Shortcuts

Let’s face it, they’re nice. Who am I kidding, they can be great.

Would you rather win the lottery or work your ass off everyday, struggling to get by?

Would you rather get straight A’s and not even have to try or be in a class where getting a B- minus is a HUGE accomplishment?

Would you rather do your Spanish homework or go on Quizlet and find the answers?

Would you rather tell your mom you swept the floor or would you rather actually sweep the floor?

Would you rather take an hour to fold and put away your clothes or just shove them in your closet in less than thirty seconds?

What I’m getting at here is, shot cuts can be nice. Who am I kidding, they can be great. Yet, as great as they are, most make life harder in the long run.

Cool, Quizlet got my Spanish work done in two minutes, but do I even know what the heck any of the questions are asking?

Cool, my mom thinks I swept the floor, but am I really the type of person who will throw away their integrity just to get out of a thirty second chore?

Cool, my clothes are out of the way, but, shoot, when I went to get dressed, a mountain of clothing fell on me.

Cool, I did twenty push-ups instead of twenty-five, but is getting done first even an accomplishment if you cheated?

Photo Credit: lovethispic.com

Many days, I see people taking short cuts too, so its nice to know that I’m not the only one. But, more than just self-reassurance, I find it comforting that I’m not the only one who occasionally struggles with putting short term effects over long term results.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you need to walk twenty miles to work instead of driving because you have legs. I’m nothing saying to use them, to not even think about taking the car. I’m not saying no short cuts for you. But, if work is a three minute walk from your house, don’t take a short cut and drive. Being efficient and taking a short cut are two VERY different things.

Efficiency is great. A needed skill set in the always-going world we live in. Why would you walk twenty miles to get to work when you can take a quarter of the time and drive? Why take three hours hand-writing a story when you can type it in a half hour?

A lot of the time, people mistake efficiency for cheating. The definition of efficiency is to get the most done in the shortest amount of time with the least work. So, maybe you’re thinking, that you’d rather read the Spark Notes of a book than read the full book.

Here’s the thing, when your teacher asks you what the main character’s last name is, will you have a clue?

When the Spanish test gets handed back, will you get a good grade?

When your mom asks if you did your chores, will you lie directly to her face?

When the race comes and your teammates are strong from doing all the pushups, was the satisfaction of doing less in practice worth the shame you feel now?

Recently, Ive been working on doing the right thing instead of taking the easy way out. I read my English books instead of reading the summary, so I get a good grade on the test. I worked hard in practice and I got a personal record in my race. I took the time to get what I needed to get done instead of putting it off for later or completely ignoring it at all.

I’ve realized that no matter how much you don’t want to, pushing through the little things is what makes you better, stronger, and smarter. Suffering through a hard workout will eventually result in success; thinking about what you say before you speak will result in less regretted words; and putting your all into everything you do will result in a life that you’re proud of.

Take the route that’s right, instead of the short cut. Because, as cliché as it sounds, it’s not the destination that matters, its’ the journey.

Advertisements

biracial

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.

 

Photo credit: Theodysseyonline.com

 

Say Yes to The Dress

Last night, my best friend came over to my house to help me pick out what dress to wear for homecoming. I tried them on and got her feedback. Here’s what she had to say:

Dress One:

“You look like a disco ball.”

Dress Two:

“You look like a grandma.”

Photo Credit: tipsyelves.com

 

Dress Three:

“Take that off now, please.”

Dress Four:

“You still look like a grandma.”

Dress Five:

“Why did you even order that?”

Dress Six:

“You look like a hooker who’s going to a funeral for your hooker friend who died hooking up.”

Homecoming is in four days. The dress hunt continues.

Raspberries

The taste of raspberries reminds me of your garden. I haven’t been there in a long time, but the memories are just as clear as they’ve been five or ten years ago. Clear, but now with a blue undertone that makes me feel a little sick.

Why couldn’t you have been normal grandparents? Why are all our memories limited to those imposed walks through your garden and those dinners where you would clearly so much rather have sat at home watching the news or reading the same books over and over again? Why couldn’t you come visit us sometimes? Why could’t you teach us how to

Photo Credit: i.pinimg.com

bake or play chess or make paper planes? Why couldn’t you remember my birthday?

I know that I have no idea what it is like to be you guys, what it is like to live a difficult life and grow as old as you are now. But, your life isn’t difficult anymore, you have it so easy. So, why couldn’t you make it easy for us? Why couldn’t you make it easy for Mama; why do you have to be so loveless? Why did you have to kick us out of our house when I was two? Why did you have to tell me I was fat when I was thirteen? Why do you always have to tell me how horrible my mother is when she is actually the opposite of all that is wrong with you?

You don’t want us living in California; you want us back home, so you can see us every few months and be able to say how proud you are of how great your grandchildren turned out. But, you have no right to take credit. I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel and that’s how you made me feel.

I know I am so lucky with the life I have, but I am mad. I am mad and that’s your fault. You are the reason I get mad when I taste raspberries, you are the reason I never got to have grandparents.

A Letter to John Green

Dear John Green,

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.

Respectfully yours,

underwaterismyflyzone

Photo Credit: theverbalthing.com

Ignorance Is Bliss

Photo Credit: peta.org

Sixty-six thousand dogs and twenty-one thousand cats are used for testing makeup, pharmaceutical drugs, carcinogens, and much more. Within this testing, animals are burnt, abused, and even killed. Many pregnant animals are slaughtered so their fetuses can be used for testing.

Many ranchers use the cheapest ways to kill animals, such as electrocution or injecting them with insecticides, which take around three minutes of pain before the animal will die.

Footage of leading fur producing industries showed the animals being slammed against the floor to stun them and them being skinned alive.

A beef company in Texas was reported twenty-three times for cutting the hooves off of live cattle. No notifications to stop or police punishments where placed upon the company.

Videos of the slaughter house which supplies KFC with its chickens were released showing employees slamming the birds against walls, stomping on them, and kicking them. They twisted the chickens heads off, ripped of their beaks, and pulled them in half, all while the birds were still alive.

An employe from Butterball slaughterhouse in Arkansas was shown punching and stomping turkeys, slamming them against walls, crushing the bird’s skulls, and bashing them on metal handrails. All of this was done to the turkeys while they were still alive.

Animals in fur farms are kept in extremely small cages and are killed around the age of six months. The animals are kept in extremely cold conditions, so they will grow the thickest coats as possible. Many of them freeze to death, yet the industry couldn’t care less, because the fur can still be used.

The shark fin soup business kills over one hundred million sharks per year. When the sharks are caught, fishermen just cut of the fins and throw the shark back into the ocean. Without fins, the shark is unable to swim and will sink to the bottom of the sea, dying a slow, painful death.

The Humane Society of the United States discovered police officers in uniform betting on animal fighting in Kentucky.

Over 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized in the US due to the lack of space in shelters.

These are few of the many injustices and cruelties that animals face.

Ignorance is bliss, but ignorance won’t change anything.

In order to help, adopt animals from shelters instead of breeders or puppy mills, buy products that are not tested on animals, stay away from purchasing leather or fur.

There are many more ways to help end animal cruelty; for more, visit:

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/abuse_neglect/facts/animal_cruelty_facts_statistics.html

https://www.animalsasia.org/us/facts-about-cruelty-to-animals-in-asia.html?gclid=CjwKCAjwlejcBRAdEiwAAbj6KZCr2oCxgNUj7XhQmn8xroDKnlohUCK38PPJ4XDk0DCFxX6MMbyIFxoCHvUQAvD_BwE

https://animalcharityevaluators.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlejcBRAdEiwAAbj6KXf0N0RKoJSphilk09zRrHSow6C8UOjQV45mnPuvKqzvsLnZYG88_xoC12AQAvD_BwE

https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty

http://forallanimals.org/animal-cruelty-law-enforcement-and-prosecution-faqs/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlejcBRAdEiwAAbj6Kfc5QuEipsthLi8k1ToZC613n_wm1-JmY15kJObRYF-JpVYqGu3EsxoCJBcQAvD_BwE

https://www.peta.org/about-peta/learn-about-peta/ingrid-newkirk/

cigarettes

via melbournechapter.net

I’ve always been fascinated by cigarettes.

I suppose there’s something sort of compelling about them, being a glorified, rebellious accessory of sorts.

I used to love the smell of smoke. It reminded me of when I was younger.

Now I never trust anyone who likes cigarettes. Cigarettes kill people.

They do it slowly, squeezing the air out of your lungs little by little, until one day, you can’t breathe at all. They burn holes in your throat and melt your skin, but, at that point, you’ve grown so used to the feeling that you’re convinced it makes you feel better.

In the beginning, before it becomes a problem, you can still decide when you want to smoke. You know it’s addicting, but you tell yourself you’d never let it go that far.

But, after a while, when your first urge after you wake up is to go outside and smoke or when a meal never feels complete until you’ve finished a cigarette- that’s when you really have no control at all.

Cigarettes kill and if you still smoke that either means you just don’t care or you live under the false pretense that young people are invincible. Either way, you’re foolish.

Maybe I’m wrong. I probably shouldn’t be so judgmental.

But, there are plenty of other ways to be fascinating.