The first call came moments after I let my small group of friends know what was going on with me. “Hey—are you okay?” The pause and uncertainty behind the ask told me that she was concerned.
“Yes,” I said with a sigh. “I’m not sad. I’m just disappointed.”
After 23 years of memories and conversations, I decided to end a very one-sided friendship. It was a relationship fractured with seeds of ignorance that I, unfortunately, let grow and take hold—a mirage of trust with no understanding. I asked for years for only one person, in particular, to show up, educate themselves, and do the work, and when I was reminded of my pleas for help last week, I was, again, met with nothing.
Friends from all walks of life reached out in support. They tirelessly talked to their friends and family about the issues thrust back into the media today. They all stood up for what was right on the correct side of history and ensured that I was safe and protected. The friendship that I ended—I realized that my friend wasn’t able to do that.
The first time I ever had to use four-wheel drive was when I carpooled with a friend to a wedding out of town. Margaret (the name of my vehicle) climbed what seemed like a full 45-degree angle up a rocky hill. I was wearing dress heels, a floral-patterned cutout dress, and had to brush the hair that got stuck in my lipstick to watch all of the other cars behind me struggle to reach the top of the hill where our friends were getting married. It was a beautiful ceremony. However, there is something that happened on the way there that has stuck with me.
My friend and I ended up meeting in Bakersfield since it was in the middle of where the two of us lived. It was easier to meet there since both of our parents were still living in Buck Owens’ paradise. Before getting on the freeway to leave town, my friend pointed out the gigantic Confederate flag that used to wave alongside the busy long stretch of road.
“How does it make you feel seeing that?” she asked, referring to the flag that was designed to represent a divided nation, and that turned into a symbol of hate.
“You know what?” I said, still barreling down the stretch of road out of town. “I don’t like to see it, but I rather see boldness and honesty when it comes to racism than those who are quietly racist behind my back.”
A deep yet anxious sigh escaped from the mouth on the other end of the phone call. The heavy breath was shaky as it struggled to push out words that were too nervous to reach my ears. There was a brief pause before my friend revealed her confession. “Jas, I don’t think college is for me.”
For years I spoke vehemently in favor of getting an education. I stressed the importance of college on everyone around me until they began to believe it themselves. College was a must, especially in my household. I still remember my sister jokingly telling my mom she didn’t have to go to college because she actually wanted to be a clown. To which my mom replied, “well, then you will go to clown college and become the best clown out there.” I couldn’t tell if my mother was joking. However, the point was made from an early age that college was the key to success until my views on the matter changed. Continue reading “Why I Don’t Tell People To Go To College Anymore”→
My sister and I walked into the brand-new humanities building after struggling for a minute or two to find parking. We had arrived in two different vehicles from our respective work locations and ventured down the hall together.
“I actually walked in and found the classroom and the bathroom,” my sister said. We reached the door to the classroom, which was slightly ajar. A group of students of all ages, races, and genders sat somewhat scattered around the small lecture room. My sister and I grabbed our seats next to each other off to the side of the classroom. Continue reading “Why Learn Sign Language?”→
The man was wearing a peaked cap and looked like a college student. He swung himself onto the tailboard at the back and leaned in right over us.
‘Who is Malala’ he demanded.
No one said anything, but several of the girls looked at me. I was the only girl with my face not covered.
That’s when he lifted up a black pistol. I later learned it was a Colt 45. Some of the girls screamed. Moniba tells me I squeezed her hand.
My friends say he fired three shots, one after another. The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder. I slumped forward onto Moniba, blood coming from my left ear, so the other two bullets hit the girls next to me. One bullet went into Shazia’s left hand. The third went through her left shoulder and into the upper right arm of Kainat Riaz.
My friends later told me the gunman’s hand was shaking as he fired.
I ended up getting the chance to sit down and speak with a professional contact, whom I met while working on a research project for graduate school, on her online podcast, “Operation Community Stimulus.” The show takes the time to interview community nonprofits and business owners who give advice to college students and young working professionals, and regularly airs live from 5:30pm to 6:00pm on Fridays.
They say that, before we die, our life briefly flashes before our eyes. We get to see a glimpse of the impact that we have left on the earth. As we leave this life we notice all of the people we have interacted with, the people we’ve lost, and the people we have loved. But what we don’t get to see is the perspective of life on earth from everyone else.
We learn about the history of humanity in segments, or chapters, and never give piecing together the overlapping puzzle of history a second thought. In the YouTube video, Our Narrow Slice, YouTuber, Vsauce, tells his viewers that Ann Frank and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were both born in the year 1929, a fact we never think of because they were taught during two separate lessons in elementary school.
The way the majority of us humans view our world is very much one sided—our own. It’s as if we only try to process the world a little bit at a time and never bother to see the world as a spherical place of billions of perspectives.
At the end of the video created by YouTuber, Vsauce, the viewer gets to see the impact of our lives in modern society relative to the entirety of human existence. In The final minute or so of the video shows the history of humans, and in the time it takes to show all of humanity’s recent accomplishments in the modern age just flashes for a half of a second on the screen. Blink and you will definitely miss it.
My sister sent me a text a few weeks ago about a talk Laverne Cox was giving at our university. She asked if I wanted to go, and then forwarded me a link to the university’s student government page where students with tickets to Laverne Cox’s talk could win a chance to meet the famed actress and activist by submitting a short writing response.
“Yeah, maybe I’ll do it,” I said to my sister. “I’m sure I wouldn’t win it, but I could always post it up on my blog.”
A couple of weeks went by before I thought about the writing submission again. I wonder when that short response is due?
I looked up the text on my phone that my sister had sent me and noticed the familiar date. I realized that I only had a few hours before the time would be up, and so I quickly grabbed my laptop and began writing on the day the writing submission was due. Continue reading “The Meet and Greet with Laverne Cox”→
My time spent at Cal Poly Pomona had taught me a lot of things. Among the incredibly valuable information that I have gathered, I have learned how to bs presentations during my brief stint as an architecture student, I learned how to write a fairly decent 20-page-paper in one night, and I learned everything else just by doing it on my own. In fact the motto of the University I had graduated from a couple of years ago, was to learn by doing.
The subject came about when she had uttered the words, “boys are just better at math.” My eyes metaphorically rolled so far back into my head that they could have fallen back into my throat.
I tried to reason with her in the most polite way possible. “I think a lot of it has to do with the different ways in we teach boys and girls, how society treats boys and girls differently, and how this notion of ‘boys are just better at math, and girls are just better at literature and language,’ has been subtly indoctrinated into the minds of the masses throughout all of time and has affected the way that girls see themselves in the classroom.” Continue reading “Math and the Patriarchy”→