How To Let Go And Say Goodbye

How To Let Go And Say Goodbye

How writing can impact those around you but only after you help yourself first.
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I decided to start writing for the Odyssey during one of the most turbulent times in my life. At 19, I was being forced to reevaluate myself as both an individual and as a member of the community around me. Needless to say, things were not great.

I work as a Writing Tutor here at ASU, and the only place in which I felt utter calm and unemotional was at work. Assisting other students with their papers, diving from my world into theirs, was such a fantastic escape that I wondered how to carry that escape home with me. I hadn’t written anything for myself since middle school and, when I first sat down to write, I felt burdened with the enumerated amount of things I wanted to say.

I truly got my voice back. I traversed through the various topics and avenues that writing can take on, and I pushed myself to write unlimitedly; not bogged down by research backed arguments, but rather stories I knew – the things that only I knew how to say.

After my hospitalization I was faced with two options; I could tell everyone about it all or I could keep it to myself. While I didn’t want to run and scream from the mountains shouting what had happened, I wanted to be able to control the narrative. The truth always comes out, and I figured if I addressed the situation immediately people would understand my perspective and maybe I could assist others in similar states of mind.

Writing for the Odyssey has been a freeing experience, but the way that my voice has adapted itself is no longer fitting with the personal narrative voice. The way that I am best able to express emotions (something I am very bad at) is through poetry, which is ironic because I absolutely detest poetry.

So, while I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at the Odyssey, I do believe it’s my time to say farewell. I think I need to spend more time pursuing what will further my mental health and, while writing about it has been beneficial, I think some of this journey must occur behind the scenes.

I hadn’t truly realized how public my writing would be and that I’d be subjected to the views and opinions of people I’d never met before. I was, of course, aware that others would be reading my writing, I just hadn’t grasped the true scope of people that my words were reaching.

I truly hope that my writing has positively impacted you. I love finding new avenues with which to express myself, and I hope that writing honestly about the things that are impacting me or the globe in general has had some benefit to your life. I want to continue to help those who are going through their mental health journey. I want to be the voice of reason and an advocate for mental health reform, but I cannot truly do so right now as I am still working on finding balance in my own recovery.

I wish you all the best, thank you for reading what I have to say. As always, I hope to remain a person that people can go to if they are struggling mentally or at least someone who can send you in the right direction. Until we meet again.

-Isabel

Cover Image Credit: Marii Krueger / Instagram

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It's Time Men Understand It's OK For A Female Leader To Be More Brains And Brawn Than A Facade Of Beauty

You better hope she doesn't get criticized for her fashion sense instead of her ideology.
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A couple of weeks ago I watched "Miss Representation," a documentary that explores how women are portrayed in American media. Something that really bothered me in the documentary was the crass and disgusting depiction of female leaders like politician Sarah Palin and anchor Katie Couric in the media by male reporters, radio hosts and ordinary citizens. As the documentary showed clips of how these accomplished women were being stripped down (figuratively) to what they wore and their childbearing capabilities instead of their qualifications by these men, I only had one thought: "What would their mothers say if they saw their sons degrading these women like this?"

In the world we live in, it's not unusual to hear about men putting down women regardless of any social progress that has taken place. I knew there were misogynists and disrespectful people out in the world, but the way these men were talking about women had me dumbfounded. For example, a clip in the documentary showed a recording taken by a member of the audience that zoomed in on Palin’s legs as she spoke during one of her campaigns, and there was another clip of a radio host calling Couric a "female dog that dressed like a woman that goes around" — using much more crude terminology.

Don’t they understand that the reason they exist is because a woman went through nine months of hell for them? 50.4 percent of the world's population is male, and 100 percent of those males were birthed by a woman.

One reason people worship a god or follow a religion is usually to show gratefulness for their existence. I’m not saying all women should become mothers to gain respect. If men applied this idea of respecting the person who “created” you (your mother, if you haven’t caught on yet) then women definitely wouldn’t have to deal with senseless men taking every opportunity to make a comment about how we aren’t suitable for anything besides household chores, because hopefully, they would make the connection early on in life that mothers are women. Therefore, all women should be shown the same respect that would be shown to their mother.

Honestly, how is this not in effect already, though? I know that if my little brother went around talking crap about women, my mother would let him have it. Sometimes, he thinks it’s cool to say something stupid about girls (because cooties are apparently still a thing…) so my mother and I spare no effort in making sure he understands that women are his equals, and no, we do not have cooties. Learning to show respect starts from childhood.

In addition to joking about getting one of our influential women in their bed (they better be joking or so help me, Bob), I’ve noticed that men have become quite the fashionistas. They seem to know all about what skirt length or neckline shape makes a woman indecent or suitable for public appearances.

Before I continue, I would like to make clear that the U.S. Constitution states that no one is "eligible to that Office [of President] who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years” and that the average age of U.S. Presidents is 54 years and 11 months. This would entail that for the 239 years that America has been a country, we have been lead by grey-haired, wrinkly men who only wore suits. So how is it that men are able to criticize what women are wearing on the news or during campaigns when these very women look way better than whoever is leading the country as of right now?

Don’t tell me about men wearing Giorgio Armani suits or Rolex watches when I know these women are slaying with their beautiful brains and whatever they've decided to wear. They certainly have enough sense to determine what is appropriate for the occasion, and they certainly don’t need some man gossiping like, "I can’t believe she left the house wearing that!" Well John, I can’t believe you left the house wearing a plaid shirt with a striped tie.

The point is that there are a lot of men who don’t understand that we’re in the 21st century. Women make up 47 percent of the US labor force compared to 30 percent in 1950, thus we’ve come too far to be stopped by their immature comments and behavior so they might as well stop and show us the respect we deserve. If womankind can carry these dense humans in our bodies for nine months, then it’s a given that we can accomplish a whole lot more.
Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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If A 19-Year-Old Maniac Can Get A Semiautomatic Gun, You Can Too

Welcome to ‘Merica, where we can buy semiautomatic military-grade weapons before we can buy a brew.
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How did a military-grade weapon become legal for practically anyone to purchase?

I asked this question after I learned that the AR-15 was a semi-automatic weapon. And this was the same weapon that was used this Valentine’s Day.

Originally designed for American troops to kill enemy fighters, the AR-15 is easier to buy then a handgun in Florida…

Welcome to ‘Merica. Where we can buy semiautomatic weapons before we can buy a brew.

Even living in Idaho, I had no idea that these guns were legal. I thought they had to be purchased from illegal arms trafficking. I would have been even more scared of guns and people who bear arms (especially concealed weapons… because well, it’s Idaho) if I had known it is that easy to acquire a type of gun like this.

Hell, if a 19-year-old homicidal maniac can get an AR-15 someone like me should probably get a gun too, right? I am sure that is what most people are thinking as well. Well if the insane and unstable individuals are buying guns, then the sane and stable individuals in our society should also be purchasing guns.

Whereas the second amendment was created so that we could rise up against our government if need be, actually, it is coming in handy so that we can arm ourselves against the insane people that our government isn’t protecting us against. I bet the founding fathers didn’t think this is what the second amendment was going to look like in 2018.

Of the recent deadliest mass shootings in the U.S., six of the ten have used an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. The most recent including in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Las Vegas, Nevada, and now in Parkland, Florida in the nation’s deadliest high school shooting. Keep in mind we have to say high school because there is also the deadliest elementary school shooting, which had even more casualties and no action was taken.

Now, let’s just start from the beginning. What is an AR-15?

The AR-15, commonly mistaken as an “assault rifle” but actually standing for “Armalite rifle” was first used in the late 1950’s in the Vietnam war as a replacement for a heavier weapon, the M-14, as the U.S. military was trying to find a gun comparable to the AK-47 that their enemies were using.

Actually, the AR-15 was at first a failure because the military did not want to spend money on a new rifle when the M-14 was already being produced. Then, in the 60’s, the M-14 production came to a standstill and they began to mass produce the new official rifle, the M-16 assault rifle, which became the Americans match for the AK-47. After the war, the standard weapon became the fully automatic M-16 while the semiautomatic version, the AR-15, became available to civilians.

In the 70’s and 80’s no one really bought AR-15’s or used them illegally, but after deadly mass shootings, sales of the gun went up (some say this is due to a copycat mentality of mass shooters, the NRA would say this is due to its ability to be “customizable, adaptable, reliable, and accurate”).

In 1994, Congress, along with President Bill Clinton, put a ban on the manufacturing of a number of assault-weapons and the AR-15 was one of them. The production of the AR-15 was then stalled for ten years until the ban expired. If a ban is not renewed after ten years, then it dies. So even though the majority of the American public did not want this ban to go away, it wasn't renewed or reauthorized and the weapons were available to sell to the public again.

Of course, there was a large amount of support for this ban to expire (looking at you, NRA). And just like prohibition, once it was taken away, everyone seemed to want it even more, and do anything to get one.

But wait, it’s not that hard to get one in the state of Florida, as well as most other states.

So how did troubled 19-year-old, Nikolas Cruz, buy a semi-automatic assault weapon? Before he can buy an alcoholic beverage he can buy an assault weapon? Not to mention a 19-year-old with a history of erratic, troubled, antisocial behavior who was expelled for physically abusing his former girlfriend. A 19-year-old whose Instragram account was filled with guns and dead animals. In fact, many in his school were not surprised that he did something like this. Oh, and to top it off, the FBI had a tip about this man… So they obviously shouldn’t be surprised he did something like this either.

You have to be 21 to buy a handgun, but 18 to buy an AR-15, so it really is easier to buy this assault weapon for someone like Nikolas Cruz. You do have to pass a background check, however, and here is the federally prohibiting criteria from the FBI. But still, none of these would prevent him from owning and buying a semiautomatic weapon… A deadly machine that was designed to kill enemy soldiers and is now being sold to civilians and used to slaughter their own people.

And simply put, the only reason for these laws is because this is how Congress put them in place and it is all through gun lobbying and support that has just kept it easier to get these type of weapons. So each shooting is basically endorsed by Congress and the NRA.

So there you have it. The origin, uses, and process of obtaining an Armalite rifle, not to be confused with an assault rifle, which is also created to kill mass amounts of human beings. At least we all have more information about this weapon so we will know more about it for the next shooting.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube | IraqVeteran8888

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