Coloring With Crayons And Growing Up

Photo by Bruno Cordioli
Photo by Bruno Cordioli

A friend had recently called me in a panic to voice her concerns about the near future. I answered my ringing phone and spoke through the confines of a smile. “Hey, what’s up?”

“I don’t want to grow up.” I felt a slightly irrational sense of fear creep up from the other end of the phone. “Can’t we just sit on the floor and color?”

“I’m almost positive that you would have to find a job that would pay you to do that in order to survive as an adult,” I said.

She paused for a moment after my response to her calling attention to the obligations of a modern citizen living within the margins of traditional society. “These new responsibilities that come with adulthood are stupid.” Continue reading “Coloring With Crayons And Growing Up”

The Lives That Run Parallel To Our Own

The sound of knocking came from behind my best friend’s front door about an hour after we had come home from her birthday party. Her two dogs both ran to the door while eagerly wagging their tails and letting their mouths hang open in a way that mimicked an excited-looking smile, which let my friend and I know that there was a friend on the other side of the tall old decorative wooden ent

IG | jasminedlowe
IG | jasminedlowe

rance. I swiftly got up to place myself in front of my friend’s larger dog so I could open the door, but the short-haired copper-colored hound mix beat me to the front as I reached for the door’s elegant handle.

“Copper! Get down!” I tried pulling back the large dog as much as I could without harming him. “No!”

I opened the black screen door that revealed a young tall blonde man with a nice dark-colored plaid shirt tucked into a pair of thick denim jeans. He wore clean black work boots that many of the countrymen wore around the small town and gently raised his hand out from the warm summer country night air and into the slightly cooler home to pet the enthusiastic dog.

I tried nudging the large dog away from the entrance so our visitor could enter the house. “Hey, come in.” Continue reading “The Lives That Run Parallel To Our Own”

The Legacy of A Life Online

Facebook has recently been gathering old posts from our early years on Facebook to share with us each day, and has given us the option to share these memories with our Facebook friends to look back on as well.

Each day Facebook shows you all of your stories from the same date on different years. Photographs, status updates, and wall posts involving your closest friends and family are displayed on your timeline for the world to see, and it’s definitely interesting to see your online life get drudged back up from the past. Continue reading “The Legacy of A Life Online”

Chapters Of Our Perception

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.

What Martin Luther King Had Said

baltimore-cover-finalIn April 2015, Baltimore police had arrested 25-year-old African-American, Freddie Gray. He had sustained injuries to his spine and larynx, fell into a coma on April 12, and despite multiple surgical attempts, he never regained consciousness. Gray died a week later in police custody. Six police officers have been suspended pending an investigation, but not much else has been done to prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics latest available report, published in 2011, at least 4,813 people have died while in custody of local and state law enforcement between 2003 and 2009. Sixty-one percent of those deaths were classified as homicides.

There were an estimated 98 million arrests in the United States by local, state, and federal law enforcement from the years 2003 to 2009, according to FBI statistics. However fifteen states, not including the District of Columbia, did not consistently report deaths in police custody during that period—and Maryland, along with Georgia and Montana, didn’t submit any records at all.

What started as peaceful protests voicing their concern for their lives in Baltimore, gave way to civil unrest following the death of Freddie Gray. As of April 28, at least 250 people have been arrested, thousands of police and Maryland Army National Guard troops have been deployed, and a state of emergency was declared in the city limits of Baltimore. Continue reading “What Martin Luther King Had Said”

The Writer and the Reader

open book in short grass with green leaf being used as a bookmarkI had seen a group of Jane Austen novels in the Kings County Library’s Hanford Branch before but didn’t check out any of the books until I had heard one of my English teachers mentioning the writer. I was in Junior High school, and we had just finished reading Charles Dickens’ classic, A Tale of Two Cities, so I was on a classic novel-reading high.

I picked up Jane Austen’s Emma, read through its nearly 400 pages, and decided I detested the book’s main character. To me, the character, Emma, was an annoying elitist wealthy woman trapped inside the pages of a novel where nothing truly noteworthy occurred. Granted, I also may have been biased by the action-packed adventure novels that I was previously engrossed in, I still expected more from an internationally acclaimed piece from the literary canon. Years later, however, when I would sign up for another English course for fun while I was obtaining a Master’s degree in Communications, I would read the book again and enjoy it. Continue reading “The Writer and the Reader”

New Year’s Resolutions: 2015

FavconWhite lights were draped over the railings of our fourth-story balcony. We sat gathered together with music in the darkness that was partially illuminated by candlelight. We poured good wine, ate holiday treats, and chatted.

“So what are everyone’s New Year’s resolutions?” One of the girls asked.

The people sitting in various chairs on the balcony began muttering things about meeting new people and bettering themselves.

“So what is you’re New Year’s resolution, Jasmine?”

I thought about it for a moment. I remembered a year ago waking up on New Year’s Day from the same party, held a year before, with the same people. My New Year’s resolution then was to end up at a different party with new people, and as I looked around the outdoor patio table this New Year’s Eve at the people laughing and joking around, I couldn’t help but notice that there were some new faces in this new space. Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions: 2015”

Be Quiet, It’s Christmas

I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. -Elie Wiesel

Photo by Jessica Neuwerth via Flickr
Photo by Jessica Neuwerth via Flickr

“It has gotten to a point where I am genuinely annoyed at everyone else’s annoyance – be it social, political, or otherwise. It’s the week before Christmas, folks. Make some cocoa, sing a song, and get on with life.”

I saw the post on Facebook. An acquaintance had typed a message meant for peace, but rooted in disgust and ignorance. I couldn’t help but think, yes, it’s Christmas, but what are we going back to? Our “annoyance” was for police brutality, the injustice that has occurred in our “justice” system, and the racism and prejudice that has been embedded deeply into our society.

So, I read the comment on the Facebook status below. Continue reading “Be Quiet, It’s Christmas”

“W” is for Waitlisted

The Thing About These Recent Tuition and Fee Hikes For Education

Photo by Richard Lee via Flickr
Photo by Richard Lee via Flickr

The estimated costs of attending college in the University Of California school system for undergraduates during the entire 2013-2014 academic school year was $36,078. With estimated costs for books and supplies at $1,500, living costs at $13,800, personal and transportation costs at $2,200, and health insurance fees at $1,700, the total average estimated cost for education can put you back $55,278 a year. As of today, approved to raise tuition as much as 28% by 2019 for at University of California schools.

For California State University Schools the price tag rings a little differently, but the costs for attending the institutions are continuing to rise as well. During the 1989-1990 academic school year, tuition fees were at $700. Today, according to the California State University website, undergraduate CSU students pay $5,472 and, on average, mandatory campus fees of $1,287 totaling their costs to $6,759.

The other day I was speaking with a friend, who also went to the same Cal State School, about registering for classes. She was nervous, as everyone else was, about getting the classes that she needs in order to graduate on time. Continue reading ““W” is for Waitlisted”

“P” is for People and Openness

PIt’s funny to look back now and think about the time when we were teenagers and we assumed that we thought we knew more about the world than what we actually did. It took a few years of traveling, going to college, working or other life changes that commonly come after attending high school to realize that we, maybe, we might not have had such a great handle on the world as we thought we did.

I’m completely embarrassed to say, but when I was a young teenager living in a small town and in my extremely closed-minded world, I felt as though I was accepting of all people, but I wrongly believed that bisexuality didn’t exist. I had shut myself off and closed my mind from any and all people who tried to tell me differently, and honestly believed that those in the bisexual community were either confused gay or lesbian individuals or attention seeking straight women. It took meeting new people and sitting down and speaking with individuals not of the small town mindset to persuade me into opening my mind and learning about those who were not like me.

I believe, from my experience in high school, that it takes exposure, education and conversation to open the minds of others. I believe that awareness is the key to acceptance, and that people should take the time to peacefully sit down with others and share their thoughts about things in a safe environment. Continue reading ““P” is for People and Openness”