Where Genes Fail

In my psychology class, we learn that parent’s influence has little control of the outcome of their child’s life.

I’m currently in Canada visiting relatives, and I’m just now realizing the extent of that lesson.

We learned that a parent can mold their child’s religious and political beliefs to an extent, try to get them to like and dislike some things. But out in the world the kid learns how to live on their own. Unfortunately, every factor is against my second cousins’ development into successful creatures. I hate to say that, of course I do. But when family and environment are working against their better beings, well.

Background: My family here in Canada live in what many would call a “ghetto” or a “hood,” excuse me. I’m a little frightened every time I come. There are 8 people living in this little house, and there are bugs literally everywhere. Sigh sigh sigh.

Let me say something my friend taught me:

Family is a privilege, not a right.

I was taught that you love everyone in your family because blood is thicker than water, but my cousin’s blood is more like oil or acid. He has two kids: a 5 year old and an 8 year old. Every day he goes to work early, comes home late, plays on the X-Box, yells at his wife, yells at his kids, yells some more, sleeps with the TV on really loud so it’s hard for everyone else to sleep.

The video games he plays all have extreme violence and cursing. And he curses worse than the characters when he plays.

Personally I don’t believe that video games lead to bad children, but his behavior does.

Now let me start describing his children. When I first got here, I ate the youngest one’s popsicle in the freezer. This beautiful, chubby cheeked, big-eyed five year old comes up to me and says, “Hey fuck you bitch that was mine.” Well today I ignore it. Why? Because he’s been talking like that since he was 3.

I always wonder how this could’ve ever been allowed to happen. I mean, their school friends must be shocked at this language right?

Wrong.

There are two more kids in this house, an 8 and a 10 year old. I walked them to the playground behind their house and saw their friends. One of them rides by on his bike singing, “Rack rack rack rack rack city, bitch. Ten ten ten twenties on your titties, bitch.” This coming from a kid looking no more than 10 years old. Then that same kid says hello to my little cousins. They introduce me to him, and he looks at me and says, “Damn girl you fine as hell.” I’ve gotten rude compliments before, but never from a 10 year old.

My little second cousins’ dad is a forklift driver. Their mom is a waitress. They go to a Catholic school covered in graffiti with other little kids that curse just as much as they do with no authority figure besides myself telling them to stop. What hope do they have?

How can I believe that they’re going to turn out okay? Because this influence isn’t supposed to impact them much the rest of their lives? My only prayer to base-god is that their parents go back to school and finish their education, stop their smoking and drinking problems, and move to a better area with better influences.

Where I’m from the lesson made sense to me. I didn’t turn out anything like the child my parents tried to raise me to be. But I’m fortunate enough to live in a good area and make the right kind of friends, so I turned into a child they could deal with all the same.

Here my cousins have a bad influence no matter where they go. And unfortunately, no matter how much I love them, I see no way out.

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Let’s Take A Moment to Breathe

10 out of 10 doctors recommend that you breathe. Often.

I’ve recently started taking a yoga class. I took it once for half a year about 2 years ago, but stopped because school got in the way. Since I’m in the last stretch of my high school career and my schedule has freed up a little (not really but let’s go with it), I thought I’d start it up again.

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These are poses I do every day! Wooo~

There’s a misconception that yoga is just stretching for a prolonged period of time.

“You’re doing yoga? That sounds like so much fun! I was thinking of starting after track season it looks pretty easy.”

(Actual quote from an actual person on the track team.)

Is it fun? Sure. Is it easy? NO. NO NOPE NO WRONG NOT CORRECT INCORRECT UNTRUE HALT IN YOUR TRACKS STOP.

I’m not sure about other types of yoga, but I take Dahn yoga which is more traditional than something at Lifetime. Yoga is about strengthening your core, energizing your system, empowering your spirit, finding peace in your breaths, all that good stuff. It’s also painful.

My first day I was surprised about how much it hurt. Every muscle in my system was aching after class. Apparently the tranquility doesn’t happen until after you’ve become a master.

Here’s a breakdown of a standard class: Warm-ups that include pounding the area just beneath your belly button (which is where your core is) to warm it up and in doing so heat up your entire system. Then get into the stretches, which you hold for 10-50 seconds, each more painful than the last. You do that for about 40 minutes, then comes energizing. You lay on the floor and do stretches with your palms and the soles of your feet facing up: those are the parts of the body that collect energy the best. After about 10-15 minutes of that you go into cool-downs, then happy bonding tea time.

Is it pleasant? Not always. Do I recommend it? Absolutely. And here’s why:

1) It helps you lose weight.
This is one of the biggest reasons people exercise. Besides the stretching, the breathing itself also contributes to weight loss (one hour of in through your nose, out through your mouth). One reason I really like it is because the bulk of the weight lost is from your stomach. I don’t know about other people, but when I run the first thing to go is my chest. Which is not fat I want to lose. Since yoga is all about core strengthening, the fat is mostly lost around your core, i.e. your stomach. Woo.

2) It’s calming.
The combination of pain and breathing does wonders. It sounds strange, but the pain takes my mind off all the things from the day that stressed me out, and the breathing keeps my mind focused on my body. It makes me feel powerful, so to speak. They usually play traditional, soothing Korean music, which also keeps my mind from drifting. Another thing: I believe that yoga involves a sort of hypnosis. When it’s time for meditating, the teacher dims the lights and says things like “Feel your body relaxing and heating up, then going numb.” Then he calls out different body parts, and I feel each part doing so. My mind starts to clear. It’s really cool and spiritual and stuff, but I don’t have a way with words so I can’t convey it as properly as I wish.

3) We’re all in it together.
In school, appearance is everything. Even those that say they don’t care what other people think check themselves. My yoga class is made up of people 50+ years old, some mid-life adults, and two teenagers (me and this other girl). I know for a fact that if I was trying to do yoga in a room with my friends, family, or anyone else I know, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. Teenagers are always scared of making fools of themselves. Adults don’t seem to have that problem (not in yoga anyways.) Note: Old people are not afraid to fart in public. We all do the stretches, fall every now and then, share a breathing pattern. Getting kind of spiritual here, it feels like you’re sharing one energy. When everyone’s in rhythm you feel the strength, when someone stumbles you feel your muscles about to collapse too. It’s really amazing.

4) The skills are transferable.
Stiff at work or school, it’s easy to just take a moment and start doing some of the simple stretches maybe for shoulders or thighs and work out the kinks. The breathing also calms you down at any situation. At school I often find myself doing breathing and shoulder exercises when I’m tense or if I just need a moment to calm down, and it really helps.

I started two years ago because I was extremely stressed and depressed and all the colors in between, and the stereotype of yoga perpetuated by media led me to believe that it would calm me down and clear my mind. Though it’s not as easy as I hoped, it gets the job done. I’ve been losing weight (5 pounds this month yay!) and calming down, and it’s really helped me enjoy myself and school again.

I know people don’t always have the time, but yoga really is beneficial for body and mind. I know I sound like an advertisement, but I’m just really pleased with how yoga has been treating me.

If It’s Pi, It Won’t Die

Today marks one month since my dear friend ended his life.

Honestly, it hasn’t been that hard of a month. And I was wondering why. I mean I haven’t been crying, chest pains gone, no more headaches or long nights wondering.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with my friends earlier. I was telling them about today being B’s one month since passing, and I was telling them a bunch of stories about him. And everything I said made it sound as if he was still alive, like it happened yesterday or one week ago.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been stuck in the denial phase of the depression stages. I tell stories about us as if he were with me, ready to jump in with details. I text him compulsively, speaking and waiting as if he’ll reply any minute. In my head, it’s as if he’s on some long vacation without any signal. It’s as if one day he’ll fly back and tell me all about it.

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Then I asked myself: Why? Why do all this to myself?

The answer is obvious. I don’t cry because I don’t want to. I don’t feel pain because I don’t want to. I don’t want to believe B is dead because then I’ll cry and then I’ll feel pain and then I’ll be trapped trying to solve a problem with no solution.

Today is pi day. One of the first conversations I ever had with B was about my pie recipe. He said it sounded delicious, and I always promised I would make it for him but I never had the chance. I made these pies yesterday, and I left one on my back porch, talking to it like a psychotic person. “You can take it whenever you’re ready,” I said, “It’ll be good for like three days,” I went on.

Pi goes on forever. B did not.

It’s like he was one point that against all odds jumped off the tangent line, and left me going on forever by myself. I hate that I’m still moving, time is still moving, everyone is still moving on, and he’s frozen in time, forever in our memories but never making new ones.

Today something happened that pushed me out of denial. His (horrible) mother posted a video of him on Facebook today. He was smiling and playing his violin that he cherished so much. Moving and swaying and playing, it was as if I could knock on his door and he would let me in and let me hear it for myself. I cried several minutes after I saw it, and played it again.

B is not pi. B did not last forever.

I still wish he could’ve tasted my pie. Life’s too short to not have a slice.

 

Chicken Soup for those Sick of Humanity

Earlier, I wrote a post about the “Rape Crew” that carted a girl around to different parties and passed her around to be raped all night. None were convicted because they were “stars of the school’s beloved football team.” Disgusting.

A friend today told me of a similar case. I thought it was Rape Crew, but no. Another rape, different place, different people, same circumstances. Football stars, rapists, free men. Blights on our society.

I’ve been told my whole life that I’m a pessimist. That I’m depressed and depressing, that I have such little faith in… anything. Well this is why.

Sure this doesn’t happen every day, but the fact is that it happens. And that’s enough for me to feel angst and hatred towards mankind.

My philosophy has always been this:

“Hate everyone until they’ve proven themselves worth my time.”

Is that a good philosophy? Not really. Is it practical? Not at all. Am I proud of it? No I am not. Can I help it? No.

I have this naturally spiteful disposition. My straight-face is a grimace. If I’m not well acquainted with someone, I struggle to talk to them with a civil tone of voice. I don’t like that about myself, but I honest to goodness can’t help it.

Since childhood I’ve faced social adversity, and unlike others I did not handle it with maturity and grace. I became hard, and hateful, and depressed. And I’m still this way.

It’s stories like these that remind me who I am, and how I feel about everyone else.

I don’t want to be this way. I never did. Maybe when humanity proves itself to be more honorable, trustworthy, and higher than scum, I’ll be able to change.

Feels Like I’m Living A Teenage Dream.

My two year anniversary was yesterday! My boyfriend and I started dating in sophomore year and now we’re seniors. Yesterday was lovely, and it made me want to write.

A common argument is this: Teenagers can’t experience “real” love, just overwhelming and misinterpreted heated passion.

I happen to disagree.

First let’s discuss what “love” means. (My definition anyways.)

Love is a feeling you get when you think the world of someone. Their happiness is your happiness and you only want the best for them. You put your full trust and loyalty on them. You want to share things with them and be a part of their world like they’re a part of yours. It’s when you think someone’s amazing and you can’t imagine your life without them.

Here's the "professional" definition.

Here’s the “professional” definition for reference. Which also helps my argument.

The most important point I have to make for this argument: Love is an emotion. Just like happiness, sadness, fear, anger, etc. etc. Yes it can come and go, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t real and it doesn’t mean it never happened.

Are there some people just overcome with passion and hormones? Absolutely. Does that only happen to teenagers? Nope. Just look at the divorce rate for America (cough 50% cough). Most of those people likely felt love at some point (obviously), and it just melted away. But that doesn’t mean the relationship was insincere.

My aunt and uncle met when they were 12. Started dating at 14. They married when they were 26. And they’ve been living happily ever after ever since.

My parents met when they were 5. Started dating at 25. Married at 30.

Like people, relationships come in different shapes, sizes, colors, you name it.

So right now, I dare to say that I love this boy. I think the world of him and he feels the same for me. He’s the one I can sit with in complete silence and not feel awkward, and the one I stay up with late at night on the phone talking about nothing at all. Sounds like love to me. Feels like love to me. College is coming, and I don’t know what that means for us. It could mean catastrophe, it could not. But I know that in this moment we love each other, and that’s enough for me.