Sunday, December 30, 2012

That One Time "Fresh Prince" Made Me Cry

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It is no secret that I grew up living with my grandmother, who I love and who loves me more than anything. For most of my life my grandma has been my best friend. But at the same time, growing up with her meant I had to grow up without my parents, and very recently it hit me that this fact that I had kind of brushed off for a very long time really hurt. It hurts that people talk about what jobs their parents have and I can't do that. That most girls I know will be given away by their fathers at their weddings and I won't, little things that shouldn't matter, really do, and it is way more painful than I thought it would be, coming to terms with this fact.

What does Fresh Prince have to do with this? There is an episode where Will's dad comes back and then leaves him again at the end of the episode. Which prompts this:

"You know what, Uncle Phil? I'm gonna get through college without him, I'm gonna great job without him, Ima marry me a beautiful hunny and have me a whole bunch of kids. Ima be a better father than he ever was, and I sure as hell don't need him for that. Cause there ain't a damn thing he could ever teach me about how to love my kids! How come he don't want me, man?"

Every single time I watch that scene I cry because I know that feeling. I've given myself that same speech so many times in my life that it's become a constant, running thought, especially when I'm around other people and their parents. And I always ALWAYS ask myself what I did to make them leave. It always ends with asking myself why am I not good enough? Could I be better? Will they love me and come back for me if I do things differently? 

And that's terrible. Those are such toxic thoughts to have. Because underneath those questions is the truth. That nothing that I could have done or can do will bring them back and wouldn't have made them stay. Yes, I still wonder why they gave me up, especially on lonely nights like tonight, but I've also learned that without them leaving I probably wouldn't have lived the life I've lived and I wouldn't be where I am today. 

Yes, it still hurts. Yes, I'm always going to wonder. But at the same time, would them staying make life any better? I know that there are many more people on this planet who find worth in my being, so I need to focus on that more than I focus on the one person who should have cared and didn't. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why The Media Should Keep Their Sticky Little Fingers Off of Mass Murders

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In the wake of one of the most shocking mass murders of my life, and the second one in just a few short months, the new stations all over the country are running non stop coverage of Newton, CT and releasing news about Adam Lanza, the killer, every time a minuscule amount of anything is revealed about him. Just some facts I learned about him this morning: he was home schooled after 10th grade and before that he was in the Tech Club. Now I know that this a tragedy, especially where the families of the victims are concerned, but this constant and undiluted coverage of the Sandy Hook tragedy is actually hurting more than its helping.

As it turns out, giving a murderer weeks of publicity on television, in papers, and in popular magazines - let's not even kid ourselves Time is bound to do an article on this - is actually a bad thing, because then he turns into this person of infamy, a celebrity for all the wrong reasons, and someone out there will want to be just like that. According to Forensic Psychologist Dr. Park Dietz mass coverage of murders is exactly what's propagating them. "Because every time we have intense, saturated coverage of a murder, we expect to see on or two more within a week."

For proof of Dr. Dietz's statement look to the case of Joseph Wesbecker and Patrick Purdy. In 1989 Purdy received prolonged attention after he firebombed his car, killed five elementary school children, wounded 29 more along with a teacher with an AKS and then killed himself with a 9 mm gun. Originally the story didn't get much coverage. But as time went on, the story got bigger and bigger, and pointed out the similarities between this murder and several others.

In September of the same year Wesbecker, a recently released mental patient, armed with the same weapons as Purdy walked into Standard Gravure Co., killed eight people and wounded 13. Upon investigation of Wesbecker's belongings clippings of the articles about Purdy were found, along with other articles about mass murders. Wesbecker's entire plan that day was based off of the crime that Purdy had committed 8 months beforehand. The media's coverage of Purdy had created a copy-cat killer.

The media can actually be credited with creating copycat killers all the way back in the early 1900's. Jack the Ripper was running around killing people and becoming infamous for it. During that time, all the media coverage of his crimes created a string of people who imitated Jack - only they usually got caught. There was a more recent copycat of Jack the Ripper, also. Fortunately he was caught.

The same thing happened during the time when the Zodiac Killer was in his/her heyday. So much attention was given the case that 20 years later Eddie Seda decided to use him/her as inspiration and was arrested after being found guilty of Zodiac style murders.

And then in the 90's a string of school shootings all eerily similar to each other spanned the country. In fact, between 1983 and 2008 50 shootings have occurred inside schools, all with similarities to each other, including the Columbine Massacre, an incident that was mostly played out on television which raised the question: would a televised mass murder contribute to copy cat killings? I think we have our answer.

After the Virginia Tech shootings and the weeks long coverage of the event and specials on the killer, Northern Illinois University canceled classes after a threat referencing Virginia Tech was found in a bathroom stall, BU and University of Cincinnati students were arrested for threatening to wreak such havoc that VT would be "pale in comparison." Why? Because the killer, and the event (which is currently ranked as the deadliest shooting in the United States) went down in infamy. And infamy still warrants mass amounts of attention. If the event had been localized and not given hours of coverage by the News, it is likely that this wouldn't have happened. In fact, associate professor of psychology Danny Axsom noted that the greater the amount of publicity a particularly criminal act receives, the greater the potential is for copycat versions of the same event to occur.

Even Adam Lanza's crime has signs of a copycat murder. In my mind, Lanza, Purdy, and every other school shooter have pretty similar crimes, all happening in schools with assault weapons, and ending in their eventual suicides. And why? Why? Because the news can't find anything better to talk on. Useless footage of killers doing sports or menial day to day activities suddenly hold the marks of a murderer. But then their every move is plastered across the news screens for everyone to see, those who can watch it and feel sorry for the people involved and those who want the same amount of infamy and decide to recreate the crime somehow.

Eventually the names of the victims are forgotten. But the killers, who go down in infamy, become immortal. Lizzie Bordon, Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, The Zodiac Killer, The Green River Killer, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, those are names people remember. Because the media made a huge deal out of them, and while the victims names were once mentioned, more is made of the killer than the victims because how could someone do something so terrible?

Well they probably got their ideas watching the news.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Labels.

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Our world is full of labels. There are labels that come from the lifestyles one leads, relationship statuses,  the hobbies one partakes in, and some unfortunate people are labeled only by the opinion the general populous has of them.

But lets take a moment and examine why these labels are necessary. I mean honestly, I already have a name. It's Alexis Olmstead and I would prefer it if that was my identifier. Not "that geeky cheerleader" or "theatre nerd" or "Wanda's granddaughter" or "Russell's daughter" or "Drew's girlfriend". Because while I'm all of those things and more, I feel like they simplify me down to one thing. I'm not only a cheerleader, or theatre brat or family member of more recognizable people or girlfriend of a very fortunate Mac Man, but I'm also bookish, eccentric (or just plain weird), outgoing, easily amused, moody, loud, quiet, the list of my qualities goes on and on. But too often people's qualities and hobbies become the box they are stuck in. This is also true of one's religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, socioeconomic class, and IQ. What once started out as part of a person become that whole being.

What happened to the whole sum of our parts thing? Sum, not exclusive choice of the most obvious one.

But what really irritates me the most about labels or identifiers, is that a lot of times they come from a negative direction and they are unwanted by the person they are thrust upon, like the nickname Lex Luther that some random guy plastered on me one day during study period. I mean, yeah, being labeled as a cheerleader sucks when the only connotation of it is a negative one with airhead being a synonym, but I can't imagine what being called a queer or something worse on a daily basis feels like.

Believe it or not, the labels we thrust upon people are very often the labels that make them decide to hate themselves. The girl you decide is a slut today could be the suicide case on page 5 tomorrow. Obviously I'm dealing in extremes here, but even the extreme has a possibility to happen.

So let's not label people, okay? Put the label gun down and see people for their qualities and not their identifiers.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Killer Hair

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My mane devours hair ties.
It chews up ponytail holders and spits them out.
When hair ties get put in my hair, they know they're tying hair on borrowed time.
No longer will they be worn around wrists,
traded among friends,
or hide in the corners of my duffel bag purses,
they sign that all away when they realize its my scalp they're approaching.

"Give my love to Janice, I hear she's Katy Perry's favorite hair tie,
Give my no-slip grip dress to Charice,
She's next."

My hair is to hair ties what The Fates are to man.
Once I purchase a new package, the string is cut short.
None last more than two hours before being torn in half,
And I, desensitized to the masses of casualties from my hair,
Toss lifeless hair ties into the garbage can, never to tie again.

"Murderer!" Hair ties scream at me while they strain to secure my 'do.
"I'm sorry," my hair whispers back. She knows not what she does.

My mane weeps as a green victim tightly wraps itself around a messy bun.
"Never let me go." The hair tie cries.
"I promise." Says my hair, even more voluminous than usual.
My hair is big, because its so full of lies.
And then, the last hair tie breaks.

My hair is a murderer and the body count just keeps growing.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Criticism of Modern Day Colloquies and Literature

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While at an international student event with my roommate and friends on Wednesday I encountered not one, but two really great conversations that led to this post. One was about literature, one was about conversation, and both of them were based off of the point that in today's world, words are quickly losing meaning. I could talk about this in one of two ways, eloquently and maturely, like the title suggests I might, or with children's stories that I make up on the spot. Seeing as I think everything can be explained with a good children's story, I think I shall choose the latter of the two.

Conversation: Back in the time before internet, computers, or modern phones, people really knew how to talk to each other. You may think that people talk now more than ever because there are things like texting and Facebook to keep the world connected, but really, that's not talking. That's people exchanging shortened versions of words back and forth that rarely mean anything. But back in your grandparent's time, a group of people could sit in a room together and have a conversation based on something besides what they saw on the internet. A conversation that meant something. And since there was no texting or emails or Facebook chat they wrote letters, and everything they said meant something because letters took so long to get from one place to another. Words were used and not wasted. But then along came internet and cellphones and basically modern technology and phrases such as "k" and "lol" were accepted as parts of conversation. When talking with people it was very easy to bring up Facebook in normal conversation, and social networking sites were impossible to stay away from in day to day exchanges. This would not necessarily be a bad thing, if a devolution of vocabulary hadn't simultaneously occurred. To show you what I mean, I present: a sample conversation. 
How R U?
Gr8. U?
Ok. 
Where u @?
skool. 
k c u in a sec. :)
 You may not believe me, but people really talk like that now. What happened to great conversations where all included parties departed with new wisdom? I'm not saying that these conversations still don't happen, but  they aren't as prevalent, and in my experience most conversation today is a contest who can talk the most and say the least at the same time. Let's change that, world. Let's bring back communication that doesn't exclusively happen through technology. Technology is a barrier to communication and the only way to break it down is through face to face interaction having a conversation about the news, the weather (it's snowing), sports, intellectual pursuits, life, and good literature. 

Speaking of good literature, let's talk about how bad writing has gotten recently. Since when is it okay for a poorly written BDSM Twilight fan fiction to end up topping the New York Best Seller list? In fact, it topped best seller lists around the world! Let me revise that. Since when is it okay that the entire erotic series be on the top of the NY Best Seller List? That spot used to be saved for books that actually meant something and were well written to boot. Think Ernest Hemingway, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, John Grisham, Kurt Vonnegut, J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, and that's only a sampling. What's more, how did Twilight end up on the best seller list? Okay, I know how, it sold a lot of books. But why? It's poorly written, with a sketchy, predictable plot, and a million other things that are just awful. People are accepting rot for literature, and it needs to stop. I am all for modern literature, don't get me wrong. Looking for Alaska is one of my favorite books, and I would think that it's pretty modern. The Harry Potter Series grew along with an entire generation of people world wide, and there are so many more examples of great novels that have been written with the "modern literature" category that was born between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

However, the "they don't make 'em like they used to sentiment" greatly applies here. Where literature is concerned, books should be written for quantitative purposes, not qualitative. It's wonderous if a particular author has published at least 154 sonnets, but if none of those sonnets are very good, why even publish them*? A good book should teach the reader something. Books have the power to inspire and teach, to leave the reader with a new perspective on life, and potentially to change a life. with the books being published recently, that's not going to happen.

Why do I say this? Well, here's my reasoning. Recently I watched a video about writing and how every new writer goes through a period of "sucking" or just generally being a bloody terrible author. As aspiring (or new) authors everyone needs to embrace that period of time and realize that even though you have a potentially great story doesn't mean you should just throw it out into the world poorly written and underdeveloped. Authors need to give themselves time to suck, and embrace the suckiness of their writing along with it. Practice, spend years developing books, ideas, plots, characters, doing research and then, THEN great modern literature will potentially be born.

These observations have been made through my literature snob lenses, but I can't help but thinking that there is some validity to them. As a community we can only hope to move forward with literature and conversation, lest the world ends up like a scene from Idiocracy. 







*If you realized I was referencing Shakespeare, find me. We're best friends now. Also, in case you were wondering, all 154 of those sonnets were golden.

Monday, October 29, 2012

So...About Taylor Swift....

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She's pretty, she's got catchy music, parents want their little girls to look up to her because in interviews she preaches acceptance and being confident in oneself and yada yada yada.

But let's look at the More-Pop-Than-Country Princess from a different perspective. T. Swifty is actually a tad bit of a hypocrite. And by a tad bit, I mean, she's a big hypocrite, and also, she's a slut shamer, which isn't really that great either. In fact, I have a few reasons why I don't really like Taylor Swift and I know there may be a lot of disagreement

First let's look at the hypocrisy angle. On her album "Speak Now" her song "Mean" is all about being oh so done with a person with a person who is absolutely terrible to her, and making sure that they know someday they will regret treating her so badly and talking smack about her music. Yeah, cool. Empowering. But it is quickly followed by another song that is all about a girl who stole her boyfriend, and she's "better known for the things she does on the mattress." That's not nice, AND its slut shaming. Yeah, maybe she does have a lot of sex. But why do you care, Taylor? And also, if I recall, "You Belong With Me" is a whole song about how much you want to steal some girls boyfriend. So why is it okay for you to do it? There's this thing called "The Golden Rule" and you should look it up. Because you obviously forgot all about it, or never learned it or something, I don't even know.

Ugh. I can't believe you wore those heels. So terrible.
I don't know Taylor, those are awfully short
Also, on the "You Belong With Me" note, in that song she criticizes the other girl for wearing short skirts and high heels, as well as being a cheerleader. Let's take a moment to point out what Taylor Swift usually wears, because its not jeans and sneakers. In fact, in most of her appearances, Taylor is usually sporting a shorter dress and some very over the top heels. I actually don't care, because I think she has a cute style. But you can't criticize females for wearing something and then go and wear it....also. And why does what a girl wear and what activities she participates in determine her morality? Obviously the band geeky, glasses wearing, bench warming version of Taylor in the YBWM video is more deserving of male attention because you're not a harlot like that other girl....I mean, if its okay for you to be a girly girl, why can't she? I don't get it. I have many other issues with that song like how it casts cheerleaders in the negative role (again) as well as any girl who embraces her sexuality, but we'll let this argument go to bed.

I'm also just really sick of her music that is overplayed and all the same. She has made a living off of writing trash talk set to music and most of it involves the virgin/whore dichotomy. And in the chance it doesn't involve that, there is either a break-up involved, or she's demonstrating her superb clinginess as a girlfriend. And in the event that she's pining after someone, she writes music about stealing someone's man. But as stated before, she really doesn't like it when people do that to her. But I doubt she'll be finding a new song topic soon, so we're doomed to hear her make the same mistakes over and over again. As VH1 put it

"She’s like one breathless, blond version of Groundhog Day – every time we see her she’s doing the same exact thing, and it’s grown damn old real fast."
         - Kate Spencer for VH1
On a really nit picky note, she also uses being a homosexual as an insult in her popular song "Picture to Burn". Not okay. I mean, you could spread all sorts of rumours about this guy who dumped you, but why are you resorting to telling people he's gay? First of all, I don't see how that's an issue, and second of all, you could be coming up with an actual reason to stay away from him, like, he has crabs or something. Let's be creative here, Tay.

And say what you want, but when I like an artist, I expect them to be just as good live as they are on the album that I spend my hard earned money. But that's just not true with Taylor Swift. Does anyone recall the time when she sang with the legendary Stevie Nicks and was off-key the entire time? Or how about any concert that she has ever sung at and been flat. Seriously girl. You write the music. You should be able to sing it. ESPECIALLY when they stick Stevie Nicks behind you. I wasn't okay with that arrangement in the first place, but you just made it worse.

And how many times can she make that face? You KNOW what I'm talking about. Cool, you won an award, but once you win I don't know. twenty seven in the same night, the face gets a tad old. And not to mention, fake. It's like when the most popular girl in the school wins prom queen and acts surprised. Its a bit patronizing and I know I'm not the only who is tired of it. Well, that and you flipping your hair around. How many more times are you going to do that? Because I'm waiting for you to severely hurt your neck or something. Just be careful, and hopefully you have a person holding a neck brace on standby.

Essentially, my dislike of Taylor comes from deep seeded hatred of hypocrisy and monotony. There I said it. And that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

These Are The Moments....

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There are moments that I will never forget. These moments, glued into my mind like photos into a scrapbook, range from a simple look that was exchanged between two parties, to a decision that completely altered the way I live my life. In there is one hug, standing on a manhole covering, another is the first time I ever met my best friend. A lot of them are nights I spent doing absolutely nothing with the people I love most, and about twenty five percent of them are car rides with my grandma, listening to music, talking about life, and drinking coffee. Those memories are my magical summers, and my sunshine after the storm moments, they are times when I thought all hope was lost and then something happened to make it all better, and at least one of them is a kiss (and no, it’s not my first kiss, which was actually on stage). 
Five to ten of them happened in a theatre, one of them happened while I was in front of a camera, and another three while I was behind it. Sometimes there are no pictures with the memories, just smells. Like the smell after it rained for the first time after I got removed from my mother’s care. It smelled of clean - per usual - but that time it meant something different. It meant that I was clean too. That I was finally free of her grasp on my life and that’s why when it rained while I was walking home from school the next day I let it drench me. All the bad times were being washed away. It was beautiful. One of them happened tonight. It was a moment when I felt completely safe and realized that I should be allowed to feel that more often. 
But tonight I realized that most of them are really seemingly menial things. Which gives validity to the statement "it's the small things that count." Because they really do. Without those small things, like my sister Carissa and I spending that first night up at the spot, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't have the friends I have, I wouldn't have had the amazing experiences I've had today. I wouldn't have done cheerleading, I wouldn't have gotten into theatre, none of it. Because there are really small things behind everything I've ever done. And I remember all of those small things. I remember all of this, and it's a gift and a curse.
A gift because later down the road I can think back on my life and remember those glances, hugs, laughs, tears, memories made, and smile to myself. I'll remember that I'm friends with Kimber Grunst because Cheyanne was gone from school and we both had no one else to eat with at lunch, that I'm friends with Cheyanne because she needed to use my eyes as a model for her wolf mask in 7th period art, and that the only reason I took art was because I wasn't allowed to take two English classes in the seventh grade. I'll remember proposing to Joanna ten minutes after we met, getting lost and asking Chandler to help me find Foley-Benson's class, Daryn, Melissa, and Maranda claiming me after they found out I was the new kid in school, and the first time I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Peyton Puryear was my friend. I'll remember the first time I made my RA laugh "you left for three minutes and now it’s a foursome!" and basically the moments when I made some of the best friends a person could ask for. 
And a curse, because I'll remember the exact moment when so many things fell apart. I'll never forget the exact feeling I got in my stomach the moment I found out that Carissa needed me one night more than she has ever needed before or since then. I remember the blood draining out of my face when I found out my Great Grandma's cancer has come back and she is going to let nature work its course. I remember the looks on the faces of my brothers when they were hungry and we couldn't afford food, and the way everyone I've ever seen cried the moment they experienced true heartbreak. And it will break my heart. Because some aches you just don't get over. And you have to learn how to deal with that. 
"Now Alexis," you may be saying, "you need to quit being so reminiscent. You live in the past too much. You need to bring yourself into the present." But I think its important to traverse down memory lane so often. There you can see where you came from, whether it be good or bad. You can revisit moments that defined periods of your life, or your entire life. I know whenever I'm upset I think back to the summer I first met Carissa and Johnny and we spent almost a straight week sleeping at "The Spot" and watching the stars, and then waking up with the sun. I think about the time my grandma got pulled over and we got distracted by these two deer walking straight up the face of a mountain, I think of finally making cheer at Omak, I think of going to Cinderella with my Aunt and Kamiah back in fifth grade, and just think of all the things that made life really okay up to this point. And whenever I'm about to make a big decision, I can look back on my very short 19 year long life and see how decisions similar to this one have affected me then and how they will affect me now. 
There are moments that I will hold onto forever, both good and bad, and they will help continue to shape me into the young woman and adult that I'm trying so hard to be. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Truth? You Can't Handle The Truth!

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Dear Ladies of the World,

I'm sure that you'll agree with much of this.

Dear Men,

If you didn't know something contained in this post, I'm sorry.

Love, Alexis.

So as a female there is a certain time of month where I eat more than usual, I cry more than usual, humanity is more annoying than usual, and a small alien tries to claw its way out of my uterus. I'm not even kidding about that last bit. I'm convinced that there is an alien in my uterus. Anyways. This time of the month is commonly known as "having ones period" and it happens to most females. This is not, I repeat NOT a happy time. However, that is not what advertisements would have the general non-period having public believe. It cracks me up. So today we will be examining some things that happen in period commercials and then what actually happens.

Always brand has a really famous slogan. If you can't quote it, chances are, you're not a female, or you don't have a television. Anyways, "Have a Happy Period." Has been the slogan of this popular tampon brand for ages. Along with print ads like this:

Now that's a metaphor. 
So the whole point of this ad is to let you know that always brand pads bend and twist with the wearer. They follow up by wishing women "a happy period". Yeah. No. First of all....I admire any female that can touch their toes on their period. I can pull my leg over my head and do all sorts of crazy things but the minute I start having cramps have fun trying to get me to even stand up. We don't really need a pad that bends and twists with us....we need a pad that isn't so visible...just saying. And of course, this is my chance to address the blue water. What the heck is with the blue water? I mean, I know its so that we can tell what is being absorbed and everything, but blood and water do NOT have the same consistency  So unless I'm going to wear a pad in order to use it like a diaper, that whole demonstration does nothing for me.

I hope your tampon doesn't leak
you'll get eaten by a shark!
And then of course, we have tv and print ads which show the magical activities a female will do while on their period, if utilizing a certain brand of tampons or pads. If I use Playtex Sport I'll be unstoppable, and if I use Playtex Pearl I can outsmart Mother Nature, which means no leaks, and then I can go on a vacation to Hawaii or meet the love of my life on a cruise! Always makes me super flexible and makes it so that I can go out dancing and have fun and laugh with all my super awesome model friends, and holy hell, are you telling me that if I use Tampex I'll stand out from the crowd and be individual? Just by using a tampon that the world will NEVER see because apparently its a taboo to whip those out? Because periods are a magical time of the month where we go surfing, and rollerblading and all sorts of strenuous but awesome activities that we normally don't do. Heck, by the way periods are advertised we should start calling it "The Fun Time of the Month". Because holy goodness, those ladies in the commercial look like they are just really happy with their lives and everything going on in it, despite the fact an alien baby is ripping its way through their uterus. So men, I'm really sorry if you EVER believed those commercials. Because after a certain age you realize that females are not to be reckoned with during their period. And to anyone who is beneath that age, don't expect an adventure filled week every month. Expect this all the freaking time:

I told you aliens were clawing their way out of our uteri. Oh, and on top of that, add a lot of eating and crying.

Basically, tampon ads are liars. And why? WHY? I used to really look forward to getting my period. I was like, that looks awesome! Oh, how wrong I was. Well the whole reason is because most western society has issues with anything resembling leakage from the body, from sneezing to breastfeeding and periods, so what happens? Euphemism filled commercials about periods. I wasn't kidding when I said you can't handle the truth, America really can't handle the truth about periods. And hence, a lot of men are confused as to what a tampon even LOOKS like, and watching them try to buy them is seriously the best thing ever. Honestly, there are so many different options in tampon and pad land that its embarrassing and difficult to go to the store and just grab a package of tampons. Don't believe me? Watch this video where a boy tries to buy tampons for his girlfriend and asks for advice from men AND women, and leaves most people stumped.


What's also really interesting is that tampon ads really like to skip the whole anatomy part of periods. Like, they show women being all fun and stuff, but the commercials are filled to overflowing with euphemisms for what's actually going on. And it's awesome. Tampax likes to use the whole "Mother Nature and her Unwanted Gift" angle, and many others don't even describe the situation at hand, you just know. Because there is a girl wearing all white and she's caught in an embarrassing situation. And then it ends with "at least your tampon didn't leak".

What's really funny though, is that tampon companies actually can't use the word vagina in marketing, even in America, where we pretty much use whatever language we want when it comes to advertising and television. This ad by UbyKotex was actually banned from television because of the use of the word Vagina, and then, when it was reshot to state "down there" which I mean, come on, my fourth grade sister says that, it still wasn't allowed on television. Which is a shame, because its probably one of the most hilarious period related commercials I've seen in a while. Here you can see what I'm thinking is that ad that they finally allowed on tv, with no mention of vaginas at all, which is ironic, since that's where tampons go...but whatever.


In conclusion: There are no happy periods. Ever. Any girl who tells you that they are always happy on their period is a liar. A dirty, dirty liar. And that's also what most tampon ads are as well.

In closing, I offer a couple of my favorite responses to tampon ads ever. And I also hope that advetisers keep moving forward with this whole issue. Because heaven forbid they come up with more ways to say "I'm on my period." Because honestly, period euphemisms are something the world needs WAY less of. I'm so sick and tired of hearing people say they are getting a visit from "Auntie Flo" or some other crap like that. We are women, we bleed. It happens.

Why the I ♥ Boobies Campaign is Actually Offensive

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Breast Cancer is an epidemic sweeping the nation. According to breastcancer.org 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer during her life. Think about that. Take eight people you know, and chances are, at least one of them is going to end up with breast cancer. In 2011, about 400,000 women were expected to die from breast cancer and 2.6 million survivors were alive and well in the U.S. It is the most diagnosed form of cancer in women, especially Caucasian women, and the cancer that kills the most African-American women under the age of 45. So it can be agreed upon the breast cancer is a terrible thing and that breast cancer research is very, very necessary.

So, kudos to all of the breast cancer awareness campaigns and fundraisers. They are much needed and can only help in this fight. However, there are some campaigns that although their intentions are good, may need new...advertising? I'm not sure if that's the word I'm looking for, but we'll run with it.

Anyways, there a couple of campaigns, such as the "Save the Ta-Tas" and the "I ♥ Boobies" (run by the Keep a Breast Foundation) campaigns are actually quite offensive.

At this point, reader, I expect that you're shaking your head and thinking to yourself, "really, Alexis? Now you're going to attack Breast Cancer campaigns? Does your shaming know no bounds?" And to you, my answer is yes.

While important to spreading awareness about Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Research, these campaigns are offensive because they are completely sexualizing breast cancer. The campaigns are basically saying "save the boobs because they're sexy!" Not, "save the boobs because women usually feel like they've lost a large part of their person and gender identity after they have a mastectomy." In fact, one of my biggest problems with the whole "Save the Ta-Tas" thing is that more often than not, the only way to actually beat the cancer is to LOSE the "Ta-Tas". Also, if there any women out there who actually refer to their boobs as "Ta-Tas" I would like to know, because seriously. Who, over the age of two actually says that?

Also, women's bodies are being exploited under this guise of larger corporations donating to charity. Think about it. Every October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. So everyone dons their pink clothes and their "I Love Boobies" bracelets and shop at stores and buy products that have a little pink ribbon located somewhere on or within them. That's right, while companies are saying that they are going to donate part of the profits to Breast Cancer Research they are still making a ton of money, at the expense of millions of women's boobs. And chances are, once those customers who originally bought the product to help a good cause, will get hooked on the product and come back for more, regardless of whether or not the money is going to charity. It's legitimately a marketing ploy for corporate America. To date, only $427,000 dollars has actually been raised. Why? Because only 5% of the gross sales ACTUALLY goes towards research.

Then of course there is the whole objectification thing. One of the worst parts of "Save the Ta-Tas" and "I Love Boobies" is that the campaign is reducing women down to their most recognizable feature, their boobs. This campaign is OBVIOUSLY used to attract men to the whole idea that Breast Cancer needs curing, not because of the millions of women whose lives would be saved, but because without that cure, there will be less boobs on the planet, and thus, less boobs for men to stare at. And on that same but different note, why the heck did the color for the whole thing have to be PINK? Yes, I'm aware that breast cancer is a predominately female disease. But why does that mean that it is completely necessary to have the symbol be such a quintessentially "feminine" color?

And as long as I'm being honest here, I feel like these campaigns make the whole idea of breast cancer almost trivial. The logos and the pink shirts and everything make breast cancer seem cutesy and fun. I mean, obviously there is NOTHING as enjoyable as having part of your anatomy removed. Also, yeah, it's cool that big sports teams are on board with the whole awareness thing, you may in fact see them wearing pink shoes, or tape, or pink something in order to raise awareness, but have you ever seen them fighting to end gender parity in sports reporting? Nope. I feel that this campaign is almost oppressive because the majority of men think that by raising awareness "for the cure" they are preaching gender equality, and that's just not true. In fact, because they are drawn to the more fashionable campaigns, they are actually regressing in terms of gender equality and going back to seeing women as boobs and skirts and pink, rather than as human beings who just want support while they are going through this life changing cancer.

So no, I will not advocate for saving ta-tas, saving second base, or your love of boobies. I will, however, let you know what you can do with that propoganda.

I also feel that in order to stop this sexualization and give men a taste of their own medicine we should think of an equally demeaning and objectifying campaign for Prostate Cancer Awareness. I mean, COULD YOU IMAGINE?

Disclaimer: Cancer is not something to joke about, I think that all forms of cancer are serious, and every campaign is helpful is spreading awareness. That does not mean, however, that I have to agree with them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why Obama and Romney Need to Go Back to Elementary School.

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Note: This may be true of all politicians. It may not be. This also based off of the Second Presidential Debate (and some other random events) as I have yet to muster up enough courage to go watch the third one.

During the Second Presidential debate I, like many interested people and undecided voters tuned into to see what Governor Romney and President Obama had to see about important issues such as women's rights, especially where healthcare is concerned, the current state of our countries economy, unemployment rates, and apparently the AK-47 topic that was thrown in just for kicks.

What we as an audience got was an hour and a half long festival of indecisive Romney, sassy Obama, and two men who forgot some rules that most people learn in second grade. Rules like, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," and "don't interrupt". I'm quite sure that the second grade teachers of these adult men were sitting in a living room somewhere writing lesson plans and shaking their heads. Because that's what I, and most of the social networking world were doing, sans lesson plans.

After watching the debate I went and did some research about social skills that are taught in elementary school. And what I found was not only a list of things that we are taught in second grade in regards on how to behave around other people, but it was also a comprehensive list of skills that Obama and Romney should probably work on.


  • Item #1 - Listen to Others

     A prime example of  "others" would be Candy Crowley, since she was Tuesday nights debate moderator.  When she states several times that it is time to move on and actually answer the question that was asked, you should probably listen, boys.


  • Item #2 - Follow the Rules

      So....I've written a list of rules broken during the debate.
           NO QUESTIONS TO THE OPPONENT: Rule 5e - The most frequent offender in regards to this was Romney, who broke rule 5e eight times when he turned and directly asked President Obama about the amount of permits he had cut in relation to fuel extraction. 
             
          PERSONAL SPACE VIOLATIONS: Rule 9c(iv) - Before the debate starts the campaigns set up a pre-designated space in which both opponents are allowed to move around in during the debate. They are not allowed to leave these areas and the areas can't overlap. If this rule was ever even so much as looked at, it was hard for me to tell, since a couple of times the opposing forces were chest to chest. Debate? More like a fist fight waiting to happen. 

         REFERENCING A QUESTIONER Rule 5c- Both candidates are guilty of this as well, but then again, Candy Crowley probably should have stopped them, since part of section 5 is rules about when the moderator can interrupt, and one of those times is when a candidate goes back and references any individual sitting in the room except for their family members. 

          TIME LIMIT VIOLATIONS Rule 7a(5f) - The way that the time is allotted (in a document signed by the campaign lawyers) goes as follows: Candidate A is asked a question and is given 2 minutes to respond. Candidate B then has two minutes to answer the question then 2 additional minutes to rebutt what Candidate A said in response to the question. Candidate A is then given 2 minutes for a rebuttal to Candidate B. Time and time again Obama and Romney ran over their time limits and one time Obama blatantly told Candy Crowley to wait. No offense Mr. President, but you need to shut your mouth and take a seat, its not your turn anymore. 


  • Item #3 - Take Turns When You Talk

    Someone went through and counted the number of interruptions in Tuesday's 90 minute debate. They reached 122. I imagine most of those came from Obama, but Romney definitely played a part in that as well. It's not nice to interrupt, boys. You'll get your four minutes of unshared camera time soon enough. Calm down.


  • Item #4 - Get Along with Others

      No, we don't like everyone, and I'm not even going to pretend this is EVER a rule followed during election season. Obama obviously dislikes Romney and vice-versa. If you couldn't tell that, check out Obama's tumblr, which holds the most popular post on the entire site, and listen to his one-liners. Romney reciprocates this dislike, obviously. I mean, have you ever seen Presidential candidates who liked each other?


  • Item #5 - Be Responsible for Your Actions

   Dear Governor Romney, we know about you and the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay act, we know about you and your flip flopping viewpoints so that you can get endorsements. We all know. You're in the public eye, and you should probably just realize that we're going to see everything you do. You can't pretend it didn't happen, because it did. Maybe you would have more support if you owned up to your mistakes and got rid of your binder full of women, because that's creepy.

   Dear President Obama, we know about the whole Libya attack thing and how you insisted for days that it was a spontaneous attack. We also know that you promised us some things that you haven't delivered on. When Romney calls you out on it, don't get so defensive. No, you didn't do everything, but you did a lot of things, be proud of those. But come on, man. Take some responsibility.

Before we pick a President we should stick him in the middle of a second grade classroom and make him relearn all of these lessons. I mean seriously, I can't take my President seriously if he can't follow the classroom rules. He would have so been stuck in the detention corner during recess if he was still in school.

And lastly, who wants to help me find this book
and send it to both campaigns?




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chanlexis

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So I've realized recently that I talk a lot about Chandler to people who don't actually have any idea who the heck he is, and I'm pretty sure might not really care, but I would just like to openly admit to the universe that Chandler is a big part of who I am today, and if he doesn't know that yet he should (oh gosh, I sound so mushy right now. Ick).

Anyways, today I will tell the story of Chanlexis.

When I was in 10th grade I transferred from Oroville High School to Omak High School. My first day was the day right before Christmas Vacation started. Anyways. That was the day I met Chandler, and I'm glad I met him in the morning because in the afternoon I got severely lost and he had to show me to class.

After that I didn't really think about him that much. When I got back after vacation I was too stressed with homework to really worry about it, or Tolo, which was coming up quick. But Chandler, not one to miss a dance, was thinking about it a lot. And he was also thinking about how he didn't have a date. In the weeks leading up to Tolo he approached me three or four times about going with him. Every single time we had the same conversation.

Chandler: "So have you got a date to Tolo yet?"
Me: "No..."
Chandler: "Oh, me either!"

Let's just talk about the abundance of awful hair here.
The day before the dance I guess he got sick of me avoiding of him, because as I walking out of Biology he basically pinned me against the wall and informed me that I was his date and that he would pick me up for the dance at 8:00. I had to call him later to tell him where to pick me up, that was comical. There was nothing romantic about him asking me, I'm pretty sure that he was sick and tired of me being obnoxiously vague about the whole ordeal and decided to take matters into his own hands. But hey, it worked. Anyways, we went to Tolo together, a dance where I earned the nickname "Thriller Girl" and we had our first kiss, and I sat through the most painful first date dinner I have ever experienced. I kid you not, reader, I actually considered climbing out the bathroom window and ditching him, but his friend who was at the same restaurant for dinner threatened to tell. I didn't know what to do. But of course, it must have turned out well, or we wouldn't have this story.

If memory serves me correctly that kiss was basically the declaration that we were dating, because he never really asked me to be his girlfriend. After that we just adopted the title of a couple, and it was great. There was an abundance of sass. Chandler is a very blunt, outspoken person. If you've met me, you know that I'm the exact same way. So together there was a lot of bluntness. The King and Queen of Sass if you will. The school year was filled with a lot of great events, there was the time I ran for student government and lost, and of course, Chandler was in my split and loyally wore one of the ugliest campaign shirts I've ever made or seen, and of course prom...there's not much else I can say about prom except for "oh, prom." We were together for the rest of the school year then, in a very dramatic phone call, broke up. There wasn't any "please don't go I love you" drama, just a lot of "ohmygod you're being so immature and we're so done" drama. Not gonna lie, it was mostly because of me. I get kind of crazy sometimes.

For a while it was awkward. We didn't really see each other much over the summer, but once school started and we were in advanced choir together, basically it was a reunion of the dynamic duo of sorts. Though we weren't dating, we were definitely back as friends, and it was glorious because I had someone to back me up when someone was getting in my face, I had someone to gossip with, I had someone to dance with, and I had my best friend back. Basically the rule with Chandler is, if you're there for him, he'll be there for you. And he was there for me when I had to watch one of my best girlfriends suffer through a family death. It was traumatic for her and really took a toll on me as well. So Chandler, ever the friend, got the convertible, and took me out to pizza and baseball. That's a memory I'll always keep close. The day Chandler made me feel better by taking me to my hometown to get some delicious food and I realized he knew EXACTLY what to do and say to make me feel better about myself.

Shortly after that, Chandler graduated, which was one of the saddest days ever, because I realized for the first time ever I was going to have to navigate high school without the person who actually showed me how to get around. Senior year was really lonely without him, but whenever he was in town he made sure to stop by and see me, and at the beginning of the year he came to some of the football games that we were out of town, so I got to see him there, too. And of course, he was at my graduation. I'm pretty sure that he stated "I only came to watch you! I'm so proud of you." Yeah. Best. Friend. Ever.

With the summer starting up before I went to college, I knew I had to make it something that I would remember for a really long time. Chandler and his family (who I happen to love, and I THINK they love me too) were away on vacation, but Chandler and I skyped frequently, and we talked frequently about all the things we were going to do when he got back.  If we had actually kept a list, I think we would have crossed almost everything off. Anyways, again, without there being any formal announcement, Chandler and I were dating again. Watching the stars in his yard, going to the beach, and just generally enjoying everything being young in the summer. It was a good way to spend the days. But eventually everything good has to come to an end, and that's what summer did. Chandler went back to his sophomore year of college at UW. We said goodbye on a night where we sang "Sweet Caroline" and danced in a park and I cried. It was cute and romantic and tragic and great. And then I went off to freshman year of college and broke up with Chandler. I know that sounds abrupt, but that's also how our breakup was. And it was me who instigated it, but at the same time, we both knew it would end eventually.

What, you thought I was joking?
But our friendship has yet to end. They say you don't meet your real friends in high school, you meet them in college. But I think that Chandler is one of the few exceptions to that rule. No one else can cheer me up like he can, and no one else will show up to my house in an outfit that accidentally matches mine in color. Chandler taught me that it was okay to let your walls down and be vulnerable sometimes, and that even if you don't know someones past you can still love them for who they are in the present. And that's a great thing.

So here's to my best friend, Chandler. And also, here's to us. Chanlexis. I hope our future has been as great as past.

Love you!

Monday, October 8, 2012

That's Not Native!

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Let me start out by saying that this post has been on my mind for a while, in case you guys hadn't noticed, I've been facebooking (and tumblring) a lot about cultural appropriation. I think it's because Halloween is just around the corner and it seems to me that a large majority of the population can't tell the difference between a culture and a costumeWhile this applies to many cultures, I'm mainly going to speak about how this particularly pertains to Native Americans, because I am one (please hold back on the "you don't look Native" comments I already know) and because I see more people dressed up as Native Americans than anything. So. First some notes, and then I'll give you a brief tutorial on how to tell whether something is Native or not, and coincidentally, whether it's racist to wear it or not. So we begin. Point A. Wearing Native American cultural items promotes stereotyping of Natives as a whole.Basically what you're saying when you wear them is "I don't realize that I'm actually perpetuating the stereotype created by Hollywood that all Native Americans wear warpaint, headdresses, and braids, and I don't really care. All Native Americans are exactly the same. It's not like there are over 500 tribes that have their own cultures. I choose to only recognize them by this one 'accessory'." Also, it creates the idea that Native Americans are in the past and don't have  a place in today's world. I mean honestly, you don't wear your church clothes everyday, why would we wander around in ceremonial attire just to be recognized as a people?Point B. Wearing Blackface is wrong. So is "Playing Indian"What people fail to realize is that pretending to be a race your not is just as bad as wearing blackface. When you do that, you collapse distinct cultures, and therefore assert your power over them. Which, considering the fact that genocide and colonialism still continue today where Native Americans are involved, is NOT okay. For Point C, which is "The items you wear as accessories are deeply rooted in Native American spirituality" I couldn't find any better way to say it than Monica, a girl who runs a blog that I deeply appreciate. "The wearing of feathers and warbonnets in Native communities is not a fashion choice. Eagle feathers are presented as symbols of honor and respect and have to be earned. Some communities give them to children when they become adults through special ceremonies, others present the feathers as a way of commemorating an act or event of deep significance. Warbonnets especially are reserved for respected figures of power. The other issue is that warbonnets are reserved for men in Native communities, and nearly all of these pictures show women sporting the headdresses. I can't read it as an act of feminism or subverting the patriarchal society, it's an act of utter disrespect for the origins of the practice. This is just as bad as running around in a pope hat and a bikini, or a Sikh turban cause it's 'cute.'"Here are some responses that I'm sure you came up with during this whole thing:

I'm just trying to honor your people! Calm down! I highly doubt very many people are honored by a girl in a bikini dancing around in a headdress. Put some clothes on, take the headdress off, and everyone will be happy. I don't think I can say it better than the cartoon on the right.

But I'm just trying to keep up with current trends!
You know what else is a trend right now? Drug use. Oh and teenage pregnancy. Are you trying to keep up with those trends as well? My culture is not a trend. It should not be treated as something that can go out of style whenever someone high up on the fashion social ladder chooses. And please stop wearing "Native American headbands" Hollywood created that whole idea/thing because the headbands helped the actors keep their wigs on when portraying Natives. Y'all just look ridiculous. 
Fetching!

But it's just a Halloween costume. RUH-LAX.  No. It's racism, and cultural appropriation. Because if you're saying you want to dress up as...oh...I don't know, Pocahontas and you end up dressed like the girl on the left, you're doing it wrong. Just FYI: Pocahontas as an adult is normally depicted in European clothing because she married a European man named John Rolfe (NOT John Smith you Disney fanatics) and toured England, where she had her portrait taken. So actually, you should probably dress up more similar to the portrait on the right. 

To recap: Wearing Native American clothing or carictures of their clothing or spiritual artifacts is wrong. It is racist and culture's are not trends for you to exploit. You wouldn't wear black face and walk around like it is normal to be painted like that, would you?

Native:



Not Native:



So this Halloween, and every other day of the year as well, please refrain from headdresses, and feathers, and trying to be Native, because I mean, your ancestors killed off all of our ancestors first of all, and ugh, and also, it's just plain offensive. You wouldn't use a word you didn't know the meaning of, why use a cultural object that way?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Love.

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Have you ever wondered how it feels to be completely, irrevocably in love? Like, when you look at that person the breath goes completely out of you and butterflies take its place, dancing a ballet in your lungs? 
I’ve always wondered what it would be like to look at someone and feel my heart swell with a love so big that my body couldn’t possibly contain it, as a smile crept onto my face, unstoppable, and uncontrollable. I’ve wondered what its like to feel a love that I could write volumes about, to finally feel so much for one person that I never hurt when they’re around, because the sweet melody of their voice and their melodic voice would bandage any wound I would have suffered that day. 
I want to feel like I’ve found someone in who I can never be disappointed, the person who makes love something easy, and for who I don’t fall for, but who I fit with. I’d rather be a puzzle piece than a domino, if that makes any sense. I want to find the person who is custom made to fit me, and who I’m custom made to fit. The person who can look past all my imperfections to see the person who is inside of me, the person I’ve worked all my life to be.  
I’ve got it all worked inside my head. That I’ll see them and they’ll see me and somewhere cherubs will strike up their harps. I know that sounds cheesy, but isn’t love usually cheesy? We make fun of all of those couples who have it figured out and love each other more than anything we could ever fathom and call them cheesy and cutesy and stuff, but isn’t it true that we are all looking for the same exact thing? We want someone to make us go “D’awwwweee” we want someone who makes us blush on a daily basis just by complimenting our new hairstyle or the outfit we’re wearing, someone who surprises us with flowers for no reason at all, and posts silly things on our facebook wall, and takes us for midnight walks to the park and plays on the swings with us. 
I want the cliche, stereotypical, perfect relationship. Because in my head I’ve got it all worked out in my mind that it’ll be worth waiting for. I know I haven’t found that yet, but I have faith that I’ll find it eventually, and when I do, it’ll be the love that I write lengthy blog posts hidden deep in my blog about. But not because I’m ashamed of my love, because when I’m finally in love, and by love I mean true, undeniable, inescapably perfect love, I will be screaming it from the roof tops. Possibly forever.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Classic Lit but Mostly Shakespeare

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The first time I picked up a Shakespearean work I was in the third grade and I was at the public library with my mother. I was roaming the aisles looking for something with more meat than Ramona Quimby, not only because I had read all of the ones that were out, but also because my teacher told me that I had a high school reading level and so I had an inflated ego. 
I remember pulling Romeo and Juliet off the shelf, and Twelfth Night making this really loud, quite obnoxious thud as it came down with it and fell on the ground. I remember the way it smelled, because to me, books, especially older ones, have this very distinct scent that me and many other bibliophiles have come to fall in love with. I remember opening it up and reading the iconic line “Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo?” and then underneath “*Why are you called Romeo”. That moment was huge for me. 
In that moment not only did I realize that I could read this book and have bragging rights that not many third graders had (I remember my teacher, Mrs. Pruitt laughing when I showed her what I had got) but I realized that in the crazy world of literature, words meant something different than what the reader initially thought. I realized that there was a whole world of books written by really, really old people that said things that meant something entirely different! And with that epiphany I decided to check it out. I put twelfth night back, and have yet to read it. 
But ever since that day in third grade I have spent my days happily devouring whatever classic novels (and sometimes not so classic novels) that I can get my hands on, always choosing Shakespeare over anything else. 
That one moment in the library shaped a large part of who I am today. And my mom allowing me to check it out (even though the librarian advised against it) opened the gates that led me down the path of English teacher-ism. 
Wherefore art thou English Teacher?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Under Construction

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I've decided recently that its very important to let go of the past and move to future. I know that this is not an original thought, and perhaps even a tad of a cliche thing to decide, but some people learn slower than others, ya know?

But once I decided this I realized that in order to let go of the past, I also have to address it. Those things I've been avoiding talking about because I'd rather forget them, the people I should forgive even though it's easier to hold a grudge, the people I should ask to forgive me, even though it's easier just to avoid them,  and even the things I should forgive myself for, because I am not a perfect human, and I shouldn't beat myself up for things I did years ago. So basically, I decided to renovate my life.

From this moment on, I, Alexis Olmstead am under construction to be the best that I can be. And the best part is, I'm totally excited and I don't care if people don't like the new me, I will like the new me. I want to be the fun loving girl that many of you are acquainted with, but I also want to be the introspective, scholarly girl that hasn't really had her day in the sun. (Irony of ironies, I had to use spellcheck for the word 'acquainted'). But also, I want to be kinder, more understanding, more loving, more empathetic, sympathetic, and just generally more positive.

I've been thinking about this for awhile now. It really came up a couple of days ago when I read some cat fight on Facebook and thought to myself "I wish people were nicer". Which was soon followed by, "how can I expect people to be nicer if I'm not the nicest person on the planet, either?" So a new Alexis was conceived, and now she's about to be born, under a flag that reads: Be the change you wish to see in the world. Dear reader, I really hope you get that reference.

So here's to being a new person. Here's to addressing the past so that we can move into the future, here's to me, here's to you, here's to us.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why Whitworth?

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Because at Whitworth everyone is embraced, no matter what color, gender, religion or political view they are. As a Whitworthian you will not be discriminated against because of who you love, where you come from, or how much money you have. 

Only at Whitworth will you see professors playing frisbee after class with their students or longboarding across campus. Here you’ll discover the importance of catching a pinecone and traditiation. At Whitworth you’ll be challenged everyday to learn about yourself and what you believe in. You’ll drink coffee with your professors and befriend the President on Facebook.

At Whitworth, not only will you get an education of the mind, but one of the heart as well. You’ll have inside jokes with the lunch ladies and know the “love language” of all the campus security officers. At Whitworth you’ll create bonds that will last a life time. 
Here you’ll surround yourself with love, learning and beauty. Because not only are the people here good-looking, they have beautiful souls as well. 

If you come to Whitworth, you won’t have to worry about being judged, because everyone- to some degree - believes what you do. And if they don’t, they’ll be willing to open their minds to new ideas and experiences, because at Whitworth diversity is something that we embrace and cherish. Here you will become part of a community that you’ll never want to leave. But don’t worry, because “Once a Whitworthian, always a Whitworthian.” 

Here you’ll learn about blatting and transcending, yourself and the world around you. You’ll run from Zombies and soak people with water bottles. You’ll grow in the knowledge of who you are, and become who you want to be. Because when you come to Whitworth, you come home.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

To My Someday Cheer Squad:

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One of my goals in life is to be a cheer coach. Cheerleading was very important to me, and I think that it's important to share what I love with other people who appreciate it as well. However, I'm going to be hard as nails coach because I want my team to be amazing. So I figured out rules for the cheer squad I hope to coach.

  • There will be one week at the beginning of every season where everything will be in a “grace period” so corrections will be given without consequence and hopefully applied. 
  • After that week, you get one warning. If I say point your toes more than once, you run. If I say tighten up more than once, you run. 
  • Hair may be dyed natural colors only. Highlights of unnatural colors may be permitted as long as they do not clash with the uniform and are maintained. This will be on a case by case basis. 
  • If your bangs prevent me from making eye contact with you, there’s a problem and you will be asked to fix it.
  • High ponies are the official hair style of cheerleading for a reason. The only time you do not follow this rule is if you cut all your hair off and style it into a bob. 
  • Full uniforms or warmups will be worn at all times during competition. However, you may change out of your shoes after performing. 
  • No practice wear, no practice. 
  • If you soffe shorts are part of the practice wear please do the world a favor and put spandex on underneath. 
  • A stunt will not be put into routine until it can be performed flawlessly 10 times in a row at practice. 
  • Everyone deserves a chance to fly. You don’t wanna fly? Cool stay grounded. You do wanna fly? Even better, you will at fly at least once during practice.
  • No one is too tall too heavy too anything to fly. If you are a flyer and make a comment suggesting so, you will be turned into a base. 
  • Once positions are set they will stay that way unless someone dies or drops out.
  • You better be dying if you don’t show up to practice.
  • You’re late? You run. You leave early? You run at the next practice. 
  • Your teammates are your brothers and sisters and your coaches are your parents. Failure to accept that is grounds for dismissal. I’m not saying you all have to like each other, but you do all have to respect each other.
  • If I put you in a point position or give you last pass you better show me each and every day why you deserve to be there or I will replace you.
  • There will be no eating at practice.
  • There will be no gum chewing at practice.
  • If you get hit during routine, you keep going. Do not exit the mat or field unless you're broken in some way or are about to pass out. Winners never quit. Fight through the pain. All those cheesy cliches. 
  • Cell phones will be put in a cell phone bin in the coaches office until after practice. If it absolutely necessary for you to have it out, please approach me about it first.
  • Cheerleading is hard. Cheerleading isn’t always fun. But you work at it and you give it 110% each and every day you have the privilege to walk into practice or competition and I promise, you will ALWAYS have something to be proud of yourself about.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

“Friday Night” Cultures: Football Players and Cheerleaders

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Friday nights in the fall bring about a very important high school event: Friday night football games. Of course, there are two very important components to this event: the football players, and the squad that cheers them on. Now, upon first glance, one might not think that these two groups of people (who will hence forth be referred to as ‘cultures’) have nothing in common. However, once put under the microscope, a plethora of similarities begin to emerge and exist alongside the cultural differences.
As a cheerleader, I have had many football players try to convince me that cheer is easy, only to be proved wrong once put to the test. This can be attributed to many things, but the most prevalent is that while football players have a special form of training to prepare for “the big game,” cheerleaders spend hours in their own training to be ready to perform once the game starts. While these two cultures train for two vastly different activities, it is important to note that some of their workout methods are very similar. Just like football players, cheerleaders run and lift weights. We also have a set practice time that is crucial to attend. Our workouts focus on strength and endurance, just like football players, along with dance, synchronization, flexibility, tumbling and stunting, which football players do not have to worry about. Not to minimize a football players skill set or anything, but while they are out throwing a ball around and tackling each other, cheerleaders are performing complicated routines, stunts and tumbling passes, all of which are just as dangerous as taking a hit on the football field.
Danger is another field where cheerleading and football play equally, as it turns out. Both sports made livescience.com’s top five lists for most dangerous male and female sports, with football turning in at number 3 for most dangerous male sport, and cheerleading ranking first among most dangerous female sports, followed by gymnastics, which is a component of cheerleading. In fact, it has been widely stated that cheerleading may be even more dangerous than football, but since the two sports involve such different activities it is impossible to tell. These statistics make sense, of course. In football, players are frequently tackled to the ground by people who either the same size or much larger while using excessive force. In cheerleading, athletes are being thrown in the air, performing difficult tumbling passes (or flips, in layman’s terms) and putting a large amount of stress on their joints, muscles and bones. With these things in mind, the frequent trips to the hospital make lots of sense.
There are a few things, though, where there are no differences between cheerleading and football. One of these topics of complete agreement is what athletes learn from participating in these sports, beginning with the old adage “there is no ‘I’ in team”. Athletes learn to participate as a group and trade in their individualism for the good of the group. Indeed, football teams and cheerleading squads are very collective cultures. The athletes also learn discipline, trust, the meaning of the words, dedication and perseverance, and how to give 120% in all things because if they don’t someone else will. That’s a lot of life skills to take in for two cultures that are stereotypically ignorant, if you ask me.
My favorite stereotype about cheerleading is that we’re all stupid. And as far as football players go, they love it as well. Another commonality between our cultures? The world thinks we’re all idiots. This is quite ironic, when the fact that cheerleaders turn in a national average of a B plus where grades are concerned, and although the exact national GPA for football players is unknown, many college football players make the news for not only being amazing athletes but great scholars as well. (Take that, general population!) In fact, GPA is a very important part of life for the non-professional members of these cultures. A grade point average of at least 2.0 must be held at all times to be eligible to play or even practice. This pushes the athletes to not only work hard in school, but to also excel in the academic arena. Professional members do not have to worry about grade point average, because obviously, they are no longer pursuing any type of education, and only working to make money.
Not that professional cheerleaders make much money. According to dancecheer.net, professional cheerleaders only make $15-$50 (with the average price being $50) per game. So unlike NFL members, who make about $1.4 million a year, professional cheerleaders, who practice just as much and perform just like their male counterparts, also have to work full time jobs in order to cover living costs, and necessities for cheerleading, such as their uniform, hair products and travel expenses (which are not always covered).
Football and Cheerleading are quite obviously two very different sports and cultures, both of which fall into what I like to call the “Friday Night Culture” due to their similarities that can be found upon further inspection. From required tryouts for both teams to the ability to be a professional, similarities can be found where most observers only find differences. It really is a small world, after all.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Moonlight Sonata: Adagio Sostenuto

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Haunting, as if someone has lost something, and can’t find it. 
I an see them now, walking up stairs, looking left and right on the top floor, then they come to a window, see the light. The darkness that surrounds it, but still the moon shines on.
They pause to think, what have they come for, it is lost, that is all they know. 
A flashback to a happier time, overshadowed by the knowledge of what is to come. A tear, in its loneliness slides down the thinkers face. He turns away from the window.
Now, fully absorbed in his memories, none too happy, but happier than he was a moment ago. There she is, in the moonlight, beautiful. He is in love.
But someone has stolen her. He chases. She runs away from the man who stole her, they meet, he lifts her, then she is suddenly pulled away. Running back, she screams out his name. 
What is his name? He doesn’t remember. The moon lighting his sillouhette, he continues to walk on. He pauses. 
Where is she now? His love. The scene continues to repeat. His love being taken away. He is getting more and more upset. 
He runs through the dilapidated house. Where is she? He can’t find her. He is alone.
Alone.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Collecting

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I collect pictures and organize them meticulously so that later on, I can go back and look at them. Make up stories of what’s going on, wonder about the subject’s life, try to figure out how old they would be now, how they would look from a different angle with different lighting.
I collect pictures of places I want to go and make up memories for myself. In my head I relate to others my most recent trip to Portafino, Italy, where the houses are all shades of the rainbow and everyone is transported by boat. I tell them about the time I went to Greece and tanned out on the white sand, stayed in a white house with a blue roof just like everyone sees in the pictures. I’ll speak to them fluently in french, which I will have just recently picked up while sitting at a little cafe in Paris eating my baguette and looking at the Eiffel Tower. And when I walk away, people always speak of how traveled and wonderful I am, how I’ve gotten just the right amount of sun and how they wished they could hop on a plane and go anywhere they please.
Truth is, I collect photos of people I wish I was, places I want to go, things I want to do, and ideas I wish I had because I feel like if I don’t I won’t have any motivation to do anything on my own. For one who works so hard to be original, I’ve really not. I’ve based my life off of someone else’s interpretation of the world. But I have yet to find my own.
And everyone always tells me that I still have a chance to figure it out, that I’m still young, that I’ve got a long ways to go, but it really sucks going through life not knowing who you are. Just blindly being what everyone else thinks you are. But truth is, I am the way I am because I’ve never known anything different. I collect books because I hope to be a great author like Wilde, Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens (both of them) and yet I rarely find myself writing anything that will ever come of repute. 
I’m lost. I need a map. Now there’s one thing I don’t collect. I don’t collect maps because I’m quite sure I’ve figured out how to get through life. If I hadn’t done that by now we would have a problem. I collect teddy bears, though. To remind myself that you are never too old to be a little kid again. I aim to hold onto my inner child long past the time I have my own child (another thing I won’t be collecting). 
I need to stop collecting others people’s memories and start collecting my own. I need to stop living the life other people have imagined for me and come up with my own goal. What if I’m not destined to be an actress or a teacher? What if really, my calling is to be a librarian at some random library for the rest of my life? That wouldn’t be too terrible, but since I’ve come up with the idea of being a teacher all my own I think I’ll stick to it. 
My point being I collect a lot. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Because alongside my memories and others people’s pictures I’ve accumulated a lot of self-doubt and loathing…which collects whether I like it or not. 
Ah. My inner demons. Now we’ve found something to talk about.
I don’t like myself a lot of the time. I mean, no girl ever looks in the mirror and tells herself she’s gorgeous the moment she rolls out of bed. For me that feeling lasts all day. I feel ugly, I feel fat, I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I doubt my talents and doubt whether or not I have friends. I also doubt whether anyone cares, even though I should know without a shadow of a doubt that a lot of people care, otherwise the decency I have been shown throughout the years would be really hard to explain. 
But still. I collect inner demons.
I guess you could say I just collect things. Trinkets. Things don’t mean much.
But then again, that’d be a lie.