A New Adventure…Argentina!

Monday, 18 Jan. 2016

Dear Reader,

I hope this letter finds you well, and that you’ll excuse my writing as I have not written a letter in a while.  What should I include, what should I leave out?  These are the questions that make it difficult to even begin to start writing.  As always, you’ll hear from me when I am on the brink of a new adventure, when the nerves that come with starting something new are really the only motivation that prompts these words.

In less than a month I will be shipping myself off on a plane to Cordoba, Argentina to study for 6 1/2 months.  Yes, I have planned and saved all this time to go to another country for half a year…to go to school.  What a nerd you must think I am.  I wouldn’t argue with you and I might even add in that it was my choice (and my privilege) to study Spanish and the Argentine culture.  I’ll say here that I have yet to finish preparing for my trip and by the looks of it, my room at school must had a tornado go through it.  It seems as though I am either packing or unpacking my life at this point.  Is this what getting older feels like: making choices that require planning and patience and commitment?

For now, I can only hope that you are doing much better than I: sleeping well, eating healthy, and getting plenty of exercise.  Maybe we can take up the occupation of someone’s pet?  They always seem to have more than enough of those things.




Just a Few Words on Love

“Cultures of domination rely on the cultivation of fear as a way to ensure obedience. In our society we make much of love and say little about fear. Yet we are all terribly afraid most of the time. As a culture we are obsessed with the notion of safety. Yet we do not question why we live in states of extreme anxiety and dread. Fear is the primary force upholding structures of domination. It promotes the desire for separation, the desire not to be known. When we are taught that safety lies always with sameness, then difference, of any kind, will appear as a threat. When we choose to love we choose to move against fear–against alienation and separation. The choice to love is a choice to connect–to find ourselves in the other.”

— All About Love, bell hooks, pp. 93

Hi Again…Getting Restarted

Looks like spring is almost here!

Hi again.  It’s been a while since I lasted posted something to this blog.  While I have missed writing and sharing, the time away has been much needed and necessary.

In the long absence I have since discovered new ways of thinking, perspectives, and opinions to which others hold fast.  It is no surprise that people often cannot see their own bias and stubbornness in believing that their way is the only true way.

To be able to doubt, to question, and to evaluate are perhaps some of the most valuable skills that one can have in determining how to live one’s life.  You might not agree with some people on certain issues, but the fact that you don’t agree does not give you the right to write that individual off as being “dissenting” and “wrong.”

In this country’s climate today, to do such a thing is to divide and “other” the people who are probably hurting just as much as “we” are.

Let me clarify here that this is not an angry rant about some personal encounter.  This is, perhaps, more of a preface to how this blog is going to be structured around the topics that I usually discuss such as: art, human rights, and poetry.  However, this blog is also going to include: current events, social justice issues, and an un-censored expression of my life.

To further illuminate this last point, I believe there is a fine line between what is defined as being cautious and inauthentic.  To this, I say that I have been quiet to the point of being fake.  Seeing as how the future is tied into the actions of the present, my public pledge is to be myself and to hopefully show others that it is okay to be that way, for not many are capable of doing so.

I hope Easter weekend went well for everyone and that no matter what religion or tradition you follow, that there is time for rest and reflection on the week.

Have a good day 🙂

The Sunshine Award!


Hello fellow bloggers, readers, and humanitarian enthusiasts–it seems that Keys2Change has been nominated for a blogger award called the “Sunshine Award!”  The little sun^^ is so freaking cheerful!  I feel torn between acquiring an attitude of cynicism and belting out the song You are My Sunshine which, did you know, is the official state song of Louisiana?  Yeah, I didn’t know either…ANYWAY I digress.
The rules for the Sunshine Award are as follows:
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer their questions.
  • Nominate other bloggers.
  • Contact them to let them know that they’ve been nominated.
  • Put the award badge on your blog.

Big thanks to Riley on her blog Smiles No Matter, for nominating us (yeah, you guys too).  She’s super talented and always full of ideas and creative ways to improve and balance one’s life.  Check her blog out in the link above!

As always, I want to thank all of you who follow me and give me feedback.  I love to hear from you guys and it makes the job of picking my brain seem worth it.  Just kidding, using words and media to communicate the importance of change, integrity, humanity, and justice is the main goal here, and I cannot thank you guys enough for supporting the cause.  On to the questions! 

  1. What is your favorite quotation?
    I have this wall at home that is covered in sticky notes where I put up quotes, ideas, and cool interesting facts.  Some of my favourites on there are from Rumi (fav. poet), a Bible verse, and a poet:
    – “This is how I would die into the love I have for you: as pieces of cloud dissolve in sunlight.” Rumi
    -“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6
    -“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” Emily Dickinson 
  2. Name one song that you listen to when you need to relax!
    Hmmm, you know how you cycle through songs and then those end up becoming temporary soundtracks to your life?  Maybe, no?  It was worth a shot.  At the moment I enjoy the music stylings of Joshua Radin.
  3. What are your feelings about Snapchat?
    Believe it or not, but I just recently got a phone, so this whole app, Snapchat stuff was a little weird at first.  Fortunately my friends helped me out in navigating the features such as: how to add text to the picture so you don’t have to finger-write all your messages, how to send “snaps?” to multiple people, how to take a video, and much more.  So, basically it’s a marvel of an app that makes me feel silly when posing for pictures.
  4. Describe a person who has picked you up while you were feeling down. How did this person bring you comfort or condolence?
    I have these amazing friends from middle school, and we’ve all been friends through high school and now college.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better in my life than a group of people who I can talk to, hang out with, support, and be supported by.  So, there’s no single person I can describe nor can I think of one specific occasion, because they have been there with me through a lot.
  5. What is an activity you love doing with your friends?
    Recently my friends and I have taken up the activity of Geocaching.  It’s pretty fun and searching through bushes, street corners, and parks together makes it all the better.
  6. What is your preferred mode of communication?
    My preferred mode of communication is face to face.  However, I do appreciate being able to text and Skype with my friends when being together is a little hard.
  7. Do you believe in love at first sight?
    No.  I can explain later in another blog post 🙂
  8. What is one thing you wish you did more?
    Finish projects that I start!
  9. How has your summer been going so far?
    Slow but just fine.  I have enjoyed being able to relax, evaluate life so far, and prepare for this coming school year.

Alright, these are the bloggers I have nominated for being inspirational, funny, and creative.  Keep up the good work guys!

Here are my questions!

1. Who is your favourite poet? (if it’s no one, an author or book)
2. You have 30 minutes to decide whether or not you will take part in an experiment that guarantees future happiness and success overnight.  If you choose not to, you will end up in the same circumstance of happiness, it’ll just take 10 more years.  What do you do?
3. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?
4. What is something that you do, or can do that makes you feel happy and at peace inside?
5. When was the last time you received a compliment that made your day better?
6.  If you had to learn a language, what would it be?
7.  What is one really good movie you saw this summer?
8.  What kind of music do you like to listen to?
9.  What does happiness mean to you?  (super simple, don’t worry about covering everything on this one)

What Does it Mean to Matter?

Image result for maple leaves autumn

What does it mean to matter?  Does it have to be in relation to someone else? Or is it something that can be determined inherent within all of us?

To these questions, I am unsure of the ultimate answer.  However, it has always been prevalent to me that the question bears more weight than the answer itself.  So, what does it mean to matter to oneself?  To others?

To illustrate this question and to hopefully find an answer I have a story.  It’s probably going to sound a little strange, but hang in there.  It goes like this:

I observe a lot of things. Not like a scientist because I literally suck at science and math but small things like the way sunlight hits the trees on the front quad at school, the energy of chatter rising and falling among friends, and given and made first impressions.In the long summer hours filled with nothing but my own memories and daydreams, I thought about all the people I met in only one year. There is one I can recall quite clearly:

I was on my way to a Spanish conversation class with a friend even though I didn’t really need to be there. Then, all of a sudden there was this girl waving at us. She knew my friend but she was also

smiling at me! She waves hello.  Shit. I don’t know her but she knows me.  Her hair is this fantastic color and the freckles on her cheeks reflect the fallen Autumn leaves littered on the sidewalk; they look like stars.

What do I do? She asks a question that I don’t remember anymore but it was probably a normal standard question. And I respond with something about a beached whale…real cool, I know.But she doesn’t seem offended. Instead, tilting her head up to the sky, she laughs. It blends with the orange and violet undertones of the sky and the leaves and the trees and the sun.  Ok, it’s time now, and I ask for her name.

“Meryn,” she says.

“Ok I’ll remember that.”  And I never forgot.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to talk with her much after that.  I wish one day to be that full of the present invention of joy and happiness as Meryn seemed to be on that one fading afternoon. Whatever she may have been truly feeling I’ll never know, but I’m know that I’m grateful for being able to meet her.

I sent this story to Meryn herself before I published this and while I felt a little strange in doing so, I also felt it to very important that she knew about it.  Perhaps it is the fact that she isn’t going to return to school next year.  I mean, we interact with the people in our lives on an everyday basis thinking about the ways the people in our relationships mean to us.But what of the people we don’t know so well?  Do they or even should they mean anything to us?  We never talked much, Meryn and I, but she made a lasting impressing on me.  So to answer this question that I asked at the beginning:  What does it mean to matter?

Even though I didn’t know Meryn very well, I’m still going to miss her.  I guess you could say she mattered to me, and to me this answers the question.  Your worth or anyone else’s cannot be measured. Not by the amount of friends you have or the number of Christmas cards you get or how many people sit with you in the dining hall.

I’ve attended funerals where I don’t really know the person who died, but she still had an impact on my life and the hundred other people at the service.  Why do we wait?  While a person’s worth cannot be measured, you, me, us need to be reminded every now and then that we are appreciated, wanted, and valued.   And for all intents and purposes, I take no shame or loss of pride in letting Meryn or anyone else know.

Where this starts, then, is within yourself.  Self-respect, self-worth, and self-value.  While I wish that Meryn would be staying at school, the fact is that she’s not.  She’s leaving and for that I commend her. Recently I said goodbye to an institution that I valued for many years because I thought I could mean something to it.  I never did.  I’m not mad or angry at the people who couldn’t even remember my name after five years.  But I am a little angry at myself.  Why?  Because I believed that if I gave them my services, my personality, and my time, my worth in their eyes might increase.

Here’s the thing though: Self-depreciation cannot be traded for appreciation.  It’s a false system of belief.  I’m not saying to just give up on a job or an internship, but know yourself and don’t lose hope that your current situation is as good as it’s going to get.  For me, my memory of meeting Meryn is a reminder to never take life too seriously and to be yourself, because there are going to be those really great people who will accept you for who you are.  And once you realize your worth, others will begin to notice too.  Just remember to give back and let the people around you know how much they mean to you!  🙂

Ok, so this was something that’s been weighing on my mind.  Not to leave on a somber or wistful note, here’s some Calvin and Hobbs