"Look like a girl. Act like a lady. Think like a man. Work like a boss." ~Anonymous

Friday, May 17, 2013

Cookie-Cutter Perfect

Author’s Note: In this piece I was looking through debate topics and found the one about if beauty pageants are harmful to children who compete in them and I wanted to write a response.  

Fake eyelashes, fake tan, fake nails, eyebrow waxes, manicures, wigs, pounds of makeup, costumes. This is what a typical beauty pageant consists of.   Around 3 million kids, between the ages of 6 months and 16 years, compete in them each year.   The question is on how these pageants are affecting the kids  who chose, or are forced, into them and if the results are truly worth the risks.

These girls, these little girls, strut across the stage in short skirts and revealing dresses.  Sweetheart, you’re four.  At your age I had a pair of overalls, old sneakers, and a Dora the Explorer T-shirt.  My mom was lucky if she could run a comb through my hair in the morning. These girls sit still as they pile on pounds and pounds of makeup, usually against their will.   
Tears and temper tantrums are common occurrences for the pageant princesses.  Can’t say I blame them, though.  What I find perhaps the  most ridiculous of all is how people involved in these events are convinced they are being judged on personality.  How can you be judged in personality when all you do is walk down a stage and smile like a trained circus monkey?  

I don’t have a problem with pageants--at a certain age.  Once they are old enough, and they actually choose to place themselves in a pageant whatever happens from there is on them.  With kids, though, more often than not, I am finding that these have little to do with the kids and more to do with pathetic mothers living their sad lives through their four year old daughters.  The fame and the fortune that comes with it is merely a bonus.  

A wild animal charging a predator armed with...a spray tan gun.  A makeup brush.  A ruffle-tastic princess dress.   These wild animals are more or less the reason pageant moms have their reputations permanently stereotyped as “The Pageant Moms.”   Their job?  Plan ahead.  Before every pageant buy fake titles overseas to boost child’s credentials.  Sure, because everyone sympathizes with someone who cheats their way to the top.  Next, before every competition, feed child caffeinated beverages and several Pixy Stix candy, better known as "pageant crack," to keep their energy levels high.  Right, because giving them drugs would be illegal, makes sense. Note to self: never let child take naps or even small breaks during pageants.  Yes because, god forbid, it might mess up their hair and makeup.  Finally, yell at  them for poor performance, lack of enthusiasm or a flawed appearance.  Okay, um,  mom, are you kidding me?  You need to take a seat and seriously rethink your life.  You’re yelling at your daughter, YOUR daughter, because she wasn’t pretty enough to win a stupid, plastic crown?

When it really comes down to it, what are pageants teaching us?  That physical appearance is what is most important?  That life is only worth living if your society’s cookie-cutter version of “perfect?”  If you want to join one, fine, that’s on you.  But forcing your kid into something that they don’t want to do?  That’s pretty low.   

Friday, March 22, 2013

Never Again

Author's Note: This piece is about something I did over the weekend which was originally a journal I just decided to post.  I really worked on word choice.  

We lined the intricate pieces of silver perfectly next to each other, the brown powder leveled off precisely where the cutting edge of the scoop stopped.  A spoonful of cinnamon.  Both of us, took the silver handle between our fingers and held it in front of our closed mouths.  "Gosh, I don't wannaa do thiis," Sara groaned eyeing the spoon evilly.  "Power through!" I broke into a grin, pumping my fist in the air enthusiastically.  "Ready," she started, giving her a leisurely pause to prepare herself for the heaping of death, "Set.  Go."  We shoved the spoons onto our awaiting tongues and waited for a reaction we were scared to experience.  It did not disappoint, the results happened almost immediately.  It felt as if my throat was closing in and  I clenched my eyes shut, trying to keep the powder in my mouth.  I attempted to swallow, but it wouldn't go down; it burned furiously in my throat to the point where I held no control when a puff of powder spurted from my mouth and all over the counter, Sara coughed repeatedly over the counter trying to coax the cinnamon from her throat.  I had a different idea.  I turned the faucet on to a stream of cold water and thrust my mouth underneath.  I pulled away, allowing Sara her turn and we alternating spitting clumps of brown into the sink.  We finally met eye contact, grinning at the stupidity of it all.  "Just did the cinnamon challenge," we typed later onto Sara's Facebook status, "Never again."  And with that we clicked send, whirling the warning words into the clutches of the world.  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Even Barbie Isn't Perfect

Author’s Note: This is for the assignment write-whatever-you-want, so while doing a stream of consciousness and came up with Barbie tricycle and came up with a memory from my life--so a personal narrative.  Please note my sentence fluency and imagery.

Glorious.  That's what it was.  I ran my tiny four-year-old hands over the sleek baby pink bar running into the white plastic chair perched between the two back wheels.  Barbie's smiling face stared into my wide-eyed gaze, soon to be covered by my back.  The handle bars shiny white contrast popped against the pink complete with long bright streamers hanging limply down the ends.  The plastic of the pouch fastened to the front was perfectly straight, another picture of Barbie's flawless face plastered across the midst of it.  I grasped the zipper between my forefinger and thumb pulling it apart with a Ziiiiiiiiip. Pulling my various hodgepodge of things out of my pockets, I stuffed it inside.  A cell phone.  A tiny plastic brush meant for my dolls.  A rock I had found on the side of the road.  A fistful of grass I had plucked from my backyard earlier that afternoon.  I was all set.  

I let out a breath of air, I hadn’t realized I’d been holding in as I slid into the seat.  My hands gripped the handlebars so tight, my knuckles turned white.  The sneakers upon my feet were placed upon the pedals.  Subconsciously, my leg muscles pushed onto the foothold propelling me forward.   My driveway was a race track and I was in the lead; the circles I made around the track became wider with each passing one, extending to new depths of the track I had yet to explore. One particular square on the track seemed bumpier than the others, the uneven border between the square I was currently in to the finish line seemed so close.  But I had to make it over.  In the spur of the moment, I pedaled faster hoping that the speed would somehow get me over the top.  My heart pounded as my eyes narrowed in on the crack of the driveway determination setting in.  “Whip, whip, whip,” sang the streamers in the wind.  “Whoosh,” went the wind on my face pushing my sweaty blond curls out of my eyes as I prepared myself for the victory I was certain I would taste.  

Suddenly, I stopped. The back wheels veered upwards into the air and tilted the bike towards the ground, wheeling still turning.  I was confused.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  I clenched the handlebars tighter, eyeing the ground as it soon met my face.  

I didn’t burst into tears or any of that.  Instead I just I rolled over pushed the bike off of me and stood up. “Pang, pang, pang,” pulsed the pain in my forehead and knees, but I ignored it. Nothing that I could see was bleeding, but still I couldn’t shake this feeling of defeat in the pit of my stomach.  I had lost the race.  That’s when tears began to fill my eyes.  My mom and little brother, along with my grandpa and grandma were packing the car.  We were going to move to a big new house soon with a whole humongous backyard and a new bedroom with sparkly, pink walls.   My mom looked over at me.  Wild curls strung up in every direction, eyes filled with tears, skinned knees and a hurting forehead I probably looked like a mess. All I wanted was to get in the car and drive, drive, drive to our big new white house with blue shutters.  I was tired of the blue house.  “Cassie,” my mom called to me her voice worried yet strained from the stress of the move, “You’re head is bleeding.” Sure enough, I placed palm to my forehead and drew it back.  Blood.  I stared at for a while as if I wasn’t quite sure how it got there. My grandpa crouched down next to me examining my cut, “Sara,” he called calmly out to my mom, “We need to go to the hospital.”  Soon I was in the car, driving away to the blue house like I hoped, but not to the white house.  To a big, white, building called the hospital.  As we drove away, I looked back at my bike still sitting on my driveway; Barbie's face was scuffed and scrapped off the front of the plastic pouch. Barbie wasn't perfect anymore.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Author’s Note: I decided to write a piece on the book I am currently reading, Fated, to demonstrate my understanding of “point of view.”  I reflected upon Daire, the main character’s views were on Cade, her arch enemy.  From there, I wrote the same scene from his point of view to show him their sides differ.  

My screams fell upon deaf ears as I cried and fought this hopeless battle.  Mostly though, I wondered “why?”  Why?  Why me? Why now?  Why him? Tears should not be falling, this I was aware, I barely knew this boy.  But was it wrong if it felt as if my heart had been ripped right out of my chest?  Dark eyes stared down at me them, completely overlooking the limp body in my arms.  “I’m sorry, sweetheart, but you should’ve listened the first time,” he purred, his voice nearly making me gag as I forced myself to look into his eyes.  “Come ‘ere,” he said with a 2 quick motions of his pointer finger as he motioned me over to him, but I stayed where I was.  “It won’t hurt a bit,” he assured me, “I just need your soul.”  I stood up.  In the distance, a raven crowed.  In Alyson Noel’s Fated we get a peek inside of Daire Santo’s live as she takes her new role as soul seeker, protecting the world against the only enemy she never knew she had, but as a new feature we can see this enemy’s view on the same scene recreated above.  

As you can tell, Daire isn’t too fond of this boy in the scene above otherwise known as Cade Ritcher: the seeker’s only enemy in the blood himself, the El Coyote.  The entire book is told from her point of view, so oblivious this boy is casted off as a heartless, evil, character in her eyes.  One particular passage, I feel demonstrates this brewing relationship between these two characters, “‘I know exactly who you are,’ I tell him, noting the way his lip twitches with delight, as his gaze connects with mine.  The two of us knowing what no one else does, I’m no longer hiding.”  (Pg 173)  Doesn’t he just sound evil?  From just this passage we can tell he’s pretty full of himself and thinks he can take her easily.  Just the way “his lip twitches in delight,” show this evil excitement within him.  From all we know, Daire is the good guy in this battle and we all root for her, but what is Cade’s real story?  I decided to write a scene along the same guidelines above from Cade’s point of view to emphasize what I think we miss by just viewing Daire’s side of the story.  

I heard my father's voice as I killed him. Yelling at me, screaming at me even, his hateful words echoing in my mind.  And her screams.  That’s what I remember most.  The pleading as she watched him die, the tears as he fell limp in her arms, but I couldn’t stop.  There was something inside of me, pushing me forward, something not under my control.  I did not choose this life.  My father chose it for me.  Whipping up magic so dark, so that my soul would stand no chance against it, ultimately guiding me to the dark place in which I now stand.  When I am around these “seekers” a sort of frenzy begins, and it is nearly impossible to control my actions, my thoughts.  Seeing my brother die, courtesy of me, I paused.  I really, truly did.  But just as quickly, I snapped out of the trance, I had a job to do.  Daire looked up at me, with those broken eyes, and it was all I could to force the words out of my mouth, “I just need your soul.” In my mind, I heard my father as he praised me.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Little House

Author’s Note:  In this piece I reflected and analyzed upon one of my favorite songs of all time, “Little House” by the Fray.  I think they’re lyrics are incredible and have so much meaning behind them, and this is just my interpretation of one of them.  

She doesn't look, she doesn't see
“Fall seven times, get up eight,” an unidentified voice whispered in her ear.  But she saw nothing, felt nothing.  Numb.  Emotions were a strange concept.  Her past has been long blocked out of her mind, her memories tinted with age, the speck of remembrance that did remain was ignored.  For the sake of holding herself together.  
Opens up for nobody
The walls she built up around herself were...impassable, in a sense. Her family had fallen apart years ago, after her mother had passed. She hadn't seen her remaining family in years.  They had kept in touch at first, but slowly the phone calls had turned to none.  They had nothing left to say.
Figures out, she figures out
She had dreams once, too, but she mustn't dwell on what had once been. That was her past, and this was her future. Unmoving, non progressing, still.   
Narrow line, she can't decide
She kept her head down, she could not force herself to even look anyone in the eyes.  Her life was nothing special, she knew, for she was buried deep in her own depression. Every step she took, it seemed it was a step on a tightrope, balancing as not to fall, fall too deep.  She didn't know what to do anymore.  
Everything short of suicide
Her sleeve slipped down her foreman exposing 2 single words scrawled on her wrist.  "Stay Strong." She didn't know how much longer she could.  

Something is scratching its way out
She had so many secrets.  Secrets she dare not share with anyone.  
Something you want to forget about
These secrets haunted her every single day.  The pain was there.  The pain was always there.  It never left.  
A part of you that'll never show
Hidden, from the world.  Her dreams, her hopes, her identity.  She couldn’t bring herself to trust anyone anymore.  
You're the only one that'll ever know
She did have someone once.  Someone she could tell all of her secrets too.  Someone who would comfort her when she cried.  Someone who had promised forever.  But like anything else in her life--it came to an end.  
Take it back when it all began
She didn’t regret that time exactly.  Wished she could erase it from her memory, maybe, but there the idea of regrets was doubtful.  
Take your time, would you understand
Time was a luxury, and like anything else, unaffordable in her case.  She didn’t give any to others and no one gave any to her.  It was just the way things had always been.  Well, until him.   
What it's all about?  What it's all about?
She was confused and lonely.  Mostly lonely.  It swallowed her, leaving her breathless.  The pit in her midst of her stomach would ache full of longing, desperation.   With every ounce of her being she forced herself to keep her head down and keep walking.  Watching as her footsteps moved farther and farther away from where she wanted to be.   

No one expects you to get up
Her only self confidence, came from herself which was not saying much.  There was no one for her to talk to.  No one to turn to.  No one to catch her when she fell.  She only had herself to rely on; she fell to the ground.   
All on your own with no one around
She laid there for a while.  Thinking.  About how she didn’t want to go on; she wanted out.  Out of this misery, out of her life.  But there was a little voice in her head.  Her mother’s.  It was clear now. She stood up, brushing herself off.  With a shaky breath she stared at the path ahead of her.  And continued on.  “Fall seven times, get up eight,” the voice of her mother urged her on her way into infinity.  

-Little House by The Fray

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Annoying People on Instagram

Author's Note:  In this piece I, more or less, ranted about my thoughts of people on Instagram.  Please note the word choice, voice, and introduction.  

Ah, the journey in the wonderful world of Instagram.  Since people have discovered it, ages ago, it seems, it has become a constant routine in their lives.  Posting pictures, liking pictures, commenting, following--basically another name for a Facebook copy.  Now, the focus of this essay?  The things that people do on Instagram that I just cannot even comprehend how this is socially acceptable at all.  Besides from the obvious irritating text lingo, we have 3 categories of “annoying” people on Instagram: the self-absorbed, the ranters, and the follower obsessors.  

It’s not limited just to Instagram; it’s all over the block.   The idea of abbreviating words especially popular on the internet or apps like Instagram.  Text lingo.  Let’s focus on a couple, first of all YOLO: you only live once.  So inspirational, whatever, but there’s so many people that use it in all the wrong terms.  For example, people will talk about doing really stupid things like jumping off a cliff and then they’ll say, “HAHAHA! YOLO! You should!” No.  You only live once, so let’s try not to mess it up by making stupid decisions.  And then there’s ILY.  ILY?  I love you, I like you,  will someone please explain this to me?  Honestly, let’s just cut the text lingo all together because to make it perfectly blunt, you sound like a 10 year old girl with her brand new iPhone that daddy just bought for you.  Anything for daddy’s little girl.  

Now that that’s all cleared up, we move next to the first category of people: the self-absorbed--whose only task is to post pictures of their face.  Not with friends or family or standing in front of some cool place they went to.  Just repetitive pictures of only their face.  Honey, I know you are beautiful and all, but if I really want to follow you I want to look at something other than your countless selfies.   Not only are there the pictures not enough, but people feel the need to add captions about how ugly they are.  First of all, you’re not ugly and secondly if you legitimately thought that then you wouldn’t have posted the picture.  It’s pretty obvious you’re just looking for attention and for people to comment on how pretty you really are.  Inside and out.  Riiight.  

Next we have come to the ranters.  Let’s get something straight, Instagram is an app for posting your pictures.  Not a little rant session for you to tell the world how much your life is just awful because your friend told you she didn’t like your shirt.  Stick it in a juicebox and suck it up.  If you were really depressed, I’m positive you wouldn’t be sharing it with a bunch of random strangers on the internet.  And honestly, sweetie, no one cares.  Go talk to your cat or something.  

Finally, we have come to the follower obsessors.  Like I said, it’s a sight for sharing PICTURES not crying because only 20 people like you enough to follow you to see pictures of your face.  And they feel the need to share with all their followers like “OMG, guys.  I lost 2 followers.  Why must everyone hate me?!” Are you kidding me?  Also, in their little status they say “Follow me and I’ll follow you back...maybe.”  If there is even a sliver of a chance you won’t follow someone back, then don’t even bother saying it.  It’s misleading and irritating, and overall just pointless.  Or they will say, “I’ll follow you back if you’re not a creeper.”  So, then I follow you, thinking things will be all fine and dandy, right?  Wrong.  For some reason you are under the impression that I am a “creeper” and don’t follow me back.  Umm, excuse me?  

Some people, I think, are just generally and completely clueless about the real world.  Society has practically been brainwashing people for ages and they don’t even notice it.  Or maybe I am just being paranoid and over dramatic about all  these things that people do online, I don’t know.  But seriously.  Some people need to be happy with what they have and stop exaggerating everything in the worst possible way.  Oh, and maybe getting some hobbies or actually socializing with other human beings would do you some good.  Just, please, stop annoying other people who actually want to use these apps, like Instagram, for its actual purpose.   

Wicked: Creative Piece

Author's Note: In this piece, I added a creative scene going off of my prediction. I chose someone who I thought was the new "A" if my prediction did prove correct and went from there.

It wasn’t difficult. To steal the journal, I mean. It was after all taken into police evidence, where I walked by only every single day of the week. And police evidence goes missing all the time. And being a cop, I was probably one of the most trusted citizens in all of Rosewood. Not to mention, um, I practically live in the station. There was also little issue with Ian, the one accused for killing Alison DiLaurentis? I knew I had to act soon to avoid any further complications. Well, if I didn’t want to torment these girls as “A” from a jail cell, at least.

Killing Ian wouldn’t be challenging, I knew. Although we were the same age, went to highschool together even, I had the years of police training under my belt. How were these girls so convinced Ian was Ali’s murderer anyway? Because Mona told them? She was the original “A,” for crying out loud, she’d been filling their minds with lies months beforehand. You have to possess certain qualities to kill, which luckily I had mastered ages ago.

I’d always known where Ian had gone off too, but instead of reporting it, I encouraged the escape. It was mainly for the suspense for the liars, but part of me knew I just wanted the perfect location to kill him. Deep inside of me I knew it was sick, twisted and sick, yet I couldn’t bring myself to regret the decisions that had lead me to this moment. The crunching of leaves beneath his feet, gave him away even before he had time to reach where I stood. Graceful as always. I had chosen my location well. The midst of the woods, the very exact place where I had killed Ali. And Ian had watched it all. It impressed me that the kid was able to keep the secret this long, judging the way he squirmed every time he saw me. Just at the thought of Ian made me want to laugh out loud, I liked having that power. That power to terrify people.

“Hello, Ian.” I said, smiling at the look that crossed his face, as he stopped dead in his tracks. Fear. It only empowered me further. “You.” he replied, venom seemingly dripped from his tone. He turned suddenly, but I was one step ahead of him. I grabbed his wrist, pinning it behind his back, enabling any attempt to run. He kicked back against me and I let go of my hold, silently muttering curses under my breath as I did so. Now sooner had he turned to face me, my hands were around his throat. His eyes bulged as I stared into them as the life slowly drained from his face. He had tried to fight back, I’ll give him that, but it was a lost cause. The smirk on my face was present on my lips as I let go on my grip. His body fell to the forest floor. Just like Ali’s had all of those years ago.