March 7, 2016 and this poem still haunts me

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A man with a plan he is not

Not any decent plan, anyway.

He belittles, rants, and offends

The rich he defends

In the building of his wall

He’d isolate us all

America is great because of:

Diversity of people

Respect

He does not have respect towards

Diversity.

That sets us apart and makes us remarkable.

The unique flavor of individuality is been threatened.

It boggles the mind that someone could support a man that says such offensive things.

Why are we allowing this circus to continue?

Truly, it’s a circus and the future of America is not a joke.

He is a joke.

We need a clear minded, reasonable, and understanding leader. He is not.

Let’s focus on making America great again with someone else leading us forth towards a great future.

 

Update : Is there hope for the kind of America that is being created?

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

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When a mirror crosses my path I avoid it! I do not own a single mirror. Such a device does not exist in my room. When I look in the mirror, I can pick apart the different layers and see my eyes my mind; it helps me to hide the inner most layers of paint, of lies, I tell myself each day, of hopes and dreams that were happiness, excitement, love, passion, obsession, hope, dreams, loneliness, confusion, curiosity, anger, suppressed fury, and sadness. These layers are my beautiful disasters. They are my breakdowns. When I look long enough in the mirror I want to smash it. Memories of illness that is permanent and the things I can’t change overwhelm me. The worst part is that nothing I can say or do will change it. I don’t want to be that sad girl who is brittle and fragile and clearly not all there. When I look long enough at this wall of truth I see exhaustion, I see the wanting of dreams to come true. I tell lies to myself that what I dream will come into reality.

I see in the mirror what I cannot change. I will always be second best! When I see the silver device again I want to shatter it. Destroy it. Melt it. Shatter it. A mirror has a long list of stereotypes. Be this fake entity. I have to look nice, thin, sexy, porcelain doll perfect. [Insert name here ] is trapped in this idea of me becoming this perfect person. I want to understand how I broke [ ] porcelain image, I actually shattered it – broke out of that stage, I have no long lived in this way , and in return  now, I look into the memories, and I see failure, someone struggling to go to bed each night and not hate myself. This sudden knowledge that no one can love me if I don’t love myself first.

When I glance at myself, I’m curious am I that ugly, tired thing? Why should I even care any longer? Everyone expects these things from me when I want to live in a world where none of those frivolous things matter.  A mirror is quite a dangerous friend for once you lose sight of what is important you see only skin deep. Now when I look in the mirror, I love my aqua outfit I love my eyelashes, all I wonder how is who will love me back, more specifically will he? Respect me, pile up and pull apart my thick intricate layers. After that you must still love me despite and in spite of myself. That happy girl, content and lovely the one I once was, maybe he can capture and release what he sees – an exquisite, intelligent, ambitious, tender, gentle, wild, unpretentious – the jungle of qualities that make me.

When I look in the mirror for a third time in the band room, I only want to be myself today, tomorrow, forever. When I look in the silver slab of honestly, I remember what someone once told me. Don’t hide and be yourself. Do not care what other people think. Even though the mirror can’t lie, an interpretation is left up to the eye of the beholder. When the mirror and I cross paths, I see that first day at the hospital. Only I see that girl who gets her heart ripped from inside her everyday, that girl who has to pick herself up without aid from anyone and say – you can do it, why care about the past – go out there and show them. Understand. Love. Find the line try never to cross it. Pull yourself together. The only person that “mirrors” my emotions with wise words and a gentle tone – [ ] When I see his face, I don’t need a mirror – I see a smile which I am certain has crept across my face. What I need is already inside me. It is how you use it, that knowledge that makes a world of difference.

 

Throwback Thursday: Something I found in a journal from a decade ago

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I was madly out of my mind with love… And after all the lazy days and being friends, after I walked around my final weeks as a senior year as an android. I was in SO much pain. I was numb. I cried myself to sleep. Food had no taste. I did not feel physical pain any more. I hammered my hands to a bloody pulp in crew one day before I noticed they were bleeding at all. It was an accident, I just remember seeing my hands and thinking what have I done? Then I felt surges of pain, my hands begging choking why? What is going to happen to me? Will I always be half a soul? I was DEAD inside. And for years I went over every detail like that would help. Like it would go back and erase everything if I just think really hard, close my eyes. I would strip off all my clothes. I would feel the cold swallow my naked body. Be naked. Fold those clothes nicely in a pile, take a hot bath, and when I got out every thing in the world would fix itself. I would dry off with a velvety soft purple towel, lotion my body, brush my now silky hair, put on my favorite comfy clothes and pretend nothing’s happened. It is toxic. It is the absolute worst kind of poison for your body. It will make you either strong or break you! It destroyed me. It corroded my brain. A wind storm blew the files of my brain and scattered them around. Razor blades tore up any belief or hope I had for love. Like being stoned to death. Or drinking bleach. Or falling off a cliff. I do not trust anyone. Anyone! I was a ghost in a beautiful world but I did not see any beauty. I saw ugly. I regret allowing myself falling into this pit of hurt and I could not climb out. Just kept digging and digging until I could not hear or see anything. Then I dug a little more. My private place. Any relationship I have, I do not know what to think when a guy says something. What does it mean? I see visions of Keith in my head. Visions. Spinning, dizzy visions. Penetrating my mind, burning a hole in reason. Playing like skipping CDs. Like broken blades of a blender spinning. It is as if I am watching a horror movie and I cannot close my eyes. I cannot beg for help. The guitar and the painting with me. The comfort of clanking tools. Now? If I ever see him again I feel wobbly the whole day. One time so far and let me just say no thank you. And cannot sleep, because I feel like I did something to deserve this. I didn’t, but I know that kind of pain where you want to be locked in a tower. An unforgiving tower. And burn it to the ground while still inside. Dark. Lonely. Frigid.  Like stabbing pains.  In my mind, it’s still a blur. Spinning. Screaming. Blurry. Foggy. Prick, Prick, Prick. Little Stabs. Prick, Prick, Prick, Prick.

Exploring the World within The Iliad

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Reading this for the third time, I am struck by all the things I missed by reading in haste and without enthusiasm. Talking about it with our class furthered my curiosity and showed the value of the text in a way I had not considered. Our discussion explored the roles of Agamemnon and Achilles, the oaths made between various characters, the crucial role that woman do play, and the way in which the Greek gods interact with each other and mortals. In only three chapters there is so much to cover. I would like to focus on women’s roles, Agamemnon as a ruler, and the role anger of the gods has in affecting change. Power dynamics between certain characters is also something I want to explore.

Using the information we have so far, we saw how important women are in this text despite constantly being referred in a demeaning way and as “prizes”. There are obvious things that can be pointed out. Helen caused an entire war by being captured, and when she finally does speak she blames herself. This is an odd statement as it was not her fault. She wishes she had died, but as was pointed out in class her voice besides that one passage (and the one with Aphrodite) is largely missing. We get accounts from the author about her terrible beauty, but seeing the world through her eyes is difficult, and it feels passed over. It was suggested that a text from Helen’s point of view would show the other side, but we have other important women figures presented to us. Athena, Aphrodite, and Hera all have roles they care out that influence the story in varying degrees.  For example, despite Zeus being the leader of the gods he fears Hera which is funny considering how he speaks to her. Moving away from women’s role in the text, Agamemnon is presented as the lord of men. Is his leadership truly great and well planned or is he merely an arrogant jerk?

We discussed Agamemnon’s bizarre strategies, the way he treats his warriors, and his deep arrogance. He has strange tactics that seem counterintuitive to a successful outcome, such as asking everyone to flee, that we pointed out don’t sound like sound strategies. His strength as a great warrior is certainly true, but it is the great men among him such as Odysseus that make him successful. He gets good advice to have everyone in his army to fight by clan but I feel if he was a great leader he would have already known that himself. Agamemnon’s character flaw is his deep arrogance and inability to listen to reason. By taking the daughter of a priest he angers Apollo who unleashes a plague upon his army. He walks around wondering, why are these bad things happening, which is laughable since he caused them. When it is strongly suggested he return her in exchange for three to four times to the gift, he refuses. Is Agamemnon doomed (I mean he is cursed) to be simply a huge jerk or as the story develops will we see him develop as a character? I feel he will stay a jerk (to put it nicely) but although he is angry, his anger and that of other mortals is small compared to that of the gods.

On the very first page, the rage of Achilles is brought up. The anger of mortals, but also gods or God is crucial to the development of plots in The Iliad as well as the Bible. As a class we considered God’s motivation in the Old Testament, the Sumerian gods in Inanna, and the Greek gods we become familiar with in The Iliad. I see anger or rage playing a huge role for both the mortals and the gods within the Iliad. Anger is an important emotion that the various gods have because it creates action. When God is content, the Old Testament isn’t very dynamic. But when God is angry or in a scheming mood, many things happen and evolve in the mortal world. In the world of the Greek gods, because there are many of them they can anger each other. Their relationship with different mortals complicates things further. For example, when things are working out for some of the gods, another god, Aphrodite rescues Paris. This disrupts things for mortals, while demonstrating that the Greek gods take sides. It’s also notable that everyone hates Paris, even his own brother. Thus, having one God disrupting things is difficult for the people of the Old Testament. But having many gods with scheming, self-serving agendas and relationships with mortals is an entirely different situation. Anger turns the plot in The Iliad in remarkable directions, while contentment amongst the gods brings a stop to action. Contentment brings boredom to the Greek gods. Then the cycle of scheming and doing something to cause rage stirs the pot further potentially starting or making current wars worse in the mortal world.  The concept of violence and war is prevalent in The Iliad. It is a warlike atmosphere and it is seen as glorious to fight, judging by the language Homer uses. It is discussed in The Iliad to kill Agamemnon very early on but then it is decided to not do that. Is it about glory and honor that war is seen in a positive light? Or is the anger of mortals and gods an excuse for wars and much bloodshed?

Another man of war, Achilles who is doomed to have the shortest life span is also examined. We discussed how Achilles’ father was almost Zeus, so his “rage” and behavior may correspond with the fact of missed potential. There is not a question that Achilles is a great warrior and as a result he and Agamemnon have a huge verbal fight where Achilles says he isn’t going to take orders from Agamemnon anymore. There is a power struggle because Achilles must give up his prize, a woman, to Agamemnon. It’s interesting that within the same side (in terms of the war) such differences appear. I see Achilles as blinded by rage, but then weeping after giving up his prize. Why doesn’t Achilles just keep the prize? This seems to show that although he said he is not obeying Agamemnon, he must still listen to him. This power struggle is fascinating, and it is interesting to compare that to the power struggle between Helen and Aphrodite.

After Aphrodite snatches Paris from death, she goes to find Helen and wants her to surrender herself to Paris. Helen does not want this, because being captured was enough and she refuses to have sex with Paris ever again. Aphrodite threatens her with intense words and she submits herself. In this scene, Helen loses the agency she had and it will be interesting as the story unfolds to see how Helen behaves in the future.  The power struggle here is different because Aphrodite is a goddess, but Helen has such terrible beauty that a war started over her. Perhaps Aphrodite wishes to knock Helen down since Helen is receiving so much attention. Through all the power struggles in the text, it will be interesting to see how the progression of the characters continues, and how the gods interfering cause the course of events to shift even more.