Friends?

This is the second night of senior year, and I am already over O-Week.

It is overrated. This idea of drinking to the point of death, smoking to get as high as the moon, and having sex with random strangers just because our hormones are raging and we need to relieve all of this energy. It’s too much. I am still a virgin for a good reason.

I am just not into all of that shit. Not at all.

And then I’ve noticed just how much people have changed over the years.

The fact that close friends are now distant because they made new ones.

The fact that I now have “convenient” friends who only talk to you or call you when they have no one else. You know, those ones who say that you are their best friend, but when they are around other friends they treat you like shit.

Oh yea, then there are those people who do everything just to build their resume, just because it all looks good on paper.

There are those who become friends with you just so that they are not alone in this world.

There are those people who never listen to you and always talk about themselves. So basically they are your friend just so that you can listen to everything that they know others are too impatient to listen to. *Happens to be the most popular friend for me apparently*

There are those friends who were your friend at the beginning, but once they became popular and at a different social group they completely desert you.

There are those people who constantly invite you to all of their gatherings and events and they expect you to come, but then they never come to your events. And these are friends who want me to learn all about their culture and their history, but know nothing about anyone else’s.

Here is a community that I loved so dearly and I felt so connected to, yet the more I try to love it, the more I realize our flaws and where we need help. But it’s almost like there is nothing to help it and there is nothing that I can do to fix it. I don’t know how to explain it to the community and help them see my point of view. It’s like a person’s value and belonging in the community is contingent on how high up in social rank or social status we are. It doesn’t work. It’s not fun to feel like you are inferior to someone just because you decided not to go Greek.

Ridiculous.

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Break the Static 2012

I’m sitting here in tears. Why am I crying so much? I’ve never cried so much before over an event that happened in the past. And these tears came so suddenly, so out of nowhere. I don’t know what just happened. I’m still processing it really.

There are only a few things in my life that I would say have really changed my life and my course of direction. VERY few. And these instances stick with me for a while. They will stay in my memory and strong emotions will come from those incidents, almost as if I relive those moments again.

Well, this just happened to me.

I was reminiscing over the Forward Conferences that I’ve been to in the past. They were a huge thing for me and my sisters in the summertime of my high school years. That was the conference I looked forward to every year. But why? What made it so exciting and fun?

I reminisced over one particular Forward conference I attended, and that was the summer of my sophomore year, Forward conference 2012. I didn’t realize just how much that one conference stuck out to me until now. I was re-watching all of the forward conferences, and for some reason Forward Conference 2012 was the first result on google. So I clicked that one.

As I watched the recap, instantly longing to go back and relive that moment came back to me. I watched as amazing over amazing people showed up in the people back to back. I mean people who were leading the world of Christian music and evangelism.

I remember Chris Tomlin, my all-time favorite Christian artist came out. His performance was absolutely moving. The next day was Third Day, another favorite. And then the next day was Jeremy Camp (who had the most beautiful eyes that you could see from even far away), yet another favorite! Micah Massey, Adam Ranney, Israel Houghton! These were artists that I grew up with (besides Micah and Adam, but they were worship leaders at my home church, so basically yea).

And as I watched them kind of summarize their artists, I felt some tears come into my eyes. I remember how I felt broken after each of their performances, and I just felt so vulnerable and open. It was raw emotion. And every time, I was never afraid to cry out to God and have my hands held high.

I miss those times.

And then they got to the speakers, and oh my God, I remember all of them. Every single one changed me.

Gianna Jessen, I absolutely love this lady. She has one of the best personalities you will ever find on this planet. So uplifting, so genuine, so delightful, so carefree. She did not care at all about any ill words toward her or any thoughts about her. She was just her. Her laugh is so contagious and beautiful. Anytime she smiled, the whole auditorium smiled along with her.

I remember how she told the auditorium about how she is an abortion survivor. She was suppose to die before birth using a burning saline solution. But instead, she lived and her mother gave birth to her. Due to this, she does live with a few “gifts” as she likes to call them (which made me tear up at the time at how much this woman has had to go through because of her mother’s decision. She lives with cerebral palsy, which was somewhat clear with all the small mannerisms she had while she spoke. But it only added to her charm and her genuineness. She also talked about how she was put into the foster care system, and how initially the government didn’t believe she would amount to much. People doubted her time after time, but she kept proving them wrong time after time.

She easily became my favorite speaker of the conference.

Reggie Dabbs… Reggie Dabbs my God.. He is an amazing person. He absolutely loves every student, and he never fails to tell us time after time that we are loved by God and my him. He tells us so many amazing stories about his life and kids he has encountered, and once I hear about these amazing stories, I realize that my situation is probably very miniscule, which means that I know that God can do it and can take care of it. He told us about his own story, and about how he questioned why his parents didn’t want him (he was adopted). He talked about how he didn’t feel like he had a purpose, but then he came to God, and God called him to be a minister. And he has been doing it every since.

He comes to this conference every year, and every year I feel changed by what he has to say. I just feel love and hope and grace and passion come from him. It truly is amazing. Especially when he plays the saxophone, wow. The whole arena kind of looks at him in awe, it’s just amazing.

Steven Furtick is such a powerful speaker. He tells you how it is (He also has great looks 😉 ). He is such a young pastor, yes he’s talking to over thousands of people. It really is cool what he does. I love the part where he said, “The audition is cancelled, you got the part”. It really is powerful.

Matthew Barnett is amazing. My first thought while at the conference was, “Okay, I don’t know why they brought him here. He’ll probably be like any other southern pastor, and just tell that we’re all going to heaven. This will be so weak.” Boyyyy, was I so wrong. He basically told me about my life and everything that I was missing (I mean he wasn’t really talking to me but that’s just how powerful his message was). I learned so much from that sermon.

Jentezen Franklin, who was the pastor hosting the event, gave a powerful sermon.

Lincoln Brewster also performed.

The theme was Break the Static. It was so amazing, and I really do long to go back and attend a conference again. I feel like I would definitely appreciate it even more than I did ever before. Mainly because I really feel like I need it this time around.

 

Bombed

I bombed today in Latin. Atleast, I did not do as well as I had done on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, I was on m A-game. He called on me first, and I knew the translation. I could tell him about it, and even at the end of it, he said, “Good.” I was satisfied.

And usually there’s a method to how he calls people. If he calls you one day, he’ll probably not all you the next time we meet. So I was relaxed, and didn’t even think about really going over the translation again. I just wrote down my translation and that was it.

Well, boy was I wrong. I was super overconfident, and I flustered.

I received this biggest shock of my life today when he came in and the first name he called was mine. I looked up with wide eyes, and even others had wide eyes. Every eye was on me, and they kind of had the same expression as me. They were surprised that he called me again, and called me FIRST. AGAIN.

Well crap.

Before the professor gets to class, we (well, my classmates, and I just listen) talk about how we don’t want to be called today because we didn’t finish the translations, or that he has a method to how he calls people. Or we say how he calls on people who seem like they don’t know the translation or are really good at it. We just don’t want to believe that the method is purely random.

So before class, I always review my translation so I’m not completely lost in class, but I look at it more closely if I knew that I was going to be called that day. Well, I should have looked closer.

So I did well for the first half of the translation (except I forgot the meaning of word “haud” and thought it was “but” instead of “not”. Honest mistake. Okay. Fine.

But the next sentence, wow it went so downhill that I couldn’t keep up.

I was just so unprepared. I remembered this part because I remembered having trouble with it while I was translating, but I couldn’t remember all of this stuff. Honestly, I think my nerves also got to me.

And then for the rest of the class, he was mainly talking about other stuff. People were asking him questions to buy themselves time and to make sure that no more people were chosen. And they were damn good at it. If I had not gotten chosen to translate first, I would have thought that those people asking questions were angels sent from God. But because I had already been chosen, I just wanted to translate the dang passage and get it over with. We have a test on Wednesday, so I just wanted to finish translating everything and be done with today. But literally after me were 3 other people, and then we were done. These students were professionals! They had bought themselves about 30/50 minutes of class. I was highly impressed.

We didn’t even get to today’s intended translations…

I should have reviewed :/

Oh well, now I have an interview, so I should prep for that.

“Except as a punishment for crime…”

After watching the documentary 13th, these are my afterthoughts…

The 13th Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

“It’s not the brutality that’s changed over time”…

They found the loophole. They found their saving grace.

They found a way to create the new Jim Crow Laws, to mask the identity of the lynchers, the abusers, the killers.

The system’s been reshaped, redesigned, reformed, renewed, restored to its former glory!

Hardly even recognizable.

They found it.

Gone are the days of wearing all-white dresses, masking their guiltless faces with the crystal veil, separating them from the ones they deem unclean and unworthy. Their hats pointing high to God who they call upon to grant them the keys to the kingdom.

This time, they look us in the eye. This time, they are camouflaged. They’re with us. They’re our own neighbors, our own friends. We welcome them into our homes with open arms and open hearts, even though the gun is cocked right to our heads. Plain sight.

We entrust our lives with them, hoping that they will keep us safe. We hope that they will keep the evil guys away. And even though we watch them as they pull our kids from our laps and throw our very sons and daughters to the ground, we continue to pour more of ourselves into them and allow them to feed off of our tears, our sorrows.

We watch in unblinking awe and beautiful terror as they pull the trigger on our youth, sealing their fate. They take away our children’s freedom in order to protect their own, yet we smile to our protectors through the bloodshot and tired eyes, and applaud them on a job well done.

The devil is gone, and we are safe.

They are keeping the evils away. Oh, the irony.

Oh, how glorious it must feel to keep slavery alive! To reminisce over old days and old ways of oppression.

The stubbornness of a country to bring back their “glory days” and the “good ol’ times” when they were the superior race and only their life mattered.

How lovely the feeling of being on top at the suffering and expense of the bottom.

Let’s not call it slavery. Let’s call it mass incarceration.

Dehumanize the competition, annihilate the race little by little, as to do it without the mass even noticing it.

Shove them into cubicles unfit for even a rabbit. Feed them the crumbs. Clothe them with rags. Forget about their health!

Put them to work. Punishment is hard labor, but make a profit out of it. Let them call it… community service.

But let’s not stop there.

Get them from the root of their home. Tackle the whole family. After all, 1 in 3 African-American men in America will find their way home to the big house.

And the stereotype will live on. “Black children don’t have dads.” “Black families have the highest rates of divorce and separation.”

The education system has already given up on them. Prisons started building cells based off of elementary school standardized testing scores. Hell, their school already believed that they would not amount to much, so why should they believe in themselves?

Just like Trump said, “Get ’em outta here!” Who needs them, right?

After all, the American dream was only dreamt in one color.

They’ll make a fortune out of this business. They’ll bring back the “glory days” and “good ol’ times”.

They’ll restore peace and happiness, Oh yes!

They’ll make America great again.

Capture Me

I don’t know what has been going on with me for the past 2-3 weeks but… I feel like I am backtracking with my social skills. I am so awkward and shy, not that this differs from how I have always been…

I know that I am a sky and reserved person. I have come to terms with that fact about myself. I used to think it was due to my low self esteem, but I have learned that it truly is who I am. I remember my mom always telling me that I used to be a really quiet baby. I never cried for attention or talked much. I always kept to myself.

Through my time in college, I have learned that not many people share this characteristic. In fact, it is super rare for people to be like this. Most people are social and know how to interact with people regularly. People are somewhat  talkative. It’s in our nature. We’re social animals.

But I may just be super slow to all of this.

Take, for instance, yesterday. I took part in this photoshoot for people of color at my school. I had learned about it 5 minutes before, and I happened to be in the same building, so I thought, “Sure, I’ll stop by.”

I’ve done photo campaigns before, and they were really chill, really relaxed. And it usually took about 10 minutes or so.

But this was the first time that I had actually done a photo shoot with people in the black community. I didn’t expect there to be a difference. Heck, I didn’t even realize the difference until today. But there was one, a very big one.

I came in, and I immediately felt judged for whatever reason. Everyone would see who came in, look them up and down, and continue with their activity. I found that a bit odd, but whatever.

So I had not really thought about a pose to do, but I thought it would just be super casual. I do some smiling shots and laughing shots and be done. Nope. First, I asked for the opinion of the photographer if the color looked okay (we were able to choose are background color, and I had chosen yellow. I went with yellow because I’m always a happy, smiley person). I didn’t want it to look like I was doing 5th grade school pictures or something. She looked at me and then looked at the color, and she said, “Uhh yea, it’s whatever you want.” Then another person came and asked if something was wrong, and she told them, “She wants to make sure the color matched with her outfit.”

Uhh what?

That’s not what I said.

I just wanted to make sure that the color looked okay, not necessarily if it went with my outfit…

Oh well. After she said that, I felt a bit self-conscious. Well great, now they think I’m self-absorbed.

So we are doing the shoot, and I am smiling casually, laughing casually, and I thought it was going well. But every time she snapped a photo, she would say, “Okay, think of something happy and cheerful.” And while I’m trying to think of something, she would snap the photo. She was going so fast, and I just wasn’t ready.

To be honest, I wasn’t ready to begin with. I was pushed to go next because the other girl was helping her friend out with something. So that left no time for me to even think.

Anyways, I am trying to, and while I am thinking about it, she’s snapping pictures. She’d look at them and say, “Okay, do you want me to put you into poses?” I was just thinking, “What?” I thought this was super casual.

So I am trying to stay happy and stay cheerful. I’m laughing into the camera, looking away, looking at her, talking with people off the camera… And then she says, “Okay, can someone make her laugh or something?” And now all eyes are on me, and I’m just standing there awkwardly.

I didn’t know what to say or how to react. I didn’t know what she wanted, and now I felt embarrassed. Now I just wanted to leave.

So people are coming and talking to me and trying to make me laugh, but I am just smiling and laughing, same as I was before, because that is just who I am naturally.  But apparently it just wasn’t good enough or something. She would look at me and say, “Uhm… just… do whatever you want to do. Be yourself.”

Well, isn’t that what I was doing?

Then, she proceeded to tell me certain poses to do. She told me to act like I was yawning or stretching, and I thought that felt super weird. She told me to take off my jean jacket, which I thought looked better on, especially since now I had pit stains from all the nervousness.

When I came in to do the photo shoot, I thought that the photo was to capture the real me. All of me. Awkward, laughing, shy, smiling me. That’s why I chose yellow. I wanted to portray that.

But I don’t think she was getting it. I don’t think she got it.

So time passed by, and she said, “How about we switch backgrounds, and switch photographers?” And she said this loud enough for everyone to hear, so I felt really bad after that, but I knew I had done nothing wrong.

So I switch to someone else, who was super chill. She was actually a good friend of mine, and I knew she was good with cameras. She made me feel at ease again. I felt like I could be myself with her, and it was nice. She let me do whatever – just smile, talk with people, laugh around… the same things as what I had been doing with the prior photographer. She said I was super photogenic and that she loved the pictures she took.

I was glad we had switched photographers. She caught that. She caught me.

It’s funny though, because when the first photographer was photographing another girl, the other girl was only doing one pose, and it was fine. She was saying, “nice, great!”, but all she did was stand still and look off into the distance. Why did she want more from me?

I felt so much better afterwards. Even though it was a rocky start, it ended well.

Figuras Tectas

Title is Latin for “hidden figures” 😉

I just came from watching a screening of the movie, Hidden Figures and… I feel so inspired by these women.

Okay first off, there was this lady sitting right in front of me who would not just sit stiff. AND she overreacted to everything that happened in the movie. She found every single thing funny, and when things were actually funny, she wouldn’t laugh. She danced to every single song and… it was just alot. I was so distracted by her. Even a girl behind me commented on the fact that not everything in the movie was funny…

But BESIDES that, the movie was absolute art.

I loved that it was based on a true story, the idea that these women are finally being recognized  for all the work they did for NASA (Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson). It’s crazy just how much we go through history knowing some of the big-shot names, the huge supervisors of it all, yet the people working behind the magic are not recognized. For example, Rosalind Franklin is hardly ever mentioned in biology textbooks (though, I believe people are working to change that) because she was a woman just working in a lab. But her x-ray picture of DNA helped to ultimately find its true structure. But is she the one credited for it? Nope. Watson and Crick, the people who stole the x-ray picture off of her desk, were the ones who ended up getting the Nobel Prizes for the discovery. In that time, women were not allowed to receive Nobel Peace Prizes. Unfortunately, Franklin was not recognized until after she had died.

I did not even know about her until 9th grade of high school. All that time, I was told “Watson and Crick”, “Watson and Crick discovered DNA!” “Watson and Crick found the helical structure!”

Since the beginning of time, women have been over-worked and under-appreciated for the work they do. This movie just brought up so many more feelings within me about the idea of science and women in science, especially colored women.

These women did some incredible things for NASA. Without Katherine Johnson’s phenomenal mathematical skills, NASA would not have been able to put the first American man into space. Without Dorothy Vaughan, women probably would not fight for the right to demand a higher job title and higher status. Without Mary Jackson, colored women would probably not think it possible to become an aeronautical engineer, or an engineer at that. These women changed America’s (and the world’s) idea of the STEM field. America used to look through a black-and-white lens, but these women put color into it.

Over the past few weeks, I really thought about the idea of being a physics major. After taking physics last semester and being in my second semester, I realized just how much I love the science. It’s the only class that I actually have opened the textbook and actually enjoyed reading it. That has NEVER happened for me in a STEM class. I remember how back in high school, I was actually really good at physics. I was one of the few people in my class (only 3 of us) who passed the AP Physics exam.

Last week, I was walking down the physics hallway, and they showed a picture of their graduates. Their classes are TINY. Their graduating class is about 25 students (compared to my bio graduating class of over , and, to no surprise, they were all white males.

I was a little surprised at how small the department was, because the professors all seem like geniuses in the field, and they are all super enthusiastic about it. I would think that there would be more. NOPE.

I have also always been fascinated by the idea of an engineer, the idea of space, the idea of being able to take someone and send them out of the earth. I thought (and still think) aeronautical engineers are the coolest people on the planet. I remember going to the Aerospace museum in DC over Thanksgiving break 2015 and I was like a fat kid in a candy store.

The place was amazing!

They had airplanes hanging from the sky, biographies of the world’s most renown flights, they even had an entire exhibit dedicated to Amelia Earhart.

Now, no one really knows this, but Amelia Earhart is one of my favorite people in world history. I don’t know what it was, but her disappearance was the most fascinating thing to me. How did she just disappear and no one know where she was? When I was young, I used to come up with alternative ideas as to what may have happened to her. I thought that maybe she decided to reside at a nearby island.

I have always thought, “What if I became a physics major?”

First off, I would be highly under-estimated, like the women in the movie. None of the men thought that these women were worth much. They al prejudged their intelligence only to realize just how important and needed they are in the field.

Anyways, it’s still an idea.

Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green, a black female physicist who is breaking boundaries all over the place in STEM research, is my role model right now (besides Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, of course), and she has me thinking, “Why don’t I just change my major?” she was the 76th black female in the US to get a PhD in Physics. I thought that was crazy. Where are the women? Why are the numbers so small?

On My Way to the Kingdom

Soo I got good news y’all!

I will probably be studying abroad this upcoming fall semester! I will be going to my dream place, the place that I’ve told everyone that I would go to: the UK!

I am so excited. The dean had emailed me today about the results of my petition, and she said that it went through and that I should be able to. I am so excited right now!

I was worried because my GPA did not really hit their minimum. I was super sad because studying abroad has been a longtime dream for me. Heck, it was the first information session I went as a freshman. I was super pumped, but I had gotten discouraged when the woman said that if you were premed, you would be in the worst situation.

Well guess what? I’ll be done with all premed requirements this year, so next year will be freed up to do whatever I wanted.

And I want to study abroad!

I have really thought about what I would be giving up if I studied abroad:

  1. I was applying for a higher job title in my job and there was a pretty big chance that I would get it.
  2. I do not have any plans for housing next year because I knew that I would possibly be studying abroad, so if this does not work out, then I will be homeless
  3. I am giving up my Inequality Studies minor, which I was so pumped to get. I am taking a Soc class right now that goes towards the minor, but there is a required class that is only offered in the fall.
  4. I would be missing out on whatever has been reserved for seniors fall semester. This will be the last time I will be seeing alot of people, so that is kind of sad that the time is cut short.
  5. Studying abroad will probably take some more money that I need to get. and I am already paying a good amount to go to this school (time to start applying for a bunch of scholarships)

But I am just so excited for it that none of this really matters for me currently. I just want to go and travel! I love to travel, so yes, I want to go!

Now all I have to do is finish the college application. Hopefully they let me in. I am so motivated. I hardly got any sleep last week (which is probably why I woke up so late for classes today. I should not have gotten out Saturday night.. though it was a great time! Okay, I digress). I was working on everything studying abroad, which is why I am so happy that everything went through! I would have actually cried if everything did not go as planned.