“Try to stay positive, Avana. Reckless positivity is key to survival in such a depressing world.”

You know what the most bizarre and confusing thing is? When something really happy happens to you, and in the same day, something equally disappointing happens.  I had this happen to me very recently.  In the morning, I received the amazing news that a website wanted to publish one of my submitted articles.  The very same day, later on, I had an interview for a board.  I was told that, even with all my high hopes and work, I did not get the position.  Neither was better of worse than other.  So, I was left with a sinking in my stomach and my heart fluttering like a bird.  Most. Confusing. Feeling. Ever.

But that’s just the world goes.  There is stress – a lot of stress -,some successes, and some disappointments.  The important thing to remember is that, if you put all of your effort into your life, you will have many more successes than you will disappointments.  Thinking positively is very important for someone like me because of A. my career choice, and B. my personality.  I constantly struggle with depression, so if I let those disappointments get to me, I’ll only spiral out of control and everything will get worse.  Also, the career I chose, a writer, doesn’t allow for negative thinking.  Writers get rejected constantly by publishers, but they just have to keep plugging away and keep on submitting things.  We can’t let our disappointments stop us from writing and submitting things.  If we do, we lose who we are.

Focusing on the positive is hard, though.  People have the tendency to focus on negative things more than they do positive things, in the first place.  You basically have to overcome your own human nature.  Sure, I’m sad I didn’t get the position, but I can keep trying.  They only have two year terms and I have time.

Here are some ways to help focus on the positive:

  1.  Come up with those “but” scenarios when something bad happens.  Like, “Ok, I didn’t get the job.  But I can take their advice, get more experience in my field, and apply again in a couple of months.” This not only gives you a positive attitude, but it gives you a new goal to work for.
  2. Never put yourself down.  I struggle with so much.  One failure does not mean that you are a failure.  It just means that you’re human and you made a mistake.  Mistakes can be fixed, but not fixated on.  You have to accept the mistake and move on, working hard to make sure it never happens again.
  3. Know your own limits.  Set two different types of goals: a short term and a long term.  My short term goal is to stay in college with good grades.  My long term goal is to go to Cambridge University for Language Arts and to become a writer.  Even if you don’t achieve your short term goals, you can set new ones that are more realistic.  Your long term goal might change over time as you mature.  The important thing is that you have things to shoot for that keep you positive and motivated.
  4. Have at least one very positive friend.  One of my very best friends is super energetic and optimistic for me.  Even if she is feeling down, if she can see I’m sad, she’ll cheer me up with her positiveness.  In return, when her heads in the clouds, I make sure to bring her back down to Earth.
  5. Never say you can’t do something.  You can say “I’m gonna mess up along the way,” but never say you can’t do something.  That’s just an overall negative state of mind.

How am I staying positive with these two conflicting feelings? The guy who got onto the board instead of me is like a brother to me.  I know that he will do a fantastic job, maybe even a better job than I could.  And another board member’s term is up next year, so I can interview for it again next year.  Along with those, I focus on that positive thing that happened.  I’m now a published writer, and the woman who works for the website told me to just email her drafts and ideas if I come up with any.  I’m in a good place with that, so I’m focusing on that.

Don't worry, be happy!

Don’t worry, be happy!

Me when I got that email about my article ^

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“It is a horrible thing – but a beautiful thing – when a country weeps for those it has lost”

Upon this day, in 2001, two towers with their beautiful peaks touching the clear sky, came crashing to the ground.  In ten seconds, the day, for most, went from average to a day of hell on Earth.  We must never forget those who died that day, nor the people that killed them.  From the people on the plane, to the firefighters who died rescuing others, we must honor each and every life.

I remember that I had just turned 2, and was sitting in my mom’s room at the foot of her bed that night, when the news footage came on.  She sent me out of the room.  I had never seen my mother cry like that, and I’d never seen her look so frightened.

I could go on for pages and pages about all of this, but I think we all remember pretty clearly.  I just wanted to say one thing: I will never forget those who died, and, not even me, the person who preaches understanding, will ever forgive what happened that day.  Our nation might not be the best, most understanding one, and I know that very well.  But for someone to attack us like that, and then to rejoice about it afterwards.  That is an unforgivable offense that no American, black or white, gay or not, boy or girl, will ever, ever forget.  And it may be sad in a way, but it was so beautiful to see our nation come together after that tragedy.

For someone who sees the world through a depressed state, even I had faith in our country after that.

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For we are one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  And we will defend these rights with every breath in our bodies.

Seeing Blind (“Please tell me why someone has to be exactly the same as everyone else? What’s the beauty in that?”)

I was eight years old when I met my boyfriend. Now seventeen, we’ve been dating for seven years with no breaks, no fighting, and now dramatic back stabbing. The answer to why is very simple. We understand each other like no one will ever understand. Because we see each other through our hearts and not through our eyes. We have to.

Anthony is blind.

He is very handsome with high, protruding cheek bones, olive colored skin, and wavy hazelnut hair. He might not be very muscular, but he does have a fit physique. He’s tall with some basic abs you get from everyday activities, but it’s not like he can work out on a daily basis without some help. His most handsome feature, though, is his eyes: as pure as silver, and as smooth as milk. Their glazed over appearance makes them look like that of a beautiful statue created by a famous sculptor.

It was cold, snowy day of winter at my school when I first understood him, “Excuse me.” I said to him. He always sat in the front row of the class on the far side of the room where the teacher could help him if he needed. At the sound of my sweet voice, he perked up slightly and moved his head so as better to hear me.

I was confused as to why he wouldn’t look me in the eye, “Why does the teacher always have to help you?” As an eight year old girl, I was rather blunt, verging on the point of hurtful.

He just smiled kindly and answered with patience, “I’m blind.”

Wanting to seem smart, I simply said, “Oh.” And walked off. Honestly, I had no idea what that meant. So, when I got home, I asked my father about it.

“Daddy?” I said tentatively, poking my head into his study. He looked up from his papers with a smile.

“Yes, honey?” Upon hearing that, I entered, understanding that I was allowed.

“What does it mean to be blind?” I asked, walking around to my father on the other side of the desk. My father turned his chair to face me.

“It means that you can’t see anything.” I thought upon his answer.

“So, why doesn’t someone just fix his eyes?” My father sighs with a sad little smile.

“Unfortunately, when someone is blind, you can’t fix their eyes. Most of the time they were born without being able to see anything. Someone who is blind only sees black all of the time, like when you close your eyes.” He explained. Then he patted my head and told me to be on my way because I had work to finish.

That night I kept closing my eyes and trying to do things. I wanted to understand what it was like to be blind. After figuring out how hard that was, I thought about what it would be like not to see the sun and the sky every day. I felt bad for Anthony. He had never been able to see all of the beautiful things I was able to look at every day without another thought.

The next day, I pulled up a chair to his desk, “Hello, Anthony!” I greeted. Upon hearing my voice again, a big smile spread over his face.

“Hi!” He said cheerily, his glazed eyes still only focused in my direction.

“It sure is pretty outside today.” I purposefully commented, looking outside at the snowy landscape. His smile faded. He must have thought I had forgotten about his problem.

After a moment he told me quietly, “I wouldn’t know. I can’t see it.” I smiled happily upon hearing him say that.

“I can describe it to you if you want!” I immediately, blurt, positively overjoyed that my plan had worked.

He smiled weakly, “Sure.”

When my father arrived at school that day, he had to come into my classroom because I hadn’t come out. Upon walking in, he saw me sitting across from Anthony, staring out the window, describing, in the most detailed way an eight year old could, what the scene looked like. I was describing everything from the look and smell of the room all the way to what snowflakes looked like. Anthony sat across from me, listening avidly, completely mesmerized by my words.

My father smiled at the sight and simply waited outside the door until I was done.

Ever since that day, I have been Anthony’s eyes so that he can experience and see the world just as much as I can. Since he can’t see me, I don’t ever feel uncomfortable about being myself around him. I can dress how I want, not wear makeup, and not do my hair, but he never cares what I look like because he can’t see me. All he cares about is the sweet, melodic tones of my voice rising and falling as I explain to him what Russia’s Red Square looks like.

No eyes are needed.

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Just remember, someone with a disability isn’t below anyone.  If everyone was the same, then there would be no beauty because everything would look the same.  Never judge someone just because they are different.  All you have to do is try and see something from someone else’s perspective and you will be able to understand them better.  I hope you enjoyed my micro story, too! (micro stories are shorter than short stories, which range from 5 to 30 pages.  Micro stories range from about 1 page to 5 pages.)

“To know is to understand, and to understand is to know the world.”

Hi, I’m back again! Recently (like 2 weeks ago) school started back up for me.  Right off the bat I began my second year as a duel student at Miami University (Great school.  You should definitely consider going there).  This semester I am taking Environmental Biology (replacing highschool biology), Popular Literature (replacing highschool English), and Introduction to Psychology (just cuz I wanted to).  So far I have missed one assignment, fallen behind on reading, walked into an earlier class for one of my professors, and almost tripped and died walking up the stairs.  You would think I’m a novice at this.  After all that though, I now know my professors attitudes and policies, I have discovered I enjoy all my classes, and I now have personal policies to make sure none of those things happen again (minus the tripping on stairs thing.  I do that no matter how hard I try not to).  I’m also taking German 1, Japanese 2, and French 4 in highschool.  My schedule fits like a puzzle, but still gives me time to take nice, random naps, and to get all of my work done properly and well.

You’re probably wondering “what is the friggin point of this?  She normally writes on stuff important, not just to give us updates!”  Well, this is important to me.  The point of this post is to show how much of a better environment a college campus is VS and highschool.  I, personally, despise the idea of highschool in general, and I hate the public schooling system even more.  I strongly believe that a highschool environment focuses far too much on surviving in society rather than learning about the world around us.  Example: college English courses force students to read good, thought out literature like Poe and Austin, and to actually evaluate the message, rhetoric, and symbolism in each scene, word, and phrase.  Highschool English consists of reading things like the Hunger Games and maybe some famous works like How to Kill a Mockingbird, but it doesn’t teach students how to evaluate and analyze an author’s purpose.  No offense to anyone, but the Hunger Games has no deeper meaning than entertainment.  Highschool, at least in Ohio, consists of preparing kids for another test.  In this day, students are taking a state test every year of highschool.  Teachers have no time to teach anything important, and most students aren’t interested because it isn’t entertaining to them.  News flash kids: life isn’t always here specifically for your entertainment.  College forces students to understand this fact.  To graduate from college, you must jump through certain hoops, and you can’t half-ass anything.  You pay for it.  Professors don’t care if you fail.  They don’t have any moral obligations to cut you some slack.  You’re obviously smart enough to be in college, so you ought to be smart enough to actually do the work.  Most of the time, Professors don’t have extra credit available to students who just need to raise their grade to pass, and sometimes they don’t even have makeups.  Even if you are deathly ill on a bed of roses and can’t come to class, they’ll say “um sorry, but I can’t make an exception.”  It’s also part of your responsibility to take care of your health.  There is no “mom, I’m sick and I can’t go to school today.”  I went to English 112 once and had to run to the bathroom to puke in the middle.  Then I puked after class.  I still went to class, and stayed the entire time.  I still did my homework when I got home.  In a way, college is much more selfish than highschool.

In college, you are responsible for picking and designing your own class schedule, you are responsible for all your own work, and your professor and classmates have no obligation to cut you slack or help you out.  It’s a crueller environment, true, but it’s also very healthy for a developing adolescent.  It teaches them how the world is really going to be.  And it teaches them the skills to handle a professional society, as well as giving them higher level, in depth teaching of all subjects.  Even something like environmental biology is interesting when a professor directly engages you and forces you to look deeper.  I can do the courses I have to, while still looking at things I’m interested in like Psychology, Philosophy, and World Studies.  Plus, the way I do it now, the state pays for my courses and books, so I don’t pay a dime for a college level education.

Over all, highschools should try to emulate colleges a bit more.  The state needs to focus less on preparing for tests to make sure kids are learning stuff and a little more on the actual learning of stuff.  How do you make sure a kid is learning when they’re too busy preparing for a test?  It doesn’t make much sense.  And I still maintain that there is just to much drama involved with highschool.  You know what? I go to my classes every day, come home after, do the homework I need to, and then I’m free to do whatever I want.  I’m not required to stay for a certain amount of time.  Neither am I required to show up (it’s just makes no sense not to go because I have to get good grades to stay in the program).  College environments teach responsibility, professionalism, and self motivation.  I don’t have anyone telling me to do homework, I choose to do it myself because I want to do well.  These grades are going to get me into the college I want later on, so they’d better be good.

I hope that America can learn from Europe with it’s public schooling.  I believe that Sweden or somewhere near there has one of the best schooling systems in the world and they only give students 30 minutes of homework each day.  Think about it: teachers can actually teach, and homework doesn’t take a blue moon to finish.  That sounds like a pretty awesome school to attend.

Quote is from my book (I decided to rewrite it so the plot flowed better so this a line I added at a later time :P).

Know the world around you, and you can better understand the people around you.

Know the world around you, and you can better understand the people around you.