We Need To Talk About Kevin

It has been really hard for me to blog since last Wednesday. I’ve tried to pick another subject, I even had a Valentine’s day post on my mind. But then the world stopped when I heard about what happened in Parkland FL.

I came out on many different sides over the following few days. I cried over the thought that those kids would never get to the walk the stage as they graduated high school. I cried as I watched the video of Jamie Guttenberg’s dad speak about the fact that he couldn’t remember if he told her that he loved her that morning before she went to school, I cried thinking I couldn’t remember the last time I told my mom I loved her. I was enraged that people on Facebook were making fun of one of the victims parents because he had on a Trump shirt, he just lost his daughter. I was enraged at the thought of the kids who survived having something so pure taken away from them, their innocence. I was unnerved when I heard that a kid brought a gun to Marcus high school, my high schools rivalry. I was unnerved when I heard that four schools in Texas reported kids bring guns to school the next day. I spent a good two days trying to sort out my emotions.

And then I thought back to a movie I watched in a college film class, We Need To Talk About Kevin (WNTTAK). IT was one of those films that leave a scar on you, the kind you can never unsee. It’s not one I lightly recommend people to watch, but if you do watch it then clear your day. It’s a film that I am still two years later processing through. The film deals with a high school massacre, but on a deeper level, it deals with the idea of evil inside of a person. Is it our nature to be evil or are we nurtured to be that way? The film is constantly asking this question and then turning everything you think in every way possible.

I remember after the seeing film that I went home and told my mom, who loves romcoms and generally happy films only, about this movie. I felt that there had to be a way to talk about Kevin, but I couldn’t wrap my brain around how to talk about Kevin. And then it hit me today I think the thing we need to talk about when it comes to kids like Kevin is a combination of nature and nurture.

Each time we have a mass shooting the person holding the gun always seemed to be accused of being mentally ill. But the conversation always seems to steer towards guns. I hear the phrase ‘guns kill people’ and think no people kill people. Whether you believe in the Bible or not one of the oldest recorded acts of murder dates back to Cain killing Abel. People have used cars (July 2016 in Nice, France), knives (London Bridge attack June 2017), planes (9/11), homemade bombs (Oklahoma City bombing April 1995). The point is that evil will always find a way.

But on the flip side, I don’t think that anyone should be able to get an AR-whatever. I can see the practical reason behind having a handgun, shotguns, rifles, (my first blog on guns: Guns In America) but still, no one has been able to give me a reason that someone needs an AR-whatever as a necessity?

So while I think having access to an AR-whatever needs to be stricter and more controlled I don’t think banning all guns is the answer. Pick up a history book y’all.

Let us go back to the mental illness topic. If everyone one, or close to all, have been deemed mentally ill then it sounds like that’s a good place to start with preventing future mass shootings. Why is that we have turned our backs on helping those that are mentally ill? Is that we think we could be offending someone? Or that if just treat them like every other person on the street that is sane that they will just fall in line?

We as a country have turned our backs on those who need us, we have stopped looking out for the mentally ill and getting them help. We as a country have told every single person they are important and special. We as a country have done this to ourselves. We have handed out trophies to the kids who barely even tried. We have raised our kids on microwavable TV dinners in front of the television. We have let ipads and televisions become our babysitters.

I read somewhere that the average parent only spends 40 minutes with there kids at night. What happened to helping mom cook dinner, and washing dishes with dad? What happened to learning how to set the table properly and learning good conversational skills at the dinner table. What happened to bedtime stories with funny voices form mom and dad teaching us how to blow bubbles in our chocolate milk that we made with Hershey syrup.

We as a country are broken, we have spent so much time trying to make everyone feel included and telling each individual that they are special that we are missing when someone isn’t doing okay. Somewhere along the line we stopped paying attention and started letting each other slip through the cracks.

As a country we are at a critical moment, thoughts and prayers are great, but policy and change is what we need. Congress needs to get up off there comfy little asses and put together a plan.

Our children, America’s children are precious, each one of there young lives shouldn’t be concerned less valuable than a stance on guns. Each one of their lives is worth fighting for. Children should be able to walk into a classroom and learn. They shouldn’t have to sit in a seat and wonder if that one kid that was acting kinda weird the other week is mentally stable enough to be in class with them.

Children should have the right to be children. We need to stop putting them in situations that force them to grow up quickly.

We as a people, we as a country can let the victims, most of who were just kids, become another face of the many victims that came before. Or we can start fighting for those who don’t get to have a voice anymore, we can start checking up on each other, and start by changing things in the home. Change rarely starts in a big way. Change usually starts in the small spaces filling up those cracks that have been letting so much slip through.

It is time we had an open and honest conversation about Kevin.

 

F

Food poisoning is like your body literally rejecting everything on the inside of your stomach through every possible method. Add on the fact that you feel like you have the flu, your head feels one million times heavier than it ever should, and you can’t stomach to keep a breath of air down without wanting to vomit back up the air. Didn’t I once say I was a dramatic child? Well, I can be a dramatic adult too.

If you have ever been so lucky to come down with food poisoning then you will know that I am only exaggerating a little.

I had spent the night before playing a Mario Kart racing game at a friends apartment before heading home to my dorm room. It was my freshman year and I was living it up. I had a mini fridge (source one of where it could all have gone wrong), I ate the food at the campus cafeterias (source two), and I had eaten banana pudding at the friend’s place (source three).

If you know anything about my dad then you know that he hates bananas, before this moment I only hated them in solidarity with my dad. Now I hate them because I spent hours throwing them back up.

I don’t really like Italian food, shocker I know, what is wrong with me! I am super picky about where I eat Italian food at. It has something to do with the tomato sauce if it’s not just right then I just ugh. Really unless I am sucking out the inside of cherry tomatoes or eating salsa then tomatoes are not my thing. But I used to be okay with chicken alfredo, well not anymore. I spent hours throwing alfredo sauce back up. Just picture in your mind that white creamy sauce mixed with stomach acid in a toilet bowl, barf.

The school cafeteria food always gave me funny poops so I wasn’t really suspicious about it.

Having food poisoning sucked. I felt miserable sitting in my dorm room bathroom reliving the meals of the day before.

Anyone have a good food poisoning story?

E

East of Eden, to simply put it, is a long damn book. It wasn’t one I read in a single sitting like Of Mice and Men or Tortilla Flat, but one that I read as fast as my eyes would let me.

I picked up the worn copy my dad had given me, the front paperback cover had all but fallen off, the pages felt used beneath my hands and I read the opening line. It wasn’t an overly impressive opening line, all Steinbeck was talking about was topography.

It’s strange to me how I cannot recall the time I read any other works of John Stienbeck, Of Mice and Men being the first. I know the stories and I’ve probably read at the least five of his novels with many more awaiting me.

But I do remember it being late in February of 2016. I had been dumped, that’s another story for another time, and I was feeling unaccomplsihed with myself. I was down about life and needing a win. So what better way then to hunker down with an epic?

I told myself if I could just sit down and finish the book then my life would back into place. Things would just make sense again.

It’s kinda ridiculous to think a book could make the world turn right again. But it did.

It all boils down to one word: Timshel.

Personally I don’t speak Hebrew and I cannot read it. My grandfather is the only person I know who can translate Hebrew. I’ll save you all sometime form having to track him down or find your own expert and go ahead and tell you what it means in english.

Thou mayest. The word Timshel is all about the ability to choose and the ability to triumph. Or at least that’s what the book says. Maybe my grandfather could give me a more intellectual understanding one day?

And while I’m probably straying a little of course with the book, I’m going to relate it back to the time I felt that if only I could make it through that book that my world would make sense.

I finished the book, the worn paperback cover had fallen off, and the used pages had soaked into my finger prints and I cried.

I understood why I was so drawn to that book, I have the ability to choose how I handle the hurt, the feelings of betrayal, and my life being turned upside down. I have the ability to triumph over the past and come out a better me.

Today I leave you with one word of advice to carry with you, Timshel.

Pictured: Me at the John Steinbeck museum. 6 weeks before I read East of Eden.

Guns In America

This will be a controversial post, so if you do continue to read then all I ask is that you try and keep an open mind, clear eyes, and remember to clean out your ears and focus on what is being said.

I am neither pro-guns or anti-guns. I can understand on both sides why parts of the arguments work. Recently on Facebook, I came across a video of Congresswoman Kathrine Clark apologizing to future shooting victims. And it really got my brain turning.

Video is on my Facebook page (you can access it on the right side of the page under my Instagram photos)

The video was obviously biased in the sense that she was calling for gun control. But a few points struck me as interesting. Towards the end of the video, she apologized to each future victim by saying that she was sorry that Congress wouldn’t do anything for them but say there thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families left devastated. That kind of made me angry, as I’m sure it would make you.

Why has it become so common place that all we can expect from people who have been elected to put us, the American people,first to do nothing?

I feel frustrated and confused. What if it was me next? I would want the person who so senselessly took my life to pay for it.

I would want my grieving mother and father to know that someone is doing something to make sure that this never happens again.

I would want my little brother to know that I would have been the best aunt to his kids one day if I only I could have gotten the chance.

I would want my best friend to know that I wish I could be with her to lounge in the pool and drink cocktails on a hot summer day.

If all of that could be taken away from me, or you, then why would are we putting lives at risk?

***

Yet on the flip side if I was walking from my car to my front door late at night and someone tried to sexually assault me and a gun could help prevent that then I’m in, on average 200,000 women use a gun to prevent sexual assault a year. Cause you know Congress isn’t doing much about that either.

60% of polled robbers said they wouldn’t try to rob someone if that person also had a gun on them.

If I could use a gun to save my life, get to hug my parents one more time, one day become the best aunt to my brothers kids, and drink summer cocktails in the pool with my best friend then I am all in to have the right to own a gun.

Link to where I got my info is at bottom of post. And I encourage you to research both sides further.

***

I think like most people a lot of my confusion and frustration comes from not knowing. I have never learned how to shoot a gun, I have a little knowledge about gun safety, and I have never had a loaded one pointed at me facing the very real possibility of death.

***

When I was a young child I lived on an Island in southeast Asia called Sri Lanka. One thing that has always stuck with me is the image of armed soldiers on the street holding guns.

A judge a few doors down from our house was killed.

A man came into our house late at night and tried to rob us, my mom need up following him out of the house.

Was I safer living in a country where I couldn’t get a gun? Am I safer living in a country where I can get a gun?

 

Sources: http://americangunfacts.com

D

Dancing until two in the morning till they kicked us out of the bars was my favourite way to end a night out.  It wasn’t always the ending of the night but it sure was a great way to stay at the bars without feeling like you had to order another drink. On a side note, I never could understand why people tried to dance with a drink in there in hand?

If you’ve ever been down to fry street in Denton then you know there isn’t a lot of places to go dancing. Well, I can only think one place: Public House. Right on the end of the street across from the Language building Public House stood as one of the only two-story bars on the street.

The first floor would turn into a dance floor on busy nights. And it would get packed. My friends and I would form a circle and dance it out as popular songs filled the bar air. In between moving to the music, we would constantly have to tell random strange guys that would come up to try and dance with us that we just weren’t interested. It was our time to be together and shake it off.

In that moment between the beats of the music, surrounded by my closest friends in college, everything felt absolutely magical on the floors of Public House.

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Pictured: My three roommates and me happy after dancing at Public House on my 22nd birthday. 

Three Good Things

Today was a bad day…is how the post could have gone but instead it’s been a good day. Well, let me back you up to the part of the day when it was a bad one.

I didn’t wake up having a bad day, in fact, it started great. But on my drive to work, I encountered every idiotic driver on the road. It’s a wonder that I didn’t get in an accident today.

On my way to work I was almost hit by 3 different cars and run off the road by an 18 wheeler who decided to jump into my lane right before I passed him. My drive to work is about 28 mins. That’s a lot of close calls and a lot of honking.

I started to get mad about it, feeling like everyone around me on the road was an idiot and out to smash into my cute little Honda. But then I remembered something my mommy used to ask me when I was a little girl, tell me three good things that happened to you today?

I was by no means an overdramatic child who thought that every single day I had no friends, everyone hated me, they all loved my brother more, and my life was a Greek tragedy waiting to happen…okay you got me I was an overdramatic child. My parents have stories for days on that topic.

Being an overdramatic child I thought every single thing was the end of the world. Every day was a bad day, every day was a day waiting for something to happen so I could say yep another bad day and keep on proving why my life sucked.

My momma wasn’t gonna have any of it. She was determined to make me see that everyday could be a good day. The secret she clued me in on, and the one I’m about to give you for free is that it’s all about your attitude. And more specifically how you choose to think about the day.

She explained to me that there is a lot in this world that we cannot change and a lot we have no control over. But the one thing we do have control over is ourselves. At the end of the day we cannot control how others treated us but how we reacted and treated others. She taught me that I can take a bad day and find at least three good things in it.

While on my drive to work and coming up on the moment a man gunned it almost turning into my driver side door I thought of my three good things.

1. Somehow I had managed to put all my pillows in a circle around me and curl up into a ball feeling completely warm and safe when I woke up, best sleep ever.

2. Maybe it was a dream, maybe it was real life but I heard my mom tell me I love you before she headed to work.

3. I took the most amazing shower when I woke up and felt so relaxed.

Today is my Friday. Today I could have been on edge and irritable because I had a bad drive to work. Today could have been a bad day. I could have found that everyone I encountered at work was irritating me, I could have let the negativity consume me.

But with a little bit of thought and the power of positive thinking, I made today a good day. What are your three things that made today a good one?

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pictured: me in the baskets and my mom holding my brother in the chair

C

Cow Tipping Creamery is this adorable gourmet food truck in Carrolton, they also have a Frisco and Austin location. It was this time last year that I got a question from my aunt, did I want to go for a walk with her to get ice cream. I mean I love ice cream and I like walks so putting the two together sounded great. Until she told me the catch, it would be 2.9 miles down and 2.9 miles back. I was given a choice do I walk for ice cream or stay at home?

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As you can tell I wasn’t too happy about it. But none the less I was up for the challenge, 3 miles isn’t really that far…let me stop my self right here. 3 miles really is that far. If anyone ever tells you walking 3 miles for ice cream is a piece of cake they are wrong.

While you are on the 3 mile trek all your mouth can think about is how that cold delicious ice cream taste is not present, your limbs will feel weak and you will try to remember the last time you tasted ice cream, eventually your brain will start to forget and it will cause your legs to start to panic, your body will randomly think about bolting forward into a dead sprint just to crawl up to that food truck and say with the little strength you have left, ice cream?

At least mentally that’s how it felt. But it all turned out okay and we ended up very happy! Birthday cake ice cream and all!

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In the end what I learned was that sometimes you have to put in a lot of work to get a little sweet treat. Because at the end of the day smiling with the ones you love is worth walking 6 miles.

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