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Five Modern Love Essays to Read this Monday

Brian Rea Modern Love, the famous New York Times column, has featured some of the most powerful, heart wrenching, and quirky essays on love and relationships since 2004. Ever since I started reading Modern Love (thanks to my mom), each story I read has left an imprint on my soul and implanted a lesson in my mind. I now present five Modern Love stories everyone should read in their lifetime. No matter what love you have felt, received, or dreamed of — you will take away something profoundly special from each story. 1. Junk Food Was Our Love Language Written by C Pam Zhang / Illustrated by Brian Rea Eight autumns have passed since her father’s death, and like clockwork, chicken nuggets are right by her side. 2. Lockdown Was Our Breaking Point Written by Monique El-Faizy / Illustrated by Brian Rea Locked in her Parisian apartment with her two sons and husband of two years — the writing on the wall becomes clear: this mid-life crisis relationship was not meant to last. 3. Am I Gay or Straight? Maybe This Fun Quiz Will Tell Me Written by Katie Heaney / Illustrated by Brian Rea After years of taking online quizzes to figure out her sexual orientation, a young woman realizes the answers she’s been looking for were in front of her all along. 4. He Married a Sociopath: Me Written by Patric Gagne / Illustrated by Brian Rea A sociopath learns a lesson from her husband while accepting all the flaws and perks of who she is. 5. My Best Friend Is Gone, and Nothing Feels Right Written by Jared Misner / Illustrated by Brian Rea After a young man’s best friend becomes another body swiped away by the Coronavirus, he realizes he might never love someone again as deeply he did her. And it might not ever be ok, but that is ok. ~ If you want to stay up to date on all things Modern Love —the weekly essays, podcast episodes, and batches of Tiny Love Stories, paired with other relationship-based reads from The Times — sign up for Love Letter, a weekly email. Make sure to check out the “Modern Love” television series, based on this column, on Amazon Prime Video.

10 Stunning Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we honor the man, the leader, the legend — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a prominent figure in the civil rights movement, Dr. King used the gift of words rather than violence to preach the evils of segregation on the American frontier. Remembered for his memorable speeches, legendary interviews, and being a pioneering historical Black-figure, the impact of Dr. King's work lives on in all different ways. In this day and age, when our country seems more divided than ever and you may ask yourself, “What is this all for ?” or “How can I aid in positive change ?.” Below, ten quotes from Dr. King shed light on these questions, and provide answers. These words remind me of all the beauty there can be on this Earth if you actively try to be an agent of change. 1. “One day we will learn that the heart can never be totally right when the head is totally wrong." - From King's book Strength to Love 2. "We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope." From his "I Have A Dream" speech. 1963 March on Washington. 3. "Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education." - Written by King in the "The Purpose of Education," a 1947 article for Morehouse College's student newspaper King and folk singer Joan Baez, escorting children to their newly integrated school in Grenada, Mississippi. (1966) 4. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”- From Strength to Love A mural of Malcom X and King in London. 5. "True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice." - From his 1957 book Stride Toward Freedom Police officers pushing King around in Montgomery, Alabama, as he is booked for loitering near a courtroom in 1958. King was trying to go into the hearing of a man who was accused of attacking one of King’s colleagues. Charles Moore/Getty Images 6. "The greatest irony and tragedy of all is that our nation, which initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world, is now cast in the mold of being an arch anti-revolutionary." - From King's“The Casualties of the War in Vietnam.” American soldiers in Long Binh, Vietnam, observe King’s birthday on January 15, 1971, 15 years before it was first observed as a federal holiday. 7. "Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love...violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers." - From his December 1964 Nobel lecture. "Martin Luther King leads the march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, 21 March 1965." Photograph: AP 8. The beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold." - From King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. King joins a group of Freedom Riders in May 1961. Freedom Riders participated in Freedom Rides; bus trips through the American South in 1961 to protest segregated bus terminals. Comprised of white and African American civil rights activists, they faced horrible police brutality and violence from white protestors along their routes. 9. "History will have to record the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." - Stride Toward Freedom : The Montgomery Story US President Lyndon B. Johnson talks with King and other civil rights leaders at the White House in January 1964. Six months later, on July 2, 1964, Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. Yoichi Okamoto/LBJ Presidential Library 10. "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." -From the 2002 Coretta Scott King-edited book, In My Own Words. On March 22, 1956, King receives a kiss from his wife, Coretta Scott King,after being released from a Montgomery jail. Completely breathtaking quotes. Check out the New York Time's article : "Martin Luther King Jr. Day: 9 Ways to Honor His Legacy", on other great acts of service you can do today in respect to Dr. King 🖤

Venom in the U.S. Capitol

Shame and anger are the two words that swirl around my mind. Shame on the Trump supporters, white nationalists, and rioters for the madness they conducted yesterday. In my heart, anger wells because America is unraveling at the seams as I grow taller and taller on this land. I am not surprised nor in shock. I just wish the country I live in was better. The rioters who rushed into the U.S. Capitol were only able to do so because of the white privilege on their backs. The same white privilege they claim they "don't have" is the reason why four people died yesterday instead of hundreds more. If Black people or any other minority ever did anything like this, today would be a day of mourning. I would be writing a very different post. The hypocrisy is unbelievable — America is unbelievable. Actor Michael Keaton posted something on his Instagram today that struck a chord in my bones. "When you see an insurrection like this in other countries, it's people who are truly oppressed-usually under the rule of a despot. You rioters(white terrorists) are NOT oppressed. For one thing police don't shoot people unnecessarily who look like you …" Most if not all of the people apart of the coup yesterday are the MOST privileged people in America. This is how they react when something doesn't go their way? Attack the government of the country they "love" so much? Black Americans, Asians, Jewish Americans the Latinx community, and Indigenous Americans have gone through hell and back in this land, and look at the people trying to crush our democracy. How the tables have turned. Our president (Inauguration Day couldn't come sooner) does not act like anyone outside of Trump America exists. He and his supporters are living in a Disney World Land while we are on a burning planet. Yesterday a man wore a sweatshirt that said: "Camp Auschwitz" on the front and "STAFF" on the back. My stomach flipped. What world are they living in? What person, what president, would look at supporters like this and be proud? Trump set the fire under white supremacists, and the fact of the matter is these people aren't going away. The rioters live in America, have houses here, businesses, families. Domestic terrorism is an ugly beast. Again and again, I ask, how did this all happen? Sometimes change feels so out of reach. It feels like no matter what I do, nothing will ever change. But I will not let the ugly creature that is fear poison my mind. So I think about James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and all of my gleaming Black heroes from above, and I soldier on. You must too. When I am afraid, I write because my voice can peek its head out of all the noise that clouds my thoughts. Today is my little sister's 7th birthday (her golden birthday), so I feel a bit better knowing that cake will be in my stomach soon. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that when she's 15 like me, she will not have to watch her country crumble again on t.v. Stay safe, everyone, and I'll see you on Monday. S.R.

5 Tips To Help You Achieve Your New Year's Resolutions

US News Happy January 4th! You have survived four days into the new year, and you deserve a pat on the back. 2021 will hopefully be a year full of love, happiness, reflection, and Covid vaccines 😉 2020 was rough. There were times of loneliness, despair, grief, and an itch for something new to happen in the months of quarantine. But I am so grateful for the things many people did not have access to last year and still don’t now: shelter, food, family and friends, and good health. Hundreds of thousands of people had empty seats at the dinner table for New Year’s Eve, and that pains me beyond belief. Gratitude can be difficult to achieve and implement into daily life. This year I want to work on that more than ever. With the new year comes New Year’s Resolutions. I am a big believer in resolutions for the new year and always have a sheet of construction paper and markers ready on January 1st to jot down my list for the year. But keeping New Year’s Resolutions can be so HARD! Life whips you off of your feet, and by March, you’ve already forgotten what it is you want to achieve this year. According to the researcher Richard Wiseman, 88% of Americans do not follow through with their resolutions. Sometimes it feels as if New Year’s Resolutions are meant to be broken. But I’m here to offer you five tips to make sure you stick with your New Year’s Resolutions for 2021 ! #1 Create Specific Goals “Drink more water” is not enough. It is too vague, and this is just a resolution waiting to fall through the cracks. Look at the past resolutions you have attempted but did not complete, and examine why they weren’t successful. For example, one of my 2020 resolutions was “To get better at makeup.” I did not get better at makeup, and with all that time stuffed up in the house, I had time! But my goal was way too vague! What does “get better at makeup” really mean? Does that mean I’m able to do a perfect cut crease, impressive eye shadow looks, or I’m James Charles status by the end of the year? I have no clue. I can quickly fix that resolution if I drill down to what exactly I want to perfect in the makeup realm. For example, I could say: “Improve my eyeshadow skills by watching one makeup Youtube video every day” or “Practice makeup for 30 minutes every day.” The key term there is “every day (week, month, etc.).” Now your resolution is no longer just a resolution. It is a habit. #2 Be Reasonable The more practical you are, the more likely your resolutions will get done ! You know your schedule better than anyone else. If you don’t think you can read 100 books a year, as @BookyBecky encouraged you to do on Instagram, that is ok! Start small. Count how many books you read last year and make your resolution to read ten more books than that. Baby steps! To write resolutions, you have to have hope and faith in yourself. There are only so many hours in a day, and it’s challenging to get every little thing done, but that doesn’t mean you can’t always try to do a bit better. Take a second to think about what you want to accomplish this year and fly. No matter how silly or embarrassing, if it matters to you, it matters. #3 Write Your Resolutions Down On Paper Don’t write them down in your notes app or speak about your goals once the clock hits 12. Write them down on something physical! It could be on a looseleaf sheet, fancy scrapbook paper, or a literal napkin. Anything counts. Every year I grab a sheet of either colored poster or construction paper, grab a sharpie, and list my goals. You should also keep your list in a place where you can see it every day. In August last year, I redecorated my room and made the mistake of moving my 2020 resolutions list into the corner wall in my room that faces my dresser. I could never see the list unless I got up and craned my neck into the corner, and naturally, I forgot about my goals. This year, I placed my 2021 list on the wall in front of my desk. That is the section of my room that I am in the most. A constant reminder of what I should be working on. #4 Make Your Resolutions Public These are my ten New Years Resolutions : Read 40 new books Watch (and finish) five new television series Get in touch with my soul and spirituality Drink 32 oz of water every day Fine-tune and establish my writing persona Strengthen my poetry skills by examining different poets Finish 100 movies list! Listen to 20 new music albums Collage and journal more often Now I am relying on you to hold me accountable for these resolutions! At the end of the year, I will make a blog post updating you all on my success rate with each goal. Making your New Years Resolutions public is a great way to express your seriousness on completing each activity. It's always helpful to let other people in on your goals because they might even help you! You can post your resolutions on social media or just tell your parents or friends. I told my mom my seconds after I completed my 2021 list, and it was quite exhilarating. If you want to, you can have one person in your life, hold you accountable for completing each resolution. Say one thing you want to achieve is not straightening your hair for the entire year. It would be a good idea to text your friend who’s obsessed with hair care and update them about your progress. They can be your sponsor. #5 Do not write too many resolutions ! For 2020, I had fifteen resolutions. But I think the perfect number is ten. Not too little and not too much. As I mentioned before, you never want your goals to be too broad, so having three resolutions might not work. However, you also don't want to write fifty new years resolutions because that puts a lot of pressure on yourself! One year I had 25 resolutions, and I divided each up into specific categories. Way too complicated! If you see that you've completed one of your resolutions halfway through the year, you can always add another one. Improving yourself doesn't end with writing these resolutions. This is only the beginning. All of these tips and tricks will set you on the right track to complete your New Year's goals. I plan to create a monthly follow up sheet that tracks the progress I've made on each resolution in that period. And if you don't complete everything you hoped for by December 31st, it is ok! After all, we are only human.

Ten Films That Made My 2020

The longest year of our lives is about to turn into dust and get whipped away by the winds of years passed. I’m not mad. Even when the universe hit the world with the hardest tragedies, we soldiered on and tried to find the good in our lives. For me, that “good” was movies. In 2020 I watched 144 films for the first time! That is insane, and what’s even crazier is that I can remember watching each movie like it was yesterday. On my Letterboxd, you can find my full "2020 Film List - Ranked". All of these films, even the horrendous ones (I’m looking at you 365 Days), made me learn more about our world, myself, and the lives of those around me. I only went to the movie theaters a handful of times this year. Once Covid-19 struck, movie theaters were the first to go. I thank my laptop and iTunes for being by my side when it felt like the whole world was crumbling apart. There is nothing more healing to the soul than snuggling under the covers and watching an incredible movie. Out of the 144 films I watched, ten movies in particular, made my 2020. All of these movies are special to me for a specific reason, whether they comforted me in a dark time in my life or made me laugh until tears rolled down my eyes. Movies have a way of doing everything and nothing you imagined. Getting lost in a world so unlike your own is exhilarating, scary, and awakening. Thank you to the universe, for opening me up to the film world. And thank you to every director, actor, producer, writer, and more for giving me these ten films below. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) (dir. Aaron Sorkin, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and Eddie Redmayne) Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 follows the 1969 trial of the eight political radicals who were accused of inciting the riots that broke out at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The film is hilarious, snappy, and a very theatrical re-enactment of an infamous American courtroom drama. Sorkin has had his hand in courtroom dramas for some time now since he is the mastermind behind “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Broadway. The intelligent and pouncing dialogue, bursting riot scenes, and dramatics of this star-studded cast kept my parents and me engaged for the entire 130-minute duration. It isn’t hard to see the parallels between this year and the ’60s as the film presents. The tension between citizens and police, uprisings of marginalized groups, and the question of what ‘radical’ really means is all woven together in this timely piece. Soul (2020) (dir. Pete Docter , starring Jammie Foxx and Tina Fey) Soul introduces Pixar’s first Black male lead in Joe Gardener (Jamie Foxx), a middle school music teacher who longs to be a jazz musician on the big stage. After decades of rejection, Joe lands a gig with visiting jazz legend, Dorthea Williams, after a former student puts in a good word for him. Filled with the hope that this performance could be the turning point of his career, Joe rushes home to get prepare — when he falls into a manhole, and his life gets cut tragically short. After his fall, Joe’s soul is supposed to head to the Great Beyond (aka the afterlife), but he desperately wants to return to Earth. Joe then meets a bratty unborn soul, Soul 22 (Tina Fey), who can go to Earth but refuses to go because she doesn’t see the point in living. Joe and Soul 22 make an interesting pair as we learn that being alive isn’t the same thing as living. This film is a fantastic homage to New York City living from the iconic diss at the struggling NBA team, the New York Knicks, to the vibrant storefronts and taxi cabs. Soul is a reminder that one’s purpose in life is never set in stone and can only ever come from within. If it doesn’t, uncertainty and unhappiness lie ahead. The Lobster (2015) (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos, starring Colin Farell and Rachel Weisz) Greek filmmaker, Yorgos Lanthimos, directed this bleak and cynical satire on our society's obsession with love, relationships, and commitment. In this dystopian world, a single person has 45 days after a break up to find a new partner, and if they don't, they will be turned into an animal (of their choice, of course.) Colin Farell brilliantly plays the newly single Dave, who enters a facility where single people try to find a mate. The facility resembles the treatment center in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and spares no expense containing the human emotion "singles" feel. There are frequently seminars about the dangers of being single. (A woman walking by herself is attacked. A woman walking with a man is safe. So on.) Personal connection is pushed to the side because if you want to escape social humiliation and getting turned into an animal, you will marry the first person you have a connection with. The Lobster stabs a pitchfork right through everything Valentine's Day heart you've ever seen. It made me question the ideas of a "soulmate" and "the right person will come along."In Lanthimos's style, he doesn't answer these questions. Instead, he leaves you with a chilling, "We'll Never Know." Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010) (dir. Edgar Wright, starring Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead) In lockdown, my love for merely being a living, breathing, and healthy human, grew as did my appreciation for bubble tea, Netflix Party, and Michael Cera, of course. Cera plays Scott Pilgrim, a 22-year old Candian wannabe rockstar, who falls in love with an American girl he meets at a party, Ramona Flowers. First, he has to dump his 17-year-old girlfriend Knives Chau, and then he can finally be with the gorgeous girl with purple hair that stalks his dream. Scott Pilgrim kind of gets Knives out of the way. But no one told him that he also has to defeat Ramona’s seven deadly exes to date her ?! Ramona Flowers is certainly a Manic Pixie Dream Girl (read my article on that here). But, unlike most MPDG movies, the male love interest eventually realizes the MPDG's potential to be something more than an a person to fix their miserable life. The ending scene of the movie beautifully portrays the growth that is supposed to happen in any relationship. Scott Pilgrim has the perfect amount of obscenity that it's still good. You’ll be quoting this movie for weeks and playing the soundtrack non-stop as well. At least that’s what I did! Manchester by the Sea (2016) (dir. Kenneth Lonergan, starring Cassey Affleck and Michelle Williams) In Manchester by the Sea, your heart will get thrown all over the emotional clouds before hitting the ground with pain more intense than you ever thought possible. Casey Affleck plays depressive loner Lee Chandler, who spends his days as a janitor in Boston. After the death of his treasured older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), he is now the guardian and must take care of Joe’s only son Patrick (Lucas Hedges.) With impeccably seamless flashbacks given throughout the film, we see Lee’s relationship with Joe and Patrick from years before. As a tiny boy on his father’s prized fishing boat cracking jokes with his uncle, those memories of Patrick flood back into Lee’s mind as tensions between him and his now stubborn teenage nephew arise. Through these flashbacks, we also learn that Patrick’s mother was a drug addict and has been absent for most of his life. As the film digs through Lee’s mind capsule, we learn about the entirely different life he once led that makes residents of Manchester, Masschuttes refer to him as “the Lee Chandler.” I’ve never witnessed a film so stunning with its storytelling, dialogue, and cinematography. It comes as no surprise that director Kenneth Lonergan was once a playwright. In a small town whose minds are narrow, pain seeps through nonetheless. This is a film about forgiveness and the price of redemption. Manchester by the Sea is not a story about what it means to fly too close to the sun. It is a story about what it means to get burned by the sun until your skin is pickling red and how one day you can see the sun and not wince in fear anymore. Beautiful Boy (2019) (dir. Felix Van Groeningen, starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet) Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet come together in the most deeply felt and pulling way I have seen to represent father and son David and Nic Sheff. Beautiful Boy is based on each of their memoirs: David’s Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction and Nic’s Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines. After he and his wife separate, David struggles to help their teenage son, Nic, who begins experimenting with drugs and later gets addicted to methamphetamines. Beautiful Boy is close and intimate, from where the film takes place in woodsy Marin County, California, to Carell and Chalamet’s chemistry on screen. Chalamet breaks down the helplessness, resentment, and numbness of Nic. While Carell demonstrates a heartbreaking performance of a father who wants to help his son be the beautiful boy he knows he can be. As John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” flows throughout the scenes, teardrops will fall, soft as the song itself. We all have someone in our life we want to protect from the monsters that haunt them. Even if we know we can’t, the harm in not trying is more significant than any pain at all. “The monster's gone, he's on the run/ And your daddy's here/ Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful/ Beautiful boy” The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) (dir. Wes Anderson, starring Ralph Fiennes and Tony Revolori) You can fall in love so much harder for a movie the second time you watch it. The first time I watched this Wes Anderson masterpiece, I was half asleep, and truthfully I didn't remember the last thirty minutes. The second time around, my whole body felt as pastel pink as the Grand Budapest Hotel's color and little Mendl's boxes. I was blown away at how happy, mushy and warm a film could make me feel in just an hour and a half! This 2014 critically-acclaimed film tells the legendary concierge Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) and his exciting friendship with young employee Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), who becomes his trustworthy protege. Monsieur Gustave and Zero work at the bustling Grand Budapest Hotel in Europe, and within its colorful walls, love, war, theft, and greed explode. Featuring other star-studded actors like Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, and Adrien Brody, this movie is genuinely unforgettable. Like a Mendl's box, when you unfold its pretty ribbon, you are in for a delightful surprise. American Psycho (2000) (dir. Mary Harron, starring Christian Bale and Jared Leto) Once in a while, I show my "film bro" side, and one must not be afraid of that! Christian Bale plays a wealthy and neat New York investment executive named Patrick Bateman. From nine to five, he is nothing but the man with starched white shirts basking in the privileges of a white American male. Evaluating whose business card is the best is his favorite past time with his co-workers because fonts and getting a reservation at Dorsia are Patrick's largest concerns in life. That is until his psychopathic alternate ego takes over, and he goes on a rampage of slaughterings, rapings, and torture to fulfill his gruesome and illicit fantasies. American Psycho is mind-bending, head-scratching, controversial, and entirely up to your interpretation. Run wild. Call Me By Your Name (2017) (dir. Luca Guadagnino, starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer) Somewhere in 1980s Northern Italy, surrounded by lush trees, sunbathed streets, cracking villas, and a glimmering blue pool, 17-year-old Elio Pearlman (Timothée Chalamet) falls in love with an older man named Oliver (Armie Hammer). Elio returns to his family's summer home in Italy with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an esteemed professor, and his mother (Amira Casar.) Oliver, an American doctoral student, arrives for Elio's father's annual internship and is everything Elio is not. He is tall, confident, gorgeous, and bold. When Oliver leaves, he always says, "Later," making him an even bigger mystery to the Pearlman family. Elio is shy, gawky, and everything from the way he talks to his pastimes are like a flowing bottle of molasses — long and drawn out. The two fall in love amid psychedelic dances, pissy girlfriends (or sidepieces), peaches, and mountain runs. The question: "Is it better to speak or not to speak ?" is echoed as bright as the colors in this film. In a world of in-betweens, we see two young men grow into their identities, grow away from it, and get lost in a love so deep it hurts. Whenever I need a reminder of why I love film, I watch Call Me By Your Name. Nothing will ever compare to this masterpiece. Brokeback Mountain (2005) (dir. Ang Lee, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall) Two modern-day cowboys, Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhall), meet during 1963 at a summer job tending sheep on a Wyoming mountainside. Ennis is quiet and offers nothing but his timid smile, while Jack, a rodeo rider, is a bit more outgoing and spontaneous. After a few days have passed on the mountains and whiskey has seeped into their system, the intense feelings between the two rise quickly, and they passionately (and violently) have sex. "This is a one-shot thing we got going on here," Ennis says the next day. But as the film unfolds, we see this is far from the truth. After the summer ends, years pass by and both men live their lives, get married, have kids, and so on. But, Ennis and Jack always find themselves back together. Brokeback Mountain destroyed me in a way I've never felt before. This film is a masterpiece in all respects. The intimacy between Ledger and Gyllenhall will leave you speechless, as they convey the beautiful but depressing truth that love can survive through the darkest times if you don't let fear rule the way. I can' wait for all the beautiful films 2021 will bring. See you next year !⭐⭐

Chasing snow

❄️❄️❄️ Chasing snow ~ A poem by Sanai Rashid Snow falls onto cracked pavements, broken homes and shattered dreams. The white angels' cover-up a pain so evident burying each feeling of distress further down and down and down. Until all you can see are ghostly white blankets. Your body trembles, and for once, it isn't consumed with fear. It is bubbling with freedom. You pour water on the glue that has stuck you onto your bed for the last six months (but in all honestly, you didn't want to get up) and you wash your face for the first time brush off the plaque that stains your teeth lotion the skin that resembles the Sahara desert put on red long johns, mittens, gloves, coats and snap on your snow boots. You hammer down the stairs and you're not thinking about the asynchronous classwork you have to do Right now, everything on your to-do list can stick a carrot up their rear. For snow is here. Now you are out the door, and your feet are making footprints in the snow! You are here, right now, making your mark on the world. Your body is like a toaster oven, warm and fuzzy from layers of clothes and you smile before you take the final plunge and fall onto the snow. Time flies by. The light lemonade sun that shone when you first went outside, has now been replaced with a hard boiled egg moon, and a dark chocolate sky. Hours of rolling around, sticking out your tongue for fresh snowflakes, snowman building and ice spinning are now over. As you peel off your clothes, run your frozen hands under hot water and sip hot cocoa on the couch, you wonder Which is better? The chase for happiness or happiness itself? The chase is filled with hope, longing, a craving for something more then what you currently have. But when you achieve that happiness it eventually goes stale. The expiration date grows nearer. Maybe happiness never goes "stale." It just melts into something different, Like a cup of Dip N Dots. Like butter on a pan. Or snow. The thrill of snow is that it is temporary. You have to appreciate it while you can. And when you are chasing something that never stays for too long, you better run while you can.

Matthew Morrison Hatred Explained

Bustle 2020 has been chaotic, disturbing, vile, and like a big black fly, you can’t get out of your living room. After a while, you try to ignore that it’s there, but it seems to bother you everywhere you go. Can you guess which celebrity these same characteristics also apply to 🤔 ? Yes. I am talking about Matthew Morrison. Or should I say the Grinch? That’s right. This Wednesday, Mr. Morrison will grace the television screens of millions as he stars in NBC’s stage production of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch Musical. The two-hour special will broadcast live from the Troubadour Theatre in London on December 9 at 8 p.m. ET. Usually, Morrison just steals the sanity and happiness of everyone he meets. But this year, he’s going to be stealing Christmas presents too ?! As if this year couldn’t get any worse. If you aren’t apart of Gen Z or haven’t been on Tik Tok within the last month, you might be asking yourself: Who is Matthew Morrison, and why do you dislike this man so much ?! Well, I’m not the only one, sweetheart. Let’s dig into why the entire internet despises Matthew Morrison. Plus, why we non-famous people love to hate on celebrities. Because I’m sure, there is a celebrity you wouldn’t mind slapping over the head with a newspaper if you ran into them on the street. Will Schuester Is Super Problematic on Glee One of Morrison’s most notable acting roles was his character as Will Schuester on Glee. Mr. Schue, the Spanish teacher, turned glee-club director who was set on returning a high-school choir club to its former glory. Glee focused on the team’s ability to work together despite their differences to make competition-winning covers while diving into the personal struggles both students and teachers faced on the show. Many people found themselves rewatching Glee during quarantine this year and noticed how the show was all sorts of problematic. But Mr. Schue’s character remains the most cringe-worthy. In an article from The Tab titled, “All the Evidence Mr. Schue From Glee Should Have Been Locked Up,” writer Tom Haynes *clears his throat* and announces, “Your honor, I stand to mount a case against a defendant whose crimes have gone unnoticed, uncounted, and unpunished. That man’s name is William Schuester. Yes, even in the world of Glee, the stupidest TV show ever made, Mr. Schue stands out as the character guilty of the most inappropriate behavior.” He is known to commit the “daylight murder of several of your favorite songs.” For example, he sang and humped his fedora during a highly sexual ‘Toxic’ performance with his students (the performance culminates in a ‘Britney Spears sex riot’ where one of the students begs to have Mr. Schue’s babies). From preventing a transgender student from using their staff toilets just so he could make sure the glee club was able to continue with their right to twerk, to the fact that he seems to have no adult friends — Mr. Schue is a certified CREEP seven days a week. If the show was still around, I know Mr. Schue would beg to choreograph a steamy WAP cover. Of course, Mathew Morrison and Will Schuester are not the same people. It’s an unfortunate role to get stuck with. Sorry Morrison, but you are now lumped in with actors like Daniel Radcliffe from Harry Potter and Justin Prentice from 13 Reasons Why. You can’t separate the actor from the character. Even if you could, it’s not like Matthew Morrison is any less cringe in real life than his notorious Glee character …. @princetongirl181 @dogmomvampire Morrison Is Unintentionally (And Embarrassingly) Insensitive Many fans of the show have agreed that Glee stars might be "cursed." In 2013, Cory Monteith — who played football turned choir star, Finn Hudson, died of a drug overdose. In 2018, Mark Salling, who played Noah "Puck" Puckerman, was found dead from an apparent suicide by hanging. He was weeks away from being sentenced to between four and seven years in jail for possession of child pornography, which he plead guilty to earlier that year. ` Several castmates of Glee posted tributes to Salling on social media, but Morrison's was the most tone-deaf. He posted a photo of him, Salling, and Monteith with a caption of a sad face sandwiched in between two angel emojis : "😇😔😇". Fans of the show were enraged at Morrison's emoji choice, somehow equating Salling, someone who distributed child porn, to angel-like Monteith. "There's literally no comparison between these two. One struggled with substance abuse and was gone way too soon, and the other was a vile person who downloaded and redistributed literal child porn. This photo is so damn tone-deaf that it's sickening," someone commented on Instagram. Similarly, when Naya Rivera, Santana Lopez on the show, was pronounced missing this summer, Morrison thought it was appropriate to post a photo of her with the lyric "I say a little prayer for you" and nothing else. He likely posted this because Rivera sang a rendition of Aretha Franklin's track on the show, but dude c’mon. @alli.henzler People have not been afraid to blast their dislike for Morrison over social media. There is a new form of rick-rolling, and it's called getting "getting Schuestered." During Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, hundreds of people noted how they screamed in horror when Morrison appeared in a commercial for The Grinch on NBC. Over 17,000 people have signed petitions calling to “send Matthew Morrison to Guantanamo Bay,” and every day, a new cursed Matthew Morrison flies down in front of us, forever haunting us until the day we die. “One pandemic at a time, please,” is a recurring comment under any videos to do with Morrison. “This is my 13th reason why,” is another. Well, why is it so easy to hate on celebrities? The Cut Of course, Matthew Morrison isn't the only person to get made fun of on social media. As a celebrity in this generation, fame often means you will have memes made of you. Who knows, you can even profit off of those memes as Kylie Jenner did with "Rise and Shine"! It was only a couple of months ago that Lin-Manuel Miranda took his hit at being the joke of the day. By July, Broadway sensation "Hamilton" was back on everyone's radar after a stage recording featuring the original cast was available to stream on Disney Plus. The hype that Hamilton received worldwide in 2016 had risen once again, and people uploaded memes, GIFS, and tweets all over social media. But by far, the most popular trend featured the show's creator, Lin Manuel Miranda, in his iconic lip-bitting selfies. Miranda's popular lip-biting images come from a tweet that he posted on Dec. 13, 2018, and another that he tweeted on Nov. 12, 2018. Before getting Schuestered was even a thing, creators on Tik Tok used Miranda as jokes in their content and simply wanted to trick people into coming across one of Miranda's cursed lip-biting selfies. The trend reached such heights that Miranda knows about it and acknowledged it in a freestyle rap he posted on Twitter. "Bit my lip, ah sh-t, TikTok hates when I do that," he raps. Plus, on his website, you can buy a NibbleLips LinPin for $12! It's so easy to bash celebrities because they aren't real people. Well, yes, they are — but not to us. They live a life that 90% of us won't ever have, and it seems as if their lives are one big unattainable joke. When they do relatable things (remember when 25 celebs made a montage of singing "Imagine" in early quarantine to "bring us all together"), it's laughable and annoying. So when they do weird and cringy stuff, it's even more amusing to us non-famous people because here is someone making millions of dollars a year, and they still manage to make a fool of themselves! As humans, we love to gossip about other people. The academic journal Psychological Science published an article that explored the nature of gossip and ostracism and discovered that those behaviors are valuable for the well being of both small groups and society as a whole. Through gossiping, we distinguish the acceptable actions and the ones that are not. As writer Winnie Salmon states, "Hating on celebrities is the purest form of guilt-free gossip there is." Most likely, we will never meet the celebrities we make fun of. It's clear that when we are online, we are bolder than ever before. When you clown a star, it's easy not to think of yourself as a bully. If they can't handle a few mean memes, they can cry about it in your mansion for all we care. In 2013, Star released the results of its "Most Hated Celebrities" poll, which featured Gwenyth Paltrow as the most despised person in Hollywood, followed by other stars like Taylor Swift, Chris Brown Kim Kardashian. Maureen O'Connor broke down in The Cut the three categories loathed celebrities fall into : Tries Too Hard, Doesn't Try Hard Enough, and Crimes Against Other Celebrities. It is a fascinating piece. It is unclear as to wether Star still does this poll, but if so, I figure Morrison and Manuel would land on the list. They would surely fall into the "Tries Too Hard" category because their mannerisms are just a little funky. Both were theater kids growing up, which might explain why they act the way they do twenty years later! This popular online activity of going after celebrities might be our jealousy spilling over? Maybe we are projecting our anxiety onto them? Are we all just bullies? I don’t think there is one answer to that question. It doesn’t hurt to poke fun at people every once and a while as long as it doesn’t go too far, because celebrities do have feelings (I think)! I know I will be watching Matthew Morrison as the Grinch on television this week. As much as this man scares me, he also intrigues the heck out of me. It’s like a car crash — I can’t look away. So at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, raise your cup of hot cocoa in the air because I’m sure Morrison will put on quite the show.

A-Z Song List

Hey ! Today’s post is a music one (my most neglected category :/) but I had a lot of fun writing it ! I now present my favorite songs from A-Z ;) This is mostly likely to change in a month LOL, but yea ! A - "ASTROTHNDER" by Travis Scott B - "Bad Religion" by Frank Ocean C - "Canyon Moon" by Harry Styles D - "Devil in a New Dress" by Kanye West feat. Rick Ross E- "Eleanor Rigby" by The Beatles F - "Family Business" by Kanye West G- "Ghostin" by Ariana Grande H - "Hey Ya !" by OutKast I - "Imagine" by Ariana Grande J - "Junky" by BROCKHAMPTON K - "Killing Me Softly" by Fugees L - "Love Song" by Sarah BareiIles M - "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele N - "No One" by Alicia Keys O - "Only in Dreams" by Weezer P - "Pyramids" by Frank Ocean Q - "The Queen" by Lady Gaga R - "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse S - "Self Control" by Frank Ocean T- "The Weekend" by SZA U- "Ultralight Beam" by Kanye West V - "Valentine" by Fiona Apple W - "Waving Through a Window" by Dear Evan Hansen X - "X" by 21 Savage Y - "Yikes" by Kanye West Z - "To Zion" by Fugees 🎶 🎶

Placing the 'Thanks' in Thanksgiving

In past years, as the middle of November comes around and the leaves on the trees turn into their final shade of auburn red, children everywhere clutter on fuzzy rugs in American school classrooms to learn about the First Thanksgiving. That Native American tribes inhabited the East Coast of the United States. The area surrounding the First Thanksgiving site, now known as southeastern Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island, had been the home of the Wampanoag people for over 12,000 years. The Plymouth Colony, a group of English Protestants, left their homes in Europe during 1620 and sailed on the Mayflower for 66 days, in hopes of religious freedom in "The New World." Accidentally the 101 women, children, and men landed in what is now Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and soon met Native Americans on the land. Samoset, a leader of the Abekani people and Tisquantum (better known as Squanto), helped the settlers grow crops, get accustomed to the land, and taught them how to use fish for fertilizer. In a year's time, the Native Americans and the English hunted and gathered for a harvest celebration, and for three days, the English and native men, women, and children ate together. All indulged in a feast of deer, corn, shellfish, and other roasted meat. Most of what I told you in the paragraph above and the story our school system and society has spun about the First Thanksgiving is far from the truth. The world has drilled the message of Thanksgiving as a "kumbaya and happy feast" of two opposite peoples. Therefore, it is as if we have to swim across the whole Atlantic Ocean to find out the holiday's true origin! As children, of course, we didn't know better and floated on these Thanksgiving myths. We happily ran around classrooms in paper-cut out pilgrim hats and Native American headdresses. Our parents, grandparents, and most of the world (besides Native Americans) have accepted these misleading stories for far too long. As you sit around your dining room table today and pass around the gravy boat for mashed potatoes, slice into juicy ham and connect to the family Zoom (because with Covid cases on the rise, I hope you aren't traveling !), it's essential to understand the history of this holiday. We must understand the lives and tales that have been forgotten by America because of it. First off, what is the Thanksgiving myth? I can not put it any better than David Silverman, a history professor at George Washington University and author of This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving. In an interview with Smithsonian Magazine, he states, "The myth is that friendly Indians, unidentified by tribe, welcome the Pilgrims to America, teach them how to live in this new place, sit down to dinner with them and then disappear. They hand off America to white people so they can create a great nation dedicated to liberty, opportunity, and Christianity for the rest of the world to profit. That's the story—it's about Native people conceding to colonialism. It's bloodless and in many ways an extension of the ideology of Manifest Destiny." Thanksgiving is another sad example of people of color getting shoved out of the picture so white saviors can take the spotlight. What are some of the most significant inaccuracies in the First Thanksgiving story? One of the biggest misconceptions is Native American history begins when the English settlers arrive. People had lived in the Americas for roughly 12,000 years, and as some Native artifacts suggest, since the beginning of time. Doesn't it strike you as odd that teachers only ever taught us about Native Americans concerning white colonists, in history class? From Christopher Columbus "discovering" the "New World" to Native Americans and colonists working together to grow food, The Trail of Tears, and more. Native Americans had been thriving on their own for centuries before white colonists disrupted their lifestyle and today, remain resilient despite little aid or attention. Native Americans' story doesn't start with English arrival, and it doesn't end there either. For too long, America has skipped to chapter 25 in the "book" of Native Americans and disregarded the other 100 chapters of their journey. Secondly, the arrival of the Mayflower is not the first-contact episode people paint it out to be. The Wampanoags had a century of contact with Europeans, a bloody and revolting experience nonetheless. At least two or more Wampanoags spoke English when the Pilgrims arrived, most notably Squanto aka "the Pilgrims' very first friend." As a member of the Patuxet, a band of the Wampanoag tribe, Squanto did act as translator for the Pilgrims, helped them trade with other native people, and showed them the most effective planting methods, as schools taught us. But his full story with Europeans isn't as happy-go-lucky. He was captured by the English in 1614 and later sold into slavery in Spain, explained Kate Sheehan, a spokeswoman for Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth. He spent several years in England, where he learned English and returned to New England in 1619 to discover his entire Patuxet tribe wiped out. They all died from smallpox. He met the Pilgrims that very next year. How did the Great Dinner become the focal point of our modern Thanksgiving holiday? For a long time, English people had been celebrating Thanksgivings that didn’t involve feasting—instead, they involved fasting, prayer, and supplication to God. We think of the First Thanksgiving as some monumental event when it wasn’t such a big deal to the natives and Pilgrims. Similar feasts had happened elsewhere for years. This was no new tradition. Historians aren’t exactly sure either if Thanksgiving happened annually after 1621. It wasn’t until years later that the holiday picked up again. In 1769 a group of Pilgrim descendants residing in Plymouth felt their cultural authority was slipping away as New England faded into the shadows. An increasing number of colonies popped up, and the early republic was growing. So they sprinkled the “glittering idea” that Pilgrims were the founding fathers of America. Twenty years later, President George Washington tried to start a holiday of Thanksgiving, but it had nothing to do with “natives and Pilgrims.” Instead, the country looked at it as a national day of “thanksgiving and prayer.” (The phrase “Merciless Savage Indians” is written into the Declaration of Independence, so we know how the founders of America viewed the Indigenous Peoples of this land.) Thanksgiving wasn’t made into an official holiday until 1863, after writer, Sarah Josepha Hale, persuaded President Lincoln that the Thanksgiving holiday was necessary and could help heal the divided nation. The holiday was attractive throughout the late 19th century, as there was an enormous amount of anxiety and distress over immigration. The white Protestants of the United States wanted to establish their cultural superiority as an influx of European Catholics, and Jewish people entered the country. As Silverman says, what better way to assert this authority than “to create this national founding myth around the Pilgrims and the Indians inviting them to take over the land?” Did the Wampanoag initially like the settlers? One can say the natives had a cordial relationship with the settlers. There is no doubt that Wampanoag leader Ousamequin reached out to the Pilgrims at Plymouth and wanted an alliance. But it’s not because he wanted to be best friends with them. It’s because his people were dying left and right from epidemic diseases, and Ousamequin saw the English as a potential aid to help them against his tribal rivals. Many of the Wampanoags did not like the English and wanted to align with the Narragansett tribe to get rid of them. These new settlers had been raiding the coast, robbing food supplies, enslaving natives for years, and had overstayed their welcome. If not, why did the Wampanoags work with them and give them the land? Society underplays Native American's intelligence. It is a common misconception that the natives in Massachuttes had no sense of 'property' and that they let Pilgrims sweep their land out from under them. But that is a ridiculous and disrespectful assumption. Native tribes did practice hunting and gathering and might have moved to different settlements, but most natives did not roam the land and had healthy interdependent communities. Every village had its own "distinct mix of farming and foraging" and traded with one another to make the most out of Mother Nature. Each community was always "joining and splitting like quicksilver in a fluid pattern within its bounds," writes Kathleen J. Bragdon, an anthropologist at the College of William and Mary. One of the defining moments between the English Settlers and natives of New England was King Philip's War — also known as the First Indian War. Historians disagree with the intentions of the war. Were the native people, led by Metacomet, or Philip as the English call him, plotting a multi-tribal uprising against the English? Some historians think that idea was merely a figment of the paranoid English settler's imagination. But others like Silverman believe that documented meetings of tribal leaders meeting with one another (even though they hated each other), the terrifying frenzy English settlers exhibited, and other warning signs point otherwise. "It all adds up to me," he writes. However, Native Americans were unsuccessful in this war, because guess what — they didn't consider themselves as "Indians"! That's an identity they would come to learn — and loathe, due to their struggles with white countrymen. Imagine if you thought of yourself as a blueberry all these years, and you were proud of your identity when one day some farmer slaps a "Hi My Name Is Strawberry" sticker on your forehead, and now all of a sudden you are a strawberry! What the heck, right?! That is precisely what colonists did to Native Americans. Roughly 600 Native American tribes covered the United States. Most American maps don't depict these groups and their history. So when 34-year-old self-taught-map maker Aaron Carapella created his own Tribal Nations Map, he said in an interview with NPR, "I think a lot of people get blown away by, 'Wow, there were a lot of tribes, and they covered the whole country!' You know this is Indian land." Tribes are all unique from one another, and like any other community, their interest is often in the focus of their own tribe. Which meant in the 1600s, cutting deals with colonial powers to combat their native rivals was ideal. It was difficult for native tribes to come together because they had never been seen as similar people and "the others" until now. Ok, spare me some childhood hope. There have to be some parts of the story that are true … right? Yes, there are some parts about the origin story of Thanksgiving that are true. The timeline is relative. The Mayflower did bring Pilgrims to North America from Plymouth, England, in 1620, and they landed at what is now Plymouth, Mass., where they created a colony. But the Pilgrims didn’t come to North America in hopes of religious freedom. It was quite the opposite. The Pilgrims already had religious freedom in Holland, where they arrived in the early 17th century. Like any other group, Pilgrims came to America to make money, says James W. Loewen, a sociologist and the author of “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong.” to The New York Times. “They were also coming here in order to establish a religious theocracy, which they did,” he said. “That’s not exactly the same as coming here for religious freedom. It’s kind of coming here against religious freedom.” Lastly, in 1621, the Pilgrims did have a feast to celebrate a successful harvest, and the Wampanoags came. Though there is debate if there even were natives at the First Thanksgiving. But it is widely believed there was some sort of mingling over the course of those days. Was there even turkey at this feast ?! I hate to burst your bubble, but no. There are only two remaining documents that reference the First Thanksgiving meal, and neither mention Turkey. In one of the papers, William Bradford, the governor Winslow mentions, “And besides waterfowl, there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion.” Though it might have been possible that colonists and Native Americans cooked wild turkey, Kathleen Wall, a foodways culinarian at Plimoth Plantation, told Smithsonian, she suspects wild goose or duck was the Wildfowl of choice. Wall, who has studied cookbooks and descriptions of gardens from the period, and archaeological remains such as pollen samples that might clue her into what the colonists were growing, also believes swan and passenger pigeons were available as well. Guess what. There wasn’t any pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce either! So my two favorites made no appearance at that first feast because colonists did not have butter and wheat flour to make crusts for pies and tarts. It would be another 50 years before an Englishman wrote about boiling cranberries and sugar into a “Sauce to eat with. . . Meat.” No type of potato either. White potatoes, originating in South America, and sweet potatoes from the Caribbean, had yet to arrive in North America. For now, we do know a couple of things that people ate at the First Thanksgiving. “Wildfowl was there. Corn, in grain form for bread or porridge, was there. Venison was there,” says Wall. “These are absolutes.” Along with native corn, squash, pumpkin, and beans, the colonists and Native Americans weren’t eating too bad ;) [Read more here on how the Thanksgiving menu evolved into what it is today] Now that I know the history behind Thanksgiving, what can I do apart from stuff my mouth with my mom's mashed potatoes! Well, you've already taken a step by reading my article! It is exceptionally harmful to adopt the mindset that Native Americans willingly gave their land to colonists who invaded their homes and destroyed a built history. It makes Americans blind to the privilege they have even existing in this country, while today's Native Americans have to feel like they never belong when they are the Indiegnous people of this land. Now that you understand the real history of Thanksgiving, there are a couple of things you can do to make native voices heard, seen, and remembered. Learn whose land you are on by visiting the Native Lands App. It is an interactive map about your area's Indigenous Peoples and languages. Celebrate and Listen to Native American voices (read their books, read their essays). See #NativeReadsCampaign, Amazon's Best Seller Native American Children's Books, video We Still Live Here: Black Indians of Wampanoag and African Heritage, essay The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday, and Black, Native American and Fighting for Recognition in Indian Country Decolonize your dinner. See The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday, Vice article with chef Nephi Craig, a half-Navajo member of the White Mountain Apache tribe of Whiteriver, Arizona, : How to Decolonize Your Thanksgiving Dinner and Seven Native American Chefs Share Thanksgiving Recipes Shop Native American this holiday season. Check out Beyond Buckskin, RezonateArt, and ButterflyBuffalo, Eighth Generation and Inspired Natives Project, Buy Native. When you say what you're grateful for around the dinner table this Thanksgiving Day, make sure you say how thankful you are for Native Americans. They were forced to give up their lives, homes, and everything they knew so you could have this holiday.

To Four Hopeful Years

We did it. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona, (Georgia, but they're still counting), and all the other blue states did it. Joe Biden is now the President-elect and will soon be the 46th president of the United States of America. Kamala Harris is currently the Vice President-elect, breaking barriers as the first woman, the first Black woman, and the first woman of Indian heritage to be elected vice president! But most importantly, the people did it. I could not vote, and many of you, my readers, probably weren't able to either. But I know so many of us took the time during these last few months to educate ourselves about our country's politics. I read articles from the New York Times, CNN, and watched MSNBC more than ever before. And that matters. Because in four years, when we can vote, we will look back at this moment. We will remember the stress and anxiety it brought us, even though we weren't even voting! We will picture the parades and gatherings in the streets, because alas, four years of Hell were over. Let's go back in time to last summer: July 30, 2019. My family and I relaxed on comfy turquoise couches in the living room of our Airbnb in Maine. After 7 hours of driving from New York, we had gotten into the state that evening and decided to treat ourselves to lobster rolls (chicken fingers for me), lemonade, and a stroll on the rocky beach. But of course, the night wouldn't be complete without watching Night One of the second Democratic presidential debate on CNN. Amidst playing Apples to Apples with my family, we peered at the television screen and watched: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Marianne Williamson, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, *phew that was a lot* and Steve Bullock debate it out. Then we watched ten other presidential candidates do the same thing the next night. Suddenly my eyes were open as I listened to the topics they were debating and cared more for our nation's future than ever before. In 2016, I didn't fully understand everything going on. I was only 11. But when I watched the debate that night with my family, something inside of me clicked, and I realized there is a chance for change — someone up on that debate stage has the opportunity to make America into what it used to be. They have a chance to make America better than it used to be. As 2020 started, primaries and caucuses began to weed out candidates. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders were the lone two soldiers. Sanders dropped out in April, and in August, Former Vice President (and now president :D ) Joe Biden was nominated as the Democratic candidate for US president. We watched as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris spoke at the Democratic National Convention this summer. When Kamala came out at the end of night one, in a lovely burgundy pantsuit to accept her nomination as VP Pick, I shed a tear. Sitting next to my parents on our couch (at home), Kamala was a symbol that us Black girls could do it! She represents a new era of female politicians in a nation that is becoming increasingly intersectional on all levels. Autumn came around, and we watched as some wacko debates unfold. When Trump and Biden did their first presidential debate with Chris Wallace as the moderator, it was like watching a boxing match! They both kept interrupting each other, and everyone could see Trump burbling up with fury inside, every time Biden spoke. It was hilarious but also embarrassing. When Kamala Harris and current Vice President Mike Pence did their VP debate, they set a better example than Biden and Trump. But Mike Pence dodged almost every single question. He could barely answer what his plans were to stop Covid, and he's in charge of the whole committee! And oh, when the fly landed on Pence's head, my entire family cracked up! Twitter came with the memes in less than a second, and Biden's marketing team tweeted a photo of Joe Biden with a fly swatter and a caption that read, "Pitch in $5 to help this campaign fly." The fly swatter itself said, "Truth over Flies," on the handle. Hilarious. Needless to say that when Election Day finally came around last week Tuesday, my anxiety was through the roof. The day was here. No more waiting. This was it. All across my Instagram feed that day, I saw people reposting, "Make sure to VOTE!" and various voting information. Celebrities, superstars, uncles, aunts, — everyone was tuned into this moment. It felt as if the whole world was watching. And they were. After class, I went to my school's Current Events club (virtually, of course) and students from all grades expressed their feelings on the election. I could tell that we were all in a state of concern and anguish, excited but nervous that our country was now up for grabs. The club leaders played an SNL skit that aired after the 2016 election, starring Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock, and that eased the tension in the room. I mean, when do Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock not make you feel better? After looking at CNN hosts all week, some of us went a lil bonkers. Myself included 😍 I figured we weren't going to find out who won on Tuesday night because of mail-in ballots and other complications Covid has brought, but dang, I wanted the remaining states to hurry up by Friday night! During Spanish class on Friday, I can assure you no one was paying attention to what my teacher was saying because we kept refreshing our browsers to see if the results had been updated. I googled "Election 2020 results from NYT" more times than I can count this past week. I stress-ate an entire bag of tootsie rolls over the four days because gosh, I was scared! Four more years of Trump would mean four more years of hatred spewing from his narcissistic mouth, attacks against marginalized communities, and I was scared that if he won, it would confirm my fear that this country, my home, is a terrifying place after all. I constantly FaceTimed my best friends to check in and see how they were feeling, our future in the hands of everyone else but us. I felt as if someone had tied me to a wooden chair,  and there was little I could do but watch as our country either sunk to a grave death or floated to a brighter future. Thankfully we floated! When I found out that Biden alas had won Pennsylvania, my first thought was yay! Now I don't have to boycott Philly cheesesteaks! Yes, it was that serious. Nevada was still counting, but at that point, PA had let us secure the win once and for all! As we speak, Georgia is finishing off the count, but Biden pretty much won there, and it is all thanks to queen Stacey Abrams and all the other Black women who helped register more Georgia voters for the 2020 election. Joe Biden received the most votes any presidential candidate in the United States has EVER gotten. 75, 260,264 people (and counting) voted for him in this election. But let's not forget that over 70 million people still voted for Trump too. Our country is nowhere near progressive as we think. More white women voted for Trump in 2020 (55%) compared to the 53% (or 52% some polls found) who voted for him in 2016, according to a New York Times exit poll. Yet 91 % of Black women voted for Biden in this election. The Black community shows up time and time again for Democratic candidates. In his victory speech on Saturday night, Biden highlighted this fact, "And especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest — the African-American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I'll have yours." Looking over the electoral maps from this race, I can see the division that runs deep in this country. Under Trump, our division has become as visible as a pimple on prom night. Hatred has run this country for the last four years, and I hope Joe Biden and Kamala can help us reconnect at last. People will still disagree with each other, but it boggles my mind that things such as science, racism, and human rights were up for debate under the Trump administration ?? Looking forward, as Joe Biden likes to say, "There will be no blue states or red states, just the United States." *Cue Joe's cheesy smile😁* My family and I gathered around the television screen on Saturday night and watched as Kamala took the stage in Delaware in her blazing white pantsuit. One part of her speech stood out in particular to me : "And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message: Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they've never seen it before. And we will applaud you every step of the way." I needed to hear that. Every Black and brown girl or boy needed to hear that. Kamla affirmed that this world belongs to me as much as it does to the white men who think they rule the world. Then Joe jogged onto the stage after Kamala's speech, and I bet the whole country laughed because he looked like your average American grandpa.  Sweet, loving, and always trying to catch up to the party. That's what an American president should be. Someone, we can feel safe and proud to look at. Someone kids can look up to for years to come. This country has a lot more to go. But I'm ready. Joe and Kamala are ready. And the rest of America better be prepared because change is coming! This does not mean the world will be perfect, racism will be fixed, and we can go back to being complacent. After all, Trump will still have access to his Twitter account and can say whatever he wants. I'm going to ignore it, and you should too ;) But I go to sleep tonight knowing that I have a president who believes my life matters. We all can go to sleep tonight with a massive weight off of our shoulders. Bask in the glory of a new day but the hard work doesn't end here. For now, we can drink apple cider, dance in fountains at Washington Square Park, cry, buy Jomala merch, and do whatever because we did it! Trump is about to fly away. In every inch of my heart, I hope this is a start to four more hopeful years.

Halloween 2020 Gallery 🎃

Happy Halloween! I hope that everyone had a safe time on Saturday and practiced social distancing <3 Remember that, not going to a party is potentially saving someone's life ;) For Halloween, my bestie came over for a sleepover and we went over to Washington Square Park for a bit to chill and take some cute pics. Then we ended the night by eating Halloween cupcakes and watching John Mulaney on Saturday Night Live. My definition of a perfect Saturday night! Here is my Halloween 2020 Gallery. I dressed up as Lady Bird from the movie Lady Bird with the amazing Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet. Enjoy and remember tomorrow is Election Day. So if you are over 18 you better VOTE VOTE VOTE! Don't we look like twins ;) !! My friend was a cat for Halloween, and if I remember correctly, Lady Bird had a cat in the movie lol 😽 We ate some bomb Mac n' cheese at a restaurant called S'mac in the Village. Lady Bird's love interest in the movie is Kyle, who is played by Timothée Chalamet. I guess we both have that in common 💘💘💘 Just a normal day at Catholic school with Lady Bird and Kyle :) And that is a wrap ! I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend, wore some cute masks and took time to bask in the autumn joy. Until next week. xoxo, Lady Bird 💘

Happy Birthday, Drake !

Aubrey Drake Graham, aka superstar rapper Drake, turned 34 on Saturday! If you didn't already know I am a HUGE Drake fan, and the only correct way to honor this king is to stream all of his music — like right now! But first, I’ll tell you my ten favorite Drake songs and my favorite lyrics from each track! Enjoy! #10 "R.I.C.O" ft. Drake “Everyone home for the summer, so let's not do nothing illegal/ I go make 50 million then I give some millions to my people/ They gon' go Tony Montana and cop them some Shaq at the free throws” #9 "Marvin's Room" “I hope no one heard that/ I hope no one heard that/ ‘Cause if they did, we gonna be in some trouble” #8 "Too Good" ft. Rihanna “It feels like the only time you see me/ Is when you turn your head to the side and look at me differently” #7 "Emotionless" “They always ask, "Why let the story run if it's false?"/ You know a wise man once said nothin' at all” #6 "Teenage Fever" “This sh*t feels like teenage fever/ I'm not scared of it, she ain't either/ Why second guess? I should have stayed/ 'Cause you know what's on my mind so” #5 "Hotline Bling" “You got exactly what you asked for/ Running out of pages in your passport/ Hangin' with some girls I've never seen before” #4 "Child's Play" “Why you gotta fight with me at Cheesecake?/ You know I love to go there” #3 Do Not Disturb “Swear I told you that I'm in this b*tch for eternity.” #2 "Can't Take A Joke" “I'm– I'm still in the studio at 6:45/ And my haters either on they way to work or they arrived/ And I gotta own the things I rap about just for my pride/ You know when it comes to pride, I can't put that sh*t aside” #1 "Know Yourself" “I was runnin' through the 6 with my woes/ You know how that should go/ You know how that should go/ You know how that should go/ Runnin' through the 6 with my woes” Love you Drake ! - xo Sanai

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