It Is Okay To Be Scared

It Is Okay To Be Scared

It's 2017 and "you're the bomb" has a whole new meaning.

My normal morning routine of reading the Washington Post and New York Times has been flooded with horrendous events lately. I want to say that I am not scared for the future of our nation, but if I said that, I would be lying.

All I want to do at this very moment is give people who are affected by our worldwide violence a big hug. Usually, hugs make everything better, but in this case, I don't know what to do. For the first time in a long while, I feel helpless and lost about the uncertain future of our world.

I am normally the one who sees the world from a glass half full perspective. Right now, it is so hard to live that way when we are bombing innocent people and destroying lives. If that glass was filled with anything at this moment, it would be the tears of mankind. I am crying for the lives lost and affected by violence brought on by hate.

We have a saying at Southern Miss from the amazing Dr. Joe Paul, and it is to leave a place better than you found it. I want to do that for the world. I think that my generation is wondering how when so many terrible events have happened. It is impossible to know where to begin when we do not know how it will end up. However, as history shows, we have the ability to persist. Our world leaders have heavily discouraged the idea of a resistance, but in order to initiate the change we want. we must. In the words of the fabulous Hillary Rodham Clinton, we must "resist, insist, persist, and enlist. It is through the help of our worldwide resistance that things will start to point in the right direction.

I am proud to be an American, but I cannot be a proud American when our president is breaking up families and harming innocent people. If he is doing it to innocent people, what will happen when he steps on enemy lines? Another war is almost certain to happen at this rate, and I am scared of what is coming to us. With failed missile strikes already happening and directed at the United States, it is scary. What I have had to come to the realization of is that it is okay to be scared. Just as it was fine to get upset over the election results, it is okay to be scared. It's what we do with the tears that will define our millennial legacy. While we could easily turn our tears into bullets, let's turn them into hugs.

I know how easy it is to want to stick your middle fingers in the air and take a dose of Screwitol, but we cannot afford to do that. We have to become the architects for future generations and build the structure of our future on the foundation of our ancestors. We may build walls, but there will always be a window to let light in.

Cover Image Credit: New York Magazine

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Navigating Friendship At A Commuter School

Learning to deal with internal and external social barriers.

I used to hear horror stories about my local community college.

“It’s so impersonal!”

“Nobody talks to you!”

“Super impossible to make friends.”

At first, I thought this sort of rhetoric was lazy; nothing, especially socializing in your early adulthood, is impossible. While school is technically a place designed for education first and foremost, its secondary and perhaps most useful function is its ability to catalyze social connections. When I went to college, my God, I thought, I would be more of a social butterfly than I had ever been. This was, of course, until I got to college.

Hunter is a social community for lots of people. Every ethnicity and cultural background has its own club, which is awesome, unless you’re me and you’re completely lacking in a culture that doesn’t find its roots in ham salad sandwiches (don’t knock it until you try it). There are also lots of other specialized clubs, for film and socialism and democratic socialism, but their Thursday night meetings seemed designed for kids that didn’t have jobs and weren’t completely self-sufficient—something I was proud of being. I lived 30 minutes from school, off-campus, and I found myself spending as little time as possible on the Hunter “campus” because there was my apartment and my job and “my” neighborhood, which gave me a greater sense of community than Hunter’s Hillel Club. I was becoming an isolationist on my own volition and blaming my social anxieties on my inability to insert myself into social situations.

I wasn’t trying to be social because Hunter wasn’t trying to make me social.

My first semester I felt completely disenfranchised. By my second, I was writing for an online community (which isn’t so much of a social activity, but a non-work activity nonetheless), and I was even doing the occasional theater event which left me with a vague sense of belonging, though nothing that was thrilling. I was, at the very least, no longer convinced I had to transfer to a probably-lower quality, probably-higher cost, private university to feel fulfilled. Fall of my sophomore year came and went just the same, but it wasn’t until this semester that I joined a student-directed production and spent 12+ hours a week with a tight-knit group of Hunter students from all fields of study and reasons-for-being (both in a scholarly and metaphysical sense), that I found out making friends wasn’t impossible. Not only that, but finding friends was a Hunter student growing pain that was not belonging only to myself.

I sat in the hallway with two of my castmates, one of which who dormed at the Hunter College dormitories (yes, they exist). We sat and chatted, scrunched up on the ledge that runs along the skywalk, and like clockwork kids would walk by, and she [the dormer] would wave hello and spark conversation and introduce me to both this new person and this new idea that perhaps not everyone at Hunter College lives within their mono-social sphere. My other castmate [living in Queens with her grandparents, seemingly just as uncertain about the likelihood of making friends at Hunter] would look at me with wide eyes. Our exchanged glances based on a common understanding of a new way of understanding: was it just us that couldn’t do this whole social thing?

Two weeks later, I ended up at the Hunter College dorms, at the first non-school-sanctioned social event I had attended with Hunter students. I saw kids I knew, there was talking, and dancing, and music playing, and while I was silently writhing within my own social anxieties, I was also elated to find out that making friends was actually possible. I wasn’t unbearable; in fact, other kids wanted to ENGAGE in CONVERSATION... with ME. It was a coming of age that left the two kids in 'A Separate Peace' shaking in their boots (and one of them died, so you know how much I felt for this experience).

The secret, I guess I found out, is to put yourself out there, which seems like a silly and grandiose statement. But it turns out that if you don’t act all weird, because sometimes you feel different but instead just be different, most people that don’t mind and in turn, matter, won’t even blink. If you just admit that you’ve listened to nothing but the Bee Gees for the past week, instead of dancing around a conversation about that new Drake album, it might make for fun conversation. You can run from yourself, but you’ll also be running from prime social opportunities, and you’ll eventually find out that nobody wanted you to run or hide in the first place.

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap / Pixabay

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It Is OK To NOT Be Friends With Someone Anymore

I no longer question if they actually care about me.

You probably have that person in your life who you were once best friends with, but now you barely talk. Maybe, they're from school. Maybe, they're a friend from the neighborhood you grew up in. You probably have fond memories of this person. They were, as some people say, the jelly to your peanut butter.

This person may not be your friend anymore for multiple reasons. It is possible that they were simply a bad friend. It is possible that you lost communication, it happens. It is possible that effort was not a part of the friendship at one point. And the last one, maybe, just maybe, you were only friends because they were at the same school, across the street, a long time friend, but not anymore.

The thing about friendship is hard to hear sometimes, but you don't always stay friends with people. It is sad, but it's okay to not be friends with someone anymore. It's okay to have new friends.

It's okay to grow.

Friendships tend to end when you go off to new places, not always, but it does happen. Just because you're friends with someone on Facebook or you follow them on Instagram or Twitter does not mean you're friends. Think about it... how many people are you friends with on Facebook that you don't really know. Sure, you might've gone to school with them, but do you know them?

It's okay to no longer be friends with someone. It's okay to no longer talk to someone. People get into a relationship, and for some reason, they tend to drop their friends. It's an unknown reason, but it happens.

You don't always stay friends with people. That could be a good thing. Your friends may not have been "good" for you. You drifted away. There is nothing wrong with that. Do not confuse yourself with "not trying hard enough" and doing what's right. A friendship should not be decided on "trying hard enough" or not. A friendship should not be based on whether a person calls every day or not.

Don't get me wrong, it is good to check up on your friends. Your friendships should not be based on how much effort goes into it. Friendships don't always last. Friends don't always stay friends.

Friendships end and that is okay.

It is hard to look at pictures and remember the fun you had with those people.

It is hard to remember something you don't want to think of. It is hard to see an old friend make new friends. There is a world of people out there! We live in a world of billions of people! We get to interact with these people every day. We may never meet all 8 billion people, but we can meet some!

Don't think of a "friend breakup" as something bad.

It can be healthy. It can be good. It is okay to no longer be friends with someone. Don't beat yourself up when the communication starts to drop. Don't fret about little things. Friends come and friends go. It is okay.

Cover Image Credit: Miriam Höschele

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