Posted in Uncategorized

The Holiday Season for College Students

“It’s very important to take care of yourself. Everyone’s lives are so busy. Take at least an hour a day to recharge and do whatever makes you better. For grown-ups, whether it’s a spa, sitting in a park with a book, or coffee, take time for yourself.” -Ana Ivanovic

Being a college student, the holiday season is especially tough.  There are the normal stresses of the season with family gatherings and the obligations associated with them.  Then, there are also all the school deadlines and exams and finals.  These two parts of your life are separate and neither side considers the other.

I am now a sophomore in college and am going through this issue for the second time.  When I first started college, I went home more.  Every time, I went home my days were planned for me, and I was told what we had to do.  I was obligated to do certain things and visit certain family members even though I was home for less than 48 hours and had homework and needed to rest.  I tried multiple times to explain this, but every time I was made out to be the bad guy, so I stopped going home except for longer breaks.

Even that doesn’t really solve the problem.  This year, I went home for a week for Thanksgiving break.  I didn’t end of spending the whole week either.  Everyone keep telling me I needed to do this and that, and honestly, there wasn’t enough time in a week.  Then, I was expected to go see family who didn’t invite me to Thanksgiving out of spite, and also flaked on giving me a ride back to college.  I ended up having to go back days early on Thanksgiving day because that was the only ride I could get back.  I had to cancel plans with friends and family and appointments.  Even with all this somehow I’m horrible, but I didn’t have a choice.  College is important to me and I can’t just let it go.

Then going back to school, there are tons of projects and deadlines and exams to wrap up the semester before Christmas break.  It’s a really stressful time just for the school work.  Then, you have family calling to tell you all the plans you have and who you need to buy gifts for.  College Students don’t really have time to shop around finals.  Also, they are pretty much broke until they get loans or scholarships for the spring semester.

I’m not saying family isn’t important because they are.  However, they need to realize that college students have other important things going on, and they need to be understanding of that.  My family makes me feel guilty for working hard at college, and that isn’t right.  I need to be able to take care of myself too.

-Love, Dee

 

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Posted in Memory

A Tribute to Stan Lee

I was very saddened to hear the news of Stan Lee’s death today.  I burst into tears if I’m being honest.  I realize that it was to be expected at age 95, but it is still hard to say goodbye to such an icon.  Stan Lee has impacted so many people through his work in the comic industry.  The characters he has created have had impacts on people’s lives.  He has always been an idol and an inspiration to me.  When I was in high school, I had to give a speech about a person that had impacted us.  I choose to tell everyone about his life, and it didn’t even bother me when people looked at me like I was crazy for being obsessed with a man in his 90s.  I have included the speech below I updated the end to reflect his death, but the information is a few years old.  It may not be much, but it’s the only way I know how to honor his memory.  Rest in Peace Stan Lee.

Love, Dee

The Amazing Stan Lee

     Comic books have been a part of American culture since 1842 (“Platinum”).  Characters such as Spiderman, the X-Men, and The Fantastic Four are recognizable to nearly everyone in the United States.  These and other iconic characters were created or influenced by Stan Lee (“Stan Lee Comic”). He exemplifies the American Dream because he came from humble beginnings and now has a net worth of over two hundred million dollars (“Stan Lee Net”).  Stan Lee is truly an American icon for his work in the comic book community.

     Stan Lee was born Stanley Martin Lieber on December 28, 1922 in New York City.  His parents, Celia and Jack Lieber, were Romanian immigrants. Lee’s father, Jack, was a dressmaker, but after the Great Depression, he had trouble finding work.  The family was so poor that Stan, his brother Larry, and their parents shared a one room apartment. Stan was a fan of Errol Flynn films as a child. He also enjoyed reading books (“Stan Lee Net”).

     After graduating high school at the age of sixteen, Stan Lee began working (Editors.).  After several part time jobs, including writing newspaper obituaries, Lee finally joined the comic book world.  Lee began working for Timely Comics in 1939 as an assistant. Timely Comics eventually changed its name to Marvel in 1960 (“Stan Lee on Famous”).

     When Stan Lee started writing comics for Marvel, he shortened his name to Stan Lee.  He later said he was saving his real name, Stanley Martin Lieber, for when he wrote a novel, which he never did.  In 1941, the publisher of the comic book company, Martin Goodman, promoted Stan Lee to editor. He remained editor and art director for Marvel until 1972 when he finally became the publisher.  While at Marvel, Stan helped develop many of the characters that are now iconic (“Stan ‘The Man’”).

     Stan Lee had different ideas about comic book characters than some of his predecessors.  He despised the idea of a character having a sidekick. Most of his stories also take place in New York City, which is where he was born and raised.  Stan Lee’s characters are usually extremely intelligent and many are scientists. He often names his characters names like Peter Parker or Sue Storm so he can remember them more easily.  Lee’s characters hardly ever wear capes. Often Stan Lee’s characters are ordinary people who have gotten caught in extraordinary events. His stories are sometimes metaphors for social issues.  For example, the X-Men were created as a metaphor for discrimination. Three of the most famous characters Stan Lee created were The Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, and Spiderman (“Biography”).  The characters Stan created were more complex than many of the previous characters in comic books. He even helped weaken censorship by writing an issue of Spiderman in 1972 that dealt with the negative effects of drug use.  The Comic Code Authority said they would not approve its release, but Stan Lee released it anyway. This led the CCA to change their rules for antidrug messages being used in comic books (“Biography”).

     Stan Lee has become extremely popular in his later life.  This is partly due to the fact that he makes cameo appearances in every Marvel movie featuring a character he is credited with helping to create.  This was actually written into his contract with Marvel. With the sudden surge in America’s interest in comic book heroes, Stan Lee is practically a movie star (“Biography”).  In the 2000’s, Lee worked for his rival, DC Comics, reinventing heroes, such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. In 2005, Stan Lee cofounded POW! Entertainment, which makes films, television shows, and video games.  In 2006, to commemorate 65 years with Marvel comics, Stan Lee was featured in his own comic meeting and talking to characters, such as Spiderman. Stan also makes guest appearances on TV shows, such as The Big Bang Theory.  At the 2005 Comic Con, Marvel Legends came out with an action figure of Stan Lee (“Profile”).

     Stan Lee has a long list of accomplishments.  In 1994, Stan Lee was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame (“Stan Lee Biography”).  Lee also received the National Medal of Arts. The County of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach both declared October 2, 2009 to be Stan Lee Day (“Profile”).  In 2010, The History Channel Introduced a series called Stan Lee’s Superhumans. It features Stan Lee as the host and people with unbelievable abilities (“Stan Lee Fast”).  In 2011, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (“Stan Lee”).

     In 2010, Stan Lee started The Stan Lee Foundation (“Stan Lee Foundation”).  The purpose is to fight illiteracy. One in seven US adults are illiterate. Lee’s Foundation helps underprivileged children get an education.   It also helps bring the arts to communities (“The Stan Lee Foundation”).

     Recently, Stan Lee has started his own comic book convention.  It is called Comikaze. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, is his partner, and it is the only comic convention owned by true pop-culture icons.  It takes place in Los Angeles and features comics, video games, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. Comikaze is rapidly growing into a popular event and had an attendance of over 55,000 people in 2013 (“About”).  Comikaze also sells Stan Lee candy bars for $7.99. On October 1, 2014, the Sweet! Shop in Hollywood introduced the Stan Lee candy bar. Fans lined up for hours waiting to see the new candy bar (“Sweet!”).

         Stan Lee has accomplished so many things in his 95 years.  He has revolutionized the comic book industry with new and interesting characters.  Comic book collectors and fans everywhere know the name Stan Lee. Although he has lived a long, full life, it is still so hard to say goodbye to this great legend.  In the words of Stan Lee, “nuff said.” (“Quote”).

Works Cited
“About Stan Lee’s Comikaze.” Comikaze Expo. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://comikazeexpo.com/about-stan-lees-comikaze&gt;.
“Biography.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0498278/bio&gt;.
The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “Stan Lee (American Cartoonist).” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/860784/Stan-Lee&gt;.
“The Platinum Age 1897 – 1938.” History of Comics. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2014. <http://www.thecomicbooks.com/old/Platinum.html&gt;.
“Profile Facts.” : Stan Lee. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://profilefacts.blogspot.com/2010/05/stan-lee.html&gt;.
“A Quote by Stan Lee.” Goodreads. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/628635-nuff-said&gt;.
“Stan Lee.” TV Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/stan-lee/214342&gt;.
“Stan Lee Biography and Facts for Kids -.” N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.thefreeresource.com/stan-lee-biography-and-facts-for-kids&gt;.
“Stan Lee Comic Book Characters.” Ranker. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ranker.com/list/stan-lee-comic-book-characters/reference?page=1&gt;.
“Stan Lee Fast Facts.” CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/28/us/stan-lee-fast-facts/index.html&gt;.
“Stan Lee Foundation.” – Biography and Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.whoislog.info/profile/stan-lee-foundation.html&gt;.
“The Stan Lee Foundation.” The Stan Lee Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://stanleefoundation.org/About%20Us.html&gt;.
“Stan Lee Net Worth.” Richest Net Worth. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.richestnetworth.com/stan-lee-net-worth/&gt;.
“Stan Lee on Famous Birthdays.” Famous Birthdays. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.famousbirthdays.com/people/stan-lee.html&gt;.  \
Picture from https://people.com/movies/stan-lee-deny-elder-abuse-allegations-daughter-jc/
Posted in Hope

The Light of Hope

“God can cause opportunity to find you. He has unexpected blessings where you suddenly meet the right person, or suddenly your health improves, or suddenly you’re able to pay off your house. That’s God shifting things in your favor.” – Joel Osteen

My grandmother bought a burning bush plant about five years ago.  Every year the bush didn’t bloom or look red.  My grandmother gave up hope that it ever would.  She decided to just let it be and forget about it. Then this year, when she had no hope it would it turned a beautiful red.  Sometimes things have to work themselves out in their own time when the aren’t being expected.

I’m generally a very negative person, but lately I’m seeing opportunity and having hope about the future.  Maybe it’s unconventional for a plant to be the start of this change, but things started seeming better.  The things that were hurting the most started to dull, and I feel like I can move on and pick up the pieces.  I’ve always been terrified of change, but I’m realizing that it’s for the best.  Change is never what you expect, but the unexpected can be just as if not more beautiful.

There seem to be opportunities opening up for me even though I’d given up on them and they weren’t even close to how or what I’d expect.  When I’d given up on keeping in contact with people from my past, a person I’ve been out of contact with for a long time reconnected with me.  When I’d given up hope on getting the pet I’ve always wanted, I found one that I could potentially actually get.  When I’d given up hope on love or finding someone,  there seemed to be people who were actually interested present themselves.

“The only real things in life is the unexpected things. Everything else is just an illusion.” -Watkin Tudor Jones

I’m not saying that any of these things will work out in a way I want them to.  Our lives are constantly changing and once we are comfortable out whole lives are thrown for a loop.  In the story of the burning bush, the bush was on fire, but it did not burn up.  When things change we think we are on fire and everything is ruined, but we don’t burn up.  We adapt and continue living, and then, new opportunities present themselves.

I feel that maybe the best things are unexpected things. They give you hope and optimism and strength.  Whenever you just give up, a tiny spec of hope presents itself and it doesn’t seem so bad.  It gives you the strength to soldier on and make the best out of the life you have.  The unexpected things seem to be some of the best things.  You can’t plan your life.  You just have to accept it for what it is and the opportunities it gives you.

-Love, Dee

Posted in Friendship

Man’s Best Friend

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France

People always say that dogs are man’s best friend, but I don’t think that it’s entirely true.  I think saying dogs is too narrow.  It’d be more accurate if it was pets in general.  They’re all different, but cats, dogs, fish, rabbits, ferrets, lizards, snakes, and any other animal that is a pet is man’s best friend.

Your pets are there for you when no one else is.  They’re loyal and will never abandon you.  They don’t see your flaws because to them you are perfect.  They idolize you.  They don’t judge you.  They love unconditionally like a person never would.  It makes sense that they’re your best friend because you are their world.

I have always loved animals, but being away at college for so long without them made me forget how much comfort they bring to my life.  My roommate brought a cat into our apartment that I bonded with and became very close to, but then, she ended up getting rid of it.  Since then, I have found it very difficult to go back to life without a pet.  I just felt a lot better when it was here.  It brightened up my life and made it seem more bearable.

This experience also made me realize how important animals can really be to people’s health and well-being.  It seems like it’s common now for people to have emotional support animals.  I mean you’ve always kind of seen people taking animals around in places like nursing homes to cheer up patients, but now having personal emotional support animals is a common thing as well.  I think that animals can really make a difference especially when it comes to helping with mental illness like depression and anxiety.

“Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” –George Eliot

Having an animal around helps with my issues.  When we had the cat, I had something to look forward to when before I dreaded getting up and going back to my apartment. I didn’t feel so alone there was always a living being there that I could talk to even if it didn’t answer back.  It made everything in my life seem easier and less overwhelming.  When I would start having a meltdown or crying, the cat would jump into my lap and purr and let me hold it, and it calmed me down.

I realize maybe having a pet isn’t a need.  It’s more of a want, but I don’t think it is crazy to want something that can have such a positive impact on your life and your issues.  I mean it doesn’t fix everything, but it sure helps.  In this crazy world, everyone could use the comfort a pet provides.

-Love, Dee

Posted in Emotions

“Victim”

“Beware of perpetrators in disguise… Some people set fires wherever they go, and have mastered the art of playing the burn victim.” –Steve Maraboli

I think everyone is a victim in certain circumstances, but some people seem to play the victim. It’s something you just believe until you get to know them better and see that they are the problem.  You just have to look at both sides.

The main determinate is perception.  Maybe, there are motives and past events that are not taken into account.  If you hear a story about a man punching another man, you assume the guy that got punched is the victim.  However, the guy that got punched could have been verbally harassing and threatening the guy that punched him which makes the role of victim be reversed.

It’s a tricky subject because you probably will only ever hear the one side.  You can’t really know all the facts unless you were there.  I’ve seen certain people use this to their advantage and play the victim over and over tricking countless other people.  They never even see it coming.  I know I didn’t in certain circumstances.

A common place you see this is when people talk about their past relationships.  They will tell you all kinds of horrible things their ex did to them, but they won’t ever tell you that they were cheating on them.  So you feel bad for them and give them sympathy the they are the “victim” after all.  Then, at some point maybe you date them and they cheat on you, and you realize it was all an act to draw you in.  Another example is guys that claim they are nice guys and complain about never getting the girl.   These guys are usually not the nice guy.  They play the victim to lure people in, and boy, you seem like the fool when you realize the truth.  A similar example is when people complain about always being friend zoned, but fail to mention how they friend zone everyone who doesn’t look like a model.

“Abandon the idea that you will forever be the victim of the things that have happened to you. Choose to be a victor.” ― Seth Adam Smith

Not as many people play the victim as actually are.  The world is a scary place, and lots of terrible things happen to people.  It is completely beyond their control, and they are victims.  Even after everything is over, sometimes you’re stuck in that mindset as a victim.  You never really move past it.

Many people aren’t pretending to be a victim though.  They really feel like they are.  I feel that way sometimes, and I know others do as well.  Sometimes the things that happen to us can’t be helped.  It’s not our fault, but we can’t let it consume us.  We can’t let the things that happen to us define who we are and reflect on the rest of our lives.

If you act like a victim, it seems that you are treated like a victim.  Not just people feeling sorry for you, but also, more bad things seem to happen to make you more of a victim.  At least that’s the way I think.  People see weakness, and they take advantage of that over and over to hurt you more.  You can’t let just anyone in to see your weaknesses and your pain.

You have to see the flip side of being a victim.  Even though bad things happened to you, you made it through and are a survivor.  That is something to be proud of.

-Love, Dee

Posted in Appearances

Behind the Mask

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne

We all wear masks to trick the outside world that’s just the way life is.  You portray yourself differently for different people.  You act innocent and respectful and sweet around your parents.  You act smart and hardworking in front of teachers and your boss.  You try to be your best most interesting self with romantic interests.  Even with friends, you probably don’t tell each one everything.  Maybe who we are is all of these masks combined and maybe it isn’t.

It’s hard to tell where you stop and the mask begins.  If you act a certain way for so long, it becomes a part of you.  We pick up different traits and actions.  We mimic others.  At some point, you have to stop and ask yourself who you are.  I know that I couldn’t come up with an answer for that question.  I might really be who I am when I’m alone, or I might be a combination of all the people I am in different settings.  But that still doesn’t answer which thoughts and traits and actions are entirely my own and not influenced in some way by an outside source.

When I read a book, I pick up ideas and see personality traits of characters that I admire.  Subconsciously, I feel that this alters who we are just a bit.  If I’m around people for long enough, I pick up mannerisms and habits like sayings from them, and subconsciously do them myself.  So how can I ever possibly determine where I stop and the mask begins?  Everything gets all muddled together.  We are constantly changing and putting on a mask.  Everyday you might be someone different.

“Don’t you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?” ― Søren Kierkegaard

I think maybe the mask is a form of protection.  If I don’t know who I am, how can anyone else know who I am?  If they never see the real you, maybe it hurts less if they reject you.  I’m not sure that you can ever fully know someone, or that they can know you.  I think we do this as a survival mechanism to blend into our surroundings and do the best we can there.  I know that it really upsets me when I find out that people aren’t who I though they were, but at the same time maybe misrepresenting themselves wasn’t intentional.

I think we kind of act how we perceive the person we are around wants us to act.  We try to be the exact replica of what we think that for that person is ideal.  But even if it’s subconscious, different traits of ours that are less than ideal always break through at some point.  This is when people realize they don’t know you.  This is when relationships end.  This is when people leave.  I feel like it’d hurt a lot more if people rejected entirely who I am rather than just a faint shadow of it.  Maybe, we put on a mask just because we know that we aren’t yet who we want to be, and we don’t want others to see us until we are perfect.

I don’t really think there is one clear solution.  I know a lot of people struggle with identity and where in this world they fit in.  I can’t just be me when I don’t really know who I am yet.

-Love, Dee

Posted in Emotions

Alone

“Don’t go away. I don’t want to be alone. I can’t stand being alone.” -Arnold Rothstein

I’ve always had quite an issue with being alone.  It doesn’t really fit well with being antisocial either.  It’s a really conflicting feeling.  I don’t want to be around people, but I don’t want to be alone either.  I think part of my problem with it may be the way other people act about it.  In school, there were a lot of times where I didn’t have friends so I spent my lunch period eating alone or reading alone in the library.  People always look at you funny when you do those things they laugh or whisper, but the majority of the time they don’t care enough to be nice or to try to talk to you.

Now, that translates to life after school too.  When you go shopping alone, or eat at a restaurant alone, or go to a party or event alone, these fully functioning adults act the same way those mean girls in high school did.  I feel embarrassed and a little pathetic in these situations because of the mocking looks people give.

I hate to feel alone.  I mean besides all the judging of other people, I think too much when I’m alone.  Sometimes, I realize harsh realities that I wish I hadn’t.  It’s easier not to think and to find a distraction.  When people are around, you have this false sense of security.  It’s a distraction to what is going on in your head and life.  But the problem is, even if you fool yourself into believing otherwise, you are still alone.

“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” -Orson Welles

We are alone.  We have to face the world alone.  There is no one by your side.  The fact is people don’t stick around they leave.  They may be there for a long time, but they won’t be there forever.  People grow apart or die in some cases.  Families turn their backs on each other.  Marriages fail.  Friendships end. People move away.

Everyone always says that’s not me that won’t happen, but it does.  It always does.  You hear from people less and less until you look down and realize its been years.  I’m tired of trying to pretend that it won’t happen and that people stay because they don’t.  The distractions are nice while they last, but it’s still an illusion.  No matter what happens you are alone.

-Love, Dee