Saturday, January 23, 2010

Capturing What We Care About Most

A large part of how we represent who we are can be attributed to the personal objects we are fond of the most. We use these objects, subconsciously or not, to announce our identities and heritage and to personalize our environment. Specifically, in face-to-face contact, we craft our intended image by the way we dress and the objects we carry. Many times these objects are representative of hobbies, professions, and even relationships.

These objects are known as artifacts and they help define us everyday. Some people are so proud of these artifacts that they choose to capture them forever in a picture. It’s one thing to take a picture while you’re playing your favorite sport, with your co-workers at work, or at an anniversary party with your spouse. It’s another to pay for a professional picture while clutching or wearing one of these artifacts proudly.

Which brings me to one of the most brilliant websites that I have ever come across in my Internet probing experience. This website combines professionally taken photographs with individuals proudly showcasing exactly who they are among the objects that help define them. is a website that we all can relate to but at the same time question the sanity of some people living and breathing among us.

-Warning: some of the images you are about to see may be offensive to certain viewers.-

Say you love Star Trek. In another life you believe that you were Captain Kirk. Why not get the whole family involved, creating your every own Starfleet platoon, and making your dream a reality by posing for a quick picture? I’m willing to bet that this family, to this day, has this picture hanging proudly in their living room…which is probably a replica of the Starfleet command center. Live well and prosper my friends.

Holy hot pants! Is this required attire for avid cyclists? You know what… even if it is this pose is definitely NOT required. I just can’t imagine the photographer for this picture saying, “Perfect! Hold it right there.”

Who in this family said, “I think we should dress up like characters from Winnie the Pooh for our family portrait?”
Two questions:
1. Where on God’s green Earth did they find these costumes?
2. Since when is Eeyore ever smiling? If you’re going to dress like him you better act the part, mister!

This is just a taste of what people are capable of doing in a family photo. I must say, I have to give them credit for celebrating the things they love; however their execution missed the mark. So, what’s the lesson here? Some obsessions are best kept behind closed doors and never meant to be frozen in time. Of course, when they are captured, they make for some GREAT entertainment.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Inspirational Words Can Lead to Inpirational Actions

Today I attended an event where Longwood students and faculty as well as representatives of the Farmville community came together on the steps of the Student Union to read inspirational words from the diary of Barbara Johns, the student who lead the Moton High School walk-out in 1951. According to the host of the event, the purpose of this dramatic reading was to symbolize the need for dedication to social justice, to display the importance of valuing diversity, and reinforce the idea that everyone must strive to work together in order to obtain equality for all.

After listening to the diary reading, it was clear that Barbara Johns was an ordinary African American girl growing up in central Virginia. She worked hard at school, at home, and in every relationship with her family, friends, and teachers. The difference, however, between her and her peers was that she saw an inequality and sought out a way to rectify it.

Long story short: when Barbara Johns’ saw that her “all black” school was much less efficient and equip than the neighboring “all white” school, she immediately gathered her piers in protest. This protest is still recognized today, almost 60 years later. How many Americans today can say that they made a significant difference in the lives of their community or nation... or even their friends by the age of 16?

Unfortunately, the sixteen-year-olds of today seem to be too busy emulating Miley Cyrus and taking shots of peach schnapps when there parents aren't looking. Although, as sad as it is to see wasted youth, I can't say I was much better at that age (which wasn't all that long ago when you think about it). But I guess with age comes maturity and eventually you open your eyes and realize that you're not the most important person in the world. Hopefully someone can figure out a way to inspire not only the younger generation but pretty much everyone these days to get out there and make a difference...and I don't mean give them a free ticket to Disney if they do a measly one day of service.

As harsh, insensitive, rude, or ignorant as it might sound, donating $20 to a local charity every few months isn't exactly "making a difference" or helping your neighbor. MOST of the time you actually have to get off your ass and -literally- offer a helping hand. You can argue that everyone isn't entitled to just be given everything they want or don't have, but everyone should be given the opportunity to get what they want or don't have; and everyone at some point in their lives needs that boost from their friends, families, and neighbors.

If the story of Barbara Johns doesn't help inspire others that they can make a difference, I don't know what will. Think about it: an African American sixteen-year-old girl in 1951 brought her entire school to a protest. I think everyone can take a lesson here and maybe aspire to do the same. Her story has proven that no voice is too small and no action will go unnoticed as long as you have the passion to do what you believe is right.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Remember: Change is Acctually GOOD

-July 6, 2009-

"It's summer time and it's our last night at the beach. I just got back from the pier and now I'm getting ready for bed while watching Dance Your Ass Off with Lauren and Missy. This show is AMAZING! It's Dancing With the Stars meets The Biggest Loser. I'm seriously considering entering my name for next season...
Earlier I went out to the pier to take pictures and take one last look at the ocean. Tonight couldn't have been a better night. The moon was a bright orange and it hung over the ocean casting a perfect orange reflection on the tips of every ripple and wave. Naturally I tried to get a good picture of this but no luck. As much as I tried to focus the camera the picture kept capturing blurry. Of course, perfection can't be captured.
I gave up attempting to get a good picture and walked to the end of our dock, right where it met the sand. I stepped up onto the railing and leaned forward just as a family of five came running and screaming past me with their flashlights waving in the air. I couldn't tell for sure but I think they were being chased by an extremely frustrated crab. As they scurried past, I looked straight out to the ocean in front of me, to where the water seems to come to an edge and drop off and I realized that I was having a pretty symbolic moment. There I was...or I guess I should say here I am, the summer before my junior year of college completely lost. Don't get me wrong, I know where I want to end up I just have no idea how to get there. I guess I have some time to figure that all out. But standing there on the edge of the dock I realized that even though I may not be at the edge yet, I'm SO close. One wrong move, one wrong turn and I could lose myself...or my dream...or even worse BOTH.
I looked to my left and then to my right. The family had long since disappeared down the beach and I was now completely alone. Another symbolic moment: not only am I so close to the edge but I'm also alone. Alone to make my own decisions. Alone to chose my way in the world. Alone...
I'm 20 years old and I haven't had any interest in taking my life or my relationships very seriously. Which is probably why I haven't been able to hang on to a lot of them, romantic or not. I don't want to get negative though. I am so grateful for everything that I have been given so far in my life and I am even more grateful for who I've become.
Standing on that dock alone on such a perfect night on the beach would have been the perfect opportunity for some tall, dark, and handsome man or at the very least a celebrity to come walking by and say something to me; like, "Why are you, such a beautiful girl, alone on such a beautiful night?" But as I glanced to my left and right one last time, not a soul seemed to be coming my way, so I turned and headed back inside. I have never been a patient person and I have no intention of stopping my life to wait to anyone now."

Like I said before, sometimes it's nice to go back down memory lane to take a quick look around for old times sake. I'm sure I'm not the only one that can say that it's nice to see how far you have come. Most change in my mind will eventually turn out for the better even if at first it comes across as bad.

So today, on Martin Luther King Day, it's important to see how far we've come; but, it is also important to look and see how far you have come. If you don't see much of a change maybe you should start reworking your life a bit because there is always room for change.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Another Day... Another Diet

I am the biggest conformist when it comes to New Year's Resolutions. Not only is my resolution to start eating healthier and to get my ass to the gym, but I also plan on breaking it very soon. Today my favorite pair of jeans burst at the seams in the upper-inner thigh area. Most people I know would look at the damage and vow to start staving themselves immediately. I, on the other hand, suddenly had the mouth-watering urge to find a piece of chocolate to eat my feelings. But then I thought of my New Year's Resolution and remembered that I planned on sticking to it for another week or two.
It's times like these that I remember how all of my other diets have gone. I think I can sum it up in two words: painful and frustrating. As I prosmised, here is another two excerpts from last years journal to prove my point:

-January 20, 2009-

"'s day 8 of my New Year's Resolution to eat right and exercise and I'm about to eat my hand. I've worked out every day and I've been eating nothing but fruits, veggies, whole wheat (which by the way tastes like I would imagine cardboard to taste). I'm not exactly sure what possessed me to put myself through all of this...maybe I can blame my agony on the media shoving skinny bitches in my face all day? *score one for Communications Majors*"

And another...

-February 11, 2009-

"Day 9 of APO's pledging process and I want to vomit every time I look at my jam packed planner.

Day 31 of my diet. I still would like to eat my hand; but, fortunately resisting the temptation has become increasingly easier. Also, I have major beef with the scale at the gym. It says I haven't lost any weight... I say it's a lying piece of shit.

Day 7,190 of my existence. Nothing exciting to report except that I have made it to college, I can now drive a clutch in heels, and I have had 1.5 boyfriends."

I think it's safe to say that when I'm on a diet, I'm also on suicide watch. So keep me in your thoughts. In the mean time, I'm going to go have some Oreos and peanut butter... I mean some dry lettuce... while I sew up the gaping hole in my jeans that my right thigh so graciously created.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Embarassing + Awkward = My Life in a Nutshell

I've decided to uncover some old journal entries of mine from years past (and by years past I mean last year). It's nice to go back through these old entries and take a brisk walk... or better yet a sprint... down memory lane to see how far I've come. I'm sure I'm not the only one with the thoughts that I penned not so long ago. Maybe these entries will be relatable? ...But hopefully for your sake they're not. Here is the first entry I am willing to share with the world:

-January 21, 2009-

"Small Revelation:
When it comes to relationships I tend to have, what I'm sure most people these days consider, an old fashioned way of thinking. Could this ultimately lead to my demise? (Thank you, Thesaurus)
Maybe my "old fashioned" tendencies don't fit in with the modern way of thinking, but is it asking too much for a guy to have some manners? I'm not just talking about the chewing-with-their-mouth-open-while-spewing-food-everywhere-because-their-busy-telling-a-great-joke-guy or the let's-see-who-can-hock-the-biggest-loogie guy. I'm talking about those manners that momma hopefully taught you. I'm not ashamed to say that I would like a chick-flick to play out in my life: I want to be wooed and courted and maybe have a door opened for me every once and a while. I think, deep down, I'd like to have that fairytale, happy, cheesy, cliche , etc ending--even though, let's be honest it's probably not going to happen (at least not the way I hope). Regardless, I still hope that one day someone will come along and prove me wrong.
So what can be the lesson here?
Hope for the best and expect...less."

Wow. That got depressing pretty fast. I promise not all of them are this "holy hell I want to slit my wrists" worthy. Stay tuned for another embarrassing & awkward journal entry!

About Me

I can be a vain person every once and a while, so here is a list of what I consider to be interesting facts about me:

Favorite Color: Currently... Lime Green

Favorite Books: Oh, the Places You Will Go!
Heavier Than Heaven
Go Ask Alice
The Lovely Bones
The 5 People You Meet in Heaven
Pride and Prejudice
The Harry Potter Series (I'm not ashamed)

Favorite Movies: Almost Famous
American Beauty
The Boondock Saints
Pay It Forward
Forrest Gump
Heavy Weights (the most under appreciated Ben Stiller movie of all time)
Tommy Boy
Titanic (nope, still not ashamed)
Singin' in the Rain
Some Like it Hot
Now & Then
Stand By Me
Saving Privet Ryan
*Okay there are too many to list. I'd be here all day...

Favorite Songs: Lullaby - Billy Joel
Swing Life Away - Rise Against
Fire - Augustana (or just about anything by them)
Only Hope - Switchfoot
Reason to Love You - Meiko
New Slang - The Shines
I Will Alaways Love You - Whitney Huston (I actually got pulled over for speeding while blasting this song and singing it at the top of my lungs...and no I'm still not ashamed)
*And just about anything by Dave Matthews, The Beatles, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, and Blink182
BONUS! Musicians I love Live ~ Eric Hutchinson, Meiko, Steven Kellogg, and Joe Purdy

Favorite Animal: Tiger (I secretly wish I was Jasmine from Aladin)

Favorite Food: Oreos & Peanut Butter

Favorite Holiday: I don't have just one. I love three holidays which I consider to be "The Holy Trinity of Holidays": Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Favorite Sport: Volleyball (Football is a close second)

Favorite Childhood Memory: My dad taking me and my sister to DC to run around and explore the museums. I later found out that he only did this to tire us out...

I would love to travel to the following places:
Go backpacking across Europe
Los Angeles