Saturday, October 27, 2012

Idolization of Celebrities

       This is a satirical paper I wrote for AP English last year. I found it on my old USB drive so I decided to share it. Enjoy.
        “Celebrities are people too.” What a ridiculous thought. It is common knowledge that celebrities are gods of entertainment, caged animals on display for the world to enjoy and ridicule. They choose to be famous and they know that being an actor or singer means paparazzi and gossip magazines focusing on them.  That is why they go into those careers. However, despite the monumental amount of attention stars are receiving from loyal fans and critics, they still feel as though they are not getting enough time in the spotlight.
          Buying every single one of their movies or albums is not enough. Posting videos of them performing every ten minutes on Facebook is not enough. “Following” their every word on Twitter is not enough. Talking about them as if we know them personally and passing judgment on them is not enough. Browsing through embarrassing pictures of them on the internet is not enough. Stalking their romantic partners and making up rumors about their relationships is not providing the amount of attention they need. Famous people deserve to have all the attention they desire, so we need to show our appreciation by giving them what they ask of us. As ordinary people, we need to utilize our right to the knowledge of celebrities’ personal lives even more than ever before.
        Some people already are very close to worshipping their favorite celebrity. We need to follow their visionary example. The first step is to choose a top famous person. After that, add them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and learn everything there is to know about them. Check Youtube and Google hourly to make sure you stay up to date on every aspect of his or her life. It is crucial to know who his or her significant other is, favorite food, favorite color, and even where they went to high school. Do not stop there! Any other scrap of information you can find furthers your demonstration of devotion. Make sure to emulate the chosen celebrity in every way possible. Eat what he eats, dress how he dresses, talk like he talks. It is impossible to take it too far. Most importantly, buy everything that has anything to do with him or her. Money is the loudest form of support and our poor celebrities are craving our praise.
After mastering the idolization of a celebrity, take on this challenge: worship as many celebrities as can be handled. Some can be bundled together for convenience. For example, one could easily stalk all three of the older Kardashian sisters simultaneously because they frequently appear on the same television shows, in the same magazines, and at the same events. All celebrities ought to have the amount of affection they yearn for so do not only focus on one.
         Additionally, we can give celebrities attention indirectly through supporting the companies that focus on celebrities and their personal lives. Always tune in your television to catch the latest episode of Entertainment Tonight and E! News. They are amazing at spreading news of celebrities’ families, failures, mistakes, and anything that one would never want televised about themselves. There are also many websites that are faithful in revealing private information about stars. By visiting these websites constantly, one is giving famous people the notice they hunger after. If an article about how Miley Cyrus has cellulite receives numerous views, then more paparazzi will be following her wherever she goes. These paparazzi will wait hours to photograph her and yell rude comments to trigger negative reactions out of her. Consequently, Miley Cyrus would be much happier because she would feel loved and important.
      Stars do not value privacy like normal people. It is a concept that is far too complex for our common heads to understand. We need to honor our prestigious celebrities by satisfying their desire to be animals in cages full-time. We have a duty to stalk them all the time, not just when it is convenient for us. Follow the above suggestions and America’s celebrities will feel extremely fulfilled in their purpose to serve as entertainment and the topic of gossip. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Big Scary D-word.

      I have been procrastinating on writing this post. I know I need to tell this story, but sometimes it still feels too raw and uncomfortable to talk about. I am afraid people will judge me for this experience. However, I recently found out that October 11th is National Depression Screening Day. Here in Ann Arbor, this means that there are a few locations around the city where you can receive a free, anonymous consultation with a health care professional to check for depression. I took that as a sign that it was time to write. This cause is important to me because I recently had a bout with depression and before that, I never thought it would impact me. This post is to clear up some misconceptions about depression by telling my story.
        First off, I got voted "most happy" in my school's senior mock elections. I was super involved, friendly, and outgoing. I had a great home life and I was supported by my loving family. This does not fit the description of someone who is vulnerable to becoming depressed. I thought it was for people with rough lives and bad situations. I was completely wrong. My last week of summer before my senior year I was ecstatic to begin school. I had waited three long years to be a senior. I could not wait for fun classes, homecoming, time with friends, etc. 
        A few weeks into the year I became overwhelmed about college and my future. I had no clue what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I was paranoid about not being smart enough for a few of my classes. I fell into a bad depression. It was a sick cycle. I would feel extremely sad and then I would feel guilty about being sad. I thought, "I have an amazing life, I have no substantial problems, who am I to feel this way? Others in horrible situations are still content. I must be ungrateful." The guilt I made myself feel made me become more depressed. I only told a few people about it. When they would ask, "What happened? Why are you depressed?" I did not really have a good answer. I did not understand why this was happening. All my other senior friends dealt with hard classes and college decisions seemingly well. 
       What is it like to feel depressed? The worst feeling I have ever had. I questioned my intelligence, I felt ugly, overweight, unwanted, socially awkward, I couldn't keep up conversations. I lost my shine and my bright personality. I felt like a source of stress for my parents because they were so worried about me. I dreaded Thursdays because that was when I had to lead the meetings for my anti-bullying club, EFA. I was scared to drive because I often zoned out and found myself miles away from where I stopped paying attention. I could not trust my own mind. "Did I perceive that wrong, did I over-think this, am I imagining that?" Every day tasks seemed daunting. I wanted so badly to just snap out of it. Everyday I woke up hoping it was gone. I prayed every night asking God to help me shake it off. I wanted to know the solution. The weekends were the worst. I stayed in the house a lot and I could feel the weight of my parents concern and their watchful eyes on me. They suggested going to the doctor for help, but I was afraid that medication would make me stray farther from my identity. Plus, the depression came so fast, could I even label it depression yet? 
      This lasted for about three months. I did not just magically wake up one day and it was gone. I became myself again, pieces at a time. It took lots of encouraging words from loved ones, acknowledging my success in school, finding a direction with my future, and I finally stopped marginalizing my problems. I was lucky. For some people, things like that are not enough to pull you out of it. I was very scared that the transition from high school to college would bring it back. I am SO grateful that is not the case. I am extremely happy here. Every now and then, something will remind me of those months and I will cringe. I wanted to share this story of mine because I know that I am not alone in experiencing this. There are probably others who kept their depression hidden by trying to act happy at school or work like I did. If you think you might be depressed, I encourage you to tell someone you love/trust. I could never have gotten through that experience without all the support I had. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hey professor, that skirt is too short for me to take you seriously

     *This post is a work in progress because my understanding of gender equality evolves and grows everyday. I would love for you to contact me with questions and comments. 

       Gender inequality in our society is something that I have paid a lot of attention to in the last couple years. This  semester I am taking a Women's Studies/ Sociology course titled "Gender and the Law." I also have a first year seminar about social identity, justice, and community. One of the main social identities we analyze and discuss is sex. 
      There really isn't any disputing the fact that sexism is alive and well. Men are praised or overlooked for their promiscuity while women are disrespected and gossiped about for theirs. What can be done about the double standards that exist for women in American (and many other) societies?
       The other day we studied an employment discrimination case that involved a woman not being promoted because she was not "feminine" enough. She would have been promoted to partner in an accounting firm. My professor said that "One of the criticism's her employer brought up was that she cursed and that 'professional women do not curse.' Fuck that." My professor's language made the whole class crack up but it caught my attention in a different way. I did not like that she cursed. I asked myself why. Cursing is such a double standard when it comes to sex. A man is just a man when he curses but a woman becomes trashy and foul-mouthed. Do I perpetuate this inequality by not swearing? 
    What about the fact that I dress modestly? It is recognized that a girl who covers up her body is usually more respected by men than those who keep their bodies on display. Is this not a double standard? Why can't I walk around in a tank top and short-shorts and be judged for what I say and do? Why do I have to hide my body to gain respect from men and women alike? Why is there a connection with clothing choices and honor only when judging a woman? Shouldn't we be judging women on their character and not what they do or don't wear? The girls that choose to cover up aren't even judged for their words and actions. They are just judged positively based on their choice to dress modestly.
Is gaining gender equality a game that needs to be played by men's standards, i.e. not cursing, covering up, etc. or is it rebelling: dressing how we want, and cursing if we please, until it is the norm? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Life in A2

Hello general first month of college post. This is a list of things that pop into my head as I reflect on my first four weeks as a Wolverine living in the dorms of Ann Arbor. 

1. I never appreciated having my own bathroom until coming here. 
2. I didn't know how many rich people there are until I came here. 
3. There is a never-ending supply of delicious food in Ann Arbor. 
4. How you design your schedule is SO important
5. Having your roommate become your friend is an awesome rarity. 
6. There are 3 questions you ask and answer during Welcome Week: Name, origin,and major. You meet a million different people your first week here. 
7. The schools enormous size is a good thing 99.9% of the time. 
8. I really like blending in sometimes. I didn't know that until now. 
9. Focusing on only a few clubs is the best way to go. 
10. I never knew how many stereotypes and prejudices I carried. It's a process to clean yourselves of them.
11. Not that many kids here are on scholarships. That blows my mind. (see last post)
12. I am really lucky to live 40 minutes away. 
13. Dining hall food here is the bomb compared to CA lunches. 
14. Planners and weekly whiteboards are my best friend. 
15. Things the University says are "mandatory" are usually not.
16. You see the coolest, weirdest, most hilarious things everyday. 
17. Michigan is known as an arrogant school but we are very kind to each other. 
18. The preachers who visit the Diag are not so accepting. 
19. Democrats rule the land.
20. It takes about two minutes of knowing someone for a deep and intimate conversation to happen here. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Complaint About My very Generous Scholarship

       Yeah weird title, I know. First off, I love it here at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. This place is amazing on so many levels and I thank God that I am here everyday. I meant to blog about that since I arrived in this beautiful, artistic, and intellectually stimulating place. This post is to discuss an issue that I think deserves attention. The out of state and international students pay a whopping $50,000 per year to attend this school. It costs about half of that for in-state students (me). These numbers are important because financial priorities here are messed up.
       Earning a scholarship from UofM is a rarity. This seems hard to believe if you come from Carman-Ainsworth, where everyone admitted receives a $40,000 scholarship for the four years of undergraduate study. This scholarship is awarded because of the "potential" the donors see in us CA students but the reality is that we go to a predominately African American school, which is an underrepresented population at the University. The day I received my scholarship was one of the happiest days of my life. The joy I felt and the appreciation I continue to feel towards Jean Fairfax and everyone involved with my scholarship is astronomical. It made my dream school a possibility. Yet, as I have met so many brilliant international and out of state students paying double the money without scholarships, I cannot help but to see the inequality.
      The solution to this problem would be to extend more scholarships to those admitted students who are not residents of Michigan. Without any expertise accounting skills, it is easy to see that the sports program here could spare a few dollars. To put it lightly, they are swimming in cash. Brady Hoke is the head football coach. For the fame and glory of leading the Wolverines, he is earning 18+ million dollars for six years. (That is 3 million per year with a 1.5 million bonus at the end of the third and sixth years). Can you say ridiculous? How about the $52,000,000 renovation project that is currently taking place at the basketball arena? 
        I understand that sports bring in a ton of money for the school. I would like to believe that some of the their revenue already goes towards providing scholarships. However, even if it does, it is clearly not enough. Too many students work extremely hard in high school only to be told that there are not enough scholarships for them, in turn crushing their chance of enrollment. Too many parents have to take on second jobs or sacrifice in other areas of their lives to be able to send their children here. 
Thanks for reading my rant. Have a wonderful day and Go Blue.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lyrics with a Higher Purpose

Favorite lines from Christian songs. I love God and I love music. When they come together in the right way it is captivating. If you like these lyrics go listen to the songs. They're a million times better. Deeply emotional and logical simultaneously.

"You are more than the choices that you've made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes 
You are more than the problems you create
You've been remade....

This is not about what you've done 
But whats been done for you. 
This is not about where you've been 
But where your brokenness brings you to
This is not about what you feel
But what He felt to forgive you
And what He felt to make you loved" -Tenth Avenue North, You are More

"Why do we think that our hate's gonna change their hearts
We're rippin' arms over wars that don't need to be fought
Cause pride wont let us lay our weapons on the ground''-Tenth Avenue North, Losing

"In the middle of my little mess, I forgot how big I'm blessed..
So break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations
I've got a new appreciation
It's not the end of the world"-Francesca Battistelli, This is the Stuff

"Why are you trying to earn Grace?" -Tenth Avenue North, By Your Side

"You give me everything I need to walk in my dreams
You whisper words that free my soul
You're the reason I have hope
You're everything I need and more"-Dara Maclean, Free

"Why in the world did I think I could only get to know You when my life was good?"

"Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray" -Sidewalk Prophets, The Words I would Say

"The One the wind and waves obey
Is strong enough to save you" -Tenth Avenue North, Strong Enough to Save

 All of these songs and more get played Christian radio. If you live around me then that's 89.7 on FM radio. Just wanted to share. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Love Advice from a silly Michigan girl

Disclaimer: I am not claiming to be an expert. I know some of my friends date and others don't, either way I hope you find this informative and entertaining.
   Last week I had a conversation with a new friend about one of her experiences with a guy. She liked a boy so much and didn't know what to do, and she did just about everything wrong. She stalked the guy and he ended up thinking of her as a crazy,obsessed weirdo. I wanted to cry for her and give her a hug. I wished that I had met her sooner so I could have provided a few pointers. These are just some basic things every teen guy/girl should know.
1. Don't be super complicated about how you start up a conversation. You don't need to make up something up in order to talk to them. Also, do not be that stranger on Facebook who messages someone saying "I know you don't know me, but you're so beautiful." Most likely his/her reaction will be: "Ahhh creeper!" (unless you are really attractive, and in that case if someone responds then you do not want to get involved with him/her anyway.)
2. Texting: Oh my dear Lord, the desperation that I have seen. You would think it is common knowledge to not text someone 20 times in an hour if they are not responding to you. Infatuated girls excuse: "But I just want to talk to him <333" If he is not texting you back, don't keep texting him. It is a simple rule that gets easier to follow the more you put it into practice. This is all about will-power. If he is not texting you back, it could be because he does not like you or that he is simply busy. In either scenario, you go from cute girl to stalker when he sees he has 9 messages from you.
    2.b Communication in general with your crush has to be "give and take." In every other aspect of life my advice is: Give, give, give without expecting anything in return. In this case, when you give a ton and receive little or no reciprocation, you can expect a broken heart.
3. Those stupid sayings are true. "You always want what you can't have." "Once a cheater, always a cheater." "If he does it with you, then he'll do it to you." Accept that now and you will be better off. On the note of cheaters, never let it happen twice. No matter how many "I'm sorrys"and "I can do betters", and no matter how much guilt he/she makes you feel, it is not worth it to get back together. It will be a shell of your previous relationship with him/her. It might take him/her a long time to cheat again, but it is bound to happen. By taking him/her back, you silently enabled that behavior.
4. Just because you want to believe it, doesn't mean you should believe it. This relates to a lot of things. People will lie to you and some of their lies will be incredibly beautiful, but denial is bad for the heart. It prolongs the blow but never is an escape from it.
5. That revealing Facebook picture will not get you a dreamy, respectful boyfriend. Guys: the same goes for your abs pictures. Modesty shows self-respect (and a brain.)
6.Cliche love advice is overused for a reason: it's foolproof. "Be yourself." Yes, be yourself with the person you like, even if that makes you different from him/her. Who would want to hang with someone who has the exact same interests anyway? You should be able to learn from each other. People with varying perspectives and opinions coming together can be epic. Don't mimic their interests hoping to flatter them.

Thanks for reading, I hope it made you smile at least once. Add on anything you feel is important to include in the comments section.

Monday, August 6, 2012

"That girl who..."

This is a post I made on facebook months ago:

For those of you who do not know, a Flushing High school student committed suicide. Hearing about [student's name] led me to two thoughts after my initial sadness for him and his family. Today at school when someone asked “did you know anything about him?” Almost everyone said “he played varsity football.” We all wanted to know more but we didn’t.
1.When you think of a suicidal person, you do not think football player. We are conditioned to picture an “emo” kid probably dressed in black. This sad incident shows that EVERYONE is susceptible to feeling alone and being hurt. Everyone has problems, insecurities, and “bad days.” That is why it is so vital that everybody shows respect toward everybody.
2.“He played varsity football” At my school that is about all we knew of him. Obviously there was much more to him than that. I am not saying that CA (my school) is shallow and I am not pretending to know him, but he probably had hopes, dreams, and fears. He probably loved a lot of people and a lot of people loved him, yet all we know about him at a neighboring school is that he was a football player. If you died tomorrow, what would be the one thing people identify you as? What are you known for? Are you happy with that? Does it represent who you are? It is unfair but true that if one of us were to die tomorrow, our whole identity would get shoved into one sentence. I learned from this to act out what I believe. My heart goes out to his family and anyone who knew him. God bless and hopefully we can learn something from this tragedy.
I shared this again on my blog because I am against suicide, I believe in tolerance, and I want my one sentence to be "That girl who was always spreading compassion." Thank you for reading.

To be great is to be misunderstood

"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion" - Ralph Waldo Emerson.
     Today I was working at my tutoring job and I had to read a passage from Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance." The bolded quote above is where the excerpt started.  I was reading it out loud to my student and every once in a while I asked her if she knew what that word and this word meant. This was partly to strengthen her vocabulary and partly to gauge if she was as affected by his writing as I was. His intelligence blew me away. This is what I thought after reading the opening sentences: Envying others is bad, knew that. Calling it ignorance stresses that only people who have never been told "It is bad to envy others" should do it. I have been taught that and I still am overcome with jealousy at times. That is ignorance. As for the second point, I knew imitation was not the best thing to do. However I would have never thought to compare imitation and suicide. Essentially though, that is a just comparison. Imitation is willingly killing your identity to replace for another. It is disrespecting the identity that God gave you, trying to paint over His picasso. The third sentence is a rock solid word-to-the-wise to love yourself as you are, one of the easiest ideas to grasp and the hardest to put into practice. Needless to say, I was engaged for the rest of the reading.
      Emerson said that "Whoso be a man must be a non-conformist." He stated that God uses brave men to do great things, not scared and hesitant people. "God will not have his work made manifest by cowards." He said not to be scared of being thought of as odd, as a freak, and to be outcasted. "To be great is to be misunderstood." His reasons were because some of the brightest, wisest people were thought as, well, weirdos. He named Copernicus, Galileo, Jesus and Newton. I was so inspired by that.  Being counter-cultural is sometimes the best thing you can do. It assures you of who you are. It is acknowledging that you do not need man's approval to understand yourself. We are so afraid to be disliked, but maybe that is the cost of magnificence.