Striving for the Stars

Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to get my PhD. My parents never went to college, so I didn’t have an easy life growing up. I lived in a poor neighborhood in Long Beach, CA where gangs were a real threat. My best friend growing up turned into a major gang member. Just last summer, some guy was shot in the neck right across the street from my house.

I guess part of the reason for me wanting a PhD is because I thought that that was my ticket out of the ghetto. That I could get out and never, ever have to go back. I mean, I was a white girl with blonde hair and blue eyes growing up with potential murderers. No one thought I would make something of myself. Hell, everyone thought I would get pregnant by the time I was 16. Never mind the fact that I never acted in a way that predicted such outcomes for my future.

I was always the quiet one with my nose in a book. I loved the library. I loved school. I was even in the chess club in elementary school. Yet somehow, I was always the bad influence that would bring the other kids down.

Again, it wasn’t like I was staying out all hours of the night or roaming around the neighborhood looking for trouble. My parents were young parents, sure. I was the first kid and they were only 22 years old. But did that mean I was automatically doomed to a future of crime and sex? Just because they were too young to have their ‘ducks in a row’ and couldn’t afford a nicer house in a nicer neighborhood? I didn’t think so.

Although my parents were young, they did a pretty good job raising me, even though I didn’t think so at the time. I had a curfew, which was that I had to come on once the street lights on the block came on. I had to do chores like do the dishes, take out the trash, and feed the dog. I couldn’t go past the alley on the other side of my neighbors house or go past the blue apartments right next to mine. There were certain kids I couldn’t hang out with, words I couldn’t say without getting slapped or a shoe thrown at my head (true story). Homework needed to be done and checked every night. Nightly talks with my parents were a must.

I had structure. Something a lot of kids I grew up with didn’t have.

My best friend growing up was this kid named X (not really, for this purpose it is). He was half white, which is what made me feel a connection to him, I think. I wasn’t alone. Anyways, X came from a family of gangsters and drug dealers. He always told me that that wasn’t the path he wanted to go down. He was even mocked for it. Instead taking after the rest of them, X was a skater type. We’d ride around, hanging out, talking about getting away from the streets of LA, and actually doing something with our lives that wouldn’t lead to us getting killed. I’m not saying X was a good kid. He didn’t do well with authority, or school, and he got angry really really easily. But he wanted to be different.

He didn’t get that chance. By the time I was a junior in high school, X had already gotten hauled off to jail for armed robbery. The summer I came back after my freshman year away from college, he had already killed someone. Now, he has a baby, a baby momma, and he practically runs his family gang. He’s only 19.

So yes. This is all a reason for me wanting a PhD. To show everyone there that I got out. That I actually did something with my life instead of wasting it.

But mainly, it’s because I want to get my family out of there too. My parents and two little sisters still live in that same neighborhood, in that same house. I was to show my sisters that they have something to look forward too. That they don’t have to get stuck on what that place does to people. I want to give them someone that they can look up to that won’t lead them to getting shot.

I also want to show my parents that they did right by me. That even though it was hard and somethings I was an absolute pain in the ass, they didn’t do anything wrong and that I made it. Because of them, I made it.

It’s that time of year, and that time in my life and my undergraduate career where I am starting to look at graduate schools and PhD programs. I have a ton of dreams that I never thought would be possible, but inch by inch, they are getting closer and closer to being obtainable.

So I thank that neighborhood in Long Beach, California. I thank it for making me want to reach for the stars. I thank it for showing me just who I didn’t want to be. I thank it for being hard, and tough, and oh so tempting. Because without it, I don’t know who or where I would be.

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Monday Night Deadline Post

I’m sitting here, watching Criminal Minds, writing my Gabriel Garcia Marquez essay, drinking orange juice, and eating cheese and crackers, when I realize that its 11:11 pm and I totally forgot to do my last require post for Wikis and Weblogs. So please don’t mind the title, or how awful this post is going to be.

To be absolutely honest, I haven’t dealt with the wiki much. I set up the WikiNamePage, added that extra page, posted about it, and that’s about it. I really don’t like it. (link to last post about wiki) Especially the linking to outside sources. On here, all you have to do is press the hyperlink and it does everything for you, but on the wiki you actually have to deal with the code and hope you didn’t fuck it up.

And don’t get me started on the readings. I don’t know if it’s just this week, or I just can’t get it.

Writing on a Wiki

I’m sure if I sat down with it for a day and actually worked with it…. no, I probably still wouldn’t like it.

It just seems like I can be more creative with the blog. I can put more of myself in it. As with last week and the Identity assignment, I feel like I can show who I really am on the blog, more so than on the wiki.

Hopefully that all changes by the time that this class in over.

And hopefully his next week is way better than this past one. I’m not sick anymore, my car is finally getting looked at so hopefully I’ll have it back soon (it died on me this past Wednesday and started smoking like there was an electrical fire), I will have a ride for Senate meeting, which I can’t miss again, and I’m starting my favorite diet in hopes that I will have more energy and be more motivated.

See you all in class tomorrow! and good luck on the wikis!

Reflections

So this past week has sucked. I’ve gotten behind on my readings for my classes, I’ve only posted twice for here, and I’ve just been feeling…. blah.

It’s a low. I know what the signs are and I know how they make me feel. I don’t feel motivated, I eat horribly, which makes the low even worse, the ‘voices’ make it hard to get out of bed in the morning, and it spirals down from there.

This has been my life since I was 13 years old. I know (sort of) how to deal with it. It’s just the motivation of actually doing it.

Anyways, this week sucked. But I’m back to my fitness classes this week, trying to fix my mind, and I promise I’ll start posting/commenting more regularly. I have some recipes lined up to post once a day, at least.

 

Posts written since last reflection: Assignment; Article Analysis, Pasta Salad; Family Recipe

Shushed Passions

A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I love to write. And those who do know, don’t understand just how important writing is to me.

I’ve been writing for the majority of my life. From elementary school research papers, which were my favorite thing to do, to re-writing moments in my life where I didn’t say what I wanted to or let someone treat me in a way that I didn’t deserve. I would (and still do) carry around a notebook everywhere I went, scribbling scene ideas, or setting descriptions, or plot layouts.

I got made fun of a lot because of it. People would try to take my notebooks, which would’ve been mortifying because I’ve always been interested in the supernatural/paranormal, so most of my characters were werewolves, fae, vampires, or shapeshifters before it cool. I didn’t want people to read that and think I was more of a freak than I already was.

I was also hurting most of my childhood. I was a minority at school and got picked on all the time because I was as white as could be. My parents had me before they were prepared so they had to figure it out as they went. I didn’t get along with my dad and most nights ended in a fight. I tried to grow up faster than I needed to. And as I got older, that made me search for happiness in the wrong places. I never did drugs, but I dated a few guys that left a black mark on my heart. I didn’t think I was as thin as I should’ve been so I developed an eating disorder to be my version of ‘perfect’, and eventually, after hitting rock bottom, I was diagnosed with bi-polar depression.

I’ve gotten over the feeling of being shamed of my condition, and I’m way more open to talk about it than I ever have been, and that’s because of my writing.

Whenever I’m in a low, writing is the only thing that can keep me from going under. Of course that means that sometime my writing is pretty dark, but I get better.

I stared at him, my heart in my eyes, letting him see how much he was hurting me and how much I missed the man that he used to be.

“You’re happy.” He whispered. “You have to remember that without me, you’re happy.”

He couldn’t be serious. He couldn’t honestly believe that I could ever be happy while he was suffering, all because of me. All because I couldn’t stop fighting and just let things be. If I had just walked away we wouldn’t be here. Daniel wouldn’t be dead. My friends wouldn’t be in exile. And Adam wouldn’t be fighting for his own mind.

He must of saw how I felt because he chuckled, a rough sound full of despair. He couldn’t look at me. I could see him going to, but as soon as he got to my chin, to the gash that ran along my jawline, he seemed to lose whatever strength he had. The silence between us was starting to grow heavy, becoming almost too painful to breathe.

Not all of my writing is dark though. Over the years I realized that writing during my highs is almost better than writing in my lows. I get to portray my highs into my scenes, and it helps me to remember what a high actually feels like.

Eitan smiled at me as he made his way over, his eyes warm and friendly.

He looked really good tonight. He had his blonde hair slicked back and was wearing a charcoal grey suit that hugged his frame in ways that made every girl here stare at him with lust in their eyes.

“Nice party.” He whispered, kissing my cheek and gathering me tightly in his arms.

“Well, you know, gotta keep the Queen happy.”

His chest rumbled as he chuckled into my ear. “Yeah, I know how that is.”

I took a step back, making a show of checking him out. “Damn, you look-“

“Ridiculous?” He looked down at himself, his lips curling. “I’ve forgotten how annoying these stupid jackets are. It’s too constricting. I can barely move my arms.”

These two scenes are from a book that I’m currently writing. I’m in the process of character and setting development because it is a fantasy piece, so getting all the brought to life for the reader is very important, but I do have a lot of scenes done. The scenes come to me in low times, as well as high and in between times.

I’m not writing to be published, which is what a lot of people think when I first tell them. I don’t go into my mental health with everyone that I meet, or even people that I’ve been friends with for years, so they don’t understand that it’s really a personal relief. However, it is my dream to become a writer. Even if I’m only a writer for me, or I self publish e-books for Amazon.

This is my passion. This is was gave me the courage to change my major from Biology to English and Writing. This is what makes me the happiest.