30 Things I Am Thankful For

30 Things I Am Thankful For

It's that time of year again
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It's that time of year again folks, where we sit down and stuff our faces, try not to claw the eyes of our unruly relatives out, and then start the consumerist, capitalist agenda that is Black Friday. But on a more serious and lighter note, I believe that Thanksgiving marks the beginning of winter and the last section of the year. With anything that is coming to a close, it's good to take time and reflect. Thanksgiving is a time where it forces you to ask yourself what you are thankful for. As I begin my reflections over the shitty-ass 2016, this list has reminded me that not everything is terrible and grim.

Things I am thankful for:

1. My mentors, past and present: Jonathan Cunningham, Sylvie McQuade and Roberta Fuhr

2. The good relationship I have with most of my family

3. Being able to afford a higher education

4. Growing up with both sides of my family having really good taste in food

5. The friends that I have made at school who make me laugh so hard that I cry

6. The friends that live across the states and the globe who are still in contact with me

7. My goddamn health

8. Growing up in an ethnically diverse and liberal part of the world

9. My mother never giving up on my stubborn ass about learning German

10. The people who have fought for the rights that I have today; the people that are willing to fight tooth and nail for others’ rights

11. To have been able to travel and see different parts of the world

12. To have met people from different backgrounds and with different experiences that they are willing to share

13. Small/local businesses that do well and don’t go out of business

14. The healing powers of a good cup of tea, a cat on your lap, and a good cry

15. Public transportation

16. Drag queens that have inspired my confidence and helped me become less anxious about everything

17. My mother’s strong will with everything

18. My stepfather for actively being in my life for the past 12 years and being the best father figure I could ask for

19. The relationships that have been rekindled

20. How close my family actually is, even though we don’t always get along

21. That I have clean water

22. Being able to see, touch, feel, smell and taste

23. To have experienced two different millenniums

24. The editors of UNHhhh, my favorite web series.

25. To having been exposed to powerful and inspiring characters, real and fiction

26. The ability to taste and be able to use food as a way to bring people together

27. I am lucky enough to have gotten to experience low-land snow growing up

28. That I have the strength and will power to keep pushing through hard times

29. All the resources my school offers me, even though I don’t use them very often

30. To not have experienced a World War in my lifetime

Cover Image Credit: Janina Loos

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An In Depth Description Of Janelle Monáe

A story-line that we all can learn from.
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Without a doubt, one of the most underrated artists of our time. Janelle Monáe is an artist that has managed to create an entire alternate universe based on her alter ego, Cindi Mayweather.

To be able to manage creating a concept series of albums that tell a thorough, Afro-Futurism narrative is extremely difficult, only adding to the amazing mind of Monáe. This takes intense thought processes that consist of forethought, creative control and time.

Janelle Monáe expresses herself through her music in a new, creative and unique way that sets her apart from just about every musician today. Her albums all correlate and tell a Metropolis inspired story of a female futuristic character that experiences divides and struggles.

She begins her introduction of her character with her first EP, "Metropolis: The Chase Suite" explaining how she is an android and has fallen in love with a human which is against android rules.

While on the run from disassembly for being in love with a human, her character, Cindi Mayweather realizes she is the sole savior who is suppose to unite the humans and the androids.

What amazes me about the story Janelle Monáe is telling, is how she's using a sci-fi inspired narrative to make a reference to the different cultural and political issues we face in today's world.

This point can be backed up with her albums, "The AcrhAndroid" and "The Electric Lady" which provides a further description of Cindi and how she (Monáe) uses these projects as a representation of people of color and the LGBTQ community.

Monáe has even quoted, “I don’t make music for kings or queens, I make music for regular people. I wear my black and white uniform to pay homage to those who are working every single day like my mother and father…I represent the working class and I try to create songs that are uplifting because this world can drive you insane, which is why I try to create songs like ‘Tightrope’ and ‘Cold War’. To give them inspiration on how to deal with balance and how to realize your strengths.”

Listening to her concept albums in a standard order allows a better understanding of the many references she makes.

What's even better about Monáe's structure of her albums is the fact she lets the listener choose their own level of engagement, which makes the album something you have to continuously come back to while also appreciating the creativity behind it in different ways.

Monáe provides multiple music videos that give her audience a visual element to add references to her overall aesthetic. Luckily, Monáe has just announced a further section to her detailed storyline by recently releasing a trailer for her upcoming album.

I recommend everyone takes the time to listen and to study these amazing pieces of work. I'm excited for what else we can discover and how she continues to expand on her plot.

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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The Russian, The Redhead, And The Lawyer: A Short Story

Taxi! Taxi!
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This piece was based off an assignment for a creative writing class.

"Mine! This is mine!" The redhead is waving her hands in the air at the Russian and the lawyer, all three gathered at yellow cab. Inside the taxi driver is smoking a cigarette, listening to an audio nook, and is growing impatient by the second.

"Miss, actually," The lawyer speaks up with a clear, professional voice. "I believe that I actually signaled first."

Inside the cab, the driver flips on the taximeter and switches from cigarette to weed. Back on the street, the brawl continues. Now the Russian is growling, backing the lawyer against the taxi.

"Really, because, um, no you didn't. I was watching you sir, and no. This is my taxi, okay?" The redhead is still yelling at the lawyer that is being pushed by the Russian.

"Okay sir, I am the most high-profile lawyer in New York. I have a court case in 25 minutes, do not intimidate me!"

The Russian takes a deep breath, pushes up the sleeve of his sweater, and begins yelling in a thick Moscow accent. Everyone within a 5-mile radius stops in shock but decides to mind their own business when they see the vein blue out of his forehead.

"Guys, boys! No!" The redhead wedges herself between a man in a suit and Putin look-a-like.

"We can share the cab! Okay! Okay!" She looks back at the Russian that towers over her and then to the lawyer that is probably peeing his pants. Both are nodding in their own right.

"Igor, I'm assuming that's your name, you can sit up front! Okay? You can sit up front!"

But the lawyer doesn't agree with this and he throws his hands in the air, shaking his head in protest.

"Nope, I do not ride backseat."

The Russian puffs out his chest ready to fight the yuppie and redhead is standing between them again.

"Listen, we all have some place to be! We all called for a cab! Let's just get in it and we can figure it out! Okay?"

"My cab!" The Russian points to the taxi with a huge fist, the type of fist you get when you like 300 pounds every day.

"Sir, we all saw me call for the taxi first. It pulled up to me then you and this redhead tried to assault me!"

"Okay! You know what? First off, no! I did not 'assault' you, Mr. High Profile Lawyer!" The redhead throws her hands into the air in frustration.

Next to the three strangers, a young couple is running down the street yelling out "taxi!" The strangers glance at the sight, all rolling their eyes, and then ignores them.

"Fine, you know what? Igor and you can argue about this cab! I have somewhere to be!"

"Well so do I! I have court in 40 minutes!"

The Russian snorts.

"Two minutes ago you said it was 25!" Yells out the redhead.

As the Russian, the redhead, and the lawyer began again the couple spots the parked taxi. Their faces light up as they hop into the cab, unknowing that the taximeter has been running for over five minutes.

The redhead opens her mouth to speak, the Russian starts to laugh, and the lawyer stands with a confused face. The three strangers that have been arguing on the street for what seems like eternity then shake hands and go their separate ways.



Cover Image Credit: Jeshoots

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