One Day Older

At 11:59 p.m., Friday, January 18th in Santa Barbara, I was still seventeen years old.

I spent the last sixty seconds of my childhood in a Lyft with all my best friends going back to my aunt’s house after just watching Escape Room and I was truly happy.

But, as the clock struck 12, I was no longer a minor. I was eighteen years old and officially an adult.

During every single birthday, my family always asks me if I feel older at all. Usually, I don’t, because there usually aren’t any changes that happen that make me feel older. I know that as a sixteen year old I was legally allowed to get a driver’s license, but I didn’t get one and I still don’t have one because I haven’t found any reason for it. At seventeen, I was able to go to a rated R movie, but I always went to those anyways.

Photo Credit: Unsplash.com

However, when I turned 18, I truly, finally felt older right away than ever before.

I know I’m a year older, but it happened only in a day. From 11:59 to 12:00, it suddenly hit me that I was a legal adult.

On my 18th birthday, I went and got a cartilage piercing and I didn’t need my parents to sign my release form. I was old enough to do it by myself. Then, I went and bought a scratcher ticket, and when they asked for my ID, I was able to satisfyingly show it to them and buy it. I didn’t win any money and I don’t plan on buying one again, but it was the experience that made me so happy because I finally can buy one if I wanted to. For the first time on my birthday, I finally felt older.

My birthday itself was amazing too. I remembered last year I was on a train up to Santa Barbara, breaking down because the mudslides kept me from having a birthday celebration with my friends. This year, I spent the whole weekend with my best friends in Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. My two worlds came together and my friends from OVS and my friend from my old school finally met for the first time. We were out until midnight laughing crazily on all the rides at Santa Monica Pier without a care in the world. My birthday weekend was also full of delicious meals, amazing desserts, and all my family and friends. My cousin was even able to come to the brunch celebration on the Sunday afterwards, she usually is never to come to those events because she’s so busy, but it was amazing.

I know my eighteenth birthday will always be one I remember and though I’m horrified about the fact that I’m no longer a minor and that I actually feel older, I’m happy about it.

Downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 19, 2019

ad726737-1a55-4b4c-ba9a-320cd0adf25a.jpg My best friend and I got off of the Metro at 11 AM in Pershing Square, Downtown LA, only to see tens of thousands of other people fighting for social justice. At the Women’s March 2019, we felt fierce and we felt empowered. My best friend and I met up with 6 more of our friends and we walked up five blocks, only to march back down them. When we walked up the streets we took the time to read signs, admire, and basque in all the people’s glory who were marching the other way. And when we marched down, the world did the same.  Our time had come, our voices needed to be heard.

When the larger groups sorts quieted out, we took it upon ourselves to start yelling our own chants. The Women’s March gave us, the people, an outlet to feel supported and surrounded by individuals we had never met, yet felt so connected with, a bond many people couldn’t make in a lifetime. After chanting “My body, My choice” and being met with numerous other voices, some of my friends, some of kind strangers yelling back, “Her body, Her choice.” A woman yelled to me and my friends, “Thank you for your energy!” I knew we had the power to change the world if we put our minds to it, I was reminded of all the endless opportunity out there.

The Women’s March introduced us to people we never have met and likely will never meet again who empower us and didn’t know us but I can assure you the people there were some of the strongest, most passionate people I had ever seen. People of every color, gender, and sexuality came together to “fight bigotry and discrimination in all their forms” and because of them, I have not only hope, but incentive for my friends and I to be the one’s who change the world.

Sometimes, if you want things to be done right, you have to do them yourself.

Someone told me later, “Your generation gives me hope.”

That is the most fulfilling thing anyone has ever told me, thank you so much, kind woman. My generation gives me hope too. ❤

This is not the last you’ll be seeing of us.

that’ll be it

I’m graduating in less than 18 weeks. 18 weeks seem like a long time, but, when I think about all the things I will be doing from now until may 31st, it suddenly isn’t that far away anymore.

I haven’t gotten a single college acceptance yet. I haven’t gotten rejected, either, but that only means that I’m just as far away from knowing where I want to go next year as I was two months ago.

Photo Credit: ocregister.com

In a few weeks, I’ll be performing in my last ever musical here. I’ll be going on my last ever ski trip with this school. I’ll be going to my last ever prom, probably without a date. I’ll be playing at my last ever talent show (with no talent, still), and I’ll be going to my last ever OVS graduation, but this time it’s mine.

I’ll be walking down the stairs, sit lined up with my classmates on stage, get my diploma, and then that’s it. That’ll be the end of my past four years that were such an important chapter in my life and that contributed to so much of my personality. That’ll be it.

But, before that happens, there are so many more weekends to spend watching movies in the lounge, many more camp trips to go on and freeze my a** off, many more mental breakdowns over tests and AP’s to endure, horse shows to go on, story deadlines to miss, town trips to spend at Bliss getting frozen yogurt, sunsets to watch from the soccer field, and memories to make.

I won’t lie and say that this school and my life here is perfect. There are many things that I would like to change, but I don’t want to get into that now. Because there are so many more things that I am thankful for. Again, my time here hasn’t been perfect, but it’s been amazing. And in 18 weeks, it’ll be over, that’ll be it. And then, it’s time for another chapter.

 

past journal entries with added (commentary)

photo credit: pinterest.com

I wasn’t sure what to say tonight, so I decided to comment on a few things I found while flipping through my journals. Enjoy:

November 3, 2015: Middle school is hard.
(This one made me giggle.)

March 6, 2016: Being carefree is not the same as being careless.
(Not sure what prompted me to jot this down. I probably thought it was a lot more profound back then, but I guess it’s still a valid point.)

April 5, 2017: I got hit in the eye with a baseball today.
(I remember it like it was yesterday. Ouch.)

November 20, 2018: TOO MANY FEELINGS AT ONCE! WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE AND YOUNG!
(This one was written in capitals and had some vigorous underlining. I like it.)

December 4, 2018: I’m just so different than I was before. But I think that’s a good thing, somehow.
(Yay for personal growth!)

December 23, 2018: Some people are just easy to love, and easy to fall in love with. They are both my favorite and least favorite kind of people.
(haha no comment.)

January 6, 2019: “Wish I was there, wish we’d grown up on the same advice, and our time was right…”
(These are Frank Ocean lyrics. MAN, I wish I could write songs like Frank Ocean.)

Sometimes I write down the random thoughts that pop into my head. It’s kind of cool to see how they have evolved over time. That’s all for now.

 

longterm

there are so many things I want to do, too many things I want to do, I don’t know if a lifetime is enough time.

study/work with these things:

-race and resistance studies

-gender/feminist studies

– peace studies

-social justice

-journalism… concentration in photo journalism

-cinema/film-making

-gender & sexuality studies

-sociology

-human rights law

do these things:

-move to a big city… more specifically, san francisco, new york, los angeles, or portland.

-develop a stronger sense of self

-see a lot of live music

-spend time in another country

-buy my own house/apartment and decorate it how i want

-fall in love

-fight for a better world, no matter what that means

-make some kind of mark

after everything before this point is done, I will proceed to:

-make a life with someone else

-get married? (this one is still up in the air)

-adopt a kid

these are the things i want to do. hopefully a lifetime is enough time.

 

photo credit: pinterest.com

 

Not if, but When

Loralee was born on April 28, 1970. Loralee died on June 3rd 1970.

My mom never met her sister; I never met my aunt. She spent her thirty-six days in a hospital. Loralee wasn’t born lucky.

Due to her cleft pallet, she was unable to swallow. The hospital put a tube down her throat to feed her. Instead of going into her esophagus, the tube was misplaced and put into her lungs. After a month and three days, her lungs were filled from the tube’s givings and she died from suffocation.

Loralee Myra French never came home. My mom never got to see her sister. My mother was less than two years old. I wonder what my grandmother told her. How could you explain that to an innocent child?

My mom learned the full story when she was older.

I learned the full story a week ago.

Recently, my great aunt died. I wasn’t close to her. She was an awful person. She put her son through absolute shit, abused my grandmother, and put my mom’s side of the family through living hell.

Even though she was a cruel human being, it hit me hard when she died. As bad as it sounds, it wasn’t hard for me because I cared about her a lot, it was harder for another reason.

As I’m getting older, death is so much more real. I understand it and am effected by it more and it takes place more in my life.  There are so many people who are going to die in my lifetime: my parents, my grandparents, my kindergarten teacher, the owners of my favorite place in the world… There are so many people who have died in my lifetime: my grandfather, my aunt, my favorite artist, my dad’s best friend.

I’m still young, but I’m old enough to understand how abruptly life can end.

I was doing driver’s ed a couple days ago. I read a story about a man who got in a car crash and killed his best friend.

One mistake, one wrong turn, one bad decision, and your life could be done.

We all know we will die one day. It’s not “if;” it’s a “when?”

When am I going to die? When are you going to die? It’s inevitable, unescapable, and, in my opinion, scary. So scary.

On the news, I read about a girl who traveled in Costa Rica, met a man at an Airbnb, and went missing. Later, she was found dead.

One misgiving of trust, one ignorant move, one second of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and you could be found lifeless too.

And, then, there’s so many undeserving people who die cruel, miserable deaths. Cancer, suffering, abuse, rape. So many innocent people whose lives get taken away. Just like the young rape victim who was found dead in a suitcase behind a dumpster, just like orphan who starved to death, just like the 13,000 people who died in shootings this year, just like the young baby who only got to spend thirty six days on this earth; my aunt Loralee Mya French.

Inspired

I always go to the movies purely for entertainment. I’ve never gone to a movie where I’ve left inspired about my future.

But after watching On the Basis of Sex on Saturday, I couldn’t wait to be a lawyer.

The movie was based off the life of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She was the top of her class at both Harvard’s and Columbia’s law schools, but she wasn’t allowed to practice law in New York City solely on the basis that she was a woman during this time.

The story followed her through her first case following a male who wanted a care giver tax deduction, but the law stated that only women or widowed men could be care givers.

This case was the spark that started a series of changes in laws contributing to giving women their rights, many cases won by RBG herself.

Photo Credit: Rottentomatoes.com

Ginsberg went from a lawyer fighting sex-based discrimination against people who wouldn’t listen to being a Supreme Court justice with a 96-3 vote from Congress.

If that’s not inspirational for a young female and aspiring lawyer, then I don’t know what is.

Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I would make up cases and make my family act as the other lawyers and defendants. I went to a mock trial program at UCLA over the summer and most of my daydreams lately have been about excelling in law school.

I’m pretty sure I’m more excited for law school than I am for college.

Watching that movie made me excited for my future, excited to live in NYC, and excited practice law and work on influential cases.

So, thank you RBG. I hope to follow in your footsteps on the path you’ve helped create.

Welcome to My Mind

Welcome, close the door behind you if you would.

Sit down or look around, do as you please, but don’t break anything. Welcome to my mind. I haven’t let many people in here, in fact, only about three, but I don’t want to get into that for now.

This is a quiet place with music you can hear. It’s colorful, mainly with primary colors, aside from the green swooshes that you see flying through at times. That’s my creativity and it usually comes and goes.

Photo Credit: ink361.com

Over here is my bookshelf. You know, I don’t really like to read, I much rather make up stories of my own. God, look how many I’ve written so far! They’re all in here, of course, never on paper. It would probably be a waste of paper, if I’m being real.

Over here is my picture wall. As you can see, it is almost entirely filled up with dogs (they just make for the best pictures). And my friends, of course, all of them or most of them. The good ones, that are still in my life today. The other ones, I threw out. But the good ones, I’ll keep forever.

Oh, don’t look behind that door; that’s where I keep the things I don’t wanna be reminded of. Most of them are just plain embarrassing, but some of them are sad. Well, I have a couple of sad pictures on the wall still, but I think I’ll take them down soon.

And there, in this cabinet, is my motivation. Not much in there, I know, but the stuff that’s in there is good. You’ll see.

Down here, underneath this trap door, of course, are my fears. Please, don’t open it. I’m not in the mood to get them back in there again. Sometimes one of them pop out to say hi and make me worry about stuff, but usually they’re fine down there.

And here, this I’m especially proud of. This is my love. It looks like a pot of flowers, but it’s a lot better because I don’t think it could ever die. If it can, I don’t want to be alive to see it.

You can stay if you want; you can always come back, too. I hope I gave you a good tour and I’m glad you stopped by. Goodbye for now! Hope I’ll get to visit yours too sometime.

Tattoo

Recently I got a tattoo and everyone has been wondering what it is or why I got it.  I haven’t explained it to many people because I just haven’t had time to fully explain it.  There are so many things someone must know to understand why I got that tattoo.  It is not something simple to me.  I mean I planned it for 8 years, so what can you expect?

When I was very young, around the age of 4, I took father and daughter guitar lessons with my dad.  I don’t really remember the classes, but one day has always stood out to me more than others.  My dad and I went to the class, then went to the fair after.  We got mint chocolate chip ice cream and I just loved spending the day with my dad.  The main focus of the day was music, but that was most days for us.

Another really strong memory I have with my dad is painting with watercolors.  We painted together so many times that I don’t have just one day I can recall.  All I remember is painting with him.

He was very artistic. In fact, I think that I got my artistic side from him.  We used to always jam out to “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath in his car and look at nature together.  We always talked about how beautiful nature was.  Our favorite colors were green and blue because they were always in nature and we both had beautiful blue eyes.

In 2011, God decided that it was time for my dad to go home.  I tried to follow him multiple times, but luckily I failed.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

Now that I got the background information out of the way, I think I can actually explain my tattoo.

My tattoo is a black bass and treble clef that resemble a heart with blue, green, and purple watercolors behind it on my forearm.  It sounds simple, but it really isn’t.

I have known since I was 10 I wanted a heart for my dad but I did not know what kind.  I decided that when I saw the music heart that I knew it was perfect.  I feel most connected to him through any sort of art.

The bass clef has low notes in music while the treble has high notes.  This is to remind me that there are lows in life, but there are also highs.

The bass clef normally has a colon at the end, but I decided to make it a semicolon because there is a very famous project known as The Semicolon Project, which raises awareness for suicide victims and survivors.  After my father passed, I thought I could not handle life without him, but I can and the semicolon is a reminder that I can.

The watercolors in the back are not just cool colors to me.  Whenever I see blue and green together, I always think of my dad so I thought they were the only fitting colors to have.  I added purple as a sort of transition color.

The reason I am calling them watercolors is because they look like splashes of watercolors.  The reason I added them was not just for a pop of color.  It was because some of the best memories I have of him are when we were painting together and most the time we used watercolors.

The placement is not random either.  I know to some people it is dumb to have a tattoo so visible, but I do not care.  It is visible in most dresses, but I want it that way.  My father cannot walk me down the aisle so having the tattoo on my arm out in the open is the closest I will ever get.

a thank you letter

I want to say thank you to my body.

Photo Credit: thisiscolossal.com, Raija Jokinen

I’m thankful for my feet and for all of the blisters and calluses they’ve endured, simply because they’ve kept me grounded.

I’m thankful for my legs, because even though sometimes I think they are too short, they are strong. My legs have carried me across miles, mountains, and everything in between.

I’m thankful for my stomach, my back. I am thankful for my chest, because it protects my lungs and my heart.

I’m thankful for my arms, no matter how much I hate the way they look in tank tops, because they help me lift myself back up.

I’m thankful for my shoulders, the same ones that I used to think were too broad and boyish, for always keeping my head up.

And lastly, I’m thankful for my head. Although it isn’t always level, it houses my brain and all of the thoughts that are constantly buzzing around in it.

We spend too much time hating our bodies. It is easier to find things we don’t like about ourselves than it is to find things we do like. We can’t control the way we look, but we can control how we feel about ourselves.

And even though it’s hard sometimes, I think we should all try to thank our bodies every once in a while.

We need to be kinder to ourselves, kinder to our bodies. We deserve that.

My body isn’t perfect, but it has gotten me this far. And I’m so thankful for that.