Happy Mother’s Day: A lipogram without the letter E

mommy-girl-brunetteA light pink mouth lifts upwards, a smiling pink mouth that laughs with joy as I try to mimic your motions. Your arms form a warm crib that I crawl into. You laugh again, and I do, too. I don’t know why, but I am happy.

At six, I am still happy. You and I probably look outlandish to visitors—two girls playing with dolls; two girls trying to cook; two girls having way too much fun window-shopping and trying on shirts in a tiny fitting room. But tomorrow morning, you will transform into a lady as you go to work. I think it’s magic. In your outfit, you do look sort of scary; an air of adulthood and authority surrounds you . I don’t worry, though, for tonight you will transform into a young girl, and  I know you will play ‘animals’ again.

Now, I am as tall as you, but I would not turn down any opportunity to call you my idol, my ally and my companion. Thanks, Mom, for always loving and supporting this crazy child. And though I may act annoying by running around trying to hug you as you cook to avoid studying for a physics quiz, I am so happy to call you my mom. 🙂

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A little piece of a great big soul

Three years of high school has gifted me with three years of English, but English III AP has by far been my favorite English class.

Certainly, there were times when I didn’t want to finish reading the assigned readings or didn’t start my papers until the night before, but this class has greatly helped build my skills not just in writing, but in speaking and thinking. I remember reading through my essays from freshman and sophomore year just a few weeks ago, and then rereading my rhetorical analysis of Jaws and Lincoln’s 2nd inaugural address and thinking how cringeworthy some of my sentences from the former essays were… This year, I’ve written some of what I proudly call my best papers, and even my timed writings have gotten significantly better, thanks to the frequency of them. But most importantly, this class promised to expand my mind, promised me that I would physically feel my brain stretch, and it did that and even more.

This year (because I’ve been so stressed 😛 ), I’ve started writing quotes in a little notebook every day. Most of these quotes come from the books that we’ve read this year, from Invisible Man to Grapes of Wrath to Emerson’s essays. So I know we weren’t supposed to write about “the books [we] read this year,” but I have to say this year’s selection of novels was fantastic. It was these quotes from the pieces of writing that I read that kept me afloat this year, and it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention how much these books meant to me. Perhaps it was a combination of the specific novels or the class itself that allowed me to fully delve into the novels and pick out these quotes.

Lastly, this blog, though it oftentimes kept me up until 1 in the morning (mostly because I’d forget about it or I couldn’t think of anything to write), has been a fun experience this year, and I do hope that it continues to be an opportunity for future English III AP students. For once, my writing isn’t only read by my teacher, my fellow T-rex table-mates and myself, but people from more than fifty countries.

So to wrap up, thank you English III AP and Lindner. Y’all helped me find my voice, my style and my own mind. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote this year…

“He went out in the wilderness to find his own soul, an’ he foun’ he didn’t have no soul that was his’n. Says he foun’ he jus’ got a little piece of a great big soul”
~John Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath

 

For we are all unwritten

Transcendentalism, a philosophical movement that began in the early 1800s, is the belief that all people are, as individuals, pure and good. However, transcendentalists also believe that society and its institutions will ultimately pollute the integrity of these individuals. The core beliefs of this movement are rooted in nature and individualism: only when one breaks away from the chains of society and mass culture to find peace and independence through nature can they truly “transcend.” Led by figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman, the movement was among the earliest American intellectual movements, yet quickly died down after the late 1800s.

Still, some of the movement’s most common themes—nonconformity and connecting to nature—are still prevalent in modern entertainment. In the song Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield emphasizes that each person is in charge of their own destiny, that no one, no society, no rules can dictate your path, that you “no one else, no one else can speak the words on your lips.” Additionally, Bedingfield advocates for non-conformity, singing “I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines. We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can’t live that way.” The ideas of transcendentalism strongly resounds throughout her lyrics (which you should take a look at here), with subtle references to the intrinsic connection between man and nature (…let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find…feel the rain on your skin…). Indeed, the song embraces the qualities of Transcendentalism,  for each one of us is unwritten, waiting to write our own stories.

A tale of four wisdom teeth

It was almost midnight, and I was on a train headed towards…San Jose? The only thing I remembered was that I had went to the orthodontist to have my wisdom teeth removed earlier in the day, but here I was, sitting in an empty train compartment with my briefcase, headed towards San Jose.

Ads for Subway. Inspirational posters. Make-room-for-pregnant-ladies-signs. I looked around, trying to find clues to help me orientate myself. But when I reached into my pocket to grab my phone, out came a piece of paper instead.

"Anything you lose comes around in another form."

What was a Rumi quote doing in my pocket? Right now, the only thing that was lost was myself. The train began slowing down, and I could see a shining light at the end of tunnel. Perhaps I would just wander around for a while…

I stepped outside the cart, and immediately noticed the bright billboard flashing. Welcome to San Jose, the healthiest and wisest city in the U.S. Beside it was a shape that looked somewhat like a tooth, with the words ‘Find me’ graffitied on.

By now I had caught on. Something was wrong, something was lost, and something needed to be found.

First stop? The tourist center, because I needed a map. It was tucked behind a large shopping mall, the tourist center, and two lights shone on the porch, lighting a table filled with maps of San Jose and other fliers. I grabbed the closest flier, and headed out. As I flipped through the pamphlet,  weird images began popping out at me. Teeth, teeth and more teeth. All of the parks were shaped like TEETH…And in the middle of the Coyote Creek trail was a tiny star.

From the train station, Coyote Creek was roughly thirty minutes away. Despite it being pitch black outside, I flagged down a cab to take me to Coyote Creek. The driver gave me a few questioning looks, but didn’t argue.  We rode in silence, and when we neared the forest, I handed him twenty-five dollars. He handed me a receipt, and I stepped outside. The cab made a U-turn at the corner, and I was left alone at the edge of the forest.

At the end of the lane was a lone lamp, the orangish light shining down on the pavement. I moved towards it, and as I came closer, I happened to glance down at the receipt in my hand, But it was no longer just a receipt. On it were scribbled the words, “We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.”

Teeth….San Jose…wisest city…quotes about wisdom….something that I had lost….

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MY WISDOM TEETH. Someone had sent me to find my wisdom teeth. And they were somewhere in the middle of Coyote Creek. I found the head of the trail, and began heading out towards the lake. Wisdom? This was not wise at all. A low whispering near my left caught my attention, and I moved slowly towards the noise.

“Now and then, it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
“Yes, you’re right. Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
“And if you keep your face to the sun, you will never see a shadow.”

I burst through the woods, prepared to witness four wisdom teeth ready to bestow upon me their answers to life. But only a tiny white rock lay in the clearing. I picked it up, and flipped it over.

“Wisdom isn’t something you find. Wisdom is something that finds you.”

I looked up, and saw four bright stars twinkling down at me. They grew larger and brighter, and suddenly I felt someone tap my shoulder.

“Here. Let’s get you in a wheelchair. For the next week, make sure she doesn’t eat anything that will cause her mouth to bleed.”

I was staring at four bright lights on the ceiling of the orthodontist’s room. But in my hand, I was still holding a tiny white rock.

My fellow bloggers (Part IV)

Here are some more of my classmates’ blogs. As they say, the world is giving you answers each day. Maybe you’ll find yours here. 🙂

https://terabithica.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/pets/comment-page-1/#comment-9

https://snakewitharms.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/two-worlds-one-family/comment-page-1/#comment-30

https://icouldntthinkofaname2016.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/ralph-ellison-interview/comment-page-1/#comment-28

henriette-ronner-knip-traveling-around-the-globe-with-cat-and-kittens

 

 

Certified crazy cat lady

I’m pretty obsessed with cats, I’d say.

Like, obsessively-obsessed, to the point where the fact that my mom is allergic to cats  is merely an afterthought, and I’ve become immune to her threats of kicking me out the house if I decide to bring home a cat one day.

2That being said, SHE’s the one allergic to cuteness and furry balls of love, so the moment I leave home for college, I’ll most certainly find myself a companion. Cat lady? For sure. (Even Buzzfeed said I was a certified cat lady.) Perhaps I’m a bit excessive, since I told my mom I wanted 7 cats and 3 kids. (Those are my favorite numbers. Her response? Well, at least your favorite numbers aren’t 73 and 37.) But you know, when you’ve been deprived of your deepest dream and desire to cuddle and play with kittens for as long as I have, you tend to get a ~little~ crazy.

1Now, that’s not to say that I don’t make up for my lack of real animals. I found these tiny yet very realistic-looking toy cats one day roaming the streets of China, and persuaded my mom to buy two to put in my room. And then another one when we walked past the store again, and then two more when we passed by the final time to go home. I may or may not have gotten strange looks from people staring at a 5’0″ teenager hauling a bag of toy cats.

I’m that one friend who, if you happen to have a cat at your house, will go visit you solely for the purpose of meeting your cat, that one guest who will ditch a dinner party to go play with the kitten, that one jogger who will stop and make faces at your kitten through the windows.

As for preferences, I like all cats–burmese, ragdoll, birman–but if I were to one day actually get a cat, I’d like a Maine coon. But that one day is going to be close, and even if I have to shower in a toolshed before I can enter my parents’ home, I’m going to be that not-half-as-crazy-about-other-things-than-about-cats cat lady. That isn’t too hard to imagine, eh?

Stray leaves on a tree of unconscious prejudice

Less than a week ago, a video surfaced showing students in Oklahoma University’s SAE chapter chanting a racist slogan. Two students who led the chant were almost immediately expelled, and both the national organization and the university have tried to distance themselves from what they call “a disgrace.”

But here’s what slightly bothers me. In an article, the fraternity’s national president said, “I was not only shocked and disappointed but disgusted by the outright display of racism displayed in the video.”

Today, racism has evolved into an unconscious prejudice towards minorities founded upon social and economic inequality. It may have just been a bad word choice, but the word outright seems to insinuate that as long as you can’t directly see or experience racism, then everything’s OK. (Like James Inhofe’s global warming argument.) And that’s why so many people nowadays think racism is dead, and that’s why so many are so shocked that these students recited such a despicable chant. The thing about racism is that it is taught; it’s absorbed from the environment and surroundings and adopted from a young age, no matter how subtle it is. But we don’t notice it. We don’t notice until something so dramatic and outrageous happens. Until then, it’s invisible.

Now that brings me to my next point: their punishment. I entirely support the decision to punish them, but I don’t agree with the decision to expel them. Like I said, racism is taught, but so can compassion and equality. And I feel that education would be one of the best mediums for understanding culture, race and even ourselves. Most importantly, kicking them out of the university solves nothing except save face for the campus. These kids are not the root of the problem: they’re just one of too many leaves. Their expulsion certainly brings attention to the fight against racism, and it certainly is a deterrent for other students, but these kids and most others won’t remember what they were expelled for. Yes, they’ll know that they acted stupidly and inappropriately because they may or may not have been drunk, but they’ll never think that they crushed the dignity of an entire race, a race that has already been oppressed for centuries, that they purposefully kept a group of people underneath their feet, that they laughed and joked about a practice that killed thousands of innocent people.

I know I’ve been harsh towards everyone involved, but I’d like add one more thing: These individuals’ actions do not define the rest of the fraternity members and the rest of the fraternities, and though I’m not a huge fan of these sororities and fraternities, stereotyping them would be just as bad as any racist chant.

Kiss of fate: The noble tale of a Hershey’s Kiss

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Whew. This is what happens when it’s too late at night, you’re hungry for chocolate and you have to write a labyrinthine sentence. Here’s a 208-word sentence describing the bitter conflict between Hershey’s Kisses.

It was time, he thought proudly, time for him to demonstrate his value, for the large, looming hand of an all-powerful being had reached inside the crowded home of his family and chosen him, and only him, not any other of his family members, not those with hearts filled with cold, green mint, nor the ones scarred by caramel and vanilla war wounds, nor the ones that reeked of raspberry or cherry, nor those with faces pock-marked by cookie crumbs, but him, an authentic, pure and genuine young Hershey’s Kiss, one that was ready to assert his position in the world, one who would no longer be overshadowed or subjugated by the rest of his family, one who had found beauty in himself and wanted to show the rest of the world who he truly was for the first and last time—an original Hershey’s Kiss—because he knew he would soon be sacrificing his very life for a noble cause (and Oh, how he deeply desired to become a martyr, a symbol of hope and resilience for his fellow Originals): to fully satisfy the intense chocolate cravings of a sleep-deprived teenager and to demonstrate, once and for all, that ORIGINAL HERSHEY’S KISSES ARE THE BEST OF KISSES.

Fearless: How Taylor Swift and I became friends, or so I like to believe

Fearless –Taylor Swift’s second album, my first album that I owned, and my attitude towards singing. Fifth-grade me liked to think that constantly screeching along to whatever song on the radio would somehow send me spiraling into the world of celebrity musicians, and I could often be found singing in front of the mirror, in the shower, in the car, in the backyard, in my room, at the park. Basically, anywhere.

Unfortunately, I have a vocal range of about…three or four notes. Thus, singing along to the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne always resulted in sore throats and heavy breathing. That is, until I had stumbled upon a little jewel one day— Taylor Swift. Finally, here was someone that I liked AND could sing along to. It didn’t matter that I was singing about girlfriends and boyfriends, break-ups and make-ups.

Now, this was probably post-iPod era, but I was that one child who carried around those mini-radios, the ones that you get by sending in stickers collected from cereal boxes. (Wow. I feel so old.) Anyways, they did do the job, but it required me constantly fiddling around with the earbuds to make sure I wasn’t listening to static, a lot of moving around to make sure I could get service to Candy 95, and not much choice in the music selection. It did not make for easy singing.

So on a trip to Target with my mom and $13.99 scraped together from pennies behind couches and chore wages, I managed to convince my mom to let me buy Taylor Swift’s Fearless. My mom told me that I was a good singer as long as I wasn’t too close to her, and definitely used my love for singing and Taylor Swift to her advantage: if I were doing chores, she would allow me to sing and listen to Taylor as loud as I wanted. But ONLY if I were doing chores.

taylor-swift-removes-all-her-albums-from-spotify2I like to say that I have terrible taste in music, which I probably do compared to some of my friends. But hey, here’s a nice, pretty and generous pop star who writes all her songs, all of which I can sing along to and dance along to. Taylor and I’ve both come a long way since 2008, and it does kind of make me proud to say I was a Swiftie before she exploded in popularity.

Despite having all 117 of songs memorized by heart, I still like to pull out Fearless every once in a while, which often ends up in me debating myself whether I like country-pop-Taylor or pure-pop-Taylor.

And as of today, I’ve been a fan for almost eight years. Fearless sits in a coveted position on my nightstand, along with my only other four albums. Need I mention that they’re all Taylor Swift albums? Probably not.

My fellow bloggers (Part III)

Check out some of my fellow bloggers! Maybe you’ll learn something new, maybe not. But then you’ll certainly miss out on some of the best blogs out there. 🙂

https://shootingforlifeblog.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/the-hollow-men/comment-page-1/#comment-18

https://everywhereandnowhereneednottoknow.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/wealth-distribution-of-the-united-states-2010-and-some-thoughts/comment-page-1/#comment-20

https://thenewworld2.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/state-of-the-union/comment-page-1/#comment-17