Anl. Cultural Stereotypes in My Big Fat Greek Wedding

While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference between Caucasians and people of color. It is refreshing to see a family like Toula’s. However, I wonder about the portrayal’s accuracy. As a woman of color, I don’t think the society presented is realistic.
 It would have been more convincing to have different kinds of people of color. Maybe some Greeks are not meat eaters  Or, maybe some Greeks don’t over-share. Yes, there are stark differences between cultures, but not everyone within a culture is identical to others in that community. In a way, it is a gloss over all people of color as the “same.” It’s not as complex as I would have liked it to be as a story.
Conversation Starter 

It is still incredible to watch a story with so much diversity and culture. It’s rare to hear the perspective of people of color, without trivializing our views and dismissing them. This is a good start. The film comes from a well-meaning place. It is about acceptance of one’s background, culture, religion, and family. It is about familial love. I enjoy watching Toula get to accept her family and be proud of them. I know for me, it is challenging to be okay with how different we are as people of color.

Intergenerational Cultural Clash 

The cultural norms I grew up with are different from that of my parents, too, and I think this is partially what Toula experiences in both films. She is not like her sister: perfectly Greek. She’s a combination of Greek and American. So, she doesn’t quite fit into the mold of the perfect Greek girl or the perfect American girl either. I can relate to this a lot, because I grew up as a mix between middle eastern culture and American culture. And, even then, I come from a displaced family; wars tore through the routine, which is something touched upon through the character of Mana Ya-ya who is confused by her new surroundings.

Self Actualization: 

Another neat thing to see is Toula’s  growth as a person, as a girlfriend, a wife, and mother. She finds herself in the first and second film. Women are often told that they need to be “pretty” to “get a man.” It is nice to see a story where the characters are focused on more than just marriage. Toula goes to college, the first in her family, and tries to work somewhere other than the family’s restaurant. It’s a reasonable portrayal of the difficulties women of color face when it comes to career-related ambition.

Gender Realization: 

The challenges of gender relations is also refreshing. I like that the women are not presented as quiet shy “things” to be had. They are headstrong sometimes, they are confident and passionate. They’re not overly sensationalized as this exotic different “other,” a refreshing take on people of color for sure. I feel so happy to see such a presentation of a culture so close to my own.

Overall: 

It definitely sends good messages to people balancing different cultures. They don’t have to be at war; they can coexist in the way a person carries his or herself. She is a proud Greek American and this portrayal of a happy, proud and strong Greek American family certainly opened my mind to the idea of being okay with myself as an Arab American and I am grateful for these movies and Nia as a writer because she presents a different voice in a mostly white narrative regarding women (which is often also told by men, unfortunately).

 

When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try
Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that

Story Time: My Reading Journey

I have been thinking a lot about how much things have changed for me over the years, particularly in light of the makeup rewind videos on YouTube where girls recreate their high school looks. I wanted to do my first story time on the blog, where I talk about my reading story.

Glum Beginnings: Age 10 and 11 

Starting to read more regularly at age 10, I gravitated towards sad stories because of my own undiagnosed depression (back then it was undiagnosed. It’s not until fourteen years later that I got some help and diagnosis). This means lots of Charles Dickens over and over again. When I was 11, I was introduced to William Wordsworth and read his work heavily. I used to make up my own poems but didn’t write them until I was 14.

Things Go Bump in the Night. The Teen Years 

When I was 13, I skipped a couple of grades and made it to high school, and this is where I started to see that maybe majoring in English could be an option because I adored mythology and classics. My mythology instructor suggested that I pick up a copy of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I read the latter in class for extra credit and I was in awe of the world building, the characters, the plot. It was, and still is, one of my favorites.

A year later, I started seeing the Harry Potter books around school. I was determined to fit in with the smart kids, so I denied any interest in those books because they were “for middle schoolers.” Then, I saw the first HP movie and I fell in love, spent my time reading those books to catch up. I remember not knowing that there were multiple books out, so I had gotten a copy of the fourth one, Goblet of Fire, and read it completely confused. Then, I reread the books from the library (Didn’t get my own copies of books 1-3 until after I graduated from college with my bachelor’s).

Staying Classy in the College Years 

In college, I had majored in English, so I read a lot of classics and theory. My spare time involved reading a lot of Tolkien and then slowly transitioning toward the Twilight books. After reading all about Edward and Bella, I started to feel uneasy about the series particularly as I started graduate school where I was engaging in some serious critical thinking about what I was reading. It spiraled into interest in The Hunger Games and City of Bones, and, of course, John Green’s work. The rest is history!

When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that
  ★QUESTIONS:Question #1: The Opening Ceremony: What book did you think had an incredible opening? I'll

BR: Courage and Character in Since You’ve Been Gone

When I approached Since You’ve Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I was shaking and sweating profusely. I couldn’t sleep and the world felt unbearably dark, so, I pulled out the cheery cover of Emily and Sloane’s story. I begin and I don’t stop till I am done with the book.

In Since You’ve Been Gone, Emily is part of a dynamic duo. It reminds me of my friendship with a person much louder than I am, more confident, more charming, just like Sloane. I identified with Emily on many levels, because I have never been self-assured and my anxiety prevents me from doing anything uncomfortable. I live in my own shell, like her, and I tend to be overshadowed by others. So, I had a keen interest in seeing how she grows and flourishes as a young woman, friend, partner.

Character Relationships


My favorite thing about this story is the characters. I adore all of them, especially Emily and Sloane. Speaking of which, Sloane falls under the manic pixie type of character, at least at first, but as Emily has more distance, she starts to see the cracks in the facade, and encourages Emily to open up about her insecurities regarding her family, relationships, friendships, and courage.

Courageous Characters:

The most beautiful aspect of this novel is the courage all the characters have. It takes a lot of effort to be strong and happy, to be adventurous, to be open to new people and experiences. I like that the lists they two friends make for each other are not over the top crazy. There is beauty in doing the smallest courageous acts. Ride a horse. Hug a Jamie. Apply for a job. Be part of nature and have a sense of wonder. Collins bravely faces his fear of rejection and asks out Dawn. Frank confronts his failing relationship with Lissa. It’s not just Emily and Sloane changing; it’s all of the characters moving through life and learning, which is absolutely lovely to see. It’s refreshing to see female characters focused on more than romantic relationships. I like that Dawn, Sloane, and Emily aren’t competitive or jealous, either.

Overall: 

 

Morgan Matson is becoming one of my favorite authors because she comes across as a thought-provoking person. I like that she echoes the themes of expanding horizons, and imagining people complexly. Yes it’s a book disguised as summer sweetness, but I think it’s got more going on with memorable relationships, gorgeous moments, and awesome music.

I have been thinking a lot about how much things have changed for me over
Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that
  ★QUESTIONS:Question #1: The Opening Ceremony: What book did you think had an incredible opening? I'll

Your Older Sister: On Conscious Living

In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try to live consciously. When you know yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually, life’s surprises don’t shake you as much.  Here are some tips for more conscious living.

Slow Your Roll

Breath carefully. Part of this awareness comes from your breath. Try to find your own rhythm of taking in inhales and exhales. One of the coolest things I have learned in recent days is the concept of ease. Tara Stiles talks about extensively in Strala Yoga. There is this weird idea that we need to be in pain to gain what we want.  I never understood how and why that would ever work. But, I like the notion of moving with ease, breathing, carrying yourself with a sense of content and happiness. The rest will come on its own.

Thinking Carefully

So, you need to be thinking carefully as well. You do have to get in touch with yourself frequently, on a daily basis at least. Try to figure out how you feel about things. How do you process what happens in your life? How do you dream? What do you dream of? Why do you think this way? When, how is it triggered? Where do you find yourself in reaction to these things you are faced with? Getting in touch with yourself allows you to have this awareness and understanding of why you feel and act the way you do. In therapy, we often talk about how mindfulness and observing feelings allows for a more leveled reaction. “Oh, I see that I am feeling judged, which makes me defensive. I don’t need to do that. I am safe. I don’t need to justify my worth to anyone.” Simple mantras like this help get perspective and avoid hurting yourself and others.

Find Your Own Truth

Another tip for living consciously relates to finding your own truths. In particular, doing so rather than following what is taught as the standard form of truth. In establishing this habit, you set your own rules and standards. Once you know what you stand for, you can figure out who you want to become based on these rules, you then can shape your reactions and actions based on what you value.

Self Awareness

It’s about following intuition but with a sense of awareness, because not all things that come with ease are right. I think it’s key to not fall into the trap of knee-jerk reactions. Yes, it’s hard to find the stillness within in a world that is in fast-forward constantly. A well-thought out response takes effort, especially when starting out, but it is worth it.

Self Acceptance

There also comes this acceptance of who you are and your capacities. This self-awareness is not about limiting yourself, but it is about not forcing things. Let your strengths shine, and be understanding of what you can and cannot do. I think some trial and error can help guide you along the way, but there’s also the concept of saying no more often. Reject what is expected and find what you value, follow that as a guide.

Empathy and Forgiveness 

Another aspect of living consciously lies in forgiveness and understanding others. It is a challenge to see where people are coming from, but compassion makes us more than just reacting objects. It gives us perspective and it allows others to see us with love and understanding in return.

I’ll end with this note: it’s hard to develop this tuning within, this understanding of oneself and our ethics, values, talents, capabilities, because we live in a time where urgency is everything. We’re so caught up on the literal, the physical, the tangible, that we forget to go inwards and get in touch with our deepest beliefs. We are taught to give in to societal terms and rules and regulations so much that we suppress our own values. It doesn’t have to be this way. You can lead a happier life, a more content and peaceful life, with acceptance and love for yourself and others.

For More:
A Guide to Living Consciously 
5 Tips to Conscious Living 
21 Ways to Live More Consciously 

While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that

BR: Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here

Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that is. I remember growing up with the Harry Potter fandom, reading fanfiction, and not really being in tune with who was popular in school, or crushes, or friendships. I was kind of in my own bubble hovering maddeningly in a corner with occasional bursts of contact with the outside world. Reading Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here reminded me of these days. It was an accurate representation of coming of age under the Internet’s influence and the shock of the real life.

Unlike the fiction in Fangirl, here, the story takes on a dark commentary on Scarlett’s real life. The story reflects her difficulties in imagining Ashley and Gideon complexly. She simplifies them into these stereotypes, particularly Ashley, who is literally a robot in her story. The fact that her story garners quite a few fans is also telling because it is a testament to her ability as a writer, just like her father and his new wife. The parallels between her work and her father’s is also interesting, because, in both, they misjudge and misrepresent others.

Ruth and Dawn have this really interesting connection with Scarlett, because she assumes a lot about them, only to realize later on that she was way, way off. For instance, the story Ruth shares of her youth and her family shocks young Scarlett into seeing that perhaps her judgment of others is not entirely accurate or fair. Through Dawn, a strong feminist message is sent in a painful way as Scarlett realizes that she has been overlooking her mother’s value as a person because they value different things. Like her father, she assumes that Dawn isn’t worth much as she doesn’t function the same way. Books and imagination are hard to consider when you are trying to earn a practical living. To Scarlett, her mother is a source of embarrassment due to her profession, her lifestyle, her inability to find someone to appreciate her as a companion.

The losses Scarlett endures offer as a wake up call for her life. Avery and Scarlett lose touch with each other as Ave develops a relationship with her boyfriend. Her struggles to find a balance between her friendship with Scarlett and Ashley isolates her. It’s hard not to feel affection towards Avery, even though she’s not in the narrative for long periods of time.

This brings me to the negatives of the book: it’s very episodic and not much of a plot-driven story. It’s not very character driven, either. I wish we would have spent enough time with Dawn, or Ruth, or even Scarlett’s dad. Gideon is featured in snippets. I didn’t really like the story Scarlett creates, because it took over the narrative way too much. I feel as though the story was hijacked by this fanfiction.

Still, the story is very different due to its humor, its tone, its balancing of feminism, commentary on pop culture and Internet culture, and the exploration of growing up in a time where the Internet can skew one’s perception a lot. It’s a refreshing tale and a realistic one, too. Do check it out, if you’re ready to see a girl take on the world and be bold.

I have been thinking a lot about how much things have changed for me over
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
  ★QUESTIONS:Question #1: The Opening Ceremony: What book did you think had an incredible opening? I'll

Anl. Life Lessons In Star Wars

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late December of 2015. Afterwards, I have managed to acquire the original trilogy and the newest film on DVD and have been watching the daylights out of them.
Mental Power

What I truly love about these films is the lessons they posit, and the wonderful characters who are exposed to such pressures that push them to learn or at least understand difficult ideas. One of the most interesting lessons in Star Wars has to do with developing an understanding of one’s mental and emotional strength. The Force is not a literal blunt physical strength. It is invisible and yet very powerful. Darth Vader is seen choking people with the Force. Kylo Ren pauses a blaster in midair with ease by the Force.

But, as Han Solo puts in the original trilogy, the Force is part of an old religion and is all woo woo. Yet, by The Force Awakens, he openly admits otherwise: that it is all real. The Force is not too far from the imagination; it is a metaphor for spiritual and overall mental strength. It can lead to great strength, but one must train to be mindful and meditative. In essence, this is what Luke Skywalker and Rey learn eventually. They learn to still their minds in moments of fear and stress, and they concentrate.

Here and Now

In other words, the lesson is to stay present in the here and now.

Yoda teaches this lesson in the original trilogy: anger leads to hate and hate leads to destruction. Ultimately, he depicts various wisdoms: first, looks can be deceiving. Rey was shown as a scavenger who is inexperienced when it comes to the Force. Somehow, her awakening is registered on Kylo Ren and Snoke’s radar. She is an equal if not a superior Force user to Kylo, a man behind the terror across the galaxy. The same can be said about Kylo Ren, who is presented as a threat to the universe and yet, when Rey sees him without his mask, she finds him sympathetic and “sensitive.” This is very important to note because Rey’s initial assumption is that he’s just a “creature in a mask.”

 

Identity and Independence

Identity and independence are also themes in the Star Wars stories. We see it on both sides: Rey breaks free from Jakku scavenger life to become a Force user. Luke becomes a Jedi master after wanting to be a simple pilot with the resistance. Kylo Ren wants to achieve what his Darth Vader failed to do, and he rebels against his family in doing so. Finn was a nameless stormtrooper and yet Poe gives him a name, an identity, and they together accomplish missions for the resistance.

Love

The biggest weapon to be used in Star Wars worlds is love. It is Anakin’s love for his children that ultimately gets rid of the Emperor. Luke’s love for Leia drives him to save her in the first place (and even later on, he loves her and Han enough to save them from Jabba the Hutt). Compassion is a driving force (no pun intended) in these movies. Snoke accuses Kylo Ren of being too kind to Rey because he can relate to her. Why is this a negative thing? Well, it’s mostly a “light side” trait. Luke understands his father and is compassionate enough to believe the best in him is yet to come, which turns out to be the key to Darth Vader’s demise and the triumph of Anakin Skywalker (who knows what will happen to Ben Solo. I choose to believe that the best of him is yet to come. But, even if that’s not the case, I find his struggle so, so meaningful and powerful).

Friendship is another strength in these movies. There are epic relationships, iconic, throughout Star Wars. The companionship of cute droids, nonhuman beings, and even humans make the main characters have lots to lose. The stakes are higher than ever. R2D2, C3PO, and even BB8, they are all endearing that I wonder if there is a lesson there, too. After all, the most enduring friendship in the series is that between a human and a wookie. Always, this universe was able to bring to life wonderful characters and break down barriers in its vastness. In the new installments, we see female stormtroopers, black stormtroopers, female force users, and young people part of both sides. I cannot wait to learn what else these films have to offer.

For More:

Lessons from Jedi Master Yoda 
Star Wars Is Not About Good and Evil 
What Star Wars Can Teach Us 

Community is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development.
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares

Disc.: Facebook, Social Media, and Mental Illness

Social media is rarely seen with a concentration on mental illness. It is fascinating to think of it under the mental health lens because of its prevalence. Those not on social media are often seen with judgment and concern. The norm is to be on the Internet. In other words, to be connected to strangers, family, friends and coworkers. The point of this post is not so much to chastise or condone the use of social media. After all, this is cross-posted all over social media. What I am suggesting is perhaps a change in how we use and regard it.

Comparisons and Competitions

What comes with an influx of information is comparisons and competitions. I have seen so many posts about self harm, and starvation, encouraging eating disorders and fostering mental illnesses, rather than suggesting help. There were so many times where I felt like I wasn’t “sick enough” to go to a doctor, and it wasn’t until family and friends sat me down and dispelled these ideas out of my head that I went to get professional assistance. It’s good that some websites are starting to suggest that there is help out there for those who need it, but this is only when certain keywords are used in a search bar. Unfortunately, there are too many keywords that can be used to find the disturbing material worsening a person’s illness.

Endless Scrolling

Availability of endless content can be helpful because it can lead to awareness but it can also be a distraction and deterrent of productivity. I know that when depression hits, it can be extra hard to stay focused on one task rather than aimlessly watching YouTube videos or reblogging images and quotes on Tumblr. It makes things much worse when you’re already feeling unproductive or unfocused.

Like for Like?

The way the Internet works is through constant approval: people want likes, shares, comments, and it is so hard to get accustomed to having no audience to your work. With that said, there is also the way people feel more honest when they’re not judged by their appearance. I have met like-minded people on the Internet because we shared interests or hobbies. But, there’s also the exposure to trolls on the Internet, who bully people mercilessly and brutally. Too many lives have been lost because people were incessantly mocked. It comes with the territory of being anonymous online.

Being compassionate, open minded, and accepting would help a lot on the Internet. Extending kindness to others is crucial as mental health is difficult as it is, and every bit of support helps tremendously.

For More:
While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try

The Olympic Book Tag

olympicbktag

 

★QUESTIONS:
Question #1: The Opening Ceremony: What book did you think had an incredible opening? I’ll Give You the Sun 

Question #2: The Games: What is your favorite fictional competition? The photography competition in Hold Still. 

Question #3: The Original: The modern games are based on the original Greek competition. What is your favorite book based on a classic?This took quite a bit of research, but, His Dark Materials by Pullman is apparently based on Paradise Lost, which is one of my favorite classics! I haven’t read it yet, but I know I’ll love First and Then because it’s based on Pride and Prejudice. 

Question #4: The Eternal Flame: What is one ‘ship that you won’t let die, even after the books made it clear it was never going to happen? Draco and Harry in the Potter books. Draco and Hermione. Ben and Radar in Paper Towns. Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings (shush you).

I keep wondering what would happen to Mary in Pride and Prejudice and Kitty. 

Question #5: Gymnastics: What’s a book that had so many twists and turns it left your head spinning? (in a good way)

The White Cat trilogy by Holly Black. If you have an interest in wild cards, check it out. 


Question # 6: The Controversial Judge: What’s a book that you have a totally different opinion about than most other people? 
Unlike many people, I actually am quite fond of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. I remember being engrossed in it and feeling relieved to find a kindred spirit in the poet. Same goes to Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendental texts. I found romantic ideology to be quite inspiring. It has definitely shaped my life as an adult.

Question #7: Beach Volleyball: What is your favorite fictional duo?
Simon and Clary in The Mortal Instruments. They’re wonderful friends and I adore their connection.

Question #8: Weightlifting: What is the most massive book on your shelf?
Either a Mortal Instruments or Dark Artifices or a Harry Potter book, for sure. I gave away all my theory books and textbooks (thank goodness).

Question #9: (Tell us your favorite Olympic Sport): What is a book that you just tore through with world record speed?
Vampire Academy series!

Question #10: Synchronized Swimming: What is a book series that you kept reading, even though you didn’t have any idea why? 
Maze Runner, The Selection. 

Question #11: The Tortured Fan: What fictional family, group, nation, organization do you irrationally root for no matter how many times they break your heart? 
The Malfoy (Harry Potter) and Duchannes (Beautiful Creatures) family.

Question #12: Closing Ceremony: What book had an ending that just blew your mind? 
Carry On. 

Question #13: Relay Race: Who do you tag?
Anyone who’d like to be tagged! 

I have been thinking a lot about how much things have changed for me over
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I
Part of having an online presence is this weird isolation from real life, whatever that

Anl. Community and Growth

communitygrowinapairCommunity is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development. All the characters grow up considerably over the course of six seasons (and a movie?). In particular, characters: Jeff, Britta, Troy, Abed, and Annie develop a lot throughout the series. They grow into their own identities. It’s not always perfect.
Jeff Winger
Jeff doesn’t quite go down the path we are told to expect of him. He openly admits that he texts all the time yet no one is on the other end. He longs for his father’s attention. He was bullied by Shirley when she was young. He is definitely not the cool and collected person we assume he’d be. He is competitive in the paint-ball matches. He fully embraces Abed’s movies and dialogues.

For his future, he defies what  he’d planned for himself. He wanted to get his old job back, but he’d changed too much. He’s unable to sustain the lifestyle he’d eagerly planned.

When he graduates college and gets his own office, his only case is related to Greendale. The school becomes the center of his world and he can’t get away. It is a community he cannot shake off. He participates in charades within the show. He joins Troy and Abed’s show, their dances, Glee club, the Save Greendale Committee.

Britta Perry 

Britta Perry starts out as a serious cynic. She is not impressed with the government, or politics, or Jeff. Out of everyone in the group, she is the least interested in connecting with Jeff because she knows that he sees her as a sexual conquest and nothing more. As the show develops, Britta becomes almost a caricature of her old self. Her lifestyle is held together by a facade as her parents are helping her behind her own back for the duration of the show.

She pretends to be a hipster out of choice. For example, she has CD player and knock-off phones. However, the audience learns that she can’t afford to be “cool” (whatever that means). This is presented as an-okay thing to be. It is a relief because, in college, there’s a pressure to conform to the rules of coolness.

Troy Barnes

 

He starts off as a failed high school football boy. Troy dons his high school jersey proud. Pierce tells him to lose the jacket. Annie reminds him that he’s not in high school any more. She tells him he’s not “prom king.” Jeff tells him that he’s deciding to keep it or lose it for other people. In conclusion: that’s not a way to live.

This football wonder then becomes attached to Abed. They go on adventures and do things together as much as possible. He goes from being a simple jock to a repairman prodigy. If you thought you saw this coming, remember that he becomes a young millionaire.

Abed Nadir

Speaking of splitting the unlikely duo, Abed also changes a lot and finds himself throughout the show. He goes from being an isolated person to being part of a pair (whether it’s with Troy, Annie, Jeff, or Frankie). Quite the eccentric, he adjusts to the “real world” as much as he can: by infusing it with his interests in film. He often refers to his friends as characters, often reenacts shows and movies, comments on themes in Community. He goes from being the most obscure and seemingly socially awkward part of the group, to perhaps one of its most promising participants. He is the voice of reason, the meta narrator, and he is in fact what brought the group together. He assembled it. He takes in Frankie.

Annie Edison

She goes from being a young girl to an adult. What comes to mind is her appearance. She started out wearing cute dresses and cardigans. Her hair up and pinned, and by the end of the series, her hair down and relaxed, her clothes casual and less rehearsed. She openly tells Jeff to kiss her, not for her sake, but for his. And, Annie is in charge of her life as she interns for the FBI.

Your Turn:

Who are your favorite communities to belong to? Why do you like them? Share in the comment section!

For More:

–Community Wiki 

–Why Community was Canceled 

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares

Your Older Sister: On Self Care

I want to expand on the idea of self care. In addition, I’d like to give you some ideas on how to take it slow and care for yourself, the one person you got for life. First, let me start with why it’s nice to care for yourself. It may seem like a given, but if you have mental illness or low self esteem, these things don’t come naturally.

 

Also: I hate to point fingers here, but the media and society as a whole don’t really encourage self care. It is portrayed as a selfish act and indulgent as hell.

That is a small minded way of seeing self care. It is rather simplistic to assume that taking care of oneself negates the care we have for others. In fact, I posit that caring for others is dependent on care for oneself. If you want to be a better friend, lover, child/offspring, perhaps you should consider spending some time with yourself. Let me give you some ideas.

Cleanse 
The truth is, we need to cleanse ourselves from a world that is often filled with awful, terrible things. You’ll need to process what you have experienced. On a literal level, you’ll need to cleanse your body, face, and hair. These things are taken for granted, but, I remember being so overjoyed to be in my own shower after being in the hospital because: a) privacy, b) an opportunity to not stress out, c) self-soothing. Try to see them as opportunities to pamper yourself. Take your time. Breathe. Notice your body. Observe the crevices and creases. When I was little, I used to count fingers and toes, grateful. I try to remind myself to do that every day now to put life in perspective. Love the body you’re in. Work towards that goal, and know that some days will be better than others.

But, the cleansing is not just physical; you can also need to emotionally empty the negative feelings otherwise they will fester. I find journaling crucial. You can go on a run just to release the anxiety. Walking is a good alternative, if you’re like unfit like me. Yoga and meditation are also quite helpful.

For More:
–  “Reasons to Meditate.” 
“Why is Meditation So Important”
“Shower Meditation.”

Create
When life throws you curve-balls and you don’t know how to process it, sometimes it helps to be creative. Try not to pressure yourself into it, obviously, because you don’t need more stress in your life. But, if you can, try to take pictures, draw, paint, create graphics, dress up, play with your hair, get a haircut, change up your appearance, paint your nails, do your makeup, reorganize your room, your books, your clothes, create play lists. There are so many things you can do to put out positivity into the world. Here are some more ideas.

For More: “Why We All Need A Creative Outlet.” 
  “What I Wish I Knew About Creativity When I Was 20”
“Every Millennial Needs a Creative Outlet.”  

Connect 
I think one of the best ways to break the loneliness of sadness or negativity is to converse with someone. If you’re like me, and you can’t bring yourself to physically speak because of anxiety and mental illnesses, try to do it on a grander scale. Listen to some poetry or audio books. It is a great consolation, finding your place shifted and changed as you are exposed to stories of different people. Sure, some would argue that literature can be about escape, but I suggest otherwise. I see it that the point of literature isn’t so much about traveling through time and space, but perhaps to find the similarities, to notice the links we have with others, the common grounds we may have.

And, even if you read completely different perspectives, it helps to be engaged in a dialogue with them as you are experiencing their narratives. It is this beautiful connection where the conversation keeps going on, whether as you are writing a response, or talking about it with someone else, or maybe tweeting the writer, or even just thinking about it to yourself. It’s all connections. It is all a back and forth.

For More: “Pretty Bad Ways to Start a Conversation.” 
“This is Your Life on Writing.” 

One of the most prominent voices you'll ever hear is your own. Self talk plays
I wish therapy was discussed more in media, In doing so, it can be approached
In order to minimize the effects of collision the ground, it is helpful to try