Posted in Advice, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Thanks, but see you in my Nightmares, 2020!

Turn your wounds into wisdom

Oprah Winfrey

I won’t comment too severely on the freak show of a year we all just went through, but I would like to acknowledge and appreciate the local, national, and international communities for persevering and picking ourselves up when in need.

Some communities were devastated due to the COVID-19 disease, and for that, I offer my deepest condolences to every family who has had dealt with such a tragedy. You are not forgotten and will forever have the world’s support.

There is no individual in the United States that can say they were not somewhat affected by what this year had in store whether that was the pandemic, social justice resurgences, recognition of police brutality, or the plethora of political crises. There is also no individual that can say that they didn’t experience a duality in the effects of 2020. In other words, yes, there was, indeed, an agonizing strain of sorrow and struggle, but there was also a healthier understanding of ourselves and each other.

From my personal viewpoint, I can tell you that a year ago today, I wouldn’t have the first idea about pivoting the entirety of my routines, work, and emotional life. If for some reason, I suddenly had to switch gears academically or physically, I wouldn’t know the first place to start. However, because of the majority of my time spent re-working annual events, work, and volunteer services, I’ve gained a much newer, much needed perspective to succeed throughout the many more mistakes and experiences I’ll make. Completing school, work, and volunteer tasks from a laptop in my crash-course merchandised pajamas was only the beginning. Compromising and collaborative skills were quite rare, but exceedingly necessary as I, my friends, and my coworkers meticulously pieced these together as we went. Eventually, I was creating films and book clubs through a digital medium by the summer, connecting my friends and I through literature and learning. Unexpected, but as it turns out, quite an eye-opening and unforgettable experience.

Next to the global pandemic, there were also racial tensions and the widespread recognition of police brutality following the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. Throughout this year, I’ve tried to gain a more thorough and complete view of the horrors of racism not just in our police forces, but societal communities as well: our schools, places of work, hospitals, airports, restaurants, etc. Because I am far from comprehensively understanding the specificities, I currently try to make time to educate myself about respecting BIPOC communities and engaging myself in taking action: signing petitions, reading articles, following the news, etc. My mistake was not acting on this problem sooner, and for that, I am ashamed. I am ashamed that it took these three extraordinary individual’s lives for me, for the world, to move forward and make immensely necessary changes to each system that has unjustly neglected, mistreated, and punished people of color.

Additionally, my social scenes have dramatically altered, but each in a positive capacity. As it turns out, communication was exceptionally difficult with certain “friends” of mine that I felt uncomfortable to either reach out to or simply converse with. At first, it was distressful to see people gradually leave my routines, but after a while, there was a powerful rose trumping its thorn. It wasn’t that these friendships were rude or unbearably toxic, but that they darkened so that my true and trustworthy friendships glowed. I found myself surprisingly grateful for three friends of mine that have tremendously impacted my life both pre and post COVID-19, and I was later okay with the lack of communication and connection with my other friends. I’ve struggled with friendships in the past and because I adore symbolism and analogies, I’ve taped a mantra on my whiteboard that should pull me out of such battles I may face with future friendships: “I’d rather have two or three friends that can mutually benefit from each other’s love, rather than forty or fifty parasitically feeding off each other’s toxicity.”

2020 has left scars, indeed. It’s also left understanding, potential, and grit; it’s given me the opportunity to learn and absorb information and skills that I wouldn’t have otherwise understood after countless mistakes and fatigue in the coming years. I know that I am not alone in these experiences, and I am far from advocating for this year, but I do recognize the turmoil along with the potential that this year brought. Utilize this new perspective and apply it to 2021, where hopefully, we can make a change and ensure something like 2020 ceases to exist from the rest of a history textbook.

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What’s Left Unsaid?

Before I dive into what I want to discuss, I have a bit of context to elaborate on. First off, when was anybody going to inform me that writing a short story is more difficult and confusing than Inception? Seriously, I’ve been at it for about three weeks and can someone tell me why can’t I find a structured storyline that doesn’t make me want to slam my face into my keyboard?

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Similar to every writer that has ever existed, I wanted to mobilize a unique and insightful storyline to put forth a distinct perspective regarding, well, my personal ideals and imagination. I have to admit, I was experiencing a bit of that “pandemic fatigue” that the doctors and psychiatrists are writing about, so I was slowly succumbing to the stress and anxiety that overcame my mind. Writer’s block is a real thing, I have discovered.

I hadn’t previously faced this fatigue in the earlier phases of the pandemic because I was working on my college applications which required the entirety of my brain capacity, anxiety, and time management. However, once I submitted those applications, I sank into the reality that I was actually going to have to find more things to do with my time rather than work and write. This was a tad difficult for me, given that I was limited to strict rules regarding social interaction (with reasonable caution). I don’t know if you can tell, but focusing during quarantine is not a strength of mine. As my uncle put it, we tend to work tirelessly for about two weeks and then collapse under boredom.

As a recovering perfectionist, I abhorred this feeling and needed to find something to turn the wheels in my mind. Well, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a “coping mechanism,” but rather something to occupy my imagination and creative energy without a potential lure for anxiety. Hence, my inclination to write a short story. But what to write about? Well, you know what they say: inspiration is everywhere.

You see, my inspiration came to me the day after my birthday when my family and I took a forty-five minute road trip to Dripping Springs for a picnic. We decided to explore the area in hopes of discovering unique and scenic views, but instead, we found rental casitas! Bear with me here…

At first, I didn’t understand the fascination and excitement that my family shared after finding a couple of houses that people can rent for their own personal staycations. However, after driving around for minutes that seemed to never end and exploring the breathtakingly isolated and gorgeous scenery that surrounded us, I finally understood the appeal.

These casitas weren’t just Westlake families’ ways of flaunting their wealth and privilege, but outlets for a new storyline.

Think about it like this, when you’re driving down a road, a downtown street, or a highway, you’re passing and falling behind a variety of supporting characters in your own personal story, but for everyone else, you’re the supporting character in theirs. Millions of cars drive on these roads every day and society ignores the obvious mystery that this situation creates: what about their story? Similarly, neighborhoods consisted of casitas have hundreds of guests that check in every month and for the majority of the time, neglect the possibility of a relationship between the people that live not twenty feet away.

I guess I find it odd that the people we live so close to, the people we pass by every day, the people who undergo the same experiences we do, are sometimes the hardest to build relationships with. While driving around the casitas in Dripping Springs, I found not just a potential staycation for my friends and I, but a possibility for a bolder future.

This wasn’t just inspiration for my short story, but it also reminded me of a phenomenon quite similar to The Bachelor. Again, bear with me here. Other than the network’s narrow focus on marriage, the audience embarks on a somewhat in-depth investigation of each contestants’ life. Whether you believe this is fake or not, the show does consist of a variety of backgrounds, sometimes including the most minute details that come back to bite love in the butt.

I’d like to disclose that I am not recommending any type of application to Bachelor Nation shows, but rather using shows such as The Bachelor and Bachelorette to create a visual. What it helps us analyze is the fact that stories and lives are ten times more interesting when we observe the extensive impact others have on them. Sure, one person’s story is easier to scoop and analyze, but that’s not necessarily life, is it?

Life is undergoing personal experiences and learning from one’s own mistakes while also meeting and discovering new people from a variety of stories to endure this painful process. Sometimes, the impact that a single person can have on someone’s life is greater than any one mistake because he or she crawled through the mud with you.

All that’s to say that I didn’t end up writing my short story about this specific ideal (but did convince my dad to). Instead, I wrote about the duality in the effects of imagination rabbit holes. Funny enough, that’s practically what this blog post was for. I can escape reality, write about it, and influence others utilizing these outlets, but at the end of the day, it’s up to my audience to take a stand with me.

What I urge you to do is to make bold choices in regards to every lemon life gives you. Find the crux of not just your story, but your friends’ and family’s. I believe that right then and there will we have just taken a major step toward a collective good.

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Relieved… But Not Done.

It would be a grave disservice to my followers and myself if I didn’t talk at least briefly about the state of our nation right now.

I am overjoyed with the current results of the presidential election.

To say that I feel relieved would be the understatement of the year; I am both shocked and grateful for the strength that America has exhibited in these unprecedented times. We knew what had to be done and we put forth a united front against a dictator regime that threatened everything the Framers ensured for our future.

Now that fascism, bigotry, sexism, and homophobia is exiting the White House with an attitude not unlike a six year old child having his recess privileges taken away, the nation can breathe… at least for a little while longer.

It is not my intent to burst anyone’s bubble, but work is NEVER done, especially when it comes to the United States Government.

Just like scars are left after a fall, Donald Trump will leave ground for cruelty, hatred, and heinous ideals on American soil.

We will be faced with unseen battles that trumpism has left behind for good people with grand plans to fight instead of executing real and effective change. Even from beyond the White house, he will still leave his orange shadow for the next couple of years.

What can we do?

Well… whatever we seemed to do before worked! Oh, and what was that? Unify as Americans? Exercise our civic duties? Fight for what was morally correct? Make our bite bigger than our bark?

According to my psychological studies, if a certain strategy seems to exert satisfactory results, we’ll continue to utilize it.

That is all I ask of you today: to BE the change that our brave new leaders have asked us to step up as, to MEND the damage that so heavily deteriorated our democracy, to FIGHT for our surrounding communities of color, gender, religion and orientation.

Most of all, to RECOGNIZE the impact that your own voice has not only in government, but the story that you want to tell your future kids.

Make THEM proud.

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Tiny World Sneak Peak

Hello my artist-activists! I do apologize for the inactivity lately, I have been incredibly busy with college apps and remote learning during my senior year… it’s been a long month for my brain…

Anyway, I am beginning a project for my Independent Study in Journalism course and I wanted to post a sneak peak/inspiration photo journal for what that might look like in the coming weeks. Basically, I will be doing studio photography with objects rather than people (if you know me at all, you would know that photographing people is my specialty and forte). However, in light of recent events (that being a global pandemic), I will be attempting a new approach to studio photography while incorporating an environmental activism instilled theme. I can’t tell you much… but I’m excited to see where my creative hinges break off to.

Enjoy some of my tiny world inspiration from an earlier project this year that helped jumpstart my idea for this project as well as engage my “lens mindset” as I call it in photography.

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Justice For George Floyd

I want to talk a little bit about justice. Black men are being lynched. Yes, lynched. That is what this is. The definition of a lynching is an informal execution without a trial. Yes, it is usually done by a mob, but what else would you characterize FOUR people on ONE man who was not resisting. I wish I could do more right now to be active in the movement, but due to COVID, I can’t. What I can do is call and sign and share.

It’s not enough for those officers to be fired. As much as I hate to say it like this, they must pay for their crimes. They need to do time, a lot of it because that is the punishment for knowingly killing someone. This is the time to do good for the country, a time to turn the tides and end police brutality, and if we have to take things up a notch and get violent, then we will. I say this a lot, our generation is the future and we will not be silenced. Take a look at your peers: Emma Gonzalez, Malala, Greta Thunberg. These women are the future because they stood up and fought which is what we will continue to do until we see a light at the end of the tunnel.

The time has come for the word racism to die with its . I have seen too many mourning instagram stories and too many frightened men and women. Nobody should have to live in an America where they are afraid to go on a run, to go birdwatching, to walk in a building without getting shot at. It is not the foundation that we were built on.

What I ask you to do, no, what I tell you to do:

  1. Sign: https://go.theactionpac.com/sign/justice-for-george-floyd/?akid=239.3480993.FOUUEu&rd=1&source=ema20200527-239&t=1
  2. Call: 612-324-449
  3. Share

We need all hands on deck. George Floyd will not rest in peace until there is justice. His death will give power to the movement. He will not die in vain.

Use your voice.

Thank you.