OPINION

Yes, We Can

There is no better way to start this then by quoting a large segment of (former) President Obama’s Farewell Address:

But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President–the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I’m asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change–but in yours.

I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes, we can.

Yes, we did. Yes, we can.

And then I cried like a baby.

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For the most part, I haven’t mentioned politics on here. Not because I don’t think they’re important (they are) or because I’m apathetic (I’m not). But it’s been a week and a half since President Trump was inaugurated, and I have to address what’s happened.

Initially, I wanted to be one of those Democrats who looked on in disdain, but had scruples of hope. Even more so, I just wanted to be a citizen who wants the best for my country–country before party. I didn’t want to be a person who goes around touting “not my President” though several Republicans spent all of Obama’s days in office doing just that–and worse. Precisely the reason why I refused to do so, because I did not want to lower myself to that abysmal level.

But I just can’t. Most of his actions range from nonsensical (provoking a longtime ally) to downright unconstitutional (do I really need to give an example?). This isn’t what America stands for–this isn’t what this country was founded on.

Now I could go on and on about President Trump’s awful policies, but there are other outlets that do it in a better manner than I could. Despite our dear President’s rants, The New York Times is very much not fake news, and a subscription is ideal to those who want to know what goes on in not only our backyards, but also around the world. Some libraries have several newspapers available to the public, if cost is a concern to you. Ultimately, we need to visit credible sources, not just read headlines on our Facebook feeds.

In times like these, we have two paths to choose from–that of conformity and that of resistance. It’s easy to think that there’s nothing a single person can do, or worse–that someone else will do it for us. It’s easy to grow cynical, or worse–apathetic. But we are all capable of doing something, even if it’s something as simple as a phone call. Even if it’s something as simple as donating $5 a month to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood or any other organization that serves your beliefs and interests.

In the face of adversity, we can all persevere. So long as we can remember that we’re all human beings and that doesn’t change the second we step outside of our country. We are stronger united. It is not only unfeasible, but irresponsible to adopt an isolationist mentality.

If they come for me in the morning, they will come for you in the night.

Angela Davis

 

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OPINION

So, I Have a Crush

When you have crushes as a single 23-year-old girl, you realize how silly it is to not go up and just talk to them.

And then you still don’t.

Or you do approach them and find those first few seconds of close proximity are intense… For you. As in, the moment you sit down, your hands are shaking. 

Crap, did he notice?

And that’s what’s most embarrassing: I feel like I’m 14 with a crush on my English sub all over again. To the point that I’ve even revisited some sites on, “Signs He Likes You”. (That, my friends, is the second most embarrassing thing.) In doing that research, I’ve noticed that there are quite a few signs that are questionable at best. 

He stares at you a lot.

If you look at him and he looks away, he likes you. If you look at him and he maintains eye contact, he likes you. Am I missing something, or…

Look, fact is we all get that sudden feeling that someone is watching us. Who’s to say that he didn’t sense your gaze and is simply wondering, “Why does she stare at me all the time?”

His pupils are dilated.

To be clear, my issue isn’t with the science behind it. I looked into it, and unless your crush likes smoking weed, the only plausible reason his pupils would be dilated is because he’s attracted to you.

The real problem is, how do you get the constant to compare it to? Since I’m fairly certain his pupils won’t turn into saucers, it’s going to be a subtle change. How am I supposed to know what his eyes look like when I’m not around if I’m not around?

His eyebrows go up.

This one just sounds made up. It’s supposed to happen instantaneously–the second he spots you. So if he sees you before you see him, or if he sees you from across the room–bye bye sign.

Is eyebrow movement really that involuntary?

The only thing that I’ve concluded is that sometimes you know, and sometimes you don’t. If you want, you can always ask.

Or just cyber-stalk them. That’s the method of champs.

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OPINION, PERSONAL

Regrets & Moving Forward

Everyone always spouts that gem, “Live life with no regrets.”

Advice that, admittedly, never sat right with me.

The idea is that you own your decisions–and to hell with it all, that’s you. At one point, those decisions made you happy, why beat yourself up over it? You’ve grown and perhaps are no longer the type of person to make that choice. No point in living in the past.

That mentality isn’t all that far from, “You only live once.” A mantra that people, yes make fun of, but also use as justification for poor behavior.

Now I’m not proposing that you dwell on your mistakes and become a glutton for punishment. Emotional masochism isn’t a virtue. But to simply dismiss the past as an inconsequential event is foolish. To do so without proper reflection is potentially harmful.

Our past can definitely be the deprecating agent that pulls us into stagnancy. It can whisper devastating “truths” into our ears, convincing us of our little worth. Stay where you are because what’s the point? You can’t escape your past–you might as well become it.

A few years ago, I set on a path that brought me to this hopeless state. And while a few months ago, I had said it wouldn’t deter me–it did. A simple sentence floated around my head. Four small words kept me paralyzed.

I ruined my life.

I’m 23. Still in my early twenties, and yet with the feeling that somehow, this is all my life will amount to. That I have reached the pinnacle of my existence, and how little there is left to experience. Little that is available to me, that is.

But I’m 23.

Foregoing thoughts of regret has never been a shortcoming of mine. The other extreme, on the other hand, has. And for what? What benefits have there been except to become a prisoner of my own anxiety and fragility?

So no, don’t live life floating through as if there are no consequences. Even the informal interpretation is extremist. But so is over-correcting it.

Learn to regret and then learn to move on. Do better.

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OPINION

No sir, you aren’t special. Traffic rules apply to you too.

Today’s topic: road rage and how entitled some drivers are.

Now I’m not going to say that it’s perfectly okay to go at another car a la Evelyn Couch. But after driving for what feels like forever, I don’t understand how more people aren’t afflicted with road rage.

“That’s because they aren’t maniacs like you, Wendy.”

Well… Maybe.

Still driving isn’t difficult. As long as you understand the basic mechanics of how a car works and know the traffic laws, you’re fine. In an ideal world that is how things would work.

Instead, we have jerks who see a NO RIGHT TURN sign and think, “That doesn’t apply to me. I need to get to my destination.” We have jerks who think it’s smart to use their phones while going 70+ mph on the freeway. Best of all, we have jerks who honk at you when they’re in the wrong.

There was an instance where I was going to make a U-turn. A perfectly legal, stoplight approved U-turn. As soon as I start making that U-turn, someone who chose then to turn right almost collides into me. I glance over at him, thinking he’d mouth the word sorry–maybe give an apologetic wave. All I wanted was some sort of acknowledgment where he knew he was in the wrong.

See, that was when I had hope.

Instead he proceeds to furiously honk at me while mouthing off. Funnily enough, his passenger starts doing the same. I open my window and start swearing. Now that I know an apology isn’t coming, I wait for him to back up since neither of us could proceed.

He didn’t. So I was the “bigger person” and put my car in reverse.

I was so angry that I was muttering to myself as I pumped gas. Angry enough to tell anyone who would let me. Jilted enough that I write about it on my blog almost two years after it happened.

For that reason, bigger person is in quotation marks. Being the bigger person in that situation, taking the high road, did not make me feel good. It didn’t make me feel like I was a better person. Now you could say it’s because I lack maturity, because I am a driver with road rage.

I say it’s because there are people out there who will turn on a red light, and somehow still believe they have the right of way. People who realize that they have made a mistake, but choose to blame someone else. Driving can turn into an activity you do without a thought, but guess what? It’s still an activity where you’re driving a two-ton piece of steel at 60 mph.

Sometimes road rage happens at inconsequential things, like a lack of a turn signal. Moments where you’re right, but the situation is petty.

Other times it’s when someone honks at you because they almost hit you.

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BLOGGING, OPINION

I don’t get round-up posts.

Oh look, an edgy post!

“Edgy” but genuine, I assure you.

If you’ve never checked out a lifestyle blog in your life, let me explain. A round-up post (dear god, I hope that’s what they’re called) is when a blogger selects things from their social media to share as a blog post. The most common incarnations are Instagram photos and Pinterest pins. Sometimes they’re a monthly feature–sometimes a little more frequent than can be justified…

Either way, it is a compilation of media that has already seen the light of day. Which is where my confusion sets in. To me, they scream “I had nothing else to write about, but I needed something.” In other words, it’s filler.

These days there’s something of a pressure to update with regularity. That’s what this medium thrives on, constant updates because otherwise you become irrelevant.And sure, there are some Youtubers who only update once a week (if that), but that feels different. Perhaps I’m getting into my own head, but they seem to have more leeway. A lot goes into making videos, whereas–in my case–all I really do is write.

I get that. You want to write something, and you’re blocked, but you need to post something. In those instances, I must admit that I have nothing in the way of comfort. Writing/blogging/whatever is difficult, not because the act itself is complicated. Rather, because it’s difficult to see things through. Still, those posts don’t even consist of actual writing. You are just regurgitating material that people who follow you have already seen.

“But Wendy, this way it reaches people who don’t check out our Instagram feeds. People who don’t follow our Pinterest boards. It’s advertisement for our other platforms.”

The thing is, it’s irritating to visit a site and find that today’s new post is filled with photos of a blogger I only casually follow. (Hence why they’re not in my Feedly.) I feel grumpy, but if I wanted to see your photos, I’d check out your Instagram. You’ve already got your social media links right at the top of your blog. I couldn’t miss them even if I wanted to.

Quite frankly, I’m not one to follow a stranger’s feed because that doesn’t do much for me. I don’t personally know you, and seeing pictures of your cat won’t change anything–won’t make me feel anything. The exception is for feeds with a distinct purpose other than “capturing my life”. The ones that track a person’s fitness journey or have nothing but pictures of pets.

If I read your blog, it’s because something about your words is speaking to me. Maybe I’ll check out your social media, and maybe I won’t. But I’ll still read your posts because I see something worth reading.

Until you force me to look at the cute home office pictures you pinned a month ago.

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