This weekend, I went to a music festival called Camp Flog Gnaw, which was held by rapper Tyler, The Creator.
In the middle of his set, Tyler said, “I made this as a place for all you weird kids to have a place to feel safe and I think that’s really cool.”
During Jaden Smith’s set, he said “Tyler made this place for all you weirdo’s to feel normal and that’s tight as f***.”
Thank you Tyler for making a place like that. For maybe just a weekend, maybe just a minute, or maybe just an hour we all felt safe and loved. We could love or hate ourselves and whichever we chose would be okay.
No one tried to fix us; we just got to simply exist for a while and feel alright.
Thank you for giving us a place where we could be or do whatever we wanted and that was cool with everyone.
Somewhere we could wear whatever we wanted and not have to think twice about it, somewhere we could yell at the top of our lungs, somewhere we could cry if that song playing reminded you of something, somewhere we could jump and it was what you’re supposed to do, somewhere we could meet people like ourselves, somewhere where nothing was weird and everything and anything was ok.
One day, I’ll find that place in the people I surround myself with and where I live and where I work.
One day, but until I find my somewhere, I’ll stick to this. Thank you Tyler :’)
He broke my heart in pieces over and over and over again.
It was a few days after my 12th birthday. My mom told me we were going to Buca di Beppo’s in Thousand Oaks for dinner with my family to celebrate. Birthdays dinners have always been something we always, ALWAYS had for one another. Every time someone in my family had a birthday, we all would meet up somewhere and celebrate over dinner. Therefore, I was not surprised we were having one for me. We took birthday dinners pretty seriously, because we rarely got to see each other. Birthdays were just an excuse to come together.
After school, I went home, took a shower, and my mom insisted on me letting her straighten my hair, which didn’t seem out of the norm because she always loved how my hair looked straight. She said everything looks cleaner when my hair is straight. When we got to Buca di Beppo’s, the host led me all the way to the back where I saw all my family, my closest friend, and all his family. I was shocked, but had a huge smile on my face. There were way more people than I expected and they were sitting at a massive table with every appetizer on the menu right in front of them. “SURPRISE,” everyone yelled.I was ecstatic; I had finally gotten the surprise party I’ve always wanted.
I was so happy, but I knew something was missing. It took me a while to realize what, or who, it was. My dad, mom, sister, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, cousins, my best friend, and his whole family were there what could it be? Then it hit me “Mom, where is Blake,” I asked, my voice cracking. Blake is my brother, at that time he was 25, and I knew was he wasn’t there. Showing up to family dinners is so important, because the time we have together is rare. So, not being there is practically a sin in my family. “I don’t know. No one knows. Sorry, Ki,” my mom said. My 12-year-old self felt so betrayed. “No one can get a hold of him,” my dad said. “He might be living on the streets, we don’t know. But, don’t worry, he’ll come back eventually.” How could I not worry? How could everyone but Blake be there? How could someone be SO selfish? At the time, Blake was in and out of rehab because he was addicted to heroine. He often lied and stole things from me and my sister. Which, at the time of the surprise party, I knew, but very vaguely. Years later, of course, I knew a lot more.
It’s as simple as that. He broke my heart in pieces over and over and over again. He smashed mine and my whole family’s. Not only did he break our hearts, he also ruined our trust. The truth of the matter, though, is he would do it again. What’s even sadder is I don’t blame him. He did it because he wanted to escape the world. That’s what drugs do; they help one escape. He wanted to run away from two families who could never meld beautifully, two families forced together with the same last name, but personalities that begged to differ. What I mean is, I don’t blame him for wanting to get out; he’d be crazy if he didn’t, but I blame him for being so incredibly selfish. Truth of the matter is, he isn’t the only guy who’s broken my heart, nor is he the first to do so.
That’s a different story for a different time ,though. In case, you were wondering, Blake is better now. At least he says he is.
The holiday season is coming up, which means a lot of happiness and posts about “holiday spirit” which is great, but this is about the things we don’t talk about.
We don’t talk about the peoples whose families don’t have enough money for Christmas presents, halloween decorations, or a turkey dinner.
We don’t talk about the kids whose families are split into two or more homes, forced painfully back together for the holidays, nor do we talk about the kids whose families are split and don’t see each other at all.
We don’t talk about the families who yearn for someone who is no longer with them or who yearn for someone who never has been with them.
We don’t talk about a lot of things, especially around the holiday season, because we want to distract ourselves with presents and lights and candy.
Which, don’t get me wrong, is fun, but this is for the people who’s holidays aren’t the most wonderful time of the year. You’re not alone.
This is what the holiday season looks like to me, starting in October.
Halloween: Not very exciting and kind of awkward, as I’m old enough to not go trick-or-treating, but I still could go if I wanted to. It’s sad, because you realize it’s not as exciting as it was when you were a little kid.
Thanksgiving- Me, my mom, and step-dad sit at a fancy restaurant in Las Vegas, eating the turkey dinner on the menu. I wish I was home, with the rest of my family, like how it used to be. When grandma could still cook for us all and we could still all be ok sitting at one table. I’m definitely not as thankful as I should be on this day.
Christmas- Awkward because my dad and step-dad are both at my house and it’s “rude” to pay more attention to one than the other. Normally, I do it anyway. Even more awkward because my two sisters are in the same house and they hate each other. Probably worse because my brother comes. Sucks because I’m the youngest and the people I want to pay attention to me don’t and the people I don’t want to pay attention to me pay too much.
New years Eve/ New Years day- Depressing, unless you’ve been invited to a party. Full of a lot of stupid phrases like “New year, new me” or “On the first page of a 365 page book.” Reality is, nothing ever changes.
Valentine’s Day- Cool if you’re dating someone; super lame if you’re not.
April Fool’s Day- Usually not funny. I probably end up forgetting what day it is and get pranked.
Mother’s Day- Celebrating mamas, trying really hard to make everything special, usually involves waking up earlier than my mom. Probably impossible, because I don’t think my mom ever sleeps. Normally ends up with a fight I feel terribly about.
Father’s Day- Another Mother’s Day, celebrating mom for being my mother and father. Forced to wish my step-dad a “Happy Fathers day! <3.” Normally, I don’t really mean it. I wish my sister’s dad a Happy Father’s day… I mean it.
Independence Day (AKA 4th of July)- Nothing super exciting. Missing the time I used to watch the fireworks on a big hill with my sister’s dad. Probably with my friends watching fireworks, but kinda scary because I don’t like the noise fireworks make.
The point of this blog wasn’t for me to bag on the holidays. There is super fun stuff going on during the holidays and I appreciate and enjoy every single one (for the most part) for a different reason… I’m sure you hear a million things a year about why every holiday is great. This is about the things we DON’T talk about.
The point of this blog is to say: the holidays are coming up and with as much love and gratitude this brings, it can also be a rough time for some.
With that said, take care of yourself; be gentle with other people; be thankful for what you do have; focus less on what you don’t, but don’t ignore it; check up on your friends; and talk to someone if your Christmas was shitty! Some are better than others.
Until this past summer, I have always self-identified as fully white. If someone asked me what my ethnicity was, I would automatically say white. Sometimes, when people would try to pry, further questioning my response, I would almost yell,”I’M WHITE. I’M JUST TAN.”
This past summer I have come to terms with myself in a lot of more ways than one. A huge step for me was that, I have begun self-identifying as half-black and half-white.
I think there were two main reasons I did not associate myself with being African-American.
No, it is not because I’m embarrassed or ANYTHING along those lines.
The first being: the classic dead-beat dad story. Up until very recently, I have given myself the power to not have to identify as the daughter of a black man who does not identify as a father.
The second reason being, well, racism, discrimination, and oppression, are all still alive and well.
On Father’s Day of last year, I posted something similar to this on a small instagram account I have only for close friends. Someone told me that “no one really cares” and “I don’t see why that’s a big deal.”
It’s a huge deal. Once you’re fifteen years into your life and you finally feel comfortable enough to accept and express the half of your identity that’s made you feel empty for years, it’s a huge deal.
Yes, I am half-black; yes, I am identify with the 17.9 other African-Americans in the U.S; yes, my dad is black; yes, that’s my real mom; and, yes, I’m proud.
I’m writing to you because Banned Book Week gives a good opportunity for students, like myself, to share my opinions on Looking For Alaska being the #1 most challenged book of 2015. Looking For Alaska was mainly challenged due to its “sexual content” and for its “inappropriate language.” However, as a high school student, I can attest that the content of Looking For Alaska is a realistic portrayal of many aspects of the teen experience.
One of the two scenes relating to sex in the book is the epitome of how unattractive, undesirable, and empty physical intimacy can be without deep emotional connection. The other potentially “sexual” scene depicts how much more powerful, rewarding, and meaningful something as little as a kiss can feel when a deep emotional connection is present.
The “sexual” concepts in the book are in no way “pornographic” as they have been perceived. If anything, the book teaches essential lessons in a non-direct, non-experimental way. As for the so-called “inappropriate language,” it is nothing but real. The language used in the book is a realistic look into a conversation between teenagers, which Looking For Alaska is meant to reflect. The novel did an excellent job of doing so and I would highly recommend it to others.
In closing, I would like to take a moment to appreciate your writing which reflects the strong, authentic narrative of contemporary teenagers. Your books deserve to be read.