The Final “Final Straw”: Please Wake Up Mr. Trump

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An Open Letter

Dear Mr. Trump,

How many times do we have to see you doing this? The mean tweets were a hallmark of your campaign, and began a new dark part of American History. Your wife promised to fight Cyber-bullying as first lady but it seems you are doing just that -bullying. There are so many huge, pressing issues in today’s world. There always have been. But the threat of North Korea is becoming more real. Threats of terrorism as England and other countries experience unimaginable pain loom and we need a leader who is capable of facing that enormous burden with dignity. When you said you didn’t realize how hard being a president is, some hoped you would change your fear mongering and scare tactics, but you haven’t. After attacking a female host of MSNBC, which is just added to a long list of inappropriate behavior you gear towards women, you continue to tweet, damaging not only our view of you but the world’s view of you. We don’t need a bully in the White House. We need a leader and a man of class. A man who wants to make positive changes. There is the healthcare disaster bill that you are pushing so hard that the thought of it overwhelms most Americans. Millions of people would lose healthcare if it passed. That and the North Korean threat are only two of so many issues you should be focused on instead of what the media says about you. Furthermore, besides freedom of speech is there some truth to Mika saying you are damaging Democracy? John Adams once said “If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable it is when it springs, not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence.” When will you put aside glory for the good of the American people? So many times I thought, this is the final straw he has to change. I say this is a cause of action. What will be the final, final straw Mr. Trump? What will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and gives you a realization that everything has to change?

Sincerely,

A concerned citizen

The Bridge to Somewhere, Fragments of a dream

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I’m on the bridge to somewhere
and I carry as I go
A present, a scarf, and a golden locket
trembling through the open snow

I’m on the bridge to somewhere
and careful as I am
I rip my jacket against the branches
running faster, damn

I’m on the bridge to somewhere
and as I run along
I realize something’s very wrong

On the bridge to somewhere I wrap my scarf around my neck
Running just a half mile further
To where we said we’d meet
What the heck?

So I finally reach that somewhere
The fool he’s standing five feet ahead
Kind of makes me wish I never got out of bed.

I throw the locket
deep into the sparkly white
the snow that has covered the earth
and everything in sight

I return the present
now we’re inches apart
I know I will regret this
so I turn to leave
Then I have him grabbing
tugging at my sleeve

I don’t want any words
to escape my mouth so I run and trip
Trying very hard to grow up and get a grip

Then the blizzard starts again and everything is right
Wet, cold, and sad but sparkly and white

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.

And numb, it’s the Coldest

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It’s so cold here. In my being.

Hope is a stranger, a figure of the past,

Sadness is my cruel friend

Anxiety is my companion

I can count on both of them

Inside of me, it’s so cold

I shiver and I shatter as minutes turn to hours of being alone

Years and Years of loneliness made my soul grow cold

I wish the rain could wash over me and make me feel

feel warm, cold, pain

Feel something, anything at all.

Now there’s no sadness, no anxiety.

I’m even beyond misery

All that I have, all that I am is numb

And numb, it’s the coldest

 

Everything, Everything: A Review

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My initial thoughts upon seeing this trailer was that this was going to be a really cheesy and pointless movie, and it was not.

Maddie, the title character lives in her home and never leaves due to a medical condition. The plot of this movie really rushes important plot points it could have expanded on for a much stronger movies. Instead it uses popular music and other summer tricks uses to convince teens to see movies. I’m not a teen, 28 in fact, but what I admire about this movie is how it captures young love. I thought the use of fantasy in the film was fantastic. I really appreciated that Maddie’s relationship with Olly, seemed close to what a real relationship would be like.

Overall, I did enjoy this movie but I don’t know if it was something to see in a theater or just rent at home once it comes out on DVD. Many parts of the plots were questionable and it seemed there were great leaps. But there were some simple, brilliant moments in this film that I really enjoyed.

Something that is not a fault of the film is all the hyper teenagers I was surrounded by during the movie. They were loud, obnoxious, distracted, vuglar, and I truly think I would have enjoyed the movie much more and been really able to escape if not for the people around me. I think this movie teaches about love, life, and forgiveness so if you want to see it in theater or maybe on DVD, I think the character is relateable. and the fantasy element of this movie, as well as the way the young couple communicates is really unique and something I haven’t seen before. I will say the couple seems really mature for 18 year olds.

Everything, Everything wasn’t everything I thought it would be. But I think it is worth checking out. I say, See it. Maybe on DVD is better.

A speech on Love (The behind the scenes, what went into my thesis kind of speech)

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Love is such an overused word and underrated subject, and my thesis aims to explore love in a unique and thoughtful way that makes it have meaning again in a raw way. This thesis has been a very long time coming. Over three years ago I considered making an analysis on love and for my first writing week project, and I thought that’s what I would create. I was told that my writing week project cannot be 40 pages long, much to my dismay. Then two years ago, I started working on my thesis that I titled, let all that you do be done in love: an analysis of love. Finally, I could write about what I had planned so long ago with the personal message that it was better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. First I drew a chart on giant white cardboard, with sections. I remember bringing the chart in to my first reader and going over it with him. Over time many of the sections were written and when I got to the first semester of my senior year, I had huge plans for my thesis. While love itself was not taking off in my personal life, writing my thesis helped me to discover that it wasn’t about that, that wasn’t why I was writing this. It was so much bigger than that.

During the workshop in my IS5 class, I asked Adam about page length; specifically I asked if I could write a 100 pages and everyone in class had a horrified look I remember well. Adam did one of his classic facial expressions, and said no. There was a page limit. See, I had a tutorial with Stuart where I worked on the science section of my love thesis where I focused on pheromones and oxytocin and I learned so much! However, I kept getting more and more ideas, more thoughts of how my exploration of love and how I could direct it. After a while, JD had to have me focus it on what I already had planned: An analysis of the four loves by C.S. Lewis, a Science explaining love section, love changing over time, a personal story, and connecting my personal story to C.S. Lewis’ work by analyzing my failed love as a case study. That’s what I will be talking about today.

 

C.S. Lewis’ book was really my jumping off point for my thesis. By reading about affection, friendship, eros, and charity, it made my thinking for the rest of the thesis sharper. I was finally focusing on the sections and making everything flow. Writing about friendship and affection wasn’t hard for me. I wrote about both of those according to Lewis with my own critique. It was eros and charity that I took more time on. I wanted to find a way to talk about eros that was meaningful and also explained it the author’s way, but with my voice too. And after taking a break from the thesis, I was able to do that. Charity was a section that I had a hard time explaining so I met with my thesis advisor to discuss how I could better understand this section so I could continue.

 

Writing about pheromones and oxytocin was a part of my thesis that I found the easiest. I found that studying and reporting on facts was easier than analyzing an author’s philosophy and far easier than trying to decode my own thoughts and feelings. Not to say science is easy, because it’s not. And the science behind why we have certain powerful feelings that could be love was harder still to learn about. It was useful to add science to my thesis (It was not my initial plan to) in order to help not only my reader but myself understand love more with science behind it, rather than just observations and speculation. One of the things I learned is that while giving a massage both the giver and the receiver have oxytocin released inside their brain. I also learned that pheromones are odorless, but very present and can help explain why we are attracted to one person and literally repulsed by another.

Writing the introduction and conclusion to my thesis were probably the most challenging parts (in addition to a bunch of books for research that I read that I didn’t use). I really wanted to start off strong and I wanted the conclusion to capture how complicated love really is. So I went through four revisions of my intro, before I found one that I felt suited the thesis best. The conclusion I left for last. Somehow, after all the writing and furthermore all the thinking about love I did, I was able to write just one meaningful conclusion.

The Conclusion: Contemplating, what kind of love is out there for me?

Walking down the streets of Chicago I am overwhelmed with beautiful scenes and my mind wanders, as the mind of a passionate woman often does. I think about love often as I find it a deeply wonderful concept. I think about a long distance connection I have made and if it could ever turn into the kind of love I seek. Surprisingly, loss hasn’t turned me away from the notion of love. It has taught me that I am capable of loving deeply and has me excited for how elevated that feeling will get when the love is mutual. Considering the science of love I examined and combining it with C.S. Lewis, I have gained a great depth to my view on love, and know more about the science of pheromones and oxytocin and their role in fueling a love connection between two people. They are two complex scientific ideas that allowed me to consider more than philosophy and personal struggle. I now watch many romantic movies with this smile on my face and read these romantic books, enthralled by the deep love the characters share, while being critical of overdone love stories that don’t seem organic or genuine.

In my life I have my amazing parents as a living example I constantly am around of how much love perseveres and how pure and remarkable love can be. They always manage to think of the other and never bicker.  The little moments are where I can witness their enduring love, an organic and simple love, or perhaps their years of experience is what makes their love look so effortless. Always, I see them share a cup of coffee and talk about their intense days of work and how stressed they are. Never really complaining, this ritual of having coffee is how they enjoy spending time together. This is where the distinction between the books I read and real life come into the light for me. Love and the relationships that come with it take a lot of work and commitment to keep that love flickering. It is not as simple and quick as a text of literature or film tries to prove to me. Movies often make love seem so easy, something I find irritating and I challenge now when watching movies. I actively call out how unbelievably perfect these movies are and prefer movies that involve some suffering or tragedy as those movies show a compassion developed that feels organic. Sometimes they demonstrate love as tragic and I find it very sad but more believable. Love isn’t easy to find or keep once one has the great fortune of locating it on this enormous Earth. The difficult fact to understand is we don’t choose who we love or who loves us back. We must hold on tight and fight for love sometimes. The walk I continue is disrupted by honking of car horns.

When I arrive at home, I think about and consider how I became so fascinated by love. I come to recognize that there is such beauty in love’s sacrifice. Actions speak louder than words and often people do things in real life that are a symbol of their love for one another. It can be something like shoveling the snow off your partner’s car before they go to work to make their life easier. You aren’t doing this to get anything in return. It is for them to have an easier day and to know you are thinking about them. The action propels forward the idea of not just helping someone out. Perhaps you did it absentmindedly. Thinking, oh I will clear their car also. Maybe it is as simple as putting a blanket on them as they have fallen asleep on the couch. Gestures are things they will appreciate and not forget. When you are both 90, they will remember all the little things you did to show how much you cared. In the end, it will be all the things you did, gestures big and small that make up your relationship, but that reminder that you care will endure. The idea of “we are in this together” will help in bad times. When things get tough, you remember all that you shared and lean on each other for support. That won’t be forgotten either. Love is the strongest force on Earth, beating even gravity. Love accomplishes things gravity never could. It breaks us, or causes us great joy. Sometimes, it is somewhere in between. We don’t always have control of the love as we saw with Tom, the married man having romantic feelings for another woman. All we can do is our very best if we desire love, to work honestly towards that goal. To not force things, but just let them happen. Because after all, love is that – love. To love at all is to be vulnerable (Lewis 121). It is that vulnerability that allows love in. If only we could all find a way to allow ourselves to break and burst open our walls. If only then, we could let love in.

 

 

A special thanks to JD, David Shiner and Stuart for all working on my thesis with me. A thanks to the Shimer community for pushing me and believing in me. And finally to Shimer community for showing me what it means to love something so much. And knowing how much you are going to miss it. While my thesis focuses on romantic love between two people, Shimer College and all the wonderful people that are a part of it taught me about a greater personal inner love for myself, the people around me, and for pursuing my passion. I hope to add a section on that kind of love to my thesis when I get around to publishing it.

Throwback Thursday: Nina’s dark dream world

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I cannot dance to save my life, but I love watching dance and have never seen Swan Lake. You have probably seen hundreds of films, plays, and musicals, but you haven’t experienced anything until you have witnessed Black Swan. Natalie Portman is gripping from start to end. The film is captivating and takes us into Nina’s (Portman’s) world of Dance which we are quick to enter and her mentally ill mind. Masterfully directed by Darren Aronofsky, many angles of this film are ones you consider once the movie is over. It is like a song in your mind and parts of it splash on to you like a hurricane. You cannot look away no matter how disturbing because you want to be side by side with every minute of action and at times you feel that energy. I watched the end in disbelief, knowing it was worth it and that “I felt it, it was perfect.” She wanted it so badly. To become the lead ballerina and the Choice is Swan Lake. We meet Beth, the older dancer who has a horrendous accident the night that Nina has an important dinner presenting her as swan queen to the public. Her teacher is a womanizer and his lexicon is suggestive but Nina wants the Swan Queen role. Enter Mila Kunias.  Lily who has emotions “she’s not faking it” says the teacher, Tom. They are told the story of the black Swan and Nina is chosen to the anger and jealous of other dancers. It is assumed that Nina is having liaisons with Tom. His nefarious behavior or kissing her and groping her is despicable, a man we love to hate.  She is this look of fear that never really goes away. She has no role model.

I was taken aback by her mother’s disturbing influence. Her mother has Nina under her watchful eye and it is alarming to see that while Nina is self- mutilating, her mother just is drugged out in the other room. The little music box plays and sends our protagonist into dreams with the dark, devilish prince that causes her to awake in fright. The male teacher in charge of the company suggests that Nina touch herself, but hurting herself is something Nina begins to fancy. The clothes are extravagant and the film has amazing graceful ballet. It explores a dark side. Nina is falling apart and I can’t help but want to put myself through the screen and hug her. It appears that it is too late for that as The White Swan Nina plays masterfully. It is the black Swan that troubles her and fogs her mind. There are many aspects of this film that you don’t know if they actually occurred or not. Her having sexual intercourse with Lily after lily puts a drug in her drink to let her “roll”. Also, when her mom takes the door knob away and tells Nina she called and said Nina wasn’t well, Nina gets out of the apartment or rather storms out. It is opening night. Here she has a scene with Lily that I will never forget.

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would cross the line for reaching it? This dream she has had for so long is her moment! No one can swoop up and steal her precious time that she slaved away practicing and bleeding in the name of ballet. Perhaps Lily, the new girl, embodies the qualities of the black swan. This film teaches and shows us the dark element of dance. I would never want to dance or have dreams like Nina.  It takes you far past the edge into this world of obsession and madness that Nina cannot turn away from. What I love about this film is that there isn’t time and money and talk about the weather as things that bother you or make you stop and question things. It’s organic in the way it chooses to alarm and electrify your very being. Amid her woes you see that see loves dancing and it is everything to her. This lavish, decadent life she receives a glimpse of but on the downward spiral I want to scream but know it is too late. It’s over before you can help or see anyone who can. Truly it sways and rocks you into a troubled slumber of your own. Not for the weak of heart, I recommend Black Swan to anyone who has ever had a challenge in their life and given up or grown obsessed with that very challenge.