A Mental Picture Portrait

“What are you thinking about?”

“I don’t know. Nothing really.”

But I was lying. I’m not stupid; I know exactly what I’m thinking about.

I’m thinking about how I was just zoning out a few seconds earlier and re-imagining the entire scenario in my head. For a few short moments, the grass we were standing on became concrete, and the sky was closed out by the walls of an abandoned building. Then the park bench we were sitting on turned into multiple pews. Out of nowhere, we were surrounded by people, specifically the people I had seen in church yesterday. There was a couple in front of me holding a sleeping kid, and there was a dad and his two daughters sitting in the pew behind us. Then for some reason you disappeared, and the mysterious, abandoned pews gave me so many splinters that the man in front of me became bug-eyed. His eyes actually turned into abnormally large eyes that could’ve belonged to a bug from Jumanji except they couldn’t have because the eyes had pupils and irises and human bewilderment.

Of course the kid that was in his lap started crying cartoon tears afterward. Who wouldn’t? Then again, I didn’t in the situation because I was now staring at my cartoon splintered hands. The splinters were cartoons, not my hands. My hands were still mine; I guess that’s a good sign. Unfortunately, one of the little girls behind me transformed into a tiny monkey with a huge temper. While beating her sister to the rhythm of “We Are Young” by Fun, I proceeded to teleport to the only corner in the round room. Once there, I started vomiting, but it was only cartoon vomit so I didn’t really feel it. What I did feel was the screaming in my mind (the mind of my zoned out self, not my actual self…or maybe it was… I couldn’t tell) as fireworks shot out from my fingertips. During the time that I was vomiting in the corner, I came to the conclusion that the fireworks were red, since after all they were protruding from the inside of my human body, a mostly red object because of muscle tissue and blood.

All of a sudden, the walls started shaking with debris as a booming voice pounded from the unknown outside, so I took it as a sign to snap back into reality.

“Sorry, what did you say?”

“Oh I was asking if you wanted to get out of here and go someplace else.”

“Sure. Let’s do that.”

 

**DISCLAIMER: This story is entirely fictional.**

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I’ll Follow the Sun

Today is the best day of the year. Not the best holiday but the best ordinary day. It’s a day where anything is possible, whether you decide to live it to its full potential or not. 

Outside of the United States, there are countless traditions people observe and practice for this first day of summer. There are Maypole dances, naked runs, and other festivities varying from country to country. The most simple tradition of them all, the one I don’t understand why people stopped practicing, is watching the sunrise on the day of the most daylight in a calendar year. 

Barely anyone watches the sunrise on the solstice, let alone any other day of the week. Rather than rubbing their eyes awake at 5 a.m. to sit outside and think about everything the light touches, people have decided to only fill themselves up with sunsets or, unfortunately, no sun at all. That’s like going to eat thanksgiving dinner but only eating pecan pie. Yes, sunsets are important to soak in, but after a while I wonder if people get tired of filling themselves up with the same thing. I speak from experience because after eating ramen two days in a row, I that my digestive system is in dire need of a change in culinary scenery. 

For those of you night owls that refuse to give up your sleep, I want you to know that you are sincerely missing out. As you all know, sunsets are a work of art. However, sunrises are of a different matter; they are works of seduction. 

I hardly know the first thing about seducing a person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know what it is. It’s the art of knowing what someone really wants and giving it to them in a way that takes their breath away. That’s a sunrise. 

When the sun sets, there is such a rapid change in color and lighting that if you blink once or twice you might miss the whole thing. Sunrises, on the other hand, are a commitment, not just to wake up early, but to stay the entire way through. People know what they want: the big finale where they can finally see the sun in the sky. Yet, they have to play the game that God an the universe have created, the long game. 

It’s an easy game to play, I promise. It’s a spectator sport that has captured the world by storm for years and years, somewhat like baseball. First base is when the sky goes from black to blue. Second base is watching the stars fade back into the depths of space. Third base is when the sky gives off a hint of yellow light at the horizon, and we all know what home base is. If you haven’t seen the world’s greatest pastime played before your very eyes, I suggest you buy a ticket soon because one day you’ll run out of pocket change from wasting your money on foolish things. 

Middle School House Wife

Sometimes I want the world to storm and the ground to rupture. Instead, it’s sunny outside with light rain. There’s a saying over here that when it rains with the sun out, the devil is beating his wife. I don’t know if I believe it or not. Personally, I don’t think anyone would want to marry the devil. He’s probably beating someone else.

That being said, they didn’t cancel the football game for tonight. Unfortunately, it means that my white cheer shoes are going to transform into this murky brown color. It’s not unfortunate for me though. I’d do anything to avoid having my mom force me into high school cheer next year.

Honestly, I just want to stay home. I don’t want to do anything special with my life. To me, the idea of being a house wife with an unused bachelor’s degree sounds like music to my ears. All I’d have to do is marry rich, hire a maid, and bake some cookies every now and then. I’ll tell my husband that I’m allergic to kids so that we won’t have to get any, and then we can spend their theoretical college tuition on luxurious vacations or as many tubs of cookie dough as we please.

Therefore, I’m going to ruin my shoes as much as possible. I’ll cheer as much as I can while looking happy about it before I “accidentally” slip in the mud of our run down field. Hopefully, Cole’s leg is still broken. That means he’ll be on the same side of the field as me, but on the bench rather than on the field. I wouldn’t want my future cookie dough provider to see me make a mess of myself.

Of course, true love is blind and all that other trash people say, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to look good in front of the man I’m meant to marry. Just because he’s seen me in diapers doesn’t mean I’m going to roll out of bed and not put on any makeup before leaving the house. He could pop up anywhere, so I must be ready whenever the opportunity for me to talk to him  presents itself.

Unfortunately for me, that opportunity does not come often, especially since after my mother told me that the doctor told her that I needed braces. That was the day I decided I was going to hate my mother. It was the day before the spring formal that she decided to take me dress shopping and to the orthodontist. I was in so much pain and embarrassment because of her. It’s her fault that I was the first girl in the sixth grade to get braces at my school. It’s because of her that Cole stopped talking to me as much as he used to.

Two years later, I’m still stuck in the same spot. Braces, cheer, and no Cole. I haven’t given up hope yet. I believe that his broken leg is a sign. It means that he is meant to end his football career in middle school and begin following a noble pursuit, such as medicine or law. That way, he will be able to provide for the both of us. Vacations, cookie dough, and all.

 

What We Can Learn From Mass Shootings

This is what I know about the incident.

  • The shooting took place from Saturday night to early Sunday morning.
  • It is the deadliest mass shooting in the US, killing 50 people.
  • It took place at Pulse, a nightclub known to be the “hottest gay bar in Orlando.”
  • The shooter, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, is affiliated with the Islamic State.

This is what I know about the outcome of the incident.

  • Normal human beings watched friends and strangers drop to the ground due to either the fear of getting shot or being unfortunate enough to have been shot.
  • The Islamic State is a terrorist group that does not truly follow the peaceful religion of Islam.
  • The Islamic State has performed multiple acts of terrorism, such as the overly publicized attacks in Brussels and Paris as well as their lesser known attacks in Nigeria and Afghanistan.
  • The shooting of this past weekend has reignited the public outcry and conversation on gun laws, the true definition of Islam, the differentiation between religion and radicals, the support and acceptance of the LGBTQ community, etc.

This is what I know about life.

I know that there is always a lesson to be learned, just as though every situation in life is a blown up episode of Full House. There are the tiny lessons that you learn along the way, and then there are the lessons you learn by stepping back and looking at the bigger picture.

I’m so proud of the human race, at least the part that has come to realize the tiny lessons. I’m proud of the people that realize the difference between radical Muslims and true Muslims, radical Christians and true Christians, and so forth. I’m proud of the people that want all human beings to be accepted, not stereotyped, judged, or harmed.FullSizeRender.jpgFullSizeRender (1).jpg

Despite having a large percentage of people speak out on the tiny lessons, I have not seen an enormous reaction to the bigger picture. Mass shootings are meant to cause chaos and tear people apart.  So far, it has been successful. People have become so divided on what the shooting means to them. There have been so many heated debates on whether or not the shooter is justified since he killed members of the LGBTQ community. Does anyone else realize how absurd this sentence is? Never in my life did I think I would put the words “the shooter is justified” together.

Right now, at this moment in time, it shouldn’t matter that the victims are LGBTQ. It shouldn’t matter that the shooter is affiliated with the Islamic State. It shouldn’t matter how he got the gun, at least not now. People have spoken up on these important issues without speaking on the greater issue at hand. We have forever to debate these controversial topics, but we don’t have forever to see what’s really going on here.

Have you ever noticed that the entire series of Full House is the same thing over and over again? Each episode is a tiny lesson, but overall it’s the same big picture: finding out how to do good towards other people and towards the world. That’s life. We are supposed to debate these topics, don’t get me wrong. However, we are also meant to see the bigger picture that is bringing out more good in the world. That should be something we can all agree on.

Rather than tearing ourselves apart as a worldly community, we are supposed to come together. All we have is now to mourn the loss of life because the world is going to keep spinning. When was the last time you saw a post paying respects to the victims of the Paris attacks or heard someone actually pray for Brussels? We only have so much time to learn the importance of becoming a united front to combat crimes against nature.

It’s our jobs as citizens to do our part in combating evil in the world. Not all of us are cut out for the life of a soldier or a federal agent, but that doesn’t mean that we stand by and do nothing. All the evil people in the world can see what we post on social media, and they see that we are heated. They see that we are opinionated. They see that we are not united.

Just as I said before, this shooting has been successful in causing chaos. We have to prove them wrong, and I don’t want to wait for another loss of life for that to happen.

Unquotable me

I might not come up with the most memorable combinations of words, but these people definitely do. Here’s some words of wisdom that speak to me on a dead person to alive person kind of level…unless they’re still alive. Then it’s just me stalking someone from afar.

1. Life becomes easier when you accept the apology you never got. -Robert Brault

2. Do what you feel in your heart to be right for you’ll be criticized for it anyway. -Eleanor Roosevelt

3. Be the person your dog thinks you are. -Unknown

4. Let no man pull you low enough to hate him. -Martin Luther King Jr.

5. The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt. -Sylvia Plath

6. If you have time to worry, you have time to pray. -Unknown

7. You need a little bit of insanity to do great things. -Henry Rollins

Oh, How I Wish I Had A Timeturner

As of right now, I write for the newspaper, dance for the Planoettes, play violin in orchestra, volunteer for National Honors Society, work at IHOP, maintain this blog occasionally, visit friends, and uphold a relationship with my family. On top of that, I have school to deal with, as if everything else wasn’t enough. I love everything that I do, but, to be honest, it gets exhausting. There’s the pressure to get good grades, produce interesting articles, remember all my dances, and talk to the people I love. However, I have to make sure I still sleep enough so that I’m well rested for volunteering events and work on the weekends. Only after all of that can I begin to think about my blog, something I wish I had more time for.

The problem isn’t that I’m not smart enough to schedule everything to the T. It’s that I see my schedule as a piece of paper that doesn’t control my life. The days that I follow my planner are always successful, but the second that I’m a minute off, everything goes downhill. Unfortunately, the days that I don’t follow my schedule happen often. In fact, the amount of days that I don’t even touch my planner have increased drastically.

I love the feeling of not knowing what’s going to happen next. The unpredictable days are always full of surprises, something I can’t get enough of. It’s just something I can’t afford to have, especially during the school year, if I want to be successful in everything that I love to do. I should probably work on being more organized… after summer is over.

5 Songs I’m Loving Right Now

When a song gets stuck in my head, you’ll know. I will go around repeating the same few phrases or humming a certain melody for weeks. That doesn’t mean I love the song. It just means that it’s catchy. I’m being very misleading right now.

All of that was somewhat besides the point. Here are the actual words that correspond with the topic.

1. Spirit in the Sky

Ever since I watched Guardians of the Galaxy, the soundtrack has been one of my favorites. In my opinion, the best tracks are “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Come and Get Your Love”. Unfortunately on my behalf, I have not come to appreciate “Spirit in the Sky” until recently. All of a sudden it’s been popping up in the most random places. It always comes up when I’m listening to my music on shuffle, and on top of that, my favorite radio station, 98.7 KLUV, has not stopped playing it. If I turn on the radio, they are playing “Spirit in the Sky”. It’s grown on me.

2. Can’t Stop the Feeling

You can’t not dance and smile when you listen to this song. I’m not talking about cheesy Charlie Brown dancing. I’m talking about full on jamming in your car until you turn to the person in the lane next to you, but the vibes are so good that you continue to dance AND stare back until they join in on the fun. That is the power of this song.

3. Like I’m Gonna Lose You

This is the song that you scream at the top of your lungs when you’re in the care with your best friend. Or when you’re driving alone. Or just sitting in your car because the song came on and you can’t bear to turn of the car even though you just parked.

4. The Way You Make Me Feel

I will stop listening to whatever someone is saying to enjoy the wonder of this song in my own little thought bubble. It’s so catchy and addictive. it seeps into your brain and trickles down your spine with grooviness (it’s a word).

5. Wouldn’t It Be Nice

The song that happens to be a staple for the Beach Boys doubles as one of the only songs that makes me feel safe, happy, and calm. I haven’t heard it in so long, but it found its way back to me. It was the first thing I listened to when getting my blood drawn for the first time. If that doesn’t help paint the picture well enough, I had three different people holding my hand and motivating me throughout the process. One of those three was my English teacher. She witnessed my nervous laughter and everything.

 

5 Ways To Win My Heart

 

I’d like to start in saying that if you try to win over my heart, you can’t have it. I need it to live.

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1. Jousting

If you’re simply medieval, jousting for the sake of winning my heart is a sure way to make your intentions known. I’ll stand there in a tight, uncomfortable corset overlooking your public display of masculinity and faint in an instant. You’ll thinking I’m swooning, but in reality the corset is strangling me to death. If you’re skilled enough, you’ll know that the second I die that it will be the prime opportunity to harvest my organs. At that exact moment, you shall have won over my heart.

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2. Dance Battle

There’s nothing like a good old fashioned dance battle to songs like “It’s Tricky.” What’s not to love? There’s dimmed lights, sick beats, and sweet moves all over the place. You get to see the wild side of a person, whether they can break it down or not. Common dance moves include the coffee-grinder, the sprinkler, and the hoedown throw down. However, only a perfected Hammer-time can win this vital organ.

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3. Laser Tag

The only way to settle anything (and I mean ANYTHING) is with laser tag. It’s a way to test a person’s stamina, agility, and creativity. You have to be able to wreak havoc and remain invisible all at once. Any person that wins a game of laser tag is worthy of removing both my right to play laser tag as well as the heart I use to live.

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4. Staring Contest

It seemed to work for Edward Cullen. If you’re really into taking away the pumping blood in my body, try covering yourself in sparkly baby powder and being creepily overprotective about every single little thing.

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5. Awful Pickup Lines

I may be a sap for rom-coms every now and then, but I’m always in the mood to hear horrible pickup lines (if you haven’t caught on by now, I’ve been joking this whole time). I love being put on the spot without having anything to say in return. When you see me react in horror, disgust, fear, or a combination of all three, you know you’re doing it right.

My European Tour: Nothing But A Dream

For the record, I would visit the entire world if I could, just as any other stereotypical girl with wanderlust would. I’m a sponge that wants to soak up all that she can, including the small towns, skyscrapers, the ethnic food, and most importantly the people. I want to hear stories I’ve never heard before and people watch. There’s so many different ways to style a beard that I don’t know about. I want to go someplace I’m not wanted so people can scream at me in their native tongue how I’m a filthy American who doesn’t belong.

To this day, none of that has happened to me. I’ve been confined to the Western Hemisphere of the world. Yet, by never having visited any place in Europe, my mind has been left to wonder of the potential adventure towards the East.  Ever since I was little, I would research European festivals and landmarks as well as train fares and airline tickets with the idea that by the time I was 18-years old I would have enough money to go on the vacation of a lifetime. Nine countries. Two months. Approximately all the money that I didn’t have.

So with less than a year until my 18th birthday, I’ve come to terms with the reality that I’m not going to Europe next summer, no matter how much I planned, researched, or worked. It will remain a dream unless a miracle should happen, and I don’t want a miracle. They don’t belong to me. Instead, it’ll be the best dream I’ll have for the time being. I’ll dream of the smells and how long it takes their toilets to flush and what all the doorknobs looks like. The only downside will be that I’m going to stay as pale as I am right now.

Ireland

The plan was to fly to the nearest country so that I would spend the least amount of time in the air. I love plane rides, but there’s always a substantial amount of anxiety that happens to swell inside me whenever there is turbulence. I figured that my first plane ride across the Atlantic Ocean should be as short as possible. I imagine that it rains a lot there and that the sky is grey with light peaking through the clouds. Ireland was the only place I didn’t research landmarks or museums or festivals. I wanted Ireland to be a place for walking and admiring the scenery. I wanted Ireland to be a place of serene peace and church on a Sunday morning. Maybe even a hot cup of soup would be included in the picture. Sometimes the best adventure you can give your mind and body is a breath of fresh air.

The United Kingdom

Every summer, I wait for the solstice to come. I wake up at 5 a.m. and make myself breakfast (that includes cupcakes decorated as miniature suns) so that I may sit outside and enjoy the sunrise from my backyard. I love the solitude in it, but it breaks my heart that barely anyone appreciates the solstice. My family makes fun of me for it, and some people are oblivious to what the word even means. However, at Stonehenge in Salisbury, the sunrise on the day of the Summer Solstice fits perfectly through the gap between the stones. It’s a place of mystery and legends. It’s also a place where people watch the sunrise as families or even with friends. People willingly wake up early once a year to share a sunrise together and enjoy the marvelous world we’ve been given.

After enjoying the countryside, I planned to explore the city of London. There’s huge landmarks there, such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and the London Eye. There’s also the shops that scream with posh clothing the second you glance at them. I’d be doing double-takes enough times going down the side walk to make me fall flat on my face, another reason for people to hate Americans.

France

One of the biggest reasons I am being a stereotypical white girl for wanting to visit France is because Sabrina Fairchild did in the movie Sabrina, the movie I’m named after. In the movie, a chauffeur’s daughter is sent off to work in Paris, France to help end her infatuation with David Larrabee, a guy who barely knew she existed. When she returned home after a year, she was still the same woman of elegance, but her charm and sense of self-confidence had grown immensely. I know that Sabrina Fairchild is just a character, and I’m definitely not her. That doesn’t keep me from wanting the same things for myself. I want to come home from France and be utterly unrecognizable and  eye-catching at the same time.

When visiting Paris, I wanted to see the city from the top of the Eiffel Tower, try escargot, and sit on the banks of the Seine River. I planned on walking the hallways of the Louvre and staring at paintings for hours. I needed to try French bread that was actually from France. There were cheeses and wines and pastries that I wanted to try, and they have berets! Ever since I watched A Testament of Youth, a World War I movie based on an English memoir, I fell madly in love with berets. Vera wore all sorts of knitted berets throughout the film, ones that I would gladly own. Unfortunately, they are hard to track down in stores and online (or I may just be an idiot that has zero knowledge of how to navigate online shopping). So, I always imagined that France would have the perfect beret for no particular reason. It just would, and I would buy it with money that I would have otherwise spent on trying a delicious pastry for the third time.

I wanted to see more than just Paris; Versailles was a whole other world of wonder in my eyes. It was and is a magical castle of gold, glass, and silver. I visualized grand entrances, ornate finishes, and rooms so loud that I’d be scared to speak. Not loud in the sense that sound would emit, rather it would be loud in it’s personality and aura. It’d be too much for me to even attempt to talk. Versailles is the cheerleader in school that everyone loves because she’s perfect in every way, and I’m the orchestra kid. I don’t even have band kid status.

Belgium

Chocolate and I have a relationship that’s indescribable. One moment, I can’t get enough, and the next I’m cursing him for all the trouble he causes me. Still, I keep coming back because I know that what we have together is sweet (see what I did there 😉 ). I chose Belgium for the sake of saving my long distance affair with European chocolate. Belgium was meant for visiting as many chocolatiers as I could.

The Netherlands

Have you ever seen The Fault in Our Stars? I HAVE! MULTIPLE TIMES! Do you know why? It’s not entirely because I love putting myself through the emotional torture. It’s partly because it’s as close as I’m going to get to the stairs of the Anne Frank museum, the glistening canals, and crowded bike racks.

I also happen to have an infatuation for Anne Frank. I’ve been hearing about her story from her mom as long as I can remember. I’ve seen the movie about her countless times. Then after reading her diary, I wanted to incorporate her words into my life. At the beginning of her diary she wrote “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.” After being overwhelmed by such words, I grabbed the nearest blank journal (I own plenty) and wrote the exact phrase in the front cover of my new diary. To pay her homage by visiting the museum would be an honor.

Germany

When I was five, my family hosted a German exchange student in our house for one year. Her name is Stefanie, and she’s a doctor now. Every year after she left, she would send boxes of German candy to us. There were gummies and chocolates mostly. Usually we would get the boxes around Easter, so there would be candy eggs among among everything else. To this day, twelve years later, she still remembers me. She messaged me and called me her sister. I was saving Germany for her. I wanted to be able to meet the person that is frozen in the photographs of my house and remember her.

There also happen to be a plethora of castles in Germany. Each one is unique even though they share similar characteristics. It’s as if they are a family of ageless relatives. Once on a shuttle ride home from the airport (we had gone on a trip to Gulf Shores for the weekend) I met two girls that had randomly packed a spare change of clothes and left for Germany. They stayed there for two weeks and wore braids in their hair. They had seen the castles and drank warm beer. They couldn’t stop smiling.

Austria

Every summer, Austria is hosts the Salzburg Festival. For the festival, operas and orchestras perform in Mozart’s hometown from late July to early August. I harbored the illusion that I’d get to walk among the classical music community in a long, green dress. I would get to see an opera in the flesh and hear European musicians play European music. Somehow, it’s a dream within a dream, for to get to Europe is one thing. It is another to be able to enjoy such luxuries such as the Salzburg Festival.

Austria itself is a wonderland, so I’m told. Every time I heard Erienne sigh “Vienna” under her breath as we explored the new collection from Vienna at the art museum, I could feel the awe in her voice. I thought of how much she must truly love Vienna to say it in such a way. I wonder what it’s like to see the sky from Vienna and what it sounds like. I pray for the day that I, too, can sigh “Vienna” under my breath every time it comes to mind.

Italy

My affinity for Italy spurs from my mother’s fascination with Italy. Even before my mom was single, she knew in her heart that she would move to Italy on her own someday. She’s always comparing herself to a bird in that she wants to be free. I think if she were a bird, it’d be the first place she would visit.

I am only good at growing sunflowers because they are drought-resistant. That helps with the fact that Texas summers are brutal, and I forget to water them. In Italy, there are fields that are full of sunflowers. The blankets of yellow are never-ending in some parts. Of course, I want to see Rome and Florence, but Tuscany is pure sunshine and then some. Again, I’m biased because I’ve seen Under the Tuscan Sun at least a thousand times. They show the market place full of warm, juicy grapes as well as the snakes and spiders that make themselves uninvited visitors. It’s not a perfect place, but it is a beautiful one, land and people and everything. I think that’s all a place really needs to be.

Spain

There are ruins in Panama from when the Spaniards were still in control of the country. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to Spain.

In the late summer there is the Running of the Bulls, a time you can eat tapas in mortal peril. I don’t know why they run the bulls, and I don’t think it’d be honest if I researched that bit of information last minute. There are beautiful Catholic churches in Spain, too. They don’t take ice in their drinks, and Spanish guitar is so romantic.

 

I hope that one day I’ll get to see it all, even if it means shattering this idealistic image that I have. I do not know if everything I’ve described is true. I’ve only seen it all through a computer screen. I hope it doesn’t stay that way.