Dreams from my Childhood

Before I was proficient, understanding language, my dreams would be primarily in symbols (I wasn’t a very verbal child). Now I’ve never written this down or spent much time reflecting on it, but from around the time I was 3 to the time I was 9 or 10 I would have very odd, indescribable dreams; a single, short line, accompanied by a circle and a square I believe would race around the room I would sleep in while remaining totally silent. And at moments I would hear a deep buzzing that I could not describe, the racing became more intense and increasingly antagonizing while appearing exactly the same. An unnerving simplicity that I didn’t understand frightened me beyond my greatest beliefs and I couldn’t describe them to my family for the life of me, haunting me for years after I stopped having them.
I used to live in a three-story house. To be fair it was a house divided down the middle with a wall so it could house two families, but regardless it felt large to the small child that I was. My house had an area where the stairs, which were all right above each other, and near the basement, there was an entrance to my dad’s office which was leveled slightly below the ground floor of the house but still sheltered slightly from the basement. And in the mornings or late afternoons when things were dark, but not enough to turn lights on, that area would have a shadowy appearance that terrified me. So sometimes, I dreamt that I was standing there, alone, in the early morning, when my parents were still in bed an eternity away on the third floor of my house, I would be frozen on that landing, surrounded by shadows and uncertainty, where I would hear a despaired howling, like one would hear on the Alaskan tundra on a cold winter night, but unnervingly human. And I would be unable to escape that desperate gale-forced cry, and then it would just end.
Photo Credit: Mechanics of Being

don’t touch my hair…

When I was young, I had straight hair: golden, shiny, long curly hair. People would say, “Olivia, your hair is beautiful, don’t ever touch it.” In a sense, I felt quite pompous because of my hair. I knew people were attracted to it. My mother called it mermaid’s hair and I took extreme pride in the comment. I loved the attention my hair drew; it became key to my identity. Being young and blind to cultural and social cues, I flaunted my hair and reveled in the jealousy of others. 

But then I grew up. I stopped living in the trance of my innocence. I became aware of the culture of my family and I didn’t know where I fit into that.

Being African American, Filipina, and Caucasian, I was surrounded by many cultures at a young age but grew up in a town where the ethnicity was mainly white which was reflected in my appearance with my long, straight, golden hair. The blonde hair that tickled my back as I walked side to side was a label for things that I didn’t understand at five years old, and that was my heritage. My hair was not the type of hair that you would see on a little black girl.

My African American family and my Filipina grandmother would always have something to say about my hair. It was too frizzy or too straight and never right for their standards. 

As I grew older and insecurities rose, my hair became frizzier, longer, and harder to manage. During my middle school years, I was confused and grappling with a loss of identity. With no relationship with my heritage, and trying to guide myself through my pre-teen years, my hair reflected the struggles I was facing. My hair was developing, and so was I, but I didn’t know how to control it. It and I were lost, and this struggle for a sense of identity lasted years. 

Then something happened during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year where I felt a sense of need. So, I cut my hair, all of it, and I felt fantastic. A fresh, ear-length, haircut was what I needed to not only feel confident but awake. 

photo credit: pinterest.com

My sophomore year of high school was a major awakening for me and my relationship with my ethnic identity. I understood the history of blacks in America as I began to read poems from Maya Angelou and read about corrupt African American communities in the works of Toni Morrison. I explored music relating to the struggles of black men and women, and began to experience my culture. I also felt a need to connect to my Filipina heritage as well. I began to cook more of my grandmother’s traditional Filipino recipes and shared them with my friends and family that didn’t understand my culture. 

My hair reflected the feelings that I was developing for my culture. It was curly, big, darker in color, and felt like me. I finally accomplished the sense of identity that I had been searching for in my young teenage years. I wasn’t just a girl, living in caucasian town with frizzy uncontrolled hair. I was a woman, who knew what she wanted and who she was who just so happened to have big curly locks on her head. 

Now, I love my hair just like I loved it when I was a little girl. I am able to bounce my curls all day without feeling the judgment of my family. I don’t care about what people have to say about my looks and how I am not enough in terms of my heritage.

The Ugly Truths About Eating Disorders and The Path to Recovery

Many women who are convinced they’re in control, sticking to a dangerously low number of calories a day and severely suffering mentally and physically, most of the time have no idea about the seriousness of their situation. 

Looking back, it’s hard to explain the level of daily obsession that I suffered over my physical appearance. As a child, I thought of sticking a needle in to my thighs and calves, to see if I could squeeze out the fat. I also had the best idea ever… to just cut my stomach off with scissors. 

Suffering from eating disorders in the past I had no idea I was ill and most of the women I spoke to were in denial as well. 

I thought eating an orange per day was healthy and that everyone around me wasn’t. I didn’t think I had anorexia: real anorexics, I erroneously believed, ate nothing at all. And I was still eating? 

There’s no question that letting go of an eating disorder is one of the hardest things a person can do. It’s also important to note that each individual will follow their own unique path to recovery but here are some steps that may help: 

  1. Recognizing you have a problem: This step is crucial because if you don’t acknowledge that you have a problem there’s no point in changing. If you are not sure if you have an eating disorder the best thing to do is see a registered dietitian or therapist so that you can get a professional opinion. For me, I took an online quiz and then from there I started taking steps to change. 
  2. Decide that you are worthy of recovery and start to make small changes: start to research how you can make healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle. This might include introducing more balanced foods into your diet and exercise so that if you do eat more you won’t necessarily gain weight. 
  3. Instead of just focusing on your physical appearance and food intake incorporate various ways to practice self-care with your mind, body and spirit. If your body and brain are being deprived, you are less likely to reap the benefits of everything from therapy to mindfulness.

Recovering from an eating disorder is difficult but definitely possible. The most important thing is to accept help and seek support.

Is your Toothbrush Killing our Future Generations?

There is no perfect toothbrush, but some choices are better than others. Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose… They end up in landfills and release toxic chemicals into the air resulting in harsh damage to the environment. In addition to getting washed away into the ocean, the toothbrush is endangering marine life and contaminating our food. 

After seeing this piece of art made by an African artist, it was really eye-opening. Africa has a huge trash pollution issue, along with the rest of the world… This art piece is a commentary on plastic pollution. 

Knowing that every plastic toothbrush impacts the environment and that one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States alone, creating 50 million pounds of waste- what can we do?

Bamboo Toothbrushes: bamboo is biodegradable. (bristles are not biodegradable) 

If bamboo toothbrushes end up in the trash, they aren’t significantly more environmentally friendly than plastic… but if you compost the handles of bamboo toothbrushes by first remove the nylon bristles with pliers then composting the handles… it makes a huge difference. Plus it is really beneficial for our environment. 

Then there are the toothbrushes that are recycled and/or recyclable:  Some options I love:

Bogobrush (bogobrush.com) 

Bogobrush is a Company that makes its brushes from compostable bioplastic using leftover plant material from American farms.

Or consider (preserve.eco) Toothbrushes made from recycled yogurt containers which are easily accessible online or in local stores Ojai: Being in Westridge and Rainbow Bridge. Also if you mail your old toothbrushes, not only will they be recycled into new products, but you will also receive a coupon for their online store. 

After using these types of recycled toothbrushes another option to help continue supporting the recycling market is by sending them to organizations such as Gimme 5 drop-off/mail-in program. Whole Foods And other companies have Gimme 5 bins located in their stores. You can just look up ones near you. 

Note: *Buying recycled stuff when we need to buy new products is the smartest move.*

So now you know the best eco friendly toothbrushes on the market: what do we do with our old ones?

Three months of brushing your teeth is not worth 400 years in the landfills. So an option would be to reuse your toothbrush in different ways until you switch to an eco-friendly toothbrush: 

You could easily label your toothbrushes for their different uses around the house: Here are a few options:

-Cleaning Household Items

-Remove dirt from shoes/Soccer cleats!

-Fingernail brushing

-Deep clean your desk/Clean beauty supplies

-Spot-treat stains on clothes

-Clean Your Hairbrush out 

-Brush Your Eyebrows

These are just some out of hundreds of household uses…

Best of luck on your zero-waste journey! It can be difficult sometimes but if you put in the effort, it’s well worth it. In the meantime, I wish you fresh breath and zero cavities.

End of Procrastination

I’m a huge procrastinator. No matter how much work is on my plate, I’ll always deal with it the minute before deadline. Last summer, I did the whole summer holiday’s assignment in the last 5 days. 

To procrastinate, you have to know your limits. There must be a point where you just know that you have to get started—or you won’t finish even if you pull an all-nighter. Like 5 days before school starts or every Sunday night. 

Every Saturday night I tell myself to work, but I always end up working my butt off on Sunday night. Every Psychology project, I do it the night before it…

Being the huge procrastinator that I am, I don’t recommend stalling. Change is hard, for me and everyone else. Whenever things become habitual, they stick like super glue—and tearing them off would hurt a lot. 

Why not start little, one day at a time? We have to fight fire with fire, strengthening a new, better habit while damning procrastination. 

Change can be hard, but it’s possible. Even the huge procrastinator I am, I didn’t wait until Sunday to clear my plate of work. Sometimes it’s not just work, work, work if you manage your time rightly. I’m done being lazy.

Photo Credit: collegian.com

To be sure, unsure, etc.

Image credit: fineartamerica.com

I don’t know much about most things, but I do know that some things are just supposed to happen, and some are not –

I know that the moon is supposed to rise in the east and that dogs are supposed to bark at each other through chain link fences and that pomegranates are supposed to stain my shirt sleeves

and I know I would never want to be inside when they sky looks the way it did tonight.

But I’m not so sure that things are supposed to be like this;

I am not so sure that the pepper tree I stopped at today is the same type of pepper tree that I grew up with. It didn’t remind me of home in the same way they usually do. It should have been familiar to me, and it wasn’t.

I’m not at all sure of people like you, and I am not sure that the world should be melting and that we should all just be okay with it.

How should I be allowed to miss things before they’re gone? How can I possibly miss you when my hands are on your face and you’re standing directly in front of me? I’m not sure how that is even possible, and yet I do.

I must remind myself to look up every once in a while.

Conflicted

happy birthday

I wish I could say it to you, but we are on a strictly no communication basis.

The only thing we share now is our existence and hatred towards each other.

It’s sad… my greatest love turned into my strongest hate.

happy birthday, you’re an adult now.

I hope you move far far away and buy a house of your own thousands of miles away from here,

but I hope you’ll be happy.

I still wear the necklace you got me for my birthday. People tell me I should get rid of it, and I probably should, but I can’t because its the last piece of you I have left, and, as much as I want to, I can’t bring myself to let you go.

I want you gone but I want you happy,

I want you to feel awful for what you did, but I want you to come back to me.

I want to hate you, but I want you to love me…

because I love you still.

So happy birthday, thank you for the memories, the laughs, the smiles, and thank you for the love we shared.

I hope one day it will overcome the hatred we share.

Photo credit: seansi.org