Poetry On Odyssey: My Little Constellations

Poetry On Odyssey: My Little Constellations

These freckles dance across my body/ A shower of constellations/ An assortment of waltzes

kallyn
kallyn
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I have freckles on my body. I don't hate them, but I also don't love them. I always find people swooning over them, offering up their sincerest accolades. I never asked to be given these natural tattoos, and they seem to reside in the strangest places in even stranger assortments.

I resonate with my freckles as I symbolize them as stars. At first glance, it is difficult to determine whether a star is good or evil, per se. In other words, if they are a shooting star or a meteor. You are forced to pour trust into that little dot, hoping it is good. In the same way, I must trust my own self. Nevertheless, there are situations in which I must also take a risk on myself and hope that I a shooting star rather than a meteor.


My Little Constellations

These freckles dance across my body.

A shower of constellations

An assortment of waltzes


Skeletal fingers

Connect the winding dots

Admiring what they believe to be beautiful


These tiny craters

Tracing my figure

A permanent roadmap


Tattoos I didn't consent to receive

Forever pierced onto me

They smile wickedly at me


I watch in awe as they soar

Near and far, confiding in one another

As tears roll down my face


For the most defeating thought

Comes to mind

Amidst this encounter


Could they be shooting stars?

Or meteors craving destruction?

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Bethel Church's Gay Conversion Program Is A Huge Problem And We're Not Talking Enough About It

Religion doesn't give us a right to purposefully abuse a community.

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About a year ago, in May of 2018, Bethel Church in Redding, California came out publicly against a set of proposed laws which would make it illegal for a licensed mental health professional to perform 'conversion therapy' in order to change the sexual orientation or same-sex attractions of a person. The head pastor of the church asked for members of Bethel Church to act against the three bills (California AB 1779, AB 2943 and AB 2119), urging them to contact their congressmen and ask for them to prevent the laws from passing, all in order for them to continue their harmful ex-gay ministry.

Today, Bethel Church is under scrutiny for the role out of their ex-gay conversion initiative, CHANGED. The website of the initiative movement claims that any change is possible through Jesus, and encourages those who identify as LGBTQ+ to abandon the "pain, rejection, and despair," of being LGBTQ+. (CHANGED website). This movement is not the first, but just the next in a long line of organizations claiming to provide change for those who identify as LGBTQ+, despite this being an impossibility. Ex-gay programs, in actuality, only serve to push those who go through them farther away from the love of God.

Conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people has been proven not only to be completely ineffective but has also been found to cause intense mental issues and in many cases, a strong correlation to suicide. Those who have gone through ex-gay therapy programs such as Exodus International or Focus on the Family's Love Won Out have admitted that even after successfully completing the program they had not experienced a change in their same-sex attraction. The founder of Exodus International even claimed that by his estimation, 99.9% of those who had gone through his organization's therapy had not experienced any change in their orientation. Exodus International was considered intensely controversial, and their methods considered by most, if not all, mental health professionals to be incredibly damaging. Those who come out of conversion therapy experience intense feelings of depression and often experience a lack of self-worth.

As a Christian, I grieve every single time someone claiming to believe what I do comes out and condemns the LGBT community. It hurts to see one community I am a member of being hateful towards another community I am just as proud to be a part of. This news stung a little harder because I for a long time have loved Bethel Church's worship band. Their songs have spoken to me in ways I cannot fully describe, helping to bring me closer to the God I believe in. A God who I can say for certain would never advocate for something as damaging and destructive as conversion therapy. The same Jesus who Bethel's songs worship is the same Jesus who calls us to love everyone. Bethel Church is not following this call, and it is important that we speak out against conversion therapy, and not allow our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to carry out such a harmful program.

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It Appears To Be The End Of The Pittsburgh Penguins' Cup Contention

After being swept in the 1st Round of the 2019 Playoffs, the current Penguins' best days appear to be behind them.

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Loss amidst the collapse of the Tampa Bay Lightning in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs is the fact that the Pittsburgh Penguins were swept in four games to the New York Islanders. After back to back Cups in 2016 and 2017, the Penguins have disappointed many after losing to the Washington Capitals in the 2nd Round in 2018, and now this year's 1st Round defeat to the Islanders. It appears that their run of Stanley Cup contention is over.

With star forwards Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, and Evgeni Malkin, as well as top defenseman Kris Letang all 31 years old or older, the chances of any major improvement are quite slim, and it is likely that their production starts to decline in the near future. Crosby, the best player of his generation, had an amazing season with 100 pts, but he will not be able to do it forever. Malkin has been injury plagued throughout his career, and he dealt with some of that this season as well.

The regression of Patric Hornqvist, also over 31, from 49 pts last year to 37 pts this year in nearly the same number of games played, is quite concerning. Hornqvist, making $5.3 million per year until 2023, was instrumental in the Penguins' depth that helped win them back to back Cups, so it appears that he is entering major decline in his career.

Also hurting the Penguins is the lack of talented young forwards to step up and eventually fill the void of Crosby, Malkin, and Kessel. With the exception of Jake Guentzel, age 24, who had 40 goals and 76 pts this year, most of the young players appear to be little more than cheap depth. Dominik Simon, also age 24, once highly touted in the Penguins' farm system, registered just 28 pts in 71 games this season. Coach Mike Sullivan will need to use Simon much more next year in hopes of furthering his development as a forward. 22 year old forward Jared McCann was big in helping the Penguins make the playoffs this year, as he had 17 pts in 32 games after acquired in a trade from the Florida Panthers, but he had just 1 pt in 3 games in the Islanders series.

In terms of disappointing acquisitions that General Manager Jim Rutherford has made recently, signing defenseman Jack Johnson in 2018 ranks high. Johnson is 32 and has 4 years left on a $3.2 million per year deal, and was largely ineffective for most of the season. 27 year old defenseman Erik Gudbranson was acquired at the 2019 trade deadline, and while being serviceable at times, does not suit most of today's faster paced game.

Goaltender Matt Murray is still just 24 years old and had a better season compared to his 2017-18 campaign, but he appears to not be the goaltender who won two Cups as a rookie for the Penguins. It will be interesting to see if he gets back to those type of performances over a full schedule, or if stretches of inconsistency will plague him further.

While the Penguins appear to be falling down the ladder out of serious contention for another Stanley Cup, those memories from 2016 and 2017 will never be forgotten by their fans. Even with a slow decline, the franchise appears to be in decent shape to maintain good attendance considering the fanbase they have cultivated during the Crosby era. Nevertheless, the Penguins are joining fellow former and recent multiple Cup winners in the LA Kings and Chicago Blackhawks in regression.

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