Holidays (plus a Diary entry)

Hey everyone! Happy Holidays :)

I know I've been completely absent, but school has started to become overwhelming and adding this blog to my list of things to fret about would have been too much. However, school is kind of what I want to talk about right now. Not coherently, or even with an end-goal point to make; I just need to get all of this stuff off of my chest.

I'm a junior in an American high school, a.k.a., "The Hardest Year of High School." I personally refer to it as Hell Year in my head. I chronically procrastinate, but it's never really affected me until now, and it's starting to completely freak me out. The work keeps piling up, not to mention the fact that I'm taking pretty difficult classes. I'm genuinely frightened by how much I have to do. I shouldn't even be writing this. I'd literally rather do anything than sit down and do what I have to do. My parents have been so disappointed by what I've done this year; they keep telling me that it's not acceptable, that this year is going to bring me down the rest of my life, and that I'm so much smarter than what I'm doing. That I can do better. My teachers do the same thing.

Why does our school system do this to people? I've never had anxiety before in my life, but this school year has brought me to tears more times than I can count. It's not fair. There are so many things that I can do, but all of it is invalidated by my academic accomplishments. My friends at school aren't struggling the way that I am, but thinking about talking to them about this makes me panic. I feel like this is my burden to bear, it's not worth bothering people over some thing that doesn't really matter.

I feel like I'm completely breaking down. Nothing is going right, and I just hate everything a bit more everyday.

Sorry for the rant you guys, but I feel a bit better now.

I'll talk to you all again soon.


Update, cause I suck at this

Hey guys! I know, it's been a while. I just had the most amazing day yesterday and wanted to write about it. 

I went to New York on Friday. It was on a trip with my school to see an opera at the metropolitan opera house; we saw Tosca. Considering the only time I was out side was walking to and from the bus, I didn't get to see much of the city, but it was enough to remind me just how much I love it there. The air smells like exhaust fumes and cigarettes and people and I just want it to soak into my soul, into my bones until it's a fundamental part of my being. 

This is starting to sound like a bad love letter so I'm gonna wrap it up. 

I've been busy but I'll be back soon! 



Lately I've been a bit dissatisfied with my posts on the blog and what I've been wanting to write. I don't really want it to become me regurgitation pictures a few times a week; I want to be writing things that actually matter to me. Looking over past posts, the first few feel like they have more of a point whereas the last couple have been wandering and kind of pointless. What I've been thinking, is that instead of trying to actually chronicle my day-to-day, there are going to be more essay type posts like my sluts post or my love/hate letter to romance novels. Just updating everyone!! So have an awesome day and I'll see you soon. 


August Inspiration!

I'm in such a mood you guys. Summer is more than half way over, and I feel like I'm only just waking up.To me, August is the very best part of summer. you can feel things coming to a close and everyone is just rushing to fit in as much excitement as they can. Its a little bit dangerous, a little sexy, a little taboo, but its also warm and welcoming and joyous. so here are some things I've been obsessing over.

Unknown gif; Lana Del Rey; Woodstock '69; Kellin Quin of Sleeping with Sirens; two Warped Tour mosh pits; Moonrise Kingdom; Amy Winehouse; Paris Romance  by KJ Carr; Pictures from humansofnewyork's tumblr; Twiggy; unknown makeup picture from tumblr; Alix of The Cherry Blossom Girl; Dunya of Dearest Deer; Unknown



So this Sunday I saw a movie that made me think.  It was called Fruitvale Station, starring Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, and Octavia Spencer, and it was one of the most beautifully sad movies I have ever seen. By the end, I was hysterical; shaking as silent tears and snot somehow got all over me the one day I didn't have a tissue in my bag. Everyone should see it. 

It deals with the subject of the video of four black men being arrested in a train station on New Year's Eve of 2009. One of the men was shot that night, and his name was Oscar Grant. This movie is a portrait of his family, his future, his hopes, and his life. His acting was some of the best I've ever seen, and the score alone could have made me inconsolable. It was swelling and beautiful and tragic. 

Because of all of this, disasters and tragedies have been somewhat on my mind. I doesn't help that within the past two months alone there have been two building collapses, two train collisions, one train explosion, two plain crashes, and two bus crashes, not to even mention all of the violence in the Middle East right now. Why is all of this happening? It it really such a terrible coincidence? Maybe tragedies are drawn together; maybe once one occurs its just one after another, like dominoes. This chain reaction worries me. 

Yay, paranoia? Anyway, I promise posts will be more often, and I'll talk to you all later. 



Hello everyone, I know it's been a while since I've been here but it's been busy. Let me catch you up on a few things that I've been doing: 

First of all, the Fourth of July happened. It was the first time I'd seen a lot of my friends since school ended and it was so nice to see them. When I consider someone my close friend, it means I truly adore them; I can't imagine myself being myself without the support and humor of my little group. My town fundraises all year for the Fourth of July picnic and fireworks hosted at a local university campus, so every year my family and a couple hundred more gather with blankets, fold up chairs, and coolers full of soda to watch the fireworks. 

The shows have been getting longer lately, an this time it was about forty minutes long, but I thought it was absolutely wonderful. The show was gorgeous. I've been trying to describe to people the beauty of fireworks, but I've never quite managed it. Some of them rocket so high into the sky, and then explode in bright color and disappear, but glitter back down to the ground. Others jut look like fairy dust. Even more crackle right over the tree line, making loud popping noises. My favorite ones fly so high onto the sky, and explode so wide, it makes it look like the whole sky is covered with diamond stars. They make me feel filled with wonder and as if the world is brimming with adventure and mystery and magic. Like there's no limits to what humans can make, and it's unbelievably beautiful. 

Second, I've been starting to read more often. I'm halfway through Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen but have abandoned it temporarily to read my summer reading assignments. I'm currently a third of the way through Sons and Lovers by D. H. Laurence. It's pretty interesting, but it took me longer than usual to get used to all of the phonetically  written accents. 

Mostly I've just been lounging around the house all day, drowning in my current obsessions. Specifically, American Ninja Warrior and Hell's Kitchen. Dear lord I could watch nothing else but those two shows (plus Project Runway, America's Next Top Model, Sex and the City, and Medium) for the rest of my life and still die happy. 

Gordon Ramsey is my spirit guide, I'm pretty sure. 

Lately, though, I've been thinking about journals and journaling. Over the course of my life, I've whole-heartedly committed myself to an endless number of journals, diaries, and notebooks, only to abandon them. I honestly think this blog is the longest I've ever managed to chronicle anything, and you can see how well I've managed to keep that up. I'm pretty proud of it, really. But it really hit me that I didn't have anything to remember my thoughts by when the royal baby was born. (Ugh I know, another royal baby topic, I'm sorry, but I actually care and was glued to the tv all Monday. It helps that the baby was born on my sister's birthday, though) It's a given that every moment of this kid's life is going to be documented, photographed, interviewed, printed, and filed away for posterity, but what about me? 

I'm just an average human being, not a noble drop of blood in my veins, so what's going to remember me? So I've decided to really start a journal. I have a beautiful bound journal from Ghana that I've been waiting to use. The first five pages are filled with young me's attempts at writing a book. It's horrendous, to say the least. The next three pages are just doodles. So it's mostly blank. I figure, why not now? I'm almost positive that whatever I would have written in my journal when I was seven would have made anyone bored to tears, but sixteen year old me should have some pretty interesting thoughts. I'm basically a fully formed person; biologically, I ain't growing anymore, I can tell you that. I practically function as an adult in society, minus the whole higher education and a job thing. I want to remember how I felt growing up into the person that high school will shape me into, and see how I change. Hopefully my writing will improve too. 

Anyway, it's nice to be back!! I'll see you guys soon. 


The Weather

It's raining, you guys. I'm sitting on my computer, and the rain is just beating down on the window next to me. It doesn't really feel like summer is even close yet, and though I know the drizzle outside is only going to last a few minutes, the deluge of high school seems like a down pour that isn't ever going to end. Everyone is always so excited about the end of school, but I feel my body slowing down, dragging through every minute of the day.

But I know that these last few months have been the happiest that I can remember. I genuinely love the people that I am surrounded by, and that means the world to me. My (so far) two years of high school have been extraordinarily kind to me. I've been able to meet amazing people, learning interesting things, and begin expressing myself and my feeling in ways that I would have been afraid to try before. I've learned more about myself than through anything else. I treasure every minute that I can spend awake because I am truly happy with my life, which is something that not many people can say. 

Maybe I'm starting to feel the threat of the changes that I know are looming. Just thinking about the fact that junior year is approaching scares the crap out of me, and even mentioning senior year freaks me out. Real life seems scary but I also know that it can be kind. The end of high school, and the end of everything we've ever known is daunting. The people that we've literally been surrounded by since the age of five are all going different ways, and there are some that you'll likely never see again. 

Maybe the fact that the most important person in my life right now is moving a thousand miles away next school year is the problem. I'm at once worried and jealous. All my life I've never wanted anything more than to travel, move out on my own, and leave my little town behind me. I know I'm not ready yet, though. 

I just hate saying goodbye. 

P.S. I'll definitly be posting more frequently, now that I've finally gotten the Blogger app, but things are going to be a little shorter. When I commit to more than four paragraphs I tend to freak about editing to perfection. 


Looking Back

Romance novels ruined my attention span.

As I child, I grew up spending every possible moment reading. I started young, reading well before I turned five, and I loved it. My elementary school teachers all helped to foster this absolute love of books, and by the time I was in third grade, I was devouring two books a week. Going to the library would be an absolute event. I remember my wonder at opening a new story and transporting my being from my little town to the world. Being able to walk through cities and lands I'd never even dreamed of was the best thing in the world.

Gradually, as I got older and the page numbers increased, my voracious pace calmed down. I began searching for more mature things to read, and felt accomplished when I "graduated" to the young adult section at the library. My tastes began to change, and I stopped focusing on grand adventures in other worlds, with strange creatures and magic. Coming-of-age stories and things that I could relate to dominated my choices for a while. I loved the idea that two people, me and the central character in the book, could share something so fundamental to our identities at the time, namely our age, and still have entirely different experiences in life. This was the time that I started really becoming interested in lives outside of my own. This was also the time I became interested in gender, sexuality, and how complex and fluid they are. Some of my favorites books from this time (Freak Show by James St. James, What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum -Ucci, Tales from the Madman Underground by John Barnes) involve a character with complex sexuality in a place or time when they aren't accepted and the repercussions of it. 

During my time reading these novels, I read my first romance. It was by Amanda Quick, a highly prolific writer with three pen names who had perfected the formula for romantic suspense. I was on vacation in Florida when I read it and I wasn't supposed to read things inappropriate for my age, so to me it felt like a naughty fling, a passionate affair never to be spoken of again. And I didn't speak of it. But I thought about it. All of a sudden I craved another passionate affair with a 'sugar book,' a novel so full of fluff it's practically made of cotton candy. So I went to my library and stalked the 50 cent pocket book cart until I had acquired about ten novel by various authors. I smuggled them home and finished all of them within five days. After that my appetite for quick little romances became, like many "appetites" referenced in the novels themselves, insatiable.

Now, instead of perusing the shelves filled with teenage self-discovery and angst, I ran so quickly to the shelves of my favorite romance officers I barely ever looked at other types of books. I liked the formula written in so many of these books; it didn't matter to me that every story was a carbon copy of the last because the familiarity made it that much more fun for me to see what the authors had changed between each book. I would borrow ten books at a time from the library, read them all in two days and return them so I could buy more from the cart. As of now, my romance novel collection is larger than any other genre that I own. The reading time kept getting quicker and quicker, to the point where I had read each book so often that I began to see their flaws. I loved the fun reads, but my infatuation with the dream of a dark stranger rescuing me began to fade.

One thing that really started to irritate me was a really sexist view toward women, perpetuated through the thoughts of almost every male character in the books. There are obviously authors that create strong women, and men that see their female counterpart as equal, but sometimes it is literally overwhelming the amount of strange misogynistic overtones that seem to pop up. I know that the 'damsel in distress' is a very common archetype, especially in romance novels; the more of the books you read, the more one dimensional the characters seem. 

The rate at which I went through books slowed to an absolute crawl, and then halted entirely. I got so busy with schoolwork and life I no longer had the time to stalk the paperback section, so I stopped reading at all except for forcibly in English class. I wanted to enjoy reading again and I started many fantastic books, but my patience was shot. Without the easy to follow plots and the super predictable characters I was bored. It was frustrating, losing interest in everything so quickly. I wanted to be able to finish The Lord of the Rings series, and read all of the classics that transformed 20th century literature. 

But I wasn't excited about it anymore. And that made me sad. 

I've stopped reading romance novels. A ton of them still sit on my shelf, but they aren't my go to now. 

And after all of that, I'm finally reading a book I am excited about. We're reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey in English and I'm pretty much done. This marks the first book outside of romance that I've read all the way through in, honestly, over a year. The characters are engaging, the symbolism is fascinating, and I feel like I am relating to the emotions of the story, not the fantasy of perfection. I know that I'm still going to have trouble paying attention to in depth plots, but it worth it to focus for a little. 


My Life

...has been totally insane for the past few weeks, so I apologize for disappearing. How has everyone been doing? I feel like I haven't been here in ages. The days and weeks blur by so fast that I'm not even sure where my time is going. There's so much pressure to be with everybody else that I feel like I can't find any time for myself, even though I spend most of my time alone. School is finally winding down, but it seems like there's more work than ever. I just want to slow down for minute and the summer isn't getting here fast enough. 

Lately, I've been trying to slow down a little bit more, and look into where my time has gone. For me, the best way to do this is through music. My tastes have changed and involved so much since I was young, and yeah, there are things that I'd be embarrassed to sing in public, but there's nothing that I'm ashamed of having enjoyed. 

Heart was always a staple, and five year old me's ability to belt out every word in 'What About Love' was a source of much pride to older me. At family functions, I could also be counted on to perform a heart wrenching rendition of almost any John Denver song you could throw at me. 

Boston, however, is my favorite band of all time. I've seen them in concert multiple times, I mourned the death of Brad Delp with a  burning passion, I know every word to almost every song, and this year one of my amazing friends got me a record of their Don't Look Back album.  

Which of course prompted me to nurse a sudden and persistent need to own a pair of sparkly Converse. 

And also prompted me to dig up a record player from my basement, and raid my grandmother's record collection.

Highlights of my search included: 

My favorite musical!  Eliza Doolittle is a flower seller after my own heart, and I love to hate every word that comes out of the professor's mouth. 'On the Street Where You Live' is, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful yet slightly creepy love song I've ever heard.

This beauty, which honestly I didn't even listen to, but grabbed because I instantly fell in love with his pearly whites and provocatively undone shirt, along with the expression that communicates quite clearly his woe at becoming the next Hulk.

This lovely lady. I swear, Nancy Wilson's voice is so smooth, I could listen to her crooning every time I fell asleep and never be bored.

Basically, if I ever achieve my dream of becoming a mysterious cat lady, I want this to be my life soundtrack. A little bit folky, a little teensy bit southern, I think her cover of 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' is probably the most interesting that I've heard.

And the big find of the day!

It is absolutely, 100%, the beautiful hippie vampire album of your wildest dreams.

I swear, the first song is even called 'God is alive, magic is afoot'.  

Nothing is more perfect than this. The cover is giving off major Morticia Addams/Pocahontas vibes. The back reminds me of that one scene in Forrest Gump. It's just as angsty sounding as I feel. 

Finding and listening to each of these make me feel like I was uncovering hidden treasure. It makes me feel like I'm going back and rediscovering what I love about music and it's diversity, and how it changes over time.

It also makes me realize how much I have changed. I'm no longer happy just listening to the music of my parents, or  the music of my friends. I'm finding more motivation within myself to go out there and discover what I like. There are so many different styles and genres and I've barely scratched the surface.

The whole idea of it makes me feel a little small, aside from the fact that I've been feeling small anyway lately. But it also makes me feel powerful, and I think that is what music is supposed to do. Knowing that I have all this history and passion at my fingertips makes me feel like I can handle anything. 

And it's true, I can handle anything. But it takes a little while to realize that. 


Serious Post: Sluts and You and Me

Hi guys. Sorry I've been away for so long, but let's jump right back into the swing of things.

As you all know, I just turned sixteen last month. This past year has been a really big one for me and I've discovered a lot about myself that's made me more confident and happy as a person. And this past year, I began actually thinking and paying attention to the world around me in a way that I should have been for a long time. It's been difficult for me to verbalize all of my thoughts cohesively, so I'll try the best I can to make them all make sense together. There's something that's really important to me that I'd like to talk about, now that I've finally had the chance to think through everything racing through my head.

Slut shaming, victim blaming, and rape culture.

When I was young, I asked my father what about me was the thing I was most likely going to be made fun of for, and his answer was my last name because it has the word 'slut' in it. And he was right. Around fourth grade, when kids actually began understanding what bad words actually, really meant, I was teased mercilessly for months, and I think that had a big impact on the way I am today. Just the other day I was laughing with my friend about how they can't even enjoy making fun of my last name anymore because 'everyone that's ever met me knows that that's the complete opposite of what I am.'

I hate the word slut, and I hate the word whore, and I hate when they are thrown about without people understanding the consequences.

A long time ago I caught one of my close friends giggling with someone over a picture on their phone, and it was this one:
Picture by Rosea Lake

You've probably seen it; it's been floating around the internet for a while now. I found a good article about it on Huffington Post Canada. And it may be shocking, but guess what?

I hate this picture. 

I'm really trying to get my point across in the most objective way possible, but I just get so angry every time I see this. What this picture is is a product of a culture that often associates slurs and derogatory terms with women that dress a certain way. The labels 'prudish' and 'old fashioned' imply that the woman should be showing more skin to keep up with the times, and not be called a prude. I was often called this by someone who used to be a close friend of mine whenever I felt uncomfortable changing around her. I was a young girl with developing breasts, and I was being told that I'd better start showing them off to fit in. Yet the labels on the woman's leg quickly become negative again. The skirt hits the 'cheeky' mark and quickly descends into 'asking for it,' the implication being that at a certain point, it becomes the woman's fault if something happens to her; that she's a slut because she choose to dress herself in short skirts. 

I was introduced to the term slut shaming (when women are insulted because the express their sexuality in a way that you don't approve of - definition credit to this video by lacigreen) last year when I read an article on Rookie, an online magazine, about SlutWalk and the writer's experience marching in one. I was immediately interested, and spent the next few hours looking up the origin of SlutWalk, and stories from women who had walked in them all over the world. The exact quote that propelled this march to existence was that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." And that sounds way too much like the labels above for me to be comfortable with this, especially coming from a police spokesperson. 

The first SlutWalk protest in Toronto, 3 April 2011

Slut shaming becomes victim blaming in situations like this, where an 11 year old girl was gang raped and the blame, according to those quoted in the article, was placed on the child and the mother. While it is unfortunate that a young girl spent large amounts of time in a dangerous place, the fact that "she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s" shouldn't be a central point. This is much better explained in this Salon article and by chescaleigh in this video. When I was younger, I was always told to tell a grown up if I was ever touched in a way I didn't like. I was told that the police, investigators, and authority figures always side with the victim. Why, then, are there so many people that don't report rape for fear of being blamed?

And all of this plays into the rape culture of our society. A recent and very publicized case is the Steubenville Rape case. There's an entire Wikipedia page about it and, like many other people, I was horrified by its news coverage. The constant talk of these bright young men whose futures had been crushed by being on a sex offenders list for the rest of their lives made my stomach turn.  What about the victim? Does anyone care anymore? She was completely unconscious. An absolute inability to say yes is always an absolute no. 

Fighting against slut shaming is something that I've found I'm passionate about. I want to change the way our society sees the sexual expression of women without degrading them. And I feel like one of the first places where learning about all of this should start is in high schools.

In my school, the words slut and whore are thrown around all the time with almost no repercussion to the person saying them. They are the default for any girl that is even slightly sexually active, and anything else about them. Why is not being a slut so important to all of us? Why do we feel the need to put down anyone that doesn't use their body in the same way that we do? Educating high schoolers about slut shaming, victim blaming, and rape culture should be important, what with all of the new anti-bullying laws being put in place. I think learning about this would be a great addition to any comprehensive sexual education class or curriculum. 

Slut shaming is something that many girls will have to deal with. As of now, its a part of our culture. But I really believe that we can do something to change this, and that is a huge goal of mine.


Land of Oz

Hey everyone! I've always been obsessed with dream worlds and alternate dimensions. Books, movies, shows that take place in our world but slightly different. All of this just gets me so interested.

Recently, I've encountered an entirely new dream world inside our own. At school, we started learning about the light spectrum and wavelengths and I was... I can't even say how much I loved the whole thing.

My teacher gave us these spectrum glasses that look like the old paper 3D glasses and I stepped into my own little land of Oz.

And I adored every minute of it.


Big Break

Hey everybody! I'm baaaaack. I'm in the musical at my school, and rehearsal gets super intense around February so I've had literally no time to do anything. I promise that I'll keep it up starting now.

Anyway, yesterday was my birthday. I'm sixteen!! And I am so grateful for my entire family and all my friends and how great they all make my life. I'm in a bit of a rush, so here are some pictures I'm ucuurently obsessed with:

Princesses in historically accurate costume by Claire Hummel

My personal favorite, Einstein wearing fuzzy slippers:

And my new desktop wallpaper, The Giant Rubber Duck in the Sydney Harbor:


Groundhog Day

Wow, you guys. This is kind of embarrassing. I've been totally offline for weeks and I'm super duper sorry. Now it's time for a catch up.

I've been watching a ton of movies lately on my laptop. That's probably what kept me away from my little corner of the internet here, I always got distracted before I could start to type. Yesterday I watched Shaun of the Dead (hilarious, I'm apparently still in love with British humor) and Orgazmo (also funny, but definitely rated NC-17 or something. The whole thing is about porn).

Recently, I've also seen The Men Who Stare at Goats, Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail, Red (Bruce Willis is totally a dream boat, I don't care what anyone says), and Django Unchained, but I saw that one in theaters.  There might be a few more but I cant remember.

I love watching movies. It's not only fun, but it really helped me relax after a long period of stressing over school work and midterms. And it's nice when you can appreciate how beautiful the movies themselves are. When I saw Skyfall, I realized for the first time how freaking gorgeous it was. I mean, look at it. LOOK AT IT

There are a lot of shots where I was just in awe, for the first time, of how the camera moved. I know you can't tell from these pictures, but the light in this movie and the way it was used was phe. nom. in. al. Like, seriously guys. You have to see this movie.

Secondly, Saturday, February 2nd was Groundhog Day in America. Our silly little tradition of turning to a small rodent to predict the next two months of weather. Here's the little guy now, Punxsutawney Phil: 

Well, I was there. My family, another family, and one of my friends drove overnight in a rented, fifteen seat van, to be in Punxsutawney for the unveiling of the groundhog.

And it was COLD.

This is how it all went down: We arrive in the town a little bit after three in the morning, electric signs everywhere screaming at us that it was below ten degrees outside. Around 3:30 we park at the Walmart where you can buy tickets for a shuttle bus that will drive you up the hill to Gobbler's Knob, a little clearing where the actual ceremony takes place. Right before 4 a.m., we all take the bus up to get to the bonfire and hopefully warm up a little, only to find that the bonfire was not just small, but sending up a ton of sparks that burnt holes in a few of our coats.

There were these guys dancing around on stage the entire time, along with a huuuuge crowd of people, and then we found the "Family Section" and found a spot closer to the stage.

To cut a long story short, my group and I spent about four hours standing in 4 degree weather. I couldn't feel my toes, and there was much speculation and joking that my friend would probably never speak to me again.

Thanks to an aggravating trip to the porta-potties, I got separated from my group and spent the last hour of the ordeal in the student section, surrounded by people getting drunk off of alcohol they smuggled in. Well, most of them were already drunk and chanting I'm drunk and I wanna see Phil. One guy demanded to warmers in exchange for letting a group pass to get a better spot to see, and that was pretty hilarious

And to top it off, I never even saw the groundhog because I was stuck behind a tree.

Words cannot express....

I truly apologize if this sound whiny. In all honesty, the experience will seem fun in hindsight. Maybe in twenty years I'll look back on that day with fondness and humor. But for now, I look back on that day and just feel like shaking my fist at the sky.

Well, it's been fun catching up. I prooomise to keep on top of this! Love y'all!