probably would have a hard time distinguishing the time and place to curse, as many adults do.  However, the occasional slip-up (common in frequent potty mouths like myself) should be forgiven. If cursing probably was minimized in its sheer horror, kids probably wouldn't curse as much or at least would curse at appropriate times. As long as the said curse word is not used to degrade or harm anyone, it pretty much has as much value as any other word does. Keep in mind that one can degrade and harm people without the use of "curse words" as people do all of the time. 

Disclaimer: I know Lisa Brown didn't curse, but in the eyes of the Senate she did. Thus, this taboo is included. 

3) Politics
Politics is also considered the big taboo in a conversation. Mostly, politics is considered taboo because people have such strong opinions regarding it causing fights to break out because of it (certainly the case when two particular uncles happen to be in the same room, one a strong conservative and one a strong liberal). While this is understandable, this is simply a classic case of people needing to grow up, put aside their differences and talk like actual adults. Another thing to consider is that the general public seems to be quite ignorant on actual politics and simply has emotion rather than facts on their side, and most people do not like being proven wrong or ignorant. Most of all, religion (see below) often decided people's political opinions especially in the case of social issues. This particular taboo is quite a shame in my opinion, because I consider myself quite informed on politics and would love to talk more about it to adults who know what they're talking about. 

Note: Controversial social issues like abortion and gay marriage fall under this category.

2) Religion
If politics is an emotional topic to talk about, religion is a million times worse. As a certain person explained to me (who happens to be a very devout Jew), "Religion is pretty much how people think. It is their entire worldview. To change that would be to change everything they know." In her case, her religion provides her a community, a sense of self-worth and her sense of morality (or so she thinks. I happen to believe she lives a life based on morality quite different than what is stated in the Torah/ Old Testament, which is actually quite disturbing). Religion, of course, is just an idea that deserves as much scrutiny as any other idea. It does not deserve to be put on a pedestal. However, because people base so much off of it in the U.S., it cannot be challenged. Again, this is also quite a shame because every idea deserves to be challenged and checked for holes (especially when it's pretty much leading our country and our politics to a point bordering on theocracy in certain states). Despite my problems with it, I actually happen to find it quite interesting and I love having theological discussions with religious people who won't shove it down my throat (alas, this is even harder to find than adults who know what they're talking about when it comes to politics). 

1) Sex
At least, in certain contexts, I can talk about religion and politics though they are both topics I must tread delicately. Sex, however, is something that cannot be talked about or mentioned even in the presence of dignified adults. Hell, nothing even having anything remotely connected to sex can be discussed or imagined including nudity or the mention of "private parts". Of course, there is a loophole to this. Because sex is so dirty and bad, that only makes most people want to talk about it more and think about it more. In our culture, it can be discussed but only if it is hinted at or put in profane and degrading terms. Because of this, many might call our culture sex-saturated, but I think that this is ultimately because we are taught that we must want sex but we ultimately must be ashamed of that urge and recognize its sheer disgusting quality. Rather than recognizing it as a basic and necessary bodily function that we should enjoy and understand when ready and able, we have to slink around it while secretly obsessing over it. Also, there is an incredible difference in the way in which female sexuality is dealt with versus male sexuality and the sexism of this can be clearly noted in cases like Vaginagate. Ultimately though, it is only in America would one find more parents willing to let their young child play violent video games and watch violent, gory films than watch movies with even the slightest sexual innuendo (which would probably go over their heads anyway). Hence we produce a culture of boys who shout "penis" in an attempt at sounding bad-ass and men who shrink away at the word "vagina".  

Clearly, most of these taboos are ridiculous and treated out of hand. Hopefully, Vaginagate will expose how silly most of it is.  None of these topics should be considered dirty and unapproachable, but rather topics to be handled by mature adults who will not giggle or shout. The year is 2012, and it's not the seventeenth century. Grow up. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Finishing a Novel

When a writer writes a novel, it has to end at some point. This point comes regardless of whether the writer wants it to or not. He or she finishes the first draft, only to get started on the grueling process of editing, re-editing and then editing again. Such is how it goes. In my opinion though, the first draft is what it really is. While editing is half of writing, the first draft to me is really the essence of writing. The joy of it. For two years, I wrote the first draft to my 772 page book The Face Behind the Mirror. Just last night, I wrote my last word of it. My baby has left me, never to return. Sure, I’ll edit it from time to time (seriously edit it. It needs a lot of work) but… It won’t be the same. I will never be a citizen of that world again but I will just be a traveler. A visitor. Ultimately, I will be an outsider to that world. 

It’s a strange feeling, ending a novel. Most of the time, it feels natural. It even is a happy feeling, one of relief and celebration. I got it done and it was one of the few novel ideas that ended up surviving! It is this way because I foresaw the ending long before it has come, and so I have prepared. It isn’t sad, because I’ll just jump on to the next idea I have and edit at the side.  

This is different, though. Two years has given me time to bond with this particular novel. I got to know each of the characters and understand them and feel for them. I grew close to the story and these characters, explored each intricacy of their life in a way I haven’t done with any other book. I kept predicting when the end of the book would come, but I couldn’t end it there. I even got sick of the book and just wanted it to end already but it seemed like it just wouldn’t. The book seemed endless. But… It has ended. The book has ended and now I feel mixed feelings inside.

Of course, now I can focus on different projects that I have. I’ll have less things to be able to deal with. In a way, I’m freed from the snare that a novel naturally entraps me in. That’s definitely a positive thing. A book sucks up a lot of time and energy by itself, and that kind of sucks when I have so many ideas floating around in my head. I already have an idea that could easily take its stead, although I'm hoping to finish my other projects before I deal with it.    

When I am able to deal with new projects, I will be able to deal with fresh ideas that will give me some of the greatest highs I receive as a writer instead of the stagnant ideas that often force me into the terrible terrain of writer's block. 

But, but... This particular phase in my life is over. There's a bittersweet feeling in knowing that part of my life is now gone and I am off to the next thing already. A lot has happened to me over the span of two years, and in certain spots of the novel, I can see my thinking and even the mood of the story change as well as they see certain things. It'incredible. One of the characters that I based my a former friend off of, for instance, totally changed in personality because of how my perception of her changed (from someone I admired, someone who I just really wanted to pay attention to me, someone I was seeing in a worse and worse light, someone I hated and now a generally good person who made a few selfish decisions). Did she really change? A little bit but not really. How I saw her was what changed. The ironic thing is that the story itself took place over two years, too.  

I invested so much time and energy and love to these characters. It will feel weird letting them go. And yet... I know that I've told all I've needed to tell. Ultimately, the time has come already.

Alas, my time with The Face Behind the Mirror is done. I will go on to bigger and better things soon enough.

The book has ended. This time has come. Now I just need to accept it.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Being the Nice One


People often call me "nice". This isn't TOO much of a problem most of the time. Actually, I kind of like being nice. The term "nice" is so often couple with "boring" or "safe" or whatnot. I actually believe that I am a step above "nice" and step into the "kind" and even "genuinely caring and warm-hearted" category.

Unfortunately, being nice has so often made me into a spineless jellyfish kind of girl. The proverbial doormat in the lives of other people. Sometimes I feel like I have flashing lights on my forehead screaming at the world to take advantage of me. Times like these make me want to turn to these assholes and just have the nerve to tell them to fuck off. So often there seem to be less scrupulous people who take advantage of any kind of kindness I give them and suck me into their trap by pretending to be vulnerable and in need of a friend. Or simply pretending to be nice too. And well... Some outcasts can be very nice. Others can be strange and possessive. Looks like I found one of those people, although he's turning out to be one of the strangest yet.

He seemed nice at first. Most of them do. An old friend from elementary school who friend-requested me on Facebook, I looked forward to meeting up with him and reminiscing with him. For a while, I did but... Then he startedto get weird. Really weird (scroll past this paragraph and the next if you want to avoid the story).  I brushed off the statuses about porn, masturbation and general horniness as a guy thing and maybe an attempt to fit in with certain peers. When my sister (who never liked him even back then) showed me certain posts he made to a girl that seemed creepy and stalkerish, I told her that it could've been something between them but that I would be careful. Clearly, I gave this kid a chance. And then... Then he messaged me about socialism and wanted to talk about why I was one (I said so under my political beliefs). Again, it seemed normal at first and even seemed intellectual. When we were both on at the same time, we started to really chat. And hen it got weird. He started saying how he supported many of Hitler's ideas and how Nazism most closely resembled his beliefs. Weird but I asked him why. And then... Then he talked about "removing the weeds from his garden to create a more perfect race" (this didn't include Jews, gays and black people like it did with Hitler but "useless people" like addicts and mentally ill homeless people).When I asked him if he was trolling, he said he was completely serious and continued. People would be monitored to oversee their uselessness. I unfriended him when he said he wanted to take over Colombia rather than the U.S., being as it was a more vulnerable country. This same kid said earlier that he preferred less government involvement in business.  That's when my creep-o-meter went on full blast and I knew that I just had to unfriend him already.

So what does this have to do with me being nice? Well, I felt guilty about this. I felt guilty about it while I did it. I kept telling myself that he was probably doing this for attention and that he was lonely. Being as I just unfriended him instead of blocking him entirely, he messaged me back and seemed hurt. He said he just wanted a "professional conversation" and that I "was just like the people who wanted to hurt [him] and change [him]." Not to mention how five friends had already unfriended him that week and how people like me made him hurt himself. Okay, grade-A wacko for sure. I really should've known. Those last comments made me feel really guilty and wondered if I did the right thing with him. Various people assured me that I did but I still felt bad. I still do feel bad (even though he started a conversation about me with his also-crazy friend in the status he originally tagged me in about my beliefs about socialism).

Why am I always the nice one? Of course, there are times when being nice is genuinely... well nice. Sometimes it's nice to make people smile and to know that I've made their day. It feels good being there for my friends and for my family. Sometimes it's just nice to know that I'm the one person who hasn't hurt them and who continues not to hurt them. Being nice means that at least I do things that aren't TRULY regrettable; my mistakes have not been in deliberately hurting another person.

Then there is the downside in being the nice one. As the saying goes, the nice guy finishes last. In a world often dominated by psychopaths, it's hard to be nice. Being nice often means giving up opportunities, taking the hit and leaving yourself open to be taken advantage of. All a nice person has on their side is a fluttery feeling in their stomach and an inability to be mean.

And boy, people take advantage of the nice! So many people pretend they are vulnerable, showing some plight of theirs to pull me in to some sick thing that have in mind. Or they beat me down because I find it so difficult to fight back. Or they pretend they are genuine and that they care because they know that that will draw me to them and then they become passive-aggressive. Much of the time people mow my wishes down because they don't even realize they're there, something that's my fault as much as it is theirs.  I am less of a gullible nice person than I used to be, but I have my moments. Sometimes, I still feel like my bleeding heart is fair game for so many bullies here and that it's only a matter of time until I encounter my next bully. There are so many different things they can do. Hell, even pseudo charities and online cyber criminals take advantage of the nice much of the time. As far as the nice thing goes, we're screwed.  

A lot of my problem is that I associate "being nice" with "having no backbone" and I am not sure if the two have a correlation. A lot of the time, that's the case. I'm slowly but surely working on that, though. Still, I wonder. There must be a little bit of bitchniness need to tell someone to just fuck off and leave them alone. Or to simply tell them to cut it out. A bit of selfishness there, almost. That's alright and even preferable, but that still stands. If I became less passive, I probably would become less nice which would cut down on many of the cons of being a nice person. 

Ultimately, though, I think there is more to be gained by being a nice person rather than being a mean one. If I had the choice between being the uber-nice person I can be and being a total bitch, I would choose being the uber-nice person. I still wish sometimes that I could be a little bit meaner, if even just for self-defense or something of the sort. Or maybe just a more confident nice person. Either one would do, I am sure. Maybe these things would prevent these things from happening. Nonetheless, I believe that being kind is something that is ultimately rewarding and my acts of kindness and caring towards other people does make the world a little bit more of a better place.

Being nice might have its drawbacks, but that's not all it is. So I might have to deal with the occasional weirdo, but hopefully it will pay off in the end.  Maybe the nice guy does finish last, but at least the nice guy started the race. At least the nice guy would turn around to help someone else if they fell down on the race. At least, those people make the world better for everyone else.

Oh, and kids, strangers aren't the only ones who can hurt you on the Internet. ;)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Computer Problems

I grew up in the age of technology, am still growing up there. I learned how to type when I was three, typing rows and rows and rows of letters before I knew how to write. While adults might not be used to instant gratification, I am used to it on the computer.

Lately, both my laptop and the main computer have been having issues. It's been turning off randomly saying that the computer has to shut down to prevent issues. To clear the software if it happens again. Alas, the software is now being cleared at Best Buy by the Geek Squad. I'm writing this on my mom's work computer.  

Usually, I'm so used to just getting frustrated and turning it off. Pressing the power button until it turns off so I can restart it. Sometimes that's not even good enough and that's when I end up getting really, really mad about things. 

Plus, this whole computer thing has caused a bit of family tension. Especially with my dad and I.

Of course, I think my dad suspects I'm going on really wacky sites on the computer and getting all of these viruses. I'm  not going to deny that a healthy bit of teen hormones and curiosity have led me to some places I probably shouldn't have been, but I really doubt that these sporadic searches that I have done a long time ago led me to where we are now (anyway, the never-ending flow of pop-ups I receive whenever I try to watch a show online has cleared me of this curiosity). Even the Best Buy guy seems to be on my side about this, claiming it to be software incompatibility.

I'm in the crapper for another reason. Father's Day is looming and I usually make my card and present poem on it. Unfortunately, the main computer is the only one connected to the printer. So it looks like I'm screwed.

It seems the computer issue seems to spread to other issues in my life, unfortunately.

I suppose it will be better now, though. It is truly the most irritating thing in the world, to just be online and then have something freeze up or not work. Especially when you're in the middle of something. Even though the computers are good most of the time, I still feel total waves of hatred whenever they don't work. It's amazing how I'm reduced to screaming at the computer and screaming all types of profanity its way (or wanting to, depending on my mood and depending on what I was doing at the time). I just pushed it away, but this was happening so frequently that I could no longer ignore it. And so here I am.

Computer problems suck because they're just so inconvenient. It's not like anyone dies or something. They're purely first-world problems. Yet they're irritating enough to ruin entire days or worse. For some people, the loss of a computer can be the end of the world or the end of the day. I'm not guiltless in this, of course because they're enough to fill me with frustration within pure seconds.  Computer problems are the force pulling the plug to my life machine. 

Most people's reaction to computer problems really is amusing to watch from afar, particularly the more impatient ones of the world. I certainly know that my mom can be amusing to watch if you're not caught in the crossfire with her yelling and pacing and clear irritation. Then, of course, is the interesting part when she tries to deal with it herself before giving up and calling someone. Ah, yes, as a frequent user of the computer, she and I are sucked in the trap. There is probably some deep psychological root to all of this. People's reaction to computer problems probably stem from the instant gratification that we are accustomed to as well as the fast-paced society that we live in.

There is, of course, something particularly sad to me about them all. The sad part about my current computer problems is that I'm really jonesing for them right now. Oh, how I miss it now! Hopefully, Geek Squad can take all of the computer problems away. At the very least, I can be thankful that that is my only problem right now.

I grew up in the age of technology, yes, but I have been a willing participant in it. I have agreed to be sucked in the trap. And so I must deal with the risks that came with that, the risk that happened to unfold now. I must deal with a little bit of withdrawal.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Freedom in Summertime

School is something endured 180 days of the year. School is that weight of stress carried like a boulder as its frantic students hustle from Point A to Point B, trying frantically to get everything done as they do. The days not spent in school are spent taking a breather. I have been taking a breather in the two days I've been out of school and it feels like complete freedom. Of course, I would have blogged about my first day of freedom, but certain events seemed more important.

These days have been filled with absolutely... nothing. It has been absolutely glorious. I woke up at one (a record for me. I stayed up extra late watching A Day in the Life the night before) to find my mom home. And then I spent the rest of the day on the computer and doing.... nothing! These days have had the most wonderful theme to them, and I am drinking it up.

Nothing can put a damper to this feeling of complete bliss right now. Absolutely nothing.. Not even two low final grades. My mom saying,  "You know the kids from [insert name of district next to ours] have to still have to go to school" only made me feel a slight twinge of sympathy before going on my merry way in continuing to bask in this newfound freedom. This freedom makes me so easily feel like I'm on top of the world, even when I'm obviously not

I have absolutely nothing to worry about. Nothing at all. Of course, I will probably worry anyway because that's how I am, but I will have no "legitimate" worry. No terrible thing looms over my head like a dark cloud, obstructing my writing and force me to cut it all short. That will be loads of fun.

Not only do I not have anything to worry about but I have everything to look forward to. I have two sleepaway camps, weekends at my shore house, sleepovers and general laziness. I have more than two months to do all of this too! Talk about lucky me. I should be grateful.

I don't mean to brag, though. I am very lucky but not everyone is this summer and I don't know the situations of the readers here on the blog. Of course, there are so many unfortunate situations to think about. On a darker side, I can't help but think about those who are less fortunate than I am this summer. People have to work during the summer, unfortunately- both at maintaining year-round careers and at earning some spending money and in some cases even college tuition and money to survive (which I won't have to do until I'm in college, fortunately). Worse yet, there are those who are forced back into volatile and sometimes even abusive family situations with not even school as a reprieve anymore.

Still, while I remember those, I need to focus on the positive. I have to look forward to my awesome summer and enjoy every second of it. Summer is a lucky and rare opportunity.  It's so short too, because those 180 days will come quickly enough.  I will continue the theme of doing nothing in the meantime.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


It's that dread "h" word- "hospital". The knowledge that a loved one is in a hospital brings forth a wave of fear. Hospitals are the place where the smell of hand sanitizer and the taste of sorrow seem to meet itself in unity, except maybe in the maternity ward. Hospitals are supposed to be a place to heal, although for me they are a place that makes me want to throw up. Just the smell of latex and antiseptic make me want to run as fast as I can.

Finally, my mother is out of that nasty prison after a week long fight of colitis that she caught after taking antibiotics after her root canal. Of course, I'm not the kind of person to dwell on that kind of stuff until it's over with, because negative thinking never helps one get through things. Then I can say how much of a shitty experience it was and how much I totally hated it. Now that she's home and I don't have to visit her there anymore, I can finally end up doing that.

Hospitals suck. There's no nice way to put it. It smells, it's noisy, it's hard to get sleep and on top of that, the doctors keep poking at you and you're uncomfortable from laying in that damn hospital bed day in and day out, and, oh yeah, you're sick. Sometimes, your sickness comes with a host of nasty symptoms. Not to mention, sometimes people die and you get to hear about it. I know all this not only from what I've heard from loved ones that have been in the hospital, but from personal experience. The very memory of all that crap makes me shudder.

The food sucks, too, or at least the food you get to eat as a patient. That is, if you even get to eat at all because sometimes you can't. It's either the pain medicine that makes you nauseous or it's the anesthesia from the surgery you just had, but either way, you can't.

Despite what my experiences have been, it's even worse seeing people I love in a hospital bed. Seeing my mom there like that, woozy from medication, was difficult. And then not being able to really talk to her and feeling like I never really saw her in the first place. Not to mention not having her home. Seeing her wince and writhe made me feel like I was in pain too.

To top it off, the doctor said they would have sent her to the ICU if she was elderly, but that "she isn't because she's young and healthy". And then she told my father that they wanted to have him there so they could write a "living testament", a will. I was terrified that somehow she would die, even though everyone around me kept telling me that she wouldn't.

Visiting my mother wasn't the first time I went to the hospital. I also went on behalf of my cousin, uncle and my grandfather. When I had to see my grandfather, he was in the ICU and that was even worse. My uncle from Utah had to fly down to see him and then my mom kept getting upset because they thought he would die soon. My sister and I had to sit out in the waiting room because my mom didn't want us to see him like that and we heard one nurse tell this family the news that their loved one died. The only thing that saved him was the fact that he happened to still be very fit for his age.

Hospitals are terrible, terrible places most of the time. I'm glad to be free of it, at least for now.

Freedom from hospitals now mean that I can spend time with my mom any time I want. That I won't have to go up the elevator worrying how she is.

Hospitals are, for the most part, houses of pain. They house the sick as they try to get better despite it all, as well as relatives sick at heart. And yet, the world outside of them goes on, unaware. So that "h" word just becomes the word we refuse to think about, the one we hope we won't hear.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Last Day of School (As a Freshman)

The last day of school is a day circled in red several times over. It is a date seared into the minds of weary students as they anxiously wait an end to what seems like infinite torture. For me, that date has finally come. School is over. Over! When I got out, I admit I did a happy dance of sorts.

Most of the time, the last day of school is much later. Unbearably later. Yet because of how the calendar fell and the weather occurred, I happened to have today as a last day and it was a half day at that. My best friend's birthday will occur on the nineteenth and she will not worry about having to go back to school the Monday after. Yay! I will be able to enjoy her party in peace.

As evidenced by my earlier blog posts, I was extremely nervous about the start of high school. Nervous enough to toss and turn at night, to feel sick to my stomach for days to come. Of course, it wasn't nearly as bad as it seemed. I managed to survive and even flourish under the conditions that were present. Of course, I don't really have the need to feel the same nostalgia as some seniors but still... I still definitely feel something there. Almost a little tug of sorrow.

The last day of school means freedom. I don't have to worry about homework. There are no projects from hell, no tests to study for. Instead, I am free to spend days upon days doing absolutely nothing and I can do that without consequence. I can go to sleep when I want to and I can wake up when I want to. Nothing will dictate my summer days and nobody will be telling me what I can and cannot do with myself during the course of the day.

That freedom brings a rush. Such a rush of joy and relief. So much of my anxiety stems from school and now I don't have to deal with it. So much of my regrets have to deal with social situations that I will happen to have a lot less of.

The last day of school is such a contrast to the first day of school. The first day of school seems so recent too, almost like it just happened. I can still see my scared, freshman self walking nervously through the doors and getting lost most of the time. Usually, I feel a little buzz on the first day. I'm sick of summer at that point and the school year seems so new. Nervousness clouded these feelings on the first day of high school and I didn't feel this way on the first day of eighth grade for some reason (to this day, I consider this an omen). On the other hand, the last day is in direct contradiction to this feeling. On last days, I want summer and not school. I feel dread and boredom as I drag myself in. I count down instead of counting up and looking towards the year as a whole.

I spent the second half of the afternoon doing nothing with all of my friends. It was absolutely awesome and it really hit home on that freedom thing and doing absolutely nothing. Hopefully, my summer will be spent with friends and relaxing.

Until then, I'm kicking back and calling the shots.

The last day of school brings a plethora of feelings inside me, but I'll worry about them later.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Sides Of Ourselves No One Ever Sees

"We all wear masks and  the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing our own skin."
-Andre Berthiaume

Most people are not honest. They lie; they cheat; they backstab; they pretend. Most of all, they hurt and are hurt beneath the smiles they radiate to the world. For instance, if one were to look at everyone's Facebook pages, they would see what they want everyone to see- a tough guy, a happy-go lucky popular girl, a stoner who doesn't give a fuck. Our Facebook pages show a better and more polished us. In a world that encourages us to conform, our real selves are often hidden and shown to a select few. Ultimately, there are so many sides of ourselves that most don't see.

This hiding is often for good reason. People often take advantage, pinpoint weakness and then dig in. It's hard to be ourselves in the face of adversity. Yet sometimes, I feel the urge to just be myself all of the way. To just scream and scream and scream and just do what I want to do. Yes, I've been hurt but that age-old urge to unload and be honest still persists.

It always amazes me when I see those glimpses of people that totally contradict the images that they present to everyone else. I'm writing this post because I'm still remembering the glimpse of my sister that I saw once and because of a video I saw on YouTube. Usually, she portrays herself as a mean, hardened bitch. Sometimes, I believe her to be that way. Yet then, I saw a different side of her. When I explained how frustrated I was at how she often treated me and how I often felt like she didn't care, I saw it. And then I told her that if she kept treating people like that, then she would push them away for good. She cried, telling me that she did care but that she couldn't trust people with the truth and that she had to keep them away from her because of that. In those moments, I saw her for the scared, hollow, insecure and very sad little girl that she is. Everything made sense in that moment and I saw my sister in a whole new light. Soon afterwards, she returned back to her tough self but it was too late. I saw it and still see it now.

The above example isn't the only thing. Sometimes, I see people pouring their hearts out in comments or status updates and I wonder why they don't do that in real life. One time, I saw my very hard, very bitter teacher break down in the middle of class. Another, I saw my very easygoing teacher fall into a fit of rage. Of course, I have seen other students have emotional breakdowns multiple times (both in the classroom and outside in the hallways and such). 

People are so complicated, so much more multifaceted than we might ever believe. What most people show is so far from the truth and yet so often we judge people so easily on what they show. We only see the two-dimensional side of them when there is really so much more.

Yet people judge so easily. They judge based on one facts or two. They see the masks that people show and they hold beauty contests on that. When I think about it, it really is quite ridiculous. I admit to making judgments too, though; I make judgments because making judgments makes me feel safe.

Still, realizing I don't know everything makes me so kind to other people. Knowing that I don't know everything guides everything I do. Sometimes I don't even want to be, but I feel like I have to. While some people are simply assholes, many supposed assholes are really good at heart and being an assholes is a facade. Even assholes are assholes for a reason. When my sister puts me down, that's why I can't put her down too. When 

I myself am a paradox, a living oxymoron. I am outgoing in some situations and shy in many others. I am smart yet I am stupid. I love school but I hate it. I analyze things and yet I take them for face value. I am confident in some things yet I am insecure with others. I speak passionately, yet I am passive. I wear my heart on my sleeve, yet I hide what I feel most of the time. In other words, I am human. If I am so complicated, then what about other people?

I can't help but think about how much easier life would be if we all just were honest and showed the world who we really were. Showed all of the different sides of each other. Showed what we really thought and really felt all of the time. Of course, current factors make this impossible. There are so many people who don't want to know the truth. Still, if we all put aside our differences and made an agreement to never intentionally hurt someone... The world would be a better place.

I crave honesty and truth. I crave it from the people I know and I crave to be honest and truthful without negative repercussions. Maybe one day I can find that. I don't want perfection, because no one is perfect. I just want the truth, plain and simple. This very urge is probably what led me to pour my heart out in my writing, as a matter of fact, because I had to pour it somewhere.

No one is perfect and no one should pretend to be. They should just be them. That should be alright, in and of itself. Yet even as I say that, I cannot bring myself to be fully me. Is that alright too?

Maybe one day, these sides will be brought to the light. Maybe one day everyone (or most people) will find someone they can show all of their sides too. Until then, they will be sides no one ever sees, hidden behind our masks.

Friday, June 8, 2012


It is a plastic replacement for an age-old practice. Different name, similar thing. Retainers bind my teeth like a corset and then they encase my teeth and trap them. With them in my mouth, I talk in a strange manner, I am kept from eating little nibbles of food at the side (because that would require me to take it out, put it in my case and only then eat it), and I feel generally out of sorts. Just when I thought my braces horror was over, I now have to deal with this. The retainer. It is my last and final step on my journey in orthodontia and, according to the contract my dad signed "indefinite".

My only reprieve is when I eat and when I brush. Of course, I savor those scant moments in time. My orthodontist gave me a pass so that it wouldn't distract me during finals and I also didn't wear them last night because I couldn't fall asleep with them on. That's about it, thought. For the rest of the time... I must wear them. I must wear them and deal with the plastic coating against my teeth and against my gums as I try to carry on with life. While it is oh-so-tempting just to skip out on the whole thing, I know that that would only bite me in the ass. Plus, I always have nagging parents to deal with, which is never something that's fun. Oh, not to mention my insecurities if I were to have bucked teeth on top of everything else that I have to deal with now.

In truth, the pain faced by my braces was worse. Much worse. At least I don't have my teeth reined back by strange metal things and at least I don't have to deal with prodding and poking and aching and general ugliness. I don't have to deal with keys and snapping rubber bands and things of that sort. While this does feel incredibly uncomfortable, it doesn't hurt all that much. My bottom one hurts when I put it in, but that's probably more to do with my gum issues than anything else I'm sure. Also, my retainer happens to be invisible, which is even better for me because I don't have to see an ugly metal thing staring  back at me. I really shouldn't complain, I suppose, and yet...

It just feels.... odd. So odd. Retainers are that so alien plastic compressor keeping my teeth aligned. I can't help but feel the need to feel them with my tongue and to just take them out. My retainer exists as an intruder in my mouth, and I just want to kick it out once and for all with a dainty pluck of my fingers and nice, hard tug. Yet this cannot be so.

Of course, if I wear them every day, it shouldn't hurt. They will only work if they are worn every day, simply because something cannot be preserved if it is not covered in preservatives. My teeth is that something and the retainer is the preservative.

I have to wear this all the time for three months. Then I can wear it only at nights then every other night then so on. In two years, I'll only have to wear it for a half an hour every day. Still, it won't stop. I'll have to wear this the rest of my life. I'm better off than my mother, I guess, who had to wear braces for ten years and still has a crooked set of bottom teeth. Curse my bad genetics!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fear of the Unknown

Fear of the unknown is enough to grip and not let go, a bug that bites and bleeds until you are left cold and bloodless. It's enough to take you in a stranglehold and take all of the oxygen out of you. In life, so many different people allow themselves to be held back by it and allow it to kill them in the end. Part of what makes the unknown scary (well, all of it actually) is the fact that it is the unknown. It is that x factor. You don't know what's going to hit you and so you brace for everything. You let your mind take over and prepare you for the worst, watching over your shoulder just because you think you should. Reality becomes warped and contorted.

This fear has cropped up many times in my life and is cropping up due to a variety of different things. Fortunately, my determination causes me to push through and take risks that lead to opportunities that I am now thankful for.

I was terrified of the finals. A part of me kept thinking about how much I would end up failing them and how much they would impact my final grade. I kept thinking about how I would need to study, study, study, and yet how I would not be able to do so. In a weak attempt to try to push back my anxieties, I pushed back all studying materials and decided not to think about it. Of course, this only made me think of it even more and that made it worse. Plus, as hard as I tried to diligently fill out my packets, I couldn't help but feel that I wasn't adequately prepared for anything.

As my dad reminded me, I would at least receive something. Still, I could only imagine the tests coming over me like a tidal wave and all of that material we had to cover pulling me under. I could see a big fat F and having to go to summer school. As silly as that is to think of now, this remained a very real fear in at least the back of my brain.

I now know that the finals were easy for me, or at least, manageable. Part of me is still freaking out over the math final, but the more logical part of me is telling me that everything will be fine and that I will pretty much turn out alright. That I might possibly even get a better grade than I expected, one that might even cause a boost in my grade.

Fear of the unknown feels like fear of a variety of different things. It feels like multiple fears, because of the multiple possibilities that could result out of said unknown thing. It feels like everything is coming at you all at once, overwhelming you.

Despite my fear of the unknown being a final, most of my "unknowns" tend to be social situations and I've written about my social fears a variety of occasions here. An upcoming one is a new sleepaway camp I'm going to that happens to be co-ed. Despite my positive experiences with the previous sleepaway camp I went to, this one seems to be totally different. Yet as long as I remain calm and look confident, I should probably be fine with that too.

It's so easy for fears to nab you and to take hold of you.  Yet as long as you allow them to do so, you will never be free. As long as fear is around, it will chain you and hold you back from the things that you love. I personally try to take jabs at my anxiety at every chance I get; each time I ignore it, I give it the finger pretty much.

Every day, I try to take a peek into the abyss that I so fear. I will do so tomorrow and the next day. At that co-ed sleepaway camp and even the following social opportunities. It will probably give me even more fun and enriching experiences. It might give me a few disappointing ones, but that's okay. I'll never know if I don't try and so I will try and try and try. Everyone needs to take a peek into the dark side so they can better understand themselves.

I'll be busy giving the finger-dance to my fear of the unknown. I will walk down that mysterious corridor and I will do so with a smile on my face. Not only will I seize the day, but I will squeeze it of everything it has. My fear of the unknown might sometimes grip me, but I will ultimately work hard to shake it off.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Studying means different things to different people, the methods varying from flashcards to a simple glance-over. Some study for hours and some don't study at all. It looks like finals have come around again. Finals and in every subject. That's right. These tests cover half the year in some classes and the entire year in other subjects.  Studying has been quite the relevant topic and rampant in Facebook pages of my tired teenage friends. Each time it comes up, I look away guiltily. I have a dirty little secret: I rarely, if ever, study. Yes, it is indeed true.

I still don't know how to really study for the finals. I don't really know how to study at all, if I'm to be totally honest. Studying for me is looking things over, and occasionally writing things down. It doesn't really feel like studying, though. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. I feel like it's going to bite me in the ass, especially when college comes around.

I'm good at cramming information in class and then forgetting it. Cram, forget, cram, forget. This isn't the case with concepts like math or grammar at least, but pieces of information. The only information I ever retain is information that I happen to find interesting; this might be useful when I read books, but not so much in most classes. Basically, I'm screwed for Science and certain parts of Spanish.

Have I been shown how to study before? Well, I actually have. Teachers have pointed it out and there was even a whole segment in the reading class I took in middle school. Those never applied to me, though, because I had never needed them. Unfortunately, my memory is a little blurry and a part of me seems to refuse to believe that I need to study now. In addition to not knowing how to study, I have to force myself to sit down and study. I'm one of those kids that my reading teacher talked about, those kids who knew it for a short time but would forget it later.

This battle has been a great deal of stress for me lately, but unfortunately I have still been left unable to deal with it.

I do not know much about studying, not really, but I have heard things about it. I've heard things about all-nighters, although I guess that isn't smart if it deprives me if all my sleep. That's about the only thing I would know how to do.

Another dilemma about studying that I have is the length in which I should do studying. One day? Two? If so, how long? The answers are different for everybody, although I don't know what it's going to be for me. I imagine it would be less but I don't know what that less would be.

I probably could be studying right now. I should, but I can't seem to make myself. I only was able to drag myself to do it once this weekend, and that was when I did the optional review packets. I guess I should do it again soon tomorrow.

People study in different ways and some don't study at all. I can only hope that I'll be one of those people who does well, regardless of either.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Weight Anxiety

If only it was this easy...
Society deems it a sickness, an ugliness that the body must carry. There are many cures, of course, in the forms of diets, pills and all other sorts of things. That evil, of course, is body fat. Americans might be becoming fatter, but there is a greater stigma against fat than ever before. That includes me. An increase in pounds and the fat on my body terrifies me and I want it gone. Fat is just bad and disgusting in ways I can't explain; I've developed such a revulsion to it that it literally makes me sick to think about it. Lately, I've been finding myself thinking in random moments about how I can shrink the number on the scale  and how much I need to exercise. A number on a scale does not define me. It does not make me a better person, and it does not serve me in life. And yet... Somehow it matters to me. Somehow it's enough to ruin my day and stick in my mind.

I know that my weight anxiety stems from my social anxiety and my tendency to exacerbate things in general. It's the one anxiety that I can't seem to erase from my mind, the one thing that I can't rationalize. If I gain enough wait, then I'll be fat and if I'm fat, then I'll be ugly. Of course, if I'm logical, my looks shouldn't hold such a hold over me. And yet... My insecurity over my looks is one thing that doesn't necessarily have to be logical, but it's there nonetheless. It may not be logical, but it is emotional. Instinctive, somehow. I might try to root it out all day long, yet it wouldn't work. It's almost like it's something that's been deeply entrenched in me since I was a young girl.

In many ways, it's the most irritating thing in the world. The idea creeps up in the worst moments and it ruins good things. Right now, I'm terrified to go to camp because of the exercising arrangements there- the gym and the pool are both off-limits. I'm envisioning all of the pounds I'll gain there. My terrified mind has even come up with a solution for this- running up and down the stairs during free time. Today in gym class, we went swimming (the seniors wanted to go in the pool one last time and my teacher acquiesced to this). My teachers wasn't forcing us to do anything, but just wanted us to have fun? So what did I do? Worrying about having to go down the shore house tonight, I actually spent that time doing laps and even did extra because I was frantic about the doughnut I ate earlier in the day.

In a lot of ways, it's also crippling emotionally. I'm left in constant fear all of the time. Every day, I have to worry about how much I eat and how it will affect me. Every day, I have to worry about my exercising habits for that week. It's exhausting. In addition, I also feel bad about myself whenever I feel like I'm not doing enough.

Despite this, I have no willpower when it comes to food. I resist for a little bit when I see desserts, but I eventually give in. When I do, I eat like a madwoman. I yell at myself the entire time I'm doing it, but that  never stops me. When I'm done, I only think about how stupid what I just did was and how I'm going to have to exercise it off later. It's a sick cycle of resist, eat, exercise for me, and it never seems to stop for me. Just never.

I do feel a lot better about myself than I did before I started to exercise. That's something. At least, now I'm in power about these kinds of things. I feel like I'm closer to beauty and that I'm not exactly fat anymore. At the same time, I'm still incredibly worried that I'll gain even the slightest bit and send me right back where I started.

Also, I'll have more time to lose weight in the summer, especially now that my mom has so kindly bought a gym membership. That might help a lot, especially since it has a swimming pool (and I actually found out today that I like swimming).

Usually, I try to end my blog posts on a hopeful note. I don't know if things will ever change here. Hopefully, I'll remain less paranoid. Until then, I guess I'll have to retreat to the treadmill.