Tag Archives: truth

“Unthinkable”

The dictionary defines the word “unthinkable” as follows: UNTHINKABLE, adj. (of a situation or event) too unlikely or undesirable to be considered a possibility.

An act of “Unthinkable” and unspeakable evil – this is often how right-wing politicians phrase their empty apologies every time school children are slaughtered in mass shooting events. But if I am being honest, throughout my brief lifetime there is only one school shooting, the effects of which I remember vividly, and believe deserves that particular term.

On April 16, 2007, the unthinkable happened, on April 16, 2007, a single gunman used a semi-automatic weapon to gun down 32 people and injured 17 more at Virginia Tech.

Back then, school shootings were nowhere near as commonplace as they are now. Back then, that act of violence lead me and my fellow students who attended a elementary charter school in PA to have a very serious assembly, but unlike the kids today – I don’t have memories of active shooter drills before I reached high school. And why? Because in 2007 and even 2010 school shootings were relatively unthinkable, but today and in some schools, it’s all kids can think about.

Our kids are speaking, but the ones with the power to change things won’t listen

Yesterday I saw a tiktok where a teacher was asked by an elementatry school student “are you scared, like my mommy” and the teacher answered honestly saying, “yes, I am scared, but I am scared because I care about you and want to keep you safe.” and do you know what the child [THE CHILD] said as a response, “it’s ok, that’s why we do the drills, so that when [YES, THE KID SAID WHEN] it happens, we will be ready and we will be ok.” — So if our idea of protecting children starts and ends at drills (drills that some of these gunmen have been trained with) (or arming teachers???) and doesn’t include us allowing them to be a part of the conversation that they are already having with eachother and in their heads, then we are failing them. If we prioritize paraphrased rights over young human lives, we are failing our kids. If we continue to allow semi-automatic weapons to be so readily available to a general public who is not fit to use that kind of weapon, then we are failing our kids and we are failing ourselves.

“But my second amendment…”

19 elementary school children – dead. 2 teachers who tried to protect those children – dead. One 18-year-old gunman – dead. The death toll of the recent (mass) school shooting totals 22 (not including the shooter’s grandmother). And every single one of those lives lost – they were not victims of an “unthinkable act” but an entirely preventable one.

I can see the headline now “the founders continue to fail the American public 400 years after their deaths” – obviously accountability isn’t America’s strong suit.

Now in the event that someone excessively pro gun comes accross this post LET ME MAKE ONE THING ABUNDANTLY CLEAR – I personally do not like or agree with guns in any context and I personally don’t think guns should be a household item. BUT I also firmly believe that in certain households where children are taught gun safety and firearm respect, those are not households I hold issues with – with one exception – I personally don’t believe that any household needs access to a semi automatic weapon and this is quite simply because, in my mind, semi-automatic weapons are weapons of war; and while I don’t agree with that level of violence in any context, I do understand that for every tool there is a time and place, and I can understand that tool within the concept of that specific (and only that specific) time and place. IN OTHER WORDS, I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it, but I understand a context where it does make sense.

People love the idea of freedom but most don’t understand the cost

You see – When the founding fathers wrote the original documents by which our country governs itself today, they had muskets. To them, all of the happenings today were “unthinkable” because never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined half the things that have happened. BUT flash forward to today where – in 2022 alone – (mind you we are only 6 months in), there have been an estimated 214 mass shootings (IN THE UNITED STATES). And because google defines a mass shooting as an event that takes a minimum of three to four lives in a short period of time the bare minimum toll of those combined events is equal six hundred and forty two (642) lives lost — but according to insider news the death toll due to gun violence in 2022 ALONE currently sits at Seventeen thousand, three hundred lives lost (17,300 – dead) — that’s a little higher than the definitions minimum isnt it?

But in a couple of weeks, the dust of this will settle, Texas reps will stop their press conferences and their empty apologies and we will have some quiet time to reflect until the next shooting happens… This is the cost of freedom in America. This is the cost of maintaining the value of the second ammendment. This is the debt that we pay and in my personal opinion, it is disgusting, the cost is far too high, and it is the furthest thing from “unthinkable” that I can think of.

Look, at the end of the day, I don’t think we should take anyone’s right to bear arms away, but I think we should consider re-establishing what arms they have access to and how easily they are granted access to them. And the reason this article focuses on school shootings rather than the dozens of other mass shootings is because our government has shown time and time again that they won’t change no matter who falls prey to these attacks, but discussions where children are involved are much more likely to garner support. And don’t get me started on how angry it makes me that that even needs to be said or the fact that the absurd levels of inequality in this country span accross all kinds of labels and personal identifiers.

but I digress… where was I, oh yes – “at the end of the day, I don’t think we should take anyone’s right to bear arms away, but I think we should consider re-establishing what arms they have access to and how easily they are granted access to them.” —

If you want a pistol or a riffle or even a bayonet to defend yourself – I am all for it, after all that is what the founding fathers intended, but with what is happening and what continues to happen things can not and truly should not stay as they are. And to be clear, that’s not a political opinion. The stance I take isn’t because I am a democrat, it isn’t because I am a woman and because my rights have been threatened recently, it isn’t because I am anything – it’s simply because I am a person and because if I am lucky enough to have kids one day, the last thing I want is to be scared to send them to school.

In this life or any other – the last thing anyone wants is to live in a state of fear, but for our country, for the minorities in it, that’s all we and they know.

So stop claiming that very preventable acts are “unthinkable,” stop apologizing to and praying for the families who continue to lose everything without bearing responsibility for what is happening to them, stop allowing this damn country to be like the freaking wild west, and stop allowing any old person above the age of 18 to buy a semi-automattic weapon — because by now, and when it comes to gun violence in america, too many of our kids (and citizens) have not only thought of it, but they’ve lived it – and that should be enough insentive for real change to be made.

An open letter to the class of 2022

To the class of 2022, by now most of you have graduated from your respective institutions. You have done it. You have finally earned your degree. (Or at least they’ve given you the paper for it) And hopefully, you have earned the chance to pursue your career-centered dreams.

Years of sweat and blood and tears have finally led you to this moment and as glorious as it is, it’s slightly tainted by the moment where your institution, the place that has been your home for the past (+ or -) 4 years, said (in not so many words) – “congratulations, you did it – now go home.” (As closing time plays “closing time,you don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here”)

Suddenly your mind races, “Home? What home? This is my home. This is my friends and my favorite/least favorite food and the place my stupid ex broke my heart before my friends (who are really more like family) put me back together again. Go home? What does that even mean?”

Maybe it hit you this weekend or maybe it’ll hit later but the moment you received your diploma everything changed. And it did, because… I guess… because it has to? See when I graduated with my bachelors degree 4 years ago, before I started this blog or even really knew who I was, I was terrified. I mean that’s quite literally the reason I continued my education and my track career – because I wasn’t ready to leave my home. And the while all the analogies about birds and nests rushed to mind more than they had the first time I left “home” I knew that this was different. This was different, because this home, felt like so much more than any other.

Now I realize this post is bittersweet because while I feel like you will identify with it, it isn’t necessarily what you want to hear right now. You don’t want to hear “everything changes” even if you know it will. You don’t want to accept that your people won’t be a couple of doors or even a couple blocks away, but possibly a couple of states or more. You don’t want to accept that this chapter is truly over, but as third eye blind once said – “every new beggining comes from some other begginings end” and if you don’t know that song then please follow the dotted line to hand your diploma back in.

Look, at the end of the day, I know this next phase will be different and it will be hard. Whether you are moving home for a bit or moving somewhere new – bills suck, work can be tedious, and last night’s drinks rapidly become all the more unforgiving when they are served by a new bartender who makes their drinks differently than you are used to. But this time will soon become the best time of your life – as will every phase to follow it. (Insert Miley Cyrus “The Climb” Lyrics) And that is the way it should be – because while the last four years were the best of your life, don’t forget that they are merely the best of your life SO FAR and that the best is still yet to come.

All jokes aside though, as a sister of a brother in the class of 2022, I cannot be more thrilled at the lives I see unfolding. I could not be more proud of the voice this generation is cultivating, and I could not be more excited to see what you all do next. The world around us is changing – and it needs to continue changing — so I for one, am excited to see what you all bring next.

Anyway!

Cheers! To the Class of 2022 – may your voice be loud and your hangovers quiet and here’s to the next best years of your life.

25 things that will never make sense

Lately, I have been struggling to make sense of the world around me. Granted, this isn’t anything new, but what is new is that some of these things hae knocked me off balance and made it so that I can’t organize my thoughts enough to talk about them clearly.

See, as an educated person I often struggle with knowing the “why”, and “how” of things, understanding how they may make sense to others but also grappling with the moral issue of how these things in an “advanced and civilized society” have ever been allowed to happen continuously. And like I said, some of these things have been really messing with my head lately so because I don’t have the full ability to make sense of them – I’m doing this list instead of a full form post this week. Hopefully this will start some conversations in your own life and hopefully once I get my wits about me I can come back and write on these topics with a cooler head.

[Some of these things will have explanations some won’t and I certainly won’t be covering them all today but feel free to add to the list in the comments. And be sure to have these conversations with the people around you because they’re incredibly important.]

  1. The fact that Webkinz ever went out of style
  2. Starbucks prices (I don’t care how artisinal the caremel whatchamacallit crunch is)
  3. Bounce Houses especially the watter feature ones
  4. Kids born after the 2000’s – specifically kids born after the 2000’s that don’t have a healthy fear of their parents because this generation doesn’t have the same healthy fear of their parents that me and mine did and I don’t know if I am jealous or proud or…
  5. Living in the past – we’ve all done it. But it has never been as dangeroius as it is now and in the context of the conversations we are having today.
  6. Alcohol: Back in the times of the ancient egyptians beer was used as payment to workers because it provided some sort of nutrition. As someone in their 20’s I feel like alcohol is so much a part of our social lives but it also is killing us all slowly. Not saying I’m going to or need to stop indulging – but this is weird to me.
  7. Minimum wage – it took me 26 years, 10+ of which I was in one or more workplace, to realize that my skills and my time were far more valuable than what I was being paid and how I was being treated. (in some cases)
  8. Sexual harassment in the workplace this one is only speaking to my experience in the service industry. I don’t think I have ever worked in a service industry related job where I haven’t been subject to some sort of sexual harasment type lines being crossed and 9/10 times I didn’t say anything because I didn’t think I could or because I knew it wouldn’t make a diference.
  9. Anyone who disrepects anyone in the service industry or in retail – or anyone who disrespects anyone who in general is just trying to help you.
  10. Weaponizing children in times of war. The number of contradictions this world has when we claim to want to protect our youth and our future but then subject them to even a small percent of what we do is dumbfounding.
  11. Relying on the declarations of individuals who have been dead for 400 years. or even valuing old dead white men and what they said 400 years ago more than we value women today or of any time.
  12. Overturning Roe (it’s 2022 and we are still talking about a decision made 50 years ago)
  13. Disrespecting others in the name of God or Jesus or the Bible – when that litterally contradicts the very foundation of the teachings of that religion
  14. The assumption that any VIABLE HUMAN BEING could have less value than (a.) another human being. or. (b.) a clump of cells – in other words if you think a 12 year old incest and r*** victim should carry the product of that assult to term because that “baby” didn’t be asked to be created that way then you need to go way back to health class because you have zero fundamental understanding of anything relating to the creation of human life, viability, or basic human rights.
  15. Anyone who isn’t a feminist or who doesn’t believe in equal rights or believes that equality implies that one person getting more than they currently have will give you less. Life isn’t a pizza party, if anything it is a race and some people got to start at the gun and others weren’t able to cross the starting line until the first group hit mile 1 – letting them run with you won’t make the trail smaller, it won’t cause you to trip – it will only give them a fighting chance in hell of keeping up.
  16. Racism
  17. Homophobia
  18. Mysogony – internalized or externalized
  19. Transphobia
  20. Bi-phobia
  21. Disagreeing and in turn hating someone for who they are and the very things they can not change. (10-14 aren’t political items, they aren’t a topic of discussion, they aren’t things to disagree about or to quote scripture against. If someone subscribes to these they are ignorant. Point blank period.)
  22. Religious Philosophies being warped to opress others
  23. People who whole heartedly believe that the Insurection was just, police brutality isn’t a thing, that Donald Trump didn’t lose the election, and that we shouldn’t be supporting Black Lives Matter because “all lives matter”
  24. Slavery, both in the context of the 1800’s and the present day where young women are sent into sex slavery and children are trafficed in the most hanus of ways. It makes me sick how anyone could ever justify OWNING PEOPLE but it’s happened in the past and somehow it continues to happen with different storylines.
  25. Life, the Universe and Everything – if there is one thing that I will never for the life of me understand – it’s everything. I will never have a full working knowlege of how things have come to be or what is going to happen next or if a plannet will live or die. I am not a god. OBVIOUSLY. But I will also never live under the delusion that I am meant to know it all. All I can do is my best to understand others and give people and myself grace and do everything I can to survive this big floating rock for as long as I am given to live on it. I think as an adult I am meant to be confused and conflicted and fluid and learning. I am not meant to know it all at once but I can do my best to understand those around me and try to make the world a better place for those who come after me.

To Summarize

As a working list with little to no context, I understand how this may not fit the usual subject matter of the awkward and adulting brand. But in truth I think a big part of growing up is understanding that the world around us does not subscribe to the same morals as we do. That the things that other people do and believe don’t always make sense – and while in some cases that can be ok – lately, and in a lot of cases it really isn’t. There are going to be people that claim to have “opinions” on things like race and gender and identity and while I have never been someone who will blatantly say “no, you’re wrong” I am sorry but this world has taught me that there are some people that really need to check themselves and be told that they are. We can’t afford to compromise or be polite anymore when it comes to certain issues.

As a country, we are at a crossroads. Not in the sense that some people agree with others and others do not but in the truest sense that the choices we make now and the things we stand for now have the potential to define us and our country for the next 50 years. And I think the reason this has me so speechless is that we, the people, are fighting for a future that might be set off track by the ignorant few – and that, above everything else on this list is something I will never truly understand.

5 Parenting Tips you Won’t Find in the Books – With Love, your 17-year-old son.

[Dear parents: As you read this, try to look at these tips with an open mind. I’m not writing just to help teens, but to hopefully help you develop a better and easier relationship with your own teen/young adult.]

The struggle

I’m sure every parent has been through it, that lovely phase of teenage years into adulthood. Sure, being a teen is fun, but as a 17-year-old kid who has had more “real world” experience than most, parenting a kid like me can be a bit…challenging. So today, let me help you – help you because just as I’ve come to realize that a few things that I’ve been taught and that I’ve rolled my eyes at are true, today I want to give you, the parents, some tips from the kid you’re trying to parent that might make your eyes roll into the right direction.

My “teen” experience and yours – they aren’t the same.

Tip 1: Don’t parent your kid based on your experiences as a teenager. One of the things that teens hate to hear from their parents is: “I was your age once too”. And sure, it’s true, you were, but did you live through the same things I do? Were you a teenager in the last 5 years? Did you have threats of school shootings and bullies that could get to you 24 hrs a day? Did you have the expectations of looking like or being with an Instagram model? No? So, with all the current events going on and the technological and social situations, our shared experiences basically start and stop in two places: puberty, and growing pains (general figuring out life stuff).

In other words – just because you COULD HAVE made SOME of the same decisions as your kid (substances and following trends), that doesn’t mean you know everything about them and their experiences now.

Right now, your kids are just growing and figuring life out, just like you had to, just like your parents had to – and you turned out great so trust that we will too.

Insider tip: The number 1 thing that teens need isn’t a false understanding of the struggles we go through – it’s the reassurance of love. So, as long as we know you love us to death, we will make you proud. Just do us both a favor and let us figure out our potential and trust that we’ll ask you or someone else for help if we need it.

**That doesn’t go to say, however, if you see your kid making bad decisions constantly, it’s an obvious sign to ask them what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Help your kids on things that potentially put themselves and others in danger, but for small issues, trust that you’ve taught them to figure it out.

Crime and Punishment (in two parts)

Tip 2: Punishment is NOT the solution for addiction. This is a HUGE one. Like many kids in my generation – I got into vaping during my sophomore year, and I obviously kept it a secret from my mom. But the way she handled it when she inevitably caught me – is something I will always be grateful for.

Don’t get me wrong, the first time my mom caught me with a vape she punished me – but soon after that she realized that wasn’t going to help – so she tried something that did.

The last time my mom caught me with a vape was the last time I used one. Why? Because instead of punishing me she opened up to me and we had a conversation about it. She said that I wasn’t in trouble and that she wanted to help me stop. And just from her saying that – that was all the help I needed. Seeing my mom in tears telling me she wasn’t going to yell or punish me, and that she wanted to help me stop it, motivated me enough to quit vaping for good. It took a week to get myself off of it but after that, I was done and I’m never going back. And since then, I’ve even trusted my mom enough that when she asked if I’ve ever smoked weed, I answered honestly, and when she explained to me that it’s obviously not good and asked me if I ever plan on doing it again – I confidently and truthfully said no, I’m not.

The takeaway: Doing things like this with your child builds a huge amount of trust and can help in other aspects too. Teens realizing that their parents want to help them instead of “hurt” them (punishing them) will automatically understand and trust their parents more.

Tip 3: Punishments are necessary but try to think about what (and when) certain punishments work for your teen. For me, when I get punished it’s the same thing: I get my electronics taken away. This might not seem like a big deal for some, but keep in mind (tip #1) that most parents today didn’t grow up with these things, and that for kids in today’s world, they make a big impact on our life. SO, while we may not NEED these things to live, we do need them to sustain our way of life and stay connected.

[And to anyone reading this thinking, “yeah – that’s the point, that’s why it’s called a punishment,” and I hear you. But just like punishing your kid struggling with addiction might not work – using the same punishment every time we have any minor or major slip up also doesn’t work. Not to mention, when a parent gets mad, they can call their friend or talk to their spouse but without that technology, we don’t have the support to work through our drama and do better next time.]

And after a while of getting the same punishments, it just becomes routine to us. We learn how to deal with it and work around it instead of evolving and thinking about the reason we are being punished. So instead, mix it up – try taking away something that they haven’t realized is important to them. That way, when the time comes that they need it, they won’t have it and they’ll think to themselves: “Wow. If I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be in this situation”

Sticks and Stones Definitely Break Bones – But Words they REALLY Hurt Me

Tip 4: If you and your child are in an argument, and there is something you want to say in the heat of the moment that could make it worse, don’t say it. I’ll keep this one short because it explains itself – In certain situations, saying something heated and in the moment can really upset and hurt your kid and if they are in a spiral they’ll spiral even more out of control. We know you’re human, but this is just something to keep in mind. 

Last one, and every mom’s favorite/the most important

Tip 5: Teens may act out and make terrible decisions, and you may fight with them more often than not, but deep down inside, they always love you more than anything. I was a terrible teenager for a few years. I had just started my teenage years when my dad died, and I can admit that I lashed out at my mom and never listened to her. But whenever we got into an argument, I always wanted to apologize immediately after, and most of the time, I felt like garbage and I tried to change.

When it comes to mothers and sons, the worst sight is your mother crying. And just because your kid acts out or is mad at you I can promise you that you aren’t doing that parenting thing wrong, and your kid knows you love them and you do the things you do because you love them.

At the end of the day parenting always has room for improvement, and no one does it perfectly. That’s the wonder of it all. But as a teen who wants to do better and knows how teens learn best hopefully, you got some things out of this, and you really go and use these tips in your parenting journey.

The Sins of the Father

A while back, there were certain religious institutions that would accept monetary payments in exchange for forgiveness. This “forgiveness” whether it be partial or otherwise would then grant deceased relatives access to heaven that they otherwise may not have gotten. Sounds great right? Assuming your family could afford it… and for a while people paid these “indulgences,” probably thinking and believing that they were buying gods love and a family memebers freedom from suffering. But in reality what the money really did was give religious institutions access to the kinds of funds that would support their varrious projects and “expansions.”

But why, on a Friday, am I talking about church and forgiveness? Well, to be frank, I’m not… what I am talking about is the debt we pay for the ones that leave us behind and while it certainly isn’t always monetary, it can still be quite costly.

Inheritance

Something that’s been on my mind quite a bit lately is the concept of inheritance and how we inherit the sins and in some cases, the atrocities, that were inflicted on our parents and their parents and so on. See a few years back a friend of mine posted this really profound thought that I probably brought up before but I’m going to say it again –

She said “We all just want to give our children a life they don’t have to heal from.” – read that again – “We all just want to give our children a life they don’t have to heal from.”

And though she is completely right and although no parent sets out to damage their child, some kids today are constantly paying for sins that they didn’t commit and that they might not even be able to understand for another two or three decades. Why? Because they, and we, are paying for the sins of our mother’s mothers and our father’s fathers and so on – and if you stick with me for a bit I can explain exactly why and how we are doing that.

Spacial Awareness and Mental Health

Now before I get too deep into this, I’ll preface this with – not everyone has aggressive amounts of trauma or any real trauma at all, but some have and as humans, it’s our job to respect people where they are at on their journey and listen to them and their stories to the best of our abilities. We don’t have to agree with them or their beliefs, but telling them they are wrong or lying for the sake of making ourselves feel better is no longer an option. That said, let’s get into it.

A decade or two ago, the mental health resources were obviously not what they are today. The stigma surrounding mental health and even asking for help was often portrayed as weakness and while, in a lot of ways, men are still made to feel inferior for asking for and getting the help they need – young men are in a way better place now than their fathers and grandfathers were 30-60 years ago. So, keeping this in mind – our parents and their parents, in some cases, are pretty darn screwed up. BUT ITS NOT THEIR FAULT. (With one very important exception…)

The exception: If you, as a parent, relative, friend, etc. can properly identify your own trauma and the trauma you are inflicting on others and you are not doing EVERYTHING in your power ie. therapy or medication or kickboxing (whatever works for you) to work through that and not be hurtful to the people you love – you CANNOT blame anyone but yourself for the fallout of your actions and you can’t blame those around you because they don’t spend every minute of everyday trying to avoid your invisible trip wires.

Look, believe it or not, I’m not here to place blame or condemn anyone or point the finger this way and that and I’m also not trying to be the trauma police. I’m not here to name names in order to validate my own trauma – that would be twisted – but I am saying this because I know I am not the only one who has been snapped at or has snapped at the people around me because someone did something to me or I did something to them as a result of an entirely disconnected situation. So, in order to understand why older people are triggered and why they react to things we do and why we and our kids feel like we are stepping on invisible trip wires – we need to accept that the people raising us have some stuff they haven’t dealt with – and a major reason for that is because they were conditioned to believe it is normal by their parents. (gaslighting is generationally screwy)

Forgiveness isn’t for them

I forget who said this recently, but I heard this quote that ran along the lines of “forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for you.” – read that again – “forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for you.” which brings us back to the church and to “indulgences” because when we pay for the sins of those before us, we don’t nessesarily do it for them. We do it for ourselves, to make ourselves feel better, while claiming we are doing it for them – and if you think that’s selfish… well in some cases you gotta allow yourself to put you first.

When we forgive others – we do it knowing that we can let go of our half of the burden and the weight of carrying that hurt and that anger in us. When we forgive others we give ourselves permission to move on.

So I guess in other words, we learn to bear it so they don’t have to – then we allow ourselves to let it go because we don’t have to. And none of this discounts how hard this can be but maybe on a certain level it allows us to come to terms with the idea that everyone that we love and that every person around us is human.

They are imperfect.

AND

Everyone around us is fighting their own battles and sometimes we, in our proximity to them, are met with friendly fire. And that sucks – but at the end of the day, we choose what and how these things actually affect us – and hopefully twenty years from now we will have built better tools to carry those things with us. But for now – let’s just work on doing better and being better because just because I went through it, doesn’t mean they have to.

a now spoken rule of 4

this is the story of 4 and all its multiples

When we look at the most formative and transformative periods in our life and more specifically our young adult lives, I have found that most things follow a connective rule of 4’s. And although experience is measured with a minimum of 2 and bad/good things occur in patterns containing 3, and 5 is the best number of years to earn you above an entry-level position. 4, like most even numbers seems to be the rule when it comes to things like balance, and education, and frankly, all the walls of all the boxes we allow ourselves to be put in.

And since patterns are mostly in our heads – and since this one is most definitely mine – let me open the door and invite you in for a bit…

My unspoken rule of 4

4, the number of years it takes to survive high school (barely).

4, the number of years in college (traditionally).

4, the number of wheels on your first car (hopefully).

4 the number of people in what was once considered an atomic family. 2 parents, 2 kids, and the promise of a picket fence. But for all the things that require 4 – why then is it that we more often think of 3 as the magic number? Which brings us to 3 –

3, the number of “adult” jobs I had after college before I found lucky number 4.

3, the number of medications I tried just to manage the depression that those years and those jobs cost me,

3 the number of members in my family since April of 2010 (excluding of course those with 4 legs).

and 3 the number of 4 year periods since my family became a party of 3.

Which brings us to 12. The number of days until the same number in years since my father lost his fight with cancer. (and no I didn’t think of that when I started writing this today.)

Loss is (you guessed it) a 4 letter word

Most often, when we talk about loss, it’s hard to keep our own selves out of it. “I – lost my dad,” “I – lost someone I loved” “I,” “I,” “I,”and after a while all the I’s make it less about the life they lived and more about the life that them being gone “took” from you. So it comes with a sense of entitlement more than what it actually is – grief and loss and a massive change in perception of what life and family should look like.

See perspective is a funny thing because if you take “I” out and replace it with someone else’s pronouns the narrative shifts and you get “He never got to walk me down the isle” “He wasn’t at my graduation” “He didn’t teach me how to drive” but the problem with that is that it wasn’t something he could do or controll. It wasn’t something he could be there for – and while that in itself is another loss – it places blame that, in most cases, that person doesn’t deserve. It sucks, yes – but at least in my case, it’s not his fault and its not my fault and it isn’t about him and it’s not about me. IT JUST IS.

Because in the grand scheme of things – things don’t happen to us, they just happen. and it’s really easy to make it about us and put ourselves at the center of it but that doesn’t mean that’s how it works. There’s no one keeping score, there’s no tit for tat, things just happen and you can spend all the time you want hating it and blaming others but at the end of the day – some things are just out of our controll.

Professionals will say 7

If you ask a professional they will tell you that there are 7 stages of grief. (and I have definitely felt all of them) That you can feel more than one at once or intermittently feel them etc etc etc. But if you google it the first thing you’ll get is a 7 bullet list with a whole bunch of synonyms crammed in. Which is fairly accurate because grief puts you and your emotions all over the damn place BUT since neither number is a multiple of 4, the reason I bring it up is that on a certain level and as the above heading (Loss…) suggests, most days I feel like I’ve done the work to accept things – and that doesn’t mean I 100% have or haven’t but that after 12 years I can confidently say that while it doesn’t hurt less it does hurt different. (Which is sometimes a good thing)

Maybe its not a rule but a suggestion

Ok so maybe the whole “rule of 4” thing was bs. Maybe I was just feeling poetic and feeling like patterns could heal me a bit because frankly, I have been feeling it a lot lately. And maybe in 2 years I will look back on this and pull something crazier out of my hat like “remember when I said ‘rule of 4? well 14 has a 4 in it!” and maybe then we can laugh. Or maybe we can just laugh now.

You know, because it’s kind of funny, every year on here or on instagram or on something I continue to tell some version of this story. It’s always true, it’s always from the heart and its always durring this month. And I used to think that I wrote it just to help some kid going through what I did and I used to think to myself that if it helped even one person that would be enough – but as much as I do still love the idea of helping others, I will never understand their loss or their story as I do my own. So maybe I was never writing for some random kid, and as predictable as it would be to say that I was writing it for me, to make my own sense of it, I can’t say that’s entirely true either. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wasn’t writing for some kid and I wasn’t writing to this version of me. But maybe I was writing to the kid I was then – the one that needed the most healing to get to where I am today; and maybe that’s progress because now, instead of being the sad, poor little girl that lost her dad at 14 – maybe I’m just me at 26, looking back with a smile and telling her that I will always fight for her (and her ludacris rule of 4)

So in honor of her victory and mine – I give you the now spoken rule of 4

4, the number of years in high school when I thought about giving up but didn’t

4, the number of years that I had with my 3 best friends making memories and learning how to heal.

4, the number of years since I graduated undergrad with my family by my side and my dad on my shoulder.

All leading to 12 –

12 days to 12 years without him.12, years I’ve grown and stumbled and somehow figured a bunch of things out about me and the world and my family.12, the number of years until I was able to realize that I didn’t have to walk away from that part of me to be happy – I just had to set a better pace to walk with it.

Time wastes for no one.

This morning I woke up with an almost unshakable belief that it was Saturday. I think checked my phone three times to look at the day and the date before convincing myself to get out of bed and get some chores done before work…. And while this was undoubtably just a byproduct of the self care and Benadryl I partook in last night, this isn’t the first day I’ve woken up thinking it was another time.

When it comes to wasting time, to wishing time away, to looking forward and wanting to fast forward moments of my life, I haven’t always been innocent. To be honest, these days it’s usually more of a subconscious thought than one I’d actually wish on stars for, but nonetheless it’s there, in the back of my head, reminding me I am human and that there are no shortcuts to life’s great successes. But I’m also equally guilty when it comes to wanting to rewrite time, and while neither actually move me forward I don’t think I could put a finger on which is actually worse.

See, I find it funny that time moves slower on the days we wish it wouldn’t, and faster on the good times to remind us how fleeting things are. Last night I was watching my favorite show, and every week that it’s on I have to remind myself that it’s an hour-long program, because it never seems like it is. I find it funny how time is constant, but the feeling and the passage changes constantly. How a hard mile can feel like an hour but 10 seconds or less in a hundred dash can be long enough to change history. And don’t worry – I’m not going off on this tangent to be prolific, I promise, I’m just thinking aloud so I can get to my point — so here it is.

Time isn’t linear,

It’s cyclical.

But not for lack of trying, but because we, as societies, are constantly trying to best the plans that time has for us. Because we are so often too power hungry and privileged to realize that consequences don’t always affect us, but they do affect someone.

So——? So, we wake up, we go to work, we count the days of the week and whether we want it to or not we always get to Sunday night wishing we had two more days of rest over a Monday that we have to slump through. The days of the week rotate, the hands of the clock rotate, the whole damn world rotates, and our actions fall into cycles and ruts and sometimes we break it only to end up in a new cycle that may or may not be better than the last.

So, you see, one could argue that all things in the natural realm turn on a forward moving axis and that we are just along for the ride… so yeah, this morning I woke up thinking it was Saturday, but it wasn’t and maybe that can happen without consequence considering I was able to right what I thought I believed, but on the other hand, just last week the Supreme Court woke up thinking it was 1973. So while I sit here, contemplating how I could have missed a day, they’ve missed nearly 4 decades… which honestly is less surprising when you take a pause to note what motivates me and what motivates them.

See it’s one thing to look back at “simpler times” where we’ve contemplated and rewritten our youth to fit the narrative of who we are now. It’s easy to gaslight ourselves because frankly, the rest of the world has been doing it to us for years – but who is it actually benefitting? When we put ink to paper in these history books, when the victors claim truth in a boy who cried wolf situation – who actually benefits? Because it isn’t women, it isn’t democrats or republicans, it isn’t politicians, or anyone with or without a uterus. It isn’t minorities or people of differing genders and sexual orientations. Hell it isn’t even people who follow a particular religion or have spiritual beliefs.

See all of us are familiar with the phrase, time waits for no man. But the truth is, time doesn’t waste for us either. We don’t get to pick and choose how it moves, or chase alternate realities because time doesn’t forget injustice, it doesn’t sugar coat politics, it doesn’t provide power. Time is not to blame for the choices man makes and the time man wastes. It just moves – and it always moves forward. So why can’t we?

To the comment section!

So as a young adult, particularly a young adult with interests in media and politics and all kinds of things I find myself multiple times a day scrolling through social media, listening to what people have to say/believe and then, depending on the content – racing to the comment section for a laugh or a cry or etc.

Anyway, so this week at some point my phone decided to send me some content that I’m not usually accustomed to in addition to my usual storylines. In other words, I suddenly I found myself seeing videos where people praised Christopher Columbus, complained about mask mandates and liberals, and misgendered Demi Lovato while also criticizing her beliefs on extra terrestrials. But through this I observed, I took in and finally I got back to the liberals where there were a lot of videos of lesbians reacting to misogynists (because apparently the ignorant white men were feeling real bold this week).

So seeing that I felt inspired to talk about misogyny and how it no longer makes sense in the modern age… but then I realized I need to do some research to get it where I want it to be SO I figured I’d dive back into the blog scene with a quick fun piece highlighting some of my favorite types of commenters on social media because this week was a million years long and peoples tomfoolery gives me joy.

1. The “No one cares” guy

This kind of person is my favorite because they almost never have a distinctive username or profile photo, they’re clearly just online to rant on redit and their sentiments are bringing nothing to anyones life (and they know it) but they go for it anyway. Anyway anytime I see one of these I smile and think — Sir, you took the time out of your day to look at a post or read an article or watch a video then decided it didn’t align with your beliefs. If you feel that your time was wasted so much so that you have to tell an entire comment section that “no one cares” – you have disproved your point as soon as you hit send.

2. [Insert hype-man sentiments here] aka any female to her friend

Female friends are the best hypemen and you cannot convince me otherwise because if you look at almost any females post of her trying to look cute, the top comment will without a doubt be the best friend who approved the photo before hand but wants to publicly support her friend. And I’m not going to argue it here but I think if men did this for each other there would be less global conflict. Y’all, surprise, the key to world peace is in the Instagram comment section. (Joking, but I wish)

3. The naysayer “it’s not all men”

Just like college first year writing the comment section of any popular post is bound to have a naysayer or two. As a female I see these in videos of men calling out men on their crap or women calling out men about their sexist bs. There is always a guy or a girl who will say something ignorant like “not all men” and the fact that he felt the need to say that means he’s probably defending himself or one of his dudes.

4. People who pick out their favorite quote

Some would say it lacks creativity to quote someone else rather than sharing you’re own thought but personally when I hear someone say “The Costco bulk sized ✨audacity✨ of some men” in a sentence I immediately realize it can’t be topped. Now, cards on the table – personally when it comes to tiktok, this is my go to, I blame the fact that I was an English major but I’m also not all that upset about it because I could have worse things to say/do.

5. The trailblazer

This kind of commenter usually has some street cred because no matter what they say they end up with a million likes and a bunch of responses. This kind of person is someone I hope learns to use their voice to impact change one day as well but only time will tell.

And the list could go on… but

Look at the end of the day it’s incredible to see how far social media has come in such a short period of time and I will be the first one to say that a lot of people use it for nefarious purposes, but it also starts conversations and something I’ve noticed in the past two years, when a lot of us were cut off from in person conversations, social media kept the narrative alive.

So it may sound silly – because in fact it is, but next time you need a smile, find something good and then “to the comments!”

Prepared but not panicked

Remember when we were kids? When our mom or our teachers told us to play the quiet game? Remember how hard it was to take that seriously? Remember being that person to end the game because you knew it was crap? Well the way I see it, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 is very similar. Why? Because while data shows that social distancing is proven to reduce the spread and break the curve of highly transmittable diseases like this one – people my age (early to mid 20s) can’t or rather won’t seem to comply because they either 1. don’t take it seriously or 2. they would rather risk it and party.

So let’s change the rules of the quiet game. Let’s make it a little more serious.

Say you are in a classroom and suddenly there is an intruder drill. Do you stay quiet? Do you comply with the rules? Of course you do. Because there is a threat to life and a threat to the way of life that your family and friends know. You stay quiet and lay low in this instance because if something happens to you or if you make a lot of noise it effects those around you.

The way I see it, going out and partying right now – When organized sports are shutting down, when the economy is struggling, and when you have older parents at home is selfish.

Now let’s get one thing or rather a couple things straight. I’m not saying panic – the last thing we need to do is panic (or buy tons of toilet paper) but this is not a game and this is not a drill. There is an intruder in our country, there is a virus that threatens the way of life we know and with it has come a choice. We can lay low and quiet ourselves for a couple weeks to mitigate its effects or we can make noise and party and break the rules and it’ll last longer.

In a lot of ways the past week has been a test of immediate gratification – and young people are failing because they think or know that the risk to themselves is low.

In other words why wait til the cookie is cold to eat it. If I burn my mouth so what? I’ll be fine in a week – so what’s the worry?

The problem with this is that some of us. People like me. Have older families. We have friends that are elderly who have pre existing conditions. We have people whom we wouldn’t dare come into contact with because if we are a carrier, the last thing we want is to threaten them.

Some of us are taking this game seriously because we know that by doing so it will end sooner and we can go back to our lives, our jobs, and our parties.

Look I’m never here to tell you what to do. And I’m not a doctor so I don’t know how bad this really is or how bad it can get (although Italy is a good indication). But I do know one thing. I’d rather give one month of my life up to lay low and mitigate harm than take months from someone else. I know that I am a believer of how bad this can get if we aren’t smart and that I plan on doing my part in all of this even if it really sucks for me.

In this time of uncertainty it is important to be prepared not panicked and hopefully, if we all do our part – everything will go back to normal before we know it.

Stay healthy out there.

Music is art

Whats good, my names Kevin also known as KevinXI. My purpose here is to spread mental health awareness through, music, culture, and basically anything related to art. I believe that music can bring people together, as well as split them apart, so it is important to keep that in mind when creating any track.

I want to let everyone out there to know that there is hope. I have been struggling with depression and anxiety ever since I was 14. I am now 22 and trying to bring awareness to these disorders so that further research can be done in order to gain more insight on them.

Hopefully this insight can lead to some sort of solution, but for now we are all just trying to survive. Live on and be grateful 🙂 Attached below is a link to my music and merch. Lets start a movement; Lets end the stigma associated with mental health disorders; Lets build a community were people can be open without judgment.

Music and Merch –

https://linktr.ee/KevinXI

peace, love, and positivity

KevinXI

I Will Not Force Athletics – BUT – My Kids will Learn The Lessons Track Taught Me

Are you going to force your kids to do track? To be Throwers?

H.L

A while back my friend asked me if I planned on forcing my kids (whom I will not have for quite a while) to do sports or to do track and throw. And despite my background, despite the opinions I have had all my life the answer I gave, was not one that I had expected.

I Said No

for those of you who dont know what she meant by “throws” – it doesnt mean throwing things against a wall or throwing tantrums – because I will be damned if my kids are raised to do either of those things.

It means – would I force my kid to join one of the most underrated sports of all time?

my answer – no… but also yes.

5 lessons you learn from track

1. Patience. Whether you throw, jump, or run etc, patience with yourself and with your implements is a huge part of being an athlete. It’s knowing that there will be great days and bad days. It’s knowing that what you put in your body and into your workouts is what you get out. And it’s realizing that getting angry or losing control won’t fire you up as much as it will burn you out.

2. Pace yourself. As a runner I was never all that great at pacing myself – but I was really good at saving my last kick for the finish. Learning how to maintain pace in a race can directly correlate to life because, at the end of the day, a burn out is a burnout, no matter what you did to get there.

3. Form is everything. A lot of people think that throwing is all about how big or strong you are – and while strength is a big part of the sport, it isn’t the most important aspect. The difference between a good thrower and an ok thrower isn’t the persons size – it’s how they execute the movements and transfer power into force into distance. And just like throwing, life is about how you execute the processes.

4. Family comes first. From the outside looking in track looks like a solo sport – but just because we compete alone, just because we don’t pass the ball to make baskets, doesn’t mean that we don’t need each other to succeed. In track, family and friendships are a large part of success. Having someone to chase, having a record to beat, having someone to cheer you on, that’s what competing as a family is about.

5. Let them count you out. As far as sports go, track is one of the most underrated. When it comes to track, the only time our athletes get noticed is at the olympics or at the highest level. For many, track is not a spectator sport (excluding our families who are our biggest fans) but for me this is the biggest benefit of the sport because it goes to show you what people can accomplish when they aren’t getting all the credit is just as incredible if not more than those who constantly receive praise.

I am not a Parent – Yet

I honestly always thought I would be the parent that needed their kids to do sports, but at 24 – wanting a kid and knowing that it isnt the time to have them – I also realized that I never want to force my kid to do anything.

That being said, I will encourage athletics as my parents and particularly my father encouraged me when I was growing up.

I will encourage my kid to find a place that understands them. An outlet that doesn’t underestimate their strength or compassion or aptitude for pushing others to do and be the best they can be.

I will encourage my child to find home within themselves and within the passions I hope they inherit from the family around them. But I won’t force them into anything.

In other words. I’ll encourage my kid to find themselves in whatever way they can and to learn the lessons that track taught me… but I won’t force athletics.

I didn’t realize love was conditional until I…

I used to think all real love was unconditional. I mean, isn’t that the point of love? That we give it wholly and without question? Isn’t that how a mother loves a child or a person loves a friend or anyone loves a beloved pet? And sure, there are exceptions. And sure, we can fall in and out of love. But when you think of being in that stereotypical kind of love, the kind that allows people to accept flaws or (heaven forbid) forgive abuse – that kind of love is, by definition, unconditional.

I was today years old, when I finally realized self-love is the most toxic and conditional form of love that I have come to know. And how screwed up is that? Not the fact that it took me this long to realize it, but the fact that, for whatever reason, when we talk about loving ourselves, 9/10 times, it is only skin deep.

When we talk about loving ourselves it isn’t a conversation of actually loving who we are, but how we look or how we feel about ourselves on that given day. A conversation of, will the world see me as beautiful today? Are my eyebrows on fleek? Do these high waisted jeans hide my gut, or show it? Am I as pretty as those girls? Am I showing too much skin? Will the guy/girl I like finally see me? Is my personality too much for my friends? And as if the idea of these kinds of questions weren’t disgusting enough – we then let them dictate how we feel about ourselves on that given day or that week or so on. And the bigger problem with all of it is that this lack of love in many of our lives is not a matter of normal insecurity – it goes deeper than that. It goes as deep as to say – I didn’t realize love was conditional until I realized that I’d rather hide from the world than be a part of it.

Now, to all the women who have never once thought this I solute you, but odds are, at one point or another all of us have felt this way. All have us have (at least once) preferred to stay in with a bottle of wine and a homecooked meal rather than put ourselves out there. And while self care could be a big part of that decision – ditching plans or secluding yourself from your friends shouldn’t be. Hiding yourself from the world, or behind positive social media posts shouldn’t be.

I think at some point or another we all just have a day that hits us a little harder than others. One where the “mirror mirror on the wall” can’t hype us up above them all. And I can’t speak for others but I know I have those days and they absolutely suck. They make me doubt who I am. And they make me doubt if I really love myself for who I am and all the amazing parts of me – or if I only love myself when I have a flat stomach and no stretch marks.

But here’s the news flash. NONE OF IT MATTERS. The way you look, the way you talk, the cute or weird way you laugh at EVERYTHING, none of that matters compared to who you are. WHO YOU ACTUALLY ARE. And don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the outside doesn’t serve a purpose at all – I mean candy bars have wrappers on them for a reason and it’s not just to make them look pretty (it’s a metaphor don’t think too deep into it.) it’s to protect what’s inside. So in a way, we also have wrappers because we need our outsides to protect our insides.

Look, at the end of the day it is so so easy to hate yourself for the little things. It’s easy to self deprecate and look down on yourself. What’s hard is coming to terms with who you are and realizing that that person is pretty incredible. And at the end of the day we’re all still learning to love ourselves unconditionally. But if we haven’t already, let’s be today years old when we start.