Hero?

Photo Credit: s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

Today is Crazy Friday at my school. This week, the theme was Superhero Day – which meant we had to dress up as a hero. Today at breakfast, my friend asked me if minions were heroes. I started laughing, and said no. She said she asked because she wanted to wear a minion costume. However, after a few seconds I realized that minions are superheroes, because in the movie they saved the moon.

The definition of “hero” on Google is “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” When you think of it this way, Minions are heroes.

Many other things are heroes too – not only characters on the screen, but also heroes around me. For example, my friends save me everyday from my boring life, Jack the Cat saves me from being too stressed, and my family supports me and gives me love. I appreciate all the heroes out there, and I hope I am one too.

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Sanctuary

He reached the gate just as the sky overflowed, the new storm broke in the form of a huge bone-rattling boom of thunder. Raindrops as big as pebbles began falling at a rate so fast it was like peering though a veil.

The figure he had seen fighting its way up the flooding river toward the church was struggling significantly more as they neared the wall – their energy was clearly waning. The water had reached waist height.

There was a hunting call, and seconds later a group of soldiers broke through the forest across from the draining grate. They drew up short as their heavily booted feet slipped on the steep embankment.

The figure in the cloak stumbled and cursed as they looked back at the soldiers. The head of the group had a deep purple cape, turning almost black as it absorbed rain and mud – a leading officer.

But who was the figure in the river? He watched as they took their last, lunging steps toward the grate, pouring out the last of their strength. Thin, graceful hands gripped the bars, they looked in at him, his hand on the winch to raise the grate.

They were covered in filth and grime, and now closer to him he could see blood. As he peered at them, they became a she. Her eyes were a dark swirling brown, they were possibly warm another time, but now were cold enough to freeze hell.

Photo Credit: Trip Advisor

Otto couldn’t move, her outline was blurry with rain but her eyes shone through like beacons of frost.

Sanctuary,” she croaked. “I seek sanctuary.”

Her knuckles were turning white. The river was flowing faster now, brushing fingers along her legs trying to coax her into giving up.

“Please. I fear for my life.”

Senioritis

After I got accepted to a few colleges, I started to become extremely lazy. I just want to be done with high school and I don’t have the motivation I used to have, due to the fact that senior grades don’t affect the chances of being accepted.

I don’t know if I am simply becoming lazy, or if I have senioritis. Senioritis is a word I hear a lot these days. The definition is: “A crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as Graduation (Urban Dictionary).”

After reading the definition, I am pretty sure I have senioritis. Previously, I never knew it existed, and I am surprised I have it. I have 130 more days until graduation and I hope my senioritis does not affect that time. Instead of just thinking about college, I want to appreciate the last days I have at this school, and as a high school student.

Photo Credit: collegetransitioninitiative.com

New Body, Old Positivity

There are many online trends. Some are funny, like the Hollywood sign vandalism, while others are, frankly, destructive, like the popular “transformation” pictures.

Photo Credit: @transformationfeed
Photo Credit: @transformationfeed

While scrolling through my phone, I came across an Instagram page called “@transformationfeed” which has nearly 1 million followers. The profile is filled with various before and after pictures. Some showed people growing older, more muscular, gaining weight, and, most popularly, becoming thinner. Each photo is flooded with comments about how inspiring these people are, how they wish they could look like him/her, or how they wish they could lose weight.

This page, and its many variants, are just another outlet for people to become obsessed with changing their physical appearance. Little girls/boys will see these photos and want to be older, because that’s the only way they’ll look attractive. Some will see the drastic weight loss and want to lose weight themselves. Obviously this desire will happen anyway, but pages like this just scream that changing ones appearance will make them “inspirational” or “lucky,” among other things.

Photo Credit: @transformationfeed
Photo Credit: @transformationfeed

Of course, these stories are inspiring. And of course, I’m glad these people reached their goal weight, grew older, or fought cancer. However, I don’t like seeing pages that promote unrealistic expectations. These stories spark feelings of discontent, unease, and make those who can’t gain/lose weight feel even worse.

Now, it must sound like I’m complaining, but what if instead of posting before and afters, we just post afters. We just post pictures celebrating the current beauty of these individuals. We just have an account celebrating people of every size. “All bodies are good bodies,” says an article in FEMmagazine.

Red, White, and…Orange?

Photo Credit: Philippine Star

Donald Trump is now our president. (I know, I wish it wasn’t true as well.) So far, both the climate change and LGBT rights pages have been taken off the official White House website, Trump has ended Obamacare, the Senate has officially elected a bunch of offensive, racist, and unqualified men to Trump’s cabinet, and it’s only Friday night! Oh, he also literally adopted a new slogan straight from “The Purge: Election Year” – the slogan “Keep America Great”. Yeah, I’m really wishing Trump actually took this “weekend off” like he said he would right about now.

First, let me touch on the whole Obamacare fiasco. Without Obamacare, we do not have an affordable health care plan in place. And, I really doubt Trump has been cultivating his own, considering that since November 7th, all he has been doing is hanging out with Kanye West, hate-tweeting, inciting the belief that racism, prejudice, and hate crimes are now “justified,” and, probably (definitely) getting spray tans.

I mean, should the first things Trump does in office be to terminate Obamacare and end awareness for climate change and LGBT rights on the White House page? We already had to listen to Three Doors Down and look at Trump’s orange pallor this morning. All of this in one day? It’s simply too much to handle for someone who isn’t the spawn of Satan.

But, just remember, we now have a President who is a “television personality” and an unofficial cast member of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”!

Adulting

So adulting is hard. It’s not what you imagine when you’re a little kid. Yes, you are able to stay up late and you don’t have to listen to mom and dad. Yes, you can eat whatever you want, but with that also comes having to buy your own groceries – because guess what? If you don’t buy those groceries, you won’t have any food to eat. If you don’t do that dirty laundry, you won’t have any clean clothes. If you don’t set your alarm clock the night before, you will most definitely sleep through your 8am class (luckily that hasn’t happened to me yet, just my roommate, every Monday and Friday.)

There are so many things that I used to take for granted when I lived at home – there was always food, cleaning supplies, and cold medicine, and everything was just at my fingertips. Now that I’m living on my own I realize how truly lucky I was. So, thanks mom and dad.

I’m three weeks into college (when this was written) and I’m incredibly sick. And no I don’t mean homesick, which is surprising since I’m living in Massachusetts, across the country from California. But the kind of sick I mean is high fevers, throwing up, stuffy nose, headache, dizziness and cough, also known as a chest virus, also known as the flu. And it sucks. Trying to navigate through two different busses to get to class while making it to work on time and rushing back for soccer practice is enough to handle, and then to add being sick on top it is far from fun.

Sickness Creates ProblemsAnd to those who are about to go off to college, let me tell you, the first time that you get sick away from home is terrible. It might not seem like a big deal but when all you want to do is lay in your own bed but you can’t because it’s 3,112 miles away, it becomes a big deal.Well Hello, Sickness

So today, after not really being able to breathe for about a week, I finally went to the health center. I only got lost in the building about three times before I finally found the student health center. After my appointment, I was prescribed some medications that would help. Of course these were insanely expensive, and as a college student that’s an issue.

I can’t wait until next month when I have to pay my credit card bill.

Never fear though, while it might seem like I’m hating life right now, I’m not. Even though my family is far away and I low-key can’t really breath or taste anything, I have another family taking care of me right here. My teammates and friends are constantly checking on me and bring me tea and saltines, the perfect (cheap) get-well combination.

Drug Me America

Have a headache? Here’s your daily dose of Motrin. Bad anxiety? Here’s some Xanax. Depression? Sinequan. Chronic pain? Oxycodone. Name a problem, and there’s a chemical cocktail waiting for you on some shelf somewhere.

This isn’t about disregarding the benefit that pharmaceuticals have had on people of all ages and backgrounds. Rather, it’s about shedding light on the evils of prescription drugs, and how we need to face this arising problem.

Nevertheless, pharmaceuticals have given the dying a fighting chance, helping many to overcome problems with anxiety, depression, or chronic pain, and even allowing the elderly to live a comfortable life.

Still, despite all this good, there is a downside. That downside is blatant fraud, loopholes, and a competitive market that, in many instances, has been hijacked. That combined with the fact there’s an epidemic of over-prescribed prescriptions running awry in the United States leaves a bad taste in the country.

To give perspective to how large the pharmaceutical market is, the average American spends $1,000 per year on pharmaceuticals, and seven out of 10 Americans are on at least one prescription. That is 70% of 325 million people, which, multiplied by 1,000 equals 227.5 billion dollars in annual revenue by Big Pharma JUST in the U.S.

This enormous market thrives on the United States’ shortage of price regulations and the unhealthy American lifestyle, which includes overeating, little exercise, and hours of anxiety-provoking work – for which pills then have to be the replacement.

Antibiotics make up 17% of all prescriptions, followed by anti-depressants (13%) and then highly addictive opioids (13%).

Once again, it is important to emphasize the importance of pharmaceuticals. Usually, common chronic issues like obesity would heavily affect the average life expectancy. However, the U.S. ranks 26 in life expectancy at an average of 80.1 years, possibly thanks to high rates of diagnoses.

With good new including the increasing life expectancy, there must also be bad news. As Americans’ use of pharmaceutical drugs has increased, so has drug abuse.

Prescriptions are being given out constantly –  67.2% of office physicians give out prescriptions, amassing to 2.3 billion drugs being provided/ordered. These tend to be the heavier, more dangerous drugs (like opioids) that doctors must order directly.

Photo Credit: http://www.livescience.com

Over-prescribing has become somewhat common, even when doctors use their best judgement. Doctors have little time to spend with patients, and many patients have been exposed to ads influencing them to request prescriptions from their doctors.

The abuse of prescriptions drugs isn’t a new phenomenon. However, the extent to which prescription drugs are being used is now becoming wider known. Also, the amount that is actually being reported might just be the tip of the iceberg.

For example, more people die from overdosing on prescription drugs than overdosing on all other illicit drugs combined.

That is absolutely insane, considering the war on drugs. Yes, the war on drugs is an attempt to curve the rise of crime rates that come hand-in-hand with illicit drugs, but it is also an attempt to stop the death of addicts. It’s as if the U.S. government sees the problem of legal drug abuse as perfectly fine to ignore as long as they get to heavily tax the billion-dollar market.

In 2008, 20% of Americans abused prescription drugs. Because this was a report from over seven years ago, it is likely that those statistics have gone up significantly, and have possibly even doubled.

Attempts by the U.S. federal government to curve this epidemic have been laughable. Only 1/10 citizens who are abusing prescriptions have being treated across the country.

Yes, there has been an increase of funding for prescription drugs in an attempt to fight the epidemic, but the effort was small and useless compared to the problem itself.

What statistics would persuade the U.S. to largely fund treatment for prescription abusers and safety belts to prevent so many deaths.

For instance, drug overdoses outnumber car accidents in 29 states. The U.S. made the law requiring a seatbelt illegal for people’s benefit. Yet today we still see a fairly weak safety belt around prescriptions, even though the deaths tied to them are only increasing. That doesn’t really make sense.

And still nothing has changed.