Archive | January, 2013

Confessions of a Scared, Guilt-Ridden Teenager

25 Jan

I got yelled at today.

By two teachers. I know, I know; it’s not an end-everything moment. But for a student who’s tried to maintain the best standard in school with my grades and teachers, it hurt. A lot. Especially since it mostly wasn’t even my fault. But let me start from the beginning. (Please note that this is purely venting and a way for me to relieve my emotions. I’m a teenager; does that mean I’m qualified to mindless gossip posts once a year? I hope so!)

I’m in an after-school orchestra (which is a class, not an extra-curricular), as well as the music honor society at my school. The orchestra meets every Thursday for about 2 hours while the honor society has 3 meetings this year. Two of those 3 meetings fall on a Thursday. Since it’s all within the music department, there’s usually an agreement between teachers for us to leave the orchestra early and go to the honor society meetings late.

This Thursday was a day when the two would coincide; this was the first meeting for the music honor society. When class began, our teacher explained that she would like us to miss the meeting for the honor society, because we’re allowed to miss one meeting a year and we had a concert coming up very quickly. I had already been planning on leaving with my friend, but I immediately checked my agenda to see if I would miss the other two meetings, to see if I could stay. I noticed that the last meeting fell on a Tuesday in April…book club meetings were on Tuesdays. I panicked. I had no idea if that was a book club day or not, but I didn’t want to take any chances since I was on the board for book club. I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal.

When the halfway mark came for people to go to the meeting, people began standing up. My teacher started going through them one by one, asking for their reason for leaving, and telling them to sit down if it wasn’t good enough. I was still sitting; I looked to the friend I was going to leave with, and she gave me a determined look. We stood up and put our violins away, and right before leaving our teacher asked us what our reason for going was. There was a class of about 60 students watching.

I said I couldn’t go to the next meeting, and was about to say it was because of book club when my friend began talking. This is when it all went downhill.

My friend has been mad at my teacher for a while now; she doesn’t like the way the teacher acts or runs her class. So in front of the entire class, she said she was leaving because she didn’t know if she could make the other two meetings, and basically said it in a very rude and sassy way.

The teacher paused. She didn’t exactly start yelling, but gave her a lecture on priorities and said very passionately that she should have planned ahead of time and been responsible. When she finished, she turned away. I was stunned. I had no idea what to do. My teacher hadn’t asked me why I was leaving, and I hadn’t said one word of disrespect. But she had turned away already…so I left. My friend and I walked out and went to the meeting, and I spent the next half hour in a panicked, mortified daze.

The moment the meeting ended, I rushed to my teacher’s room and waited for her to come out. The moment she did, I explained that I hadn’t gotten a chance to say so earlier, but that I had a book club meeting during the third honor society meeting. She explained that I’ve always been responsible about these things and that she knows it wasn’t my fault. I went home that day relieved that she wasn’t mad at me, guilty because I wasn’t even sure if there was a meeting, and still embarrassed because of my friend.

Today in my regular orchestra class, my friend and I were asked to step outside the classroom. Waiting in their office were the band and choir directors. They explained that other students had come and told them about an altercation between us and our teacher before we left for their meeting. They gave us a very stern lecture and said how our behavior was inexcusable and that they would not allow two honor society members to tarnish the name of their honor society or use it as an excuse to get out of class. I stayed completely silent the entire time, nodding with wide eyes.  My friend started arguing back again, and they explained that we are not allowed to be disrespectful towards any teacher no matter what. They said our behavior was deplorable and that we were strongly encouraged to apologize to our teacher.

After about 2 minutes, they let us go back to class. My mind was reeling. Had none of the students told them that I hadn’t said a word during the entire altercation they saw? Had my teacher not let them know that I had already apologized to her and explained myself?

I didn’t tell them that it wasn’t my fault, because I didn’t want to basically blame everything on my friend, despite the fact that she was the disrespectful one. But since it was her fault, I expected her to step up and tell them herself that I had nothing to do with it. But she didn’t. When we were walking out of their office, she gave me a short apology, and acknowledged that I had nothing to do with it, but said nothing else. She actually started crying at that point, and even though I was still mad at her I tried comforting her before we went back into class.

As soon as class ended though, as I was walking out, she came and told me that she still thought it wasn’t just our fault. She also started saying more rude and rather spiteful things about our teacher and other students, and said she refuses to apologize. I just kind of said okay and let her walk away, and didn’t really think about it again until I got home. But as many other things started adding up to a bad day (this, bad grades, family problems) I ended up breaking. I eventually cried myself to sleep and knew that I wouldn’t stop stressing about this until I wrote about it.

My feelings about everything are still mixed. I’m still worried about my reputation with other students because of everyone seeing me involved in this. I’m still angry at my friend for not having my back through this, being blinded by what I consider to be pettiness and immaturity (although I haven’t said anything to her about my feelings. If she continues to complain to me or try to bring me into anything else, I will make clear that I do not want to be involved).

She disrespected a teacher. I don’t condone this kind of behavior. In my opinion, she needs to understand that there are some things she must obey whether she likes it or not, and that she needs to hold her attitude in line to figures of authority. Also, I think her anger is mostly unjustified. What my teacher was asking of us originally was not unreasonable. My friend was simply looking for an excuse to show defiance, and I got pulled in as a side-effect.

However I do still feel guilty because in a way, even though I was in no way rude to anyone, I did do one bad thing: I left without a legitimate reason. I didn’t know if there would be a book club meeting (there isn’t one that day, by the way) but I still told them there was because I was scared. I lied, and I feel terrible about it. From this whole situation, that is the one thing I will unconditionally apologize for. I’m sorry.

I don’t know where this situation will lead; if I’ll be getting into any more trouble, or if any other aspects of my life will be affected by this. I spent all of today jumping at every phone call, thinking it was the school calling my parents to tell them about all of this. Situations like this make me really look forward to just leaving everything behind, and heading off to college for a completely fresh start. The future is always a place for redemption, and the past is a way to learn from mistakes, and I’m grateful for both to help shape me into a person who’ll know better and do better next time.

Late Night Ramblings of a Sleep Deprived High-Schooler

24 Jan

The time was 1:40 a.m.

I had just finished my homework and was heading downstairs to print everything when I decided to take a look outside. My mom told me it had snowed, and that we might have a school delay tomorrow, but I hadn’t put too much faith in it because no snow days had really come through for us this year. But as I padded down the stairs, I slowed and took a look through my window: everything was covered in a thin layer of white. It was beautiful, and so calm. Not a single print had been made in the snow-the entire street and neighborhood was untouched. There was a blanket of snow covering everything with pristine whiteness. I cracked the door open, just to see it without the window’s obstruction; the outside was as silent as the inside of my house of sleeping family members. I felt like the entire world was resting, and I relished in the feeling of it just being me alone in this unmarked world, for even just a moment. It made me feel poetic (although this post is anything but) and it felt like the one of those moments where you just stop what you’re doing, and appreciate. Appreciate anything and everything-the beautiful things around you, having a roof over your head, access to an education…it doesn’t matter. It’s just so important to slow down and take it all in, whenever life is trying to pull you into a whirlwind.

As I am now on the brink of being done with the worst part of the school year, I think this is a good time to start re-evaluating things that are important to me. I look forward to taking it a little bit easier for the rest of the school year, and really create who I want to be and what mind-set I want to have before I set off for college. I can’t wait for the adventures life has yet to take me on, but I’m content with where I am now-all aspects of life are important and I don’t want to rush anything without getting the full value of it. High school is almost done, but I can still learn some valuable lessons while I’m here!

It’s about 2 a.m. now…and admittedly, this is quite a strange post. Hopefully school will be delayed tomorrow though! Hope you all are well.

Taylor Swift is a Slut! Er, Wait…What?

14 Jan

Three beautiful ladies!

Taylor Swift is known for having many boyfriends. Of that fact, I’m sure all of us are aware. But recently she’s also been getting more media and public flack for her frequent dating-and a bad reputation to top it off. Many have been resorting to calling her negative words like slut or whore, because of her supposed sexual promiscuity. There’s a post floating around online comparing how many call Miley Cyrus a slut, who has been in a committed relationship for years with her now-fiance, while Taylor is lauded as classy and a role model, despite dating +20 guys over the years. This suggests that the roles should be reversed, that Taylor should be called such derogatory words…but should she?

‘No wait, the reason people call Miley that is because she dresses provocatively and has no shame in her music videos. Taylor presents herself as a classy and dignified young woman, so young girls can look up to her; who cares about her personal life?’

In my opinion, why can’t we take the best of both worlds? How about we stop calling both women names like that. In fact, how about we stop calling everyone names like that? I know it’s deep-set in our society, and it’s even very deep-set in myself, but having sex isn’t necessarily inherently wrong. If that disagrees with your religion, it’s fine for you to impose whatever values you’d like to onto yourself. But who are we as a society to tell people what they can and can’t do with their bodies?

Being brought up by strict parents, the idea still seems a bit foreign to me. There’s constantly an internal struggle between “that girl/guy is pathetic, just flirting with everyone and trying to get action” and “it’s none of my business, they can live their life however they’d like”. Obviously with different societies all around the world, different values will clash and this struggle will be prominent in everyone for a long time. But every time I catch myself about to judge someone based simply on how much they enjoy sex (which when you think about it, is really a ridiculous thing to ostracize someone for), I go by the principle of not caring unless it’s hurting themselves or anyone else. When they’re not being safe, yes, the line blurs a little. When they are a public figure who may inspire young girls/boys to engage in similar behavior without proper education or self-awareness, yes, the line blurs a lot.

I’m not saying that the video of Miley Cyrus dancing in skimpy clothes in a club is okay, because truthfully, a lot of young people watch her videos and those kind of situations can be dangerous if they end up seeking them because of her. So yeah, it wasn’t the smartest decision on her part, knowing her influence. And yeah, Taylor Swift could sit down and write a song about healthy relationships, instead of being photographed entering hotel rooms and writing occasional snarky break-up songs. But we need to start focusing on that, instead of jumping to calling them names simply because of their behavior. As a society, we need to start analyzing effects promiscuous influence could lead to and why/if it’s wrong, rather than simply attacking the concept itself.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, and thanks for reading!

Rape Me Once, Shame On You

9 Jan

Pretend you’re taking a test in class one day. You have no idea what the answers are, but the extremely smart boy next to you isn’t using his cover sheet; his answers are right there in front of you. I mean, you know cheating is wrong, you’ve been told that all your life. But it’s not like you woke up and decided you wanted to do it. Who could resist when the answers are right there? And everyone knows that that boy is smart; if he didn’t want to be cheated off of he should have thought to cover his answers. You don’t mean any harm, you just want to feel better about the test. He’s not gonna mind too badly, he helps people with their homework all the time. And besides, he’s practically asking for it.

Does anything in this situation seem off to you? Does it seem wrong as you read through? However it happens all the time: regarding a different situation.

Slut shaming is a huge problem nationwide. While America is decently ahead of other countries in terms of rape awareness, many are still shockingly ignorant to the horrors of rape and the atrocity of such a crime. Many have reverted to blaming the (most often) women for the rape, at least in part. What kind of clothes was she wearing, does she have many sexual encounters, how much flirting had she been doing? These are questions that people legitimately think should add insight into what happened and how badly the rapist should be punished. But I think they should not even be brought up.

It is never a person’s fault for being raped. A dress/skirt hemline will never go from ‘flirty’ to ‘rape me’ with a difference of an inch. If a man or woman gets raped while drunk, it is not their fault for not drinking in a ‘safe environment’ or getting drunk at all. Humans have self-control when it comes to raping; if they know it is wrong, they should not be given lenience based on how ‘tempting’ their victim was. Also, rapists are a small portion of the population who have serious problems, and by insinuating that any male will rape a woman if she is scantily clad is insulting to men, to be frank.

Rape education is being given though. It’s everywhere, but mostly just directed towards women. Girls are advised to not wear their hair in ponytails because someone can easily grab onto them. They’re advised to lock their car immediately after getting into it and never sit in a parked car alone. One quote from a list I saw included this:

3] If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes,) yelling I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.

There are instructors…for classes on how to not be raped. Why are women the sole target of rape prevention techniques? Why is the sole mindset “how to not be raped”, like it’s something people should be actively doing at all times? This kind of thinking makes victim-blaming okay, because it suddenly implies, oh, perhaps this woman forgot to follow this certain precaution: why didn’t she follow it? And why are we as a whole ignoring that men might need advice on how to protect themselves too?

While rape prevention is important and should be taught, it is too focused on the potential victims. Some might say that addressing potential rapists is illogical, because trying to convince a bad person to not rape will never work. It’s as if a blanket statement exists that says ‘we’ll never get through to those psychopaths, so why bother’. But the problem can best be fixed by pulling it up from the root, before ignorance and bad thoughts can set in: by educating children. Rapists are not born rapists. They become rapists. Many people don’t want to discuss FLE with children beyond general anatomy, but they need to be taught about consent and the right to privacy regarding bodies. Perhaps it would prevent horrendous things from happening, such as this.

Society has painted a picture that if you don’t want to be raped, you need to do something about it. And if you are raped, then you must have failed what you were told to do. But rape is serious, and things like clothing choices aren’t going to stop someone who wants to violate another person. Slut-shaming is destructive to victims of rape, and it’s hurting them all the way to the courtroom.

Rape me once, shame on you. Rape me twice, shame on you.

Struck By Lightning Book Review

3 Jan

Image via

3.5 stars

So, as a huge fan of Chris Colfer, I forced myself to read the book very objectively. And hooray, because I did! In all honesty, I thought the book was…okay. It was nice. Not stupendous. Just a good read.

Struck By Lightning is a book where the character, Carson Phillips, is a senior at a very conservative town Clover in California, and he desperately wants to escape to the college of his dreams, Northwestern. He is the head of a dead school newspaper and writer’s club, and when his counselor tells him his college application needs more sparkle, he decides to start a literary magazine. But the only way he’ll get submissions from his unwilling peers is to blackmail them-and that’s just what he does.

Schematically, the book was extremely short. Its girth may look decently novel-sized, but the font is very large, and it can be easily read in about 2 hours, if that. The main thing I noticed is that it lacked a middle, probably because of the short length. There was a very lengthy build-up of the exposition (the blackmailing didn’t begin until half-way through the book, which was the whole premise) and a lengthy end. What I desperately wanted was a middle-a growth.

Carson as a character didn’t really change until the end. There was some attempt at the whole ‘hey, maybe I don’t actually hate all these people!’ but it was never explored. In fact, nothing really was explored; the book was very tell, not show. Obviously it’s supposed to be a journal so that’s kind of expected, but the development was lacking. The whole emotional journey where perhaps the blackmailed students and Carson could get along occurred through perhaps four conversations and then a simple statement that hinted at change within Carson. Even at the end, Carson’s personal growth takes place over two pages and is just a whole lot of “I’m never gonna let any situation be a bad one, I will always fight for success and happiness”.

Chris Colfer, the author, is an extremely busy guy. And this book was hurriedly written AFTER the movie was created, and it was based on the screenplay. And it shows. It reads rather like a script, with the bare minimum in regards to fleshing out emotions and other character’s depth. And I think that’s where the movie comes in. The book is the supplement, not a stand-alone. The movie is the real star. Normally I stand on the opposite side, saying the book is usually better then the movie. But in this case, since the movie was in fact the original, it is sure to have a lot more to offer than the book; even based on the commercials, it gives us the emotions the book lacks, where small facial cues make up for words. And the ending will work much better with a movie perspective-not to give anything away, however.

All in all, the book was the bare minimum of what I’m sure is a spectacular story. I can’t wait to see it really shine in the movie version, where it can really come to life.