One thing I will never understand is why women get so defensive about their men turning heads when an attractive woman passes by. Maybe I’m not normal (okay, I know I’m not), but I don’t get how a woman can think that, just because a guy likes her, he is suddenly devoid of any tastes or attraction for anyone but that one woman. Bottom line is, it’s natural to be attracted to many people. As long as a man is respectful and faithful, there is no harm in seeing the beauty in someone else. If I had a boyfriend who didn’t take an extra second to acknowledge a particularly beautiful woman, I might question why not. And if he turns his head when he sees gorgeous women passing, I see that as a compliment. He’s got good tastes. What’s there to be upset about? I just wish more women could differentiate between respectful attraction and malicious intent.
When I sent a text to my friend that the Lyrids were peaking above us at 4am this morning, I did not expect him to offer to watch them. But he did. At 2am, I heard a knock on my door. He had walked the better part of a mile in the cold to meet me at my place. We looked up city pollution maps and decided to take his hatchback and my zero-degree sleeping bag to Case Western’s Valleevue farms in Gates Mills/Hunting Valley, Ohio. I used to work for the farm and this wasn’t the first time I went star gazing there.
We drove 30 minutes and pulled into a dark lot on the edge of a dark, empty field near the Manor House at the farm. My friend had never been to the farm before, but I knew it down to the very trails from all my miles spent there running cross country for Case. We opened the hatchback, laid out my sleeping bag, and stretched out on our backs to get a full view of the sky.
Not much went on. We kept thinking we saw a meteor, but sometimes it was a plane and sometimes it was our imaginations. The peepers were singing in a nearby pond and we listened to branches snap in the dark trees all around us. We fearlessly talked aloud about human inferiority in the dark and how vulnerable sleeping makes us.
Suddenly, it hit 4am. “Is that one!?” my friend shouted, pointing right where my eyes had drawn me as well. I was impressed that he was still awake. We watched as a small orange orb trickled across the sky, painfully slow. Another followed within seconds. Then we waited and waited and counted planes and saw nothing more until we suddenly found ourselves waking up to a soft morning glow and realized it was 6am and the sunrise had begun. We packed up our stuff and headed back to campus.
We didn’t see anything incredible, but there was something completely magical about last night. There wasn’t anything I had to do or anything I had to say, I just had to be, to sit there and marvel at the sky, and my friend was not bored for a minute. I’ve been spending so much time with people who I think are interesting but who would never lay there, staring at a blank sky in the cold with me, fighting sleep. Not only did my friend do that, but he drove me, he made the suggestion to go. It takes a certain kind of friend – of person – to go to those measures.
So what did the Lyrids teach me? First of all, Cleveland is a terrible place to watch meteor showers. But secondly, real friendship and real connections can be had without the parties, the entertainment, and the splitting of a dinner bill. We didn’t need to be drinking or socializing or talking at all. We were in the simplicity of our element, gazing at the stars and absorbing ourselves in our world. It made me realize the kind of person I am and the kind of people I need to seek. Birds of a feather flock together, and children like we watch nature’s TV for free. That is who we are, no bells and whistles, and I love the simple honesty of our existence.
Earth Day was created in 1970 to increase environmental awareness and spark interest in the population to heal the world’s health problems. It is one of my least favorite celebrations because I believe it is ineffective and almost counterproductive.
Picture on my run in Cleveland this weekend.
To me, every day is Earth Day. Every choice I make has been done with preconceived intention and consequence. I operate on a level of mutual respect for my surroundings and nature. I ethically cannot violate this respect; thus I have no need for a celebratory day with events within driving distance or farther for me to demonstrate my good intentions. Each breath I take resonates my purpose.
I do not doubt that Earth Day had held its significance in environmental education; but with the turning of the tide in this new ages Green Revolution, dedicating a sole day to volunteering, clean-up, environmental education, and vegan potlucks seem to miss the point and enable us to accept this “holiday” as our only “work day”. The same things demonstrated on Earth Day should, in reality, be incorporated in every intention of our daily lives and in every classroom within the American education system. Instead, we drive ourselves to an Earth Day event, commit a few lazy hours to picking up litter (which is more of an aesthetic concern than environmental), and then indulge in bowls of food that 9 times out of 10 contain imported, genetically modified, or otherwise unnatural ingredients somewhere within the depths of the dish. Then April 23rd comes around and it’s back to factory beef, taking out the trash, and watching sports on our televisions.
Earth Day should be more of a day of reflexion. “Look how far we have come since last Earth Day” with numbers ensuing for proof. Rather, local events I see for Earth Day fail to carry this message. The unprecedented result has thus been to instill in the minds of the youth that today we remember the planet, and then tomorrow they will remember their video games. In dedicating one day of the year to our cause, we have dedicated 364 to 365 of the off-days to ordinary lifestyles. This doesn’t mean we should make the Anti-Earth Day and dedicate one day to slacking…or should we? Talk about reverse psychology.
So, rather than ask what you will be doing for Earth Day, what will you be doing 6 months from now for your planet? What about every other day in between?
I’m no feminist by any means. That doesn’t mean I don’t get incredibly riled up when a guy singles me out in a hockey game to check me, or when I’m at a club and every man on the dance floor suddenly decides I wanted him to fondle me from behind. Disrespect infuriates me. But there’s a difference between being disrespected when I’m minding my own business and being disrespected when encouraging disrespectful behavior.
My friend and I were walking around campus this past Tuesday when we encountered a long stretch of handmade signs protesting rape. There were no posters defending men who are raped. Every poster accused men of raping women and of disrespecting them. My friend, an incredibly chivalrous 22-year-old male, was highly offended by the message presented. “Yes, all men are evil,” he scoffed. “I hate these posters. I would rip them down, but then everyone would be all ‘Oh, yeah, that one…he’s gotta be a rapist because he disagrees with those posters’. “. He pointed at a few which read things like “My dress doesn’t say yes” and “I should be able to drink at parties without getting raped”. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But if you’re hammered at a party with other hammered people, you’re scantily dressed if at all, and you’re making out with everyone you see, something is naturally going to follow. It’s not that I support it, but calling all college men rapists because you’re out of control?? It’s so unfair.”. And I completely agree with him.
Taking advantage of a woman is not okay by any standard, drunk or not, but my friend has a valid point: Women finding themselves in such situations have often put themselves there willingly. I don’t think it’s right to generalize men and accuse them all of actively disrespecting every woman they encounter. It is still a woman’s responsibility to take command of her actions and treat herself and others the same way she expects them to treat her. Im disgusted when I go to clubs and I see the low-cut, mini-skirt dresses and excessive makeup all around me. This new identification of “beauty” is merely a reflection of inter-feminine competition for attention. Seeking male attention by these means is only ever asking for trouble. I personally prefer to dress modestly and act to not impress. I would rather win respect acting respectfully of myself and others than be disrespected because I, well, asked for it. That doesn’t mean dressing suggestively means you deserved to be raped, but what does dressing “sexy” mean by definition? Think about it.
But this inter-female competition for male attention is a new root of evil among unisex social gatherings, such as clubs. The female strive for perfection is often self-induced. So many of my female friends get ready to go out with the intentions of being the most attractive girl in their company. By causing a rift amongst our own ranks, we invite the opportunity for men to judge us at the same level. Out of all the places I could find a quote, I actually was most struck by a recent re-run of Mean Girls. Ms. Norbury is asked to speak to the female population at school about a “burn book” some students used to document hurtful words about their classmates. Referring to the entries, she addressed the crowd, telling them “You’ve all got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores.”. Her point is spot on and demonstrates how bahavior can directly affect levels of respect between the different sexes.
I just wish more women would realize the things they’re bringing upon themselves and other women. To be respected, you must give respect – to yourself and other women. Women should not be itemized by men, but what example is it if they present themselves as items first? Think about this the next time you’re out and maybe you’ll see what I mean. Meanwhile, I will continue to go against the grainof society and be modest, respectful, little ole Kayla, hiding in the corner and rolling my eyes at the women who seem determined to make the expectations men have of me more and more difficult to navigate.
With all of the headlines flying through the newspapers and websites regarding the Boston Marathon and recent catastrophe, I couldn’t help but be appalled by what I saw: Pictures of bloodied-up spectators lying in agony as they received medical attention, plastered all over the front pages of every paper. All I could think of was, were that me, I would be absolutely FURIOUS and DEVASTATED by seeing myself in the news like that.
I would post an example of the pictures I’ve been seeing but, to be perfectly honest, I don’t support them at all and therefore I refuse to spread them around any further.
Seeing these images reminded me of how common grotesque photos are in the media world. It made me ask myself, “Why do we publish such things?” You don’t have to look far to find the answer. First of all, it got my attention. Often, the images make me want to cry. I realized the strategy in this: Seeing the images drew me in to see the article and possibly read it, to maybe even buy the paper. To make me care more about people I don’t know. Then I thought, what does that tell us about the media? About ourselves?
For one, are we such horrible people that we couldn’t take notice or shed a tear for people without seeing with our own eyes their pain? Is seeing really believing? Do we really need to ogle over distress, injury, and death to amuse ourselves and remember we aren’t that person on the front page? Does it ever inspire us to actually change anything or get up and help someone? Isn’t reading a newspaper often like… rubbernecking at a car accident?
But I think the real question is this: What is wrong with the photographers and the journalists who write these articles? What is wrong with the person that stood there with a camera over a suffering human being so he or she could snap a photo and continue on to the next disaster? What is wrong with the person that picked the goriest photo and zoomed in on a victim’s face to accompany a front page article highlighting the worst parts – if not very end – of someone’s life? These people are doing this as a career for profit. Is it for anything else? I hope not. How can you say “I want to be a journalist so I can take pictures of dying people”? You don’t. You say, “I want to be a journalist because I want to write and have my articles selected and make money.”
So you go out and write what it takes to get you that front page article. You do it at the expense of others. Meanwhile there are people suffering, medics working undercover, and you get all of the glory for someone else’s death. It’s dog eat dog.
That’s why I think journalists are some of the lowest people on the planet.
These last couple of years, my life has gotten ridiculously crazy. When I was younger, I used to look up to people I wanted to be like. As I got older, I realized how many hobbies (and sometimes habits) I had picked up from my friends. Many of them are good; some of them are not. But I have learned one important thing: If there is ever anything I want to do or anyone I want to be like, all I have to do is keep that inspiration in mind and I can go anywhere with it.
In the last couple of busy years of my life, when I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I should be doing, I would come across someone who inspired me. This is sometimes a celebrity figure, like Kate Middleton. More often than not, it’s someone who isn’t famous. This latter kind of inspiration is even better because it is more realistic.
If it weren’t for some incredibly smart friends at my school, I would have never aspired to be like them, study hard, take on a lot of challenging classes, and pull up my grades. If it weren’t for some people further into their careers that I read about, I would have never had the courage to take on my second major and study abroad to learn my second language. If it weren’t for the girl I met in Africa abroad, I would have never had the guts to take the summer off and travel by myself. If it weren’t for some beautiful people I’ve met through my hockey travels, I would never have aspired to be as determined of a player or as a person as I am now. Even people who dress nicely are an inspiration to get up in the morning, work out, and make an effort to look good at school. You just need to pick an inspiration and stick with it!
You can change the world by first changing yourself – for the better!