To Everyone Who Told Me to Settle, Being Myself Is Bringing Success

To Everyone Who Told Me to Settle, Being Myself Is Bringing Success

I am accepting myself as I am, and learning to use the quirks as my strengths.
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I’m obsessed with personality tests. Meyers-Briggs you name it iv sent it to all my friends and used them to analyze my own personality. I think this is because I’ve never been able to access how others perceive me.

Have you ever wanted to watch yourself though someone else’s eyes? Just to see what you truly look like, how you act, and how that comes off on others.

I get mixed reviews when I ask about myself. The one thing I always seemed to get was a combination of fearless, impulsive, different. I love being different, and I love change. At first I am always excited to get this, but as it sinks in and is explained, it’s not usually a “positive” in others eyes. The kind of people who emphasize my “impulsivity” and “quirkiness” trend to be those of the opposite traits. Those who like routine, safety, comfortability. There is nothing wrong with these things either, but to me, a life of monotony seems to be stifling creatively and would make me unhappy. As said, these comments come off as negatives. Your impulsive, it’s fun, seems to come with an air of judgment and inner eye roll.

My own mother always told me, “you can’t do everything and have it all. You have this immature dream of having a hundred jobs and traveling the world. You need to grow up, pick a career, and learn to settle. It’s just the way the adult world works.” While there is some truth in this, and more for others, I never understood why we all have to do this.

If you know me, you know I never listened to the rational. I’ve changed my hair a hundred times, changed my major dozens of times, and taken on more hobbies in a year than most do in a lifetime. For most of my life I’ve felt horrible about this. My parents pay for so much, and I am in debt to so many, the guilt of failure made me not want to be me.

Me is changing. I am not impulsive all the time. What may come off as impulsive is adaption and innovation. Impulsivity implies I do something without thought, but when I make crazy decisions, I have a goal. To experience the new, to challenge myself, and to learn, every time. One day my hair will be short, the next day long. My major will be biology, then be art. Ill become an expert in basket weaving, and then specialize in karate. I change.

This is who I am, and this is how I live my life. I am not dauntless, I am adaptable. I am not impulsive, I am innovative. The people who change the world are not like the others. They have a different walk, a different look, a different mind. Writing my graduate essays, when asked what makes me special, I realized it’s my ability to change, and learn. This is the definition of intelligence.

To all those who thought I was less intelligent because my mind whirls in passion over 100 subject, I am.

To all those who say I can’t live a life of change successfully, I am.

I am a chameleon, ever changing and adapting.

I have worked hard this year. Really HARD, and I haven’t stopped doing everything, and constantly changing. My ability to change makes me unique. Each subject, hobby, and art I take on molds each other. In fields where creativity is not “necessary” and true change seems impossible, I am going to bring ideas to change all we know for the better. I am so excited to have so many new opportunities ahead of me. BIG THINGS are coming for me, and am excited to announce them to my family and friends. I

I don’t condemn those who don’t understand the way I am. It’s hard to imagine a life the opposite of mine, to imagine the thoughts of people unlike me. But to everyone on the edge, afraid to make the jump but considering it, I challenge you.

Cut your hair, change your major, apply to something you think you’ll never get, take an odd job, embrace being single/in love.

Especially if it scares you. You might not like your hair, you might decide you don’t like painting, but you’ll learn something about yourself. To me, being strong enough to take the leap means something in itself. You are brave, you are willing to learn, you are ready to change into a better stronger you.

To me, that is something to be proud of.

Keep calm, and then don’t.

Cover Image Credit: FeministsUnited

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 49

Language is a powerful tool.

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Welcome back! We made our way to a meeting with Dr. Shikaki, a Palestinian demographer--basically, that means he takes polls to see what the population's opinion is. It also means he can see how the opinion changes, as the polls started decades ago.

Again, as I talk about his message, keep in mind that this is his unique narrative, and it is different from other narratives out there--both on the Palestinian and Israeli side. He does give a very factual talk, though, due to the nature of his job. He essentially takes all the narratives of everyone else to craft a blanket-statement narrative; however, we should keep in mind that blanket-statements are almost never 100% accurate.

In addition, because he is able to write the questions being asked in his polls, there could be certain narratives left out. Of course, if you've taken any statistics class, you know about nonresponse bias and other biases that come out of censuses and samples. To my knowledge, Dr. Shikaki's polls are only in the West Bank, so Gazan Palestinians aren't even included here.

The first thing he tells us is that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are dissatisfied with their government, the Palestinian Authority. The approval rating for the PA is only about 20-25%, and 80% of Palestinians surveyed said that the government is corrupt in some way. A large group of secular Palestinians said that they support the liberal values that are associated with democracy, such as press freedom, gender equality, minority rights, and most importantly, regularly-held elections.

Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Palestinians who support a democratic political system (because they are dissatisfied with the current corruption, as the current system is not giving them a very high standard of living) rose to over 80%.

Some liberal social values are not as widely accepted because many of these liberal values are a very Westernized way of living, and Arab culture differs from Western culture in many ways; neither is better than the other. However, Palestinians do want the freedom of press and less corruption in political parties. Currently, they do not think they have an independent judiciary.

Dr. Shikaki explained that Palestinians can be split, for the most part, into "nationalists," who are mostly secular, and "Islamists," who are mostly religiously observant and non-secular. Nationalists believe in a separation of the church and state, and they are first and foremost Palestinians (compared to Islamists, who are first and foremost Muslims--and Palestinians second). Fatah is the largest political faction within the nationalists.

Within nationalism, there are mainstream nationalists and leftist nationalists. The overwhelming majority of nationalists are mainstream nationalists. They believe that though there is a separation of church and state, there should be cooperation between the state and religion; both can work together. It is not an antagonistic relationship. 55% of the entire Palestinian public would identify with mainstream nationalism (15% would identify with leftist nationalism, and 30% would identify with Islamism).

The smaller section of nationalism is leftist nationalism. They believe that the state can eradicate the importance placed on religion if need be. On the other end is Islamism, which believes that state and religion cannot be separated. Parliament cannot rule in a way that is opposed to Islamic rule and Muslim values. Again, they are first and foremost Muslims, and after that comes their identity of Palestinians and Arabs.

They show more support for a rule by Hamas in the West Bank because Hamas tends to have similar values as them. In the West Bank, about a third of the population supports Hamas over the PA. In Gaza, there is higher support for Hamas, and Hamas was actually democratically elected after the second intifada.

The public in the West Bank sometimes blames nationalists for corruption, and since nationalists are associated with the current government, Hamas could actually win a popular vote right now--which is why the PA has been holding off elections (which, to Palestinians, is another sign of corruption).

Now that we've seen how Palestinians view themselves, we need to see how Palestinians view their Israeli neighbors--and how they view the possibility of peace. It's a lot to unpack, so this concludes this chapter, and I will be talking about it in the next section!

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