Say Cheese

I’ve been having a lot of problems with my roommates since I got to college. I’m really not sure why, but they never seemed to like me. Well, long story short, everything finally came to a head last week and I moved rooms this Friday. I’m feeling immeasurably better, so I wanted to share some poetry I wrote last week when I realized that I needed to change rooms.

Say Cheese!

They say that if you smile,
You start to feel it on the inside.
Well, I don’t know who “they” are,
But they’re full of it.
Because right now I’m smiling,
But it’s not stopping the tears
From streaming down my cheeks.
I can’t even hide the pain anymore,
So what’s the point in trying?
It’s been so long since I’ve felt safe,
I don’t know what I’ll do,
When I can feel it again.
But I take hope,
Because I’ll be out of this Hell soon.
I can almost see the silver lining
In these dark, forbidding clouds.
I can almost feel a real smile forming.
So maybe there’s something to this
Smiling through the pain, after all.

P.S. By the way, I wanted to let you all know that I will be posting every day in November as I take part in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month, the blog version of NaNoWriMo). You’re all about to be seeing a lot more of me!

Accident-Prone Dad Makes Summer AMAZING: A Guest Post by Michelle Joyce Bond

In April, when I wrote My 50th Post, I offered one lucky commenter a chance to guest post on my blog. Now, I am please to present that commenter and our guest blogger, Michelle Joyce Bond. She is a fellow writer and WordPress blogger, who hails from the Garden State. Click here to check out her blog, sleeps with notebooks. Without further ado, Michelle Joyce Bond, everybody:

My father is a well-meaning, incredibly accident-prone man. He would come home from work a with lobster-grade sunburns and splinters in his legs that he didn’t even know about. My mother would pick the splinters out, asking him always to be “more careful” to which he would laugh and leave the kitchen still bleeding, eager to start the grill.

This is the man who made our summers.

He built us a lopsided tree house that, though structurally sound, was a breeding ground for imaginative mischief. My sister and I would take turns jumping from its “balcony” down onto a pile of sand we brought over in buckets from the sandbox, destroying the grass. The two of us were riddled with splinters and bruises, but that didn’t stop us from bare-foot races up and down the ladder. My mother would complain, but thankfully, my dad would burst in with the refrain, “Ah, let ‘em play.”

He’d blast classic rock in the backyard and give us sparklers to play with well before the 4th of July. Once, he once built us a cheap swing set that rocked whenever we played on it, its feet rising inches above the ground. His solution was to plant the feet in cement, which worked…until the cement started rising too, creating an almost soothing thud, thud in the background every time we swung.

One of our best memories is of a homemade Slip-and-Slide my father constructed out of a clear plastic paint tarp. He rolled it across the yard and left it there for days, killing much of the grass (most of what we did wound up killing grass). My sister and I quickly figured out where the rocks and divots were, and we’d take the path of least resistance, skimming on our stomach across the plastic while my father sprayed us with the hose. He later set up a rotating sprinkler so our ghetto version would match the updated Slip-and-Slide playing on a loop on commercials. Most of the neighborhood kids took turns and, miraculously, no one was injured. That is, except my dad, whose momentum sent him flying off the plastic and into the shed.

My sister and I would make our own games, jumping for leaves in the tree that hung above the pool and seeing who could throw the most rocks over the highest power line, but it was always better when my father got one of his “wild ideas.”

I’m curious, what games did you invent or reinvent in the summer to entertain yourself as a child? What games were constructed by well-meaning though possibly accident-prone adults? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Also, thank you to Susannah for graciously inviting me to make a guest post on her blog!

I’m a College Girl Now!

Sorry, that it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been incredibly busy these last few weeks. I was packing and shopping and trying on every article of clothing I own, but now I’m done. I have finally begun my very first year of college away from home.

So far, it’s been a lot of fun. I began my first class at Liberty University this Monday at 8:50am. Currently, I am undeclared, but that’s only because I’m not allowed to apply for the individualized study program that I want to enter until I’ve been here a semester, despite the fact that I’m technically a sophomore (I’ve been calling myself a freshmore: sophomore by credit freshman by year). At the end of this semester, I will begin working toward my individualized studies degree, focusing on creative writing (duh) and probably communications.

A lot has happened this first week. For starters, I accidentally walked into the wrong classroom for the first class of my Honors CINE 101. Then I stayed the whole time. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to me that I was in the wrong class. There were so many hints. For example, the professor called the class by a different name than the one I signed up for. I did, however, get it straightened out the second class.

I’ve also been battling a back injury that I’m pretty sure was caused by the repetitive shirt on/shirt off motion that I had to do when I was trying on my clothes to see what I would take with me. I never before realized how many shirts I had. I’ve been using a rolling backpack to keep stress off my spine. I’m currently one of only two people on campus that I know of that uses a rolling backpack. I feel like an utter dork, and I keep running over people’s toes. I cannot wait until my back is back to normal.

And then I got sick on Tuesday. Yep, that’s right, I got a cold on my First. Week. Of. College. It stinks about as much as it sounds. My roommates are getting a little peeved at the constant coughing in the night. Quite honestly, so am I. I hate being sick.

It’s not all bad. I am really enjoying some of my classes. In case you’re curious, my classes are English 201 (American literature), University 101 (that same annoying class that they make every freshman or transfer take), Honors Cinema Appreciation 101 (we watch movies and then talk about them like smart people), Psychology of Relationships (ugh), Honors History of Western Civilization (we read about history and then talk about it like smart people), and Biblical Worldview (we learn about, uh, a Biblical worldview?).

I’m fairly certain that I’m going to enjoy most of my classes, notable exceptions being the psychology and University 101 classes. Psychology has never really been my thing. I’m not really into looking deep into my soul and head-shrinking other people. The University 101 class feels unneeded, but who knows, maybe I’ll learn something that I didn’t already know from basically self-teaching myself since I was in 7th grade and taking two years of college classes at home. Maybe.

How’s your week been? Are any of you going back to school? Have you gone back already? Or are you done entirely and thrilled about it?

Camp Clumsy

If you didn’t already know this, I am incredibly clumsy. Therefore, I tend to hurt myself a lot. It’s not always something big. I might just jam my fingers or develop a bruise of unknown origins. But it happens All. The. Time. At camp, my clumsiness is even worse.

At home, I tend to stay locked away in my room writing or reading (my family calls my room “The Cave”). I don’t get injured very often then. However, at the summer camp where I work as a lifeguard, I’m almost always up and moving about. I’m not allowed to bring my laptop with me, so I’m forced to leave my bunk and socialize, which, if I’m being honest, is probably good for me. I go on hikes, play with kids, play billiards, and generally wander around. Of course, there’s also the pool where I work. It has lots of slippery surfaces and sun exposure and random really heavy umbrella stands (I skinned my right thumb the first week trying to move one of the stands), so of course I’m going to hurt myself there. In addition to the skinned thumb, I also got badly sunburned on my shoulders, thighs, and the tops of my feet that first week. The shoulders and thighs weren’t so bad, but the pain from the feet was radiating down the inside of my feet making it a bit difficult to walk.

And then there’s the bugs. This don’t have as much to do with clumsiness on my part (although, I have stupidly wacked myself in the face in an ambitious attempt to kill a horsefly. Curse them!), but they are still something that cause me extra pain and frustration. We’ve got mosquitos, horseflies, deerflies, wasps, and plenty of giant spiders. Of course, that’s only listing the ones that bite and/or sting. The mosquitos and spiders actually bother me the least. We’ve got a truck that sprays stuff to kill mosquitos, and unless you spend an inordinate amount of time in the woods, the spiders won’t bother you. Mainly, it’s the horseflies and deerflies. The wasps, especially the mud daubers will leave you alone for the most part, but the horse and deerflies are aggressive little things. They will chase you all the way from wherever you came from to wherever you’re going. If they don’t bite you, it’s because you or someone else killed them. Their tenacity would be impressive if it wasn’t so annoying. Also, I’ve about decided that I’m allergic to deerflies.Every time one of them bites me, I get massive one or two inch welts in the same spot. I’ve got one on my foot right now that driving me up the wall!

The point I’ve been trying to make here is that I get injured a lot. It’s not always my fault (but it usually is). My friend and fellow lifeguard, Sharon, actually has a specific look for those occasions of pain and humiliation. It’s something between consternation and pity. I see it quite often, usually accompanied by the phrase, “Oh my word.”

Every summer since I started working at camp I get to the point where I promise myself, “I’m not going to get hurt this week.” This week, it didn’t work out (not entirely my fault; someone ran over me while trying to tag a kid), so I’m going to have try harder next week.

Ugh. Pray for me.

The Games I Used to Play

Is it me, or has political correctness gone a bit too far? When political correctness reaches the hallowed grounds of recess, then I think a revolution is in order.

Understand, I’m not just talking about ridiculously PC schools freaking out because a kid saw a gun in the clouds. I’m talking about games! Does anyone remember the amazing games we used to play when we were kids? My favorite part of the day when I was younger was recess or PE. It was the time when we could let go of all of our boring pretenses of maturity and be kids for a little while.

Now, all of that is on its way out. In 2013, a school district in New Hampshire voted to ban dodgeball. Dodgeball! They said they did it to discourage bullying.

Please.

Dodgeball isn’t about bullying. Dodgeball is about fun. I’m not sure what they were thinking when they decided that banning dodgeball would cut down on bullying. Although I’m sure that some bullying does occur during dodgeball, bullying can happen anywhere. It actually makes less sense that bullying would occur inside a structured and supervised game, than say, in the halls when no one’s watching. In fact, in my experience, most bullying I’ve seen occurs during lunchtime, not PE. Are they going to ban lunchtime too?

What I want to know is how crappy their PE teachers must have been to allow bullying in the gym during dodgeball. Honestly, it’s not hard to segregate teams so that they are equal. I’m not just blowing smoke here. I worked as an assistant to a PE teacher for three years. I know what it’s like to have students in a class who don’t like each other. The simplest way to fix it is to just put them on the same team. No possibility for bullying there. I’ve seen dodgeball bring kids together. At its core, it is still a team sport. When they’re the last one in on your team, it doesn’t matter how much you don’t like someone; you’re still going to cheer for them.

The article I read about said that the school district that banned dodgeball and “other human target sports” also said that they work hard to make sure that their kids are violence free. I’m not going to tell you that dodgeball is entirely safe. No contact sport is. I’ve been on the receiving end of a few dodgeball head shots myself. I’m okay… mostly. But it’s not hard to make the game safer. Outlaw head shots for starters. It’s a lame excuse, as I’m sure that it’s just as easy to get injured playing something like soccer or baseball. Personally, I’ve never received so much as a bruise from playing dodgeball. I have, however, had bruises larger than my hand from both soccer and softball. Actually, I had a concussion from playing soccer.

And what about red rover? You remember red rover. It was that game where two teams line up across from each other and then you call kids over and just clothesline them. Surely, that game was banned with the order to ban all “human target sports.” That means that there will be a generation of kids at that school that never get to play red rover. It’s an atrocity, I tell you!

One last problem I have with this banning of dodgeball is that one of the reasons that the school district gave was that not all students can participate equally.

*Sigh*

So what?! In what game can any two students participate equally? From baseball to soccer to freaking duck, duck, goose, every human being is on different level athletically. When did that become a bad thing? Some students will be weaker, and some will be stronger. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. In fact, I think these games prove to be wonderful tools for teaching important life lessons. What better way to teach stronger students to stand up for the weaker ones, to protect them. What better way to teach the weaker students to grow stronger.

To a larger point, when did it become bad to be bad at a game when you’re a child? This is the time when you’re supposed to learn how to do things. With most of the things you do when you’re young, you’re going to stink at it when you start. It doesn’t matter whether it’s dodgeball or playing an instrument, if you don’t do it, you won’t get better.

Failure is a good thing. Without, we would never grow. I’m afraid that we’ve become a society that doesn’t allow people to fail. I can see it in all areas of life. At the top, our government bails out banks and car companies because it believes that they can’t fail or disaster would occur. At the bottom, stupid school districts ban dodgeball because some kids aren’t good at it. This politically correct idea that you can’t allow kids to fail because it will crush their precious self-esteems needs to go away. Look at me. I’ve failed plenty in my life, and you know what, it hasn’t hurt me one bit. I come back stronger and more capable every time.

Heck, even the Mythbusters got it when they said that…

failure_is_always_an_option_1366x768_by_farhansajjad-d7f8fqx

My 50th Post!

Hey guys! This is my 50th blog post! Honestly, I’m a little surprised I made it this far. To mark this occasion, I’m going to do a stats post where I let you know some of the behind the scenes of running this blog. Also, I’d like to offer 1 commenter a chance to do a guest blogging post on my blog!

Top Posts

1. Why You Should Never Fence (With PVC Pipes)

Obviously, this says something about me:  my clumsiness is hilarious. It also says something about you all: you like to read about the pain and suffering that I inflict on myself through my clumsiness. I am strangely okay with this.

2. Silly Words Series: #2 Entitlement Program

In which I talk about the government stealing from some people to give to other people.

3. I’ve Been Awarded
In which I was given an award… and then had to answer a bunch of questions.

Top Topics

“Humor,” “Fencing,” “PVC Pipes,” “Bad Judgment,” and “Clumsy” all tie for first place. Of course they do.

Top Referrer

The Matt Walsh Blog

Huh. I would not have expected that one. If you’ve never heard of Matt Walsh, go check him out. He tackles all kinds of controversial topics with a healthy amount of sarcasm and logic.

Views

Total Views: 2675
Most Views in a Day: 193

Comments

Total Comments: 290.

By the way, other than writing these posts, reading and replying to comments are my favorite parts of blogging. So keep talking to me everyone.

Followers

Total Followers: 74!

I love you guys! It makes my day every time I see that I have a new followers. You are the reason I write these posts.

Top Search Terms

1. pvc pipe fence

I get the idea these people got something they didn’t expect when they stumbled upon my blog.

2. introvert scholarship.

Um… Okay.

3. estuary literary magazine

Ah, my literary magazine. I understand this one at least.

Top Countries (by views)

1. United States

2. United Kingdom

3. Canada

4. India

5. Australia

Here's the map that WordPress puts together to show all where everyone who reads my blog lives.

Here’s the map that WordPress puts together to show all where everyone who reads my blog lives.

Who knew I had such a multicultural audience.

 

I hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes look. I love it that WordPress can break down like this for me. Best blogging site ever!

Make sure to comment on this post if you’re interested in doing a guest post (or even if you’re not). I’ll let you post on anything you like, but I’d like to suggest you tell a story from your own life. People always love a good story. So get commenting!

What’s Your Box?

I have a question for you to ponder. What on earth is “ethnicity” and why on earth does it matter in the United States?

Have you ever had to fill out one of those pieces of paper, whether it’s a medical form or job application, that asks you to state your “ethnicity?” Honestly, this whole concept of ethnicity doesn’t make much sense in the United States or pretty much anywhere else in today’s world. If you live in the U.S. you can be pretty sure that the term ethnicity doesn’t matter all that much.

Take me for example. For those questions, I have fill in the bubble next to “Caucasian.” I’m not entirely sure when my family came to the U.S., but we’ve been here way too long for that bubble to matter. In my family alone, I’m pretty sure I have ancestors from every country in Europe. I also have three or so tribes of American Indians in my past, and we can’t rule out any African ancestors. So why do I have to check the bubble for Caucasian?

Another example could be a white guy from South Africa. Until last year, when I met two Kenyans, the only “African Americans” I ever knew were white kids from South Africa. So how does a person in that situation fill out one of those forms?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of “ethnic” is: “of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background.”

By that definition, I’m better off labeling myself “homeschooler.”

But seriously, everyone in the U.S. could be considered a large ethnic group made up of smaller ethnic groups. Heck, each state has its own subculture. You can’t just lump in every person that could be considered Caucasian together in one big group. You can’t do that with any of those categories. There are too many other variables that matter.

Eventually, we are forced to realize that those forms are only asking about one thing. They are asking about our skin color.

*Sigh*

I thought we were done with this. This is the year 2014. Why on earth do we care about skin color? Haven’t we realized by now that what color any part of our body is (whether that is skin, or hair, or eyes) doesn’t have anything to do with who we are as a person. In fact, it seems that where we live, who our parents are, what culture we are part of, and what our religion is has much more to do with who we are.

Wait a second. Let’s look back up at that definition. All of these things are part of what makes up a person’s ethnicity. Race, religion, culture, language. So it seems that those forms are asking the right question, but they’re giving us the wrong answers to choose from.

The big point I’m trying to make is that these forms are intrinsically flawed because they seek to put human beings into boxes. They are made to try to help people to understand who you are by analyzing your little box. The problem is that humans don’t fit into boxes. The people that fit into the category, Caucasian, are a very large group. If you meet a Caucasian person on the street, what does their Caucasian-ness tell you about them other than the fact that they have pinkish-tannish skin?

Any system that attempts to understand a large amount of people by putting them in little boxes is not going to work. It doesn’t matter if that box is their “ethnicity,” or their religion, or their political affiliations. People just don’t belong in a box.

I made this whole argument just to get to the central point of “people don’t belong in a box.” Now everyone say it with me: “Duh!”

 

 

More like this:

Matt Walsh Blog: Affirmative action: defeating perceived discrimination with actual bigotry!