One Year

One year ago I remember clearly.

I had my guitar on my shoulder, leaving the warm dorms to trek across the chilly campus to my weekly music lesson, but the air was different than usual.

Everyone was huddled outside, talking as they saw smoke in the distance and hues of red burning in the sky that felt so distant at that moment.

“Are you really going to your lesson right now? There’s a fire,” my friend asked me.

Of course I would go to my lesson. It was my favorite part of Monday nights. Plus, the fire was nowhere near us, nothing would happen, and nothing would change.

Oh, how I was wrong.

Everything changed.

Photo Credit: pbs.org

Yet, so many things stayed the same.

One year later, I’m getting ready to go to my Monday night guitar lesson.

I have a new guitar, but it means so much more now. I appreciate it more now.

I’m still in a dorm room, wondering what I’ll be getting for secret snowflake tomorrow.

But I’m in a new dorm room, with a new roommate, on a new part of campus.

I don’t have the same clothes I had a year ago. The same photos, yearbooks, or blankets.

But, I have the photos I’ve taken since then.

My stuffed animal and All Time Low pillow I saved from the fire.

I still have the memories of the fire.

The ones that haunt me.

The ones that bring me to tears thinking about what I lost, what my friends lost, and what the whole school lost.

But, the memories remind me of how I became a stronger person since.

How my friends became stronger.

How the school became stronger.

How the county’s stronger.

More united.

More appreciated.

I still remember the day I returned from Christmas break and stepped on to campus and moved into the new dorms.

Being welcomed by overwhelming support, welcome back goodie bags, and hugs from my friends.

Seeing my horse for the first time since the fire and knowing he was safe and healthy. That all the other horses were safe.

The fire was so destructive, so horrible, but so many things came out of it that I’m more thankful now for than ever.

It’s been one year and I’m still sensitive to the scent of smoke and fire, to the sound of news about other California fires on the TV.

But, one year later, the mountains are a little greener.

My home is still stronger than ever.

And that’s the most beautiful thing of all.

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Bucketlist

There’s so many things to do when life is so short, but here’s a list of thirty things I want to do at some point in my life.

  1. Study abroad.
  2. Go train-hopping through Europe.
  3. Sing on stage during “Time Bomb” with All Time Low.
  4. Volunteer at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.
  5. Snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef.
  6. Cliff dive.
  7. Go skydiving.
  8. Write a song.
  9. Solve a mystery.
  10. Go to a college football game.
  11. See Phantom of the Opera.
  12. Get my driver’s license.
  13. Jump four feet on a horse.
  14. Start a meme.
  15. Go to Tomorrowland/Nocturnal Wonderland.
  16. Go on an African Safari.
  17. Get a tattoo.
  18. Fall in love.
  19. Graduate from law school.
  20. Go down a black diamond slope snowboarding (successfully).
  21. Go to a masquerade ball.
  22. Live in New York City.
  23. Learn a third language.
  24. Go on a road trip across the country.
  25. Sit on someone’s shoulders during a concert.
  26. Become flexible.
  27. Learn how to ice skate.
  28. Get a dog.
  29. Write a book.
  30. Do karaoke in public.
Photo Credit: dazesummit.com

three poems (that don’t have anything to do with each other)

Thank you.

A girl, pale and sweet

skipping through the sunset,

via static.tumblr.com

cutting dead roses

to put in her hair.

“Why, child,” says her mother.

“Those are dead!”

The girls nods understandingly.

“Yes momma, you killed them.”

_________________________

200 Glowing Stars

Every night, before I sleep

I lay down

on my bed in my room

in my home, our home.

via biggreen.club

It might not be what it was

before the fire took our flame.

but we have a tapestry,

200 glowing stars (exactly),

CDs and vinyls

and signed posters,

new favorite dresses

and a surprisingly healthy orchid.

It smells like cool air and rosemary,

a little bit like horse.

we have a door and walls

and a window with a view

on the top of a hill

with ruins that won’t be rebuilt.

but we have our room

where I lay at night

covered in a blanket

of our 200 glowing stars.

_____________________

Where were you

where were you when I needed you?

where were you when my house had no walls,

when the sun refused to look me in the eyes

and tell me I was worth shining for.

when claws ripped my pride

like a wet paper bag,

scratching

gnawing

beating up on me

over and

via i.vimeocdn.com

over and

over again.

Where were you then?

I remember your face–

as if it was a bad dream–

behind the mirror watching me

your hideously gorgeous face.

go away.

I don’t need you now

to make up

what you unrestorably took.

Women of Our Future

Following Trump’s win in last night’s presidential election, about half of the country is in complete distress. Now, most women, people of color, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, and other oppressed people are starting to fear for themselves and their futures with the reality of a completely Republican-controlled government. But, those minorities didn’t take a complete step back. Five strong, capable women were voted into various positions, all of whom are hopefully the first of many.

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Photo Credit:  www.latimes.com

Kamala Harris was elected as California’s Senate representative. Along with that, she has been Attorney General of her state since 2011. She is the second black woman to ever be in the US Senate and the first ever woman to be California’s Attorney General. This comes as a huge accomplishment, especially because both her parents were immigrants – originally from Jamaica and India.

Cortez Masto Reid.jpg
Photo Credit: latino.foxnews.com

Former Attorney General of Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto became the United States’ first ever Latina Senator. She is representing Nevada in the Senate. This wasn’t a small feat: as the granddaughter of a Mexican immigrant, she had a tough battle defeating her opponent, Republican Joe Heck.

"Because I’m a mom, that makes me concerned for the future," Omar said. Photo by Conrad Zbikowski.
Photo Credit: http://www.tcdailyplanet.net

Ilhan Omar became the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker, when she was elected as a State Representative for Minnesota. She is a fantastic role model for young East African girls, who she actively empowers, working as the director of Women Organizing Women Network. Her win is a bright sign for all her fellow refugees as she symbolizes hope for women who want to be in politics.

Photo Credit: http://www.glaad.org

Kate Brown made a wave of change as the United States’ first openly LGBT governor, when she became Oregon’s 38th Governor. She is an activist not only for LGBT rights, but she also wants to see reform in gun control, women’s rights, and clean energy. In a speech she made about a month ago, she opened up about why she was running. “If I can be a role model for one young person that decides that their life is worth living because there’s someone like them in the world, it’s worth it,” she said.

Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs, at the World War II Memorial in Washington in 2010. Duckworth, now an Illinois congressional candidate, became a double amputee when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq in 2004.
Photo Credit: http://www.military.com

Last, but certainly not least, Tammy Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq war, became Illinois’s new Senator. Born in Bangkok, this former Hawaiian resident defeated Republican Mark Kirk. Her choice to join the army was probably influenced by her former marine father, Frank Duckworth. Her win marks almost the 12th year since she lost both her legs in a plane crash when fighting in the Iraq war.

So, no matter how you feel about the outcome of this election, I think these women deserve some recognition. Their successes show that even when women are put down, ridiculed, or deemed weak and undeserving, we still prevail. I’m glad that these women (and other women) will be representing who I could be, if I work hard and believe in my capabilities. These women are the future of our nation.

Inspiration from: https://www.good.is/articles/women-elected-across-america

Nightmare

It’s a horse. Can you guess what colors plague their minds the most? It’s black. The dark color that overpowers all, that can swallow up anything lighter that dares to power through.

This horse is all black, smoking, shimmering, not hidden like Conscience but not sharp like Shadow. Her socks are grey, her hooves pulse, she plods along, following me, aiding me. Her name is Nightmare but she is Hope. She is Beauty. She is Power.

She, in her huge Gypsy form, is difficult to see. Hope shows up the least and they can see no Beauty in this world. This world is destroyed. Corrupted. Shattered. Gods know what plans the world has for lowly humans.

Nightmare lives on. She, in her huge Gypsy form, fights Shadow and Conscience and will never let Hope and Beauty die. Her Power is immense, never weakening, but one day she will die.

She feeds on Hope and Beauty, and they are on their way to extinction. The good powers of this world, the bright sunlight, the clear winds, are being swallowed by the seething black haze that eats all.

Nightmare has left me and begins to die.

Dove

A little Dove chocolate told me to enjoy the small things in life.

This is a stage in my life that I need the small things.

With the stress of school, sports, and a social life, it’s the little moments that make it all worth it.

They happen here and there, but today for instance it rained.

The rain brings me great happiness. It cleanses the ground, but it makes everything clean and new.

Flowers bloom, and otherwise dusty hills become rolling green hills.

This is the entrance into spring that we have been waiting for.

The past few weeks have brought a lot of stress to an already stressful life.

One would think that having a single mother with multiple incurable diseases would cause stress.

Having her go to the hospital unexpectedly would seem to cause stress, but that is my life.

This is who I am, this is how my family works.

I can accept that my mother is sick and I can find happiness in the fact that she always comes home, although sometimes not without a fight, she has managed to make it back every time.

On this Easter Sunday I ask you to consider this.

I don’t care what your beliefs are, or if you don’t believe, but there is something on this Earth and beyond that has kept my mother here.

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The Crashing Eagle

gg5

A nation’s spending out of control.

A flying spark of hope flies across the sky.

A weathered bird has served its time well.

Its has flown high in the sky.

It has been prey.

It has been a predator.

It survives its ordeals only to come crashing down.

It is shot down by bureaucracy

The replacement threatens to out shine it.

A mighty eagle, the replacement is swift and strong.

The hopes of the nation come crashing down.

The mighty eagle crashes, its strengths is its undoing.

Exorbitant costs and empty coffers force the nation to abandon the eagle.

In it’s destruction the eagle robs the nation of its hope.

Never again will hope rise so highly in the nation.