Archives for the month of: April, 2015

Sometimes I worry about being repetitive with my messages, but I suppose if I need to remind myself of things daily, others might need reminding, too. That said, with persistence, anything is possible. Simply persist in doing and saying what you believe in and want to do, and you will reach your goals. It’s simple, but you have to believe in yourself. And you should. Developing a solid sense of self-worth and self-confidence is integral to success. Continually strive to be the best you, both professionally and personally. Happy Saturday!

I don’t know about you, but I love days that allow me to personally, and easily, join in the fight for equality. It’s true that in our daily lives we have a responsibility to exercise our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and speak out for what we believe in, but occasions where unity for a cause is blatant across your community are super satisfying, too. As you may be aware, 2015’s Day of Silence is just around the corner! The Day of Silence begun in 1996 and has been recognized on a day in April ever since, making this year the day’s 19th anniversary.

The Day of Silence pays homage to LGBT youth and the silence many have held surrounding their identity for fear of harassment or bullying. On April 17, allies and those who have struggled alike make known their solidarity by going audibly silent for a full 24 hours. Written communication during the day is allowed, making this a practical choice for those who have an obligation to contribute to some form of discussion whether in class or elsewhere. The Day of Silence started with and is usually executed by students (middle school and beyond), but there’s no need to restrict yourself from participation merely because your student days are behind you: the need for equality advocacy does not stop when you graduate from university.

Step 1: Rally Support

Whether it be a new exercise regime, a new diet, or simply not speaking for a day to show your support of the LGBT community, it’s always fun to have friends around when beginning an endeavor. Talk to your friends about the event, and make the choice to go silent together. Be sure to talk to those who might expect communication from you on April 17 to keep them in the loop and give them the opportunity to join the cause. You can create pre-written cards explaining your silence prior to Friday, too, if you think you might need them.

Step 2: Sign up!

You can register to take part in 2015’s Day of Silence here. Registering is a good idea because it helps to give visible numbers to the program’s success and also gives concrete evidence that there are many who want to make inequality history.

Step 3: Plan

Is there a film you and your friends want to see? Choose an inspiring and/or LGBT work to rent for the night of April 17 and invite your friends over for silent company.

Too much noise involved in a film for you to consider one part of a silent day? Buy a package of small canvases, some paint (rainbow, anyone?), and paintbrushes and paint your feelings about the importance of a loving and equal society.

Not too artistically inclined? Invite your friends to each bring their own book and have a silent evening of reading together. You could also simply invite everyone for a session of meditation with the focus of manifesting positive results in the fight for equality.

In almost all cases (maybe not in the case of meditation), have snacks! You could go with a traditional rainbow theme, or you could just go the simpler (better?) route, and make sure your money is going to companies who have been outspoken about their support of equality.

– Ben & Jerry’s (A great excuse to eat ice cream!)

– Kraft Foods (So many choices!)

– Target (Love, personified by a store.)

– Starbucks (Love in a cup.)

And, for those of you born on or before today’s date in 1994:

~Absolut Vodka~

~Anheuser-Busch~

~Skyy Vodka~

~Smirnoff~

Uniting for equality via silence and snacks? That’s a cause that basically everyone should be able to get behind.

There are two very distinct outlooks I adopt: the rational and the irrational. When I am irrational, I hate who I am. I think ‘dear Lord, there is no way I’ll be successful. I don’t have skills, I don’t have… anything. I should eat a doughnut and sit on the couch all day and stare at my iPhone and play games that make me hate myself for wasting so much time.’ When I am rational, I think ‘I can do anything and everything! The greats weren’t great because they were great, the greats were great because they paint a lot. Right, Macklemore? Persistence is all I need. I can and I will, right, Gina Rodriguez? Awesome. Let me eat a couple of scrambled eggs, write a novel, exercise my face off, and ball harder.’

I know that the rational side is the one that is on target, so why is it sometimes hard to focus on that? I guess that’s part of growing. Determination is key. I think it’s conflicts like these that cause people to get one-word inspirational tattoos. Humans are so flawed. Why can’t we remember how awesome we are without having to remind ourselves so frequently? I wish for you (and myself) excellence in remembering our full potential. Also, today is National Day of Silence. I wrote an article on it that failed to be published so, lest it go to waste, I will publish it here. 🙂

Isn’t it funny how hard we have to fight to change? I’m sure there are plenty of people who are opposed to change, but even when you aren’t, it can still be hard. We are so ready to seek shelter in the familiar. In my experience, change has almost always been a good thing. I love a complete change of surroundings once I commit to it, but it’s the getting to the commitment that is the hardest part. Is it a fear of the unknown? Even with excitement to expand our horizons, we never know what’s waiting for us just beyond the ledge. That can hold us back if we let it. But I vote that it shouldn’t. Baby steps forward are the only way. Even failing miserably at something new will help us to grow more than staying in our comfort zone, and all we need is to grow. Once we have grown enough, we will achieve more than what we may presently imagine for ourselves. What could be a better goal than to exceed your own expectations?

Recently, I had the pleasure of witnessing the Los Angeles-made group Spirit Strings. These musicians comprise an alternative string quartet led by Emily Moore, a violinist, and Max Mueller, a cellist. Spirit Strings brings life to self-composed and well-known (but independently arranged) music alike, and showcased their vast ability at Los Angeles’s Room 5 lounge on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.

I was raised in a culturally rich environment where I was lucky enough to encounter a fair share of artists, musical and otherwise, but have been away from those opportunities for a bit. Spirit Strings made me realize how much I miss art. This music group is serious yet joyous, and completely entrancing. In all my time witnessing artistic undertakings, I don’t believe that I ever witnessed a string quartet in close quarters, and certainly never one of this caliber.

Spirit Strings brings an experience to its audience that showcases the very best of human potential- the musicians are incredibly skilled, enjoy themselves, and simultaneously somehow bandage the souls of their listeners. Perhaps it is because I have not had many close interactions with accomplished string artists, but there is something truly magical about the way Spirit Strings musicians manipulate their instruments and bodies at once. In a time where music is generally about publicizing a commercially generated message, Spirit Strings produces music that truly has a voice.

The quartet played nine tunes to a rapt audience, the most memorable for me “A Couple Bickering” from Max Mueller’s self-composed “Scenes from My Parents’ Cocktail Party” and “And So It Goes”, an arrangement of the Billy Joel classic. “Cocktail Party” is vibrantly memorable because of its uncanny ability to portray the exact dynamic of a couple feuding- from attempts at making up along the way to small passive-aggressive snaps, this piece is able to almost draw into reality a living and breathing human duo. Billy Joel’s classic reimagined through four string instruments was remarkable in its ability to soothe and nourish those listening in; there is an undeniable and intense calm present within this work. The poignant tone of the Billy Joel classic performed in this way would appeal to listeners of any age and background because of its personability.

Spirit Strings provides an excellent listening opportunity for those fortunate enough to cross its path- it is upbeat and lively while smooth and reassuring. There is scarcely anything more beautiful about the human experience than witnessing something as refined yet intrinsically human as the work that these musicians offer their audience. Mine was an encounter I would highly recommend to any and all regardless of age, gender, or musical preference.

StockPhoto

A parent’s role in a child’s life is important beyond measure. In this image, we witness the simplicity of adult-infant connection but also see its weight. A child has infinite potential, but s/he needs the support and love of a parental figure in order to realize what could be. The upturned palm of the adult symbolizes his or her willingness to support the infant, and the infant’s downward-facing palm represents his or her readiness to accept this aid. The sepia coloration of this image informs the observer that this is a serious situation that, with patience and confidence, can produce wonderful results.