To The Teacher Who Challenged Me

To The Teacher Who Challenged Me

It was difficult at the time, but thank you.
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To the teacher who pushed me past my limits,

I entered your class early in high school, still bright eyed and ambitious. I had always done well in your subject and was excited. This did not last long. My favorite subject soon became the one I dreaded the most. This began when I received my first essay back from you. I received 65. Never in my life had I expected to see a grade that low on a piece of writing, because writing had always come easily to me.

Then we had our first vocabulary quiz. That grade was a little bit higher, but not by much. I teetered between a C and a B minus all semester. I went from a straight A student, to a student struggling to maintain that C all semester. I did not know what I was doing wrong, but at that point I lost all ambition to try because I felt like no matter what I did, I would receive a low grade. For that, I am truly sorry.

I am not just apologizing to you, but also to myself. I know that if I put the effort in, I would have enjoyed the class and done well. In a sense, this class taught me more than the classes I excelled in. You did not just let me skate by with halfway decent work. You saw me reaching the next level that I did not even know existed. I was able to get through classes in this subject without even trying before, but you wanted more from me.

I used to be able to write a paper about an article or chapter that I had not read, but that was not the case in your class- more than I deemed myself capable of. I remember how excited I got when I earned a B plus on a paper. It was the highest grade I received on a piece of my writing in your course. I think it was at that moment I realized that I could turn it around and I earned a B for the semester.

I struggled, plain and simple. I lost all ambition to study or try on assignments. Quizzes that could have been easy A’s were B’s and C’s. Out of all of the challenging upper level courses that I enrolled in during high school, none of them met the level of difficulty that this one did. It did not make sense to me. Those classes contained harder content, but this one challenged me the most. I do not think it was the class. I believe it was the fact that I did not believe I could do well. You did, and your comments on my assignments were geared toward me improving, but I never took advantage of them. I went into the next level of this subject the next year with a sense of fear, but I left that course with a high grade. That also made no sense to me at the time.

Even though I did not put all of my effort into this course, I learned more than I could have ever expected. I learned a lot about myself. Sure, this is a course that had come naturally to me for many years, but I could not just skate by. There is always room to grow and improve if you are willing to try. This lead me to try harder than ever before the following year. I applied your critiques and words of encouragement. It might have been a year late, but I did it. My senior year, I enrolled in the AP course and earned college credit for my freshman year of college. I owe it all to you. It was not the lessons you taught me about the course itself, but rather, the lessons you taught me about myself. I am able to improve and the limit of my abilities is boundless. With a little bit of effort, ambition, and confidence, I can do anything.

Thank you,

Your former student
Cover Image Credit: Clip Art Fest

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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For Camille, With Love

To my godmother, my second mom, my rooted confidence, my support

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First grade, March. It was my first birthday without my mom. You through a huge party for me, a sleepover with friends from school. It included dress up games and making pizza and Disney trivia. You, along with help from my grandma, threw me the best birthday party a 7-year-old could possibly want.

During elementary school, I carpooled with you and a few of the neighborhood kids. I was always the last one to be dropped off, sometimes you would sneak a donut for me. Living next door to you was a blessing. You helped me with everything. In second grade, you helped me rehearse lines for history day so I could get extra credit. In 4th grade, you helped me build my California mission.

You and your sister came out to my 6th grade "graduation". You bought me balloons and made me feel as if moving onto middle school was the coolest thing in the entire world.

While you moved away from next door, you were a constant in my life. Going to Ruby's Diner for my birthday, seeing movies at the Irvine Spectrum and just hanging out, I saw you all the time. During these times, you told me about all of the silly things you did with my mom and dad, how my mom was your best friend. I couldn't have had a greater godmother.

In middle school, you pushed me to do my best and to enroll in honors. You helped me through puberty and the awkward stages of being a woman.

Every single time I saw you, it would light up my entire day, my week. You were more than my godmother, you were my second mom. You understood things that my grandma didn't.

When you married John, you included me in your wedding. I still have that picture of you, Jessica, Aaron and myself on my wall at college. I was so happy for you.

Freshmen year of high school, you told me to do my best. I did my best because of you. When my grandma passed away that year, your shoulder was the one I wanted to cry on.

You were there when I needed to escape home. You understood me when I thought no one would. You helped me learn to drive, letting me drive all the way from San Clemente to Orange.

When I was applying to colleges, you encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. You told me I should explore, get out of California. I wanted to study in London, you told me to do it. That's why, when I study abroad this Spring in London, I will do it for you.

When I had gotten into UWT, you told me to go there. I did and here I am, succeeding and living my best in Tacoma. I do it for you, because of you.

When I graduated high school and I was able to deliver a speech during our baccalaureate, you cheered me on. You recorded it for me, so I could show people who weren't able to make it to the ceremony. You were one of the few people able to come to my actual graduation. You helped me celebrate the accomplishments and awards from my hard work.

When your cancer came back, I was so worried. I was afraid for you, I was afraid of what I would do without the support you had always given me. When I was in Rome, I went to the Vatican and had gotten a Cross with a purple gem in the middle blessed by the Pope to help you with your treatments. It was something from me and a little bit of my mom in the necklace, the gem.

Now, sitting so far from you away at college just like you wanted me to. I miss you. I wish I was there to say goodbye.

I'll travel the world for you, write lots of stories and books for you, I will live life to the fullest for you.

You are another angel taken too early in life. Please say hello to my parents and grandma in Heaven for me.

Lots of love,

Haiden

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