Five years ago I wrote myself a letter. “Dear Future self…” it began. I was part of series of letters that I had written every couple of years to myself since I was eleven-years-old. I had started keeping a journal after becoming obsessed with the Dear America book series for children and thought it would also be fun to keep another time capsule that I could open with surprise in the future. I would write briefly about my life at that time, what I was doing, and what I was interested in. However, the conversation with my future self always turned to the important questions. What does the future entail? What happens to me? Read the rest of this page »
I’ve been on a morbid kick lately of macabre podcast content. If you perused the favorites on my Tune-In app, you would find a list of shows that would make you question my moral sense. One of the podcast shows, Cults, dives deep into the minds of manipulative cult leaders and their misguided followers while untangling the unusual and the vile deeds that grew from twisted words.
I noticed, after listening to a few episodes of the podcast, that many of the cults that became well known enough to shock a nation grew from the misinterpretations of religious text and faith-based beliefs. I wondered, if the two are often found so intertwined together, what is the difference between a religion and a cult? Read the rest of this page »
A single bead of sweat drips from my brow and down the side of my face as I continue to peddle without gaining any ground on the stationary cycle. A middle-aged woman looks over my shoulder to view what I am looking at on the screen of my phone and then coughs—directly in my face. I get up to leave the gym already annoyed at the fact that all of the treadmills have been taken. From the look of the packed gym, it’s clearly the second day of January during the week when everyone is extremely gung-ho about their New Years resolutions.
It’s not until I get back to the car that I adjust my thoughts to view the positive aspects of the situation. Yes—this is the time of year when I have to wait a little longer for a treadmill at the gym, but it’s also the time of year when people come off of the high of the holiday giving season and focus on accomplishing goals that are set to better themselves. Read the rest of this page »
It’s probably the least known of the trifecta of celebrated holidays during the month of December. It’s reminiscent of Hanukkah with its colorful candles with a fusion of African roots and Christmas flair. Although the holiday is often thought of an alternative to Christmas, Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday that can be celebrated by people of any faith.
Kwanzaa has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with peacefully coming together to share traditions with friends and families during the holiday season. A college professor, Maulana Karenga, created the seven-day celebration, which lasts from December 26 to January 1, as a way of uniting and empowering the African-African community in the aftermath of the deadly Watts riots. However, according to Karenga, non-blacks can also enjoy Kwanzaa (History.com). Read the rest of this page »