Ferguson, Missouri

For once I feel at a loss for words…Even though I feel there are things that must be said. I rarely post about political issues but tonight I’ve made an exception.
People Mourn.
They ache and bleed and feel things that can’t be explained in words. Maybe thats why I’m having a hard time, because people feel things so deeply that they cant explain them. How can I describe something that someone else cant put into words.
Everything that has happened in Ferguson, Missouri is a cause to mourn. Mourn death, mourn fear, mourn destruction, mourn the coming storm. But in your mourning never forget the importance of nonviolence. VIOLENCE is a word I don’t enjoy writing. It’s a word I often wish we didn’t need to use. What kind of world do we live in today that would perpetuate this kind of hate. People rioting and destroying the place they call home. I hear people talking about racism. Thats a word I’ve had the pleasure of never truly knowing. I have friends of all colors, shapes, and sizes. In my mind I don’t see people based on what makes them different from me. My community doesn’t talk about “hate crimes” or racism. I’ve been lucky to grow up in a more accepting place than that.
I believe their is fear that comes with the word racism. Like if you acknowledge the differences between yourself and others you should feel guilty. I have a fear of saying African American. Mostly because its not a term I use. I rarely feel the need to distinguish someone by the color of their skin. But if I use those words… Even in school… I feel wrong. Like I’ve hurt someone. Yet I never feel hurt when people comment on my color. My skin, my hair, my eyes, my weight, my height… I’ve heard others describe me and I cant ever recall being offended. My skin is naturally very dark but over the last few years I’ve grown rather pale. When people call me “pale” I never feel offended. (I know it different but I promise I have a point.) I even have a friend who calls me her “token cracker…” and yet… it’s never felt like something that should bother me. I’ve been asked to leave my backpack at the counter when at the store… and I don’t feel the need to be angry. I’ve been accused of things I didn’t do. Had officers ask me “where [I] was going so late at night.” And I’ve never felt it had anything to do with me as a person. I’ve never felt the need to take something like that personally. I don’t know what went on between the officer and the boy in Ferguson. And I never will. It happened. It’s horrible and sad. But violence…. that crimson words… is one I don’t like to type. Violence is never the answer. If you are angry speak. Use your words. Find someone who will listen. These riots remind me of a tantrum throwing toddler, destroying their own belongings out of anger. I feel for them. Those people as they mourn that boy. But I can never support violence; not when words are so much more affective. These riots will tarnish our history. They will paint its pages with more blood. As if our history didn’t have enough blood-spill.

Tonight I’ll leave you with this… Violence is defined as behavior involving physical force intended to hurt damage or kill someone or something. Hurt. Damage. Or kill. We’ve all felt enough hurt. We have enough damage. And no one else need to die.I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my opinion tonight. Again I rarely post about political issues. But this is something that has been gravely upsetting me. Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword. Leave violence where it belongs, in our history books. Goodnight everyone.

I Am A Spider.

As I prepare to leave for university I realize I have a lot on my mind. I sometimes worry that I’ll have a hard time making friends. See when I’m typing the words flow pretty freely, but when I speak it’s a mess. It’s hard you see because when I’m typing it just kind of happens… but when you speak people expect something from you.They want eye contact and well formulated thoughts. They aren’t content with jumbled rubbish. And in reality they don’t really care what you have to say at all. Not unless its something they can base their own stories from. “I’m having some health issues right now and its been really hard.” “Oh really what a coincidence! Fluffy coughed up a hair ball today and it looked off, I’ll probably be taking her to the vet.” It’s like you never spoke. The sad part is that the worst offenders of this are the people we love the most. I’m finding that this is happening to me a lot lately. My fathers not in the best of health and I have tried numerous times to go to my closest friends for comfort. But they cant seem to handle the weight.
I tell them I’m sad and lonely, and I cant sleep… and the responses I get are about great aunts who died when they were six. The only thing I have to say about that is that you cant compare pain. No amount of pain you have is worse than someone else’s. So when someone brings you their pain, try not to belittle it. Yes you may have lost a lot in your life, but they brought their pain to you. And sometimes a simple, “you’re going to make it through this, I’ll be here.” Is all that needs to be said. When your friend or family is truly in need it’s important to leave your soup box in the closet.You don’t need to compare stories or change the subject, just be there. Somehow mankind has forgotten how to do that. I often find myself surfing the sites I regular for people sitting on the edge. It doesn’t take much. All I do is ask if they’re ok, then I listen. No matter how similar their pain is to mine, I understand that I have no idea what they are going through. I am not them. I haven’t lived their life in their shoes. I can’t even imagine their pain. A lot of the time the people I find that need someone to talk to are young. Very young. And I wonder where their support group is. Here they are crying to a stranger as a last resort. Where is their family? Friends? Teachers? Councilors? Why is it kids these days have no one to go to?
I remember once back six or so years ago I wrote a story for fun. It was going to be my first book. I was beyond proud. I had a chapter or two and took it to a teacher. She was so excited to read it for me. I waited and waited to hear back on what she thought. Instead of hearing back from her… I heard back from a councilor. The teacher had reported the book because of “disturbing content.” (The best friend of the little girl in the book had passed away.) The councilor confiscated my story and I never got it back. She made me come in almost daily to talk to her about me “Emotional problems.” She made me think something was wrong with me. After that I never went to an “adult” for help again. Thats what happens though. People come to us, with anything, and if its not “normal.” We tell them they have problems or need help.
I once found a girl online who put the ashes of her dead cat into a stuffed animal so that she could still snuggle with it. She was bombarded with people saying she needed professional help and that she was sick. And while I wouldn’t cuddle with my cremated cat… (something about cuddling with a corpse would freak me out.) I cant call her sick. I cant tell her somethings wrong with her. I don’t know her pain. By telling her she’s sick, all those people have done is alienate her. Made her feel as though the way she feels is wrong. That she is disturbed.It’s important to remember that what is normal for a spider is chaos for a fly. When I was told my story was inappropriate it changed me. It changed everything. She made me think I really was depressed, that something was wrong with being sad every once in awhile. I died my hair and changed my clothes… And until I changed schools, I never showed anyone anything I wrote. It took years for me to see that just because I get sad now and then doesn’t mean somethings wrong.
So heres todays advice. If you see someone in need, even a stranger, be there. The most helpful thing you can do for someone going through a hard time is listen. Never tell someone they shouldn’t feel the way they feel. Feelings are individualized things, never forget that. And last but not least, just because you’re surrounded by flies, does not mean you cant be a spider. As my mother always says, “Weird is good.” So if you want to cuddle with the ashes of your dead pet, go for it. Be proud of who you are. Being sad or angry or even having disturbing thoughts does not mean you need help. It means you’re human. Have a good day everyone.

“Be Carful” (A Poem.)

Sometimes poems say the things that a simple paragraph can’t. Theres something beautiful about a poem. So today I wrote a poem for a friends who really needed an encouraging word. Hopefully it helps others too.

Be Careful

Be careful
Of words that tumble
Words that trickle
Words that fall

Be careful
Of words that are hateful
Words that are deceitful
Words that don’t mean anything at all

Be careful
Because hearts crackle
Hearts are breakable
Hearts are painful

Be careful
Say words that are peaceful
Words that are gentle
Words that are beautiful
Words that are tranquil
Words that are meaningful

Be careful
Or choose to say nothing at all.

Sticks, stones, and words.

I thought I would share with everyone something very heart-warming that happened to me today. It’s not often, in this icy-cold technological world we live in, that we find people who are truly brave. Computer screens have made us cowards. If someone post something we don’t agree with, we tear them apart with our words. See somehow people think that as long as it’s through a screen they cant cause any “real harm.” I’m sure it started off mild. People saying they didn’t agree with what someone said; all while respecting their right to an opinion. But thats no longer the case. One incident in particular stands out to me. A women on a random site I visit posted that she wasn’t a fan of some random farm animal, (Ducks maybe?) because they gave her the creeps. A man proceeded to tell her that she was scum, and that he hoped she got raped with a tire- iron. But I mean sticks and stones right? Words cant “really” hurt you… I’ve never been sure if I agree with that.
I believe there are times in our lives where words scar us. Have you ever had someone say something to you that was so cruel that you still think about it on occasion. I realize sometimes when I NEED to be brave I cant, because somewhere down the line someone let me believe I wasn’t good enough. I remember one time in particular I was giving out screen-savers I’d made to my friends. They were personalized and my friends LOVED them. Everyone was praising me and telling me what an artist I was, and at the time I needed that. Sometimes you need someone to see you. To recognize your worth. One boy I didn’t really know decided he needed to “call me out.” “These are @hit,” he told me. “You should be disgusted. You’re just as worthless as your photos.” And man that hurt. I had never been called worthless. (Stupid, lazy, pathetic, crazy, weird, but not worthless.) Something about that word worthless stuck with me. Like my whole existence was in question because some punk behind a screen thought my gifts to friends were crappy. Sometimes when I’m making something I still feel the pressure of that word. I even get the urge to send pictures to him, ones I know aren’t “worthless.” I wanted to argue with that boy. Tell him how much worth I had. Show him pieces that had been in shows. I wanted validation from someone who wasn’t even brave enough to come out from behind a screen. But the worst part of that experience was what happened next… nothing. He posted this on my wall. Many of my friends saw it and chose to say nothing. Maybe thats what hurt the most, that I wasn’t important enough to defend. Today I was. To one person, on one post, I was worth defending.
We all have that one person in our lives that we love for no reason. We’ve known them for years upon years. Sometimes we’ll go five or six years without them, yet we never stop caring about them. This is how I feel about my close family friend. We’ll call him Angelo. Angelo and I have been friends for… ten years? He truly is one of the most remarkable people you have ever met. He’s got a touch of a temper, but a heart purer than you’ve ever seen. That boy could abandon me at a truck stop south of the border and I’d still love him. He’s been a brother to me as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I used to draw the attention of a lot of stalkers. He always took care of it. Even after he moved 14hours away. These last few years have been hard though. We’ve each been through so much, we lost touch. Recently though we’ve started back where we left off. And that brings us back to today. See today I realized, Angelo is brave.
Angelo posted something on his social media I didn’t necessarily agree with. I left a tasteful comment. Hoping for nothing more than some clarity. Instead one of Angelo’s friends took it upon himself to tell me what a hypocrite I was. Having grown a pretty thick skin, this didn’t bother me. I had no intentions of responding, because “words will never hurt me.” But thats when something amazing happened. Angelo took it upon himself to comment for me. “Watch your tone with her.” See usually I’m too independent for such things. I don’t expect people to defend me or my honor. Maybe thats what made this simple comment so wonderful. Maybe it was the fact I was completely blindsided by it. That one comment kept a smile on my face the whole day. I expected the nasty comment from the coward with the keyboard. He didn’t know me, so I would have never taken his comment to heart. But there is something truly special about the bravery my friend showed. Its a courtesy not many receive. Millions are harassed online daily and no one steps up to defend them. Today was different. Today I saw a glimmer of hope for the internet.
So heres my advice for tonight; Be careful with your words. Souls scar so much easier than skin. Defend your friends. If you truly care about someones feelings, don’t let others speak to them in a way that could cause them harm. Be brave. Online, offline. Be brave in every aspect in your life. You are so amazing and should never feel like you are incapable of being brave. Stand up for what you believe in, but be tasteful in how you do it. And finally, remember, you are worth so much more than you will ever know. Goodnight everyone. Sweet dreams.

I lost my poor meatball.

Sometimes when I’m writing I’ll forget to breathe. I can see where you might think this is problematic but it’s really not. Years of swimming have helped maintain some pretty decent lung function. Add that to the amount of times I’ve had to hold my breath just to keep something stupid from slipping out… well lets just say I’m good at holding my breath. I guess I just feel that if I’m writing and I make the slightest sound… My ideas will slip away. If I don’t keep perfectly quiet I’ll scare any decent thought right out of my head. Visually I always imagined it was something like this nursery rhyme my mother used to sing. “On top of spaghetti,/ All covered with cheese,/I lost my poor meatball,/When somebody sneezed./It rolled off the table,/And on to the floor,/And then my poor meatball,/Rolled out of the door….” My ideas have always kind of felt like that meatball. At any given second they’re going to roll right out of my head and out the door. And with my luck they’ll roll into someone else’s yard, and that person will be blessed with a meatball tree… Don’t judge me, thats part of the song.
My head just feels so loud sometimes. Thats why I enjoy writing. I know I must seem like I’m this disoriented mess. Like I’m incapable of choosing a topic. And maybe I am, maybe my external “genius” is this ADHD little heathen that would rather watch an entire season of Doctor Who than write something of actual substance.But I love writing. I’m not great. Nothing special. But I love it, and sometimes that feels like enough.If you love something you shouldn’t have to be good. You want to sing? Who cares if your voice sounds like a fire alarm mating with a chain saw, just sing. Like to paint? I’ve seen some pretty questionable abstract art that would make even stick figures look nice. Want to do a sport? Try you hardest. Really suck at sports? Maybe pick a sport where you only compete with yourself. No one cares if you suck; and so what if they do? In the end the only person who can judge you is you. And for the record I bet you’re pretty awesome.
So heres my advice for the night. Keep a leash on your ideas. They’re so much more important than you think. Love what you do. Apparently meatballs grow into meatball trees… so I’d give that a try if I was you. (Just kidding… Please don’t plant meatballs… They’ll probably send you away.) Don’t make other peoples judgements of you your problem. You are the only one who has the power to judge you. And last but not least, sneeze into your elbow. Not only is it more hygienic than coughing into your hand, but it prevents the lose of meatballs. Have a goodnight everyone.

My name means Sea.

        Sometimes the easiest way to carry something heavy is to take both hands and hold it above your head. Somehow that always feels lighter. You could try to hide just how heavy you think it is. You could tuck it under one arm and pretend your arm isn’t breaking. You could hold it with your fingertips and pretend your fingers weren’t numb. You could pretend your hands weren’t shaking under the weight. You could pretend you could handle it. But I’ve found that doesn’t do any good. Sometimes when your burden is just too large, the best way to carry it is up over your head. Carry it away from your heart. By holding it above your head you’re acknowledging its existence. You’re acknowledging that it hurts you. But not only that, by holding it above you, you’re showing others just how heavy your load is.

            A serious problem with the world today is the placement of our hearts. We take our hearts and tuck them behind steal ribs. Nothing gets in, nothing gets out. The only place we let our hearts roam free is on the Internet. It’s like a dog park for lonely souls. We set our hearts out their for everyone to see, then we cry in agony when a nameless face tells us how worthless we are. I never understood that. I’d much rather walk around with my heart on my sleeve and my burden above my head. Let people see me for who I really am. Because I’m so much more than a screen name. I’m more than a metaphor. More than the worthless pile of cells others may think I am. I am Hali. Welcome to my blog.