Teaching and helping others is a passion of mine. It’s also where I should be. “Old Soul” or “Mama Coco” friends call me. Giving always came easy to me. But these days, I’m starting to realize that the advice I give to others is the advice I should be giving to myself. When some of my friends argue, they feel they have to hold back some of their feelings because they fear the outcome of more disappointment. My advice is to hold nothing back. How can you resolve an issue that hasn’t been fully addressed? And then it hit me. I was going through the same problem with someone. I knew that I had to speak up, but every time I saw this person, I said nothing because I feared the result. I kept all the pain inside. It hurts to know that I had the solution to a problem, but I was too scared to actually solve it, to fight for the relationship to last and get better. Instead of saying something, I sit there. I fear that we will become nothing if I don’t get enough courage to open my mouth and ask, “Why?” I guess it is easier to give advice than to take it.
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Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.24.40 AMI’m not a hero. I don’t have extraordinary physical or mental capabilities, I’m too afraid to leave my house on my own when it’s dark, and I am a girl. I wish the last part was irrelevant. It isn’t. I’ve been into comic books for three years and I am told about my favorite heroes saving small children from harm, and fighting bad guys while still getting home in time for dinner -- and they’re men. I read about their girlfriends, wives, and mothers being injured or harmed for the sake of “character development.” Not awesome. Spoilers below. Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s girlfriend, was thrown off a bridge. After an unsuccessful attempt by Spider-Man to save her, she died. The writers came up with this gruesome conclusion because, apparently, Parker was too cool for a long-term, committed relationship. Rebecca Banner, Bruce Banner’s mother, was killed by her alcoholic and abusive husband. This, of course, affected his mental health and increased his internal struggle with his Hulk side. In 2013, the Scarlet Witch and Rogue were both killed -- in the same issue. There isn’t any male character development here; just a great example of terrible writing. All of these deaths were completely unnecessary, violent, and pretty sad. Is this really our only option to keep a story going? Isn’t there a way to keep Gwen alive and in Peter’s life without restraining him? Doesn’t Bruce Banner have enough problems that encourage the Hulk, without his mother dying? Isn’t there more to keeping the attention of readers than shock value? I’m not a hero. I don’t want to be one, and I don’t want to know one. I’m pretty fond of living.
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Sixty years ago, women were seen as secretaries, nurses, teachers, nannies, and housekeepers. Now, look around. We have drastically changed our dispositions about women in the workforce and at home. But even after such a revelation, statistics just do not seem to correlate with our expectations. According to a recent study by Catalyst, women hold only 4.6 percent of Fortune 1000 CEO positions. Where did we go wrong? It starts at home. A girl? She will wear a pink dress. She will be docile. She will speak, eat, and walk like a lady. A boy? He will be strong. He will be athletic and intelligent. He will not cry or dare play with dolls. Sound familiar? The first stage is the parents. With the most influential power, they decide where you take your first steps. Growing up, gender bias gradually becomes passively accepted because it is a ubiquitous standard we were brought up on. Simply being female is already a setback. In a 2011 Gallup poll that asked Americans what they would prefer if they could have only one child, 40 percent said a boy and 28 percent said a girl. The sliver of difference that separates the two genders expands within in our colloquial conversations, throughout the media, and inside our own families.
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Dear Prince Charming, Where have you been? I search for your dazzling smile and witty charm in all the boys I meet. I look for your dreamy eyes and valiant nature, but you are nowhere to be found. The world around me tells me that I need you and that you will protect me and provide for me. The world tells me that you will love me for eternity. But we all know that these are huge expectations and it’s not really fair for me to want all of them. We girls always say that we want to be accepted for what we are. But we expect you boys to fit a certain criteria. We rely on the factor of love to drag us through life. But we all know that perfect love is non-existent. Love is really just what you make it. We love each other for the small things that make us different, not the things that make us like everyone else. A dazzling smile only goes so far. Sincerely, Not Looking
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Every once in a while, a song successfully molds me into who I really am, fixes me, and teaches me. I have acquired a hunger for live music. My first concert was very much like the first day of high school, except with students a whole lot older and a whole lot smellier than me. I was the new kid aching to be a social butterfly, while keeping to myself. When I bumped into someone, I would say, “I’m so sorry,” when they didn’t seem to care. The thing about hardcore and punk is that it gives you no choice but to feel free and act without restriction. Unlike the educational institutions I knew, it wouldn’t matter if you were a girl or boy, black or white, loud or quiet, or anywhere in between. We were all one. I saw members of the crowd lift their hands up, or sway, or cry. I saw the older men carry strangers as they crowd-surfed, making sure they made their way to the front without falling. I saw the singer on stage make direct eye contact with someone who really needed to know that he or she mattered. At that very moment, I knew that this is what I would live for. After that day, I found myself needing to feel infinite again. Each show was like someone telling me, “You’re going to be fine” or “You’re welcome here. We love you.” I made wonderful memories and found that I could fit in somewhere. It’s more than just music to me; it’s my life support. I couldn’t handle the dead silence that existed around me or the lifeless answers I was given. At the music venues, I learned more about myself than in therapy. I learned more about what my future would look like than I did at school. I learned what love could really be.
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