Because I’m a Woman

I watch a channel on YouTube called Yes Theory.

Their entire philosophy is based on the premise that when we start to say yes to things, we open ourselves to experiences that would never have been possible if we had said no. It encourages its followers to be spontaneous and preaches the idea that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.

To live out this philosophy, the main people involved are three 20-something, friendly, and fit guys who travel around the world and complete challenges based on the spontaneity and kindness of strangers.

In their latest video, one of the guys is abandoned alone in Slovakia with no money and no phone, where he must attempt to return to his friends in Budapest.

I love everything about this channel and I hope someday I can live my life in a similar fashion.

But, I know this isn’t as realistic for me. Simply, because I’m a woman.

The thought of being dropped off in and exploring a random country sounds like a dream. The thought of being dropped off alone in a random country sounds terrifying.

I hate that just by being female, doing anything becomes more dangerous. I am a strong believer that a woman can do anything a man can. While that is true, it’s also true that women have to take a lot more precautions than men do.

I read a study that asked groups of men and women about the things they do in their everyday life to avoid being assaulted. The responses from women went on for pages. For men, there was one answer: “Nothing. I don’t think about it.”

Photo Credit: twitter.com

Words cannot express how much I wish this weren’t the case, how much I wish men and women were really, truly equal when it comes to things like this.

I wish that my mom didn’t have to worry about me going to the beach with my girl friends at 5 PM, even though she is fine with my older brother going to the same place with his guy friends at one in the morning.

I wish that women weren’t twice as likely as men to experience sexual assault or violent crimes.

I wish it weren’t like this, but it is. And let me tell you, it sucks.

To any men who are reading this, appreciate the fact that you don’t have to make sure you have your keys in your hand when you’re walking to your car at night. Be grateful that when you’re running by yourself and a truck drives behind you, you don’t have to stop to let it pass so that you can see what it is doing. Remember that there is a reason why girls always go to the bathroom in groups.

Tell this to your sons. Make them understand what it’s like. Teach them how to make women feel safer.

Maybe someday we’ll live in a world where a young woman can walk through a city alone, the only thing on her mind being how grateful she is to be there, and her biggest concern being what she will eat for dinner.

That’s all we want.

 

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“Time… and I Have Gone Away”

When I was younger, I thought that by the time I was this age, I would have everything figured out.

Obviously, I haven’t lived up to that expectation. Looking back, I really didn’t have a clue what I would be, considering I thought High School Musical movies were a credible source for what teenagers are like.

Now that I’m actually in high school, I know that the expectations I had for this age were completely unrealistic. It’s definitely not as glamorous and there are far less organized musical numbers than I had envisioned.

But, when I think about who I will be in five or ten years, I picture some perfect version of myself. I’ll be kind and successful and doing all of the things that I wish I could be doing right now. I won’t be insecure about how I look, how I speak, or anything else that I care about now. I’ll have grown out of it by then, because I’ll have realized that it doesn’t matter.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

I’m sixteen now, but I’m still fantasizing about my future self, just like I did when I was six years old, and my expectations are still probably just as ridiculous.

I like to think that once you grow up, you know yourself completely. I like to imagine that I’ll have it figured out. I won’t have to picture the type of person I want to be, because I’ll already be that person.

In a perfect world, it would work like that. But, this world is far from perfect, and so am I.

I don’t think anyone ever fully grows out of certain things. We learn and grow our whole lives, but it’s not like everything just magically falls into place one day.

When all is said and done, I just hope that who I am in ten years is someone I’d like to know now.

A World Collapsed


There once was a thing named freedom. The gods created it for everyone to hold on to from birth and throughout their life, for all of us to rely on. It was a given right and we thought it was safe to stay.

It was a world of peace, as it was supposed to be. A world where we would talk and learn and see the places we wanted to see and know the things we wanted to know; it was a free world.

Photo Credit: can.pixabay.com

There was also a thing named envy. The gods didn’t create it, people did. Why? No one knows. Because the people were bored? Because they were intimidated and jealous? Who knows? But, what can we do? Envy is the flawed human trait, one of them at least.

When envy spread across our peaceful world and the people first tasted its sour acid rain, freedom started to fade. First, the people claimed the world and its land. Then, they saw the beauty of nature and took it. They saw the beauty of the birds and took it, locked them in and traded their freedom for amusement. They kept taking, claiming, and destroying. One day, the greediest of people, saw another person and took them.

Freedom has been on the brink since then. Our world has never been the same since we started taking other people’s freedom for our own comfort. Some of us want it to be the way it used to be, some want this to be a free world again. But, some of us are not enough of us.

what if

today, i saw you and thought

what if?

you were standing with your friends, 

hair unruly from scrimmaging.

in that moment,

Photo Credit: bustle.com

seeing you for the first time in a long time,

i wish i could be standing next to you.

my mind traveled across the room,

floating nearby yours.

i wanted to hear your words,

know the jokes you were laughing at.

i wanted to be there.

because, in a what if world,

we might’ve walked into that room together.

i might’ve told you the joke you laughed at

or been the one who got the pleasure of having your words.

i might’ve never even thought about a what if without you.

maybe, you would’ve broken my heart already.

i would’ve walked in and turned right around,

a heavy airiness in my chest.

but, i would’ve been able to fall for you.

i know, i’ll never get the chance.

we’re close, yet i’ve never felt farther from you.

maybe you saw me today and went away thinking about me.

maybe you didn’t recognize me, didn’t even deen me significant.

but, i’ll tell myself that tonight

we’ll fall asleep thinking of each other, wondering

what if.

My first Thanksgiving

What is Thanksgiving? You’ll probably answer with: “It’s an American holiday and as the name suggests, it’s an occasion for people to be thankful for all the blessings in their lives.” But what’s the origin of Thanksgiving? When the Pilgrims arrived in America, they had trouble growing crops and in 1620 that lead to a famine that killed half of the Pilgrims. Fortunately for them, the Wampanoag tribe taught them how to farm on their soil and later in 1621 the Pilgrims had their first successful harvest. The Wampanoag tribe was then invited to a feast known as the “First Thanksgiving.”

As a non-US citizen, I was very curious to see how people celebrate Thanksgiving because it’s taken very seriously. Growing up, I used to love Thanksgiving specials on shows like “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Simpsons.” I knew the basics of Thanksgiving, but have never experienced it.

The food is fantastic, I never knew that turkey and cranberry sauce can go together so well. What I really appreciate about this holiday is the opportunity to reflect on your life and realize how many things we should be grateful for. I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving with my family and it was very sweet to have the whole day to keep saying how much we mean to each other. I’d say this experience has brought us closer in a way.

This was a very successful first Thanksgiving. Here’s to many more!

History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving at White House

 

Photo Credit: Rose Rundown

 

Warmth of the Cold

I love fall. The sheer aesthetic of sitting by a window with warm glowing string lights, drinking some sort of hot tea, surrounded with the smell of books. The fact that it is finally cold enough to be wearing wool socks and sweatshirts. The feeling of cold air filling your chest from the inside, making your home feel so much warmer.

I have to admit, I miss the cold winters back home in Germany. Right now, it is almost freezing there, the leaves that are turning red-orange, some almost pink-purple, are covering the roads like a warm-colored blanket. The lakes are topped with a paper thin layer of ice in the morning, and windows and cars are frosted the way they would be in movies. Horses’ coats are becoming thick and soft, and cows are being brought from their pastures back into their winter barns.

Credit: view.stern.de

I remember how much I hated the feeling of biking up the hill to my house after school, watching the clouds turn to a darker grey as the sun set behind them, and feeling the warm air in my lungs being replaced by the cold, making my throat hurt by the time I got back home. But I always loved the moment I walked through the door, embraced by my jumping dog and the heated floor, maybe even a fire in the chimney. The best days were the rainy ones. Your house just feels so much cozier when you don’t want to go outside.

 

Credit: moondog.de

I miss that weather. I miss the grey skies and the rain-soaked lawns. I miss the muddy roads and paths going through the forest by my house. I miss collecting chestnuts with my friends and cooking them with their whole family. I miss being freezing cold with numb fingers and an icy nose. I miss how later in the winter the trees would look like they had been covered in powdered sugar, reflecting the grey-purple of the afternoon sky.

I miss my home.

And no matter where I’ll live throughout my life, no matter how many times I’ll move and find new homes, that will always be my first home. My family’s home. My real home.

Super Scary, Stereotypical Costumes

Halloween is arguably one of the most fun holidays. You can dress up like a banana, a zombie cheerleader, or even a cat. However, a certain kind of costume that is not acceptable, comes around every year. Those costumes fall into a small category: when people adopt the aspects and features of another race or culture as a costume, a joke. Some examples of this are blackface and yellowface where people will literally paint a color onto their skin to make them look like a different race. Halloween is not the proper place to display your racial microaggressions. You may not even be aware of them, most people aren’t. Microaggressions are when you say a racial slur or dress up as another race to make fun of them. Actions like these showcase how unaware our society is to the amount of cultural appropriation we experience on a daily basis. Some may take this as it not being okay to dress up as their favorite movie character of a different race, but that is not the case. Little kids can dress up as Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana, because they are doing it out of admiration, not disrespect. It is hard to identify when a costume goes from okay to bad. If you think someone will be offended by your costume then odds are it isn’t appropriate.

STARS Poster Campagian 2012
Photo Credit: http://www.ohio.edu/orgs.stars/Poster_Campaign.html

In 2012, a group of students at Ohio State University, known as STARS (Students Teaching About Racism in Society), made a series of posters to showcase this problematic Halloween trend. It is a series of six posters each picturing an offensive costume representing a racial stereotype, an actual person representing that racial group, and the same line: “You wear the costume for one night, I wear the stigma for life.”

And this is so true. Coming from a place of privilege, I don’t understand the type of oppression people of color receive on a daily basis; neither do any of the people who dress up as stereotypes of a culture. If you dress up as a racial stereotype, then you most likely don’t know anything about that particular culture’s daily oppression. People who don blackface or dress up as a nerdy Asian never have to live in the skin of people of color. They don’t have to wake up knowing they’ll be judged for the amount of pigment in their skin. Most people dress up as stereotypical racial figures to make fun, not knowing anything about what it’s actually like to be who they’re dressed up as. On November 1st, you can wake up in your safety bubble of skin and go on with life, but the group of people you made fun of the night before will continue to wear the skin and/or identity that you appropriated as a costume.