Finding your Yawp

“Viewed freely, the English language is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and is both the free and compacted composition of all.”

-Walt Whitman

My junior year of high school, my language teacher Mr. Randy Robbins introduced us to the poetry of Walt Whitman. Until then, I had never read any poems by this “sweaty toothed madman.” Yet, I remember sitting there with my weathered textbook and bushing my hands in awe over the words on the page.

“I celebrate myself, and I sing myself.”

I couldn’t understand how someone could weave a sentence with so much power, so much resonance. I reread those seven words several more times, each time more in awe than the last. When Robbins opened the floor for discussion, I was too timid to speak up. Did the rest of the class truly understand these words? What if I was reading into it too much? I swallowed my voice and just listened to my classmates, who (for the most part) saw it as another mandatory high school poem they had to read.

After reading a collection of his work, we watched Dead Poets Society  with Robin Williams and Ethan Hawk.  Dead Poets follows a group of boys as they discover the power of poetry, and explore the meaning of friendship and individuality. This movie was so beautifully crafted and portrayed the ideals of Whitman perfectly.

What stuck with me was from both the movie and Whitman was the word ‘yawp’ from Song of Myself:

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world.”

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Yawp. A loud cry or yell, but sounded with vigor and confidence. A yawp is something that makes you known. People acknowledge and recognize your presence because you demand it. During Robbins’ class, he took us outside to sound our yawp over East Coweta. My yawp sounded like a feeble whisper that only I heard. Compared to the  rest of the class, my yawp was pitiful.

But since that day my yawp has been strengthening. Yawp has given me a constant reminder to speak up, and to not let myself sink into the background. I’ve found that my confidence has grown, and that I have a story to tell.  I become so consumed with trying to tell other people’s stories, that I forgot to tell my own. My story may have more or less bumps in the road than someone else, but it’s mine to tell. That is so powerful to me. I am my own being with my own strengths and hopes, and no one can take that away from me.

I think when we become so focused on what we’re not doing, we forget what we are doing. We forget that we are where we are meant to be. Once we learn to be okay with where we are, only then can we blossom.  Only then can we begin to find our yawp.

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#BeTheVoice

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

Two weeks ago my friends and family participated in the Out of Darkness Walk in Piedmont Park for suicide prevention  and it was AMAZING. Hundreds of people came together to remember their loved ones or raise awareness for suicide prevention. Although at times, the heaviness of the walk’s purpose made us freeze, we were in awe of how many people care for others. Our family isn’t alone in this fight against suicide, and neither are you.

I began thinking- I talk all the time about raising awareness for suicide prevention, but what does that mean? What can you do to raise awareness?

The most vital place you can start if just talking. There’s such a menacing ring to the word suicide, not to mention the crippling stigma that comes along with it. Suicide is scary, but we have to talk about it in order to make the word feel less uncomfortable. Suicide happens. We have to face that reality, and then come to terms with how to prevent it.

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Talk to your loved ones. Not just talk, but really talk. Turn off Netflix and put down your phone and have a real conversation. How have they truly been doing?

The second most vital action you can take is to educate yourself. Would you know the warning signs if you saw them? The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has some fantastic resources, and is a perfect place to start. Their website contains information on warning signs, preventative tips, and ways to get involved.

Take action. Participate in community events like the Out of Darkness Walk, post on social media. Even just smiling at a stranger could completely change their mindset for the day, and sometimes that’s all they need.  AFSP shares ways to get involved through volunteering, donating, prevention training, and even program to bring to your school.

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Suicide is preventable and it starts with us.

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Mirrors of Wrath

**TRIGGER WARNING**

If you or a loved one is suicidal, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK [8255]). 

Mirrors of Wrath

A poem by me in the style of T.S. Elliot

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Tenderly she cries

As days become darker

And nights become fonder

 

The pills, they coaxed

The blade, it sliced

It sliced, it sliced

But what of these walls?

But what of shoe laces and silly things?

 

In the midsummer’s night, she professed

A tear sliced down her cheek

But better a tear than a razor?

 

Better to have her first kiss with death

Than he who cared

But a kiss prevented

In that midsummer’s night

 

The rain never ceased even

When the white walls left

Even when the River ran dry, the rain never stopped.

 

But the leaves did dry

Crunching and crumbling under her feet

And so did her form, yet pleasantly so.

“You look amazing,” said the neighbor.

“My, what a tiny waist!”

 

And victoria’s secret, she learned

When nourishment became numbers.

“Lose, lose, lose,” sweet Ana soothed.

When nourishment became numbers,

We pleaded, but Ana was louder.

 

We pleaded but, oh Ana.

Oh, Ana what did you say?

Ana and Mia and Ed,

What do you say?

 

And the rain never ceased

When snow masked the frozen ground.

So a day we did drive

But what of shoe laces and silly things?

What of bracelets and open backed gowns?

 

Bracelets, they adorned her wrists, slices

While slices decorated her frail frame

Like lingering licks from the Serpent’s tongue

My, what a tiny waist!

No, what fat

What stretch marks and blemishes

 

Sweet tidings brought very little joy

As the bones disappeared

Ana was softened

But the rain, how it poured!

And Ana, how she yawped!

 

Her shroud became darker

As Ana became brasher

A frame of glass against the wall

A metal box beckons from the tile floor

A menacing image of desire that points and sneers

“You’re fat. You’re ugly. You’re disgusting.”

 

It won’t hurt, she said.

Just take enough, but not too little

‘Else your organs they will fail

 

 

And the pills how sweet they look

Rather like little candies

Like the little candies she used to eat

But fat, fat, fat is all she received in return.

 

Her frail frame sat once more

As she pondered the white washed hell

A silence loomed over her louder than a volcano

She pondered shoe laces

And she pondered her will

 

The rain still trickles

While her puddle never dries

A tempting reflection

Beckoning

More, more, more.

Battles 

Over the past year, I’ve realized the biggest thing you can do sometimes is to just be nice. If I’m faced with a rude customer or angry driver, I try to remind myself that everyone is fighting their own battles.

But those moments when you fall to your knees and question why your life isn’t like hers are the ones I’ve learned from the most. Even the people who seem to have everything they desire still face  daily struggles. Don’t let envy or jealously cloud your vision. It may take a brutally honest conversation until it hits you.

Everyone is fighting their own battle.

Everyone is fighting their own battle.

Whatever battles you’re facing, however heavy your stone, however blunt your sword, just keep fighting.

Cyber Bullying Awareness

“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed. You’re responsible for your rose.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

When it comes to the internet, we have some sort of responsibility. We know that we need to present a certain picture of ourselves in case our future employers, grandparents, or even your mother’s church friends stumble upon our Facebook. After all, 60 percent of employers confess to surfing social media profiles of their interviewees.

But what other responsibilities do we have on the internet?

Ninety-five percent of teens that witnessed bullying on social media report that others, like them, have ignored the behavior, according to the anti-bullying campaign NoBullying.com.

A shattering 52% of teens have experienced cyber bullying.

That statistic is ridiculous. Cyber bullying is something that needs to be taken with extreme seriousness, but yet it doesn’t seem to render enough outcry.

According to NoBullying.com, “cyber bullying is simply any form of bullying taking place online or by digital communication. This can include text messages, instant messengers, social media, email and other apps such as SnapChat.”

Cyber bulling is not only morally wrong, but it is punishable by Georgia law:

“Bullying someone through the use of an electronic communications device or means (phone, text message, instant message, email, social networking site posting, or other means) is “cyberbullying.” In Georgia, cyberbullying is a form of criminal stalking. (Ga. Code Ann. § 16-5-90.) A person commits stalking by:

  • contacting another person without the recipients consent (including contact via electronic communications), or
  • placing another person under surveillance, including electronic surveillance
  • for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person.

(Ga. Code Ann. § 16-5-90.)”

A convicted bully could face up to one year in jail and/or a $1k+ fine. While some argue that punishment extreme for “hurting someone’s feelings”, cyber bullying is so much more than “hurt feeling.” We don’t know what other people have endured. Bullying often leads to worsened or triggered depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.

Telling someone to kill herself with a butter knife and razor blade is cyber bullying.

Telling someone to slit her wrists is cyber bulling.

Cyber bullying is a crime and should be treated as such.

It’s not funny to “troll” someone online. It’s not funny to tell someone to die. It is simply not funny to torment someone from behind the safety of your computer screen! Again, you may never know what other people are going through.

The internet has been tamed, and you are your rose. If you see someone being harassed online, do NOT be a bystander! Report the bully and attempt to reach out to the victim.

That victim has a family. Maybe, just maybe, you could prevent a mother from burying her child. Maybe, just maybe, you could prevent that child from becoming another statistic.

Don’t let someone make the final cut. Don’t let someone tie that knot or pull the trigger. Don’t let the pills win. Don’t let the bullies win.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, PLEASE reach out to the hotline below!

Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday

 

 

 

Mobile Apps and Concentration

Hello everyone!

Some of you may be viewing this post through your WordPress app, or maybe you followed a link through your Facebook app. With our mobile devices, we have the world at our finger tips. Social media and dating apps allow us to connect with on other continents! It is truly astounding how far technology and communication has come.

This week in my technology course, one of the topics we covered were different types of applications on your PC and/or mobile devices. I have noticed how many apps try to appear as user friendly as possible, allowing the users to have instant access to features. Apps such as Twitter alott you a maximum amount to post. Even shopping apps give you instant access to an entire store. Even news apps such as Google News give you the article’s headline, lead, and nut graph without selecting the article.

I believe this instantaneous access to whatever we desire has not only shortened our attention span, but increased impatience as well. What are your thoughts? This is theory is something I’ve conducted prior research and articles on. I’ll attach the link to some articles, but feel free to discuss!

Have a lovely day, bohemes!

 

http://ksusentinel.com/2016/02/09/goodbye-critical-thinking/

http://www.theresident.co.uk/schools-education/technology-concentration-levels-classroom/

 

 

Binary Code

In my technology class, we have been discussing binary code. I never knew there was an entire other code used for inputting information into a computer. Computers are not my strong suite at all, but I did find the code interesting. While I don’t completely understand how the code works, it baffles me just how intelligent computers have become. Solely using 1’s and 0’s computers are able to discover such an inexpressible amount of data and intelligence. It makes me wonder what is to come of technology. I can’t imagine microchip implants or holograms computers are that far off.

I just hope we use the technology for the better.

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Checking In

Hey guys!

I haven’t been posting much lately and I apologize for that! I’m in my second year of college and it’s been extremely time consuming. I love it here, though.

An update is well over due. As stated, I’m a sophomore in college majoring in journalism and minoring in professional writing. Since August of 2015, I’ve written at our newspaper, The Sentinel in the opinion section. While writing for The Sentinel, I briefly wrote for The Odyssey Online, but left to focus on The Sentinel.

Last January, Cameron and I adopted our sweet baby Macchiato, or Maki for short. Maki is a lab and Australian Shepard mix who will frequently appear here in Thoughtful Boheme! I currently live with three awesome roommates where Maki  stays most weeks.

This semester I am enrolled in several Communication major classes. For my technology class, I will be making separate posts where I discuss relevant technology topics. I will have a section dedicated to said posts!

That’s all for now! I’ll leave you with a recent picture and much love! ❤

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Don’t Forget Carpe Diem

As we students have progressed through the education system, we are bombarded with the importance of exam scores and grades. Schools stress over and over again the importance of making and maintaining sufficient grades in order to build towards the perfect career. In trying to make the perfect scores and land the ideal job, many students forget to live and to take time to smell the roses.

With such a large amount of pressure on students to succeed, stress levels are rising at high rates. According to Sharon Jayson of USA Today, more than 27% percent of teens say they experience extreme stress during the school year. Suicide rates are beginning to rise as well. While I do believe it is vital to receive an education to function in any society, I also believe that education should not be putting this much stress and pressure on students. I once saw a spoken word titled “I Will Not Let an Exam Result Decide My Fate”. In the poem, artist Suli Breaks discusses the pressure of grades and provokes his audience to question the exam system. Should a number reflect how we are as a person? Should a number determine our success?

As students are beginning to merely aim for numbers and careers, they are taking less time to truly be themselves and to learn. Senior Bianca Nache’t states: “Unfortunately, people then miss out on the things they enjoy and what they are passionate about. It’s almost as if those ‘living life’ and not engulfing themselves in school are frowned upon.” The education system seems to take away students’ identities. In Pink Floyd’s music video for “Another Brick in the Wall”, faceless students sit motionless in chairs riding a conveyor belt towards what appears to be a meat processor. The meat processor, or education, pulverizes them to be identical. The metaphor for education is still relevant today. Student Breonne Williams says that “In order to live life, you have to have money to be able to do so…so people often think you have to have a career to make money and then live life.” Of course, this is true. Money is necessary in order to live and support families. However, we are so concentrated on earning money in the perfect career that we are becoming the walking dead.

I am not saying that grades are unimportant, but I am saying that we need to remember to enjoy and cherish life. Enjoy the little things we may take for granted. In between worrying about exams and your path after graduation, try to take some time to breath. As the beloved Robin Williams once said, “Carpe diem, lads. Seize the day! Make your lives extraordinary!”

Copyright The Sentinel KSU 2015