All posts by Joelle

Hello! I'm a human going about my human ways. Don't mind me. I'm chilling.

Advantage of Foresight: Alison

Regarding this prompt, check out this link for awesomeness.

 

I didn’t expect this.

She lay there, unconscious in the consequences of her aneurysm. A weak area of a vein leading to the heart. The doctor had sat me down and told me all the technicalities. Basically, her vein produced a hole and there was internal bleeding. He said he could put a tube in the vein to let the blood pass into the heart, but it was highly risky.

“It’s not your fault.” The doctor said. “You couldn’t have prevented it even if you could time travel.”

“But I can time travel.” I whispered as he walked away. I could only go forward to see the future, though, and I could see what I wanted. I never wanted to know what would happen to her, what would end her.

I gazed through the window again, my eyes settling on the unsettling view of my aunt. She had raised me as one of her own, treated me the same as her other six children.

“Not so fast,” a voice said. “I’m not letting you leave.”

“I just need to know if she’ll make it, Asher.” I said. “I really do.”

“What time is it?” He asked knowingly.

I closed my eyes. I could already feel my watch clicking against my wrist. It didn’t count how much time had passed; it counted how much time I had left. I knew I was destined to die in a car accident, and every time I time traveled to the future, it took a day out of my life. It brought the car accident a day closer.

“1 Day, sixteen minutes,” I said softly. “The surgery is in one day, twelve hours.”

“Do you know what’ll happen to you once you die? You’re not human. Heaven or hell or limbo isn’t for you.” My best friend pointed out.

Oh, that voice of reason. How it killed me.

“I don’t know.” I admitted. “But neither do you. Reincarnation? Simultaneous existence? Maybe I’ll run into future me who came from a parallel universe to visit me? I don’t know, Asher. You know what I do know? I can find out if Aunt Alison makes it.”

“This is your last day on Earth, Ally. You want to lose it in sixteen minutes?” Asher asked.

“There’s a chance we’ll both die tomorrow. I want to know.” I said.

He sighed. “Don’t say I didn’t try to stand in your way. Save me a seat near Amy Winehouse.” He said as he wrapped his arms around me.

“Do you think you’re going to hell?”

“We’re both going to hell, Ally.” He chuckled over my shoulder.

I felt coldness sear through my own veins as I disappeared into nothingness. When I returned to visibility, I was sitting outside the hospital room in the same seat.

“Ally, did you hear me?” The doctor said. “Your aunt is ready.”

I dazily stood up and hastened a smile before entering the room. Aunt Alison grinned at me before saying, “Hey, sweetie.”

“Hey, Aunt Alison. How are you feeling?” I asked.

“Tired. You don’t realize what life can do to you.” Aunt Alison said. “Ally?”

“Yes ma’am?”

“Asher came by. He said to meet him at the park. He’s such a nice boy.”

“Yes, yes, he is.” I said quietly. At that, my watch began to hum. “I… I have to go.”

“Wait. Give me a hug. Did I raise you in a barn?”

I laughed before holding her tightly. “Goodbye, Aunt Alison.” I said, forcing myself to keep my voice level.

I left hurriedly, the watch vibrating strongly around my forearm.

Before I shut the door behind me, I thought I heard her whisper, “Goodbye, Alison.”

 

 

 

No Sexual Orientation? It’s Possible: Asexuality

I actually feel some compassion for the LGBT community. It’s a dirty little secret of mine; my religion taught me it was an act condemnable by God, but what the LGBT community is going through socially does provoke me a bit- since I’m filling shoes similar to theirs.

I never understood why men were so obsessed with breasts (and being a 30A was no fun when I discovered this) or why my girlfriends swooned when they walked past a Calvin Klein billboard. What society called attractive looked the same to me as what society called ratchet- it all looked like people. When I heard that people had sexual fantasies about their crushes… something didn’t sound right.

Of course I have a crush. He’s been my best guy friend since 7th grade, and he reminds me of the things that I still haven’t realized I forgot about yet. He is such a genius and I could talk to him all day if my teachers let me (my biology teacher smartly placed us at opposite ends of the room). But… I never had a sexual fantasy about him. Or any of my crushes, for that matter. They were more of, “I’d like to get to know you more, be close to you…”

I was surfing the internet like a typical person armed with a computer since I was on a writing high (it’s when you found a muse and can write obsessively for days and even weeks). I discovered a website where people submit their secrets anonymously. I cracked up at some of them and was thought-provoked at others. Boom! I somehow landed at PostSecret’s Twitter feed, and there weren’t as many secrets as I wish there were. Every fourth or fifth Tweet was a secret, but in between them, there were news stories. One caught my eye: Asexuality.

It led to this website: http://www.asexuality.org/home/

After reading some info, asexuality is described as an orientation where a person doesn’t experience sexual attraction. No, not celibacy or abstinence were a person does have sexual attraction but chooses not to act on it until a certain time (usually marriage). The person can look at somebody and think, “Oh, she’s cute,” but not, “I want to hook up with her,” and have sexual fantasies.

There are different kinds of asexuals. An asexual is an asexual as long as the person doesn’t have sexual attraction upon first meeting someone.

The things you need to keep in mind about asexuals is there are people who are interested in a romantic connection and those who aren’t. Romantic connection as in getting to know someone, hugging, kissing, holding hands, yay! romance! But no sex. A sexual person can be a bit confused about asexuals since romance and sex are very, very intertwined in their lives.

Suppose you’re a straight man on an island. Or woman. Or whatever. You have your sexual orientation, but everybody else on the island has the contradictory sexual orientation. You’re straight, they’re gay. They’re gay, you’re straight. You’re bi, they’re asexual. Life sucks. You’re not interested in the other people’s way of sex. You want to have sex the way your sexual orientation asks for. You’re a straight dude on an island with gay men, the men are off hooking up, that sucks because you want a girl and you’re not interested in gay sex.

That’s kind of what it is in asexuals. Everyone is talking about sex, obsessing about sex, having sex, but you’re just not interested. This doesn’t mean you’re low libido. You’re still a straight dude on a gay man island (theoretically). You have a sex drive, you want to connect with someone. Asexuals want a different connection with people that isn’t sexual.

I advise you to check out the website for a shorter explanation about different kinds of asexuals, because while I can explain it, it will stretch out forever and AVEN (organization behind the website) just has a thing for keeping things short and sweet.

But some clicks happened to me when I visited the website. I was like, AHA! So that’s what it is. That’s why I never had a sexual fantasy about my crushes.

I called up my best friend who was openly bi. She must’ve known something about being different sexually, coming out, etc. I didn’t know if asexuality was exactly for me. I was a confused mess. I knew asexuality made sense to me, that it was something I experience on a daily basis, but at the same time, why me? It’s estimated that 1 in every 100 people in the UK are asexual. I’m in the US, but why me? I was becoming more and more unable to form a romantic relationship. Religious, vegetarian, having a personality type that only took 4% of the world, and now, what? Asexual? Who was going to put up with a meal dilemma 3 times a day and no sex?

I texted her, and at first, she didn’t understand. After some explanation, she told me it was a phase. That 15 was too young to know for sure, that I was a virgin and there was no way to tell until I tried, and so on.

I’m very disheartened. She talked to me about her sexual orientation being difficult, how people treated her differently, and so on. And she simply turned around and did the same thing to me. I wish people would be aware of asexuality and learn to accept it as a sexual orientation also. The LGBT community has considerable progress in this aspect, and the asexual community has much to learn from them.

After some late nights staying up and crying until the wee hours of the morning, after prayer, after a lot and a lot of research, I know I can’t deny being asexual, but I don’t know how I’m going to admit it in the first place to my loved ones. I don’t even know how people would respond, who should I tell and who I shouldn’t. How to explain, how to stay tough. But it’s progress I have to make. I might as well get it over now then face frustration later on because I let it slide under the mat.

I have a small plan. I want my family to know first before everyone else. So I came up with a fake story, and I’m going to present it the same way I tell my real stories to my mother. I always say, “Today at school, this person blah blah blah blah. Can you believe it?” She gives me her input and some life lesson, every day after coming home from school. Sometimes, on long car rides, she’d ask me, “And what happened to that girl that did such and such?” Maybe I could simply say, “This girl told me she was asexual. She says it’s blah blah blah. What do you think?” Maybe I could get her input from a safe distance.

Maybe I could present the story the same way to my friends. See their eyes, see their expressions. I’ll look at them, find them beautiful, but not sexually. Not that way.

How To Make Life Less Awkward: Part 1

 Small confession here: I’m an introvert. Basically, that means I like my own company more than others’ because I’m self-centered and freaking awesome. However, I made a shocking discovery: I can be pretty awkward around people. That dreaded silence chokes me with thoughts like, “What do I say?” “Does the other person thing it’s awkward?” “What?!? Don’t stare at them while you’re thinking! God! Now they think you’re a weirdo. GOOD JOB.” Then I come out with a stuttery saying like, “Uh, it’s b- b- been hot lately.” Duh, you dim-wit. That’s Texas  weather, stupid. 

 So I went out of my way to be less awkward. Notice how I named this segment PART 1, with the assumption that one day I will be a charismatic social butterfly and I can help other awkward clowns that are in cocoons to come out already. (Not out of the closet, though. I’m not a huge fan of forced confessions.) 

Acknowledge the awkward. I noticed this kind of helps with people you just met and that stupid mutual friend left the room. Instead of staring at them but trying not to stare at them, just acknowledge that it’s awkward. “My god, I hate awkward silences. It’s like saying goodbye to a good friend and then heading in the same direction. Has that ever happened to you?” If the person says no, say jokingly, “Has someone ever told you that your antisocial?” Point is, ask questions. It’ll get them talking. 

Tip: Question of the Day. I started this after noticing that some of my favorite YouTubers leave a question after their video for the subscribers to talk about in the comment section. Well, if something can be done in social media, five bucks it can be done in real life. (Mmm… maybe not. Poking someone in real life randomly can be pretty creepy- and awkward. Awkward is what you’re trying to get away from, right?) Anywho, I started writing questions that every human being can answer- and it reveals something about their personality. It helps to have an agenda to write down the questions as you come up with them and make it a routine thing- even with your friends. It’s kind of a conversation starter. 

Fancy Schmancy Examples:

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten?
What’s the weirdest dream you’ve had?
If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be?
Do you sing in the shower?
What would you do if you weren’t scared of anything? 
What do you think Victoria’s secret IS?
If you could make out with any celebrity, who would it be… of the same gender?
What’s the funniest pick up line that you know?
If you could star in a TV show, what show would it be?
Would you work for the NSA? FBI? CIA? Any organization with the same amount of letters and the same purpose as SPY?

etc, etc, etc. I casually bring it up as, “Oh, do you wanna hear my question of the day?”  It has made me slightly more sociable and less awkward. I give my own responses to the question sometimes to give the person suggestions.

 

Why I Believe Columbus Day Should Be Killed

  Today, many kids and adults alike are off from their daily obligation(s) because on this day, Columbus stepped on a piece of land he thought was India and met beautiful people he thought were Indians.

 And thus, his discovery started a chain of genocide, oppression, and the dehumanization of the original Americans- the Native Americans.

 Columbus himself doesn’t even deserve the credit for “discovering” America, or even being the first outsider to enter America. Groups like the Vikings, Phoenicians, and West Africans had stepped on this land hundreds of years before Spain funded the voyage.

 Columbus started the slave-trade to America and a great mass-murder. He treated the Native Americans as commodities, forced them into slavery, dehumanized them, and killed them in a fashion similar to what an animal would endure.

Native Americans aren’t silent on their opinion on Columbus or the thousands that took their land and pronounced it their own. On Thanksgiving, when Americans are wolfing down a turkey and raising their obesity rates, the Native Americans on their reservations are going through their Day of Mourning.

If someone mourns the arrival of their own species, it is a very powerful message that clearly proves that their treatment wasn’t at all humanitarian.

Are we teaching our children that genocide is acceptable, as long as you’re not the one being slaughtered? Are we teaching them that oppression and dehumanization is tolerable?

Some cities and people, like Angelina Jolie, have chosen to not even acknowledge this day due to the cruel treatment that Columbus gave to the Native Americans. Instead, some cities have chosen to instead celebrate Italian Culture Day.

History, of course, can’t be changed. We can choose to learn from it, though. I want for it to never happen again, whether it is something as how Americans treat delinquents or immigrants, or something as far fetched as extraterrestrials. History has a lot to do with each individual on this face of the Earth. We just have to make sure that each individual learns from it on a personal level. 

This is why I wrote to Obama, Rick Perry, and Ted Cruz. I wrote to Rick Perry and Ted Cruz since I live in Texas. I wanted to tell them that I didn’t approve of this day and asked them to instead change Columbus Day to Italian Culture Day.

Obama sent back a letter with a picture of him and Michelle. I glowered at the letter.

Seriously? I bought a 46-cent stamp to get an automated response and some picture?

“Obama,” I sighed, “make a change for once and at least write back with that left hand of yours. I mean, you should know better than that. Your tribe in Kenya is raging right now because they want their idiot back…. Now, I’m not saying that you’re an idiot, but if you drew that conclusion from my last statement, well. I’m not taking it back.”

Rick Perry said it was an honor to be an American. Rick. Perry. You know, I used to doubt that if you knew how to read. Now I know that you don’t even know how to write, because someone else clearly did it for you. And that someone else can’t read also, because I basically wrote on how Americans were total jerks to the Native Americans. And to say that it’s an honor?

Ted Cruz didn’t even respond. I’m pretty sure he read it and I got on his nerves. I talked about how my stepdad worked for the government. I was just trying to find a common ground. A week later, my stepdad was at home, grumbling about the government shutdown. I see how it is, Mr. Cruz. You sure know how to cast your revenge plans. Me and my four eyes will be watching you.

Six eyes, actually. I recently got contacts.

Me and my six eyes will be watching you. And the nation’s eyes will be watching Washington and every one that sits in a white building and makes decisions for a living.

Make a move.

You had no problem moving the Native Americans anyways.

This post was written in inspiration from the following muses:

“Reconsider Columbus Day”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8sS2CEp3hM 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/writing-challenge-history/

“Christopher Columbus and the Indian Identity Mishap”

http://www.readthehorn.com/blogs/talking_heads/84796/christopher_columbus_and_the_indian_identity_mishap

 

My First ASMR expierience

ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, has little to no research on it because no one funds it. No one cares.

So I have no idea why certain sounds like whispering, brushing, soft jingles, rubbing, and tapping cause me to experience strange sensations in my head. It’s very hard to explain. At first, my brain feels like something is grasping it gently. Then certain areas, like my scalp and forehead, feel like they’re being grasped more tightly. Then the areas begin to create a sensation between tingling and vibrating. This is all gentle though.

In fact, it feels good.

To those who don’t experience these sensations after hearing certain sounds, this description sounds like at this moment, I’m sitting with several IV’s attached to me, my heart monitor blaring to everyone that I’m alive- and nervous, and every five minutes a nurse named Diana comes in to check on me.

But I don’t. Sorry.

Anyway, I’ve watched a video that triggered my ASMS a couple days ago, and now, I think Miley Cyrus said it best. I can’t stop.

I’ve actually kept this a secret, because ASMR videos on YouTube include roleplaying, certain sounds that turn on these sensations… it’s almost like porn. Everyone has different triggers, different preferences, and always feel a bit… er, satisfied after watching these videos.

My triggers come from paying attention to these sounds and being reeeelaaaxxxeeed. It helps to being focused, breathing, and quite. These videos are made to cause these sensations, relax the audience, and some are especially made to aid people in falling asleep. ASMR people claim that these videos help them manage anxiety and control panic attacks.

 If you’re wondering if you can get these ASMR sensations, I put one of my favorite videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1KEXaX_Nd0&feature=c4-overview&list=UUn622AJ6EcQLwpltrYJR8lw

And remember, relax. I dare you to tell me how it went and if you experience any other weird sensations from random things… because we’re human, and we’re weird.

 

My Unrelated Other Self

My geometry grades have been going down the drain recently (and the 29-year-old high schooler isn’t necessarily helping ((If you’re wondering who I’m talking about, I’m talking about my geometry teacher. I mentioned him in my First Day of School post.))) so I’ve been going after Google search after Google search for some help.

I’ve read some articles in Time before (Nerd Alert!) about Khan Academy and the founder’s vision to transform the education system all over the world. He’s pretty darn ambitious. YouTube videos that sound so natural with his easy-going voice, a website that is like the accurate version of Wikipedia (free!), but actually useful, and graduating from Harvard and being an intellectual hoss.

Halfway through one of his YouTube videos, my ADHD spoke up and asked me, “GOSH, what’s his name? Is he Morgan Freedman’s cousin or something?”

And of course, me, not being perturbed by hearing “voices” in my head, replied right back, “I dunno. Let’s ask Google!”

ADHD and I were instantly blown away. His name is Salman Khan. ADHD and my name was supposed to be Salma, but my dad misspelled it when he registered me as an alive baby. He had a crush on Salma Hayek, but that’s beside the point. I got stuck with Selma instead. I was planned. My name was not. And ADHD is a good speller.

But then it gets weirder. Just like his name was off by one letter from mine, his birthday is a day off from mine. October 11th. My birthday is October 10th. By now, ADHD is taunting my OCD side, which usually likes to hang in the corner of my mind until it sees that a picture frame is crooked.

“Heeeey! OCD! He’s off by one!” ADHD called out. OCD started cussing out ADHD, in alphabetical order.

Then it gets even weirder that I’m starting to doubt if this was coincidence. His parents come from different countries, and he was born in America. He might be racially confused like me.

My mother comes from Mexico, which then made me born in the U.S.

Then ADHD goes, “You’re kind of a good impromptu speaker.”

“True. I hope I sound like him, too. Calm, relaxed, cool, collected.”

“It’s calm, cool, and collected. Stupid.” OCD chimes in.

So he’s probably my unrelated other self. We have some weird, too-similar qualities. Maybe he’s my adult parallel. I always wondered how my life would be if I were born a man (since I am a feminist and I do ponder at gender issues pretty often). I guess I’ll let Salman Khan answer that for me. I would’ve gone to MIT and Harvard, changed education in a positive way, given a TED talk, married some girl (I don’t feel like researching her), and teach knuckleheads school things and save their lives for a while until they find something else to not “get”.

So thank you, parallel unrelated self. You’re pretty awesome.

 

Getting In A Car With A Stranger

For years and years and every breathing year, my family have told me not to talk to strangers, to call them if I need anything, to never be alone with a person I didn’t know without anyone else knowing I was with them.

Today, just a few minutes ago, I threw it out the window.

And risked my life.

It’s raining heavily, a huge surprise for Texas. I had to wait and wait for the bus (it comes half an hour after school ends). At first, I waited in the rain with a guy friend until he got onto his bus. Then I snuck inside and waited. I called a friend from an old school, and she was with a mutual friend of ours. She was obviously busy, and the three-year-old inside me occurred with the thought that I could’ve been that mutual friend right now had I not moved, had I not been forced to leave the family I made for myself. And the three-year-old began to tear up. I was crying. Humiliated, emotional, and embarrassed, I told my friend that I needed to go. If she knew I was crying, she would turn it into a therapy session and I would’ve cried more and more, and I would’ve ruined the party mood for her and the mutual friend.

I hung up the phone and threw my backpack on hastily. I couldn’t stand the probing eyes of classmates as they watched me be emotional.

So I began to walk home since the bus wouldn’t be coming in another fifteen minutes. It was still raining, and my flats with a good five inches of my jeans were soaked. I slipped on the mud if I didn’t walk on the road’s boulders (the weird white things that little kids like to walk and balance on). The back road I was walking on led to my neighborhood, and it was also the road several buses, faculty, and a couple of students used to get out of the school since the main entry was always jam-packed. Several cars and buses passed by, and even one car filled with students sped up and drove into a puddle near me. Had I not moved a bit faster, I would’ve gotten more wet than I already was. The thought of turning around and waiting for the bus made this walk seem like a waste of time, so I kept going.

One white car, seeming like it was made in the 90’s, stopped though. I closed my eyes. Shit. This was the beginning to yet another kidnapping movie. It almost felt like the high school version of Taken.

Instead of hearing a manly voice, I heard a sweet, southern accent.

“Do you need a ride, sweetie? I go to Champion (my high school).” She said.

One part screamed at me to tell her that no, I was fine. That my mom was waiting for me at the end of the street. That I could finish the walk. That my house was closer than she thought.

The other part told me that my feet were cold, and come on, she did go to my school. I could tell by the parking permit sticker she had on her windshield. She was a senior.

“Yes,” I said in a small voice. She opened the door to the passenger side. I found her backpack thrown where my feet would go, and a hairbrush and several little junk-nothings on the inside compartment of the door. I sat down, avoiding her backpack and buckled my seat belt as she began to drive.

I should’ve taken the license plate number.

“What’s your name?” I finally ask.

“Kayla,” She says.

“Oh. I was thinking, ‘if it’s a dude, don’t get in the car.'”

She laughed. “I’m not a dude.”

“Um… I live in the neighborhood here. That’s why I decided to walk. Just keep going straight, please. Thank you so much for giving me a ride.”

“It’s fine.” She said as she drove. After a few more directions, I was in front of my house.

I opened the door. “Thanks!” I said gratefully. “Do you want me to pay you for gas?”

“No, hon, it’s fine. You’re welcome.” She said. I closed the door, and she drove away.

I know that she could’ve used her gender to an advantage if she were a criminal. Just a girl helping out another girl, right? Too weak to kidnap me. She’s nice. Nice Southern hospitality, right?

But she didn’t. I don’t know what fueled her kindness, but I’m sure thankful for it. I’m now warm, fed, and dry in my bed. Thanks, Kayla.

But I still can’t believe that I broke a very big, societal rule: don’t get in a car with a stranger. And I did. I hope to return the favor one day, though.