Sunday, December 16, 2012

This Christmas

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I didn't want to blog about the Connecticut shooting. Not because I don't think it is important, but because I don't feel like whatever I can say about it is adequate to fully describe how I processed what happened, or how I feel about the victims and survivors. But then I felt like I couldn't ignore it, either. 

So, all I will say is that I appreciate this Christmas so much more. Since Friday, I have been so much more aware about what is going on around me because I've felt like I needed to be outside myself for once. The moment I read about the shooting, I lost pretty much all faith I ever had in humanity. I thought: well this is it, as low as one can go. I was incredibly angry and sad; I actually shed some tears, and for those that know me, this is huge. For a girl, I usually remain incredibly dry eyed for most tear inducing things. So to combat the darkness, I've been searching for things to restore my faith in humanity. And praying a lot. There's the story about the teacher hiding her kids and losing her life to protect those kids, just one of the many staff heros. A story about a military retiree who recently passed but during his tour of duty saved some thirty people by risking his life to fly in for the wounded; and the stories from my back yard like my community banding together to give an honest working man back his hotdog cart when careless protesters ripped it apart. 

I am also concentrating on the drawing of my mom's favorite flowers that I am doing for her Christmas present and my dad's knitted hat because even though they don't have department store tags, I am putting my time and energy in them and spending my break with them in that way since I can't go home yet. 

And I am thinking about those children and teachers who should have been here this Christmas, but instead will be spending it in our thoughts. 

I hope this event will finally bring about the change we need to make these careless shootings stop. And I just want to say for the record, because a lot of people talk about how the killers are the ones who always get remembered, that I don't remember any of the shooters names from any of the tragedies. I remember the victims and the amazing acts of bravery and courage that come out of such disasters. I also think there needs to be an overhall on our mental health system. I have worked in the mental health field for four years and I have seen a lot of people who really needed help fall through the cracks because it's too taboo to talk about behavioral or mental illness. We don't have enough educated professionals and not enough studies are being done to adequately treat those suffering. If we could open up the discussion about mental illness instead of treating them like dirty secrets, maybe we could start to see a change. 

Happy Holidays, everyone. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Late Thanksgiving

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It's finals time for me. A fastly approaching ending to the worst semester ever. Thanksgiving was a nice reprieve from the academic stress, but sometimes family stress can be worse. Luckily, I bypassed that for the most part.

My family time is relatively relaxing, aside from being pulled in a million directions in order to see everyone, my parents, the large family, and then my little old granny. Usually that travel is compounded by the added stress of seeing Jay's family. That side is usually not so fun. After nine years, I still don't exactly mesh with the larger part of his extended family. I chalk it up to different backgrounds. Thankfully, they didn't hold a Thanksgiving dinner this year and the arguments were limited to one bad text argument between Jay and his brother where I was once again blamed for their relationship issues even though I've only spoken to the man twice in my entire life…I am apparently the social pariah. That's cool, not a huge fan of you either!

All that aside, I am thankful for the family I did see and the time I got to spend at home. 

And I am more than thankful that I only have ONE MORE WEEK left of classes. No seminar paper, poetry portfolio, probably the worst Holocaust papers I've ever written due to possibly the worst TA on earth, nor French final will put a damper on that excitement. 

Until then, I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season. Despite my lack of resources to purchase any gifts, I plan on having an amazing Christmas with my family, anyways. We may not have gifts, but I have Mia and the rest of the family in tact. The exchange was worth it.