Heavy

I feel immensely heavy today. It is one of those days where the world’s true colors seem to shine through; only they aren’t colorful. They are messy and dark, they are shades of grays and often they are entirely black. I sympathize for this day. I want to pick it up and hold it while it sobs into my shirt and I want to tell this day that it will be okay, that it gets better from here. I want to believe that this day will change the course of the days before it. Yet this heaviness won’t let me truly believe that.

I’ve discovered a flaw within myself that I know will have a drastic toll on my life, and today it is more prominent than ever. That one flaw is that I cannot sit back in the face of injustice, and I cannot accept that “bad things happen.” I can’t ignore headlines. When I was little, my mother always warned me about the man in the park with a car full of puppies, or the man in the playground with candy in his truck. She told me never to listen to this man because he would kidnap me. But nobody, not even my mother, ever warned me about the world; that the things I can’t ignore, the evil present on nearly every newspaper headline or trending social media tag, will steal my peace of mind and with it, my being.

So now I’m sitting here questioning modern-day existence. I’m wondering where it all went wrong. When did boys begin to believe that they could get away with their wrongdoings because of their gender? Then there was the dog video I came across on my feed not five minutes ago: a pup with his brains scattered across the ground in China by a patrol officer. Or that video last week of the woman in Africa with one child on her back, the other on her arm, as she was put into a line and shot at by men behind machine guns, her body left to rot beside her infant children.

But it’s okay, everyone. Because did you see that meme with the laughing cat? The world is at peace once again.

I feel I must do something, and so I tell myself: become a journalist, take photos, tell the harsh truth, make a difference, and leave your name in people’s mouths. But then I remember the thousands who have done just that, only to have their impact forgotten, lost in the ever-changing world.

I don’t have a solution, so I suppose this is rather depressing. I’m merely sad, heavy, and at the same time, empty. How, tell me, can one be both heavy and empty at once?

My Mind

I am sitting on a bus, watching with tired eyes as the lights of LAX fade off in the distance only to be replaced with brighter lights of the city ahead. It is one in the morning and my eyelids are heavy but my hands are shaking and my mind is grinding, spinning like a wheel. My body is so tired I cannot even reach into my backpack for my notebook and so I pull out my phone and now here I am, writing this.

It’s as if every thought that flows through my brain will disappear forever and I cannot possibly live with that truth. My thoughts are like the people in my life: I hold onto them as tight as I can, even when I no longer need them, even when they fill my soul with nothing but negative energy. And so I write each one down wherever I can; in the pages of my notebook, on my locked phone notes, on napkins from restaurants, tucked into the faded pockets of my jeans.

I don’t know why my mind doesn’t stop. Perhaps it is constantly grinding, trying to find an explanation for the way I am, the way the world is, the way everyone else is and I feel I am not. All I know is that my poor mind has not stopped spinning for the past seventeen odd years. I believe the day I die will be the day I find the explanation my mind is searching for.

 

Ticking, turning, thinking.

19 April 2019, 8:52 p.m.

I believe a person once told me that if you write something down on paper, it will actualize itself and become true. That’s why I’m holding a piece of notebook paper with ragged edges, torn from its place inside of my math notes, the words “it gets better” scrawled across ignored lines. Except now I’m not so sure what to do with this paper prayer of mine. Is it bad that I feel more heard when I crumple my feelings into a ball and shove them into the contents of my journal than if I were to scream my jumbled thoughts from the top of the Hollywood hills? I’m tired of feeling like a good story with a sad ending; wasted paper.

To a New Year

“You serve the best by doing what you love the most” – Maria Bello.

Let me paint the scene: April of last year, a nervous, sophomore version of myself, and a plastic bag from the Costco photo center resting on both of my palms like a sacrifice to the artistic gods. My eyes glittered not only with excitement to show my peers the finished product of my year-long determination, but also with the hope that my teacher would be proud of my work — of me, more importantly.

My photos were good. I would believe someone if they told me they were great; I would just as easily believe someone if they told me that my work could use major improvement. Looking back now, those photos aren’t my proudest work. Nevertheless, everyone has to start somewhere. I may not ever hang those photos on a gallery wall or submit them as part of my college application portfolio, but they just may be the most important photos I will ever take. They are the 5 photos that made me fall in love with the art of capturing the world’s living beauty.

I don’t think that I do anything exceptionally. I write well and I take a great photo every now and then. I don’t consider myself to be extremely intelligent or anything, either. But I do love what I do with a passion, and in the end, that’s all I really know about life: you have to do what you love and are passionate about.

So when people ask what I want to be when I’m older, I tell them this:

“I love to read and write, and I love to take photos. I love to learn and I love to give back to my community. I want to be happy and I want to end my life knowing that I did everything I ever wanted to do and loved with all of my heart. That’s what I want to be when I’m older.”

Going into the new year of 2018, I want to inspire others to carry that ideal with them. This is a big year for many of the world’s adolescents; anyone born in the year 2000, like myself, will be transitioning into an adult this year. I’m going to be applying for colleges, taking important tests, and finding the place I truly want to spend the next four years of my life in – something that will sprout the entirety of my new adult life. I’m lucky enough to have known what it is I wanted to do since an early age, but if you’re not like me, then it’s perfectly okay. Listen to your heart; The answer really isn’t as far as you might think.

I have a strong feeling this is going to be a year of people telling us, “You can’t.” I get that a lot, as many consider me a dreamer. But if you are loving who you are, what you do, and how you treat others, then someone’s close-minded opinion will not have the power to sway you. It is a year for strength, pursuit, and discovery.

With that in mind, here are the photos that first inspired my discovery. To a new year of beginnings and positive change; let’s take 2018 on together. Santé!

 

Sorry, Not Sorry

You daydream about it. You make plans and outlines; you do your research. You read too many “Blogging 101” articles that it boggles your mind. And then you wait because, maybe, the time isn’t right.

I’ve been making excuses for myself for far too long. Perhaps the years will get better, or my life will get less stressful, but perhaps the years will get even harder and my life will plow head-on into the pit of the earth. I’ve used up all my “what if’s” and “soon’s”. I’ve come into contact with a now or never conflict. And, because of that, I am now writing my first post on a blog that I should have started years ago.

This should serve as a forewarning for anything and everything I have written or will write on this blog. I could list the many things I am, but most importantly you must know that I am an amateur; not only am I too young to vote, but too naive to know, too insecure to be confident, too uneducated to educate, and too inexperienced to tell of my many experiences. Despite all of the reasons I should not be starting a blog, I have a strong feeling of urgency to get my words out into the world. I have something worthy of sharing with young people like me who have been pushed to revolt from creativity and stay within the lines of tradition. If I don’t share my words, then I will live forever with the feeling of guilt from not at least trying to better others’ takes on our world.

So lean back, turn off all the lights and ignite a few candles or a single lamp (I promise, everything means more in the dark). You’re in for way too many unedited first drafts, possibly overly depressing poems, black and white photography, and annoyingly close-minded worldly opinions from a sixteen-year-old girl who thinks she knows it all. Sorry, I’m not sorry.