Five Life Skills I Learned From Debate

Five Life Skills I Learned From Debate

Seriously, I probably learned more here than I did in class.
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Debate season is starting up again! I first began debating during my freshman year of high school. Sometimes I wonder why I've spent the past eight years involved in this activity, but then I remember debate has forced me to grow in many ways. And while it is a school activity, the lessons learned extend far beyond the classroom.

In honor of the new season, here are five important lessons debate taught me:

1. Examine both sides of an issue

This one seems obvious, but I'm always surprised by how many people are unable to understand people who disagree with them. In order to debate successfully, you must research things that your opponent will say. You need to understand the arguments on the other side, which helps you strengthen your own case. Debate has given me the chance to learn about topics that I never would have imagined. I am a more well-rounded individual and I can better articulate my beliefs as a result.

2. You need to be able to think on your feet

Sure, you can construct a bulletproof case, but things never go as planned. Cross-examination can be full of surprises and every debater knows that you need to be a quick thinker if you want to survive. You must be able to answer the tough questions, both in debate and in everyday life.

3. Listening is as important as speaking

This one seems strange, since you obviously need to give a great speech in order to win a debate. But you cannot focus solely on what you want to say and completely ignore the person speaking. If you do that, you aren't actually responding to the arguments at hand. A debate without clash is hardly a debate at all. This illustrates a good life lesson: You can't expect to be successful if you don't actively listen to others.

4. Be capable of thriving in a competitive environment

I've always loved competition, but I know quite a few people who hate it. Some people will avoid confrontation at all costs. Debate is highly competitive, but it is relatively civil in terms of argumentation. This makes it a great opportunity to become comfortable with confrontation while it is in a structured environment. Debate is also a place where you eventually recognize that you can be successful even if you don't always win.

5. People are interesting, so get to know them

This is not to say that I love every person that I've met through debate. I certainly haven't. But debate is a great opportunity to branch out and meet people with a different worldview and different life experiences. The friends I have made through debate are a reminder that you can repeatedly disagree with someone and still maintain a strong relationship with mutual respect.

And for all of these reasons, this is why I don't regret my decision to join the debate team, no matter how frustrating or time-consuming it has been. The valuable lessons learned outweigh any negatives.

Cover Image Credit: Lacie Fink

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6 Things You Should Know About The Woman Who Can't Stand Modern Feminism

Yes, she wants to be heard too.

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2018 is sort of a trap for this woman. She believes in women with all of the fire inside of her, but it is hard for her to offer support when people are making fools of themselves and disguising it as feminism.

The fact of the matter is that women possess qualities that men don't and men possess qualities that women don't. That is natural. Plus, no one sees men parading the streets in penis costumes complaining that they don't get to carry their own fetus for nine months.

1. She really loves and values women.

She is incredibly proud to be a woman.

She knows the amount of power than a woman's presence alone can hold. She sees when a woman walks into a room and makes the whole place light up. She begs that you won't make her feel like a "lady hater" because she doesn't want to follow a trend that she doesn't agree with.

2. She wants equality, too

She has seen the fundamental issues in the corporate world, where women and men are not receiving equal pay.

She doesn't cheer on the businesses that don't see women and men as equivalents. But she does recognize that if she works her butt off, she can be as successful as she wants to.

3. She wears a bra.

While she knows the "I don't have to wear a bra for society" trend isn't a new one, but she doesn't quite get it. Like maybe she wants to wear a bra because it makes her feel better. Maybe she wears a bra because it is the normal things to do... And that's OK.

Maybe she wants to put wear a lacy bra and pretty makeup to feel girly on .a date night. She is confused by the women who claim to be "fighting for women," because sometimes they make her feel bad for expressing her ladyhood in a different way than them.

4. She hates creeps just as much as you do. .

Just because she isn't a feminist does not mean that she is cool with the gruesome reality that 1 in 5 women are sexually abused.

In fact, this makes her stomach turn inside out to think about. She knows and loves people who have been through such a tragedy and wants to put the terrible, creepy, sexually charged criminals behind bars just as bad as the next woman.

Remember that just because she isn't a feminist doesn't mean she thinks awful men can do whatever they want.

5. There is a reason she is ashamed of 2018's version of feminism.

She looks at women in history who have made a difference and is miserably blown away by modern feminism's performance.

Not only have women in the past won themselves the right to vote, but also the right to buy birth control and have credit cards in their names and EVEN saw marital rape become a criminal offense.

None of them dressed in vagina costumes to win anyone over though... Crazy, right?

6. She isn't going to dress in a lady parts costume to prove a point.

This leaves her speechless. It is like the women around her have absolutely lost their minds and their agendas, only lessening their own credibility.

"Mom, what are those ladies on TV dressed up as?"

"Ummm... it looks to me like they are pink taco's honey."

She loves who she is and she cherished what makes her different from the men around her. She doesn't want to compromise who she is as a woman just so she can be "equal with men."

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I've Had PTSD, And I'll Be The First To Say I Did Not Need A Gun While I Was Sick

My opinion on gun control not from my political opinions, but from my experiences as a mentally ill person.

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On November 7th, 2018, a gunman armed with a .45-caliber Glock handgun walked into Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California and killed 12 people.

In addition to the 11 slain and 18 injured in the bar, the gunman killed a sheriff's sergeant responding to the 911 call before committing suicide.

The gunman was Ian David Long, a former U.S. Marine apparently suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

While all of the 307 mass shootings that make it onto the news make my soul ache, this one particularly hit home for me for two reasons.

One: I lived in California for about five years and had indeed spent time in the area.

Two: these atrocities were committed by someone of whom PTSD had gotten the better of.

Having had PTSD for 15 years myself, it baffles me that he had a legally-owned gun at all.

I know first-hand how much anger can develop when this disorder is left unchecked, and violence is the most delicious release from it all.

From self-harm to physical fighting in school, I looked for any way to curb my appetite for destruction. As soon as my body sensed an opportunity to expel some of my pent-up aggression on someone who'd even mildly taunted the beast, my brain would enter into a hazy fog of emotion and a nothing-to-lose attitude. My fight-or-flight was constantly engaged, and I really had never been much of a runner.

I felt like my temper was a bottle rocket that could be set off at any moment and I had next to no control over whether or not I reacted. I remember loving the power of people being afraid of me and relishing in my ability to win at all costs, especially if it were in defense of myself or someone who needed help.

Since the opportunities to let my feelings out physically were few and far between, my brain provided a platform for the rest of them without an outlet. The majority of my life, I was plagued with violent fantasies as much––if not more––than the sexual ones, which should've been my sole focus as a horny teenager.

In these fantasies, I would be defending myself and others from unknown assailants, escaping from situations where I was being detained as a sex slave, or else exacting revenge on someone who'd wronged me. Every movement of the altercation I would replay over and over again in my head until it was almost a memory.

These fantasies bordered on an obsession while I suffered from paranoia. Every waking and even unconscious moment was filled with the absolute certainty that someone was waiting behind the corner to physically assault or rape me, and I would not entertain the idea of letting that happen.

I used to boast that the next time someone attacked me, only one of us would come out of it alive.

I imagined these him-or-me altercations constantly—before I went to sleep, day-dreaming in class or else in places where I felt especially uneasy—and sometimes the story lines would continue on all week until they finished off with me emerging victorious.

Every fantasy would not be considered complete until I had won and gone insane. For some reason, my brain rationalized that as soon as the inevitable attack came and everyone became aware of it, my mind could finally be at rest.

These fantasies were so intense that I would have physical reactions to them. I was basically powerless to shut them down once my imagination got going, so I would sweat excessively, tremble with anticipation and sometimes even laugh out loud with the adrenaline they inspired. It got to the point where I could actually taste the iron in my mouth, as if my body was already preparing for the taste of blood.

This mindset didn't come without an intense fascination in weapons. My fantasies would include actual weapons, random items I employed in resourcefulness to defend myself or merely fighting to the death with my bare hands.

I collected the few I could afford at the time and ached for the days when I could own my own gun. I had never fired one, but I was entranced by the idea of owning the ultimate fighting utensil; an end-all to any threats that may come my way, with the power to take a life at the tip of my finger.

My gravitation towards violence ended after two years of recovering from PTSD. One day I realized I hadn't thought about it in a while, and just like that, the freakish obsession I'd harbored since childhood was gone.

I experienced all of this, yet the trauma that provided me with the disorder didn't have one single thing to do with guns.

So why on the Goddess' green earth did an ex-machine gunner, who developed his PTSD from shooting people, have legal access to one?

Though California does have a law asserting that families concerned with their loved ones' safety can request their guns be taken away for a period of time, this was not enough to spare the lives of those 12 innocent people that Wednesday night.

I shiver at the thought of what would've happened if I had gotten my hands on a gun when I had wanted one. So based on my expertise, neither Long nor anyone else with PTSD has any business owning a gun.

Who better to weigh in on these issues than the ones posing an obvious threat?

Yet, even after this testimony of how much I wanted to pull the trigger at one point, there will still be people who insist on loading the bullets and cocking it for me.

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