united divided states

I still cannot believe that a man with no real political experience and over inflated ego that spills on his twitter account is the 45th President of the United States of America. It doesn’t feel real. It’s like seeing Nicholas Cage in any movie and still thinking he’s Nic Cage. It’s seeing Donald Trump doing anything and still seeing him as he is. I don’t see him as President. I don’t see him as qualified. I don’t see him as a different man by gaining that title, but the selfish businessman he is.

I am not bitter and have accepted the fact that he is our new President. However, I do not support his agenda and many of his appointed officials.

The people have taken back their government? Yet the popular vote went largely towards your opponent, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and you’ve entered the White House with some of the lowest approval ratings of the people. The forgotten man will be forgotten no more? Okay besides the middle-class white man who thinks Olive Garden is a classy establishment and only reads the Bible and clickbait articles; what about the forgotten ‘forgotten men’? What will you say to the citizens of Flint who still have no water? What will you say to a child whose family is gone because they’ve been deported? Will you argue that ‘All Lives Matter’ include the black lives, Latino lives, Asian lives, indigenous people lives? Will this United States come together by including and protecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and other sexualities? Will we come together and be ‘great again’ despite our different beliefs of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and nihilism? Have the ‘outsiders’ finally entered politics, when Sir, you are a billionaire interested in keeping and making your profit, but only differ from them in never having a political career? What is your new healthcare plan that is ‘so great and so much better than Obamacare’ and will it also provide for the people, even the marginalized ones? And what will you do to reassure than girls are worth more than their bodies and looks, but have deeper purpose of being intelligent, funny, lively, inspiring and that they do in fact matter in this country?

Mr. President, are you listening to the people?

How do you pick someone as Secretary of Education when they have never attended public school, had children in public school, worked in a public school, or really had any interest with public schools? That’s like telling a doctor to farm the land. They have no knowledge or real understanding of what they’re doing and bound to fail because of their prior experience of medicine and the body instead of crops and cows. I don’t understand how you can appoint someone for an agency when they don’t believe its purpose. I do not understand how you can even appoint someone to a department who wanted to get rid of the department and even forgot its name? How do you appoint people based on loyalty instead of qualifications? Have you forgotten Hurricane Katrina and the government’s slow aid to people who were dying?

Mr. President, do you care?

The campaign is now over and appealing to the parties isn’t as important now as working for all American people. I’m sure the Republicans are satisfied or whatever they call themselves now like alt right, but what about the United States of America and all its citizens, current and future. How will you uphold your promise in keeping us together and working together to ‘Make America Great Again?’ You can’t blame one side for their behavior or call their ideas or claims ridiculous. You can’t tweet about how awful and overrated people who disagree and criticize you are at 3 AM. You can’t be ignorant of the news and the media, when yes I do agree the news now is not the same quality in informing people as before, but you have to acknowledge them and their reputation for letting the people know what’s going on.

Our country is divided and this inauguration is only creating new cracks. Our problems and solutions aren’t black or white. They’re grey because we all have faults and our solution isn’t the solution for everyone. For the next four years, we should not retreat into hearing only our beliefs and tending to our ideologies but listen to the other side and their opinions. When we do not challenge ourselves and open our minds, we make the divide deeper by not compromising or listening to others. What makes America great is its diversity. We have different opinions, ideas, beliefs that make The United States and when we can work together maybe we can be what our Founding Fathers imagined when they created a government serving the people with The Great Compromise. In no ways, do I want Donald to fail, but I do want him to consider the reality of his job and the work he will have to do to serve the people.

In no ways, do I want Donald to fail, but I do want him to consider the reality of his job and the work he will have to do to serve the people. Whatever he does next, it affects all of us because after all he is the most powerful man in the free world now, and I can only pray he does his job for all of us and more importantly this country and that it can move forward, united and more compassionate.


straight & fast

I remember yesterday, I ran a red light going at least 60 mph past it. Before this incident, I had just passed another intersection that was green and thought to myself, “I wonder if I’ll run a red light the next time just because.” As I approached the next lights, I just wasn’t thinking. I was heading towards it green, then it turned yellow, and then it turned red. I didn’t break until I had just made it to the white line and was already too far out to back up or stop, so I just ran it. I don’t know why I did it, but I wasn’t thinking a single thing.

A couple minutes later, the recent event just dawned on me. I could’ve died and I just ran a red light ironically thinking to myself before it happened. The thought didn’t trouble me at all. I only turned whatever crappy radio music up and drove one handed while resting my arm against the window and my hand touching my head. It didn’t scare me how reckless I was but only made me mad. I could’ve died, but it didn’t scare me.

Further driving down the road, it made me think of my one of my favorite novels. In Looking for Alaska by John Green, Alaska drives headfirst into a truck, instantly killing herself. Her group of friends tries to figure out if it was a suicide or accident. They have all these theories that it was an accident because she was drunk and that she was so buzzed that she couldn’t see anything and then that it was a suicide because she was hysterical and emotional before she went to drive, and she saw the car accident as a way out of whatever she was feeling. I fully think that it wasn’t a suicide or an accident, but the same thing I experienced.

She wasn’t thinking and it just happened. There’s no mystery to it, but some things just happen and we can’t take them back or redo them. They happen and we just let it happen and accept it. It isn’t easy, but it’s inevitable and happens. These things happen straight and fast. There’s no explanation to why and no way to stop it because you blink and it’s over.

Don’t read me wrong, I’m not suicidal or a risky driver. I don’t want to die and enjoy my life very much because I have made it the best it could be and making it even better. I drive cautiously and am aware of what I am doing and considerate of others, making sure everyone goes home safe. This red light just made me think of life itself and finally understanding my favorite novel.

Sometimes you are so in the moment, and things happen. They’re good or they’re bad and you might not understand why except that it happened and they happen so fast that nothing else could’ve prevented the event. An explanation isn’t always necessary and once it’s done, the only thing we can do is accept it, forgive, and keep moving. I think that’s the beauty of life, it doesn’t always need a reason, it just has to happen to make it worthwhile.

the American Dream 2.0

I recently watched this documentary on Netflix called ‘The Minimalist.’ It’s about these two guys who had high paying jobs and found themselves increasingly unsatisfied and stressed over the type of lives they were living. They started looking at what were making them so stressed and unhappy and saw that the root of their problems was their connection to material possessions. After this realization, they both gave up this high maintenance lifestyle and begin to live less and a life that made them happy. They gave up their many belongings and started living within a suitcase of materials and started writing about this lifestyle of less.

For a while, I had begun reflecting on my life and looking at what was making me stressed and very unhappy. I started to realize that I was unhappy for the same reasons as those two guys. I was living in an abundance of material possessions that commercials and others told me were supposed to make me happy. These things were only drowning me and making me feel as if these things were supposed to be more than what they were than just a poster or new pair of shoes. Another thing mentioned in this documentary made me think about where my priorities were in life and what distractions disguised themselves as priorities. One of the guys was in an office meeting and ignored calls and one from his mom of a cancer diagnosis. I don’t know why, but that especially made me think about where my priorities were. Were they in gaining success by owning possessions or with successful relationships and being in the moment? This question and other stress factors pushed me towards change.

I had wanted to bring great change to my life, but kept planning and didn’t know when I should do so. I had been thinking of changing for a while, but freaking stats and college work was a good excuse for me to delay acting upon it. When winter break started, I knew that I was ready.

I think one of the biggest things that make me unhappy was social media and the people I happen to know. Everyone is a hypocrite, but some people act more hypocritical than others and to see how unruly people actually were on social media while still shoving their morals on others made me upset. I didn’t see these people every day due to different paths, but I wanted to ignore these people completely by not being their friend or following them. I also didn’t want to become more like them by keeping it real and being myself. I remember this being the biggest factor in deleting my twitter a while back and now my snapchat. I told myself I didn’t have to stay connected through all these pointless social media apps, but by those I actually wanted to talk to and those who wanted to talk to me. It hasn’t bothered me at all and the people who actually care have kept in touch, and that’s good enough.

Like the Minimalist, I wanted to live less and decided that I wouldn’t spend money on any more material goods for at least a year. I live with plenty. I have a couch in my room along with a bed, dresser, two bookcases and books flooding along the walls, a desk, and closet also flooding with clothes. I don’t need anything else and decided to clean out and begin living less. I have a big book addiction and love to buy new books but realized I have lots of books and many that I’ve yet to read. To save and live like the Minimalists, I’ve decided to read all the books on my shelves, borrow them from the local libraries, and read at least an hour in Barnes of new novels. With this money, I want to save for my planned travels across the country and on experiences.

This was my first year driving. I love that it brings more independence and allows me to go more places than before. I have explored new places and new roads since getting my license. I know the backroads to avoid traffic on the highway and shortcuts to get home along with new cheaper places to eat than the ever popular Chicfila and Wendy’s. I’ve made it a goal to explore more and discover new places every day so I can experience the off beaten path and do new things. This also meant for doing more within my day. I want to live so much within a day I feel like breakfast was such a long time ago instead of 8 hours ago. Since living like this, I have been able to bring my friends to new places to hang out and able to leave my phone in my car to enjoy walks in the forest. It’s been great so far living like this.

Duke is my absolute dream school and I want to get there somehow. I really want to push myself to be like Hermione and be ahead of my readings and overall studious. This semester I’m pushing for a 4.0 and so far have emersed myself in my textbook readings. Each subject I’ve read so far is very interesting and I hope I can keep this interest as the semester continues. I don’t want to drown in school work and dedication, but I do want to make a better grade so I can get into journalism and eventually law. This is a dream in the working and hopefully will become a journey despite the obstacles and laziness and procrastination that shall come. Duke is the dream and it’s not gonna be one that only visits me in my sleep.

I also want to work towards my artistic abilities and writing. This semester I would often de-stress by sketching and painting, and saw that I really liked my artwork and how much it has improved over the years. I’ve always received praise for my artwork, but want to be better and create more pieces that make me happy. The only way is through practice and creating more, and this year I want to draw more to be satisfied with my work. I’m happy for drawing things I actually like and look nice. I hope to improve and keep the artistic flow going. Along with drawing, I want to become a better writer. I think this would mean more blog posts and also working on a novel idea I’ve had for a while. I’d love to go into journalism and eventually publish and to get there, I’m going to have to practice writing. Any artist could probably agree that there is always room for improvement and that you will never be satisfied with what you haven’t done yet.

2017 looks pretty optimistic so far in being the best me yet. I am motivated to live fuller and happier. I want to be the best I can be and happy while doing it along with my friends and family. Hopefully, by the end of this year, I can look back and think wow I can’t believe I did so much within a year. I don’t want the same regretful feeling of not doing enough. This year I want to do more and be more. By living with fewer books, clothes, shoes, and other materials, I hope I can live this new satisfied and abundant life of experiences, heartbreak, honesty, and adventure. The new American Dream isn’t working towards a house with a white picket fence and two cars in the driveway because we can afford it and that new couch for the living room and blender to make smoothies, but it is to live knowing you have good priorities and amazing experiences.

Be bold this year. Whatever you wish to accomplish you can do as long as you stay dedicated to it and make it a priority. Keep running, keep the faith, keep eating that nasty kale, keep exploring, keep moving. It’s not just a new year for a new start, but every day is a new day for that new start you’ve been putting off. This is your year, so choke it.