Thursday, November 27, 2014

I'd Rather Be Brilliant Than Beautiful

     Being called "beautiful" is something that, at times, I have wanted more than anything. There have been moments in my life where being called beautiful would've been the best compliment I could possibly think to receive. It seems to me that it can mean different things depending on the context or who it's coming from. Sometimes it can simply mean that you're nice to look at and at other times it can be a compliment to you as a person, as a whole. It's a word that I think has lost a lot of meaning. Everyone knows that everyone else wants to hear it. Plenty of girls will simply melt at the word, whether it's genuine or not. It feels like such a cliche, like it's such an easy thing to say and people seem to think it's the greatest compliment to give a girl and I really just don't understand it.

     I'm not saying that I don't appreciate a compliment on my appearance, because I do, just like everyone does. I'm saying that the greatest admiration I receive doesn't need to be based on how I look. I understand that "beautiful" can be a compliment to more than just someone's appearance. It can appeal to them as a person, but from my experience, it's the easiest word to come to someone's mind when they need something nice to say. It requires no actual thought about the person it's being said to. It's easy to call someone beautiful because anyone will appreciate it and it can apply to anyone.

     Easily the greatest compliment I have received is that I'm brilliant. It's a compliment to my mind, my talent, my presence, me as a person. I've been called brilliant a couple times, at most, in my life. It actually means something to say that someone is brilliant and it appeals to so much more than physical appearances. Being beautiful is something that everyone wants, but if you ask me, it's much more valuable to be brilliant. I'd rather be seen as smart or talented or interesting than just beautiful. I don't strive and work at being beautiful like I strive to be successful and educated and good at the things I do. I'd much rather be noticed for the traits that make up my whole self than be noticed for the way I appear.

     Beauty seems to be valued above most other things that a person can be, but it seems to me that it's a fairly useless thing to be. Everyone wants to be beautiful in some way or another, and it's not at all a bad thing to want to be. I just think there are so many more valuable and desirable qualities to have or to want in another person.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Songs For When You're Sad

     It's pretty rare for me to find myself listening to really sad or slow music because I tend to be more into upbeat music, but lately I've needed some sad songs to listen to and I've found some pretty wonderful ones.


Back to Black by Amy Winehouse

The first time I ever heard this song it was sang by a 14 year old girl at an open mic night at a coffee shop and not only was she amazing, but I completely fell in love with this song.

The Morning After by Meg Myers

Landfill by Daughter

Of course Youth is a great one, too.

Three Seed by Silversun Pickups

Skinny Love by Birdy

I love Bon Iver and pretty much any of his songs could be on this list, but I just love Birdy's version of this song.

Crazy by Daniela Andrande

This cover caught me completely off guard but it is so good. I just discovered her on Spotify ten seconds before putting her on this list and her songs are beautiful. She has a cover of Latch and one of Crazy in Love and I would recommend listening to both of those.

Seven Nation Army by Zella Day

I am obsessed with this cover, to say the least.

Sober by Broods

Breathe Me by Sia

Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron and Wine 

If you've seen Twilight, you'll probably recognize this song. I think it was played during the scene where they dance at prom. Anyway, it's a good song.

Anxiety

     The thing about anxiety and panic attacks is that there's no way to escape it. I can try to ignore it, I can try to breathe through it, or I can try to distract myself from it, but it never really disappears. It's difficult to feel completely at ease knowing that the smallest occurrence can cause a panic in me. It's difficult to feel at peace knowing that any inconsistency or disturbance can cause such an unsettling reaction.

     It's easy for someone to tell me "calm down" or "it'll be okay" but it's hard to get past the fact that my stomach is turning, my hands are shaking, I'm short of breath, my toes are tingling, I'm lightheaded, and I'm nauseous. My mind is flooded with thoughts of panic and worst-case scenarios and I just become overwhelmed to the point of tears.

     I'd like to think that logic could overrule my panicky thoughts, but it usually can't. When something that's causing me anxiety is resolved, it doesn't mean I automatically feel better. It's already consumed me and I don't just forget it once it's gone. It lingers and it can take a while for me to stop shaking or feel less sick.

     One of the worst parts is knowing when it's coming. When I can feel something going wrong or my stomach starting to turn or my heart beating faster. It's almost as if I get anxious over the anxiety I know I'm about to have so I just end up more anxious, more quickly. Sometimes it's hard to tell if I actually have a reason to be anxious or if I'm just over thinking myself into anxiety. Either way, it sucks, to say it plainly.

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Favorite Songs Right Now

In no particular order and without sticking to any certain genre, this is some of my favorite music that I've been listening to although I could go on forever if I let myself.


1. Warm Thoughts by Flume

Literally any song by Flume is amazing, though.

2. Your Soul by Hippie Sabotage

3. I Got You by Jack Johnson

This is on the album From Here To Now To You and basically every song on this album is perfect.

4. Soldier On by The Temper Trap

5. Dead Air by  CHVRCHES

This song is part of the Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack, which is awesome as a whole.

6. You by Gold Panda

7. Fever by Peggy Lee

She made music mostly during the 50's and 60's so this song is really old and jazzy.

8. Welcome Home, Son by Radical Face 

9. Ghostwriter by RJD2

10. Sea of Air by Portugal. The Man

This is easily my favorite song they've done and it's on the album Evil Friends.




Friday, November 21, 2014

Mockingjay Part 1 (Spoilers)

   


     Now, when it comes to movies, I may be a little bit biased on what is a good movie or not. Movies are easily my favorite form of entertainment. I can find enjoyment in nearly any movie I watch and I can find something to enjoy about a horrible movie, but Mockingjay Part 1 was far from a horrible movie. Even just leaving the theater I heard lots of chatter about how it wasn't nearly as good as Catching Fire, but I have to disagree. It's almost a different kind of movie even though they're part of the same trilogy.

     Mockingjay is no longer about the actual Hunger Games. It's about the war in Panem and the rebellion fighting against the capital. It is, however, still about survival. It has all the familiar pieces of the first two movies, with Katniss being protective of Peeta and being a symbol for the districts, but even more so. With Peeta captured and being held in the Capital and Gale being in District 13 with Katniss, you can imagine the emotional turmoil.

     I get very emotionally involved in movies and this one jerked my emotions around like crazy. I was literally on the edge of my seat biting my nails and holding my breath the entire movie. It was more emotional than the first two movies and focused so much on the death and horror and destruction surrounding Katniss and the districts. Peeta was broadcasted saying things to try to convince the rebels to back down and quit and with each broadcast, you could see him getting weaker and weaker. It was clear something horrible was being done to him in the Capital and watching him physically and mentally deteriorate and nearly cry each time we saw him tore my heart into a million pieces.

     I've read a couple reviews that didn't particularly like the way the movie ended, but it was the most intense, heartbreaking thing I have ever seen. The acting was the most convincing I have ever seen in a movie. Johanna was saved, Annie was reunited with Finnick, and Peeta was brought back and it seemed as if they were succeeding and making progress in the rebellion. One of the final scenes though, was when Katniss and Peeta saw each other for the first time. Silly me had completely forgotten what happened in the book and had a near heart attack when Peeta attacked Katniss. He wasn't himself, he was barely human, and he was horrifying.

     Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence's acting in this scene was insane. Her reaction and near death had me terrified even though I've read the books and clearly she'll be alive for the next movie, but I wasn't even sure anymore. It had me so convinced and anxious that this new horrifying Peeta was going to overpower and actually kill Katniss. Coming from Peeta, the sweet baker boy who was desperately in love with her, it was just unbelievable.

     I'm so for this movie in every way and I won't be able to get it out of my head for at least a week, even if I wanted to. I'm definitely going to need some recovery time. It's so different from the other two in a way that I was not expecting, yet completely loved and if you don't see it and enjoy it, then maybe it's because I'm hyping it up to a very high, although totally exceeded, standard. Just go see it.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tips For Taking Successful Portraits

Don't be afraid to get close.



Make sure to focus correctly, especially when it's up close (the photo above is a good example of me not focusing the camera very well, but the photo below a good example of good focus).



Include the scene around the subject (but beware of poles or objects looking like they're going through the subject like the one coming out of her head here). This works well with a great depth of field if the background is important to the photo.


Wrinkles are interesting and window light is your friend. Details in people's faces add interest and putting someone next to a window gets natural lighting you can manipulate by moving the person around or using different angles based on where the window is. 


Don't accidentally be in the photo. In the first photo here, you can see me taking the photo in the reflection, but you can't in the second one, plus the composition is better. 
 



Show personality. Photos are more interesting when they show you something about a person. Don't be afraid to be silly or funny. Photos don't need to be serious if you don't want them to be. 



Be creative. For these photos, I put my glasses on different people and had them pose however they liked and each one came out totally different. Also, these were all taken in a studio where you can get a nice background and change the lighting as you please.

     
  



Everyone looks good during the golden hour (the hour or two before the sun goes down or after the sun comes up). 


Monday, November 17, 2014

Why I Am A Feminist

     Gender equality is an issue that I have found many people don't quite understand. A lot of people seem to be put off by the term "feminism" because of its misconceptions and the thought that it is geared toward women. Gender roles and the lack of equality have affected me throughout my life, long before I had ever heard of gender equality. This is why I am a feminist:


I don't ever want any man to think he is superior to me in a relationship.

In any relationship, men and women should be equal and I refuse to be seen as inferior. No man should ever expect me to just submit to what he wants or think that he can control me and my decisions. I should never have to worry about a man I'm with not approving of what I wear, what I do, who I associate with, or any other aspect of my life.

I've actually had guys say to me that they don't want daughters because of guys like themselves.

I've had conversations with guys on multiple occasions who claim they would never want their daughters to encounter boys like themselves who take advantage of and disrespect girls, yet they continue to do it and see no problem with it.

I want to be paid the same amount as a man doing the same job.

Obviously.

I want the same job opportunities as men.

If I have the same talent and abilities as a man, I want to be considered as an equally qualified candidate because that's what I am. I should never been looked down on or assumed to be less knowledgeable or less logical simply because I am a woman.

I want the same respect that men receive.

Men get respect for being straightforward and honest and sometimes harsh, yet women are deemed as "bitches" for it. I should never have to defend myself for actions that would be seen as perfectly fine had they been done by men and I am just as worthy of respect as any man is.

If I ever have daughters, I don't want them to feel that they can't like sports or cars.

Girls shouldn't be raised thinking they have to be cute and fragile and pretty. They should grow up being able to explore whatever interests they want without being labeled tomboys, just as boys should be able to do things that are deemed "girly" without being made fun of or being called gay. Girls shouldn't be seen as automatically less knowledgeable about sports or fixing cars just because they are girls.

Double standards are just plain stupid.

Women should not be looked down on for having as much sex as men do, girls should not be punished for wearing revealing clothes while boys are not, and girls should not be expected to always look pretty and put together while boys aren't.


     Many men and women are feminists for different reasons and these are just a small portion of why I believe in gender equality and how I think it can benefit myself as well as everyone else. They're simple and reasonable and I don't think people who want gender equality are really asking for much more than human decency.

What Feminism Is And What It Isn't

Feminism IS: 
By definition, supporting the political, social, and economic equality of men and women. Basically, women wanting to be paid the same as men, wanting the same rights as men, and wanting to be seen as equal human beings to men. It's good for everyone and harmful to absolutely no one. 

Feminism is NOT: 
Women hating men and condemning every man on earth for being a scummy rapist or douche bag, women blaming men for all the issues with the world and attempting to take control, or women who think they can do no wrong.

     Feminists have been hated on for reasons that are not at all even related to feminism. Many men and women have completely inaccurate ideas about what it means to be a feminist and what actions are motivated by feminist beliefs because of the reputations and stereotypes created by people who have misconstrued ideas about feminism. These are those ideas set straight.


1. Feminists hate men

Feminists simply do not hate men. Look back up at the definition of feminism and you will see that there is nothing whatsoever insinuating man-hating. Any woman can hate men if they really want to, but it has no basis in the beliefs of feminism, regardless of whether they identify as a feminist or not. The only men that feminists and all women should be against are the ones that rape or beat women. This is not to say that men are the only ones who rape and abuse, because women can and do.

2. Feminist women want to be in control of men

I'm sure there are women who would like to think this to be beneficial just like there are people who believe all sorts of strange things, but it has no basis in feminism. Feminist women do not believe it would be helpful to have a place in society above men or to have control over men because that would be the exact same issue we have already, except with reversed roles. It would defeat the whole purpose of the idea of equality for the sexes.

3. Feminists burn their bras and refuse to shave 

Wearing a bra or shaving is a personal preference and is different from girl to girl, feminist or not, and that's all there is to it. Feminism supports a woman's right to decide either way.

4. Feminism only benefits women

Feminism benefits everyone and that includes men. Feminism is for all people. Many feminists want to break down traditional gender roles, meaning that men don't have to be big and strong and good at fixing cars and women don't have to be pretty and fragile and good at cooking. This means men won't be looked down on or seen as less of a man for enjoying things that are deemed "girly" or for not living up to the "manly" ideals. Also, if women are seen and respected as human beings and accepted as sexual beings without being condemned as a result of feminism, they'll be more comfortable acting on their sexual desires and impulses, which means better sex for everyone.

5. Feminists hate chivalry 

This is just false. Some women like a man to pay for the check or pick them up and some women prefer to do it themselves. If someone is more traditional in the sense that they want the man to be the first to make a move and pay for dates, that's fine. If someone thinks it's cool for a girl to make the first move or split the check, that's fine too. Feminists aren't against the romance in dating, it's just that some women don't care for it and some women do. Every individual is different in what they expect and want from dating and relationships. Feminists simply want equality in relationships so that a man doesn't rule over a woman in a relationship or the other way around.

6. No feminist would ever be a stay at home mom

Feminists have nothing against being stay at home mothers, they just don't think that it should be expected of them or that they belong in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. Feminists believe they have just as much right to work in the corporate world as men do and that they can be just as successful. We also believe that women have the right to choose whether they want to go the career route or be a stay at home mom and either choice is just as valid and worthy of respect as the other.

7. Men can't/shouldn't be feminists

Any man is more than capable of believing that women should be equal to them. A man being a feminist does not mean that they think women are always right and that men should be condemned or seen as horrible people. It just simply means they believe in equality, which like I said, is good for men anyway.

8. Feminist women hate being touched sexually/condemn sex in general 

When feminists argue that they don't want to be seen as sexual objects or that they don't want to be catcalled or raped, they're simply saying that they don't want sexual advances from people they're not interested in, which nobody does anyway. Women should be able to embrace their sexuality and act on it as they please without being shamed for it or having to fend off men who don't understand the meaning of no. Women are sexual beings just as men are, but want to be acknowledged as human beings first. Feminists are not claiming that men should ask for consent before everything they say or do, but simply that it should be 100% clear that both people involved want to actually have sex before it happens.

9. Feminists want to blame men for every issue they face in life 

There are plenty of people in the world who don't want to take responsibility for their actions, but this is not exclusive to feminists and is not a feminist belief. Feminists do not blame men for their everyday problems, neither do they blame them all for their inequality. Not all men are misogynists and most feminists understand this.


     Of course there are people who are exceptions to any of these, but those people are not the ones who embody the ideals of feminism. There are people who differ from the ideals of any and every belief system, but those people do not make that system invalid. It just means that there are people who don't fully understand what feminism stands for or what it is trying to achieve, just like there are many people who claim to be Christian, yet are not loving or accepting of other people. It should be the beliefs and ideas that feminists stand for that define us as feminists, not the stereotypes created by people who don't care to try to understand those beliefs.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Best Things That Happened To Me This Week

I photographed the IT Girl event (girls in the IT program at SU) on sunday for Medley and they had free food and ice cream. Basically I got to take cool pictures and eat as much as I wanted and spend time with cool people.

A friend of mine found me the textbook to borrow for my math exam. I don't actually have the textbook because it's expensive and this particular test had problems that required using charts in the book. I thought I was for sure not going to be able to get a good grade because no one I know has the book I could borrow, so it was a relief.

I got my philosophy paper draft back and my professor really liked my topic and my arguments. I got a B+ on it until I revise, so yay. I'm planning on posting a summary of my points once it's edited and finished.

I found my student ID in the pocket of a jacket I've worn several times this week. I hadn't been able to find it for two weeks and I have to have it in order to swipe into the gym or dorms or to buy food. Go me.

I worked my first day at my new job. Granted, it's just an ice cream shop at the mall, but it's a job and I've been desperately needing one. I get free ice cream and drinks and one of my managers works at a chocolate shop so I went home with a free box full of chocolate covered strawberries my first night plus two vitamin waters.

I had friends come over and we played flip cup and never have I ever and I love games. Games are my favorite thing in the world.








Friday, November 14, 2014

Virginity

     The concept of virginity is one that I've been bothered by a lot lately. It's this "pure" state of being that is completely tarnished the second you have sex for the first time. It's this abstract idea created and enforced by parents, churches, and whoever else. It's the idea that once you have sex, you're not as worthy of respect or love as you were before.

     Girls who stay virgins are seen as more respectable, and just plain better than girls who decide to have sex. There's an extra pressure and a higher standard placed on girls to try and be more worthy of receiving a man's love. Girls who have sex are looked down on as if it's wrong to give into their biological needs. We are programmed to want sex and to have sex, yet girls are shunned for it while guys can have as much sex as they want and it doesn't change them at all.

     I've heard the double standard described in so many different ways such as, "A lock that can be opened by many keys is a bad lock, but a key that can open many locks is a good key." Although that may be true in a literal sense, it's completely absurd to even try to compare it to men and women's anatomy. A man who can have sex with lots of women is a good man, yet a woman who has sex with lots of men is a broken woman. That's just wrong and it doesn't make any sense at all. Why should a woman be scorned for her sexuality while a man is praised for it? It's the same instinct in both sexes no matter how you try to twist it to favor men.

     Women are sexual beings just like men are and should not be looked down on for expressing it. It's each and every person's own choice whether they want to have sex, who they want to have sex with, and when. No woman should be shamed for her decisions, regardless of what they are. Girls who decide not to have sex for religious purposes or other reasons should not be put on a pedestal above girls who have not made that decision.

     There's no wrong or right way to go and it's different for every person. If a girl wants to save sex for marriage, it should not be as a result of the pressure put onto her by her religion or her family or society. It should be because that's what she truly wants to do. A girl who decides she wants to have sex should be allowed to do just that, as long as it is because of her own choices and desires and not because of the pressures of anyone else.

     This "virginity" that people are defined by actually means nothing. To be a virgin should not define someone as a person or determine their worth. There are no names or concepts that hold people to standards for the before and afters of any other events or actions in life, so why is there one for sex? It's a concept that shames and pressures girls into making decisions they may not be informed or confident enough to be making, whether it's to have sex or not to have sex. Girls should be able to decide their own worth and not be affected by the opinions of people who expect them to deny the needs and desires that are biologically programmed in them.
   

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Setting The Bar Too High, As Always

     I've always thought that it's best to have high standards. I've always thought that the higher my expectations are for myself, the more I'll achieve. It's always been as if allowing myself to settle for average is the same as failing. I've always thought that being mediocre would make me insignificant. Having the bar set high is not a bad thing and it's not that I shouldn't have high goals and expectations for myself.

     The issue is that I'm unrealistic in what I expect. My bar is set so high that I can't possibly reach it. I expect myself to put everything I can possibly fit onto my plate and succeed at all of it. I don't ever allow myself to be just a student. I have to be a student with a high GPA talking upper level classes while also working a few days a week and taking on extracurriculars.

     I find myself struggling to figure out where my priorities lay and what I should be most concerned with spending my time on. I end up running myself into the ground and using up all the energy I have just to do the bare minimum. I put too much pressure on myself to the point where it starts to affect me physically. I sleep too little or too much and I lose all my energy and motivation.

     It's to the point where I only have a few weeks left until the end of the semester and I don't have a clue how I'm going to get through. I'd like to be able to say I had a strong finish, but it's not looking that way. It's beginning to feel helpless because I'm unsure of how to bounce back and succeed like I had originally planned without dropping anything off my plate. At this point it seems like my only option is to float somewhere around average and hopefully remember not to overload myself with work next semester.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why I Think Social Media Is Awesome

     I know there are a lot of people who think that social media is making it more difficult for people to interact face to face and that it's taking away from personally communicating with people, but I disagree. It's true that many people are attached to their phones at all times and spend more time on Twitter or Instagram than is deemed normal, but social media has made it significantly easier to connect with people in general.

     Technology is definitely changing the way people interact, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It's less personal than talking to someone in person but it makes you appreciate those encounters more. The time spent communicating through social media, whether it's tweets and favorites or photos and likes, makes face to face time seem more intimate.

     Also, there are tons of people I would rarely ever interact with if it weren't for social media. It makes it easier to know what my family at home is doing while I'm away and I can see what's going on in my friend's lives that I haven't seen in years. Social media has made it possible for me to connect with people I would never otherwise be able to have contact with. It lets people establish connections easily, even though you might only see the surface. Social media can show you a small portion of someone's interests and thoughts and depending on the amount someone shares, it can show you their sense of humor or even their beliefs.

    To me, social media is a way to start a conversation about anything. You can talk with people you simply have something in common with and you can even spread information you want people to be more knowledgeable about. There are even hashtag campaigns that serve a purpose or bring attention to an issue, such as #YesAllWomen. Social media can give people an easy way to access news and learn about issues going on that they might not be able to read about in such a simple way otherwise.

My First Car Accident


                 We drove down the crowded street that led home from work. I was in the passenger seat of my 97’ Geo Metro, otherwise known as the “Beanpod” and the most fragile car I had ever driven. I wasn’t driving because it was stormy. Vegas storms meant heavy unpredictable rain that you could hardly see through and nonstop lightning. I was terrified of the storm itself and especially of driving in it, so I let myself get talked into riding shotgun instead.
                  As we made our way down the road, the storm continued, maybe even worsened. The entire sky lit up with lightning I could see out any window in any direction. The lightning itself fascinated me how it flashed as far as I could see, across the sky, and to the ground. It lit up and silhouetted the surrounding clouds otherwise disguised in the dark. The loud, sudden crack of thunder vibrated through my bones and made my teeth chatter.
                  I stayed anxious as we drove, watching the lightning overhead and attempting to stay calm. The car was quiet and we didn’t speak. There might have been quiet music playing, but probably not. It was a straight shot home with no more than five minutes left to drive. We passed the gas station and approached the street with the Dottie’s on the corner; the same Dottie’s that lay on every corner like a fast food chain where people go to gamble in peace and buy cheap cigarettes. The area was dark, but the road was lit and there were no cars around us.
                  A truck pulled up perpendicular to the road we drove on. It inched forward and I watched. It inched forward again then continued into the road. I watched it with a certain curiosity, but there was no time to question it or point it out.
                 I might have let out a yell or I might have been silent, but I don't remember. Not a second later, the truck was no more than a few feet directly in front of my car. We must've been braking. I saw the wheel jerk to one side and I saw it fail to help us avoid the truck on the slippery road. It had been no more than a few seconds, yet it felt like eternity. I felt the impact, but somehow I didn’t. I saw the airbags deploy, but I didn’t see the collision. I was aware of the accident, yet unaware of my surroundings. I heard nothing and everything was still. 
                 The first thing I became aware of was the pain in my left leg, then in my chest. I looked down to ensure that my leg was still intact, which it was. There was no blood and no signs of injury. I slowly came to a clear understanding of what happened. I might have been crying. I could feel tiny shards of broken glass on my tongue. Outside was the dark road, the pouring rain, the flash of lightning, and the clash of thunder I feared. Inside the car was the pain and an overwhelming cloud of anxiety. 
                 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Taylor Swift, 1989

     If I had to describe Taylor Swift's 1989 album in one word, I would say it's clever. If you don't like it, you probably don't understand it (or you're just not into the sound or Taylor's music in general). In this album she addresses every issue that people have with her and all the flaws people point out in her and she uses them to her advantage. She makes fun of them and she makes fun of herself and all the ideas people have about her.

     Her video for "Blank Space" is totally outrageous and exaggerates every idea anyone could have of her. She makes fun of the ideas people have about her being a crazy girlfriend who dates every guy she comes in contact with just so she can write a song about them. In the song she says, "Got a long list of ex lovers, they'll tell you I'm insane, but I've got a blank space baby and I'll write your name." She's basically inviting people to call her crazy and if you want to join the list of ex lovers, she'll write your name on it.

     In the video, she starts out happily in love with a very attractive man and ends up tearing up his clothes and smashing his car Carrie Underwood style and ultimately killing him. She acts like a complete psycho and it's hilarious. She's totally embracing the idea that she's a crazy girl with tons of boyfriends and crazy, dramatic relationships.

     In this album, she's taking all the criticisms people have of her and completely embodying them, while continuing to do what she does and writing songs about her personal life. In "New Romantics" she says, "Cuz baby I could build a castle out of all the bricks they threw at me" and that's kind of what I interpret her entire album to be doing. She's taking all the negative criticism people give her and turning it into success. Not to mention, I just love the new sound. I've been calling it "Taylor pop" because I don't know how else to describe it. Basically, you should listen to it if you don't already.

Little Things

     I spend way too much of my time worrying about my grades, money, and everything else in my life. There always seems to be something stressing me out and I tend to find a lot of joy in little things that seem pretty insignificant but brighten my day, even if it's just the smallest bit. It sounds pretty cheesy, but when there's so much to worry about for each day and so much I have to achieve for my future, it actually does make a little difference and these are some of those little things that I've learned to appreciate.


Waking up at my first alarm when it normally takes about a hundred times and I end up rushing my morning or missing breakfast and being late to class.

Being satisfied with the first outfit I put on because it saves SO much time when I don't have to go through my entire closet and then put it all back. 

Finding the perfect song to start my day. I usually put on music as soon as I leave the apartment and when I can find a song to listen to that fits my mood perfectly while I'm walking to class, it's one my favorite things. 

Not forgetting to bring something to class. Like my glasses! This rarely happens. I'm very forgetful so it's always a pleasant surprise when I'm actually fully prepared for my day and have my glasses and whatever else I need. 

Cooking something new for dinner that actually tastes good. I used to be the worst cook ever and I'm slowly learning so I love when I can figure out how to make something new that I like.

When the bus driver tells me to have a good day. I love the bus drivers. They're the reason I can get to class. I would probably be pretty annoyed if I was a bus driver for a bunch of obnoxious college kids so the fact that they're so nice is awesome.

When the song I'm listening to ends right when I walk into class because I hate ending a song halfway through. 

Not tripping when I'm walking in public is my favorite thing of all time because I trip SO MUCH. I shock myself with how clumsy I am sometimes.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Why Catcalling Is Not Only Not Okay, But Completely Horrible

     Anybody who says that the reason they catcall women on the street is as a way to compliment them is completely 100 percent full of shit. No man who actually wants to make a woman feel good about themselves will honk at them while they drive by or whistle at them while they walk by. That is in no way a compliment, AT ALL.

     Saying "NICE ASS" or "HEY BABY" or pretty much anything else does not ever make any of us feel good about ourselves. I've never been catcalled and thought, "Wow, that was really sweet of him to say." Catcalling is not about complimenting, it's about objectifying and asserting dominance over women. It's about control. It's about making us seem and feel helpless, like we are completely below men and can do nothing to change it in that moment. It doesn't matter what the nature of the actual comment is. It could be something as seemingly harmless as "Hey there" but it doesn't matter. It's the tone of their voice, the thoughts you can only guess are in their head, the look they give you, and the fear it strikes in you. No man catcalls a woman with good intentions. It's never to compliment them, it's only to objectify them. The actual words don't matter, it's what they really mean that comes through.

     People don't seem to understand that being catcalled while walking down the street is not something women want. Being catcalled and having complete strangers look at me and think of me as a piece of meat and undress me in their heads is not only disgusting and unwanted, but it's terrifying. When a man walks by me and says something, it not only grosses me out, but it makes me really worry that they'll say something else or do something else. Everything about it has made women fearful of being out alone, or even in pairs or groups. We are constantly keeping our phones ready in case of an emergency, keeping our keys between our fingers, and walking as quickly as possible. It's nearly impossible to feel safe being out alone, no matter where I am.

     The fact that women genuinely fear for their safety and sometimes even their lives just from being out in the world is absolutely disgusting. Men who catcall women have absolutely no respect and are disgusting human beings. There is nothing funny about it, there's nothing nice about it, it's just disrespectful and gross. Most girls I know will ignore comments, but I tend to snap back at them just out of habit and instinct and that terrifies me because one thing I say could set someone off and who knows what could happen. I'm small and weak and as much as I like to think I can defend myself and take care of myself if need be, I probably couldn't. I could easily be overpowered and it's ridiculous that I should ever have to be afraid to find myself in a situation like that.

     Women should not have to take this harassment every day and be expected to be okay with it. It's not only scary as hell, but it's damaging. When a man on the street says to me "OOh you could get it!" I'm far from flattered and I feel completely unsafe. Men like this are taking away women's peace of mind and our ability to feel safe. They should never have that sort of power, but they do and it's wrong.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

My Non-Opinion On Homosexuality

     I would just like to say that I think it is absolutely ridiculous that this is even a debatable topic. Nobody in the the entire world has ever asked me how I feel about straight people, so I don't understand why they would ask me about gay people. There is literally no difference. A person is a person. Why do I have to have an opinion about homosexuality if I don't need one about heterosexuality?

     If you asked anybody, "Hey, how do you feel about straight people getting married?" They would be like, "Um, what kind of question is that?" And it's exactly the same as asking someone how they feel about same-sex marriage. It's people loving people and who we love is completely out of our control. I can't force myself to be gay just like someone who is gay can't force themselves to be straight.

     Not to mention, it's nobody's business to begin with. It's nobody's place to barge in on anybody else's love life or sex life. Someone else's sexual preference does not and never will affect anybody other than themselves and whoever they are with, so why does it even matter?

     Nobody has ever told me that I'm wrong for being sexually attracted to guys and I think it's wrong to tell someone, no matter who they are or what their preference is, that they are wrong for who they're attracted to. We don't get to choose. It's really that simple.

SEX

     I think everyone should be able to talk about sex and I don't think it should be this hush-hush topic that everyone avoids. It just comes with being a human and it happens for a reason and it's not some weird disgusting secret. Pretty much everyone does it and if you're going to have sex, you should be able to talk about it.

     Most of us went into having sex completely clueless and that just sucks because it's not that difficult to actually be educated and by that I don't mean middle school sex ed. It shouldn't be difficult to talk about and if you get too embarrassed talking about sex then you probably shouldn't be having it. 

     If you're having sex with someone, you should communicate with them. I know that sounds weird, but you can't just let them guess what you want. If you can't tell someone what you like, then there's no point in wasting your time being unsatisfied. Also, sex is not just about the guy. It shouldn't be over just because the guy is tired or done or WHATEVER. It's not just about him. Girls have needs, too! Sex is supposed to be a mutual thing. It's about two people and it's about BOTH of those people. 

     Whatever it is that you're into, you shouldn't be hesitant to share it. If you think it's sexy to incorporate food, then cool. If you're a girl that would rather have sex with girls than guys, that's great. If you're into handcuffs and whips, you do you. There's always going to be someone who's going to think you're weird regardless of what you're into but that shouldn't stop you from doing what you want. Your sex life is nobody else's business anyway. It's between you and whoever it is that you're having sex with and you should be able to be open about it. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Best Things About College

There are about a million things I could talk about that I love about being in college because college is just great, but these are my favorites.


1. BEING ON MY OWN

That's one that's pretty obvious, but I love being on my own and being away from my parents' house. I love being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want, and cook my own meals and make my own schedules.

2. Being able to walk or take a bus anywhere I need to go

I always hated not being able to get around Vegas when I didn't have a car. Everything was so far away but everything on campus is so close together and even off campus is easy to get around because of busses and nothing is really too far to walk.

3. I've learned to cook!

I used to be the worst cook in the entire world. Before living on my own and being forced to cook all my meals, I didn't know how to make anything. Now, I make whatever I feel like whenever I feel like it and I don't have to wait for mom to cook dinner. I get to buy my own groceries and if I want to eat Triscuits and hummus all day long, I can.

4. I learn!

I LOVE learning. I love being able to pick the classes I take and learn only what I'm interested in. Aside from class, I learn tons about life and general stuff outside of class just from being on a college campus surrounded by people in a hundred other majors.

5. Living in dorms

Although I live in an on campus apartment currently, I absolutely loved living in a residence hall my first year. I met so many people just from my floor and from other floors in my building. There was always someone to hang out with or talk to when I was bored, plus we had a dining hall in our building so I never even had to really get dressed to go eat. (Also there was a Starbucks right next to our building)

6. Having no one to worry about but myself

I love not having to think about anyone else when I make my decisions. That sounds selfish, but college is the time to be selfish. I don't have to consider my parents when I decide what classes to take (because I pay for college myself) and I don't have to worry about making my schedule fit with anyone else's. I'm here for myself, so I only worry about myself.

7. I have to learn from my own mistakes

This doesn't sound that great, but it's a good thing. Every mistake I make, I learn from immediately. There's no one around to tell me I shouldn't eat a whole box of Oreos in a day or that I shouldn't pregame too hard before going out, but those are things I learn from immediately and don't do again. At least not for a little while.

8. I don't get stuck being around people I hate

If I don't like someone, I'm not forced to see them every day. People I don't like, I just don't see. There's nothing forcing me to spend time around people I don't enjoy being around and I don't have to pretend to like anyone I don't actually like.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

People Are Annoying About Dating

     I have seen girls time and time again make idiots of themselves trying to get a boy (or a girl) to like them and I don't understand it. I've listened to girls debate how long they should wait to respond to a text message or how revealing they should dress and a million other things. If you ask me, it's all bullshit. People are constantly playing games and trying to trick people into liking them. I don't understand the point.

     You can't expect someone to like you if you're constantly messing with them and playing games rather than just being a normal human being and doing what you want to do. If someone makes you jump through hoops to get to them and they turn out to be completely different than they let on, you wouldn't want to waste your time with them so what's the point in doing the same to someone else? Nobody wants to deal with that, yet everybody keeps doing it.

     The way you dress and the way you act and the things you do should not all be based on what you think someone is going to like. If you change everything you do and say to attract someone then chances are that they probably won't like you when they realize you're nothing like you seemed. So why waste your time? What ever happened to being yourself? Yeah, it's a cliche thing to say but it's so obvious that nobody thinks to try it.

     You would think that people wouldn't still be trying to figure out the magic solution to dating and the secrets of getting people to like them when it's really much simpler than that. Someone is either going to like you or they're not and texting them back an hour later rather than when you saw their text message probably won't make much of a difference.

Body Shaming

     All my life I've been criticized, like a lot of people have. I've been criticized for my decisions, for my actions, for my sense of humor, but most of all, my weight. Even as a kid, I was told constantly that I was too skinny and too small and I never understood why people always noticed. I was told by adults all the time that I should eat a burger or have an extra plate of food. My friends used to make fun of me because we couldn't share clothes since none of their clothes fit me right. 

     As a teenager, it only got worse. My friends would say I wore child sized clothes and make fun of me when my jeans were size 0, but it was never my fault. I had always been a small person and for pretty much my whole life I've always eaten more than all of my friends. People have always commented on how much food I eat while simultaneously criticizing how small I am. You see how that's confusing? Getting criticized for eating too much and then getting criticized for being too skinny and being told I need to eat more doesn't make sense.

     Once college hit, so did the "freshman fifteen" and so did more criticism, of course. I came home from my first semester at college to numerous comments and observations about my weight gain. Some people told me I looked like I had been eating a lot, some people told me I had "filled out," and some people just told me I had gained a lot of weight or that I looked a lot bigger. I even had people tell me my thighs had gotten huge or that I had acquired a muffin top. 

     So what the hell is people's problem? First of all, I've never understood what people's big fixation on other people's weight is. Why have people always cared so much what I look like or what size I am? Why do people think it's okay to comment on how skinny someone is and tell them to go eat a burger? Like it's been pointed out many times by many people other than myself, if you wouldn't tell an overweight person they need to eat less then you shouldn't tell a skinny person they need to eat more. Shaming someone for their body, whether it's because you think they're too big or too small, is just wrong. Not only is your opinion of someone's body completely irrelevant to their actual state of health, but it's not your place to comment on it because you couldn't possibly know how it's going to affect them.

     I can tell you from personal experience that it is frustrating, annoying, and sometimes just plain infuriating being told I'm too skinny and then as soon as I gain weight, being told I'm not skinny enough. People need to learn that it's not their business to criticize anybody else's body, especially because our society has shaped this idea of perfection that is not achievable for everyone. People base their ideal body on the bodies of other people rather than their own. 

     The reality is that you'll never look like a model in a magazine because you are not the model in the magazine. You'll also never have the same body as someone who is bigger than you or more muscular than you simply because you are not them. You'll never look like anybody else because you aren't anybody else. We shouldn't be shaming people's bodies for being too skinny, too fat, too muscular, or whatever it is and making them uncomfortable and self conscious because it doesn't matter and it's nobody's business anyway.