Tag Archive | respect

Charleston Shooting: Appearance vs Reality in the US

As an American citizen living abroad, I often have an idealized vision of my home country. I’ll defend its honor when people verbally attack it, I’ll stand with my hand over my heart during the national anthem. I love the United States of America, but what I love I now realize is only the tip of the iceberg of a truly messed up place.

When I wake up, 4000 miles away from reality, and I read that 9 innocent people were shot in a historic black church by a white 21-year-old, I feel physically ill.
So many times before, we’ve seen atrocities where children get shot and students lose their lives. And for each one of those occurrences, I feel sick to my stomach, I wonder how it’s possible for a person to be filled with so much hate, how someone could so recklessly take the lives of innocents and forever change the existence of the families of the victims. Each time, I am angry and sad, but filled with hope that finally something might change in the consciousness of the American people, in our hearts and in our government, and that something will be done to stop these senseless killings. Then, I forget. It’s a truth that I hate to admit, but that I must. After a few months, I stop remembering what happened to the children of Sandy Hook and the people of Aurora, as the stories gradually fade out of the media. Discussion changes to the threat of ISIS and of Al Qaeda, to how we can protect ourselves from the foreign terrorism we so fear.

Well guess what. Terrorism doesn’t only come from the outside. The FBI defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” When Dylann Roof allegedly told one of the victims “I have to do it… You rape our women and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go”, he had a social objective. When he told a survivor “I need someone to survive”, that survivor was most likely kept alive to tell the tale of that horrible day and reach a wider audience. By killing 9 and provoking fear in millions, Roof was not only committing a hate crime, he was committing an act of terrorism. We need to recognize this, and stop thinking that the only terrorists are people from different faiths and cultures, because by doing that, we’re blinding ourselves.

I studied the fight for African-American civil rights in History class this year. I dissected the demonstrations of white racism and thought about how far we’d come, how reformed the United States was. I thought that the acts of violence executed today were perpetrated by lone madmen, and that the very reason we couldn’t understand and couldn’t explain them was because they were isolated. But sooner or later, I have to face the facts: if the confederate flag has been flying on the grounds of the South Carolina State House since 1962, it isn’t so much a symbol of southern heritage as it is a constant insult to the African-American population of the state. Racism is alive and well in the United States, and Dylann Roof, with his Rhodesian patch, acted because of personal convictions that were nourished by a discriminatory culture.

This morning, I watched the families of the victims make statements to the gunman. Whereas I felt intense anger towards this perverted assassin of a boy, the messages in the courthouse were those of love. The daughter of victim Ethel Lance spoke to Roof, telling him that “you hurt me, you hurt a lot of people, but God forgive you, and I forgive you”. The granddaughter of victim Reverend Simmons stated that “hate won’t win”.  These people have lost loved ones, and yet still they are able to forgive the one that caused the pain.

As I sat, head in hands, watching Roof’s expressionless face on the television screen of the courthouse, my respect for those speaking deepened, and I knew that what those families were saying was true: love will prevail, but not automatically or because it should. Love will prevail because we as a people are realizing that we need to remember, need to talk, need to fight and need to change our country. Let’s not let another horrific shooting slip into the darkness of forgetfulness. When Jon Stewart says that “we’re bringing it on ourselves”, he’s right. But it’s the “we” that’s important. If we can bring acts like this on ourselves, then we can change. So let’s.

Live long and prosper \V/
Yours sincerely,
The Mostly Confused Teenager

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Being a Lady

I take a huge bite out of the greasy sandwich I’m eating, instantly hiding it under the table, pretending that I don’t have food in the no-food school library. The librarian shoots me a glare that would make a bloodsucking mountain goat recoil in fear, but at this point all I can think about is eating before my afternoon classes start, so I shoot him my sweetest smile, completely forgetting that my mouth is full of tomato and cheese. His eyes widen in horror as I quickly gather my books and dump the rest of my lunch in the trash. As I pass the front desk I stub my toe in the doorframe and utter a string of swear words as he chuckles and looks away so I don’t see him laughing at me. Yeah, as if. Nice try dude.

Being the perfect lady has never been a particular goal of mine, but as I progress through life and have people say things like “No spitting contests. They’re so unladylike.”, it does force me to think of what being a lady is all about. So, without further ado, here is The Mostly Confused Teenager’s guide to being a lady.

#1: Be Respectful of Others
Some would call this first rule “be kind”, however I tweaked it purposely because in my humble opinion life would be a complete drag if you couldn’t tease people just a little bit. I guess that you could just implement the rule that teasing and ribbing (are those the same things?) are fine up until the point where you’re causing pain through your words. Now now, I can already hear your cries of protest: “CT, laughing at someone is always wrong!” Well, yes; but my wise sixteen year old self knows that some relationships are based pretty much purely on insults and fake-loathing and that those friendships are worth everything in the world. So in a short, babble-free resume: teasing = OK, one-way insulting = well… guess. Bad (duh.)

#2: Make Your Own Choices
You all know the meek “we can do whatever you want” type. I’m not talking about normal polite people who can easily go with the flow, but rather people like my mother. I love my mom to bits and would without a doubt jump off a cliff to save her (although I’m not sure in which circumstances this would ever take place), but she annoys me to no end by having no particular opinion about most anything. Ladies, if you want to do something, as long as it doesn’t involve insulting nuns in their presence, go ahead! Being a lady means being a person, and being a person means standing up for yourself and for what you believe in.

#3: Respect Yourself
This suggestion ties in with the previous one. A lot of people would say that being a lady entails having perfect hair and makeup at all times, having the posture of a telephone poll and dressing like a 1950’s housewife. I think that that’s cow poop. The basics are hair that doesn’t have capybaras living in it, a face that doesn’t look like a grizzly bear gave it two black eyes and no bikinis (or equivalents) in business meetings. Other than that, do whatever the hell you want, within reason! Respect yourself and, generally, others will respect you.

In short (yeah, ironic I know), being a lady means being yourself. There are no 100,000 commandments to obey to the letter; there are only a few guidelines to follow. Swear, get sweaty, eat pizza with your hands and get it all over your face… And most of all, have fun. Otherwise, what’s the point of being anything at all?

Live long and prosper \V/
Yours sincerely,
The Mostly Confused Teenager

PS: On the 3rd of August 2014, TMCT turned one. Happy Birthday to the best little blog this girl could wish to run!

Plastic Surgery and Me

My nose has always been a problem for me. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve had this complex that dictates that my nose is simply not up to snuff [bad pun intended]. Then I heard about plastic surgery which could give me the nose I wanted, and hope rose from the dust. Unfortunately for me I did a little research on the subject and decided that I hated the idea of plastic surgery with all my might.

I came to realize that the idea of changing one’s self for no good reason is perfectly appalling. Now I do understand why you would get plastic surgery if you had a birth defect or had been in a horrific accident, as long as it significantly changes your quality of life and the reason is sufficiently valid to trump the extraordinary amount of money that must be dumped into the procedure. For example if you’re being bullied I would consider it a logical course of action, even if my personal beliefs don’t agree with the fact that you’re bowing down to the pressure of society.

HOWEVER, I was watching a television program yesterday on the life of plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills and was shocked and horrified by what I saw. Please explain to me what the point of a boob job is? It was sickening, but for some reason I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen or change the channel (it’s the same thing when I come upon Toddlers and Tiaras or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo). I guess that I would say that I judge having a procedure such as a liposuction, body contouring or a thigh lift (I know right?) as taking the easy way out.

Things like a facelift make no sense to me whatsoever. People get old, deal with it! Just because you have a couple wrinkles doesn’t mean that you’re not beautiful. In fact in some cases getting rid of all those laugh lines can make things look very much worse than they were before. Think about Cher, she looks just awful, and she’s had practically every kind of plastic surgery available! She hardly looks human anymore!

Ugh?

Ugh?

A lot of celebrities seem to have bought into the whole plastic surgery thing, like Megan Fox. But why? She’s a natural beauty, that was proven when she was voted into the 100 sexiest women several times by several different magazines. So why the transformation? What did she physically need that she didn’t have? (oh my that does sound wrong doesn’t it?) I just don’t understand, and it makes me both sad and amazed that someone would do something like this to themselves. It’s kind of as if she is the original Transformer (get it? get it? get it? no? *shakes head in resignation*)

I’ll just end by saying that since I have found out all this sh*t about plastic surgery, I am much more appreciative of my nose, which I now realize is not so bad after all.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

PS: I sincerely apologize if I have offended anyone with today’s rant, however this if my opinion and I will stick by it. So in short I’m actually not sorry at all.

EDIT: After having written this I galloped (yes, you read right) off to ask my mom if she would ever consider having plastic surgery. I was shocked that she answered yes, and when she added that she might someday get a facelift I swooned and over-dramatically pretended to faint. She laughed at me and said that when I had wrinkles on my forehead I would understand too. Humpf, I think not!