The Beast

 Suddenly, I realize where I’m headed. After hours and hours of fingers that grasp me, choke me, and then release me- the ultimate shaver of torture is taunting me as the powerful tentacles carry me to the last seconds of my life.

It flashes before me. I grew up in the woods, around giggling children and streaking sunlight. They would hug me, lean against me, whisper their numbers before saying, “Ready or not, here I come!” Then bigger children started to arrive. My neighbors whispered that they were greedy “adults” that never returned our kind, or never bothered to introduce more of our kind to let us at least be comforted at the thought that we weren’t the last ones left on Earth. The children started to disappear one by one, and the adults brought roaring beasts. My neighbors screamed at me to take care of their children as the beasts overpowered them. Their cries of pain echoed through the Earth until they faded into the air. Gone. Then one day, I couldn’t look after the small, vulnerable children because I suffered the same fate. I was handed off into multiple beasts. Beasts that roared, beasts that hummed, beasts that wounded, beasts that smoothed. Each were taunting in their own way, each took a piece of me until I was slim and fragile. Despite my weak state, a black disease was forced into my head, my heart, and all the way down to my end. After that, I was sealed off from fresh air. I wasn’t alone, though. Eleven others were with me, and one by one, they all told stories similar to mine.

Then one day, fingers took me out, and I learned of fresh air again. This time, though, a beast wasn’t handling me. It was a creature, one like the children that used to hug me and tell me of their adventures. This creature didn’t talk much. Sometimes, its’ voice would echo through the air and into a black box. Other than that, the creature grasped me, choked me, and released me for a chance to breathe. The black disease slowly flowed out of me with great reluctance, but it’s so thick that I might never get better.

Suddenly, the creature let out a breath of frustration, and it stood up. Its’ tentacles were smoothly carrying me to a beast. I knew this beast. Three others that were let out before me screamed as the beast gurgled. However, the beast whispered something to me.

“The secret is to relax,” it said.

“What?!” I demanded.

“Relax,” it went on, making me doubt my sanity, “and this won’t hurt. All I’m doing is sharpening you.”

“What are you?!” I sputtered out in disbelief. The beasts never, ever spoke to me.

“I’m a pencil sharpener. You should know that by now; you are a pencil.” It replied.

“What? No! I’m a tree!” I protested.

“You were a tree. You’re a pencil now.” The pencil sharpener told me as-a-matter-of-factly. Suddenly, my end covered its’ mouth, and it began to gurgle.

Relax. Relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. You’re not here. You’re with the children. The sunlight is warming you. Relax. 

Then the black disease was flowing out of me again. The pencil sharpener was at the other side of the room, grinning at me.

“You did just fine, Pencil!” He called out. “You did just fine!”
  

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Misconceptions About Latinos

 My last article regarded a gender issue I practically didn’t agree with, and I figured I might as well hit the race button as well since my growing frustration in my Spanish class practically inspired me to write this.

1. Everyone’s Mexican. That’s the equivalent of saying every Asian is Chinese. China isn’t the only country in Asia just like Mexico isn’t the only country in Latin America. There are Guatemalans, Puerto Ricans, Hondurans, Dominican Republicans, Brazilians, etc. There’s a vivid array of nationalities in Latin America that you’re squashing down by assuming everyone is Mexican.

2. Our favorite beer is Corona. And all Americans love to eat burgers (forget the vegans and vegetarians. They love burgers too.)

3. We enjoy crossing the border. Please understand that, just like your ancestors (even Native Americans), we came to the United States out of necessity, not out of pleasure.

4. We all speak Spanish. Brazil speaks Portuguese. Someone who looks dead-beat Latino might be third generation, and they probably don’t speak Spanish. Language is more of where you grew up, not where you come from. (If that makes any sense.)

5. Mexican is a language. I was ready to slap my friend when she said, “You speak Mexican, right?” Instead, I smiled and said, “You speak White, right?”

6. We’re all illegal! Umm… no.

7. We love spicy foods. I can’t even eat chips and salsa.

8. Our women have big breasts and nice butts. Not all. Some have taken after the Spanish genes (and occasionally Asian*) and come out A cup or flat chested (heh heh. Me.), or have a smaller butt (my sister.)

9. We all speak one kind of Spanish. There’s regional Spanish everywhere. I keep getting into conflicts with my Spanish teacher because she speaks Castilian Spanish, and I have Spanish from Mexico mixed up with Tejano twang. There’s British English, Australian English, American English, etc.

10. We’re drug lords, pimps, construction workers, and maids.

I put a star after “occasionally Asian” because the tribes that were in Latin America around Columbus’s time traveled from Africa, through Europe, and mingled around in the northern part of Asia before making their way down to Latin America. So if you see a Latino that looks Asian, you know why.

What are some common misconceptions about your race that get under your skin? I’m kind of curious to hear about y’all.

Why Christianity Rubs Me The Wrong Way

 I’m going to make a fairly unpopular confession: I’m religious. So maybe not so religious as others to the point to where all I listen to is Christian music, refuse to say “Oh My God” when I see a hot guy across the room, or say “God Bless You” before saying goodbye, but I’m alright. I pray before meals and going to bed, read the Bible weekly, and teach others about what I believe.

 And religion is something controversial. It’s this never ending tug of war with multiple ropes tied at one point. Even some people have no idea what they believe in, so they kind of just stand there and watch everyone else fight.

 I agree with pretty much everything I believe in, though. Virgin until marriage, life is the choice, make love not war, treat others the way you want to be treated, and so on. Except the fact that I (here’s another fairly unpopular confession) kind of consider myself a feminist.

So when someone tells me, “The wife must be submissive to the man in marriage,” I begin to fumble in my seat. Submissive? That statement just set back Women’s Rights two hundred years. I’m not going to listen to anybody just because they happen to be born with a penis and I, a vagina. Then they try to retaliate and say, “But the man must love his wife the same way he loves himself. He won’t force himself to do something he doesn’t want or can’t do, he won’t beat himself up, and so on. But the woman must be submissive to the man.” 

It also doesn’t help that I come from the dreaded Mexican macho culture, and my worship is done in Spanish, so…. it’s constantly repeated and emphasized when marriage is mentioned. Do they mention men must be the breadwinners? No. Do they mention men must help out women in the housework because women were made to be companions, not maids? No. Do women have to be submissive to her man? YES. SHE MUST SUPPORT HIM IN EVERY DECISION HE MAKES, EVEN IF SHE DOESN’T LIKE THE WAY HE LOOKS IN BLUE BOXERS.

Okay, so I may have added the blue boxers part, but they might as well say that too while they’re at it. I mean, seriously? It’s not fair that someone has a right over me just because they happen to be male.

While we’re at it, I just happen to be smart because I wear prescription glasses.

I’ll tell you who else wears prescription glasses. Lindsey Lohan. And those glasses still don’t stop her from running over multiple people.

So that’s the part I don’t like. I should’ve seen it coming, though. Religion IS a male-dominated aspect of life, so men say whatever the hell they want, because in the end, they’re going to wear the blue boxers no matter how many times their wife tells them that the boxers are way too old.

I still choose to believe that women are capable of everything and anything. If women are born with the capacity to shove a seven-pound sac through a small hole after nine months of puking and swollen knees, they are pretty unstoppable, just like Lindsey Lohan’s car.

 

The Complications of Having a Friend of the Opposite Sex

So let me tell you, I got some guy friends. And they make life awkward in general. Why? Just why? Because society makes it awkward. (This is written as if you’re a girl and you have a guy friend, but it goes both ways. Sort of.)

1. Everyone assumes you two are dating. Then you have to awkwardly say, “We’re just friends,” and pray to God that he doesn’t think you two are more.

2. But 9 times out of 10 he does. Everyone says they see it in his eyes when he talks to you. Apparently, eye color and a pupil aren’t the only things that can be seen in people’s eyes these days. Noooo. Eventually, though, you have to face the reality that usually, guys only hang around you because they have a slight hope that maybe one day, you’ll wake up, and realize that you’ve wanted him all this time.

3. But you don’t until you’re jealous. Until he begins to speak of another girl, or when you see him just casually chatting up some chick with frizzy hair, you suddenly start to realize, “Why is he talking to her? Uh oh. I know that laugh. SHE NEEDS TO QUIT MAKING HIM HAPPY! THAT’S WHAT I’M SUPPOSED TO DO!” And then? And then you realize, “Wait… I want to make him happy?”

4. There’s always that touch barrier. You don’t have the same freedom to hug, hold, or say sweet nothings to him as you do with a friend of the same sex. Why? Because you don’t want to give him ideas. Because you don’t want to ruin the friendship, but there’s always that part of you that always wants to hug him and jump up and down when you’re excited.

5. You’re the weaker one. So you can’t play mercy, arm wrestle, football, or anything that’s kind of fun. You’ll pretty much lose unless you use your seductive powers (which, you’ll still technically lose.)

So that’s my list so far of why it’s complicated to have a guy friend. So my question of the day is: what do you think is complicated about having a friend of the opposite sex?

My First Two Days of Being A Freshmen

I’ll make a confession. I’m a freshmen this year, and it’s scary. Yeah, you adults might be rolling your eyes and going, “Shut up, you don’t have bills to pay, a boss to please, kids to raise, and laundry to wash.”

True. True. I’ll hand that to you, but a part of me really just wants to hit a fast-forward button because my first little impressions with teachers have been major flops. It’s so cringe-worthy I want to hide my head underneath my sweater like Junie B. Jones does when she has a “bad day,” with Mr. Scary. (Isn’t she supposed to be in college by now?)

I find my first period class and get on time. No issue there. The teacher goes over what lunch we’re supposed to be at, and I write down on my schedule that I’m supposed to have second lunch at one.

Second period I bomb. I sit in the wrong section of the gym with the wrong coach, so when I do finally find my coach, she purses her lips like she has something sour in her mouth. My mother makes that same face, especially when she runs into my dad’s (her ex) family at the store. Anywho, the coach tells us, “If you have any suggestions of what you would like to do in this class, feel free to say it.” Then there was that silence that breezed over the locker room, and I immediately felt chills crawl up my shoulders. Some girls began to suggest a couple of things to break the deafening silence (a stupid one said she wanted to walk because “it’s fun.”) and I blurt out, “What about yoga?” Coach’s response? “Do I look like a yoga instructor? No!” I shrugged my shoulders and kept my thoughts to myself. I mean, she said we were going to do Insanity. If we’re going to do something that vigorous, I’m assuming everyone’s up for some yoga. There are yoga classes in L.A. for toddlers! Anyone. Can. Do. Yoga. Then she mentioned P90X, which I did for a while with my sister to motivate her. I blurt out again, “Karate!” She made that sour face again. It made me think that she didn’t stick to the P90X program far enough to reach the karate DVD.

The class bursts into laughter at her sour face cue.

So I headed off to lunch, a bit bummed. I found my favorite guy friend and his accomplice (the accomplice is annoying, a tad evil, and can push more of my buttons than Katie Couric ever could on her keyboard. And somehow, I still kind of enjoy his company.) We sat in the corner. I spilt apple sauce on the accomplice by accident, which I still feel very guilty about.

The bell rings, and I dash off to World Geography Honors. The bell rings again, signaling that I’m tardy. I show up, and of course, a PowerPoint is running and everyone has miraculously found their seat in the two minutes I spent looking for the class. “I got a bit lost,” I said.
“You’re forty-five minutes late.” A classmate whispers to me after I scurry to a seat.
“What?!” I exclaimed. “I just came from lunch! You have to be joking!”
“We have second lunch,” He replied.
I closed my eyes in disbelief. I did not just skip half a class period. I went to first lunch when I should’ve headed for third period. So much for first impressions, and I wasn’t going to erase it anytime soon considering that I already fail at geography worse than Anthony Weiner does at covering up his chit-chats.
I scrambled out for air as soon as the bell rang for fourth period. I kept sensing the geography teacher’s blue eyes just lasering through me; I half-expecting him to extend his hand and throw me out of the classroom in such a manner that Darth Vader and Simon Cowell would approve of.

Fourth period went well. My stomach kept growling and my mouth kept yawning, and I was just so out of focus mode, that all I remember is that the teacher had a bad tan and her blonde hair and blue eye combination wasn’t helping.

The next day, (my school goes by block schedule. You have four classes every day, one hour and a half each.), I sat down in Geometry. I’m a bit guilty, but I thought my teacher was awfully young and kind of good-looking. He’s 29 and married. Crap. So THIS is how Jacob reacted when he realized he was marrying Rebecca’s older sister, not Rebecca herself. I LOOKED WRONG!
I, finally blessed by the idea of alphabetical seating arrangements, was assigned to sit next to my crush. I caught him looking at me once, and maybe the rest of the times were my imagination, but that kid wasn’t entirely paying attention at Mr. I’m 29 even though I look like I’m 18 years old. I don’t know if I liked it or I started getting fairly uncomfortable.
Okay. I liked it.
I ran away from the good-looking, 29-year-old, and married man and darted into Spanish 1 Honors. I never felt so bored in my life. It was like watching a thriller with your friend, but YOU ALREADY KNOW HOW IT ENDS. You have to sit there, though, and just watch you friend go, “Oh my god! What if it’s the grandfather that did it, Selma? Do you think it’s the grandfather?” And your head is screaming, “IT’S HER SISTER’S BOYFRIEND’S BROTHER THAT DID IT!”, but, to prevent your friend’s suspicion from you watching the movie before them, you say, “Right? I mean, he did say he did a lot of things he regrets in his life.”
Why did I feel like this? Because I ALREADY SPEAK SPANISH AT HOME. And the teacher obviously learned her Spanish in college. She had that influent accent to her Spanish. I was just cringing at the poor gringos that would have to learn the incorrect pronunciation to everything. I just have to sit in that class and wait for the foreign language director to hand me a Spanish placement test so I can get to where I need to be and graduate distinguished.
Which means I might have a schedule change. And then maybe I won’t have Mr. Good Looking 29-year-old and Mr. Starry Eyes in the same room at the same time. Very depressing thought, since I already have to leave Mr. Starry Eyes alone in Spanish 1 once I get my placement test. But I refuse to be that chick that hinders her future for a boy. No. No. No.
Then came the class I got ridiculed for taking: dance. I actually kind of enjoyed it. It was mostly filled with boys, surprisingly. A good third of that room were boys. I raised my eyebrows, since I was told this was going to be a “preppy girl class.” But I respect any boy for actually taking a class to learn how to properly dance with a girl and not step on her delicate little feet that are already blistering in five-inch heels. Kiddos to you.
Principle Health Science came next. It was relatively boring, and I was sat in the middle of two right-handed people. I feel really bad for the Junior next to me. I elbowed him a couple of times when I was writing (I’m left-handed.) I don’t know how he held down his Freshie insults from exploding onto me.

Now that I look back on my first two days of being a freshmen, my first day was awful. Awful awful awful. But, my second day was much of an improvement. I went to the correct lunch, I found my classes, and I didn’t hit on my good-looking 29-year-old Geometry teacher like many of the other girls resorted to. You should’ve seen their faces when he said he wasn’t 18, but 29, and had a daughter and a pregnant wife at home. I cracked up to myself, even though I fell under the same error. I never acted on it, though. Mr. Starry Eyes would probably then be Mr. Starry Eyes with Permanently Raised Eyebrows.

So tell me…. what was your experience on your first day of high school? (Trust me, I don’t judge.)

Blurring Together

Photo by Michelle Weber.

 “Delaware, wake up.. We’ve got to get going.” 
 Delaware moaned and hid her head underneath the covers. It was her father’s voice that woke her up every morning for the past eight years. Many thought that she had her father home when she told them this, when in reality, his calls ceased to ring through the house as time went on. 
 She remembered that day where she wore her Hello Kitty pants, which she wore everywhere she went until Mama would chase her throughout the house with a laundry basket bouncing at her hip. Her parents took her to an ice cream parlor with smiles on their faces. 
 Their smiles were different that day. They stretched over their teeth forcibly, like a slinky straightened to its’ limits. She asked for two scoops, waiting for a pinch on her shoulder to just get one. It never came. She pointed excitedly to the gummy bears in the corner, and when the cashier asked if she wanted anything else, her parents displayed blank faces. Delaware decided to risk another pinch by saying yes and pointing to the cheesecake bits. The pinch never came. 
 She sat down across from her parents. “Where’s your ice cream, Mama?” She asked. 
 “Delaware, we have to tell you something.” Mama told her before hesitating and glancing at Dad. 
 “Your mother and I decided to split.” Dad said. 
 “Your mother and I?” Mama snapped. “Excuse me, but I wasn’t the one who got ‘bored’ on a Saturday night-” 
 “You left me first, Emmy!” Dad snapped. “You and your pathetic boss!” 
 “Oh, really? Who was the one who got caught with-” 
 “You’re not as innocent as you think you are! I bet Delaware isn’t even mine!” 
 “She is too! Do you really think I fabricated the results?” 
 “Well, I wouldn’t be surprised.” Dad snapped right back. 
 They were yelling again. Delaware’s appetite for the two scoops of ice cream diminished. The smiling gummy bears seemed to taunt her with their happiness and her lack of it. 
 She slowly stood up and made sure to not let the bell at the door clank scandalously. Outside, a rusting carousel invited her to sit down next to its’ children. She leaned against a fleeting white horse and sighed.
  Splitting up. Again. For the third time in her life. She already knew how it was going to happen. She would go from house to house, car to car, and every time, Mama would have a message to pass on to Dad, and Dad would have a nasty reply to send back to Mama. They would sneer at each other when they had to pass her back and forth like a football. 
 But just like the carousel, the world kept spinning. Time kept going. Life passed along at its’ own place. The animal you’re on may seem stuck to the ground, but everything around you keeps spinning and spinning, changing and blurring together, until one day, it stops. Your ride on life is over. It’s time for you to step off and let a young, wide-eyed child take your seat on the carousel. You’ll lay your head on a soft pillow, and give watch the child spin until the warm darkness blinds you and the silence of the coffin deafens your ears. And the carousel, the world, and life will continue to spin on. May Delaware rest in peace, and never have to wake up and hear her father’s voice inside her head ever again.

I Wish You 72 Days of Happiness, Baby North West

  Right now it is Monday, August 19th, 2013, 11:35 a.m. I call this the first day of the rest of my life. I already made some drastic changes, but there’s something in the distance that makes me want to change. 
  Whatever. I’m supposed to be reading Isaac’s Storm to be able to get into English Honors. I don’t really feel like reading, but I know I have to get to it. I’m putting it off like God is with Armageddon. I know I’ll do it. Eventually. Sometimes I pray to Him to just make the world end before my mom realizes I came home way past my curfew. I think He assigned a cupid to listen to me. Stupid cupid. It doesn’t deliver my message. 
 Don’t you ever wonder what God thinks when He sees humans being stupid? I bet He was cringing when Kim Kardashian was leaning over a toilet puking out her silicon-filled butt. “Kanye! I’m pregnant!” Oh crap, here comes another one…
 I’m fine with babies coming into the world, but I’m against idiots having kids. I mean, Kim Kardashian having a kid? Is she going to get rid of this one after 72 days also? 
 Poor child. That poor child will be friends with Michael Jackson’s doctor by the time she’s two, popping pills into her mouth when Kim starts calling out for her to come eat dinner. I wish you 72 days of happiness and glee, Baby North West. Everything goes under after 72 days. Just ask Kris Humphries. 

2 out of 3 psychologists say I have the attention span of Kim Kardashian's marriage.