An Open Letter to the World

I am writing to you today as a young woman that has been told repeatedly that my words can make a difference. I have always been realistic about the impact I have on the world, and by realistic, I mean, I thought that it does not exist. 

I live in Missouri, in America. My parents are Romanian immigrants. I was born in New York, and I’ve always wanted a dog. I am 14 years old. 

These are all things I would tell a shooter if I ever came face to face with a gunman. Because gun violence is so prevalent in our society, I had to learn from a TV show that you are less likely to be murdered by a gunman if you tell them personal details about yourself.

I was asked in a truth or dare game what my biggest fear was and I didn’t say loneliness, or loss of control, or heights, because even though those are true, none of those fears loom quite as large as my fear of mass shootings. 

As a young teen growing up in America, I may not have seen a gun on a television screen much more than an adult would’ve at my age, but I do not see 19th century pistols firing warning shots in a cowboy duel, I see automatic weapons gunning down innocent life after innocent life. The only thing more disturbing than the portrayal of gun violence in the media, is it’s utterly realistic depiction. 

I didn’t know how afraid I was of guns until I was sitting on a wooden bench in the second row of seats, watching a middle-aged man speak about life as a Union soldier in the Civil War on a reenactment site on a school field trip. In the middle of talking about troops marching through a city, the man started to recount the non-fiction story of a fatal shooting of an 8 month old little girl. I thought, how horrible, that must have been terrible back then, it’s a good thing that doesn’t happen nowadays. 
And then the man brought out a civil-war era pistol, and right in front of our eyes, lifted the gun sideways and shot a blank into an empty field. 

That crack brought me back to reality. 

I screamed and my peers laughed, they thought it was the reaction to a sudden loud sound, and so did I. I only later realized that this was untrue.  

Later that day, as another volunteer reenactor shot a musket into a forest during a demonstration, I hid behind rows and rows of my seemingly fearless fellow students, plugging my ears and repeating over and over,

“I don’t do guns” 

Almost as an excuse for what I now see as perfectly normal behavior.

Why shouldn’t the firing of a gun scare me? 

There was no malice or hatred or terrorism in the men who shot those guns, yet it scared me almost as much. 

I realized, if you have a terrorist and you take away his gun, he can yell and scream the most hateful things, but he is much less likely to kill you. If you take the terrorism out of a man with a gun, he still has the capability to kill you, right here in his hands, terrorism-free. 

Fear runs us now. 

Fear is no longer defined by its physical characteristics, no longer contained in the adrenaline in our veins, in our hearts. It has infected everything. It is in the air we breathe, in our food, in our politics, in my mother’s eyes as she tells me no, I cannot walk to the store alone, no I cannot go to the park without my phone, no I cannot tell my friends where I am going on vacation, no. 

Fear is all I feel. 

Man can create much fear in this world, but so much of that fear would not be spread if not for the weapons they have in their hands.

Sticks and stones can break our bones, but guns, they break our spirits. They make us afraid to step out and say what we want, and do what we want, and be where we want to be.

As we spiral deeper and deeper in our world of fear, we are beginning to lose sight of the importance of spirit. 

We are beginning to forget what it is like to take a shot at a better life, at a new job, at a better running time, at a painting class, and all because we are taking shots at each other. 

End this now. 

Stop the violence. 

Today’s challenge:

Live without fear. 
  

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Learning How to Smile

I don’t know what it is, but from a young age, I’ve never smiled with my teeth.

I was stuck in an endless cycle of school photographers telling me to “show those pearly whites” 

1. They were never pearly white

2. Is pearly yellow even a color?

Even now, when the famous selfie technique is executed, I never grin like a normal person. But recently, I’ve been deviating from my rule.

I find myself smiling a bit wider every time, all the while wondering why I haven’t been doing it for 14 years.

And even if I’ve found more things to drop the corners of my mouth over the years, I think it was finding what makes me happy that helped me learn how to smile.
Today’s challenge:

Tell someone you love them 

  

I Feel Old

Ok. 

So I may have not kept up with my blogging schedule.

Oops.

So today is my birthday, my 14th to be exact, and I feel old.
Very very old.
On March 9th:

  • Amerigo Vespucci, the namesake of America, was born, 1451
  • Kissing in public was made illegal in Naples upon pain of death, 1562
  • The Treaty of Stolbovo ended the occupation of Northern Russia by Swedish troops, 1617

(I guarantee that is the only time you will ever see the word Swedish next to the word troops)

  • Napoleon Bonaparte marries some French lady with an unpronounceable name, 1796 And they divorce. Fun.
  • The mailbox was patented,1858

(Before that it was just called the letter basket or some lame shit like that.)

  • Stalin was buried, 1953
  • Mexican police arrested the leader of the Tijuana drug cartel, 2002
  • Lil ole me was born, 2002

Feel old yet?
Today’s challenge:

Try not to call old people old. They glare at you.

  

I’m a Moody Chewbacca and I’m Proud

As a stereotypically sassy, immature, dumb teenager I often find it hard to think about anything I do, therefore making it impossible for me to make any of my own decisions, or have any opinions on any subject whatsoever.

Just kidding.

That was my best impression of the stereotypical mom-of-teenager explaining why her child is unable to actually take control of his/her life and decisions.

I think I pretty much nailed it.

No, I realize that sometimes my hormones and general teenager-Y-ness takes over and I become a moody, unstable anger monster who sits around and eats all day, but this isn’t always the case. (Expect for the eating part, that always applies.) 

But in general, I’d say I do think about what I’m doing. As I am faced with the prospects of real life, from high school, to braces, to surgery, to sports, to whatever comes next, I know that I’ll have to make a lot of decisions, that cannot be based solely on the hormonal Chewbacca that dictates my daily teen life.
I’m figuring things out along the way, and instead of saying something inspirational to end this post in a decisive and thought-provoking way, I’m being distracted by a bacon craving and a script lying open on my lap, waiting to be memorized.
Eh, the script can wait.

  

Scared

S- sometimes

C-crippling

A-anxiety 

R-really 

E-ends up

D-dead
Being scared shouldn’t stop you from doing what you want. It should give you the motivation to have courage and push on. 
Everyone is scared. The difference is between who lets it stop them, and who doesn’t.
Today’s challenge:

Be brave 
   

Phones vs. People

Inspiration struck me today, as it does every so often. I realized: phones and people are very similar. 

For example, if a body overheats too much, it passes out, and if a phone overheats, it turns off. Humans need sleep to recharge, while phones literally need to recharge. Phones continue to evolve, as humans do, though perhaps at a quicker rate. If you want to unlock a phone, you need a password, unless the phone is left unguarded. This is somewhat the same as humans. In order to “unlock” a person, there are things you must do to get to know them. A phone with no password will often undergo FTHSS or Friends Taking Horrible Selfies Syndrome, the same way that humans that are too open and unguarded may deal with unwanted heartbreak and bad personal relationships. 

However, I realize that phones and people do have their differences. Phones cannot be creative and come up with new ideas, and if they do, it’s because of a human that programmed it.

Phones cannot feel love, but they can show you who you talk to the most. 

Phones cannot cry, but they can call someone who can help you stop crying. 

In a way, phones help us be human. They help us interact with people, and be prepared for life, and get important information. But this technology can never replace what we have. 

It’s a little something. A little something human.

Today’s challenge:

Get off your dang phone!

  

2015 in Review

I started this blog in July of this year. The idea was planted when I went to dinner with my family and the topic of my good friend Adina’s blog (shoutout to fam) was mentioned. I toyed with the idea of starting my own blog, so I decided to look into it the next morning. So I went to bed, and as my eyes closed, my brain started to tick. Little phrases and sentences whirled around my brain until I couldn’t wait anymore. Around 11:00, I sat up, grabbed my phone, downloaded the WordPress app, and wrote my first, and decidedly crappiest, blog. I still hate that first blog. It’s horribly written, as many of my friends pointed out (thanks you guys) and never really finishes an idea. Nor does it explain why I started a blog in the first place. I’ve grown up with Internet personalities and succesfull writers all around, so I thought to myself, “Hey. I could be like that.”

Turns out, I’m not like that. I haven’t had a big break, except for  that one time a bunch of my dad’s Facebook friends were led here (thanks dad). I told myself I would blog every other day, but that didn’t happen, clearly. Truthfully, about 1 person reads my blog everyday, and without a friendly Instagram reminder when I post, most of my viewers are from India. (Shoutout to you guys!!!)

I’m surprised I’ve gotten this far, truly, seeing as I haven’t ever been able to successfully keep a diary. I think of this blog as a diary with an audience, albeit a minuscule one, but it helps me get some stuff out and pretend that someone is hearing it and supporting me. So, hi, if anyone ever reads this. Thanks. You’re the bomb.

I’m writing this blog sitting in a swirl of bright colored synthetic furry garments on my living room couch on winter break bored out of my mind, but I do have a goal for it’s posting. The minute the clock strikes 12 tomorrow on New Year’s, this blog is going up. No reminders, no “hey go read my blog”, this one’s just for me. And for you. So, for myself, and for you, I’m going to tell you my New Year’s Resolutions.

  1. Stop procrastinating- work needs to get done, even if you don’t want want to do it.
  2. Take things out of my comfort zone- I won’t stay stuck with the same schedule of the same people or the same conversations day after day.

Make shallow mistakes- whatever mistakes I make in 2016, they will never stoop as low as this year. I will always improve, even through ups and downs.                              
    I’m going to end with some of my blog data from this year.

    Today’s challenge:

    smile.

      Here’s an excerpt:

    A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

    Click here to see the complete report.