The Longer Ones

Friday, September 23, 2016

My opinion editorial

This is really long, feel free to skip this but I would really recommend reading it

The Makings of a Man
In fourth grade, there was a young boy, for now let’s call him Lee, who was quiet and unable to speak. Lee wasn’t mute or deaf; he simply didn’t know the language or the culture so he was silent. One day, Lee was walking home from school with a Yu-Gi-Oh lunch box when another student approached him and said what Lee believed were a few nice words. “Go back to where you came from!” The student took his lunchbox, threw it at the pavement, and proceeded to make fun of Lee’s accent and height. That was his best friend. Over time, I have thought about this situation and asked many things that would insult Lee’s “best friend,” until I considered why he did that to him. Let’s call this best friend Johnny. Johnny was the oldest of three children and at home he is left tending to his family. At about 5:30 every night, his father comes home, drinks a can of sprite, and tells him repeatedly to, “shut up idiot! Leave me alone.” Later I ask myself, did he ever stand a chance? Boys and men alike, whether at home or in college, RM’s or not, are exposed to hyper-masculinity. Hyper-masculinity is synonymous to Masculinity, which is defined as qualities or characteristics of a man, but perverts it by over emphasizing it. However boys are left trying to define these qualities with the examples of a bully and father who may or may not be there for them because they tell them to, “shut up,” “be a man,” or “suck it up,” etc. Hyper-masculinity and the lack of real role models lead boys to feel insecure about their masculinity, forcing them to prove themselves constantly through what they perceive as manly, such as aggression and objectification of women. We as a society needs to stop hyper-masculinity by showing affection, spreading awareness of this problem, and giving boys the ability to freely express their emotions. Otherwise they will most often only hurt themselves and the people around them through violence, sexual aggression, and low self-esteem because of unrealistic standards.
Boys who did not grow up with a good father figure or role model are left trying to define masculinity on their own. Typically whenever a child, specifically a boy, cries, it’s easy to tell him to, “Man up,” or to, “get over it.” However this gives children the perception that emotions will make one weak. Let’s go back to the original story. Johnny didn’t have a real role model in his life because the only father figure he had is one who emotionally tormented him to silence, and aggression towards Lee. Society sees masculinity as having the core beliefs of:
·      Toughness as a form of emotional control
·      Violence and danger are exciting and should be taught early
·      Acceptance to being callous to women and sex
By saying these traditional words of being a man, boys were left trying to define their own masculinity through these societal norms. This creates the impression that these acts listed above are not only acceptable but also necessary to become a man. Looking back, it’s hard for me to blame Johnny for anything, since all he knew were these beliefs. If we were all taught to ignore these emotions and use toughness as a form of emotional control, then wouldn’t it be natural for us to use toughness to gain a (somewhat abusive) friendship with Lee too? Now of course everyone has a choice to whether or not they should obey these standards, that’s what free-agency is for, however typically whenever one falls away from these unspoken standards, it’s easy to just call them a mama’s boy, or a baby, or simply weak. The idea of being seen as weak or as a baby starts from the very beginning of boyhood and follows us for the rest of our lives.
Hyper-masculinity isn’t just in the workplace or on campus but can also manifest in the family setting and media, and affect their views on everyone around them. According to UNI, “boys learn in their families, and later, from their peers, to suppress emotions they actually feel by acting out anger whether they feel it or not.” The idea of masculinity, though usually never explicitly defined in the household, follows boys throughout their lives, starting at home then to their peers, denying boys the opportunity to truly express how they feel. When I asked my parents about this topic, often they don’t realize what they are doing. They were merely telling me this to get me to stop crying, or make me be quiet. However, I don’t think parents know the implications these words may have on children if they are not also taught with love or support. Without this, “men are often distant and aloof to avoid effective communication.” From these experiences, it can affect boys in their relationships and dating because it gives boys the rationale that being distant and okay because it helps avoid effective communication. Now I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are willing to testify that boys can be jerks (or other maybe more profane words), however it’s good to note that maybe it’s just because they weren’t taught any other way. This bizarre situation only sets them up for failure. By being cold and aloof they succeed in fulfilling societal standards, yet they fail in creating lasting friendships. Or they do create lasting friendships but have self-inflicting thoughts because they might see themselves as being weak or “girly” for talking about something real.
Hyper-masculinity also appears in technology and media. Over time, the Internet, and video games specifically, have been portraying men as these violent aloof characters. Take Master Chief from the Halo Franchise. Throughout the series of the game, he kills a few million aliens, forms very few friendships (his closest one being with his own A.I.), and almost never talks about how he feels. If these are the type of role models kids have growing up, then it can easily affect boys to see violence and lack of emotions as a norm. Going further, in some cases, it may even desensitize boys to violence and lead them to perform such acts to prove themselves a man. Though it is clear that hyper-masculinity can negatively affect boys, some critics disagree.
Some people believe that masculinity and hyper-masculinity are necessary to create strong leaders so that boys are capable of, “getting back up from anything,” (Cypher) and so they can be viewed as strong. However, though critics may have good intentions, it is flawed in that they are working under the assumption that being seen as strong and performing acts of hyper-masculinity is what boys want from an early age. Often people teach kids only one way of masculinity which can lead to these negative impacts, and therefore are ignorant of any other way of learning masculinity. Sometimes people teach these things to kids with the intention of making them stronger but their beliefs supersedes what the child actually wants for himself, and thus they forget to include the child in the discussion. They could be right, however by forcing them to follow and blindly obey without the child’s insight or consent, he is unable to truly be himself but rather just a product of his parents and what society wants from him. Also it gives the child an additional pressure to behave the way he is expected, and when he can’t fulfill these roles, he is left feeling ashamed, inflicting himself with harmful thoughts that cause lower self-esteem. If taught or forced to abide by hyper-masculine views, a child may have difficulty accepting others and himself throughout his life.
            Hyper-masculinity can cause desensitization to sexual aggression, violence, and reckless disregard for themselves and the people around them primarily through the exposure to porn. Though not as explicit in BYU, one topic hyper-masculinity may affect is men’s reaction towards the objectification of women, porn and rape. First off, let’s talk about porn. I don’t want to grasp that because of solely hyper-masculinity, Utah is the #1 porn subscriber and viewer of the nation, because obviously there’s more than one reason to why that is. But for right now, let’s focus on one specifically. The talk. The birds and the bees. The awkward question of where do babies come from. In the state of Utah, sexual education is strictly abstinence based. There are even districts who are unwilling to talk about homosexuality, extra/premarital sex, contraceptives or anything relating to how one actually makes a baby. Of course there might be pros to this situation, however because kids aren’t taught those things, and since most parents are very awkward or unwilling to have this discussion, kids refer to the Internet for advice. Spoiler alert, this is where porn comes in. Through hyper-masculinity, it leads boys to feel unsafe or uncomfortable when talking to their peers, because they don’t want to be told to shut up. So instead of confronting their problems, in this case of sexual curiosity, they look to the Internet. And because of the lack of sexual education, unfortunately pornography becomes their sexual education… And what lies there, is far from what they are looking for. What they find isn’t at all related to love or sex, but rather a demonic form of domination, submission, and normalized sexual brutality over the partner. And since most likely he has no sexual experiences prior to that, it creates the assumption that this is what is right to do and that this is what women want in a man, which is crazy. Comparing themselves to porn is not only wrong, but also will also set them up for failure due to unrealistic expectations since porn is not real life, causing lower self-esteem in young men. Nationally, 93% of young boys (before 18 yrs. old) are exposed to Internet porn, 68% of them watch porn weekly, and 21% watch porn daily (UNH). Through this excessive viewing of hazardous entertainment, boys are desensitized and may be left embracing this as a norm. From the lack of a role model it causes boys to rely on the Internet for guidance, and instead of having a true father figure they are instead left developing a relationship with a computer in isolation. Ok, let’s be realistic here. Having a good father figure doesn’t necessarily stop one from falling into that temptation. Most people on campus are probably raised with a good father figure or role model, however even then it is still an awkward topic that most parents are unable to fully teach. Take the law of chastity for example, every young teacher knows that this is probably one of the most awkward or hardest lessons in the year to teach and it’s not their fault. It’s because of this strange taboo around sex and our unwillingness to have a mature conversation about it, and until we are able to confront and talk about this as adults, we are unable to overcome this problem of hyper-masculinity and its relations to porn. Unfortunately, porn isn’t where this conversation stops.
Hyper-masculinity also affects men’s view on women and the objectification of women. In media and in our culture, it’s like every advertisement is for the exploitation of women and it not only changes young boy’s perspective on women, but it also causes women to feel insecure about themselves. When talking to some of my friends in other universities, they talk about women as objects created for them, and I don’t think they truly understand the full implications of that. Whenever someone says, “I’d like to NCMO that,” or “I’d like to slap that,” not only are men referring women to objects but they’re merely seeing them as an object for their own personal pleasure. These thoughts only breed sexism, and it’s almost as if we are teaching them to not see the humanity in women. Every person has a multi-faceted identity, whether man or woman, are created for more things than just a NCMO, nevertheless for one’s personal pleasure. I believe everyone deserves a certain level of respect and dignity, and unfortunately in the way some boys are taught, it prevents them from seeing that. Due to this spreading belief of objectification through hyper-masculinity, in some cases, it creates far worse consequences.
Through the hyper-masculine norm of callous actions towards women and sex, hyper-masculinity, in some cases, can lead to sexual aggression and rape. According to a psychological report in 2003, hyper-masculinity can create emphatic responses towards violent pornography (sagepub). Consider this, if a boy is taught to use violence as a form of self-control, then watches violent porn for 30 minutes almost every day, then plays violent video games for about an hour; if he is invited to go to a party where every other guy is taught the same way, someone is probably going to die or get raped. I know this sounds strong, but this is a discussion about hyper-masculinity’s affect on rape, and that should never be taken lightly. Of course I don’t want to make this generalization. There are probably some very high-functioning people who do this on a regular basis and succeed in their life ambitions (who also needs to talk to the honor code office). Nevertheless, this potential for sexual aggression and violence is very real and does exist. To bring gravity to the situation, in US college campuses, 1 of every 5 women are sexually assaulted or raped, 90% of which will go unreported, and 8 out of 10 times will be from someone they know (nsvrc). In the past few months, I keep hearing the words, “the rape culture in America is spreading.” However this doesn’t mean that there are monsters crawling out of the sewers, it’s worse, we are raising rapists. I don’t mean this as an insult or as a false claim towards you, the audience, however it doesn’t make that phrase any less true. Recently, we have seen Brock Turner released from prison, for raping a woman just several months prior. In a sad twist, in some parts of our country, being caught with a blunt is a far more serious offense than being a repeated sexual offender. And boys take advantage of this. Compared to girls, boys are more likely to commit these crimes and when taking a step back, it’s not necessarily their fault. If society teaches them that this is correct, and there is no one else there to lead them to the right path, then wouldn’t it be natural or relatively easy to fall for those sins? It’s easy to point the blame and imprison young na├»ve boys, and though it fulfills our desire of accountability, it does not solve the underlying problem. There is a way to stop this by teaching kids early on about this question of hyper-masculinity.
There are probably several solutions to hyper-masculinity, however its applications have always been under the most criticism. The easiest and probably best way to prevent hyper-masculinity is to teach young men early on about the problem and by showing them affection. Some claim that it is reckless or harmful to teach kids sexual education because they’re too young for that. However at the age of 13, if they don’t know or have a basic knowledge of what sexual education is, in middle school and depending on your area it is very easy to find other profane or unreliable sources (to put it nicely). Secondly, by neglecting to share this knowledge to children, it forces kids into ignorance of what is going on around them. Others claim that it is probably one of the most awkward talks, however it doesn’t have to be. If we keep living in fear of telling the truth, then we are essentially accepting the lie that hyper-masculinity is okay. Now I don’t want to discredit the difficulty of telling these things because it really is hard. And most things worth telling are. It is a difficult conversation, but is necessary, because the consequence of not telling them far outweighs the fear or recovery necessary to get back to who you were and want to become. A few key things I believe are necessary to teach kids are the eternal value of women and other people, the ineffective use of violence or bullying as a form of self-control, and the true joy of simply talking about how one feels. In addition to teaching kids early on it is important to raise kids with love and support rather than sheer discipline and punishment. Now that doesn’t mean, as parents one should obey the child’s every wish, nor that the child is always right, nor that we superimpose what we believe is right onto them without their acknowledgment or input. This can be done through compromise of each other’s goals or at least acknowledging the child’s views before saying no. Not by telling them to shut up or telling them suck it up and be a man because that will only bring them down and limit their ability to express themselves. Others claim that they wouldn’t because it would make their child seem weak or out of the herd. But doing this only increases the power of hyper-masculinity in our culture and if no one acts now, then it is no wonder why nothing seems to change. On this section specifically I’ve had many criticisms, specifically from parents and adults. “You’re just a freshman, what do you know?” “You’ve never been a husband or a father, who are you to tell me what to do?” “You can’t tell me how to raise my kids, they’re mine.” And these are fair criticisms. Most likely there are some in the audience who fervently disagrees with my views and that’s okay. That’s the power of true freedom and agency: having the ability to distinguish and choose what has meaning in your life regardless of faith or evidence. Nevertheless, if swallowing one’s pride has the possibility to change a child’s life for the better, then in my opinion it is well worth the risk. By teaching kids early on and raising them in love and support, they are better equipped to becoming successful young men.
            The view of being seen as a man or as a gentleman has changed a lot over time. However, if we’re not careful about what to teach our own kids, we can inadvertently lead them in a path of pornography, sexual aggression, and violence, that not only affects them but everyone around them. In fourth grade, I met a boy and he was my best friend. His name was Johnny. He bullied me and I thought it was okay because we were led to believe that this was a sign of strength. We couldn’t talk about being afraid. We couldn’t talk about feeling hurt. We couldn’t talk about feeling sad. Only things that brought out what we perceived were our strengths: anger, violence, and confidence. It wasn’t until years later did we reconcile become real friends and it could’ve been sooner with the right guidance. But for everyone else, it doesn’t have to be that way. If we act, it can be done. It can be reversed. If we let them grow in love and support, then anything is possible.
·      Sources:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Maturity.

How does one become an adult? Is it when you learn how to do laundry? Is it when you learn how to drive? or a go on a first real date? I'm not really sure.

Some people say it's a thing that happens over time. Some people say it's when you turn 18. Some people say it's when you go on a mission. And some say you just fake it and hope for the best. personally I believe in the latter of the list. I don't think maturity is necessarily a stage that all people just goes through, but rather it's just a way that our minds develop or at least try to imitate to fit in.

I'm 18. I probably overthink most things. I'm fairly quirky and full of energy but if you really get to know me, I love playing somber music, drinking coffee or hot cocoa, and arguing to myself about fairly complicated or strange topics. I don't see myself as being mature, probably because I'm scared. I don't want to grow up. And I know it sounds naive for me to say that but I take things slow because I don't want to miss this part of my life simply because the world told me to, "grow up." As a primary teacher, whenever I looked at my kids there's a certain glitter in their eyes that I can never take back. It's curiosity and innocence and beauty and hope and so many other things that we eventually put aside for the sake of growing up. Often we forget those things either because we don't use it, or it wasn't a big part of our lives to begin with, or we simply didn't care. But seeing it in their eyes gives me joy. Running around with six year olds and trying to make them sit in silence can be one of the most daunting experiences but when I see their eyes, I know it'll be alright because it's good. Some of their parents probably don't even acknowledge it or forgets it because of their sheer energy. But when you slow it down and see, it truly is good. I hope their parents see that. Honestly both of my parents can be immature at times, but as long as they're there for you when you really needed them, It's all you'll ever need.

Like a river to a raindrop, I lost a friend. I forgot to slow it down. I'm immature. And whether or not it's because I want to be or it's my personality or some other excuse, I can't hide from that. I am. And every time a friendship or a relationship ends, it happens the same way. You're immature.

At least I acknowledge that fact, even if it stings. Stop it! Get yourself together.

I really pray that maturity comes in due time. But looking back, I don't think it's necessary. If your personality doesn't abide by what we culturally define as, "mature," then why should one change themselves to fit this standard. We tell ourselves to value individuality and our own identities, yet we strive to grasp a definition of maturity and for what? To be accepted? To be loved? We hypocritically value two opposing ideas. By valuing individuality then limiting it to what society deems as acceptable, wouldn't the end product be not of your own self, but rather a culmination of what everyone else wants you to be? If they truly loved you, then being yourself should be enough. It is enough.

I thought to myself maybe I can be more mature by going on a mission. In my college, there is an intense pressure to go on a mission but honestly I'm not even sure if I want to. My friends tell me that they'd rather date RM's (returned missionaries) because they are more mature but I disagree. I don't think that leaving your home for two years will suddenly make you the perfect man. Maybe more spiritual but I don't think it will make you more mature than you already are. Now I'm not trying to bash on RM's, that's not my intention. But associating maturity with whether or not they served a mission are two independent variables that does not correlate. In the past three weeks I've met a lot of people in my life, some good and some bad, and missionaries are not exempted from that fact. For example, yesterday I met an RM that not only tried to NCMO with my friend a few times but also mentioned 11 racial comments/slurs and 17 sexist or sexual comments in 2 hours. If anything there might be a correlation with RM's and holding in their innuendos and then defining their infatuation as love. Of course that's not all of them, there are very mature and kind RM's in the world and generalizing them as something bad is wrong. But generalizing them as these "saints" and having an unrealistic expectation of how good they are is also wrong, because they are still human. And like all humans, should be held accountable of their actions regardless of what they have done in the past. I swore for the first time in college. I called out this RM and what he was doing, and I told him to, "please kindly, f*** yourself, and get out."

I really hope I don't get honor coded for that. Or my rainbow flag. But that's for a different story.

Friday, September 9, 2016

3 Things I Don't Like So Far

1. NCMO's.

2. The no caffeine and coffee thing.

3. "Be a man."

Hmm can I write three quick stories? Let's give it a try. I was in a hammock just chillin' with my friend today, reading some Harry Potter, normal things. When all of the sudden 3 couples, just sat down near us and just started making out. Ok, first off it needs to be mentioned that one of these couples were gay, so I was thinking, "In Provo?! Wow, that's quite rare actually... I'm a bit impressed." My second thought was, "What the heck?! Can you not? please?" And that was only the beginning. NCMO's. Or otherwise known as Non-Committal Making-Out. NCMO's are what I think is the worst trend I have ever seen in my college life. Now typically I'm a pretty chill guy. It's your body, not mine. Your body is a temple and all that jazz. To prove it, I have even talked to my previous church leader about getting a tattoo claiming that tattoos, "are the stained glass windows of my temple." But NCMO's really? Just really? They seem too lustful and immoral. Of course if there's consent then who am I to judge or stop you but in my perspective they seem to dehumanize the people around you for the purpose of just a NCMO. I believe that everyone has a multifaceted identity that ought to be discovered and be filled with joy and love, and degrading one's identity to a physical desire of just making out just seems wrong. I mean how is this any different from a one-night-stand? They both are non-committal, are only in it for the experience, and typically only happens once with that person. It's dehumanizing when I hear a guy objectify a girl, but when both do it and consent to see each other as merely objects for physical pleasure, that's when it really bugs me, because we all deserve better than that.

The coffee and caffeine thing sucks. This story is fairly simple. "I love coffee, I love tea. I love the java jive and it loves me. Coffee and Tea and the java and me. A cup a cup a cup a cup a cup." In my school there is no coffee or caffeinated products anywhere on campus. It became so bad that I needed to find the right RA's to let me smuggle in my coffee and coke weekly. But the worst part is the guilt some people give me for having these products. First off, it's my life, please let me have my coffee, it won't negatively or positively affect your life in any way but please let me have my guilty pleasures. And secondly, it tastes good.

My last story involves what I believe is the most destructive, hurtful, and emotionless three words in the English language. "Be a man." I don't take this topic lightly because I believe it has affected me and possibly most boys in my generation. I talked to this girl a few days ago and she said that most guys she met in her life were jerks (she used another word but it's close enough). And in a way I agree with her. Some of the guys I meet, whether in college or at home, RM's or not, they don't talk about how they feel, they don't act maturely, they aren't sensitive, rather than confronting what's in front of them they either run or they fight. We grew up wanting to be like our fathers, but instead we fed off of their masculinity. We forgot the aspect of love and hide it as what we perceive as a sign of strength. We don't take the time to know someone anymore, but rather swipe left to what we believe is disposable. We weren't taught the same values, but rather influenced by our environment to glorify success by beating others down, getting money, and pleasure from other people. After I agreed with her, it was silent. It took me a while to say four words. "Can you blame them?" Fathers get busy. Kids get bullied. And we were left trying to grasp the definition of being a man with the examples of a bully and a father who may or may not be there for us because he told us to, "stop crying," "be a man," "shut up," "hide your emotions," and to, "quit being a baby." The idea of being seen as weak or as a baby starts from the very beginning of boyhood and it follows us for the rest of our lives. We've constructed an idea of masculinity that doesn't give young boys a way to feel secure about their masculinity, so we force them to try to prove it all the time in unrealistic expectations that will only bring them down. They couldn't talk about being afraid. We couldn't talk about being hurt. We couldn't talk about feeling sad. Only things that brings out what we thought were our strengths; anger, violence, and confidence. We were left trying to act so tough in front of our fathers that we never received the acceptance or love we truly wanted from him. At church I was a primary teacher for CTR 6 and one of the most courageous things I've ever seen is one of my 6 year olds defending a smaller child from a bully saying, "I cry sometimes too, don't you?" And it was the noblest thing I have ever seen. I believe that this is a horrible problem plaguing the world, but it can be stopped. It can be reversed. If we let them grow in love and support, it's possible.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Motivations

I was sitting on the grass today with my friend Sarah. We were having a casual conversation when journaling came up in our conversation. Ecstatic I whipped out my laptop and showed her this blog. I read her the ants story (which is a pretty sexy story by the way and I'd encourage you to read that too or ask me about it if you haven't already) and she really liked it. As our conversation continued, we eventually arrived at the question of why? Why am I doing this? And quite frankly I wasn't really sure. 


Writing was not something I always wanted to do. In all honesty there's times when I'm writing and I'm really hoping my ideas would just stop so I can go to bed. My relationship with writing has been like a dysfunctional relationship between a cat and a mouse. Like Tom and Jerry but it's shorter. I didn't start writing well (and by well I mean it actually has decent ideas and I wrote with my own free will rather than because of an assignment) until about freshman year when I realized one of my friends kept a journal and she told me it helped her declutter her head. From that point I decided to try it out and after a few laughs at sacrament meeting, I realized there is some merit in writing. I had a physical journal with me for most of freshman and sophomore year but immediately after I moved to California I stopped and it wasn't until a month after my graduation that I started a blog, which contains my journal entries.

My writing process is a bit sporadic. Meeting me in real life, most people would never peg me as someone with a blog, never mind a journal. And that's okay because personally I don't see myself as being a writer at all. However whenever I do write, I do my best to make it about something I love or am passionate about. Mostly because if I'm not passionate about it, then why am I doing this? When I write, I start off with a topic already in mind and I just keep on writing. Keep on ranting and hope that it works out. Lately though I can't get the right ideas or don't have enough focus, so typically at around midnight, people will see a small Asian fellow walking around with a phone or climbing a tree and then just typing up there.

One of my favorite songs in the world is "Yellow" by Coldplay and whenever I look at the stars, it fills my head with possibilities of what can be or what should be or what can happen. Maybe it's not realistic or true but the fact that anything is possible gives me ideas on where to go next in my writing. I'm not really sure what kind of a writer am I but if I had to guess it would somewhere in between a storywriter and a journalist because I like to speak my mind in a theatrical sense.

WOW I DIGRESSED. My main motivation in writing is for myself. I know it sounds selfish but it's for me. It brings calmness in my life where I can speak my mind and I know it'll be all right. Because whenever I do write, as long as it's not for homework, I don’t do it for the gratification or acceptance of others, it's a space for me to clear my head. And I suppose that's probably one of my goals. I write so I can be more efficient in bringing sanity and calm in my strange but fun world.

And then after I had this thought I started singing songs from musicals with Sarah, because first off Hamilton is awesome and a stranger walked passed me earlier with a shirt from Legally Blonde the musical. And it reminded me of some really fun times.

One of my old poems

Sometimes they bicker and sometimes they fight.
Yet came to rescue you in times of need.
Exist to loving you with all their might,
Carefully trusting that you would succeed.
It’s never the best day without a smile,
So they made the sun come out everyday.
And helped you realize, it’s all worthwhile.
Who made you happy in all the best ways,
Do try their best, to teach you some life skills.
And hoping to God you will use them well,
They gave you freedom even though it kills,
But don’t you worry child. It’ll all be swell.
But now they leave, observing from above
In hopes that you find something that you love.

This is one of my old poems from last year. It needed to be a sonnet. For people who don't know, a sonnet is a poem with an Iambic Pentameter, a specific rhyme scheme (in this case ABABCDCDEFEFGG), 10 syllables per line, and it needs to make sense and be pretty and stuff. I'm posting this because currently I'm feeling a bit homesick. It passes, but I just wanted to post it to show the significance of family specifically the importance of parents in my life. They really taught me well and I wouldn't be here without them.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

ANTS

So far life is good. Just walking home at midnight, talking to friends when I realized I left my keys in my friend's lobby. Immediately I texted her so I can quickly run and pick it up but then I saw them... All of them.

Ants just everywhere.


I should probably give you some context. In my time in college, one thing I noticed was ants. They swarm. I'm not kidding. There's times when they swarm on the pavement in a giant circle with a diameter of about 3 feet and it's huge. They probably only do it once a day in a random spot in the pavement but when they do there's nothing you can do about it. Nothing at all. They just chill there like they own the school. Well... they have lived here longer than I have, they outnumber all of us, and they're everywhere, so I suppose they do own the school in that sense. 


Luckily, though I did not see them at first, a man named Mark stopped me from walking on this ant pile. Apparently he and his group of friends have been carefully observing them for the past hour to see how big the pile can get. First off let me digress, is there a word for a pile of ants? swarm? pack? fellowship?


"If they are winged, they are a swarm. If they are marching on the ground, they are an army. Otherwise they are a COLONY or nest, since any large group of ants in one place are likely all sisters from the same COLONY." Good to know. Thank you National Geographic documentary on ants.


Anyway back on topic, Mark and his friends have been observing them for the past hour and we decided to conduct an experiment. How fast can this COLONY of ants consume a bag of Cheetos? It took probably 25 minutes to half an hour but they did it. I guess they were hungry. A moment passed then we saw a fat slug.


This was a very sexy slug. Very plump, moist, sticky, and it looks like it was in a hurry. That's ironic; a rushing slug? I named him Paul. Anyway this slug, Paul, is about to squirm into the pile of ants when the weirdest thing happened. The ants moved out of the way. Like Moses parting the Red Sea, like the creation of the Panama Canal, by some slug-god given miracle the ants moved out of the way. Now maybe it's because I'm tired or it's Sunday but dang look at this sexy slug?! That's a blessing. Paul calmly walked through adversity and a few thousand ants and won. I am proud of that guy (if he's a guy). 


I know this is a strange story but it's what I needed for the day. If Paul (the two inch, moist, plump, probably happy and well respected slug) can get through life, so can I. Sometimes life hits us with random things like emotional troubles, or friendship drama, or academic stress, or maybe even a big COLONY of ants. But there is always a path that can help us succeed and find happiness in our lives. Now it's not going to be easy, if it was then you ought to teach me how to do that. But it's okay because these hard experiences, teaches us, makes us stronger, and hopefully turns us to someone we like ourselves. Anyway I've kept my friend waiting for over an hour, I should go get my keys.


Let me end it with some wise words of Flik from Bug's Life, "walk around the leaf." 


Or through it and hope you're a badass like Paul.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Things people ought to say more

I'm not sure why I'm posting this right now, but it's half-time and I got bored so here it goes. Here is a list of random quotes from myself or friends over the past few days that people ought to say more.

"A stable 9-5 job sounds so hot right now"    ...because isn't that everyone's goal?

"I love it when I can afford medicine"     ...let's just say it's a struggle in college

"Stay cool, you sexy beast"    ...it helps with self-esteem

"God? oh yeah he's pretty legit"    ...it's true he is

"Your calves look great"     ...the walking to class thing really helps

"That's one fiiinneeee visual stimuli"    ...because we're all nerdy

What kind of narwhal am I?

I'm brown. Well technically brownish-yellow. It's neat. I remember in my AP Government class last year, the teacher liked me especially because of my unique background. I am born a Filipino and I moved to Minnesota when I was nine. Then moved to California when I was 16. It wasn't until I moved to California that I realized I was extremely white-washed.

In my culture, though Filipinos are generally a very happy people, we're affected by some Confucian belief that we should keep our heads down, that we should blend in and that we should always regard our elders in the highest respect. And these values are great, I am not arguing against Confucianism or anything of the sort, but it wasn't until I moved to an Asian predominated area, that I realized I was astray from these traditional ethics.

I tear myself apart constantly.

My testimony in my religion is based on a specific talk I listened to when I was 13 years old. This talk (speech) was called "Dare to Stand Alone," by President Thomas S. Monson. In this talk, I was told to speak up and be proud of myself and to value my beliefs and my individualism and to not be afraid to share it with the rest of the world.  Now of course, his actual talk is about more religious topics, but to me it became a part of my personality rather than just a simple advice.

My teacher has never met a liberal Mormon, and he thought I was unique in my own beliefs, but in all honesty I tear myself apart arguing about what I perceive as right or wrong. Whenever I look at a new topic, I do my best not to fall back on past prejudice and rather I focus on the eccentricities of each new situation and seeing it as something new. Every time a new topic or issue arises, I look at myself and it ends up just me arguing with myself with such conviction that when a part of me eventually admits defeat, I am blown back by the realization of the consequences of my decisions.

I can't make up my mind. While my individualism sets up my ego, my pride is thrusted down by my confucian culture. In California, I remember people looking at me as if I was white-washed and strange that I kept talking in English and not my native language. They didn't accept me as part of their culture anymore. I guess that's one way to become an American.

Ok We Need To Talk

Whoa maybe that was too serious huh... Where to start... Let's start off with me, because you're reading the blog of a semi-narcissistic weirdo. I understand I'm flirty at times. I understand I'm very enthusiastic at times. And I understand that I love talking and hanging out with people in general. But just because my personality is extroverted like that does not mean that I have feelings for you.

DTR: Define The Relationship.

A very important talk that typically occurs after a month or so of two people meeting, where they discuss their time together and have a mutual understanding of their relationship. I cannot stress enough how important a DTR is. Without it, one can over-romanticize the life around them and perceive signs where none exists. Without a DTR, no borders are established and when an unwritten rule has been broken, it can be damaging to one's relationship. And without a DTR, it can poison the very friendship most seek to preserve.

Why am I ranting about this? life. Just life. In college. With teenagers fully loaded with 18 years of repressed issues and quirks of their own. I'm not going to go into a lot of details (because I'm a college student and ain't nobody got time fo' that) but I'm pretty sure that either everyone is partly at fault or no one is.

It's freshman year and it's extremely easy to make friends, at least if you start with "hi." And, at least in my observations, it is because we were all sent into a brand new environment without the people that were close to us our whole lives. It creates a gap and a need for companionship or at least friendship and it makes for some really good friends, really fast. Of course there's drawbacks, for example since you're mom isn't there you might accidentally project your mom's compassion to your roommate and end up bawling like a deranged patient to your roommate. Whether or not this actually happened to anyone it doesn't matter, but the point is, it makes people open up and be deep very quickly. However as much as I love deep talks, there is a time and place for it. As obvious as it may seem, this is not always the easiest lesson to learn. Now that does not mean shallowness is good, because that lacks character and I absolutely abhor that, but assessing the situation first is always a good thing to do.

Anyways, as you can probably tell... People went way too fast, way too soon and BAM. Friendship poisoned. First off, it's LITERALLY the first week of college. Chill. Please. Just, can we not? Secondly DTR! But hey it's okay, I guess it's life.

It's not easy. And everyone experiences it a bit differently. For introverts, they tend to be hella friendly and flirty, which is good but can lead to miscommunication and mixed signals. It is a disadvantage at times, but it's my personality. And I wouldn't change it for anything. There are pros and cons for every situation in everyone's life and no matter how hard or weird or dramatic it is, we will always have a choice. How do you want to see the world?

For right now, it's 3 am I'm dizzy so let me end this with I love this world. I love people. I love you (in a hopefully not awkward way to whoever is reading this). And if random drama and tribulation comes my way, you know what? Bring it on.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Petrichor

It's a fun word. It's the smell of grass after rain. A little background from my personal life, I lived in California for two years (specifically the Bay Area). It's a pretty chill place, there's In-N-Out, lots of longboards, we always say "hella," and currently we're in a drought. It's been a while since the last time I felt rain on my face, and I've missed it.

Until rain finally came.

It gave me a dreary reassurance that life keeps on going. I should really get a grip. In fairness the day started out in an incredible way.

Last night, (so technically not today, but I'm the writer so shut up and accept my disillusioned view on time) I went to the Coldplay concert in Salt Lake City. It was absolutely incredible. There is no other way to phrase it. Even with a million billion words, it will never be enough to describe the sheer raw talent and awesomeness that is Coldplay.

P.S. Coldplay is my favorite band... it is my guilty pleasure and this is the only band I will ever sing with, cry with, and feel absolutely fantastic with, possibly all at the same time. I have fangirl-ed for this band many times and I can't believe I saw them in person.

And like a joyful commercial break, welcome back to real life. There were a lot of clouds today but it was alright because it helped cover up the heat. Late that night my sister lost her parking spot so I had to call people around and we deregistered the car and re-registered the car under my name, so we can park legally. It was probably 3 am when I got home and I was feeling dead, without a voice (literally), and wanting nothing but sleep. And then my pants vibrated. I had an email about homework that needs to be done by 6 am. I worked on it and I fell asleep an hour later.

I woke up late for school but it was okay because Coldplay filled me with love and I was willing to hug anyone who ever mentions their name. It was a beautiful day, the clouds were rolling through Timpanogos and I can feel a nice breeze, and wow I'm inserting a lot of unnecessary details. Let's skip forward. I found one of my friends and I decided to help them out with homework. It's been a while since I've done trigonometry. I got the hang of it though and it was comforting because she was helping me too. We were both tutoring my roommates and it was like we were a team at first, busting through every differential, matrices, and sets. I realized I was forcing it though.

In my school, instead of the typical party culture in almost every college, there is an intense marriage and dating culture. I cannot emphasize this enough, and I can't believe I let it affect me to this extent. I feel like I'm forcing myself to like a girl I have barely even met simply because she can speak in math. And as great and rare of a skill as that is, a relationship should be built more on just one specific characteristic, isn't it? I barely knew this girl at all. I barely know any of my friends at all. And yet somehow, in this strange land called Utah, there has already been 1 marriage (in the first 5 days), 3 relationships, and apparently dramatic semi-spiritual love letters to RM's or missionaries currently on missions. AND THAT'S JUST WHAT I KNOW ABOUT SO FAR. Everything is going extremely fast, and it needs to stop. I need to stop. It's as if there is an unwritten obligation to relationships with people I've never even met. And somehow it's just everywhere. Somehow everyone is wanting and not necessarily feeling. Though I am in a fairly religious institution, the line between love and infatuation is blurry, and this institution is no exception from it. Maybe it's in the air we breath. Or whatever else comes out.

I walked out of that study session a bit confused, not because of math, but because of what I want to do next. I'm not sure. And that's okay. Because at least I'm not alone. When I took my first step outside, the heavens opened and it was beautiful. A guy saw my Coldplay shirt and started playing "The Scientist" on the ukulele. The air smelled like petrichor.