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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A Letter to My Favorite Band

Photo Credit: CelebMix.com

 

Dear All Time Low,

I know it’s cheesy when fans say you saved their lives, but here’s a fan saying it once more.

You saved my life.

Figuratively. Never once in my life have I contemplated ending it all, but what I mean is that your band has made all the rock bottom moments easier to go through.

I’m supposed to be the one who has it easy. The girl from a well off, supportive family who wants me to succeed. The one with no financial issues, boy drama, or grief. If only that had always been the case in my life.

But, because of it, that’s all I’m allowed to be. The girl who has it easy and who shouldn’t be sad, because what do I have to be sad about? That’s why I don’t tell my friends anything, because I’m supposed to be the happy one.

But, that’s why I feel saved by you and your music. When I put my earphones in at the end of the day, the layers of thick skin I put on to build a barricade around myself falls down. I’m finally myself; every flawed, fragile, and delicate piece of myself free to be the real me when I listen to “Missing You” or “Therapy”.

It’s not just the music, though. It’s the community you’ve created for me and every single fan you have. I’m thankful for the concerts you perform, because I would’ve never been able to meet girls there who I’ve spilled more secrets to than the friends I’ve had for years now because I felt so safe.

Thank you for making me feel safe.

When I met you guys July 7th, 2017, I didn’t say everything I wanted to. Partly because I only had thirty seconds with you guys and partly because I was too shocked about the fact that I was finally meeting my favorite people in this world to even formulate a sentence beyond a simple “thank you”.

So, here’s the truth.

Thank you for making such amazing music. Songs that inspired me to learn guitar, lyrics that I want to get tattooed when I’m older, and music that will always stay on my playlist no matter how many times I change the music I listen to.

Thank you for being there through it all. When my parents died, when I went to boarding school for the first time, when my school burned down, and when I felt abandoned and alone in this rapidly changing world; the one thing that has remained constant in my life is your music.

Thank you for creating the best fan base in the world. The ones that held me up, literally, when I went crowdsurfing for the first time during your set at Warped Tour and for the ones I screamed and cried with when “Therapy” was performed.

Thank you for making every moment obsessing over your band the best moments of my life.

I’ve written many letters throughout the years to many different people, but I didn’t know how to begin or end this one. The reason is that no words could truly explain the  impact you’ve had on me, my happiness, and my life.

“It’s just a band” most people say, but you’re not just a band.

You’re my band.

My favorite band and even in thirty years, when my music taste is completely different from what it is now, you’ll still be my favorite band.

So, I’ll end this letter the way I started it.

Thank you All Time Low…

You saved my life.

Here Now, a Long Time Ago.

Do you ever wonder what the world looked like before anyone was here?

What would the earth look like if there were no buildings, no cars, no sign that it had been touched by any human ever.

Take a look around at exactly where you are right now. Stop reading for a moment, close your eyes, and try to picture it.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

I think there would be lots of dry grass where I am. If I were to lay down on the ground, I would slowly sink into the scratchy brush until my back met the hard dirt below.

The air would be cool. There would be lots of oak trees everywhere.

A creek might curve its way through the little valley, slowly moving across the open space. Supposedly there used to be one, but it’s long gone now.

It’s night time. The sky would be so dark, but the stars would be so bright, speckled against the blackness.

I’m not quite sure what it would sound like. I know there would be wind, rustling the brush a little bit. The barn owls, coyotes, and mountain lions would roam through the hills, looking for something to eat.

I’ve never known the world when it was untouched, the way it was supposed to be. But, I think about it all of the time.

I wish I could be there.

 

My Tuesday Run

Image from redbirdhills.com

In cross county, my coaches always remind us that the sport has as much to do with mental strength as it does physical strength.

With that in mind, I’d like to invite you to come running with me – for the mental part, at least.

Here’s what a few miles look like inside of my head.

Mile 1:
Don’t start too fast, just get warmed up.
It’s hot today, but not as bad as it usually is. The gravel crunches beneath my shoes. We reach a little bit of downhill.
I hear my coach’s voice: “Let gravity do the work.”
Get your breathing back. Drop your arms. Shake it out.
The road in front of us curves up a long hill. It’s steep.
Slow it down. What hurts worse, lungs or legs? Legs. I can breathe still.
My calves tighten the farther up we climb. I count my steps between each exhale. We’re running in 4/4 time. I inhale on the 1st beat, exhale through 2, 3, 4.

Mile 2:
Sweat drips down my forehead. I wipe it off with my shirt.
Take it easy now.
My breathing is steady – that’s good. My left calf hurts more than my right. The opposite of yesterday.
This hill is a bitch. Settle in, we’ll be here for a while.
It hurts.

Mile 3:
Keep your arms down. Breathe.
The road settles and is flat for a while.
You’re not tired, it just hurts.

Mile 4:
What hurts worse, lungs or legs? Both. You’re not tired, you just can’t breathe. There’s a difference.
The next two miles are steady uphill.
Use your arms! The harder you work the faster you’ll be done.

Mile 5:
This hill is a BITCH.
My ragged breathing is louder than my shoes on the pavement. Sweat covers my whole body. My arms ache from pumping and the muscles in my legs feel like they’re made of both cement and water at the same time. My mouth is so dry that when I touch my tongue to the roof of my mouth it sticks.
Eyes up, on the road. So close. I feel awful.
I can’t breathe. The smell of wood chips in the orchard makes me want to puke. Push.
Everything hurts.

The Finish:
I jog past the green gate the marking the end of the road, the end of the run. My left foot leaves the pavement and lands on grass and the right follows.
Don’t sit down. Breathe.
As I walk back and forth beneath the oak trees, my lungs start to settle down. The tension in my legs slowly fades, first easing up in my quads and then from my calves.
My breathing returns to normal. I’m not hurting anymore.
I just ran five miles.
I feel good.

 

My Little Journal

So many things I can’t say out loud.

So many things I want no one to know, but I want everyone to know at the same time. I want to scream them out into the void and have someone find my words and listen. A complete stranger, one who won’t judge me, though, I wouldn’t really care if they did.

I have so many things I want to write out. Emotions, frustrations… life. But, I can’t formulate the words to say to the people I want to listen, nor can I figure out how to write them on here.

So, I bought a journal. A small, leather journal that I write all my thoughts into.

I tried journaling a number of times in the past, but it only lasted two days maximum. Now, I can’t put my journal down. I write and write, sometimes words of gibberish, but they fill pages of my thoughts, pouring out of the pencil and onto the lined pages.

Now, I make sure to grab my journal and pen every night before I go to bed and I write. I write until my fingers feel numb and the lead wears down.

I guess it feels nice having an outlet to express myself. One that feels like I’m talking to many, when, in reality, I’m the only one who gets to read it. It makes me feel safe and exposed all at once, a type of feeling I never thought would be so rejuvenating.

Photo Credit: Favim.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.