A Single Word Or A Single Action Can Change The world

A Single Word Or A Single Action Can Change The world

It starts with you.

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Single Words. They hold little to no substance when they stand alone. Think of a couple words that are commonly used throughout the day:

-Officer

-School

-Car

-House

-Child

Nothing odd about these words, they make you feel protected and safe in most cases. Now let's add only one word to make each of these actions.

-Officer "killed"

-School "shooting"

-Car "accident"

-House "robbery"

-Child "abduction"

Now how fast did your heart freeze while reading those…

The fact is that a single word can make a difference to your impression, your attitude, and your day. So can a single action. See we build our days up to consume ourselves in the negative. Negative news, negative emotions, negative scenery. We as a generation are so used to the media showing blood and gore, informing us about missile crisis and new raids of terrorism. What happened to showing off progressive achievement in youth and adults. The tabloids now are filled with cheating husbands and weight loss kits for women who are starving themselves to fit into a size 2. We anticipate seeing police officers swarming the streets, yet we still speed. We understand the danger in distracted driving, yet that text just can't wait. We see the homeless and hungry sitting in street corners, yet we throw away whatever is left on our plates.

We would like to think we are the exception.

But we are not.

We are the root of the problem which drives majority of the population on this planet. We do nothing to change the world around us, but we will still sit and complain that it needs to be fixed. It shows in our bodies, in our health as it deteriorates, in our work ethic to just be average. We shy away from the hard truth and accept whatever is told to us at face value. No one researches anymore or looks deeper into an issue unless it is assigned for a grade. Popular opinion is driving a millennium and that is a scary and dangerous game. It isn't pollution or stupidity that will kill off this generation. It is arrogance and self-entitlement.

I am no exception by any means.

I wish I were. But everyone is victim to this cycle because it is the easy way out and we as humans glorify attempts on finding the easy way out in difficult situations. Money is not the root to all problems, nor is it the solution. It just depends on the sticky fingers which control it because in this world and this decade it is no longer about what is right. It is about who has the most control.

A friend of mine named Jodie is going through a nasty divorce. When I say nasty, I mean it will make you sick to your stomach to hear what her ex has put her through. She has a spotless record, was always a success story, raised beautiful children, and came up from the ashes one time after another. She didn't always have the most money, but she made sure that her children never went without. There was always warm food, clean clothes, and smiles from ear to ear in their house. One man's greed and wealth led to this woman being stripped of her lifelines - her children - with absolutely no solid reason as to why. Lies have been filling the air as this so-called father-figure ex-husband peels back a sweet innocent woman's life layer by layer. She is up to her neck in charges, court fees and lawyer bills while all they tell her is that she is at a loss, not because of her status as a human being, but because of her income.

We actually live in a world where your children can be stripped from you, lied to, and manipulated to stay away from you… and the judicial system says nothing? Where lying is conceived as interpretation to the prosecutor and a lawyer can demise the worthiness of a mother by one selfish man's statement? This man is abusing this women's freedom and rights just to keep control. Because he knows she will never give up on her children no matter how tight he spins this coil. And he is correct. She is too great of a person to allow her children to fall into this whirlwind spiral of insanity and she will lose everything, including herself, to ensure their well-being and happiness. She is a mother. A true-hearted, will squeeze the life out of anyone who touches her cubs, mother. And she is losing every ounce of fight that she has left in her because of a system which plays in the hand of those who can afford it. Like I said. It is a story which makes you sick to your stomach. But it is the reality of the world we live in today.

Fairness and equality are not what we see on TV and the hero does not always get the outcome they deserve. And while I sit here writing about this woman's life, I can't help but think, if it can happen to her, it can happen to any one of us.

I hate to expand one situation to explain an epidemic, but I don't think I could find a better example. The self-entitlement in this generational movement shows kids trying to slide by doing less than the minimum and expect that someone else will pick up the pieces they have dropped. You see young adults working at minimalist jobs and using whatever money they have to buy drugs and alcohol. You see, tenants being removed from their apartments for missing payments, but they make sure that they never miss a high.

Of course, I am making a generalization when typing all of this out. There are families which are safe and stable and happy. There are teenagers working their way into adulthood with a successful mindset. There are millions and millions of faithful relationships. And while those are sprinkled throughout the earth, that one bad seed can kill the crop.

We are allowing our bodies and our minds to give up, thinking that someone else will fix the problems we have enclosed ourselves in. Yes, the world is giant, but our actions speak louder than anything. We have the power to stop the terror and misery that we surround ourselves in, but we choose not to.

Lily Tomlin said it best, "I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody."

We all are somebody. We can all help others. We all have a voice which can change the world we live in, if we just direct our energy to a purpose and a drive.

It is time to not only make a stance, but to follow through in what we believe. As that friend of mine, Jodie, says, "be the Rosa Parks of our generation and create a movement to change the world." We are so used to someone else figuring out the big problems and just taking care of ourselves, but the fact is we are avoiding that exactly. We are trying to build our lives on top of this big pile of garbage and just stand and stare as parts of us fall out of existence. If a single action can change someone's day, why don't we double that and make it two positive actions.

Then a week, from now, triple that and have six actions which will not only help others but help yourself in the process. Hold open a door, compliment someone, remind those around you that you are there and that you care. We think it is harder than it really is.

One word can stop a teenager from pulling a trigger.

One statement can end a divorce.

One action can change the world.

But that one thing begins with you. And your commitment to channeling your stress and discomfort which life throws at you and create a movement within yourself to be the change you want to see in the world one day at a time.

Cover Image Credit:

Tish Cama

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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5 Thoughts You've Probably Had About The Government Shutdown If You, Like Cardi B, Are Paying Attention

I'm not sure if Trump thinks he's playing a real-life game of "The Sims," but I can assure you that a wall will not keep out those that are truly determined to get in.

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2019 — what a time to be alive, am I right? Normally I would use that phrase sarcastically, but each day I am more and more confused, transfixed, and curious (with just a dash of anticipation) about our current state as a society and the direction we're going. Even though most of the time the world seems like sh*t, you've got to admit that out of all the times in history, the current one we're in has a lot of cool perks. I mean, 70 years ago, who would've guessed that there'd be computers and a world wide web filled with endless information and apps that allow 125 million people to see cute pictures of Kim Kardashian's baby. And compared to life in the 1600s, an airplane seems just as extraordinary as the second coming of Jesus.

We're making a lot of wonderful and exciting progress, like our advancements in medicine, but for some reason, we've hit an impasse in terms of social improvement. Not even three years ago would I have guessed that the U.S. would elect an unqualified, most likely racist, reality TV star as president, but alas, here we are, which brings me to his latest antics.

The government shutdown.

Despite how bleak the future seems, a little part of me is just a tad grateful that I'm alive to see this all go down. Like everyone else, however, I've had quite a few thoughts about it all over the past few weeks...

1. So we're screwed, right?

We briefly had a government shutdown in 2013, but for some reason, I have absolutely no recollection of it (my 14-year-old self was probably too preoccupied with who was posted on my high school's Instagram "thot page." Spoiler alert: I was), so this is like my first experience dealing with one. There have been more than a dozen in U.S. history, but the current shutdown is the longest out of the list. My first thought when hearing about the news was "what the hell does THIS mean?" I immediately jumped to the conclusion that we were in a total state of anarchy, but of course, that isn't even partially true. According to The Balance, a government shutdown is "when non-essential discretionary federal programs close." The shutdown doesn't affect state social services, like the Department of Public Safety, and thankfully for us broke college students, funding for financial aid was approved last September, meaning there's no current effect on student financial aid programs.

However, federal services and agencies like the IRS (don't get too excited... you still have to pay taxes), Department of Labor, Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Institute of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration are completely shut down while the budget process is in limbo. With no current end in sight, this is bound to get very bad, very soon.

Already, hundreds of thousands of government employees have been sent home without pay and will continue to not be paid as long as the shutdown is in effect. People living in low-income housing may be evicted as HUD freezes funds for programs. Without funding, all of these services very well may close. Not only that, but the shut down is costing us money: approximately $1.2 billion every week. I wouldn't normally be worried, but Trump is the exact type of immature and petty to where he'll keep this going until he gets his way (or he's impeached, whichever comes first). His attitude firmly suggests that he's not backing down, and if services do close, there will be terrible effects on affected departments and citizen well-being.

Should we just drink the kool-aid now?

2. All of this over... a wall?

Out of all of the things that a president could request funding for, the one we currently have wants $5 billion for a damn steel wall? I'm not sure if he thinks he's playing a real-life game of The Sims, but I can assure you that real humans are much more crafty than we give each other credit for and that a wall will not keep out those that are truly determined to get in. Trump has said that the wall is the "only solution for a growing security and humanitarian crisis at the border," yet common sense and many politicians/organizations can tell you that that's complete and utter bullsh*t. Not only that, but Trump's whole presidency has revolved around quelling illegal immigration, but no one has stopped to ask why he's only focusing on the border.

How would a wall decrease the number of people who overstay their visas? How would it decrease the number of illegal immigrants who aren't even crossing the border?!

While I am not well-versed in how much of a threat illegal immigration presents to the U.S. people and government, I still am convinced that there are way more important issues that the president should be concerned with. F*** global warming and renewable energy, let's build a wall, right?!?

Trump's obsession with his wall is a pathetic attempt to flex his self-professed prowess and a way to appease his hate-filled fanatics who only voted for him because he promised he could get it done.

What happened to Mexico paying for it? Oh right, that was just more bullsh*t.

3. People actually donated to this sh*t?

I just... People's stupidity and callousness never cease to amaze me. Before GoFundMe rightfully shut this fundraiser down, over 345,000 people actually donated $20 million dollars for a (wait for it) steel wall. Why is this the thing that people feel their money is worthy of being spent on? Imagine if we all banded together to raise $20 million dollars to help end homelessness or food insecurity. Or better yet, pay the federal employees who are getting screwed over by this whole ordeal.

4. How do Trump supporters feel about all of this?

I know that die-hard fans can take a lot of sh"t from their idols, but I think that after a while it's only natural for them to get fed up. Out of the 62 million people who voted for Trump, there's probably a good portion of them who are significantly affected by the shutdown. The ones who are government employees are feeling the brunt of it now, but if this continues on for months or even years like Trump is threatening, then we're all going to feel it and I can't think of any good excuses that someone could come up with in order to justify such a foolish and reckless decision made by the president. To a federally-employed Trump supporter, I can't imagine how it feels to go 26 days without a paycheck because the president you voted for is desperately trying to propose funding for a wall that you want to be built. It's got to be a catch-22, but hell, I feel like almost all Trump supporters are delusional anyway, so they're probably thinking they're undergoing some grand act of martyrdom.

5. Even Cardi B is worried... Now you know we're screwed.

Cardi B took to Instagram recently to post a video of her addressing her worries about the government shutdown. While not eloquently put, the rap princess is really only just voicing the thoughts and opinions of a lot of us out here. If Cardi B is taking the time out of her day to stop popping off at her haters and fantasizing about Offset's peen, then you know that this issue is a pretty big deal. The self-proclaimed gang member and boss bit** has admitted that she's scared. I think that warrants us to all be.

Well, there you have it, folks. Five of my most pressing thoughts about the government shutdown. As it continues, I'm sure they'll be thousands more that pop into all of our heads. But hey, let's look on the bright side -- we've made history; now's the only time we can say the government has been shut down all year.

Hopefully, we won't be able to say it for much longer.

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