This semester I took a class at Kutztown University, with Dr. Patricia Kelleher on Women in History. It was interesting to learn how women have lived throughout history, especially because the perspective and experiences of women hasn’t been the focus of my other history courses. This course also influenced some of my writing, so I could understand where my female characters were coming from, and where they were going, and helped develop their voices. I loved learning about the feminist movement, the suffragette movement, how women have fought over time for equality, and are in some ways still fighting today. When I started the blog I was trying to understand the stories of women in history, and related social and political justice issues. Thanks in part to Dr. Kelleher and the class, I now know so much more.
This post is about connecting the original ideas that I based my blog on, history and social justice issues from the perspective of a young woman, and the current direction of the blog. Recently I have posted my fiction pieces about various characters and their worlds. These characters are all female, and they struggle with sexist and misogynistic barriers in modern day society. For example, the young woman at the car dealership has to work hard to be taken seriously, and is often worried about that. She is concerned about not getting respect at her job, because of how young she is, her limited experience, and not being taken seriously especially by her male boss. She puts up a front of being cynical and tough and tries to appear more mature, thinking these traits and this image will make people take her seriously. She puts up this front to counteract the stereotype of the naive young girl, dismissed by her peers, family, and especially in the workplace. When I started the blog, back in 2017, I wrote about women in history dealing with issues of political and social injustice and inequality. Then I moved on to writing reviews for books, focused mainly on young women dealing with some of these same issues. Now I am using creative writing to develop my own female characters, their voices, and how they face injustice and inequality in a modern context. I’ve learned a lot with this journey, and I’m excited to see where it goes.
God I hate this job, but the pay is good, better than a stupid professional tennis player. How many people actually make it in that career? That’s what my mom wants me to be. I would but I don’t wanna end up selling old tennis gear out of some dumb beat up Chrysler. I might end up doing that if this damn Chelsea woman doesn’t show up though. This is a car dealership, and yet we’re still taking in that hunk of trash she drives. She should be grateful, and early. Did Henry literally just tell me I should stand outside for her? We live in Florida and it’s May, you idiot! I’ll get a heat stroke as soon as I walk out and then I’ll die because he won’t call 911, being the idiot boss he is. She’s finally here, an hour and a half late! Our next client is in another half hour! I can’t give another client to someone else! I’m 19 years old, Henry’s 42, that smug old man would love to see me fail. I may be 19, but I look 12, and this huge dumb pink blazer doesn’t help. At least I picked all the rhinestones off it, god, those stupid beauty pagaents I did never prepared me for the real world. My mother was ridiculous to enter me in them! I wish I could just go home, this lady looks like a mess, she probably doesn’t even know the right paperwork, Jesus my life sucks!
Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away 2 weeks ago, and I thought I would use the blog to write about what she meant to me. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was on the supreme court for 27 years, and during her time on the bench and her career before that she did a considerable amount to improve this nation. She was a popular icon for women’s rights, as well as one of the greatest legal minds of her time. I think that most people know the impact of her work, but I’m going to write about what she meant to me. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was to me a powerful legal advocate for equality, and her voice inspired me. She’s well known for writing dissenting opinions when she was on the Supreme Court and to me that inspired a generation of people to follow in her lead. I know that personally I am less afraid to voice my opinion and disagree with the status quo thanks to her. I think that if more and more people can do that, we can fill the void left in her absence.
Aug. 2nd, 2019
I have one goal in my life. I will never let my kids down. To me that means no violence, no drinking, and absolutely no drugs. Honestly, it’s less of a goal and more of a barrier. As a parent you have to put up barriers and set up rules for yourself and your children. Truthfully, there were times I crossed that barrier. This doesn’t mean I did drugs, or that I hurt my kids in any way. I emotionally crossed the barrier. I didn’t know I had an emotional barrier I could cross, but once I crossed it I knew. We went through some difficult times last year, and I dealt with it by isolating myself from my children. I have no idea where this behavior came from, or necessarily why I thought it was a good idea. However, I did it anyway, and my kids were abandoned ( again, emotionally, not physically ) in their time of need. I now know what I need to do in order to not disassociate myself like that again. I’m grateful to be so close emotionally and physically with my children, and I need to always honor that.
I had a wonderful time at the Lighthouse Teen Writing Studio and I have some exciting new pieces from the workshop that I can’t wait to share. I dabbled in poetry, prose, and worked on techniques including character development. Chelsea, my favorite character, has found her voice. I will be writing more about her and from her perspective. I also will be writing from the perspectives of other people in her world. I have other characters to introduce as well, with their own interesting lives and stories!
May 27th, 2018
Chelsea was tired, Chelsea was desolate, Chelsea was just done. She thought back to before ‘the problem’, to a time before she got to know these feelings so well. Group therapy from the hospital didn’t help her handle things outside of the hospital, but sometimes brief phrases were helpful. Recap, reconsider, re-label. The last one was idiotic, but who doesn’t love some alliteration. So Chelsea recapped the day she had woken up to her Great-Aunt’s boyfriend at the time at her doorstep, she had made all three of her kids, (including the grown man who smelled like cheetos and cardboard) a health centric breakfast of marshmallows on toast. She had then proceeded to get ready, take a long, 5 minute shower, and put on an old dress that was so old it was making a comeback (again), and tried to get her kids into the van … She had driven to the dealership, she had signed the papers, she had done all the work, and now it was over. Chelsea felt as though everything was coming to an end, except herself, she felt as though she was already over. The worst part was, she couldn’t even find the hope in her children, because she didn’t want them to see her pain. She didn’t want to burden anyone with her life, and with his death.
I have loved doing book reviews, but lately I have been exploring my creative side, and this summer I’m excited to be announcing that I will take this blog in a new direction. I am doing an online program with the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in July, and I feel this will help inspire me. I will be exploring some short stories and other projects moving forward. This Summer I will explore new ideas and genres and still address issues of history and social justice. This August will be my 2nd anniversary of doing the blog and new, exciting things await!
This past Sunday I attended a Black Lives Matter peaceful protest in my town, in response to the murder of George Floyd. We held signs and marched together as a community, and it felt like a good start. With all of the chaos and violence in recent news, and violence over the years, just being able to walk together down the street in peace gave me hope. Support isn’t a difficult thing to show, sometimes to show support all you have to do is simply show up. It is a simple idea, but actually giving support means a lot to people. I have posted reviews of Angie Thomas’s books On the Come Up and The Hate U Give. I encourage people to look at my earlier posts and reviews. In The Hate U Give, Starr is a young African American woman leaving a party, when an officer asks her and her friend to get out of the vehicle, and the officer ends up shooting her friend and pointing a gun in her face. This story isn’t real, but sadly it resembles many real events. The fear portrayed in Starr by Angie Thomas sends a shiver down your spine and makes you really wonder what you would do in that situation. The reality is that if you have a gun to your face, like Starr, you’re a victim and you have no ability to do anything. Starr couldn’t speak up and the whole book is about her finding her voice again. People in real life have to deal with finding their voice, and we need to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the first place.
I finally finished reading On the Come Up, and guys, I highly recommend this book. I just couldn’t stop reading it! The only bad part was when I had to put it down. I usually don’t read the epilogue in books, but the cliffhanger at the end of the book was so big I had to read more. In my last post I mentioned that Bri had to address her father’s death and face her grief. This journey is a difficult one and Thomas captures Bri’s conflicting and sharp emotions about the topic beautifully. Bri’s angry at her Dad for making choices that put him in danger and ultimately led to his death. However, she respects his rapping career, using his art to get to know him. Bri uses anger to hide a lot of her pain. She’s angry that her mom did drugs, that her dad died, that things went wrong, and she gets upset over things she can’t control. Her anger, it’s collateral damage and fall-out, are just a cover for her sadness. Bri’s sadness is deep grief for her father’s death that she never got to process. By finally learning to shed her anger and accept her sadness, Bri gets closure. Not only does she learn to accept her father’s death, she also learns to accept life. “We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond to things we can’t control.” – Avis J. Williams. This lesson is a hard one for Bri to learn, but by the end of the book she finds some peace. Bri ends a chapter in her life, she still has more to live, and the book leaves you wanting more.