POWER

Hey guys!

[storytime] So on Monday, I was driving to get lunch and there was this highway patrol car in front of me and it was a red light so I stopped behind this car. The light was taking a while since there was a lot of traffic (it was lunchtime) and the patrol car ran the red light. Now, I know that there are exceptions to traffic laws for police and law enforcement when there’s an emergency; but, there was no visible reason-from what I could see- to run the light other than impatience. There was no one speeding because of the high traffic, no car crash, no fire, etc. So, it was a really mind-boggling experience.

Now, I don’t know if it was legal of the person to run that light. I don’t know traffic laws in regards to law enforcement but, it didn’t seem that legal to me. Does anyone know?

So that story was a precursor to the main topic of this post.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can withstand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

We all know that once given power, people change. Some become arrogant. Some make rash decisions. It’s in our nature. I am a huge bibliophile, I love books, I love stories. I love reading about people. An author is good when they are able to fully capture the vulnerability and rawness of being human. A lot of books I read are in the fantasy/mystery genres and its in those books where I’ve learned half of what I know about people. People who are given any kind of power often misuse it-that’s a fact (misuse is subjective I agree). But, the actions they take, are often not ‘good.’

Power corrupts, but how it corrupts is different for everybody. Someone who is in law enforcement-they are given power to make sure that the law is obeyed. This given power has them believing they are the law-and that’s corruption of their character. But this is a generalized example, obviously there are exceptions. Not everyone realizes their own power, and some who do-they realize the danger and their potential. Fame and influence is a power, some don’t realize the potential of that and those that do, they recognize the potential profit and future success that is possible or they choose to use that influence to help others. Any young person in this day and age will recognize the power of media and technology. It’s all about perspective-how you see the world.

(I had this whole post planned but it all went out of the window as soon as I started typing-I get lost in my own head sometimes.)

DAY4

Hey guys! it’s officially day 4 of my a-post-a-day challenge!

So, today’s topic is body image and my advice for loving your body no matter what.

Let’s paint a picture.

Imagine a Taiwanese and Vietnamese mix, 4’11 girl.

She has short hair a little past her shoulders and wears glasses too big for her baby face (but that’s how she likes it).

She’s got so-called ‘small bones,’ with a 23 ½ inch waist, 31 ½ inch hips, and 31 inch bust.

She’s got an arch in her foot because she wore heels at too young an age and that arch is not natural but she looks like she has dancers’ feet now.

She has no thigh gap, she’s got hip dips and belly rolls (just like everybody else) and jiggly upper arms.

I’ve always been told that I was short and much too skinny.

People would always ask me if I was anorexic or bulimic-but I swear I’m not.

My sister calls me fat all the time (not in a malicious way-she just means I have to get up from the couch and go exercise).

I’ve never felt uncomfortable with how I look because I’m confident in myself and that while appearances are important-its how I present myself to others that detract from how I look and put more emphasis on my personality.

I’ve been ‘skinny-shamed,’ and I’ve been called ‘vertically challenged,’ but I’ve never really cared because I’m content with the way I am. You know, its easy to overlook these comments if you’re truly confident in yourself. I make jokes about my height all the time-its easier to win hide and seek by the way.

You can learn to love yourself by: standing in front of a mirror and just say one positive thing about yourself every day; wear the right clothes, ones that make you feel ready to take on the world (I didn’t win best dressed senior by wearing sweats every day ya know); focus on being a good person to those around you-your friends can build up your confidence better than you can alone; there’s plenty of other ways other bloggers have discovered that I haven’t thought of.

The plus-size community is a pretty powerful group of people sharing self-love and image positivity. The reason that this group in particular is so successful, is because they have icons and activists who are confident in themselves and their identity and their fans share that confidence (because we all want to imitate our idols).

If you don’t feel comfortable with the way you are now-then change to be better. If you don’t love your rolls or your love handles, exercise and work for the body you want. It’s all about mindset, you have to believe that you can do it-because in the end if its something that you really want, then you just do it. You can complain and whine as much as you want-as long as you get the job done. There are a lot of people who wallow in self-pity because they’re not happy with the way they are-and what I say to them is this:

“Don’t hate on society for shaming you when you shame yourself. It’s a different story if you accept and love yourself just the way you are. But if you wish that you had the body of a model from that magazine you like, if you wish to look different from the way you are now-then you have to change your attitude. Work hard to obtain the changes you want-because there will always be body-shamers out there and it’s easy to blame them. Don’t take the easy way out.”

I’m not saying its easy. I’m not saying that it’ll be instant results. I’m not saying that you should change to conform to society’s expectations of beautiful (because that is always changing)-but if its your own personal goal-if the reason you want to change is to better yourself-then you have to work hard.

DAY1

Hey guys!

So, my volunteering came to an end and so I have literally nothing to do. So, I’m putting forward a challenge for myself: Write a post everyday for the next week. That means that starting from this post, I have six more to go.

Okay so I was asked to expand on my post on belief systems. What it means to be agnostic and not atheist, and my past encounters with religion.

[personal story time] When I was younger, toddler years to fourth grade, I was enrolled in a private Lutheran school, Lutheran as a sect of Christianity. I sang Christian songs, read the bible, went to church, believed in God. I was fully invested (as invested as a child could possibly be), I took all the lessons to heart-I still remember a lot of the bible stories. But when I switched to a local public school for fifth grade, I stopped putting in as much faith into Christianity. It wasn’t because all the other kids didn’t believe-it was because at the time there was nothing to keep reinforcing that faith. Nothing to keep the belief alive. As I moved through middle school and high school, science and literature firmly stoppered any possible fully-fledged belief I could have fostered for religion. I remember being asked if I was Christian in 7th grade and I remember replying that no, I’m atheist. But I was wrong. At the time I had no idea agnostic was even a thing. But I’ve always had a belief in a possible higher power and I’ve always fancied the idea that maybe some aspects of the supernatural exists-like magic.

While atheism is basically believing that there are no deities, gods, or higher powers. Agnosticism is believing that while its possible that a god or higher power exists, its unknown/rather its untestable and unknowable. So, that’s how I came to identify as agnostic.

So, the only time when I was exposed to anything relating to religion was when I was at school. My parents never really talk about religion all that much-they allow me and my sisters to be free to believe in whatever we want-so long as we are good people (by society’s standards) and we’re informed (not ignorant, not blindly walking in).

I remember wondering how diehard atheists and Christians could ever get a long with such contrasting beliefs. But, I’ve noticed that people just avoid the topic of religion and beliefs in general-unless they’re with someone who’s beliefs are known to them already.

I’ve wondered how so many people with contrasting opinions in the same areas could still call themselves Christian when some of their core beliefs are completely different. So, we have to assume perception of the same reading, the same religion has to be different but similar enough that people form sects. But that seems so exclusive-especially when they’re all worshiping the same deity.

There will be some that will say that I have no right to judge when I’m for lack of a better word-an outsider. But I will say this, the core beliefs of religions like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam-and all the other polytheistic religions-all promote a system of morals that contribute to our societies. This contribution provides a baseline for what is good and for what is bad.

OWN IT

I had always fallen victim to the so-called ‘blame game.’ There are times when I found that it was just so much easier to blame someone else for my lack of success when I know logically it really wasn’t anyone else’s fault that they got the opportunity to do something that I wanted to do. This sense of entitlement is something I fell victim to maybe in middle school and I realized when I started high school that things were different. I opened my eyes to the truth.

Gary Vaynerchuk is famous for his speeches and advice for success. One thing that he’s said recently struck a cord with me, he says,

“But when you take control of your at bat. When you put it all on yourself. When it’s your fault. And your wins. When you own it. That’s when it starts happening.”

I thought it was really important to share this because I totally believe its true. I may not have lived for a very long time-but even I know that if you want to be successful you have to take control of your life-not only by owning up to whatever you’ve done with your life so far, but also knowing that despite whatever talent you think you have-it won’t be enough. Yes, hard work and opportunity is important. But, I also feel like you can’t really get anywhere if you don’t know people. The mentality of masses as a whole and how society is going to react. We will always have exceptions to opinions, its understanding the majority that gives insight to general mentality. I think its important to know people. How they think, how they react. How will they react to whatever content you put out? How will you appeal to them if they were your fans? Stuff like that doesn’t seem important but it is.

For example, if I wanted to become a best-selling author one day, then I would not only need to write something that will appeal to a specific demographic but I would also need to gauge possible reactions to the release so that I can be prepared to respond.

If I wanted to be a car saleswoman than I would need to understand people on a more physical level-body reactions, I’d need to be persuasive. I would need to understand people on a fundamental level.

Any job that one might have-will involve dealing with all kinds of people, how is subjective but in principle the message is the same.

I’m only 17, but others… well let’s just say they’ve only got one life and they should be squeezing the hell out of whatever they’ve got left.

LISTEN

It’s hard to accept sometimes that pretty much most people will have different opinions from me. I am hard-headed and stubborn pretty much all the time and so it makes it difficult for me to keep an open mind when I already have fully formed opinions on a topic. I do try to educate myself as much as possible before taking a stance or making an opinion because I don’t ever want to be accused of being ignorant. That said, I wouldn’t consider myself intolerant-more as making an effort to understand others’ point of view even if I don’t agree.

This has always been something I considered to be extremely important-its important to be informed and tolerant. Not only by listening to others’ opinions but also making an effort to understand where they come from-because circumstances change and no two situations are exactly the same. While my efforts may not always be fruitful, I will always take something from the situation no matter the outcome.

SO, for example, whenever my family and I sit down for dinner, or get in the car, or be in generally a small space together-we start discussions and we always talk about something that a lot of people can input opinions into and it gets all tense. One topic that got particularly heated, was our discussion over double standards for girls and boys being raised and how they’re treated in a household. I have three sisters and no brothers, so I don’t know how my parents would treat a son specifically, but it was strange because we all came to a consensus that yes double standards exist. But, my dad claims that these double standards are necessary-for example, parents are more protective of the girls, and my dad claims that it’s because they need more protecting than the boys do. OF course, me and my sisters disagreed but anyways I could see where he was coming from and understand that as a father its his job to care for his kids-but at the same time it doesn’t mean that I have to accept his reasoning as being right (in a black and white sort of sense).

But the most important part of any discussion or exchange of opinions, is listening. You want to make a rebuttal? That’s fine, as long as you listen to what they’re trying to say and interpret correctly. You don’t want to argue or talk about it anymore? Let them finish what they’re saying first-knowledge is power after all.

Oh another thing to mention is this: you don’t always have to argue back-yeah I know it sounds crazy but it’s something to consider. You’ll find that not everything is worth arguing about. You want your voice to be heard? Don’t worry, there will be an opportunity for you in the future. There are a lot of outspoken people out there-myself included- and sometimes what they say will offend you and that’s okay as long as you know that it’s all just opinion. We all have different opinions on certain topics but in the end these opinions shouldn’t be an obstacle in the way of obtaining a more tolerant society.

BEGINNING

I’d like to write one of those ‘how I got started’ kinds of posts. I want to tell my beginning. I would tell the rest of the story but it hasn’t happened yet, so here we go.

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I decided to start a blog because I was feeling stifled-I had no creative outlet where I could just talk about my opinions or anything like that. So, I decided that instead of music, dance, sport or whatever everyone else was doing-I would make a blog where I could talk about pretty much anything I wanted. I created a platform so that people could read what I had to say and react to it. I started the conversation. Its electrifying to read messages that I get-I get excited to talk about requested topics because in the end we all want to feel useful and that’s how being asked to talk about something makes me feel.

Oh also, another reason I started this blog-rather found the courage to make it after months of self-doubt, was one of my good friends who has a blog of her own, and she inspired me to create something like this-so she definitely has my thanks for that.

I wanted this blog to be a forum for discussion and a lot of these messages aren’t going to public because some people are private so they’ll contact me through that handy button up top and that’s their preference (haha shameless plug). It’s easy to make assumptions that people will always have polarized ideas about certain things and most of the time we fall into those shades of grey. I am one of those people and I wanted to make it clear because a lot of people believe that you can only believe in something or against it and not in between-and I wanted readers to know that its okay to not be fully for or against certain things.

A lot of my posts have stories about my experiences and I wouldn’t have it any other way-it’s a way to feel more connected to readers. I like to think that I’m an open book but I might be wrong-there is no shame in admitting mistakes and so I pass that message on when I talk about mistakes I’ve made. If I’ve done something that I was so proud of, I would share it. Embarrassing stories, cheesy, romantic, awkward-all of it, I would share if asked.

I talk about things that I get asked pretty often-most of it is relationship advice, but not all of it. I think that there is more to life than finding a partner-and so I try not to overwhelm my blog with that topic. I think in webs, I’m always going off on tangents and it shows in my writing-I’m not all that focused, I have a sort of ‘stream of consciousness’ style writing where I write whatever comes to my mind to write-and I think that it adds genuity and authenticity. I am still a teenager and I don’t think anyone expects me to be a professional writer so I don’t put in effort to a point where I freak out, but just enough. No expectations, no promises.

NORMAL

Every summer I volunteer at a local youth camp and a majority of the classes center around teaching these kids science-one of these classes, CSI jr., is one of the classes I was a TA for and kids learned fingerprinting and the importance of looking for clues in a crime scene and these kids were kindergarten and first grade kids. I remember the teacher having the kids draw what they thought a criminal would look like and they were asked to present their drawing. And, one kid walked up to the front and showed a drawing of a perfectly ordinary looking person and he said, “I drew a serial killer.” All the other kids drew people holding weapons or people robbing a bank and this kid drew someone so completely ordinary looking and I was shocked. I thought, wow this kid-he knows what’s up.

The truth of it is, is that appearances are deceiving and that anyone can be a killer. Sometimes, the most horrible killers are the ones that can blend into the crowd, the ones that no one would ever expect-because they look so normal.

It was shocking to me that a child maybe 6 years old was able to say what a lot of us in hindsight ‘know’ but would never think to say. I, myself would probably have drawn what the other kids drew because I would never have thought to draw what he did. But I think that it was important that the child did and I was able to witness it because I feel enlightened and I can share it with my readers.

I think we often overlook the opinions of those younger than us-because we all assume that we’re older, that we’re wiser, all these things-but in all honesty, I think that children compensate the lack of knowledge that they have with simplicity-finding simple solutions to complicated problems which is sometimes the best solution. They have simple morals-you told a white lie, it’s wrong doesn’t matter why you lied, its still wrong-that sort of thing. And, sometimes simplicity is key.

I think that its important to note that children can sometimes be more insightful than a lot of adults.

I think it’s important to not overlook anyone, because to obtain opinions from all types of people allows for a broader spectrum of understanding.