The Rising by Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band

The Rising by Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band

This is a song that will forever have meaning to me.

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"The Rising" by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, is etched in my mind as part of my childhood. It reminds me of days filled with playing in the sandbox in our backyard, watching the commuter train through the hole in the fence, and sitting in the hot tub on the back porch with my dad and younger sister.

My dad is passionate about music. There's always music on in my house, and it's something I associate so closely with home and with my dad. Bruce Springsteen is his favorite. He plays Springsteen songs all the time at home, in the backyard, and in the car. He even sang a Springsteen song at my aunt's wedding. Springsteen is a significant figure in my life as his music influenced both of my parents. While I know the music and the chorus of most Springsteen songs, I was especially drawn to "The Rising" when I was 4 years old. I loved it so much I learned every word. As a kid, I liked the beat and the instruments the band used in the song. I was also intrigued by the uplifting chorus which was my favorite part of the song. I could be heard singing "Come on up for the rising, come on up lay your hands in mine... " wherever I went. I had no idea what the song was about at the time, but I knew it had an empowering message. Something about the song made me happy as a child, and I believe that even back then I knew the song was about love. I would sing it with my dad all the time, and I couldn't help but smile as I sang along with him.

As I've gotten older, I love the song even more because I know the meaning of the song, what it was written about, and the healing powers it possesses. The song was written about a firefighter during the September 11 attacks in New York. Springsteen, a native of New Jersey, used music as a way to help families processes the tragedy, begin to heal and be strengthened. Springsteen wrote the influential song, and the entire album, about this event in order to show our country that we are stronger than terrorism and most importantly, hate.

When I hear the song today I think about the different meanings it has for every individual living in this country, and I think of the importance it has in my life as well. In 2013, the song took on a new meaning to me in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. That tragedy hit close to home for me because some of my family members ran the race that day and experienced first hand the chaos and fear of terror.

Music is an important part of my life and family. Even though songs mean different things to different people, music brings everyone together. For me, "The Rising" is a song that makes me think of the resilience of the American Spirit; but also of a girl and her dad, bonding over a song they both love, and fond memories of home.

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Snoring, And 7 Other Things That Drive Any Sane Human Being Completely Bonkers

I am getting annoyed while writing this.

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We all have our fair share of things people do that annoy the crap out of us. Some of these things make no sense to others, and some are common among people. These are some of my "pet peeves" that I have gathered from the past years. I typically won't call anyone out for doing any of these, but we all know that feeling inside we get when we a pet peeve gets to us. So, if you know me and are reading this, I can now call you out since you know the following things bother me.

1. Loud chewing

Loud Chewing

I don't know if it is the sound of the food or the fact that I can also see the food in that person's mouth, but it all irks me equally at the dinner table.

2. Chalkboards

Chalkboard

Since I have grown up in a time with dry erase boards, this is a pet peeve that happens less often. But in college, chalkboards are something very common in the classroom unlike high school and middle school. The sound of the chalk on the board can really be a learning distraction when all you can focus on is the sound.

3. People who take your food off your plate without asking

Food

My dad used to do this one to me ALL THE TIME! If you want to try my food, I don't mind, but PLEASE ask. There is nothing worse than people taking all your food off your plate without asking if you mind.

4. Snoring

Snoring

I have come to realize a lot of my pet peeves are sounds. That being said, I like to sleep in silence. The only hard part of college touring was sharing a room with my parents, who won't admit it but both snore. It wasn't too fun on the pull out coach with pillows on top of my head trying to block the sound.

5. Nail biting

Nail Biting

Here we are again with another sound that gets under my skin. I am not sure if this one is hypocritical because I have a terrible habit of picking my nails. I'm not going to lie, one time I tried to bite my nails and it just didn't work. Either my teeth weren't strong enough or the pet peeve stood in my way.

6. When drivers don't use their turn signals

Turn Signals

I would like to say I am a very cautious driver. So whenever I drive, I always use my turn signals. With that being said, it makes me so angry when people don't use theirs. They could be turning for all I know, but I think they are going straight because they were too lazy to signal.

7. Abbreviating words that are already short

Abbreviating words

People abbreviating words that are four letters will never make sense to me. I mean, the word is short enough already, what is the point of shaving off a letter? This pet peeve doesn't happen as much in person, but rather I see it on social media, especially with the generation I have grown up in.

8. KNUCKLE CRACKING

Knuckle Cracking Giphy

I don't think anything rubs me the wrong way more than the sound of knuckle cracking. If you crack any part of your body next to me, you will see my face go into absolute discomfort. But, the absolute worst is when I am sitting in class, and the person in front of me cracks their back on their chair.

We all have our fair share of things that rub us in a weird way. Whether it is snoring, or knuckle cracking, these few things will most likely always give me the heeby-jeebies.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender Is Still Iconic, And Here's Why

Although it's a children's cartoon from the 2000s, ATLA remains one of the greatest shows ever made.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender ended in 2008, but I've watched the full series at least ten other times since then. I was a big fan of ATLA when it was first airing, but sometimes I marvel at how lasting it's impact is over a decade later. I've seen ATLA bumper stickers and tattoos depicting the four elements, not mention that I myself have a "Jasmine Dragon" sticker on my laptop resembling the Starbucks logo. ATLA was incredible. It's witty, fun, emotionally impactful, interesting in plot, and filled with relatable characters. "Korra" was a nice attempt to follow up on a passionate fanbase, but it ultimately didn't resonate with viewers to the same degree. That said, sometimes people wonder why I'm still so invested in a kid's cartoon from the 2000s. Here's why.

The show referenced a variety of cultures from around the world

If you've watched the show, you've probably realized that there aren't actually any "white" characters in the Avatar-verse. Not that European cultures aren't valid, but it is notable that the show was created as an appreciation of cultures that often go overlooked. The art and music were heavily influenced by East and South Asia, and the different nations clearly reference Asian and indigenous traditions. Earth Kingdom cities were based off of real cities in East Asia, and the culture depicted drew from various East Asian nations as well. The same applies to the fire nation, which was originally modeled off of Japan and China. The water tribes have their foundations in Inuit and Sireniki cultures, and the air nomads are based on Tibetans, Sri Lankan Buddhists, and Shaolin Monks. There are many other historical references throughout "Avatar," including a nod to ancient Mesopotamia in the Sun Warriors.

The characters were complex and relatable

"ATLA" didn't just give us a typical group of teenage heroes, with each one fitting into a typical mold. They were complex and realistic, and that's what made them relatable. We saw Aang balance his role as Avatar with his personal moral philosophy, all while experiencing the onset of puberty and young adulthood. We watched Katara struggle with responsibility as the main female role model in her family after her mother's death. We observed and related to Toph and Zuko's complex relationships with their families, including the influence that an abusive parent can have on a young life. We experienced the struggles of inferiority to "better" friends with Sokka, and even learned about toxic friendships with Mai and Ty Lee. These were all growing kids and teenagers, and nothing could have been more genuine.

"ATLA" gave us some incredible, strong female leads to look up to

Katara was truly the first feminist I ever encountered on television. Not only did she become a master waterbender in the span of weeks, she also taught the Avatar! And the whole time, she reminded us that strong fighters can be feminine too. Meanwhile, Toph showed us that just because a person has a disability, doesn't mean that they are defined by it. In fact, Toph's blindness only enhances her abilities, rather than holding her back. We also encounter powerful female characters like Azula (I know, she's evil, but that doesn't make her any less of a prodigy), Ty Lee, Mai, Suki (and all the Kyoshi warriors for that matter), Smellerbee, and even Princess Yue (who literally died for her people, mind you).

It made a deep, dramatic topic witty and fun

It occurred to me recently that "Avatar" is basically about imperialism and genocide. The Fire Nation decides to take over the world through military force, and it does so by exterminating an entire people and occupying and colonizing everyone else. For such a deep topic, you wouldn't think the show would be quite as fun as it is, but it is. I've restarted watching, and I find myself constantly laughing. With Sokka's sarcastic comments, Iroh's oddities, and everybody else's regular quips, "ATLA" is regularly lighthearted and never takes itself too seriously.

There's some real wise advice throughout

Finally, what "ATLA" is really known for, is its heart. Uncle Iroh provides us with a regular understanding of the world around us, encouraging us to see the world in balance and look for our true selves. His wise words ring true throughout childhood and adulthood. The underlying themes and messages of the show, including balance, friendship, love, and loyalty, all serve the greater purpose of advising the audience.

In summary, "Avatar" was amazing. If you haven't, I highly recommend you do. If you have, maybe go rewatch!

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