Posted in Advice, My Own Experiences, Thoughts

On the Story of High School

I hate high school. Actually I wouldn’t say I hate high school, more of the conformist principles that follow through with the idea of it.

Whether it’s the level of your classes or the color of your skin, judgement precedes to drag on for the four years we spend in this prison of puberty.

That said, high school is a necessary component to the growth of one’s emotional health, compatibility, and stability.

Sometimes, emotions are everywhere and everything in a person’s life. I mean, think about it: we act on our feelings, we go through twelve different types of emotions every day and we even use them to establish principles in our government. Beside the point, but what I’m trying to say is that every adult you meet had to go through the four years of hell we’re going through and they’re better people for it.

I hate saying it, but what if you never went through that one awful breakup with the boy or girl you thought you were going to marry – you’d probably never understand the potential toxicity that can result from a relationship. Or what if you had stuck with that one fake friend that almost ruined your confidence and self image? You’d probably be stuck in a group of friends that put you down and never gained the confidence that you deserve. What if you never got that one failed grade in AP Government? You probably wouldn’t have worked harder for the next test and never found your passion for law. Whatever the moments may be, imagine the completely different life you’d lead if those few low points in high school never happened.

Ages 14 – 18 are critical for a person’s emotional development because this is around the time you enter (as Piaget put it) the Formal Operational Stage of Growth. I like to call this the “UnInnocent” stage of cognitive development because by age 12, you start to see the world as an imperfect place. You finally understand that the world is not “good” and contains little bits of evil in our present and past and well, the future is up to us. It’s truly a sad scientific phenomenon, yet imperative in terms of the grand scheme of things.

By the time you reach high school, you are aware of the world’s evil, but yet to experience it: the relationships, friendships, boys, family, and grades, all hold a fair hand in this but none of them have as big of an effect as the conformity ideals.

To me, this is the biggest injustice of all, for conformity diminishes the confidence and creativity within oneself. The society that we have unintentionally created in high school practically forces peers to wear the same clothes, buy the same food, listen to the same music and if you pose even the slightest difference, you’re a “freak” or “weirdo” or “nerd.”

Well, here’s what I say to that. We can’t change people. But, we can change the system. For that reason, I look up to those freaks and weirdos that build homemade robots in their garage, wear recycled cans as a belt to school, or strike the local clothing stores in a fight against child labor. Without difference, there are no risk takers, and without risks, there will be no true innovation. We’ve seen this in our history and to be honest, it all starts with some form of schooling whether that be high school, middle school, or possibly even elementary school.

This is also why I am a strong advocate for a college education. College is a different type of schooling: they ENCOURAGE risks, they promote DIVERSITY, and reward INNOVATION. Each adult that I have spoken to on the basis of high school informed me that “I just had to get through the next four years.” I never truly understood what it meant until I became a senior looking back on all of the emotional yet necessary years of this component of growing up.

The people that you label now as freaks are not inferior, they’ve made an attempt to crumble the systemic stereotypes that claim we all have to be “one way.” If that’s considered weird, then I guess all of us activists are outcasts, and we’re proud. There is more than one way to create change, even if it’s not reaching very many people. There are a plethora of examples representing this idea one being… this blog!

I understand that my voice isn’t reaching the majority of the population, however if I can inspire just one person then I have done my job. Because that one person will go on to inspire another, and that person will do the same, and then we have this ripple effect that eventually reaches a community.

My goals are not to get publicity here, my goals are to inspire my readers into evaluating multiple perspectives, look deeper than the surface, and find and create proactive ways to make change.

Thank you for reading, see you next week.

Posted in Advice, Fictional, Stories, Thoughts

Simple Solutions to Complex Problems

ACKNOWLEDGE: The contents in this story are fictional.

Context: John is an eighteen year old boy living in the state of New Jersey but his life and work is in New York City; he is not fully complying with the stay-at-home orders. Rosie is a sixteen year old girl living in the state of New York, self quarantining under the orders of the city.

The argument started with my friend John’s complaints about the so-called “struggle” he was going through because a specific political figure wasn’t allowing a reopening of New York city until later than he wanted. At first, I tried to refrain from involvement because in political arguments, no one truly wins and I didn’t see the point in expending useless energy. My other friend Rosie did not feel the same. She gradually became frustrated as John continued to complain about not being able to see his friends, go to movies, eat out, go to the city, etc. I didn’t truly understand why until later. John and Rosie were at it for about ten minutes, peacefully disagreeing until John started complaining about not being able to go to work to make money and not being able to see his friends or dine out. Normally I would feel for this type of person; however, acknowledging that X’s family is not in a financial crisis and both parents have kept their jobs makes it a little difficult to empathize.

Suddenly, Rosie snapped. I have been friends with this girl for about eight years and I have never seen her in such pain and anger. She raised her voice to tell the story of her immigrant sister figure and how she’s handling the crisis. She yelled that her sister lived in a one bedroom apartment with three other families whose parents lost all of their jobs and can’t even afford to pay for food anymore. Rosie explained that she and her family sent them groceries every week since the beginning of March and they still might not have enough money to pay rent.

“Do you know how much they’ve complained?” Rosie asked rhetorically.

“Not once. Not even an ‘I wish’ from the children'” She answered herself.

“Do you know how lucky you are to sit comfortably in a crisis and still be able to afford food and a roof over your head? Get over what you don’t have and start appreciating the things you do have.”

Silence filled the call for a brief second. I could feel the weight of John’s remorse on his previous statements. However, humanity is full of arrogance, so what came out of his mouth would be later regretted.

“I don’t care. I want the city to be reopened.”

There are those moments in life when you find yourself questioning the rights of humanity. You look around the world and see a sheath of greed and ego making the world’s most principal decisions, and wonder why God has let us rule for so long. Are we a part to a bigger whole? Are we participants in an experiment? No matter the context, this very moment was my biggest loss of faith.

We ended the call. Rosie called me immediately afterward, sweating from expending herself on anger.

I texted John and accused him of going too far. I expected him to apologize and explain that his emotions took the wheel to create a spur of the moment statement. His arrogance preceded him. He supported his previous statement and chose to exercise his freedom of “opinion.”

“We have to reopen the country, we can’t allow the economy to get any worse than it already is.” He maintained.

“You want simple solutions to complex problems.” I replied

“This is a complex problem but I’m not going to allow fear to be the enemy and take over anyone’s head.”

“Fear keeps us alert. Too much can damage and too little can blind.” I replied.

He never responded.

POSTSCRIPT:

This was not politics. There was no specific opinion that played a role in the depth of this argument. This was purely right vs. wrong and good vs. evil. Now I know what you’re thinking, “John had a right to believe that the city needed to be reopened.” You’re right, he did have a right to think that, but he didn’t have a right to see himself of a higher importance than every other individual. You know what that’s called?

Selfishness.

I’ve been seeing this trait a lot lately. Not just in individuals, but in our country as a whole. This virus is not about YOU, it’s inanimate so stop trying to negotiate with it. Believe me, every time you try and start a fight with science, you will lose.

Do your brothers and sisters a favor, don’t play judge, jury, and executioner. We do not get to decide whether someone lives or dies based upon our own selfish desires to see friends. By hanging out with your friends at a time like this, you are abusing your power as an individual.

You may not realize this, but we do hold the power here. A virus requires a host to survive and whether it gets one or not is completely up to us. WE are the hosts which means WE determine the survival rate of the virus. Given that, containment can only be achieved through extreme measures of social distancing and abiding by the laws of science. If not for you, for your sixty-five year old neighbor or your eighty-five year old grandmother. Their lives hold just as much weight as yours do.

We do our due diligence not because we don’t want to get the virus but because we don’t want blood on our hands. It’s scary to think that my generation is the future of society and we are not starting off on the right foot by contributing to the spread and deaths of others. Additionally, my generation refuses to see this virus at a general level. You may not realize it now, but everything we do predicts our performance in the future.

So think about it, are we going to be known as the savior or the detriment of our society?

I know that my purpose of this blog is to encourage creativity and positivity which is why I leave you with this.

EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CONTRIBUTE TO SAVING LIVES AND IF WE MAXIMIZE THIS, OUR UNITY WILL GIVE US THE STRENGTH WE NEED.

Thanks for reading.

Stay safe and healthy.

Posted in Advice, Thoughts

Activities to Keep Me Out of Boredom

Yep, boredom has taken over my body and I am not loving it. I HATE being bored because again, I’m a busy person so it feels wrong to not be “accomplishing” anything. However, I’ve found new stay-at-home activities to make myself feel somewhat productive. These contain no specific area of expertise nor skillset; these are simply “random” hobbies that I’ve taken up during a time of crisis, maybe you can try them too!

My New Hobbies:

  1. Painting: I’m not very good at it, but hey at least I’m carrying out some type of creative outlet. However, I recommend putting some towels down BEFORE you start painting (never getting that stain out of couch… oops).

Here are some of my paintings below:

  1. Running: I DO NOT EXERCISE. I am not an athlete, I’m an artist. No matter the case, I’ve enjoyed running and seeing new sights in my Westlake neighborhood.
  2. Stretching: This is one of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling bored or lazy. It’s also a great way to exercise without straining yourself. I used to be a contortionist/circus freak (never thought that would come in handy) so I have a fairly good idea of my limits and an advanced use of stretch skills. I’ll send out a couple of my exercises for stretching at some point, just in case you feel the need to become America’s next pretzel.
  3. Online Shopping: Okay, I know this isn’t necessarily categorized as a hobby, but the female race would beg to differ! I could spend hours on one website only to purchase 4 pieces of clothing, and some of them were not even close to what I was initially looking for. If you’re looking to try some new styles during quarantine, this is a great time to find your look and maybe try out something new.
  4. Cooking/Baking: I know I’m not the first to suggest this, but cooking is actually so much fun when you’re doing it with your family. It may not be in the moment when you drop your chicken on the floor and spill your sauce all over the floor, but in the end, it makes a pretty good story.
  5. Letters!! This is a fantastic way to boost your spirit during social distancing! I wrote about five letters to my closest friends and dropped them at their door along with flowers and chocolates for their families. This really increased my endurance and patience with the world right now. It also helped me feel close to the people I love even when I can’t be physically around them.

Hope you try out some of these new activities! They may be hard to start at first, but once you start, it becomes a lot easier to finish.

Enjoy!