Why Trump Won: A theory

Much like biological development, social abilities generally follow the same pattern of development in all people. When it comes to social interactions, we first figure out how to have positive and negative emotions. We learn how to direct those charged emotions at one, then two people. By the time we have reached adolescence, we should be able to feel complex emotions for many people. We can hate our mom for grounding us, but still love her at the same time. America is socially stunted. As a whole, we’ve never made it to this final stage of complex social relations. We denounce black and white ideologies and praise the idea of the fluid spectrum when it comes to things like gender identity or sexuality. Yet at the root of it all, are we not a 2-party system? It has become nearly impossible to be a bipartisan citizen. We are not allowed to believe that Black lives matter, and still support the police force. We cannot be both religious and accepting of all people. For every new victory in making progress, it seems that an old value is denounced. We can move forward while still maintaining some of our old values, but society seems to think otherwise. And so it has come to be that progress means shaming many people. To be politically correct and socially accepted, we must praise minorities and scowl at the White Man. And while there surely have been mistakes made in the past by a society that was mostly controlled by the WASP, we cannot hold today’s men accountable for those same deeds. I have met people from all walks of life and I see value in ALL of them. I have straight, white, Christian, male friends and they are some of the best people that I know. But they are made to carry the weight of all that is wrong with our society. White men are a majority. This means that there are many more of them than anyone else. So it is only natural that they have more bad eggs than any other group. But guess what? They also have more good ones. It isn’t so hard to believe that people who feel that their traditional values – note I say traditional and not outdated; not all traditional views are bad ones – are being trampled on would look at a man who does not follow the convention of political correctness and breathe a sigh of relief.

I do not say this as an endorsement of Trump. I feel that he, too, is of the black and white mindset. His side goes against the grain of society recently. Rather, I implore people to seek out the middle ground. The safe space, so to speak, where complexity can be appreciated and we can act like fully developed adults who can have their own opinions, and respect those of someone different. A space where we do not think in black and white, in yes or no. Where I can say that I am I Christian who does not discriminate against the LGBT community. Where I can be an educated white woman who wants to help the poor regardless of race. Where I can exercise my right to speak out freely against war and still appreciate the men who have fought to protect that freedom for me.

Life is full of complexities and intricacies. Let’s stop simplifying it.

Books and covers: Being judgemental

Judgemental. It’s a word I’ve heard thrown around a lot among friends and acquaintances. But what does it mean? I once told a friend that everyone judges other people. That it’s a natural thing that we do automatically all the time. She laughed at me. I’m the worst when it comes to expressing my thoughts as speech, so it certainly didn’t come across right. But I think lost in there was a good point. Here’s a hopefully more coherent explanation of what I meant to say then.
We’re always told not to judge a book by it’s cover. Yet everyone does it. I mean, what else are we supposed to go by? There are so many books out there for us to choose from. The only way to really know what a book is like is to read it. But we can’t possibly read each one. We have to narrow the field first. So we choose books that look like they fit our interests. But can we really call that judging?
It’s similar with people. When we see people for the first time, we automatically form an opinion. Yes, this opinion is based on surface characteristics, like a book cover. The cover may not necessarily reflect what is inside the book, but unfortunately in life, we can’t read every book in depth. So we pick and choose the people we want to get to know. I don’t think this is a problem. I don’t think it’s wrong to look at someone and think ‘he looks tired’ or even ‘I don’t like her haircut’. We’re entitled to our own opinions. The problem is when we start to make assumptions about the plot just from the picture on the front of the novel. It’s not okay to say ‘he’s probably tired because he partied all night. He’s going nowhere in life’ or ‘that’s a haircut only a lesbian would wear’. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you never know what someone is dealing with. I’ve had a few people confide in me the struggles that they have experienced and continue to experience everyday. These experiences shape their life decisions. I’ve heard people say this about a guy who doesn’t drink. They say he’s a party pooper, that he is ‘judgemental’ (there’s that word again)towards those who do drink, even though he’s never said a bad word about them. I found out after years of knowing him that he chooses not to drink because both of his parents are recovering alcoholics. His decision to not drink is an amazing act of courage. But people who haven’t read the whole book are writing bad reviews based on the cover. That, I believe, is being judgemental.
And it goes both ways. I’ve heard people being called judgemental because they’re goody two shoes or because they’re rule breakers. I’m not saying I’m innocent. I know that far too often, I’ve made assumptions and formed opinions based on false assumptions. But to be an expert, you have to read the whole book. It’s not always easy. People will hand you copies of their story with entire chapters. So don’t speak badly until you’ve got the full story. And never judge a book by it’s cover.

Fake it til you make it

I just really don’t understand people. So last night, my roommate and I go out with a bunch of friends. She starts bugging me pretty early on about leaving. I’m having a good time. She agrees to stay out a little later, not because she wants to or doesn’t want to leave without me, but because she wants our host mom to think we were out as late as possible. Because our host mom thinks we don’t go out that often. Probably because we don’t. Mostly because my roommate makes decisions about whether or not she wants to go out based on what her one friend, who hates to go out, wants to do. So it ends up being a pretty late night for us. She wakes up this morning tired and with a cold. Tomorrow night, we are traveling, and it’s a long journey. So sleep beforehand is necessary. Especially if you’re sick. All day she talks about how she wants to do nothing, she doesn’t want to go out, she just wants to sleep. But suddenly, when our host mom ask if we’re going out, she starts talking about the plans she has to pregame and then go to a club. So much for not going out. And the thing is, she’ll go. But just like last night, she’ll have fun for half an hour and then stand there looking miserable the rest of the time, looking at her watch until she deems the hour late enough to go home. Not me. I said I would rather sleep and I stand by that. Yeah, I don’t go out a lot. You know why? I don’t really love clubbing. Last time I checked, that’s not a crime. Occasionally a night on the town is great. But generally, I prefer a casual drink. If you don’t like that about me, then fine. But I am certainly not going to make myself miserable trying to convince people that I fit their definition of “fun” or “cool”. Because, honey, you’re fooling no one. And in the end, no one actually cares. Stop being so damn fake, and then maybe people will like you for who you are instead of judging you for what you’re not. My roommate feels “obligated” to go out. By who? And why? By your friends? Because if they’re really your friends, they shouldn’t make you do anything you want to do. By society? Don’t even get me started on that one. There is absolutely no obligation here, except for what exists in her mind. You do you. And that’s all there is to it.

I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairytale

Once upon a time, I wanted a fairy tale ending. I wanted a prince. My knight in shining armor was supposed to rush in on his valiant white steed to rescue me and we would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. So I waited. And I waited. But all this time searching the horizon, waiting for my one true love to appear gave me time to think. As I sat in my tower, alone with my thoughts, something dawned on me.

 

I don’t want a prince.

 

But really. I don’t want someone to sweep me off my feet and carry me away. I hate not having control. I don’t care if it’s Channing Tatum who picks me up, I’m probably going to kick and scream until he puts me down. I don’t want to be the poor girl who some guy turned into a princess. I want to be on equal ground. I don’t want a prince, I want a sidekick. He shouldn’t have to help me out of trouble, he should be right there getting into trouble with me. I am not a pretty face. I have Mulan’s strength, Ariel’s voice, Tiana’s dedication, Aurora’s dreams, and Elsa’s independence. I deserve more than a prince who will take care of me. I deserve a best friend who will love me.

 

So I won’t sit around waiting for love any more. I escape my tower and venture out into life. If I’m lucky, I will run into love along the way. And if not, maybe I will just find myself. 

Oldest of Five: How being the big sister has become my life

I live for being a big sister. Literal or figurative it doesn’t matter. I love being a role model for young people. I have four younger siblings -that’s right I said four and yes some people still have big families these days – and people always comment on how much responsibility that must be for me. And it’s true. I was the built-in babysitter from the time I was 12 until I left for college. I watch my language around kids, I am very careful about what I post on social media, I don’t do drugs, I rarely drink a lot, I study hard and keep my grades up. I feel tremendous pressure to set a good example, but the pressure mostly comes from myself. I WANT to be someone that they can look up to. It gives me a sense of pride. But this feeling extends beyond my family. I have always thought that I get along better with people who are younger than me than anyone else. I feel confident around them and they always are looking up at you. Younger teammates, peer mentees, younger friends, kids I babysit. It gives me such joy when when they confide in me or when they seek my advice. I like helping them and being there for them. Not so long ago, I was working in a department store when a customer approached me and I got the feeling that I knew her. I quickly realized that it was the mother of a girl who had been on my gymnastics team, on a lower level, years before. Once she recognized me, she started to thank me profusely for being such a good role model for her daughter and the other girls on the team and for setting a good example. She told me she couldn’t think of a better person for her daughter to look up to. I truly had difficulty holding back tears as she walked away. I had never felt so great. It was the highest compliment I had ever received and it made me feel great to know that I had been such a positive influence in her life. I just feel like it is such a high honor to be the person that a little girl wants to grow up to be. So I will continue trying to be a healthy and positive influence to those that I think of as younger siblings. Yes, I’m the oldest of five. No, it’s not awful. I love it. And I will happily be the oldest of 15 or 50 because that’s just who I was meant to be. 

Love of learning, or not

I like to laugh. I show my affection to those close to me by teasing them to no end. That’s just the kind of person I am. I’m goofy. But if there’s one thing I’m serious about, it’s my education. I am paying a lot to go to college. My parents are paying a lot for me to go to college. I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to attend a really good university. I’m not about to throw that away. No one should take that for granted. Which is why it really gets to me when people don’t care.

So one of my biggest pet peeves are people who use phones or computers in class for anything other than taking notes. For one, it’s disrespectful to the professor. Students are very judgmental towards professors. They seem to think that they have no reason to think highly of professors. Where this idea comes from, I have no idea. Most of the time, college professors are a wealth of knowledge. It’s not like anyone can do what they do. These are people who spent years and years becoming experts in their fields. All these pretentious students certainly do not know more than them.

It really bothers me that people value Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc over gaining knowledge. I mean, what does that say about our generation? What kind of doctors, scientists, engineers are coming out of these classes. I certainly don’t want someone who spent class texting his/her friends operating on me. What detail might he/she have missed? It’s a frightening thought.

But these students don’t see education as the privilege that it is. In fact, when a girl from my university found out that she had a failing midterm grade, she was outraged. Not because she had worked to hard to earn such a grade (I assure you she didn’t) but because, and I will use her exact words, “we’re paying way too much to get Fs”.

Are you kidding me???

I honestly was so upset by this comment. I mean, the last time I checked, grades were not given based on your income, but rather your performance in class. But then it scared me that maybe this is a reality. That grades are given based on how much mom and dad donated to the school. The system is so skewed.

But the real problem is the same one that causes students to pay no attention in class. Those students who feel they are so much better than everyone else in the room, that they shouldn’t be subjected to such a boring hour wasting their lives. There is no value in education. No love of learning. Maybe it’s the fault of the education and testing system (I’ll save comment on those flaws for another day), but whatever the cause, students don’t desire to know more. They do what they can to get the grade so that they can move on to the next step in their lives, check off another achievement. There is no joy in it for them. I love to learn. I love gathering knowledge, collecting facts, hoarding information. But I guess I’m in the minority.

Hi there (and thoughts on humanity)

I’m super new to this whole idea of blogging. I think that it’s more for my own benefit than for anyone else’s. I have a lot of thoughts — good, bad, and indifferent. But these thoughts rarely make it out of my own head and they start to drive me crazy. I’m the kind of girl who spends hours planning out a conversation in my head knowing full well that it will never happen. Maybe eventually I’ll tell you more about myself. Maybe not. I like the idea of anonymity. But today I’m just gonna start off with what’s in my head, since that’s my whole point in doing this. So here goes. 

For the past few days, I’ve been watching a girl try to convince herself at every meal that she is full. I know this because she eats half of what she usually would and then claims that she is “stuffed”, that she is “going to explode”. Why would she do this? I found out today when she told me that her mother said she is “always beautiful, but it wouldn’t hurt to watch what she ate.”

Parenting: you’re doing it wrong. 

It makes me sick that a mother would say that to her daughter. This girl is not “skinny” by the standards set by society, but she is perfectly healthy. She goes to the gym multiple times a week, take the stairs to our fourth floor apartment, walks everyday. We are also both students studying abroad. She has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to enjoy living in a different country for five months. Trying and enjoying all the food that doesn’t exist in the United States is one of the things I live for and up until the visit from her parents, my roommate felt the same way. She confided in me over dinner tonight that her mother had “motivated” her to try and eat better. It was simple, she told me, she just had to stop eating dessert, bread, and pastries. I actually had to take an extra minute to process that. “But that’s all the good stuff” was my response. Still, she insisted that she should be careful about what she ate, that all the food was getting boring anyway, and that her mother’s honest (brutal, uncalled-for, rude) comment was exactly the push she needed. 

This is why girls develop eating disorders. 

It just crushes me that this girl feels the need to change her lifestyle, to stop doing what she wants and eating things she loves just to gain the approval of her mother. Last I checked, your parents were supposed to be the ones who love you unconditionally.