Mental Misconceptions

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There is a silently prevalent issue that I feel so outrageously strongly about, an issue that has consistently pestered at me for a long period of time, an issue that I have unequivocal passion for. This issue is the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Mental illness is an extremely misunderstood and universal problem in society, one that is very commonly and immensely misinterpreted as well as misconstrued throughout not only the United States, but many other countries, such as the UK, as well. My fueled passion lies in correcting the many misconceptions about mental illness, without blame or pointing haughty fingers at those who simply do not understand. I am a big advocate for empathetic education, meaning that I wish for everyone to be able to empathize and at least attempt to understand one another, rather than living in oblivious ignorance with no regard for those who struggle to be heard. I truly hope that you all will at least continue to read my humble little piece here, because even if this issue is one that doesn’t seem to be of utmost importance or interest to you, trust me, it is so important. It may not seem to affect you, but it does, indeed, affect many, many people in this world. In fact, nearly one in five people in the United States are living with mental disorder. It is a silently prevalent health and cultural issue in our world. And I want to expose you to the truth of the problem, without the typical stereotypes that surround these illnesses today. I have no room for stereotyping here.

I will first start by stating this: I am not going to write about my personal struggles here, but rather, I will attempt to encompass the many problems that I have noticed within the stigma surrounding many different mental illnesses. I am so passionate about this problem because, like any other stereotype, it really does hurt people. All of the prejudiced isms in the world are harmful to our society, and this, most definitely, is one of those. I wish I could say that we were more informed about this less talked about issue in school, or somewhere we are forced to listen, but unfortunately, we aren’t. I think that this is the root of the problem: we don’t fully educate people on the severity of this problem.

I hope I can educate you all, a little bit- I have tried hard not to write about this, but it’s been bothering me for so long, that I decided I just had to. And I’m not embarrassed for my feelings about this issue, because I believe that you should all understand it as I have personally understood it. You have to know the importance of this.

The most prominent problem that I’ve noticed, not only recently, but in the last few years, is that many people seem to trivialize mental illness as something much smaller and less significantly impactful than it actually is. The most common example of what I mean is this: Someone, perhaps in class, will need to have a mark erased on the board that the teacher left, or maybe they need their pencils all collected away in a neat pencil pouch. Or maybe a better example is someone who needs their closet to be perfectly in order. During this, someone will inevitably say, “Oh my god, I’m just so OCD right now,” or “This gives me such bad OCD.”

Okay, I’m going to be blunt here:

I call BS.

I mean this in no hurtful way towards anyone (unless you purposely try to hurt those with mental illness, than yeah, you’re not such a great person), as I myself admit I have been bad at calling people out on this, but this HAS to stop. I am not blaming any of you, we’re all guilty of misunderstanding, we’re only human. Humanity has a long history of complete and blatant ignorant misunderstanding. And I am assuming that those of you who use obsessive compulsive disorder as an adjective don’t do so to intentionally offend anyone, but most likely because you don’t understand what you’re saying. And I do get that, completely. I’m here to clear all this misconception up.
Obsessive compulsive disorder, in no way, can ever be used as an adjective. Besides the rather obvious fact that saying “I’m so OCD” isn’t grammatically correct, there is a huge issue with using mental disorders as adjectives. Obsessive compulsive disorder is, by definition: (this is from the New York Times) Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).

Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts. But this only provides temporary relief. Not doing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety.

A better and more detailed explanation of this paralyzing illness can be found in the powerful Hank Green video, explaining in depth the illness, which I recommend you all must watch (it’s Crash Course, it’s short and simple). Hank explains a mental disorder, such as OCD, as follows: “ A deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional pattern of thoughts, or behavior, that interferes with a person’s ability to function in a healthy way”.

One of the most important things that Hank says about obsessive compulsive disorder is this: “We tend to minimize those disorders, using them as nicknames for things that people do, think, or say.” THIS is exactly what I mean when I say that people use mental disorders as adjectives. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a seriously intrusive illness, that does not cause cute quirks in people, but rather debilitating anxiety and worry that causes victims of the illness to sometimes be unable to leave their home, or even unable to participate in a normal life, due to the severity of the anxiety. We cannot trivialize and downplay these disorders to be used as words to describe, well, anything. We can’t. It’s hurtful and ignorant and uncomfortable for those who actually have these disorders.

Many people think that being neat or orderly, or very clean and liking to have things a certain way, constitutes the use of the word OCD. This could not be farther from the truth. Another thing Hank brilliantly points out in the beginning of the video, is how he makes jokes about horrible diseases such as polio, and asks if you’ve ever made those sort of illness-related jokes to your friend. And then he goes on to say that no, you probably haven’t. This may sound farfetched to you, but using mental illness as an adjective is just as harmful as using cancer or a physical illness as an adjective. Mental illness is a terrible, crippling thing that intrudes a person’s ability to simply live. In many cases, in fact, mental illness causes one to take their own life. It is a complete and total loss of control over one’s mind, just like a physical illness is loss of control over one’s body.

I will sum the invaluable importance of my words into one simple summary: Being a generally fastidious and orderly person, or rather, being fastidious about certain things, or liking to have things a certain way, does not, in any way, mean that you have obsessive compulsive disorder.

Another commonly misunderstood mental illness is bipolar disorder. I have heard, countless times, people say their teacher is “so bipolar” or, the weather today is “bipolar” because it’s unpredictable. This is a problem, because bipolar disorder is an incredibly serious mood disorder, which is marked by “emotional extremes and problems in regulating them”. This disorder was once known as manic depression, which you might be familiar with. Bipolar disorder is defined as follows, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, is as follows: Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide.

I will reiterate what is also true with what I have said about OCD: shifting from happiness to sadness quickly does not constitute bipolar disorder. In fact, using this disease as an adjective is so incorrect because people with bipolar disorder have extreme manic episodes where they experience both mania and depression, which can cause them to do extreme and impulsive things, such as emptying their bank account, or even in many tragic cases, commit suicide.

We must end this widespread and prevailing stigma of mental illness. Remember that mental illness rarely, if ever, looks like what you see in the movies and in pop culture. Ignorance is the cause of such misunderstanding, and I’d like to change all of your perspectives on this ignorance that perhaps you were unaware of. Next time you are about to tease your friend about being so OCD about her color coordination, think twice. There are people living with these illnesses, and the insult of their crippling disorders being trivialized is painfully silencing. I know how difficult it is to speak up against this, as well, I myself have had much trouble with it, but in the end, you are not blaming the person misusing the word: you are simply informing them of their misunderstanding. And that is nothing to be embarrassed about, in fact, I believe it is something to be very proud of. Raising your voice is no easy feat, and I commend you for being brave and intelligent enough to educate others.

I advise you all to end this common stigma with mental illness. Mental illness is horribly insidious and can silence a person living with one, as the misunderstanding around it can cause one to not want to admit to their illness. You may know someone with a mental disorder, or perhaps you know someone but are unaware of their illness because they feel like they have to hide it. I encourage you to take small steps to finally end the prejudice, and this is truly so easy to do. Stop using mental illnesses in trivializing manners, stop using them as adjectives, and start listening to those who have the illness without bias, and with full respect.

This was only a brief and blunt piece about all of this, and so, I suggest you research much more about this issue, because there are abundant charities for this as well as many ways that you can help. I promise, understanding this stigma will change your perspective remarkably. I understand mental illness so much better now, as well as being able to recognize bias and misunderstanding in general. It’s really damn important to know how to do this, no matter how hard it may be.

I will leave you with some extremely helpful links about this subject that you should look into:

http://www.rookiemag.com/2014/10/ocd-and-me/ (powerful piece from Rookie on OCD)

http://iocdf.org/ (International OCD Foundation)

http://bringchange2mind.org/ (Bring Change 2 Mind)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX7jnVXXG5o (one of two Hank Green videos on mental illness)

http://www.buzzfeed.com/kasiagalazka/why-you-should-stop-using-words-like-ocd#.btmnjj4Ob

And on that note, I will end with a beautiful quote by one of my favorite authors, Toni Morrison:

The function of freedom is to free someone else.

Honest Perpsective

Here is a post that I recently wrote for The Living 360. please, go check out the website, it’s quite an eclectic bunch of interesting stories.

Being female is hard.

I am not being sexist. I am not being biased. Simply, being female is hard, just as intolerably as being human is hard. It just is inescapably and irrevocably hard. We have every right to be upset, to be horrified at how this confusing world of ours works, every right to be frustrated with the lurking sexism for all genders, and misogyny that occurs, even now, even after such a long, long, time. And these prominent and sometimes, not so clear, worldwide problems that we still have yet to truly fix, feel as if they are somehow a million times more confusing when you are a teenager. Adolescence sucks perhaps 86% of the time, for me. Maybe I’m (obviously) biased since I still am quite new at it, but I have to say, so far, I am so not impressed.

Here’s the gist of my, as so many other girls’, issue: We don’t know how to simply be. What is considered, by society, by our ever-pressuring peers, acceptable? What’s “likable”? There are just… So. Many. Questions. Questions without any immediate answers. Sure, I could subscribe to Seventeen and scan through their advice columns, I could aspire to be just like some YouTube celebrity, I could do a lot of desperate things that would not exactly get me to be… me. I don’t want to come off as over-opinionated and spiteful against anyone, but this piece is especially for young women. I am one, and so, I feel like I can relate to you most. The most important question, I feel, is this: How do I stay true to who I am rather than who I am expected to be?

It surely (obviously) isn’t a black and white answer. I could tell you every single day of my life, an incident of sexism, perhaps against me, perhaps against a male, but even the tiniest things remain in my always over-analytical mind. It’s almost unhealthy, to the extent of things I seem to notice, but it also gives me awareness. So many people don’t seem to be aware of the most obvious issues going on around them. And while, I could most definitely go on for an eternity about all stereotypes (my least favorite thing ever) and assumptions, and my strongest beliefs in feminism, but this topic is one so vague and wide that those would all need at least a separate article for each. I want to help guide you, who are struggling just as I am, to know your “place”.

What makes a successful young woman?

A question I always ask myself. And living in westside Los Angeles, the answer is a bit different than the typical answer. A successful young person, in my community, is generally someone who owns at least one handbag over $200, has more Instagram followers than Obama (kidding…sort of), and the forever magical word: popularity. Of course, this isn’t always true, but it is what is quite prominently felt in my life. The influence that Gossip Girl has over my school is sort of ridiculous (watch it if you haven’t, you will completely understand).

So, it’s been pretty difficult for me to understand just exactly how I should feel successful and proud of myself at the age I am at right now. Proud is a strong word, but what I mean is comfortable in your own shoes- or barefoot, if that’s more your style. There are several qualities that I try for desperately, just to feel comfortable in who I am, and these are them.

My drama teacher has a very matter-of-fact rule she addresses as soon as we walk into the room to audition for anything: “Leave your ego at the door”. And damn, do I wish I could everyday of my whole life!! Humility is so incredibly key to any single person’s life. Now, I’m not saying to be the most self-deprecating person in the world, or to completely be down on yourself forever. What I’m suggesting that there is a very fine line between arrogance and pride. Pride is something so magical. The fact that you can work so determinedly, excessively hard to accomplish something you want is amazing. And after all of that tireless, insane work (and unhealthy consumption of caffeine), you should be able to feel something other than the shitty feeling of stress. And pride is the best cure for nervousness. Pride is the most fulfilling feeling ever, for helping yourself, for helping others. Pride is freeing, in moderation. So own your triumphs, but please, don’t own. Every. Little. Thing. I understand that you are a great human being, but must you bring your “awesomeness” into every single conversation? Please, do not be that person. Being bold, brilliant, and proud is an awesome, awesome thing that makes me instantly wanting someone to be my friend, but arrogance is just so itchingly annoying. I don’t think that even Beyonce is arrogant. I mean, at least not to us fans. She’s such an amazing badass role model, and inspiring, and she’s aware of it but she uses herself to make everyone else feel good about themselves, too. When you shine, you subconsciously give other people around you to shine, too.

Another thing: understanding that not everything will go your way. One thing that has been so hard for me is the ability to be flexible. I am so not a “go with the flow” girl, spontaneity is sooo not my niche. But throughout time, I’ve learned that life is the definition of spontaneity. Literally. There is absolutely nothing in life that is one hundred percent predictable. The planet could get hit by a comet while you’re reading this, I could find out that my Hogwarts letter just got lost in the mail (as I’ve always secretly known, duhh). Nothing is definite- well, except for dying, but I’m trying, thanks to my parents’ begging, to not be so dark. I mean that when life throws big, disgusting chunks of crazy shit at you, grab it and twist into something managable. Complaining and doing nothing is an option for about ten minutes before those pesky little things called consequences come into play. So do something, even if it’s little, still figure the freaking problem out. So never expect the best. It may be cynical, but as the song goes, “Hoping for the best but expecting the worst” is key.

I don’t know what else to say, because to me, humility and adaptability are things I am really always desperately trying to acquire currently. These things are important. But you know what else is important? Being young. Being hormonal. Being stupid. So use this piece as a guide to, well, how to not be one of those more aggravating demonic people in high school. Trust me, I know quite a few. Go out there, be you. But why not be the best version of you that you can be?

finals jams

I am so exceedingly sorry that I have not written any posts since December! I really do apologize, it quite honestly has been a very demanding few past weeks, thanks to finals next week. I am thoroughly terrified, and I am truly attempting desperately to focus on my studies and not let anything distract me from those beautiful As. I’m a little frazzled.

I am honestly not in any state to write a well-written, meaningful blog post right now, but I will however, share some of my favorite songs that have been tremendously helping me in getting through the immense studying I am currently doing. Please, listen to all of this lovely goodness and thank me later.

Have an interesting and excellent week!

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Always Where I Need to Be- The Kooks

A Case of You- Joni Mitchell

Where Is My Mind?- The Pixies

Wake Up- Arcade Fire

Deep Blue- Arcade Fire

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want- The Smiths

Gotta Get Away- The Black Keys

I Always Knew- The Vaccines

Mind Over Matter- Young the Giant

Fire- Augustana

It’s Only Life- The Shins

Breezeblocks- Alt-J

The Look- Metronomy

Rosie (acoustic live version)- The Kooks

West Coast- Coconut Records

L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. – Noah and the Whale

december inspirations

Here’s what’s been inspiring me, oh so much, this lovely (stressful) “cold” Los Angeles December.

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Felicity Jones is unfairly sort of amazing, just saying. (go watch the Theory of Everything RIGHT NOW, crazy good soundtrack)

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Charles Bukowski is one of my favorite writers, despite how well he is known for his raunchy/explicit/scandalous, albeit sometimes perverted writing style, to me, he is still a brilliant writer. Sorry.

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See my Pinterest for more of my odd obsessions, quotes, quirky favorites, and whatnot. Have a lovely rest of 2014, and please, be brave.

spaces

I miss middle school. I really, really do. I don’t miss it for the curriculum or the workload or anything like that, I miss it for what school used to feel like.

Eighth grade was an incredible year for me. It was very rough, of course, as every year of middle school was. Preparation for high school was ensuing and it was a pure chaotic stress-filled world. But all of us frazzled, sleep-deprived, overthinking humans were all the same way, together. School felt like a haven, because being so close with everyone made it feel safe. I would go to math, my worst subject, and because everyone was on the same boat as me, because everyone was so easily relatable, I would be laughing my head off in that class and still getting 100% because for some reason, we all got each other.

But those days, that once seemed like they were mindless and endless, are long over. Freshman year isn’t just different, it’s about a million times harder.

I am in this state of realizing that everything is changing, or maybe, rather, everything has already changed and I am supposed to just somehow magically be okay with that. I’m not okay with it. Any of it.

See, high school isn’t what I expected. It’s not because of the rigorous workload, because we have been trained for that for years now. It is because of the space. I am so prominently feeling this odd, weirdly-shaped space between me and everything that has ever made me who I am. I used to fit into that space like a crevice in a sidewalk, like a piece to a puzzle. I used to fit. Now, though, that space has turned into something oddly misshapen and too small, yet also too large, for me to snuggle into.

I looked around my school the other day, and I just stopped in front of my locker, and thought, where are all of my friends? It’s a stupid question, but I didn’t feel so stupid for thinking it. Really, I have been feeling as if my closest friend these days, is myself. I am finding it much more difficult to keep the pace with all of my friends, because we are all so busy and moving in different directions all at once. People who I was once so, almost sisterly, close with, are seeming to drift away like nothing has ever happened between us. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it’s there.

These spaces between me and my old friends, between me and my old passions and dreams, are really damn uncomfortable. And they sting, too, in a weird way. The spaces sting. I feel like I’m missing something that everyone else has already figured out. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here, nostalgic about the old family I had created for myself, that is now gone. My “person”, or multiple people, really, don’t feel like they’re my people anymore. Nothing is the same, and maybe that’s good, but I just haven’t figured out exactly how it’s good, yet.

I really hope that I do. Soon. I mean, what is there to live for if all you have is a blank space where everything you loved used to be? I have so much room for new things, but none of those new things have entered yet.

As the new (brilliant) One Direction song states, as Niall’s angelic and heartbreaking voice sings:

The spaces between us
Keep getting deeper
It’s harder to reach her
Even though I’ve tried
Spaces between us
Hold all our secrets
Leaving us speechless
And I don’t know why

Who’s gonna be the first to say goodbye?

never grow up

I was recently listening to some old Taylor Swift on the plane ride back from my latest trip to Toronto and New York, and albeit I’m a little embarrassed to say that I started tearing up on that airplane, thanks to Ms. Swift. See, two of her older songs will always remain to be some of my favorites. “Never Grow Up” and “The Best Day” are these two terrific songs.

I’m coming to the abrupt realization that I am slowly growing up. Yes, I am not going to be fifteen forever. I am going to come into myself. I am going to be that mortified little girl half of the time, who was too reticent to even make smalltalk with my mom’s friends, but I am going to also be the confident and new person I am slowly growing into. I have always felt so out of place in my world. I’ve felt like I have some subtle difference within me, as I am a monster in a sea of aliens. I don’t know exactly how to accurately explain my unfaltering, consistent uncomfortableness, but it had always been there, sort of sitting in the pit of my stomach at grotesquely dull middle school parties, at late night, unbearably extraverted soirees my mom threw when my dad was out of town, at the youthful cheer that occurs when summer begins.

I’ve always felt a bit different, a bit more unsure of why everyone else seemed to feel a common emotion that I wasn’t. It was only very, very recently that I have come to understand that every person I know is uncomfortable, especially right now. I used to secretly have the notion that all of my friends’ brains thought at exactly the same pace, in the same exact way. I used to think that these emotions spread like the flu, and I somehow got a vaccine when everyone else had yet to. A vaccine for being young.

What I am trying to say is that I have always been more interested in activities, that are seen as things that being a “grown up”, or a “big kid”, entails. While my best friends were fondling the idea of crushes and the most naive form of flirting, I was called the class bookworm when I read To Kill a Mockingbird in fourth grade. When I came to seventh grade, suddenly, so suddenly, everyone was obsessed with scrutinizing everyone else’s flaws, everyone else’s statuses in popularity, in relationships, in every little details, details I truly never even observed. I felt as if I had been shoved into this completely paradoxical world, a world where I was expected to instantly pick up on the new game of the year: popularity, but not let my confusion ever show. The social ladder was one I had no interest in climbing. That was only until the slight intuition that slithered its way into my confusion: all of my friends were moving on without me.

And so I jumped onto the train, not because it looked particularly grand or enticing, but because it seemed to be the only route to what we assumed was maturity. Maturity being aging, maturity being nothing but what we assumed was true, what we saw on TV and what we were corrupted by society to think. But we weren’t growing up. We were being middle schoolers. We were being immature. No one likes to point this out, yet I notice when we all sit around a fire and the topic of middle school comes up, a fear creeps in that everyone will somehow remember who we used to be. Who we used to be is who we are desperately trying to leave behind.

I spent all of my childhood feeling older than I was. Now, though, I feel so incredibly stuck in immaturity. I want to grow up, but I also want to stay in the blissfully ignorant, beautifully naive time of being a child. Adolescence is the epitome of feeling uncomfortable. I don’t quite know where I belong yet. I am not one to categorize myself into a specific part of my school where I belong.

I used to be obsessed with defining myself as one, great thing. Now, though, my views have erratically shifted. I recently read this transformative quote by the German writer Franz Kafka. This quote is very accurate about I how I feel so strongly, about myself:

I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable, more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person. 

This is my idea of how I am slowly, slowly, growing up. I am not letting myself be defined by one aspect of me anymore. I am shifting from my “thing” to my many things. I don’t want to be defined anymore. I want to just be me. Me is enough, now. I have so many passions, so many interests, and I hate this world because there is never enough time to do everything that I want to do, that I want to experience. Everything is so quick and bittersweet and unfair but beautiful and vast and endless, but it does end. The world isn’t meant to give you a career as a surgeon, and as a Broadway star. You pick one or the other. And yes, of course there are the lucky ones like Emma Watson and Lea Michele and Alexa Chung, or whomever you want to look at, but in the end, we are all determined by the one thing we choose to exhaust ourselves for. The one thing we would die for.

Everyone is looking for a home, their home. Some find their homes in the arts, in passion, in love, in whatever it is they would die for. But I feel as if I have multiple homes. Is that okay? Can I have divorced homes that are best friends? Please?

So, growing up is finding your home, to me. And I’ve yet to ground myself in one thing, but as I try, I know, that everyone else is trying too. And what is so wrong with that?

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currently

I haven’t updated in quite a while, and I apologize profusely- high school is sort of insanely hard right now. I know I am only in ninth grade, but already, I have an inane amount of work. Chemistry is sort of a brain-killer. I try very hard to keep some time off specifically for myself, meaning this blog as well, but that is much harder than I really expected. So, I decided, since I have a few minutes in free period, I’d try to update you all (whoever that may be) on my humble little life.

reading- I’m rereading The Catcher In the Rye, a novel I absolutely love but surprisingly, it’s not as loved by everyone. I also just finished a spectacular read called Conversion by Katherine Howe, it is most definitely worth a read- be sure to have a nice cup of Earl Grey while you devour this unearthly book, you will definitely need it. It’s hard to find books that will consistently keep me interested in this age with so much technology, but this book is so twisted yet so relatable that it will keep you all captured in it. Maybe it’s just me (typical) but I only like books where there is something dark and twisty to them. I mean, that is what my friends call me?

Listening- My favorite songs right now are these: (keep in mind, they’re sort of an eclectic random bunch)

1. Fireproof- One Direction

2. Ways to Go- Grouplove

3. Twice- Little Dragon

4. Bad Habit- The Kooks

5. You Should Know Where I’m Coming From Banks

6. For Emma- Bon Iver

watching- One great struggle I face is Thursday nights (sense the sarcasm please). Three of my favorite shows are all on on Thursdays, and me being a neurotic high school student, I don’t really ever have time to watch all three, if even one or two. These shows are Grey’s Anatomy, Scandaland The Vampire Diaries. I know that Shonda Rhimes, aka Jesus, will be the death of me. She is honestly so truly amazing yet addictive, her shows encompass what I want in my life. Powerful women, with issues that do not just involve men, are quite hard to come by on television in general. And Shonda completely breaks the norm with Olivia Pope and Meredith Grey. And the Vampire Diaries is my guilty pleasure- it is breaking my Delena shipping heart right now. Sigh. The truly unbearable hardships of a fangirl.

wanting- I am pining after this beauty of a bag– the Mansur Gavriel mini bucket bag- but if you take a quick look at the price, unfortunately it is something my dear parents aren’t keen on getting for me. Perhaps a Christmas gift?

loving- super irish breakfast tea. It is delicious, especially on a rainy day which we have approximately zero of here.

writing- I am working on a new piece of writing that I am incredibly excited over, more coming soon

trying- last week, I made the “daring” chop and got myself some new bangs. I love them right now, but I’m not sure if I will love them so much in a month or two…

traveling- I’m elated to be going to Toronto in November as well as Chicago, and perhaps New York to visit one of my best friends, who I miss so very much. Long distance friendships sort of suck sometimes.

feeling- stressed as hell, but also determined.

It’s a beautiful day to dream.

It’s Handled

As those of you who regularly (I hope) read this humble little blog of mine, you’re probably aware that I have quite the respect for powerful women. And my favorite fictional example of a particularly amazing woman is the Olivia Pope, of ABC’s incredible show, Scandal.

Scandal is excellent, I thoroughly enjoy each and every episode, so much, in fact, that dear old Livvy (only Fitz can call her that) inspired this post in honor of herself.

Olivia Pope has changed the once all too stereotypical face of women on television. She is the epitome of “breakthrough”, of a slightly fresher breath of air. I know there is much controversy about calling her a role model, but in my (very) humble opinion, I find her to be exactly the type of role model a young, adolescent woman so desperately needs. Some people do not need role models, of course, some generate their dreams from themselves. And that is absolutely fantastic, but unfortunately, that isn’t me.

Olivia is a person who does not live inside anyone’s boundaries except for her own. To me, she is so incredibly powerful because she never cowers to anyone. She does not succumb to others’ values, to others’ opinions, to any other person’s idea of who she ought to be. Olivia is Olivia, which is the most definite thing she has. She is herself, and no matter how many unexpected, sometimes tragic, choices she makes, she does not apologize for being herself. This is a quality I feel so deeply that I must gain: fearlessness. I don’t mean literally and truly having no fear, because that is just outright stupid and most definitely impossible. But as many people have preached before me (lookin’ at you, Taylor Swift), fearlessness is doing something regardless of the fear. Fearlessness is perhaps being terrified out of your wits about something but accepting the fear and still doing that one thing. It… isn’t falling into the deep end of the pool, it’s diving into it. I have yet to acquire such a trait, but Olivia is one of the main inspirational guides for my new goal.

Liv is extraordinarily hardworking, in every single one of her endeavors, no matter the weight they carry. She accepts any challenge that is handed to her, and when I say handed to her, I definitely do not mean on a silver platter. I mean on a dirty dishrag. Her work is to handle other people’s many issues. Her job is to handle. Her job is to, well, fix. And the hardest part about her occupation is that while she is constantly on the move to fix everyone else’s issues, it leaves minute time to fix her own. And yet, she carries on so gracefully, in such a strong, effortlessly powerful manner, even if she is completely crumbling inside. How does she carry such a quality? I know, she is fictional, but my point remains. We can’t pretend we don’t have problems. But we also can’t let those problems become our everything.

Olivia does not allow her fear of the unpredicted to define her, does not let the fear knock her down. Fear encourages her to do better, to do it anyways, to beat that dread. I want this. I want her qualities. And yes, ok, she is in love with the President of the United States of America, who just so happens to be married, but that is her truth. Her most vulnerable humanity is when she is with Fitz (the POTUS of the show). She loves him more than anything else in the world, but she remembers to give room to keep loving herself as well.

Olivia makes mistakes.

We all do. And she, in spite of these many mistakes, doesn’t succumb to fear, to injustice, to cowardice. She keeps on breathing. And, in the end, isn’t that all any of us can truly ever do?

As for any issues that spring up amongst my freshman year, well, to my teachers, parents, and friends alike, I only have two little words to say.

It’s handled.

a letter to parents

I was recently featured on the fantastic, hilarious, addictive website founded by Amanda Dyer, The Living 360

I wrote a “letter to parents” on the sometimes laughable indignities of being a teenager and dealing with parents and their perspectives on fashion.

Please, go take a look. I hope it’s worth a read. Let me know what you think.

http://www.theliving360.com/open-letter-parents-teenagers-written-14-year-old-girl/

Oh, and, dear readers…

(It’s a beautiful day to dream.)