Expose Yourself

December 8, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational

This past Friday, I went out on a limb or two, and allowed myself to be coerced into a mosh pit. I had been looking forward to seeing one of my favorite local bands, Conroy Blanc, dancing a little, and maybe engaging in some interesting conversation towards the back of the room. Of course, there I was, standing next to my good friend, Ian, who had apparently taken note of my enthusiasm for the music. A veteran mosher himself, I guess he felt that it was a comfortable enough environment for me to begin my own moshing career. There I was, jumping around to the music, when I feel Ian’s hand push me forward. All at once there was some slamming and pushing, and I was definitely kind of scared. However, when it cooled down, I realized that I had not in fact died, as I had predicted I would. In fact, I felt kind of awesome. I took the lull in tempo as an opportunity to set my purse down, take off my earrings, and flip-up my nose ring. As I walked back towards the front of the small crowd, Ian turned and raised his hand. As we shared the highest of fives, I told him to never pull something like that again, but that I was totally ready this time. I moshed that night, the following night, and all things willing, I will mosh again in the future.

As someone who does not have a history of enjoying the mildly-violent physical contact of strangers, being sweaty in public, or really just taking risks in general, I would have to say that both experiences felt like exposure therapy. I was genuinely surprised at how quickly my anxieties went away once I just accepted that there was nothing I could do but try to enjoy the experience. While I am not by any means suggesting everyone go throw themselves into a pit, this experience has inspired me to try more things that I would have never considered ever doing in my life, and to expose myself to things which on first instinct may seem scary, but afterwards are less threatening in their unfamiliarity.

But come on, how could you not want to jam out to this music? :

Conroy Blanc

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Look How Far We Have Come!

December 7, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational

To think this was the first ever video project that we had for this class.  Create a PSA with DPS that informed students about safety on campus.  I am not going to lie, this project scared me.  I have never taken a video before and I had no idea what I wanted to show.  This project exhausted my creative juices, but it turned out a lot better than I thought.  The collaborative projects in this class really taught me how to work with others to communicate an idea and coordinate a message to an audience.  FinalCutPro is not as hard as it sounds, it’s kind of like riding a bike, or actually anything, practice makes perfect.  The more hands-on opportunities that I had, the more I learned.  One of the more memorable moments of this class (besides getting shot) was when Danielle, told us get a camera, find a story, film it, edit it, you have an hour.  It was exhilarating having a deadline.  The pressure really pushed us to the edge to find a story.  (Unfortunately we spent a good 30 minutes of our time just figuring out how to initialize the camera) We eventually went with an interview of ESF students on their opinions on the relationship between their school and SU.  I learned so much from this class, not just filming and editing but how to tell a story with more than just words, but now images.  Here at Newhouse, a lot of us are words people, so this class really diversifies our talents.

100 Years of Beauty in 1 Minute

December 7, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational

The other day, I saw a video on YouTube that I found really interesting.  It was a video showing all the hairstyles of the past few decades, from a 50s bob to the intense hair of the 80s.  The video went decade by decade detailing the hairstyles that marked that decade or generation.  This more than just a visual of the progression of hairstyles throughout our history but also told a story of how our hair defines the gradual changes in our culture as well.  As the decades went on, the less conservative the styles became, which allowed for freer expression in how we present ourselves.  It illustrates the beauty standards that have defined each decade and how they have developed into what we have today.  But something I found interesting was how the 90s-Present decades doesn’t have a designated hairstyle that I feel encompasses the whole decade.  One thing that this video illustrated about the current decade (2010-present) is how selfie-obsessed our generation has become.  What was inspiring about this video, is how they used a time lapse to tell a story about the development of our beauty standards and culture.  This is something that I am interested in studying.  There are so many different interpretations of whats beautiful in our world.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,  but who’s eye controls our culture?

Storytelling with Style

December 7, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational

As my the semester ends,  my editors at Jerk Magazine, Kelley and Michelle, have come up to me informing me that I will no longer be the freshman intern next semester.  They want to promote me! They felt my talents were being wasted away as the freshman intern.  Was I ready though? Am I ready to take a section editor position? And, which one do I take?  Over this semester I got to get a sense of each different section of the magazine to see where I fit in or what I liked.  In the beginning, I thought the “BITCH” section was so badass, to be able to just give your opinions on any topic, ranting away.  Or did I belong on the Digital team, posting quick sassy articles?  To my surprise, the “GAWK” team really peaked my interest the most.  That’s where I hope to end up next semester.  The “GAWK” section covers fashion and style, they conduct all the photo shoots in the magazine.  Over the semester, I have gotten the chance to fact-check all of this semester’s photo shoots, and I got first look at all the different images.  I really just enjoyed how they were able to tell a story through their images.  That is something that I really learned this semester, whether it was through COM 117 or through what I have done at Jerk.  Storytelling can be told through more than just words, visuals tell a story too.  Like they said, pictures can say 1000 words right?


December 7, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational

I am the freshman intern at Jerk Magazine this semester.  With my position I was able to edit and fact-check all the articles that went into the past few issues of Jerk Magazine.  One of the stories this semester that really stuck out to me was in our most recent issue, the December issue.  We covered an exhibit at the ArtRage gallery on Hawley Avenue in Syracuse, run by Rhys Harper, a trans* man.  This photo exhibit featured numerous portraits of people within the trans* community all across the country.  Harper, hoped that this exhibit would humanize the trans* community in the eyes of the public, showing them that they are just normal people like everyone else.  He hopes to continue his campaign by tackling discrimination against the trans* community.  Jerk Magazine, gave a statistic from the Anti-Violence Project, that said in 2013 two-thirds of the victims of LGBT homicides involved trans* women of color. For change to occur, Harper believes that society must change systematically.  In an interview with Jerk Magazine he says, “We have to have conversations about racism and privilege.  I think those are really hard conversations to have.”  The reason Rhys Harper is inspiring to me is because he wants to tell the story of the trans* community in a humanizing way.  I want to see that more in the media, highlighting our similarities and illuminating what makes us all human, instead of polarizing the country based on issues.

Protest While Filming.

December 7, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational

The other day, me and my group were filming our music video for our COM 117 final when a rally against the lack of indictments in the deaths of both Michael Brown and Eric Garner started.  In a second there were swarms of people there rallying, documenting everything from their phones.  It’s interesting to see people rallying behind such a cause, not just on campus but all around the country.  The decision has sparked a movement across the country, resulting in forms of protests varying from the regular chants to the new addition of “die-ins.”

What makes this even more interesting was the fact that while the protests were under way outside Hendricks Chapel, inside an ESF graduation was being conducted.  The juxtaposition of protesters and families in celebration made a really interesting sight.  What was disheartening to see was how some of the students from ESF were acting towards the protestors.  One parent actually got into a verbal altercation with one of the protesters.  This Daily Orange article has more info on what took place.  http://www.dailyorange.com/2014/12/students-protest-lack-of-indictments-in-deaths-of-michael-brown-eric-garner/

What made this inspiring to me was how people of different backgrounds rallied around an issue that has been going on for quite some time now.  The racial tension has been building in this country and the series of unfortunate and unnecessary events that occurred this semester were just the catalyst for the boiling point.  Its nice to see how different students can rally behind an issue here at Syracuse.

There Are Dogs in the Lobby and I am Very Distracted but I am Still Very Angry

December 4, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational

Another recent news story that really riled me up surrounds the Michael Brown case, and Darren Wilson’s lack of indictment.

I literally do not understand how this man got away. He was not even sent to trial. They sent in the goddamn national guard two days before the decision was final. It’s like, spoiler alert: he won.

Seriously though, to not even be indicted means that there was not enough probable evidence that a crime was committed. An unarmed 18 year old black teenager with his hands up, shot 6 times by a white officer, with four eyewitness accounts, multiple pictures contradicting Wilson’s defense, is not enough probable evidence. Apparently, a video isn’t even enough – once again, looking at you, NYPD officer who used an illegal chokehold to brutally murder yet another unarmed black man. First of all, anyone who says it isn’t a race thing – it’s a race thing. No matter how you look at it, the fact is that police officers abuse their power, and white officers abuse their power over black civilians. In Eric Garner’s case, the coroner publicly ruled that the death was a homicide. How much more evidence could there be? Do you want a statement from Garner? Too bad, he’s dead. And it’s on the NYPD’s hands.

All I’m asking is, why hasn’t anything been done? Barack Obama, the goddamn president of our nation, is a black man. Surely he above anyone else would make some sort of move to take action against this injustice. Protestors can only do so much. It takes a village, so they say.

Speaking of protestors, after Darren Wilson was so wrongly let go, reports are now surfacing that Michael Brown’s stepfather could get arrested for inciting the riots after the grand jury decision was released. He, a black man, was caught on camera shouting “Burn this bitch down!” And now he, the victim in this god-awful crime, could be punished for being angry while his son’s murderer walks away scot-free.

This is 2014. How is this happening. That’s not even a question. It’s a statement. How in hell is this happening.

And after all these examples of prejudice and hate and abuse of power, still very little action is being taken to right the wrongs. Darren Wilson is painted as a martyr, some articles reporting that he resigned from the police force because threats were coming in to the Ferguson Police Station, and he “didn’t want to get anyone hurt on his account.” Maybe that’s only because 2 out of the 60 officers in Ferguson are black, even though the town is only 30% white.

There are so many red flags here, and I feel that no course of action is being taken. I personally don’t even know what I can do, except educate people and make them aware of the horrors of our super duper messed up country. I feel a little useless, actually; one little white girl ranting on twitter does not a revolution make.

Never forget Michael Brown, and never forget the terrible and horrific events that happened in Ferguson, Missouri. Make sure this kind of evil never happens again. We are a new generation, and we can educate, stimulate change, and stop these awful tragedies and injustices from happening again. But we cannot forget what has already happened, and we cannot forget the cruelty of the world around us, or else nothing will ever change, and no progress will ever be made.

Just Another Feminist Blog Post

December 4, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational

Today I’ve been quite inspired by certain current events in the news. The stories surrounding Janay Rice are only one of the many social problems America is facing, in the wake of Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s murders. However, I’m an aggressive feminist, and there’s already enough going on in the world to fuel my “destroy the patriarchy” outbursts. So, when women go out and do things that only hinder the movement, I really can’t wrap my brain around it. You are a woman. You are a human. You deserve rights, respect, and everything else that a man has simply because he is a man. Just this morning, though, I read a story about Janay Rice and her statement about her husband, the NFL football player Ray Rice. As most people know, he violently attacked her in an elevator, and was suspended from the draft. However, his suspension had recently been lifted.

This was on camera. He is beating her on camera. The amount of proof is overwhelming. Apparently live videos full of evidence are not enough to incriminate the criminal. I’m looking at you, NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner on video. I don’t even know your name. You are not worth me searching for, just as apparently Eric’s death was not worth the trial.

Back on topic though, Janay came out a few days with a statement, saying that everything Ray Rice told the league was the complete truth, but the story the league spun was not entirely truthful. She is still defending the man who attacked her without remorse, and then tried to cover it up.

How? Just how? How can you stand and hold the hands that once pounded into your body? How can you look into the eyes that once went red with rage, aimed at you?

I understand the cycle of abusive relationships is extremely difficult to get out of, and the victim feels as if there is no escape. But being in the public eye, your story being so famous, how can you do these things when you know you are setting an example for other women experiencing the same thing?

If you can forgive your husband for knocking you unconscious, what is to stop another woman scared of her husband, alone and frightened that any moment might trigger another assault, from forgiving him? What lesson are you teaching to little girls? What kind of a role model is that?

I know Janay did not sign up to be a role model, but in reality, she cannot escape that. She did not ask for that responsibility, but now she has to handle it accordingly. To stand and defend the person who caused you so much pain and suffering, is to show that you are not deserving of a healthy, loving relationship.

Other celebrity couples who have tumultuous, violent, abusive relationships, like Rihanna and Chris Brown, or Eminem and his ex-wife, are glamourized to a point of acceptance. The world accepts and even supports the men who attacked their wives and girlfriends. Blindly following whatever path a celebrity takes, and not stopping to realize how bad of a person they are, is an unhealthy way of living. What is to stop a young man who is a fan of Ray Rice and who listens to Eminem yell about beating his wife, to continue that tradition? They are not taught that it is wrong! At the back of their minds they must know it’s not right, but if someone so famous can get away with such behavior, why couldn’t he, with a woman who didn’t have the rest of the world to defend her?

I can’t stand behind a woman, no matter how much has been done to her, who cannot stand up for herself and leave the person who attacked her. I cannot stand behind a woman who defends her attacker, who sets an awful example for women all around the world, and who continues to support the notion that women and men are not equal, and that women do not deserve basic human rights and respect.

Pens for her

Pens for her

December 3, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational, Unfathomable

Ellen has done it again.

Women have made so much progress. Feminism is now mainstream, the wage gap is (too) slowly but kind of making progress, but all together the female gender is starting to be seen as equal to males. So really, BIC? Pens for her?

Let me explain. BIC, the pencil company, has created a pen specifically for women. They are pens for her, specifically designed to better fit a woman’s hand. Also in feminine colors such as pink and purple. I had no idea the reason women write so terribly is because they are using man pens! Thank you, BIC, for disregarding all the progress made and setting our gender back an inexplicable amount with these fancy and dainty pens.

This is seriously shameful. I can acknowledge that somewhere deep, deep, deep down at the core of this “pens for her” idea is a considerate man (or woman) who truly felt women would be more comfortable with a pink, feminine pen in their hand. My sympathy stops there.

I could go on a rant about all the shameful aspects of this product and its promotion, but Ellen sums it up perfectly, so I’ll let her address the issue herself.



Good Luck

December 2, 2014  |  Inspiration, Inspirational

In the week before finals, the Syracuse campus is stress city. The second I walk into the library I am overwhelmed with anxious thoughts and feelings so apparent that I develop anxiety just from the atmosphere. Finals are notorious for being the monster under the bed that everyone knows will come out eventually, but no one will confront until it comes out. My roommate has not been home in three days (literally, has not come home even to shower and has been here since Saturday), and the only communication I’ve had with her is one text that read “not okay.” Granted, she is an architecture major, so her workload is greater than most, but that is no excuse. At what point does the home stretch before finals become unhealthy? Not sleeping for 72 hours and counting will take a toll physically and mentally. Everyone procrastinates, myself included, but if I don’t end up finishing an assignment on time, I suffer the consequences. Instead of making my body vulnerable to physical illness and becoming mentally exhausted, I convince myself that it is just one grade, and I know not to watch that extra season of Grey’s Anatomy instead of beginning the assignment the week before. As long as I am learning from my mistakes, and changing my actions for future outcomes, I can accept the C on one paper, or the not so hot exam grade. People like my roommate fight this acceptance as much as possible. Although she procrastinated, it is now crunch time, which means, priorities are reversed. I am inspired and scared by her persistence, and I wish the best of luck to her and all those who have not slept in the past three days, and don’t plan on it for the next three.