31 August 2015

The Troubles Girls Face in Today's Society


Let me tell you something—I'm not the most educated feminist out there, so what I have written for this post may not exactly be the most applicable and carry much weight, but this is something that has been running in my head for quite some time and I felt the need to write this. 

I had also edited this several times because the original draft included references that wouldn't be great for ten-year-olds to read, which I know is what some of my blog demographics consist of. If, later, you wish to talk to me on your views of this post or gender equality in gender, feel free to in the comments.

If the media of society ended up having a standards checklist as to how to achieve to be what is, in reality, a false photo of perfect, I—along with many others, I presume—will end up failing it, because no one can fit all the requirements.

This is my height chart-- it's not an official one since this was one that I made two summers ago.

“Are you tall, skinny and pretty?” This is probably the number one biggest thing with me: I am not tall. Compared to people in the Philippines, I am, but in the United States, where I live, I am short. I’ve barely reached the five-foot mark (approximately 1.5 meters). Compared to some, I am skinny. As for whether I am pretty or not, a lot of people who have met me for the first time do compliment that I am pretty, but that is not something that I can ultimately decide. I don’t know.

“Do you like boys, and/or are you dating?” If you mean crushing on boys in the question context, I absolutely do not. I don’t have a boyfriend, nor do I ask for one. I do have guy friends though, but it is all very platonic.

“What are you labeled?” This question right here bothers me, but I’m not a queen bee. No, I am a writer, bookworm, nerd and theatre geek, but why is it that society is trying to label me into this box of constraints as if it’s the only thing that defines me.

Those are just some of the questions that could be on this list. There could be more. You know that it’s not written, but you know society has it there.

Gender roles and expectations have begun to change since around the second half of the twentieth century. Before, it was that the women did all of the housework and the males ended up going to work. You can see that, for more than fifty years, that gender roles of society have ended up being less restricted and are given more leeway. My parents both work, cook, and do the chores. I bet for most of you, it’s the same.

Since that time of the twentieth century, we have come a long way, but still we are fighting for gender equality.

Today, I ultimately just realized something: female characters in Young Adult books—the more popular ones in the fantasy and dystopia genres, anyway—and Disney Princesses never seem to have any appearance problems, physically. Literally, ask yourselves: have you ever seen a fat Disney Princess before?

Some people on Tumblr who are fangirling over Moana, the new Walt Disney Animation Studios movie set to be released next year, want the titular character to be fat. Looking at the official art from the Disney D23 Expo, I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon. It would have been nice though, because not only could have the new princess represent another ethnic race or background other than Caucasian, it could would also introduce the fact that people have different body figures. Not everyone is skinny.

This is a photo of my eye, with no makeup, unedited. I won't be mentioning anything about makeup because I have already addressed it in another post.

Super showy clothing can be uncomfortable to look at, and I bet some of you can sympathize. Maybe to some, showy clothing is for cultural reasons, like if the climate is hot, and that’s something I totally respect, but what I dislike is when people wear showy clothing to attract guys. I had come back to edit this part after originally drafting it, and I did end up using more words that “attract guys”, but had edited it for reasons I explained in the beginning. The words that were originally in my head were things that shouldn't be thought of, but because society's exposure to situations like these at such a young age, it's as if it is common knowledge now.

What you should keep in mind is this: Women and men should not be treated as something lesser than a person. Everyone should be equal, and should not be thought of anything less, like as a slave or an object.

Anyone and everyone should be judged solely based on their character and their morals, and not based on anything else.

Speaking of boys, teenage girls should not be defined going boy crazy once they enter the teen years. This shouldn’t even be close. Not all teenage girls go boy crazy, okay? We shouldn’t be placed into, again, a box of constraints because it seems to be the best fitting. There are some girls who will crush on guys but there are others who just want to eat a bucket of ice cream and watch Netflix at two a.m. in the morning because that’s just the way they want it, and hey, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

There is no shame in eating ice cream. I ate and took a photo of this at eleven in the evening, with the sun still out.

Boys aren’t our—"our" meaning us girls—entire lives. There was a character on a Filipino show that I watched who was in an unstable mental state because her ex-boyfriend didn’t date her anymore and the only way she would recover was if her ex ended up staying with her for two years in London.

Gladly, her character’s state did improve, but what I’m asking is, why? Why did she need to be with her ex-boyfriend? Was it because she didn’t feel his love anymore? Come on; whether she knows it or not, she is loved, by her parents and by her ex, even if not in a romantic way. No matter what, she is loved. You are loved, reader, even if you feel like a pile of poop because something bad rained on your parade.

You don’t need to necessarily be in a romantic relationship to feel that there are those surrounding you that do love and support you.

Now, let’s go back to when I was in the fourth grade, which was quite some time ago. It was an extremely rainy or snowy day, I can’t remember exactly, but everyone was required to stay inside the building for recess. There were two choices we could have chosen: either we could draw with numerous gel pens, which were what most girls were doing, or we could play with the LEGOs.

Still being the weirdo that I am, you can probably decide which one I chose. It’s not that gel pens weren’t fun, it was just that day, I was craving to play with LEGOs, but sadly, I was the only girl who thought that way, and everyone gave my questioning looks. Why should it be that boys and girls are restricted to their gender based activities in elementary?

No one has ever called me a nerd or a bookworm, but because I fit that stereotype I am constantly being segregated to stay with people who are more like me, and though I do have friends from different social groups, I tend to end up stick with people in “my group.” It's like an unspoken agreement that we are just stereotypes and we must stick together with those of our stereotype. Why should this confine me into doing other things?

I may be a girl, but I don't always wear dresses. I like wearing jeans and leggings.

I may be a girl, but I'm capable of higher math and science. I may be a girl, but that doesn’t mean I’m not able to help carry chairs back to our classroom—which sadly, this accusation, by a teacher did, happen to me this past year. Being a girl shouldn't be an insult. I am much more capable of doing much more than what my labels stereotype me as, and I wish society could see that.

Why is it that most media does this to us, making us feel like we should alter our image just to reach their perfection? Mediums such as television, books, and music are supposed to be escapes from reality, not another way to chain us up and hurt us.

Most.

Notice how I used the word two paragraphs up ahead, most? There is some media that does help and benefit, to bring positivity, like when I posted about The Daylight Project the first year I began to blog. There are songs, like Try and Brave that help empower those feeling as if society is restricting them.

Believe it or not, our blog is a form of media. We could end up spreading either love or hate. We could sit around and do nothing. But there are some things—strongly held opinions, for example—that we should share. Or, we don’t have to.

But the decision of what you want to do is all up to you.

P.S. Feel strongly about gender equality and want to take action? I would suggest you look into the  Equality Rights Amendment, and read about it here here

29 August 2015

Back Into the Swing of Things


 My family went out for pizza at a local restaurant the week before school started.

My cousin had her sweet sixteen party at the park.

Hey, everyone! I know that I've been absent from my blog lately; I wrote up a post last night which summarizes what has occurring in my life since my last post, but I decided to scratch and rewrite it instead. The draft  had a serious tone, and the weather is just marvelous outside-- no need to spoil that feeling, right? Sunny afternoons give me so many good vibes, it doesn't hurt to smile.

School has been okay, though it does have that downside of not being in any classes with any of my friends and being busy to the point of not eating lunch with anyone. It's the sacrifice I have to make in order to be in all of the necessary classes that I need to be in, and it does drag me because all I could talk about is school. That drives people away, but I have found new allies in some places.


What else can I say about the new school year? Well, Pre-Calculus I'm actually interested and invested in. It's the class, along with Chemistry, I really need to step up my game in studying. My language arts class I can continue maintain what I am doing. Two fun tidbits about my electives: my Spanish II teacher told the football players in my second period class straight up (but in a joking matter) that the school football team "stinks", which, for once, actually caused them to be speechless, and my choir teacher declared I have a vocal range of a mezzo-soprano but wants me to sing alto because of the overwhelming amount of sopranos we have.

Greek Lamb dinner is so delicious...
... as well as Greek styled doughnuts.

Outside of school, I have auditioned for two theatre productions, and two days after the cast list for one show came out, I became paranoid because everyone received an email from the production company except for me, and finally, last night, my mom had finally received an email from one of the directors. The most I could get is a small speaking part and become part of the ensemble because no one would be able to drive me, but well, that is life. If I'm able to keep up my grades, with an A average, I could audition for the next show, which is what I'm keeping my eye out for... Remember, singing about not needing a man in one's life is something that I love. :) Nether the less, rehearsals will be great and this show will be great!

For once, math actually looks... photogenic! 

I finally tried sipping Coke through a Twizzlers straw; if you nibble off the ends, there is a tiny hole, but it does work! It's literally the coolest thing ever.

That's all I have going; bye for now! I have a heavy post about that I know many could relate to.

18 August 2015

The Gift of Writing



My finger itches for that sensation
the flick of a wrist with a pencil at hand,
and all though I would rather prefer to
write with a runny pen, I am satisfied.

The notebook is about two years old,
or maybe three, but I’m not so sure
my fingers yearn for more—
more words, more writing, more
        contact with the paper.

My fingertips and wrist be alive, but 
a nagging voice in the back of my head
yaps quietly afraid
Afraid of the mistakes,
Afraid of writing in the “wrong”
     notebook
Afraid of finding those who read it
     (even if it isn’t a journal or diary of 
     the sort.)

Because when I write with a pencil and
     paper, I feel as if I have the power.
     The power of being free to say what
     I want to say with mistakes and
  messy writing.

Even if my wrist hurts at the end of the day
it’s worth it.

---

(P.S. I took my permit test today… and I failed two points short. I may be able to take it again on Wednesday, when school starts because up again, or on Friday, and I’m sure I will do better the next time through, but to deny and say that I passed it one time would be lying to myself, so I’ve decided to enclose it here so I may remember it sometime soon.)

14 August 2015

Summer Rewind // 2015


The summer season is coming to a close and with each passing day, school drawing closer, the first day being on Wednesday. I’m attempting to enjoy the last few free days I have by visiting attractions in my town and getting ready for something driving related of the sorts.

Last year, I ended creating something known as the Summer Rewind Tag. This year, I’m going to do the same thing, without the tagging portion of it. Sometimes, it’s best to reflect at what you did over a span of time to give yourself a reality check of what’s going on! In no order, these are the three main things that occurred in the summer:



1. My vacation to the Philippines.
My family ended up traveling to the Philippines to attend a family reunion, which was a fun time. If you want to read my log about the vacation read this post here.


2. Interning at Summit Media.
Interning was one of the most demanding yet most fun experience ever! I’m not sure whether I will undergo another internship in my town (it’s all up to what my parents think) but it’s something that I surely won’t forget!


3. Park Exploration.
Through the entire course of the summer, my family ended up visiting several parks, both in town and in the Philippines! The photo above was taken by me, but the flowers were collected by my brother, who started a picking trend with my cousins.



4. Youth Conference.
This was my second year in attending my youth conference, where all of the youth in my state gather to learn more about my faith. I got to meet the new youth group leader there and hike up a mountain—sadly I couldn’t make it to the top since I was too slow!


5. Movies
Over the course of the summer my family has watched plenty of movies. The list is Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Minions, Inside Out, Ant-Man, and Mission Impossible, Rogue Nation! Who else has seen these movies?

Back in the month of May I also participated in the Summer Bucket List tag and I have completed all things on my list but three: complete a photo-a-day summer challenge, attend writer groups, and use my bike more… well, I half completed the last one. I used a scooter instead and you will see what that scooter looks like about the weekend after school begins.

Speaking of the end of summer, my family finally went back to the cardiologist on Monday and there is a way to get rid of my irregular heartbeat by a small procedure! The part that terrifies me is that there will be thin tubes entering my blood stream through my legs and neck and the ends of these tubes can heat up and kill cells. The fact that I will be sleeping the entire time only eases my nerves slightly.

Excuse me as my blog will be mostly silent for the rest of the week; my family will be out of the house visiting a place that I will blog about (I’m super excited to go there, yay) and unless you are afraid of the depths of ocean water, I bet you all will like! Don’t worry, it’s not that scary.
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with me in the comments! Talk to me about what you’re looking forward to in school (or dreading), what your favorite ice cream flavor is, even what is up on the ceiling; I’d love to hear from you all!



10 August 2015

Summer Nights

My family has something for evening visits to parks this summer, because we went back twice to two different parks, one of them that I featured on this blog in June.

Two weeks ago, after watching Ant-Man, my family decided on a whim to go visit a park on the edge of town named after a major catastrophe that occurred. I was listening to Broadway songs on my phone and finally, we had arrived.

The first time we went, the weather was quite nice, and, feeling a bit artsy that day, decided to play around with silhouette photography on my phone, as I had left my camera at home. The view was quite beautiful—we all stayed out until ten-thirty, devouring the Tex-Mex food that we bought and drinking in our Sprite like drinks.


 Sorry for the bad quality of the first two; these photos of me were taken on my phone by my brother.

The second time we went, which was yesterday, I had brought my camera—but the weather wasn’t as pretty. Still, my family ventured out to go out to the ocean after munching on popcorn from the showing of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, playing around with more photo tricks and trying to skip stones into the slowly rising tide (a skill which I am not a master at, currently).

 My mom's shoes on the rocks.

 Photo credits to my mom!

My brother attempted to find smooth rocks for skipping! 


My family also went to a get together at a park, this time, taking place during the evening’s duration. I was able to wade in the water. My younger brother attracted a flock of geese near where the swimming parameters. Waddling around and trying to snap photos of birds is a difficult task. I must have looked like a dummy!







Photo credits to my cousin!

School begins for me next Wednesday, a fact that I am slightly dreading. My brains feel like they are still fried from last May’s finals. Finalizing my new design and preparing myself for an upcoming audition doesn’t help my case either. I've been getting out much more, watching movies and texting my friends like crazy (a reason why I haven't been able to reply to comments as much as I would like to) but it’s better to enjoy the last of these summer nights than dreading it!

07 August 2015

A Letter to the New School Year


Dear New School Year,

Your older brother, 2015, decided to fry my brains out when the last few weeks of May this year came rolling about, and when my final grades came about, I did mostly okay. I'm still trying to sedate my brain and recover by listening to the voices of Nat King Cole, Barbra Striesand and the Beatles, but it does not seem to help improve my state.

The experience I had with your older brother was okay, except for some small parts, it wasn't entirely that memorable. Maybe it's because I expected too much from him because your even older sister-- 2014-- started off mediocre and slowly to be a great year.

I don't want to expect a lot you seeing that I am unaware what the future holds, but being the open-minded optimist that I am... Well, I have some things that I would like to see.

I need time to balance out everything-- school and my fine arts activities, mainly. I experimented loads on your brother because I didn't know what worked, and I finally pieced together a schedule for studying during the theater season.

The classes I'm taking will be much hard than last year. To balance Pre-Calculus and Chemistry while dealing with two toughest of all the teachers in the mini-school program I'm in for Language Arts and World History sounds intimidating, but I'm excited for it.

I checked my schedule online again to see if my schedule was fixed and read up what the course descriptions were (because I'm a total weirdo) and it turns out, I'm taking an advanced upperclassmen English course, and the class that I am supposed to take with you, New School Year, I had taken before-- and that scares me.

Sometimes, I don't even know how much power my writing tends to hold. I already set the super bar super high last year.

Mentioning writing, I want to receive one of those whack-a-mole hammers so I can smash Procrastination, my nemesis. I've been writing the first book in a novel series for about five years, and after about three drafts and multiple edits, it's still not exactly in the prettiest state.

I haven't even started on my two bred-horse ideas, and it's terribly important that I start writing about it. Mentioning rocks and cookie cutters multiple times makes everyone wonder why.

Procrastination teams up with Indecisiveness and Uncertainty whenever I enter the theatre world. Before auditions I research tons about the play. Finding the right pieces to perform and present with all of my skills to the directors without hurling out what became of my chocolate chip granola bar or sounding super shaky is a hassle for me.

It's been three years that I have been in the theatre world if I exclude the two plays I did in elementary, but I haven't gotten a lead role... And there's a certain lead for a show I'm eyeing on (New York City in the Roaring 20s and singing about not needing a man in real life is a thing I'm into)-- I really need to work hard when I go to performance classes on Saturdays. "Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard!"

Gosh, that's a basketball saying. The amount of NBA my entire family watches while I read in my room must really start to sink in me.

Let's make this a great year. 
With the best of luck, Morning

P.S. I will do Battle again and when I'm picked on the team and Battle day comes, OUR TEAM WILL PREVAIL, GO TO STATE, AND DOMINATE. We missed it by one question last year...

03 August 2015

Sometimes, It's Okay to Cry.


Sometimes there are post ideas that you desperately want to write about but later decide against because the idea hasn't manifested and grown to what you think is its greatest potential. Until about two weeks ago, when I was browsing through old posts and watched the movie Inside Out did I realize that it's about time that this post would come to life.

This will be one of the hardest blog posts I'll ever have to write. I end up sharing posts about my life and thoughts, but it's hard for me to open to people about sensitive parts about my past, it really is. So, bear with me, okay? 

I don't think I told you what I wrote about in my revelation essay, and it's about time I should. One of the main things my essay revolved around was the topic of crying. Let me tell you, I cry a lot. I easily get upset. I'm a perfectionist and I am hard on myself if I don't accomplish whatever I'm doing, mainly revolving around school and my goals. 

It's nothing to be ashamed about, but because of the amount that I cried when I was around the age of nine or ten, people would often look down on me with a shake of their disapproval. They would tell me, "Stop crying, don't ever show you're upset. You're nine: you aren't allowed to cry."

I could get their perspective, to a degree. In work environments in society you're supposed to be professional and stoic at all times, but in the back of my head there was always that unspoken question of, "Why? Why is it bad to cry? Why am I not allowed to cry?"

Why is it that parts of society view crying as a sign of weakness?

As a young girl at the age of nine, I did what I was told. I didn't cry much in public. I cried less, but I felt miserable and put on a cold, distrusting barrier surrounding myself when I entered the fifth grade. For the first few weeks I was always cautious being with my table group, viewing them with steel-coated eyes, but I don't think they ever noticed that about me.

I was a different person back then. I was scared and confused about the world, but hey: fifth grade was the first time I was exposed to some of the more mature, adult issues of this world, all occurring in the classroom.


As a young girl, I was often shy and reserved. To get an idea in your mind of who I was in the story I am about to tell you I've included this photo that my teacher took in the fifth grade-- I was, and still am, completely camera shy (but you can totally tell I was trying hard not to laugh in the photograph).

One of the first assignments that everyone had was to go up to the front of the class and talk about something sentimental relating to ourselves, and I was volunteered (as tribute) to be one of the first ones to present. I felt good, watching other people and thinking, "I'm going to do great, my presentation will go all smooth, blah blah blah."

The teacher called my name to talk in front of the class. All of my previous thoughts carrying a hint of arrogant flare deflated in my mind. Twenty some pairs of eyes gave me their attention. My own voice came out of my mouth, but it did not register in my mind I was giving an attempt to talk. My eyes grew bigger and bigger, and then--

I realized I couldn't do it. I broke down and went outside of the classroom.

I remember sitting on the floor with my hands in my hair, just crying to myself how I failed to handle such a single task, how I wasn't allowed to weep or show emotion, and most importantly, how I was scared of everything. My best friends from fourth grade both moved. People told me over the summer to stop crying and nearly beated out most of the confidence that I had in myself. Everyone in the classroom was a stranger to me, and at recess I would walk dismally around the perimeter of the school. I remember trying to stare into the room through the window, but my tears blocked my vision.

The next thing I know, I could make out of my vision a silhouette-- the teacher-- walking and opening the door. He tried to talk to me (how the conversation went, I can't remember) which first, upsets me even more, but slowly causes my tears to recede and my responses to be, "Okay. I'm... okay. Uh-huh, I'm sorry."

That was the first time, in a long time, that I broke down my walls and let myself be vunerable to everyone, because after that, changes started to happen, and I can't say that from there, everything turned great, because there were times when things fluctuated and things were looked on an exponential growth. I still sobbed often. But.

I became less cold to everyone and actually started to be more expressive. In fact, being much more open to cry made me empathize with more people, which is a coincidence, considering that our first assignment was to know the difference between sympathy versus empathy. The people at my table group that I first condemned to be weirdos I actually became friends with, resulting in arguing and one eye staring contests with the grapes (don't ask). I seriously regret that judgement on them more than anything in my life, and that's why I'm more accepting of people.


Sometimes, we should be expressive about how we feel. Sorry Elsa, but it can be unhealthy to always "conceal, don't feel." Society, perhaps, is always in this huge state of working towards one's own happiness and perhaps they need to stay strong and not be sidetracked by other problems, thus the reason why we are told not to cry and just retain a grin. Or maybe, people have trouble with showing they're feeling down

It can be hard to be expressive to others, and we can be judged by those passing by, but those people who are really by your side will stop and listen. That's what should matter. So, if you are having a bad day and feel the need to sob, it's okay.

It's okay to cry.