Sunday, June 5, 2016

College shiz

          People try to justify why bad things happen to us. They say it is because we have done something wrong. Some put faith and religion into the mix, and that everything happens for a reason. Me? I don’t know. Stuff just happens. I stopped believing long ago that some higher being has control over us. Life happens, and that it is how we handle these situations that determines our credibility.  We cannot blame our problems on things out of our control, even if they hurt us. This is something I had to learn at the age of nine, when I knew I was alone.
           When you first hear bad news, reactions are always different. Looking around my mother was crying, my brother and sister just sat there. Me? I ran up and hugged my dad, crying into his shoulder with the reassurance of everything was going to be okay. In 2009, my dad was a Major in the army reserves and working as an environmental scientist. Up until this point I remember looking up to his a strong figure who liked to take me fishing on summer days. That day he had sat the family down and told us he was being deployed to Iraq for a year. His military life has never affected our family until then.
          Throughout that year, three young kids, one being autistic, depended on single mother who found it hard to even take care of herself. So when my dad did come home after his year of deployment, the stress and chaos would be over. The fighting, the constant fear for his life, it would end. With his coming home he was awarded the Bronze Star and promoted to Liuentent Colonel.
          I didn’t notice it at first, or I tried not to at least, but there was something different about him. He was more reserved now, focused more into what he was doing. Trying to start conversations, it would take multiple attempts to even gain his attention, if not being flat out ignored. His temper was sky rocketed, getting angry at everyone for everything. The holes in the wall created from his anger tell different stories of his fury. Living with constant anxiety, not being sure what kind of day it was when he walked, the way the door shut behind him signaled that. Being on 10 years old and living in that state made me resent him. Why should I be treated like animal, and be so afraid? I started ignoring him back, giving him attitude, stopped caring about his feelings. He didn’t care about me, about us, he just cared about his anger.
          I’m sad to say this lasted longer than I would have liked. His contract at Fort Dix expired and the only place he could find work was at the Pentagon. So he lived in Virginia and came home on the weekends. I felt so much relief, I had more freedom and less anxiety. But it was the weekends that I would try to stay at a friend’s house as long as I could, and not want to go home. My feelings of hate built up over the years, how could he treat people so horribly? Was he incapable of any other emotion? Eventually I exploded, in my freshman year of high school five years later. Everything surfaced through tears and screams at him, at his him, his being, and his soul. Expecting some kind of screaming match, I was stunned when I saw tears coming down his face. I didn’t know he could cry. He looked at me and said, “My baby girl…” Baby girl? No sort of emotional connotation has never been used to describe me before. “I’m so, so, sorry”. I didn’t realize how bad it was. His stories of Iraq and what it was like for him made me fall silent. How he almost died, living in a constant state of fear and being ready at all times to be attacked. It was my turn to feel bad. All this time I hated him for his anger, but I had no understanding behind it. He had episodes of PTSD I was unaware of, like how he heard a loud noise and forced himself and my brother under the table. 
            Looking back on it now I know I was justified in being upset, knowing that people shouldn't be treated poorly. But I also realized I needed understanding, acceptance, and patience because it was not only about me. But that hardest lesson, the one that truly made me grow up and I still continue to struggle with, is my dad is not my anger. I have to learn to separate the two because it does not dictate our relationship or his personality. I love my dad, I really do. Yes, he does infuriate me, and even scare me at times. But it's not because he's a horrible person who likes to envoke pain on to others. It's because he cares too much at times and cannot find a way to express himself properly. But like me, he's trying, and that's what counts.
          

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Crank, Fallout, Basically anything by Ellen Hopkins

The way Hopkin's writes her books are different than what I'm used to. Picking it up its on the thicker side so you're expecting a longer read but the pages are not full, but written in poetry form. At first I hated it. It's a waste of paper/trees, it's distracting from the text and I don't get the full value of the words that I would in a regular novel. I felt like this for probably about two of her books. But after a while I got used to the stanzas and started to appreciate the creativity of it. How certain words are placed to receive more emphasis, or repition goes straight down the page. Instead of being a distraction, it has the words come to life. I felt like this writing style deserved its on blog post because it's just so interesting to me. I'm sure there's other books out there that do it too, but this is just the first I've seen. I still think it's a waste of paper though, but oh well.

Free Blog

These past couple days in class, with the debates on gender nuetral bathrooms, the bible, etc. have really got me thinking. We always say that people like Christian are stuck in their own ways, and they probably think we are too. I mean we are but still. But it's because that's all they know. And instead of attacking them in class where everyone is heated and trying to say their opinion all at the same time, maybe there's another approach. What we should do is make a survey. We did one in the beginning of the year in history to see if we were more republican or democrat. It's questions about how we feel about different topics such as guns, gay marriage, abortion, etc. We take the scores of everyone in the class and pair eachother up. But with someone who is exactly opposite of us. Give us an issue and not debate necessarily but just discuss different viewpoints. This way it allows us to see different sides with it being in a hostile situation of the whole class attacking one or two people. And at the end even if we don't agree with our partner, we can still say what we gained from it and what we've learned and hopefully we can accept the other sides view point a little better than we did before.

The Book Theif

I can't imagine growing up where your brother dies and your mom gives you away to some strange family. It's hard enough today for kids to move but to experience that amount of trauma at a young age is something I can't wrap my head around. I'm not that far into the book but I'm confused on the title. I get that she picks up gravediggers book, does she end up having a collection? What use is if she can't even read? And what kind of book does a grave digger have, grave digging for dummies? I also wonder about the mom. I know she gave her kids away so they could have better lives. I feel so bad though, her son died and she doesn't have her daughter. I just feel bad for everyone, this whole book is depressing. But depressing things need to be said. It was a depressing time, and it's interesting because it's from a more German standpoint when we usually here points of views from Jewish people. I do want to keep reading though to answer my questions, and to see what becomes of the main character. Also the family dynamic is interesting, the harsh mom and the soft dad empathizing.

Fallout

Fallout is a sequel to crank, taking place 19 years later. It follows three separate stories of Kristina's (the addict's) children she had. Summer is living in foster care, Hunter is I college but was raised by his grandparents, and Autumn is living with her aunt and grandfather. Even though they are three separate stories they are all brought together because they all have to deal with an addict mother. At the end of the book through they're separate journeys they are brought together. 
I'm not a fan of one of the characters, Hunter all that much. I feel bad because I feel like you're supposed to like the main characters but he keeps on giving me bad vibes. He cheated on his girlfriend twice and thinks he can always persuade her into taking him back. You can't just manipulate people into your selfish acts, especially if they care about you a lot. I feel like he gets these tendencies from Kristina. Although he didn't live with her, maybe it was just something he picked up from her. But it's still not an excuse. You can choose not to cheat, you can choose not to take advantage of people. I don't know it just pissed me off like can you not treat someone who cares about you like they're your property? It's not that hard.

Crank

Drugs have never been something I've been interested in doing. I'm a goody two-shoes to a fault, doing what I'm told and listening to what I'm supposed to. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on stupid things that, although are stupid are some how a right of passage that society has deemed. In crank, the main character is like me, although I wish I had her grades. She is a good student, daughter, and friend. But after a trip to her fathers who she hasn't seen in years and the environment he lives in, she becomes addicted to meth, or "crank". Watching her life fall apart was definitely hard to read. At so many times I wanted to scream at her and shake her shoulders and say to stop. But you can't. Addiction is never something I have experienced, and watching her go through it makes me want to keep it that way. It's like those people you see before and after they do drugs and all the effects it's had on them. But what they don't show you is the process of getting there. The more desperate you want the drug, your grades suffering, losing friendships, and the toll it has ones family. This was not an easy read but I'm happy I read it. Although I do not know, and wish to never know what addiction is like, this was definitely an eye opener to me.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fallout

fallout is the sequel to Crank. It takes place a number of years later and is from the point of view of 3 of 5 of Kirsten's kids that she had with different men because of her addiction. Located in different parts of the country and different ages, they all manage to find each other and learn more about their mom on the way. Summer, lives in a foster care, Hunter (her first child) lives with Kirsten's parents, and Autumn lives with her aunt and grand father. They all have different lives but they all know what its's like to be neglected, feel unloved. and not know their parent or where they come   from.