Gun Control or Else?: Boycott the United States?

Before reading the rest of this article, please watch this video first:

In the wake of the most recent mass shooting here in America, President Obama has implored for United States citizens to come together and demand that there be some type of gun laws in acted before more people are hurt. One of the main issues with implementing these laws is the fact that most of the U.S Senate are anti-gun control and feel that these types of laws encroach on Americans’ second amendment rights (The Right To Bear Arms).

In some ways, I do believe that too much regulation would be doing so, but we also have to remember that during the time in which these laws/constitutional Amendments were written. There was an explicit need for people to take up arms to protect themselves.

I know that in some parts of the country, this amendment is still very necessary. There are still parts of the country that still resemble the “wild wild west”, but for the most part. America is a very regulated and safe place to live. Because of this fact, the second amendment has become so outdated and archaic that there is no longer a need for this amendment to be taken so literal. Gun violence against Americans on American soil is grossly disproportionate to the number of people killed/harmed in terrorist attacks (Which is what most people in the US tend to focus on) According to an array of news organizations who were asked by President Obama to add up and compare the numbers Americans who have been killed through gun violence by those who have been killed terroristic acts over the last decade, and the difference between the two is staggering.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 9.50.34 AMBetween 1970 and 2014, there have been a reported 3,521 Americans killed by terroristic acts. In 2015 so far, there have been 9,940 people killed in the U.S. Alone in gun related incidence. It is because of these statistics that the group Gun Control Australia is calling for a full boycott of the United States until laws are in place that will not only protect U.S citizens but visiting citizens of other countries. I wonder how America will deal if this boycott does come to pass. How will our “great super power” of a country deal if other countries follow Australia’s example and start demanding that the travel and trading with the United States must come to an end? I do not have the answer, but I wait with bated breath to see what happens.

Now for everyone who says that these laws are impossible to enact, please what as Australia continues to provide the model to do just what President Obama would like to do:

Let that just sink in,

Until Next Time! Take Chances! Make Mistakes! GET MESSY!!!!

XOXO

Edwin

Vindictive Protectiveness: America’s next educational topic

c939be5b4What is Vindictive Protectiveness? Well, Vindictive Protectiveness is “creating a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up, lest they face charges of insensitivity, aggression, or worse. ( Lukianoff & Haidt, 2015) I honestly think America is becoming overly sensitive to many uncomfortable topics of discussion. How is one supposed to learn if one is not taken outside of one’s comfort zone?!?

Before reading my opinion on this topic, please read this article: The Coddling of the American Mind

Now take a moment to digest all of that…….

Okay great, here’s what I have to say.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that there is a difference between coddling students and being genuinely concerned for trauma survivors well-being, but I also do believe that if a law student isn’t allowed to learn about the procedures needed to file a case for a rape survivor. Something is extremely wrong with our education system. I also do believe that being able to speak to people about my trauma and explain why specific things trigger me has helped me immensely. Taking away any teachable moment from anyone is a disservice to yourself and to that person.

By avoiding uncomfortable topics such as discrimination or rape culture, it can aid in masking the root issues which keeps us from discovering solutions to these topics. When it comes to respecting people’s boundaries in an academic environment, I believe that it is up to professors, students or any other facilitator to address that there will be a strong language used during the pending discussion and that no harm or offense should occur. I know during many of my diversity training this warning was given, and I felt better prepared mentally and physically for the “tough” discussions a head. I also had many facilitators tell us to take a moment to break down why specific words triggered a reaction in us and if that reaction was a valid one to have.

Reflection: Risk it all

As many of you might know, I’ve decided to take a position at my high school as Director of Communications. This decision isn’t something that just came to me or something that I ever thought I would do. It took me a lot of soul searching and questioning myself for me to come to this conclusion.

I will be honest; I wasn’t sure how I would cope with being back in a high school environment…Especially MY high school environment.

High school was a rough time for me. I was away from my family for the first time (Boarding school) and I was still wrestling to come to terms with my sexuality. Looking back I can say that I was terrified all the time to say the least. For such a long time, this place has been a symbol of that terror and a place where I felt like I didn’t belong. It is because of that reason that I decided I should come back here and face my demons.

In order for me to continue to grow and discover myself, I have to face my fears head on and dismantle them one after another.

I can honestly say that I am very glad and proud of myself for doing so. Not only has this move, new position and new puppy been really good for me. It has the potential to be good for those around me as well as my students. I can feel myself starting to let go of so much of the baggage that I have been carrying around with me for so long. I feel free….

Yes, I know this is cheesy, but it’s true. I fee like I am getting to know the real me. I’m no longer insecure about many of the things just a month ago would bother me so much. It’s crazy

My reflection after all this is that I have to keep trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone and to break the mold that I have placed myself.

One of the taglines that the school is not focusing on is “risk becoming your best.”

I think I may just be doing that. I will do everything within my power to risk becoming the best person that I can be.

Blaah I’m just babbling now hahah

Until Next time!

Me after running my first official photoshoot as Director Of Communications
Me after running my first official photoshoot as Director Of Communications

Take Chances! Make Mistakes and GET MESSY!!!

Reasons why I’m going to NYC Pride

1) For the fist time in history I don’t have to worry about growing old and alone without any rights In The eyes of my government 2) I know my history, and I know the struggle so many people before me had to overcome in order for this to happen and I should dance in the streets to celebrate this because they weren’t able to 3) Besides all of the anti-gay posts and anti- black post on FB created by my fellow citizens. I love this country, and I am damn proud of the progress we have made just within my lifetime. We have a long way to go, but right now I can see that the fight the LGBTQ community has been fighting, especially queers of color and trans citizens has been worth something! So why do we need a parade for our sexuality or our gender expression and straight people don’t? Because cisgendered citizens who are of the same background have never had to fight society and our government just for basic rights to love. It’s that simple. ‪#‎lovewins‬ and we will keep on winning!

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My Life as of right now….(2 weeks after grad school)

I’m having one of those lazy Sundays where I’m laying in bed feeling guilty that I have Nothing to day…..like NOTHING to do!

Am I the only one who has these weird moments? I guess I should explain a little more of what I mean. So every day for the last 23 years of my life I’ve had to be conscious of some homework or assignment that I have to complete, either to get into a school, maintain my standing in a school or plan my next big adventure in my education. Now that I have a masters degree, I feel like I can just sit back and breath a bit.

I already have a full-time job of which I will be starting in July. I have a place to move, for the most part, I’m financially sound and….I don’t have to do anything for the next month besides work a few events for my new position in Pennsylvania and go to a conference. All of which are things that I love to do and don’t feel like they are “work.”

My stress levels are at an all-time high; I’m losing weight without even really having to do much and yet I’m feeling guilty because I’m relaxing….What is wrong with me? hahaha

I think its crazy that I live in such a society that if a person isn’t constantly on the go, then they are seen as lazy and unproductive. This mindset is what is making me feel like I should be ashamed of actually having my life together right now to the point that I can take a break and work on getting to know myself better.

I also think it’s pretty sad that It’s taken me 23 years to come to a point in which I feel like I have time to explore myself and discover what I like to do and what I can’t stand. For instance yesterday my boyfriend and I walked all around Boston exploring different neighborhoods, petting random dogs and taking pictures of things we didn’t even know existed in…..who knew there was a pond in the Boston Common? I’ve never really had a chance to step outside of Emerson’s library during grad school…..

So with this! I am dedicating June to myself! Which is fitting because it is LGBTQA (Alphabet soup) month. I’m taking a stand to be proud of myself and of the thinks of which I have accomplished so far in my life.

I’m going to live my Motto and take chances! Make some mistakes AND GET MESSY!!

(And No I did not reread this….so if there are mistakes. Take it with a grain of sand because this is the messy part of my life)

Be Kind To Yourself!

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Over the last week I have been working insane hours  so that I can hopefully be able to afford a possible move to the West coast in the near future in, addition to finishing the ridiculous amount of work I have had to do in my classes. (Graduate school can be a pain sometimes).

Then Yesterday in the middle of my global behavior economics exam I had a moment of clarity. WHY AM I STRESSING MYSELF OUT OVER THINGS THAT I HAVE NO CONTROL OVER?!?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that it is important to have some type of plan which will allow you to navigate through life, but it makes no sense to stress yourself out and to put yourself down when you are not in a position to accomplish your life goals right away. Also remember that plans change….often!

For example, my plan was to have all of my work done by this weekend. I can tell you now that it’s not going to happen. I do know that before May 18 I have to finish all of my final projects in all four of my graduate classes prior to starting my graduate capstone on May 9th. In addition to, I also have to find an internship, decide if I’m staying in Boston next year and if so resign my apartment lease. If I decide not to stay I need to sell a large portion of everything I own so that the move to the west coast Will be easier. THEN I have to find a job on top of said internship so that I may be able to support myself. AND I probable find a place to live…Yeah….that would be great….

All of this within itself has causing me such grief that I have been putting myself down. I’ve been asking myself why I don’t have everything together  yet. Why am I not in a situation where I can get all of this work done and have my post graduate life together? I’ve  been angry with myself for not being “functional human being” when I have been receiving on average four hours of sleep per night.

Basically I haven’t been being very kind to myself and remembering that I am only human. I have my flaws and my shortcomings but that doesn’t make me a bad person.

(Side note) I know that during a very important exam isn’t the normal point in my day where I should have been having this moment of realization, but that is also out of my control. BUT! What is within my control is being kind to myself.

So what I don’t know what I’m doing yet. I know that something will pan out and I will be able to get to where I need to be. I know that if I keep sending out resumes and going on apartments that eventually someone will see my potential and hire me.  Then I will be able to plan where i want to go and where i want to live ect.

So until then I’m going to be kinder to myself and to stop stressing. I know I can’t be the only person who feels like this so I’m here to remind us all to be kind. Be kind to other and be kind to yourself. Just take a few seconds to remind yourself you are exactly where you need to be.

I red a quote earlier today, but I can’t remember the source or the exact word but the gist of it was “Do not compare your chapter 1 to someone’s chapter 20. ” We all go through life at our own paces…so stop making everything a competition.

Just go with the flow!

(My apologies if this isn’t very coherent, its currently 6:30 Am on a Friday and i just got to work so I’m not truly awake yet ahah)

Until Next time! Take Chances! Make Mistakes! GET MESSY!!!

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Where did the humanity go?

Have you ever been out to a bar or restaurant with friends or family and realized that no one was talking to each other? Instead of interacting with the individuals sitting directly next to them, people have now opted out to chatting with their friends on social media channels instead of the original channel of face to face interaction.Texing Friends

When did we all become so disconnected with reality and fall into a fantasy world where we are all slaves to our cell phones? Wasn’t the purpose of these magical little torture devices was to allow us to connect to each other much easier? Now it seems like these devices are the same tools that are wedging us further and further apart.

Now I am not claiming to be a saint who does not commit this sin myself, but honestly I never noticed it until my older sister pointed out to me. Recently she had a baby and had been way too busy to keep even track of her magical little jailor before her child cries in protest of her texting. What prompted me into noticing this is one night during my visit to meet my new niece. I got up to use the bathroom and forgot my phone on the couch. Honest mistake. Upon returning into the room, I noticed half of my family texting away or surfing the internet on their mobile devices not even talking to each other.

Yes, it is true that they were instagraming, tweeting and Facebooking about the new baby, but none of use were here at the moment to witness the miracle of this little one’s journey into our world.

That’s when it hit me. I had my “ah-ha” moment. The heavens opened up, and deities from every culture and religions ever thought of came pouring out of the clear multicolored sky as the sun was setting, mixing their laughs and words of praise down onto this beautiful giggling baby girl in all of her glory. That’s when I realize. Why not live in the now. Why not start to notice the little miracles taking place right before my very own eyes?

That’s when I made a promise to myself to do just that. I will live in the now and only use social media in none social environments.

Later on, that evening I found out that I am not the only one who feels like this. The bar owner of Salve Jorge in Sao Paulo Brazil saw this trend of not interacting with people face to face occurring in his bar and decided to do something about it. His response was to create a glass that would only stand up if it were to be balancing on a cell phone.

As much as I hate the idea of my cell phone getting wet from the condensation of the glass, I do think that this is a fantastic idea. This glass is forcing people to have actual conversations with each other again. They are laughing and having fun just like they used to in the years before cell phone usage.

I believe that we all should take a step back and look at ourselves and see if we are using our cell phones and mission out on life’s many wonders. I think we should all make a conscious effort to find our human elements when interacting with each other. I know it is impossible to eliminate electronics from our lives altogether, but Instead of texting try calling each other. At least, then you can hear each other’s voices bringing some humanity back into the conversation. Also, try NOT texting when you are at dinner with friends. A quick glance at your phone is fine, but try to keep it to a minimum.         512980316_26662769-1

Remember!  Take Chances! Make mistakes! GET MESSY!!

<—Don’t Do this haha

El Paso: Day

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Curiosity filled our heads as we awoke bright and early on our second day in El Paso. Our Guide for the week, Sister Fran advised us that we would be visiting what locals called “Las Colonias.” Las Colonias refers to a “pop up” town in which many undocumented families live.

In the area of El Paso, most of these Colonias offers undocumented immigrants sanctuaries where they can go and not have to worry about being bothered by Border Patrol, the police or any other governmental entity because most of these towns do not officially exist on any governmental document, so in the eyes of the American Government. They do not exist. Another benefit of living in the Colonias is that buying land is cheap in these areas and many families can band together in order to buy a plot of land an accentually build anything they want on this land due to the fact that there are not Zoning laws that dictate what an owner can and cannot do with their land. The downfall of this system is that since the government does not know that these pop-up towns exist. Many families go without having clean drinking water or electricity in their homes, but those are luxuries many families are willing to forgo to live somewhat safely in the United States.

Upon arriving in one Colonia town, my group and I had an opportunity to speak with some of the residents who live there. One of the women explained to us that many of the residents in this particular town were Mexican citizens seeking asylum from all of the violence in the neighboring Mexican city of Juarez where over the last ten years, many people have been kidnapped, trafficked and killed by feuding gangs and drug cartel.

One of the women who I will call Maria for the sake of this story described to us how her husband, father, and uncle were all taken from her home in Juarez Mexico by local gang members who were recruiting men for their personal army. According to Maria. She and her family were having a birthday party for her daughter when some cars pulled up to the house and men jumped out carrying AK-47 assault rifles. The men then rushed into the back yard and held everyone at gunpoint and demanded that all of the men present come with them. When her husband protested, he was struck in the face with the rifle and dragged out of their home. The other men present were told to come quietly, or they would kill them all. Fearing for their lives and the lives of their family. The remaining men complied with the gangs demands and followed them out of the house. Each man was then put on the back of a car, and that was the last time any of them was seen or heard from.

According to Maria, this happened over three years ago. She also noted that went to tell her local police department what had happened. Upon her arrival back to her home she found a noose hanging from her front porch with a note saying that they knew that she had gone to talk to the police and that if she didn’t stay quiet. They would kill her, the men they had taken and her children. It was then that Maria decided that she had to leave Mexico and cross the border into the United States. Over the next few days, she quietly scrapped together money from her savings and friends and family and came up with enough money to hire a Coyote. (A Coyote is hired missionary who assists people in crossing the border. Typically their payments vary in price, but more often than not it is about 3k per person)

Maria was lucky that she found a trustworthy Coyote because it is common for Coyotes to take the money of the people who hire them and to kill them directly after. The process of crossing the border is extremely dangerous for all parties involved and many people do not survive this journey. After hearing Maria’s story, Sister Fran told us that 8 in 10 people who cross the border are sexually assaulted by their hired Coyotes, and many of them may end up being trafficked and sold to brothels, various mines or farms around the globe.

The rest of the day was spend visiting other families who lived in the Colonias. Story after story reflected tales of hurt and pain. Many of the individuals involved were fleeing violence and came to America to start a better life. I had to ask myself. If I were in their shoes and were faced with the same decisions, would I be brave enough to travel to a distant land where there was not guarantee that I would make it to my destination alive.

This trip is giving me a whole new lease on life. Recognizing one’s privilege is a hard pill to swallow, and I am so great full to these individuals for sharing their stories with me

Until Next time. Take chances…make Mistakes…get messy

Keep Calm and Adult on!

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As we all know growing up is an inevitable thing that happens to us all, but when was that moment when you finally realized…..CRAP! I’M AN ADULT!?!?

For me, this moment was streamed out over this past February. I can remember sitting in my living room on my favorite part of our plushy brown couch surrounded by friends drinking a bottle of red wine and then it hit me. WHAT ARE WE DOING!?! WHO ARE WE!?

Not too long ago I was partying it up as an undergrad without a care in the world! Now I’m sitting here talking about the incredible interest rate I got on a new car and saying how excited I was to start applying for “real” jobs soon. Ironically at that exact moment my mother called me to asked if I had filed my taxes….me? Pay taxes? Li-Lik- Like a responsible adult? When did this happen?

I’ll tell you when! Somewhere between my last keg stand and moving to a new city for Graduate school I had blossomed into a beautiful adult. This came as a shock to me as my friends told me that I was becoming “a real person who had his shit together”. But honestly, Do I have my shit together?

On the outside, it might seem like I know what I’m doing, but in reality, I find myself fumbling around in the dark trying to find the precocial light switch for my adulthood. My friends might think that just because I am almost finished with graduate school, and I am able to take trips in addition to having a new car. That these facts make me an adult….when in reality it just makes me a person basically like everyone else.

I keep telling myself that yes you are an adult. You might feel like a scared 16-year old who is having to retake their road test every day, but that’s okay. I will be ok….YOU will be ok! Just Keep calm and Adult on!

(Special Shout out to the Society of Grownups for creating so many amazing ads about growing up. I love seeing them around Boston!)

Until Next time! Take Chances! Make Mistakes! Get messy! LIKE AN ADULT!! asset

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