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Mistake by Christy V.
Who am I? I’m the error.
Many people don’t like me
Most of the time or all the time
Even so I’m important
Every single time you make me
You feel not your best
Then you strive to be better
Well, you do, not everyone
You take it like a pecado
And you want forgiveness
You wish you could erase
Every time I appear
If you did, you wouldn’t be
Every thing you are
And you wouldn’t change
Even if it doesn’t seem like you do
You need me more than you know
To be better than you were
Don’t let me bring you down
You’re just as important
You’re beautifully flawed
Where is my brother? I asked. I couldn’t find him anywhere at school. No one would tell me. I should have walked with him to school today, but I was in a hurry to get to my first period class. I had to present on a book that I liked for my English class.
All I could remember was that he looked busy getting something done. I had figured he was trying to finish some project that he didn’t tell me about. Maybe it had something to do with that. I asked where my parents were, but everyone kept telling me that they should be here soon. The time went by, but they didn’t arrive.
Finally a lady from the school came to me and said that some officer was here to talk to me. Before the officer could say anything, she mentioned with tears in her eyes that my parents and my older brother were sent back. Where were they? I asked. They were sent back to Mexico. The officer said it as if it was every day occurrence. That was when I realized it was. I had been noticing other students missing lately, but no one would explain where they were. Were they being sent back? Where were they going? Why were they being sent there? This is their home.
The officer kept speaking. I heard the word “illegal.” I quickly responded. I’m not illegal. He said that I wasn’t, but the rest of my family was. I was confused. My parents and my brother didn’t tell me that they were living here illegally. I thought we were all Americans. My family speaks both Spanish and English. I knew my parents were from Mexico, but I thought they had become American citizens. I didn’t even know that my brother wasn’t born in America. Why didn’t they tell me? There were so many questions running through my head. I didn’t even hear what the officer was talking about. They started to direct me towards the cop car. The lady left me with the officer. He told me that he would take me somewhere where they would take care of me until they found the best solution for me.
I’m in a building with others like me. With no homes to go to. I’m all alone.
No matter what has happened in 2016. Remember that you can start new again in 2017. We start the new year with hope. It is up to us to keep that hope going through out the year. It is also wonderful to be able to let go of the difficulties we had in the past, and yet realize how much we have grown to be better than we were. Reflect on what you have done this year, and be proud of your accomplishments. That is including moments where you’ve struggled, or you feel that you’ve failed in some way. It has made you become a stronger and wiser person than you were before. Each step forward leads you towards something even if we don’t know it yet. There have been sad moments, and happy moments. They have all lead us to who we are now.
Something did not work out this year, let it be something to make you grow. It’s like what the movie, Ice Sculpture Christmas, on the Hallmark channel said, “Things come to us not when we want them, but when we are ready.” Remember those relationships that have impacted your life. Wm. Paul Young said in his book, Cross Roads, “Faith takes risk… and there is always risk in relationships, but the bottom line? The world has no meaning apart from relationships. Some are just messier than others, some are seasonal, others are difficult, and a few are easy, but every one of them is important.” Be grateful for all your relationships because they have helped you, and many have illuminated the way this year. You know for the year ahead that you can trust and lean on them when you need them the most. Remember all the moments that you’ve impacted others. These moments present light to what ever darkness you had this year. What goals have you accomplished that you set out to do? What have you done that you did not expect? Even if you don’t feel like you’ve done much this year. You’ve done more than you might even know.
Even though I have not written much on this blog, I found much joy in filling in one of my favorite journals. I’ve written story stories, poems, personal and spiritual reflections, and favorite quotes. I’ve made drawings and colored into my journal. I’ve done creative journaling before, but I find this year that I’ve journaled more than ever and I still have a part of my journal left for next year. I’ve also written on my computer, but it’s usually to continue a story I’ve written in my journal. If you do not write creatively in a journal, I recommend it. Even if it is just to write a list. You’re able to find that writing down your thoughts, and ideas can push you to do more than you can imagine and push your boundaries. I set out this year to be more open minded. I’m not sure I succeeded, but what matters is that I tried my best. I did find myself more open to exploring my faith in God through books I’ve read this year. I hope to write some things similar in the future for others as well as myself because these books made an impact on me. I would love to be able to do the same. I’ve struggled this year, but I know all the struggles I’ve had will ultimately benefit me in the future. There have been some friends that have made this year special. They have changed me in a good way. I’m thankful to God for them. We all have the power to make the next year better than the year we’re leaving behind. Make it a good one.
Happy New Year everyone! Best wishes on the year ahead.
I’ve read some, but not all dystopian novels. I’ve read Utopia by Thomas Moore. You have to have a bit of an idea of what an Utopian society is to really know what Dystopian is. With Utopia, it explores a fictional island society and looks at its religious, social and political customs. This gives a chance to explore a society that seems perfect, but it’s there to truly critique our own society, where ever it may be in time and space. Dystopian is the opposite, but not completely. We see a society of full of the extremes, but gives enough space to critique our own society as well. It isn’t all that simple. Why are we gravitated to this kind of literature in the first place? Since I’m more familiar with contemporary dystopian, I’ll answer the question with it. The horrible moment of 9/11, I believe, greatly influenced dystopian literature. The new texts became more than a critique of society, but also a way to deal with postmillennial anxieties.
This is why young people, as well as adults, are drawn to these kind of texts. News media, as good intending it may be in certain aspects, has increased our anxieties of the world around us, as well as opened our eyes to more negative aspects of our society. The Hunger Games and the Divergent series are some of the most notable for contemporary. There is also Battle Royale, that is a Japanese novel, which seems to be a precursor to The Hunger Games. There is also the horror dystopian novel, Bird Box, that hits home exactly what our anxieties come from (media/real world), and how we deal with them (confront the labyrinth). We feel unsafe, and we find refuge in these texts because it reminds us that we don’t have it as bad as it could be. Reading these texts gives us distance as well to explore while knowing we’re seemingly safe where we are. It’s somewhat like a travel narrative through our exploration of these fictional societies, but it’s more like a labyrinth or a maze.
The labyrinth in western culture has become to represent confusion within society, and the desire to search for self, meaning, or to feel safe. It also a form of development, this is why it calls out to young people, but also to ourselves, since we continue to struggle growing towards our potential. Ultimately reading these texts becomes a rite of passage. We are able to observe a system and find its flaws to help “beat the game.” We look to this literature to help us deal, but also to overcome more than one opponent, and navigate more than one labyrinth. No matter how you feel about the former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, he tapped into something that has been building within these contemporary novels. Our desire for revolution, but most of all, change social injustice. We need dystopians more than ever now with the current election, and politics. Where candidates are tapping into our anxieties, as well as our hopeful desires for a better world, towards their end goal of winning the election. We need literature to find ourselves, and decide how we will make the best decision(s) to improve our world.
Yet a labyrinth originally was seen as a single route with twists and turns that isn’t meant to be difficult to navigate. There is only one path, one entrance and one exit. The only way one can safely enter is to have a tie to the entrance that will lead you back to the exit. With this in mind, the end goal isn’t the destination, but the journey. Exactly what these novels provide a journey for us to experience. At the same time, we have a maze, that is confusing and paths may lead to dead-ends. This is a puzzle that can be changed to different levels of difficulty and complexity. Mazes are used to see spatial awareness and sometimes intelligence. The Testing series uses both versions of a labyrinth, as well as the maze. As you can see from the first novel cover, mazes are large focus for the series. Without giving too much away, this series gives a different kind of critique of society, presenting the flaws of standardized testing in an extreme dystopian world. This society uses tests to determine who is qualified to lead the country. The series becomes a labyrinth the complex journey, while the characters confront not only labyrinths but also mazes to find out what they can do to survive, but also “beat the game,” what can they do to make their world change to be better.
We desire to read these texts, but also to write them. It’s a labyrinth and a maze at the same time. We want to provide these journeys to others, but also to ourself to find out our potential as well as explore how we can change our society, but most of all make aware of what could lead towards a dystopian society to prevent it from happening. Or are we already in a dystopian world finding our way out of it? It’s all really up to us, the readers and the writers.
Open-minded (adjective): having or showing a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments.
“I try never to understand. It’s called an open mind.” – The Doctor
As an English scholar, I feel studying literature has given me a chance to explore, and to be more receptive. Yet I’m always conflicted. Even though I love being a Catholic, I’ve grown to realize that there are issues in life aren’t easy to pick one side or another one. I want to follow God, and have compassion for everyone, no matter what they believe in or stand for. I feel like some times society pushes us in ways that we must decide to be on one side, and not the designated other side. Why do we have to pick? I think it’s more important to focus on what we share, than what divides us, yet both need to be discussed so that everyone gets their voice heard and is valued.
When I started grad school, I became more interested in Feminism, especially because of Emma Watson (who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies). For a long while before, I felt unsure about what Feminism was about and supporting it. Through Emma’s work with UN Women & HeForShe (check out the new and improved website), she has made me realize that Feminism is ultimately about equality and that both genders need to work together to accomplish this.
Equality doesn’t mean that we are all the same, but that we all have equal rights and opportunities. Everyone should have the opportunity to study what they are interested in, work towards having careers in which ever field they want to pursue, and should be able to be paid well. Another organization, GirlsRising, promotes education for girls all around the world, and spreads awareness that many girls sadly don’t have the opportunity to go to school.
On the latest episode of Girl Meets World, Girl Meets STEM, the main character Riley realizes that science shouldn’t be something that the boys study and the girls just assist. She stands up for the girls to show that we should question the world around us, and not let things just go by. Riley loves science and wants to grow to be better at it. Her long time friend, Farkle, ends up realizing he isn’t giving Riley the opportunity to grow, and motivate her to explore her interests, especially in science. When they work together in science class, they succeed. Even though this episode is about promoting STEM subjects to girls, as well as Feminism, it isn’t the most important aspect. Riley’s mom, Topanga, brings it up when talking to Riley and her female classmates, “Don’t talk yourself out of pursuing something because your afraid of how it’s gonna make you look. What you need to know is don’t let anyone get in the way of pursuing your growth and curiosity no matter what you wanna do.” We shouldn’t let fear get in the way of our exploration, no matter what we do, and not matter what our age.So what does this have to do with being a writer? We have to be open-minded to new ideas and experiences. It’s tough in our world, but we have to do it. Otherwise, we don’t realize what’s really happening around us. We have an important job to do. Share our voices, thoughts, and stories to make others critically think and motivate each other towards striving our full potential. How can we do this? First by reading, watching, listening outside your comfort zone. Second, exploring what you’re interested in, even if you don’t feel confident in your abilities. Third, decide on your immediate and long-term goals for yourself. Fourth, writing what ever you’re drawn to, but also looking towards inclusion of unfamiliar along with the familiar. I was brought to bring up this because I feel it’s really important at this time for both genders to realize what’s going on around them, and working towards doing our part to improving the world in any way that we can, while still striving towards what we hope to accomplish with our lives.
If you’re looking for inspiration, I would recommend exploring the shows and organizations I’ve already mentioned, but also: the completed web series Classic Alice (if you haven’t already) and the book club created by Emma Watson, Our Shared Self. As well as the new Sherlock special, The Abominable Bride (no spoilers, but it’s worth re-watching multiple times to get all the details of this incredible story). The web series explores Alice’s journey in living life according to classic literature, but grows to realize how important making her own decisions. This recommendation is two fold, it first will inspire you to push towards reading books outside of your comfort zone, and then hopefully inspire you to reach for your own dreams. Second, the series is a great way to see how characters and a story plays out in our ever growing modern world. The show goes from telling the story on film, to giving their characters their own twitter accounts and podcasts, etc to create an interactive experience that makes the viewer not only learn more about the characters but also critically think about the story.
The feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, was recently created, and Emma hopes it will be a way to have an open discussion about though-provoking and empowering literature. The first book is ‘My Life on the Road’ by Gloria Steinem. This turns to the last point of this post, I don’t want to get stuck in my ways that I’m not open to new ideas. Even though Feminism brings forth issues that what the Catholic Church says is contrary to their teaching of what our values should be, I don’t want to close off hearing what someone else has to say. I’ve been taught that we should listen to all sides. I’ve also been taught to have mercy and compassion. I think they all are needed to have a better future. I’m already receptive, but I hope to be more receptive to new books from this book club, as well as the books I study in the semester ahead and in the future. I want read & explore more about science because like Riley, I love science, and sadly don’t explore it as much as I used to. I want to continue exploring and creating new adventures, on and off the page, and not be afraid to take chances. I also hope the same for you. May this year be filled with inspiration and opportunities.