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

Anl.: Pirates of the Caribbean: Find Yourself

For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are about Jack Sparrow. But, what if the stories are actually about identity, across the board, not just for the pirate? The first film certainly focuses on the journey of all characters towards self-acceptance. I posit that perhaps it is not so much a funny story, too, despite of Disney’s attempts at mocking Jack Sparrow (and I know it gets worse as the movies progress. I remember, distinctly, Jack having multiple eyes drawn on him, and comical music playing the background, as he runs away from some non-white people…which, you know, isn’t offensive or anything. Please note my sarcasm).

So, anyway, the first film introduces the characters, obviously, and in a way, reintroduces them to themselves and to each other. For instance, we begin the story through Elizabeth and Will’s first meeting and the secret Elizabeth keeps from the world regarding Will’s background. From there, the film establishes the connections between the characters (particularly the main four: Norrington, Elizabeth, Will, and Jack). Norrington is hunting down pirates, especially Jack, who is the captain of the last successful pirate ship. The commodore is interested in Elizabeth and wants to marry her. He does not like Will since he can see him as a threat to his relationship with the governor’s daughter. Will is Elizabeth’s love interest. He is the son of one of Jack’s, uh, colleagues. Elizabeth is a means to an end for Jack. Will is Jack’s ticket back to the Black Pearl.
Yet, they are not what they seem. Jack assumes that he is a captain, yet he has no ship or crew. He is rumored to be captain of the Black Pearl, a fictitious ship with a cursed crew. No one believe that this ship exists at all. Throughout the film, Norrington comments on Sparrow’s quality (or lack thereof) as a pirate, calling him, “the worst pirate” he’s ever seen. In fact, the film proposes a question regarding piracy: the rules are complicated and even referred to as “guidelines,” and even the pirates are not all they may seem. I mean, literally: the pirates are the living dead; their identity only shown under the moonlight. Not only that, they break their codes to fulfill their own agendas. Barbossa and the crew’s mutiny is certainly an example of this. Another example of this bending of the rules is when Barbossa betrays Elizabeth (when he first meets her), and Will (when he asks for Elizabeth to be set free).
Jack’s identity as a captain is called into question so many times throughout the first film. An example that comes to mind is when he and Elizabeth are stranded on the Caribbean and Elizabeth asks him how he survived before on the island. He points to the rum as the source of comfort. While Elizabeth gets drunk with him on the first night, she soon realizes that Jack actually didn’t do anything heroic the first time he was left ashore. No getting on sea turtles. No sitting in the water for three days and nights.
Elizabeth pretends to be Bootstrap Turner’s daughter, which is another example of identity being misconstrued in the film. She struggles with being a lady throughout the story. She cannot wear the fancy dresses without gasping for breath. Referring to Will by his first name, and asking him to be referred to by her own first name, she breaks decorum often. In the beginning of the film, she sings of pirates and claims that she’d love to meet one. She is frequently told that marrying Norrington is a good move, however, her attraction to Will puts her in trouble, especially after he is revealed to be a pirate.

The most obvious  identity struggle is for Will–the son of a pirate, working as a blacksmith’s assistant, and yet he is doing all the work as the blacksmith, a fighter, an Elizabeth fan, and a civilian.

It’ll be interesting to see how Elizabeth in particular is treated in the narrative of the next films, because it is very rare to see women presented as more than love interests in pirate films. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were female pirates? Maybe that’s next in Hollywood. One can hope and dream, indeed.

Your Turn

Have you seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Who are your favorite characters? What’s your favorite movie in the quartet? (I am watching them for the first time. So, try not to spoil them too much, savvy?).

When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia
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

MR: Dear Eleanor

Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie’s mother as she prepares for a speech to introduce Eleanor Roosevelt to a room of 200 people. Heartbroken and reeling, she retreats further into herself and feels resentful. Her best friend Max (Max the Wax) writes to Mrs. Roosevelt and shares Ellie’s story. From there, a road trip happens and the two are off to see the former first lady. Hilarity and sweetness ensue.
Characters Delight

I have to say that this movie was absolutely delightful. The scenery was great: almost dream-like.  The characters vivid and animated, particularly Max. I adored Max’s innocence, her childlike wonder, her love for films, her willingness to dream and let others follow their dreams (in fact, she helps Ellie, Frank, and Aunt Daisy achieve their goals, no matter how far-fetched they were). I felt too close to Ellie. She was a bit dark and tortured, which is understandable. I could relate to her loss, and I think that her character was honest and real. I think as someone with mental illness, I kind of try to be more of a Max–happy, energetic, chatty, friendly. She is everything I cannot manage to do without exhaustion and, to be truthful, Max never gets tired of being this way, it’s inspiring and heartbreaking to know that I would never manage to pull it off. So, I am left admiring her, really.

Aunt Daisy was a dream. We didn’t get to see much of her, but the few moments with her are beautiful. I love that she wasn’t perfect. She was scared and different. I like the contrast between her and the other dancers: there she was, dressed in pink tutu and bodice. Meanwhile, the other dancers were in street clothes, black and white mostly. She stood out in the most endearing way ever.

Relationships and Friendships

The relationship between Ellie and Max is beautiful. One pushes the other to grow up (emotionally, sexually, in terms of identity and attitudes towards life) while the younger girl teachers her to maintain a positive view of the world and its inhabitants, to believe the best of people, to forever accept others as they are. It’s great that these two girls never feel jealous of each other. It is a story where women help each other out, support each other, love one another, and that makes it absolutely divine to see. I am happy that I have this little film. I hope you check it out, and feel inspired, too.

Today, a box of books appeared on our front step, which is probably the most
A Birder's Guide to Everything is a small movie with many credits to its accomplishments
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean

BR: The Disenchantments

 

So, I bought The Disenchantments used and picked up my battered copy scared, because it’s like a first date. I would imagine, all nerves and pensiveness because I seriously don’t know what to expect. At first, I was nothing but old and angry, because I have known people like the ones in the story, especially Bev– the girl who has been haunted by something in her past. 

Bev and Complexity

She is so perfect and broken, that the boys and girls idolize her so much. It is different, though, because Bev doesn’t just serve a purpose for Colby. Instead, she goes through her own journey and learns to stop running from the past. I liked that she sang the song to her mom, and that she wrote the letter to friends. I wanted to hate her, because I identified with her so much, but I ended up just…understanding, and knowing what it is like to go through an incredible amount of pain. I am hopeful for Beverly. A lot. I didn’t expect to feel that she would lead a happy life someday, but, you know, it seems like it may happen.

 

Other Characters

Colby and Meg are fantastic, and I just adored them completely. Such beautiful imperfect people. I like their conversations and connection. This guy is just a pensive, artistic, brilliant person, and I’m happy that college isn’t presented as the “best” option out there after high school, because people are different. They have choices to make, their own routes to draw up, and so on. If I had been a bit younger, I would have been all over the tattoo theme in this book, but, I appreciate it now (just not with the same enthusiasm, I suppose).

Shipping and Pairings

Shipping is kind of difficult in this book. I was pairing everyone together, and it didn’t go the way I expected. It’s a bit of a serious book, I guess, but it has its light moments. I’ll say this much: Jasper is wonderful and I want him and Colby to be together (friends, partners, lovers, whatever. It’s up to them).

In short, it is a pretty good book. Do check it out, if you’re up to an emotional read.

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

BR: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens’ Agenda

Being stuck and sad makes reading, sleeping, eating, drinking, praying difficult. Everything is hard then. BUT, every once in a while, you get a ray of light out of nowhere. This ray for me was in Simon and Blue’s relationship. I have to admit that it took me a while to buckle down and read because things get to so dark that I can’t see my way out. I still don’t know how to find these silver linings. hilarious. He is also not dumb, impulsive, or silly. I was actually cheering him on.

Here’s one thing that didn’t change throughout the book and afterwards: I HATE MARTIN! A lot, okay? I just can’t sympathize because I can relate too much with Simon. Very much like him, I keep things to myself. I talk a lot, but I don’t ever share the private things. It’s too frightening to open up to anyone, really. So I related to a 17 year old. A lot. I still dislike Martin after his confessions. I don’t think they are justified at all. You can’t just ruin things for someone. I used to think this process was scary enough as it is, but there are so many more pressures presented in this book that just bewildered me even more. It’s good to be aware of consequences.

Oh, Blue, how I adore you. So sweet. I also adore, adore, adore Simon’s friends. They’re awesome people and I wish I had friends who connect with me on such a deep level. And, of course, the humor is just spot on. I can’t get over drunk cute Simon (or should we all call him ALEX!).

As it progressed, the story unfurled lots of great jokes and funny moments. I think there was a true balance between humor and seriousness. So many serious business times in the book, too, obviously.

Your Turn: Have you read any fun LGBT+ characters in YA Literature? Were they portrayed in a fair way? Share in the comments!

  ★QUESTIONS:Question #1: The Opening Ceremony: What book did you think had an incredible opening? I'll
  So, I bought The Disenchantments used and picked up my battered copy scared, because
While Snape is a fascinating character, he's by no means my favorite out of the

BT: The Severus Snape Book Tag

While Snape is a fascinating character, he’s by no means my favorite out of the Harry Potter gang. He’s up there, though. 

Anyway, here are the questions!
Questions //
1. Severus Snape is always dressed in black. Which book with a black cover is your favorite?

Looking for Alaska. John Green’s first introduction into my world was through this book. White Cat and the whole trilogy by Holly Black. Oh, and of course, the Castor Chronicles.

 
2. Name a book character who you love as much as Severus Snape loves Lily and name a character who you hate as much as Severus Snape hates Harry.

Love: Nick, Alan, Mae, and Jamie  from The Demon’s Lexicon.
Hate: Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson. 

 
3. Severus Snape was the headmaster of Hogwarts for a short while. As a headmaster, which books would you put on the mandatory read list?

This question makes me squirmy because it reminds me of my teaching past. I used to teach the Hunger Games series. But, if I can do more, probably ask them to read the following: Harry Potter (obviously), Cassandra Clare’s works, Holly Black, and Sarah Rees Brennan’s works. Richelle Mead’s young adult series are also a must.

 

4. As a Death Eater Severus Snape has the Dark Mark. Which character, who also has tattoos, is your favorite?

Sydney Sage.

 

5. Severus Snape made a unbreakable vow with Narcissa Malfoy to protect Draco Malfoy. Which book would you protect with your life?

I’d rather pick a genre. I love contemporary, and I don’t see it as a lesser-than form of literature.The same goes to YA in general. I love it so much.

6. Salazar Slytherin wanted to ban half-blood’s and muggleborn’s from Hogwarts. Which book do you want to ban from bookstores?

None! I’m totally against book banning. Read whatever you want, explore, and discover new things.

7. Severus Snape is part of the Death Eaters as well as the Order of the Phoenix. Which book characters would you like in your group if you had to fight a group like the Death Eaters?

Rose Hathaway and the gang!

8. As a potions master Severus Snape brews a lot of potions. Which of these two potions would you like to drink?

– A potion that would allow you to make reading books your job (No. I like reading, but I’d like to write, too).
– A potion that would allow you to write a book (this one!)

  ★QUESTIONS:Question #1: The Opening Ceremony: What book did you think had an incredible opening? I'll
  So, I bought The Disenchantments used and picked up my battered copy scared, because
Being stuck and sad makes reading, sleeping, eating, drinking, praying difficult. Everything is hard then.

BT: The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

1.What is a popular book or series that you didn’t like? 

Maze Runner The Gemma Doyle books.

2. What popular book or series that you love everyone seems to hate?

Lots! Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, Vampire Academy.

3. Which love triangle where the main character ends up with the person you did not want them to end up with?

The Phantom of the Opera. It makes me mad, so I won’t elaborate. 

4. Which genre you do read the least?

Nonfiction, horror, sci-fi. 

5. Which popular character do you dislike?

Tiny Cooper in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Oh my God, I hate him so much.

6. Which popular author do you dislike?

Scott Westerfeld. Rick Yancey. Libba Bray. Maureen Johnson. A lot of the classics annoy me as well.

7. What popular book trope (examples: love triangles or post-apocalyptic times) are you tired of seeing?

Insta-love. I like slow burn romances and developed feelings that make some sort of sense.

 

8. Which book to movie adaptation was better than its book?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower was pretty good. It’s Kind of a Funny Story was exceptional, too. Oh, and of course Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl.

Being stuck and sad makes reading, sleeping, eating, drinking, praying difficult. Everything is hard then.
Today, a box of books appeared on our front step, which is probably the most
Paper Towns is one of my favorite stories. Like many of John Green's works, Paper