Sunday, September 29, 2013

Freedom Of Mind

I guess, in case you missed my (one of my) statuses last week on FaceBook, I wrote something that I really think everyone should not only read, but understand and remember.

Many of y'all know, that the way my sister and I have decided to keep in touch while I'm away from home/living across the country, is through letters. On the occasion, if it's pressing or needs to be vocalized immediately, one may text, call, or tweet another. But we've left all our prime mode of communication to snail mail.

1.) Who doesn't love getting mail, that isn't a bill or catalog that no one cares about? That's why we online shop, right? Not out of convenience, but just so we can get some fun mail send to us? Maybe it's just me.

2.) I think it makes hearing from someone all the more special. Taking the time to write a letter is a lot more appreciated than calling someone on the phone while you paint your nails or play a video game.

Recently, our cat at home passed away. He had a very advanced form of Leukemia that was discovered too late and his chances of life were next to nothing. So he had to be put down. I was informed of this via FB message. Not the best way of hearing about something like that, granted, the cat and I were never the best of friends, but my immediate thoughts went to my sister. How was she? I couldn't imagine her feeling any less than devastated and that's what tore my heart in half.

Then I received a letter from her and it was just as I expected. I of course made the mistake of reading the letter, again, in my office (I can't help it, I just get too excited to hear from her.) I had to close my door because I started crying like a little baby. Surprisingly, her being sad wasn't what made me cry, it was the fact that she had taken that negative experience, and found the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wise before her years. That's my sister. I'm so proud of her. She's becoming such a powerful young lady and she's only still in high school. That girl is going to move mountains in the future. I just know it.

But here's what I said to her in which I will say to you all:

"You may not have control over life or death, or anything in between, but you have complete control over yourself: your actions, your reactions; your emotions and your ability to process & cope. Take advantage of it. You have that ability and no one can ever take that away from you."

As humans, it is easy to fall into the negatives in our lives. It's always easier to say, "Woe is me," than it is to say, "My life is amazing and it's only going to get better." It's hard to say the latter because we're only living our own lives. One day, we may have everything fall in place for us. The next, someone will overcook our eggs at breakfast and it will ruin our appetite for the rest of the day. Then it becomes a downward spiral from there. "Oh, woe is me. First my eggs were burnt, then I got stopped at every red light on my way to work, then my computer had to be restarted 3 times this morning before I could get any work done, then I got a bill in the mail from my last dentist appointment. Today sucks." 

To you, this may seem like a horrible day. "For some, your floor may be their ceiling." I can't remember where I saw this quote or who said it, but it's true. Someone else will always have it worse for you. If your eggs were burnt this morning, well, at least they were under-cooked and gave you food poisoning. You got a dentist bill this morning? At least you have access to semi-affordable dental care.

And I know these are small and trivial examples of something much much bigger, but I'm only hoping to get this small point across to everyone.

Look on the bright side. It could be a lot worse. And, if it is a lot worse, what can you do to make it better. Maybe nothing physically, but you have all ability to think for yourself. You have that ability to look on the bright side. No one is making you feel sad and pitiful. That's all you.

Take if from someone who used to feel like someone else had control over my feelings. That I was consistently wrong for having the feelings that I did. That I was the bad guy for thinking for myself. Take it from someone who overcame that, fought past it, and took her mind back.

Take your mind back. Take it from the person who stole it from you. Take it from society, who implanted false hopes upon you. Take it back. Take that control back. Take whatever negative situation you're in, turn it around, and just be thankful for the amazing life that you've been blessed with. I bet others are thankful for you in turn.

You'd be surprised.

You'd be surprised how you yourself can make you feel. ;)

Try it. I dare you.

<3 Tawny

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Saying Goodbye

I had a random thought one night last week whilst lying in bed.

I was going to simply post a small status on FB, but what I thought would be no more than three sentences max. Turned out to be a bit more. So, here I am, chattin' with y'all via this ol' thing.

(It's also been in draft form for about a week, and I keep forgetting to finish/post the darned thing...)

A Contradiction Posed:
Everyone says that they hate goodbyes. Saying goodbye, is associated with terrible feelings. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say they enjoyed goodbyes. I can't blame y'all though. I'm not necessarily fond of them myself. Saying goodbye isn't the most pleasant feeling in the world. It doesn't quite roll off the tongue.

But here's where my mind pauses for thought. When someone close to us passes away - say a family member or a friend, its tragedy lies not in the death itself (necessarily), but in the idea of not having been able to say goodbye. For the most part, death comes when we least expect it. And when that happens, we suddenly regret our joking words of, "Later Gator!"

We don't like goodbyes, yet we always end up regretting not being able to say so before one leaves our lives. Why do we do this to ourselves? Cause such unnecessary guilt?

We have so many chances to say goodbye. But we never take them. We're greedy. We take these chances for granted. We don't realize that this one goodbye could be our last. We don't think that anything can happen in between, "See you tomorrow," and... well, tomorrow. We pass on the opportunity we're given, and expect that another will come our way when we need it, or when we think it should.

And that's when that rug is pulled from underneath us.

Embrace It:
For the longest time, I made it a point to never say goodbye and instead, always say, "See you later." Then, I think it was my freshman year of high school, or right before, my great aunt passed away. The last time I had seen her, she was telling me that she had to undergo some minor surgery, and I was leaving for vacation with my family soon. Upon leaving her, I said something along the lines of, "Good luck, and see you later!"

Then she was gone. I had made tentative plans with her to see her in the near future. I can't remember what we were planning, but I was looking forward to it. Then those plans became null and void. I handle death pretty well, it's a necessary part of life. It's going to happen to everyone at some point. It's going to happen to me one day. I was sad she was gone, yes, but not in the traditional sense. I was more upset, that I hadn't actually said, "Goodbye."

A Lesson:
From that point on, I decided to make a point of saying goodbye to anyone and everyone whenever leaving their presence. Don't take life for granted, and especially don't think that life will always play out in your favor.

Say goodbye, but go ahead and look forward to see that person again.

It'll make the reunion that much more sweet and the parting that much more bearable.

(Sorry for a depressing post. I tried to make it somewhat uplifting. I hope it worked..?)

Thanks for reading,
<3 Tawny

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Speed Limits In Texas

Is that what they're called here?

I don't think they actually have a real name.

I think, there are signs, with numbers posted along the road, just to make it look like Texas is following some kind of code of driving...

But, I don't think they're actually called Speed Limits.


Because NO ONE... goes the speed limit... in Texas.

When I'm driving to and from someplace, I know the speed limit is 40, but then I look down at my speedometer to see that I'm actually only going 30. So I think, "Oh shoot, better speed up!" Nope. Because as soon as I look back up, I see that everyone around me is also going 30. And I'll crash into someone if I go the actual speed limit.

When I'm driving to Target. Trust me. I know, that the speed limit is 65mph for most of the way there. I go there often enough. I can tell you every single store in that strip mall. I can tell you the order of the speed limits that occur on the way to Target. (Or Starbucks, because that's over there too.) But this neither the time nor post for that.

Hello, my name is Tawny, and I do NOT have a shopping addiction. 

I don't. I just, like to shop. 

Anyway, twice so far, on the way to Target/Starbucks, I've been driving along, and had to slam on the breaks, because there's a traffic jam, because at least one lane and an exit are blocked off due to an ACCIDENT! Hm. I wonder why. Just kidding. I'm lying. I bet you I can tell you why accidents are frequently occurring on the Marsha Sharp somewhere in between the Quaker and Slide Road exits.

Let me put something into context for ya. I tend to have a bit of a lead foot sometimes. Well, maybe not a lead foot... maybe more so a tin foot. (Tin is further up on the periodic table. It weighs less, but I think it's still heavy.) Anyway, so I'm known to speed a little, sometimes, when I know I can get away with it. Sorry not sorry. 

So, I find myself frequently driving down the Marsha Sharp, and I look around. I'm passing people up. What? I must be speeding. I should slow down. Nope. Chuck Testa. (That's a reference. YouTube it.) I check my handy-dandy speedometer to see how much I must slow down. I'M GOING 50MPH!! What?! NO! Yes. I found myself whipping past folks, going way under the speed limit. That's what people do here!

People in Texas, or maybe it's just Lubbock, but I'm okay with generalizing this one time, Never go the speed limit. It's either 15mph under, or 20mph over...  That's, probably why I've seen 2 accidents, in the same spot, within the last two weeks. Yes, indeed.

Folks. That sign with the number on it, is there for a reason. Go that number!

But it doesn't happen. You know why this is? Because there isn't a proper Driver's Education Road Test! No. I've talked to folks who are born and raised in Texas, (different parts) and all have informed me, that they didn't even need to get behind the wheel with a professional to be graded on their road sign reading skills, blinker usage, or parking techniques.
I'm not kidding.

People wonder why I have driving anxiety. People wonder why it has gotten even worse here. New town. Biggest city I've ever lived in. The GPS doesn't know where anything is. And People Don't Know How To DRIVE!!


I guess, on the plus side... when I don't know where I'm going because everything is new to me, and I'm driving a little slowly, (in my opinion) I don't feel quite as much of an A-hole for taking my time. So thanks, you wonderful Texans. ;)

Thanks for reading,
<3 Tawny

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Enraged! Just Not Me.

So today I had lunch with a coworker, who has very quickly become a dear friend of mine. We were talking about anger.

Now, there have been a lot of things I've been wanting to post about recently, but I'm drowning in readings already for classes and between that and still trying to have a social life. There's only so much I can do without never sleeping again. Hah. This is also why I haven't been posting my nails lately. Mostly because I have enough time to paint a color, and that's as far as it goes. Smh.


Let me start with my family -- my immediate family, because if I expand it'll get too complicated.

Girls, if you have a Mexican father, or even a Middle Eastern father in many cases, you have experienced fatherly rage. My dad, is one of those dad's who has quite a bit of a temper. And it's not just when it comes to his daughters, but anything else that might upset him. Also, he's very stubborn, and if things don't go his way, then get out of his way.

My mother, I would have to say that she has a short fuse. If you say or do something that will p*** her off, it's like flicking a switch. Bulging eyes, pursed lips, red face. But then you can laugh at her, and 60% of the time she'll laugh with you and she's good to go. But 40% of the time, she's on the angry bus and ain't stoppin' anytime soon.

My sister. Well, she obtained both tempers. A short fuse, stubbornness, extreme temper, and worst of all, she speaks her mind. When people ask me about my sister, I describe her as the typical teenage stereotype. But it's not just because she's a teen. She's held that persona since she was... I don't know... born?

At home, when one person becomes filled with rage, it triggers another. Then the other. Then there's a yelling fest. It's almost as if they compete to see who can be the loudest. As if that's the way to win an argument.

Then there's me... To this day, I have NOO idea how I've managed to become such a tranquil person. I don't get angry, often. It's very difficult to make me angry. If anything, I just get very annoyed. That's relatively easy, although I have a tolerance for that as well. Even my "pet peeves" don't make me angry. (Unless you're blatantly ignorant and/or do it to P me off on purpose..)

But I don't really get angry! And if/when I do, it's mostly because I'm fully frustrated. I don't really yell, or I try not to. My eyes don't budge. I don't throw things. I don't loudly express my thoughts as forcefully as possible. Usually, at that point, I've tried expressing myself calmly, and it hasn't worked, so at this point, I ball my fists. Become silent. And if I'm really upset. I'll just CRY! (what?)

No, that doesn't sound right. But, that's how it is. And as I was explaining this to my friend today, all I could think about, was how?!

How did I manage to avoid the temperamental gene?!

I don't know, but I'd like to think I'm lucky for that.

Just thought I'd let y'all know.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Language Education in the United States

So, as you know, I just started my very first graduate school level classes. One of them, that I was extremely apprehensive about, is a class on the History of Higher Education.

Why would I be apprehensive about a History class? Oh, maybe because History was always a terrible subject for me and I don't think I ever got better than a C? Not acceptable in graduate school. Therefore, commence nervousness.

But, I read the first chapter, and it was really interesting! I can't believe that I thought so fondly of it. Weird. Who am I? Haha.

Anyway, so I was talking with a classmate via FB chat last night, and somehow we managed to get on this subject, and I started a rant session. So I figured I could blog about it. Why not share my opinion with the people of the internets? Kind of why I started blogging in the first place.

The Rant:
I saw in our History book that the first colonial colleges required students to know Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, but never required them to use it outside if the classroom or anything and so I thought to myself, "Wow, we effed up right from the beginning." The continuation of language began dying immediately. Textbooks were written in Latin, yet translation books for English conversion were at the ready for just about everyone. What's the point?

In France, students are required to learn not only their own language but, at least three others. We're barely required to take 2 years in HS, but nothing in college unless you actually planned on studying it. What kind of junk is that? Where did we go wrong?. Wtf? And people wonder why the French think they're better than us? They're more cultured!

In Quebec, children are required to learn French K-12. And only until they go to college, can they choose to attend either an English speaking institution or a French speaking one. Holding on to a culture that is theirs and theirs to keep. I appreciate that much of them, so freakin' much. You don't even understand. I wish we held those same values. But instead, we care more about whether or not marijuana should be legalized or not. Really? Good going, America.

Anyway, my dad never learned Spanish from his parents because they didn't want him to have a hard time in school. And that's precisely what's wrong with education these days. Children learn better from having more lingual influences. A dear friend of mine once stated in conversation, that if she didn't have both French and English in her dialogue growing up, school would have been more difficult for her. If she couldn't remember the word, "Notebook," she at least had the word, "Cahier," to fall back on.

Our country expects everyone to know English - inside and out of the country, yet we don't even know who the leaders of the UN are. Or who's topping the Spanish music charts. Because guess what, they know all about our music. But that's not important to us. Forget about everyone else. (Unless it comes to matters of sending 'aid' abroad. But that's another story and shall be told another time.)
Yet, when we enter the job force, it's more attractive for a person to be fluent in Spanish. Why? Shouldn't universities then be encouraging or requiring a spoken language? And if it's too difficult to learn at an older age, shouldn't we start young? There are studies out there people! Why don't we care?

It's a sad thing to think about. But then again. We can't even speak our own language correctly... -_-

At one point during my rant, my classmate brought up a good point. He stated, "Our schools in general are very restrictive. I think they limit far more than expand. But in my mind, that's why we're do out part to make it better." Wise words. Wise words.

I think I'm going to have a great semester discussing these ideals with classmates, but why not get your opinion on the matter?

Share if you'd like, you're always welcome.

Thanks for reading,
<3 Tawny