To my future daughter…

To my future daughter,

I want you to know that the world is beautiful.

It is here and nowhere else that butterflies are free to fly and elephants roam about.

The world is beautiful all around because it is here where you may always live in curiosity,

Because here you shall never be disappointed when you are striving to learn.

Little girl, the world is so beautiful,

Because it is here that flowers bloom every year and colorful leaves fall above you.

Baby girl, I hope you always see this beauty,

Because only here can you dance in the piazzas of Venice and stand in awe at the beauty of Paris.

My pretty girl, I will not lie, this world is not only filled with beauty.

It will hurt you, push you, kick you.

But this world is forgiving and this world is kind.

It will pick you up and encourage you to fly.

So, my beautiful girl, please listen to me now,

This world is yours to live in and yours to share.

Your beauty exists to mix with the butterflies and elephants and piazzas and create this amazing place.

To my future daughter, take what I have learned,

Dance in the rain and sing with the birds,

Because you are so beautiful and your world is too.

To the boy that sexually assaulted me…

To the boy who sexually assaulted me,

I don’t know if you remember me, since you were very drunk when we met. It was my first time ever meeting you; I still don’t know your name. You were waiting for me at the door of the party, as if you were an animal stalking its prey. As I stepped in the room, you pounced.

I don’t know if you remember pulling me away from my friends, but you isolated me. It was a very crowded room, I couldn’t see them anymore. You were a lot bigger than me, it was almost impossible to get away. I screamed for you to let me go.

I don’t know if you remember putting your hand up my shirt, but you brought tears to my eyes. You had your lips by my ear, drunkenly whispering sexual comments to me. You said you wanted to take me away, you said that I was perfect, you said that you needed my clothes to be off. I was so scared, but I don’t think you cared.

I don’t know if you remember me hitting you, but I was desperately trying to get away. The room we were in was filled with people, but no one seemed to notice what was happening to me. As you forced your mouth to mine, I wanted to kill you.

I don’t know if you remember my rage, but you laughed at it and pushed me away. You said that I’d be back, you said that I can’t resist you. You watched me search for my friends and enjoyed my fear-stricken struggle. You made me terrified of every boy around me.

I don’t know who you are, but if you read this I want you to know that I think you are pathetic. I want you to know that I am stronger than you. I want you to know that if I ever see you again, I will make sure you remember what you did to me.

Sexual assault is too common, and more people need to learn to stand up to it. If someone was to step in, I wouldn’t have had to go through that alone. So if anyone does relate to my story, know that I am here for you and willing to give you support. Survivors need to band together to show the world that we are here to fight.

The new main stream thing: mass shootings!

As many of you are aware of, there was another movie theater shooting last night in Lafayette, Louisiana. Another white male, standing up and shooting among his peers. It’s fine, it’s just another one, life goes on right? See, that’s the issue right there. These mass shootings have been occurring much more often in the past decade and each time, there seems to be excuses made to back up each one.

“He used to be such a good kid, he just got off track somehow.”
“He was just crazy, simple as that, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“Something must have angered him.”
“He had a tough childhood…”
“Maybe if everyone had a gun on them…”

Hold on.

Maybe if everyone had a gun on them? Let’s talk about that for a moment. Bring your thoughts back to Sandy Hook – where the victims were young elementary school children. There is absolutely no way they would have a gun on them; I am going to assume that would be considered common sense. So okay, maybe all the teachers and administration should be armed. That way we can teach young children to fear everyone around them and show that the world is truly an unsafe place… sounds like a great idea!

It is so depressing and honestly, a little pathetic that these shootings continue to happen in our country without any consequences. How many more people have to die in order for a gun control law to be put in place? How much longer should people have to live in fear of dying when they go out at night? Or when they go to class? Or just by walking out of their house?

It’s time for us to stop protecting the criminal. It’s time for the excuses to stop – there should be no insanity plea in these types of cases. This is pure evil, pure hatred, and deserves a true punishment. Our country needs to step up and protect its people.

Young women like Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson could still be with us today. Now is the time for our country to weep with their families, pray for them, and then work to fix the issue that has caused their deaths. We shouldn’t have to wait for another shooting like this one. For those families, life doesn’t just go on – it stops dead in its tracks.

There is a lot of support on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but the thing is, a hashtag isn’t going to change anything. If you want a law to be made, start with your local government, talk to a representative or a congressman, do everything you can – because you can create change.

The time has come to end this long trend of fear.

Rest in peace Lafayette victims.

Restaurant etiquette: why your complaints are probably unnecessary

I’ve been working in the restaurant business for almost two years now, and I’ve noticed a few things that really irk me. I’m currently a hostess and a carry out girl, and for some odd reason, people feel the need to complain to me about their food being cold or their service being slow or for any other inconvenience they might have experienced. Today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite complaints, and the responses that I kept held up inside. Keep in mind, these are actual quotes from actual people – even though they might seem absolutely ridiculous.

“Hi um, I’ve been here for about three minutes now, and my waiter still hasn’t come by, could you like, remind him that he has tables?” 

No way… really? He has tables? I bet he has absolutely no idea. Actually, your waiter probably has multiple tables that he’s currently attending to and he will most likely be there in just a couple more minutes. If he hasn’t shown up in ten, then come get me.

*Watches woman eat the avocado in her salad*
“Hi, miss, yeah could you come over here? There was no avocado on my salad, can you go get me some? Make sure your cook cuts a new one too, and make sure it’s really fresh.”

Okay, I know there was avocado on your salad and so do you. Also, the avocado that was on it was fresh. If you feel the need to have extremely specific ingredients, either bring your own or cook at home.

*Gives woman a medium well done steak instead of a medium*
“Hi, I ordered a medium steak, and this is obviously medium well, and honestly this is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” 

Well honey, if a medium well steak is the most disgusting thing you have ever seen in your entire life, it looks like you are pretty well off, so congrats, and maybe try going to an actual steakhouse if you’re looking for a grade A steak.

*Gives woman a turkey burger*
“This is not a turkey burger. It’s obvious that it’s not. Look at the pattern of the ground beef here, you can tell it’s beef, and this is absolutely disgusting. Take this back and fix it.” 

THIS IS A TURKEY BURGER! I don’t eat beef either okay, I feel your pain, but I can tell you 110% that this is a turkey burger so eat it and enjoy it and please, for the love of god, stop inspecting the pattern of ground beef.

me: “Hi! Welcome, how many? Three? Okay it’s going to be about a ten minute wait, I just have to clean off a table and wait for our kitchen to catch up a bit!”
customer: “Ok well it’d better not be long.”
*Five minutes go by*
customer: “Seriously? Is our table ready yet? This is absolutely ridiculous, what are you doing, you obviously have no idea.”
me: “I was just about to seat you actually, like i said, i had to wait for -”
customer: “I don’t want to hear it, you are absolutely awful, you don’t know how to do your job, I am never coming back here, you are absolutely horrible.”

OKAY. HERE WE GO. One, if you hate a restaurant, why would you go there and put yourself through that? Two, what makes you think that I’ll treat you better if you’re rude to me? Three, if i say ten minutes, you have absolutely no right to complain until that ten minutes is up. Four, I AM A PERSON. I am making minimum wage to walk you to a table, I am not making minimum wage to be talked to as if I am not a human being. I am not paid to be your servant or your punching bag. If you disrespect me I will refuse to treat you nicely because you do not deserve any sort of kindness.

Okay, rant over.

Hopefully after reading this, you’ll understand how unnecessary half of complaints are. We know when your food is taking a while, we know when you’re waiting on us, we know when your food is right or wrong. We are people too, please do not treat us like we aren’t. We are trying to make your meal enjoyable, so please, help make our jobs enjoyable too.

The disconnect between adults and kids

One of my biggest fears is that one day far in the future, my kids will be crying themselves to sleep at night and I will have no idea. It just seems to be such a common feeling these days – kids grow up thinking that they have no real support and that no one really understands what they are going through. We act as if there has to be some huge disconnect between adults and kids and I think that this divide is proving itself to be extremely emotionally draining.

In my generation, people are becoming much more open with who they really are. The LGBTQ community is growing each and every day as people come out, finally deciding to be true to themselves. Kids are getting into serious relationships at younger ages; it’s as if we have this instinctual urge to grow up quicker and experience real love earlier. We can’t help it though, that’s just how we are.

Adults, specifically parents, are in a very special place. They have the ability to build up a child’s self esteem or completely tear it down. They have the choice to emotionally support their child, which sadly, some parents refuse to do. Which is partly what has created this gap between kids and parents. There are certain choices that parents don’t have the right to decide – such as if your child is gay, or transgender, or if they want to date someone of a different race or a different religion or financial class or if they just want to date someone in general. No parent has the right to choose who their child falls in love with.

By the age of 18, we have a pretty good idea of what we like and what we don’t like. We know which foods make us sick and we know which school subjects we like the most. We also sort of know what career path we would like to take and what sort of people we want to surround ourselves with on our journey there. Most of us have picked a learning institution that we hope will carry us to success and many of us have had to figure out a plan to pay for it. We are considered to be adults, yet we are still treated as young children. This also adds to the divide between us.

There is such a simple solution to this problem though, and it amazes me that this isn’t universal knowledge. We both need to support each other. Parents should lift their kids up when they are down – no child should have to cry themselves to sleep feeling as though they cannot talk to the two people sleeping in the room next door. If your child comes out as gay, you should be thrilled that they had the bravery to do so in front of you, because it is a huge act of courage. If your child is in love with someone, you should wholeheartedly support that relationship. As long as no harm is coming to either party… there is no reason to separate them. From a kid’s perspective, it is so hard to live your life without support. Feeling alone while making decisions is so ridiculously stressful. We need help from those older than us, even though we will deny it to our grave. Just as those older need help from us, and we will be there to give them that.

We need to push to close the divide between us. It’s time for both sides to come together and to realize that there is no reason to not support each other. We both feel the same things – it’s time we respect that.

Simple pleasures and banana pancakes

I am obsessed with the simple pleasures life presents. People often become distracted by the big things that we are supposed to love, such as money, work, the way our lawn looks and the way we dress… and I’ll admit that I have been a victim to that type of thinking too. However, I am writing now to remind you all, and myself, how incredible the smallest things around us can be.

Imagine this: you are young again, around ten years old, just waking up. As your senses come alive, you begin to smell one of the most incredible things in the world: bacon. You spring out of bed and sprint downstairs to find your dad making banana chocolate chip pancakes and your mom placing a plate of bacon on the table. You eat until you feel as though your stomach might explode. You curl up on the couch and watch Tom and Jerry and slowly fall back asleep…

You are in high school again, it’s your junior year. You had been up all night finishing a lab report for your chemistry class and doing book work for your precalculus class. As you walk into your first hour, you realize that you had completely forgotten the fact that you had a test today. You hadn’t studied at all and you feel extremely unprepared. You go into the test blind… and come out with a 92%. You and your teacher have no idea how you pulled that off, but you did, and you couldn’t be happier.

You are in your late twenties and you are trying to catch a cab to work. Yellow taxis seem to be taunting you, quickly switching lanes as they come near you. Then the person next to you catches one and asks if you’d like to have it, since you seem to be in a greater rush than them. You couldn’t be more thankful, since it was only your second day at this new job.

You are in your late fifties or early sixties. Your father has just passed. You decide to take a walk to clear your head a bit and get some fresh air. As you walk past the endless houses filled with families, you come by a park. As you go to it, you decide to sit on one of the swings. You reminisce how your dad used to push you on swings just like this and how you would scream with joy… and as you are thinking, you notice a single tulip had grown next to the swing set. As you look at the lavender colored flower, you also notice that it is the only thing in the park that is illuminated by the sun and you smile. Your dad knew how much you loved tulips.

Now stop imagining, and realize where you are right now. Go through all of your senses. Recognize that you woke up today, you are breathing, you are able to find food to eat, there are people around you who love you, there are flowers growing somewhere and you can find happiness everywhere. Let go of any obsession with money or work or whatever it may be and instead, go outside. Enjoy the fact that you live on this beautiful planet. Look. Smell. Touch. Taste. Listen. Let your senses guide you to happiness.

20 things I will do

I had a teacher last year who forced us to write 20 things we will do in our lifetime. Looking back, it was one of the best assignments I had ever completed. It was a list that made you really think about what you aspire to be and what you truly want out of the life you were given. I still have the sheet of paper that I wrote my list on – it hangs above my desk so I can read it each and every day. It is my inspiration to keep going; because of that, I decided to share my list with you. Here it is:

1. Ride an elephant

2. Eat a meal that I don’t think I would usually try, such as escargot.

3. Swim with sea turtles (COMPLETED!)

4. Study abroad

5. Be able to say “I made it – I’m accomplished.”

6. Change someone’s perspective

7. Have a son and name him Luke

8. Have a daughter and teach her what it is like to always love

9. Get a tattoo

10. Visit every continent, including Antarctica

11. Write a short story

12. Learn how to dance

13. Win an award

14. Fall in love with a man and have a ridiculously happy wedding

15. Have a chalkboard wall in my house and cover it with quotes that I love

16. Give my time to those less fortunate than I

17. Have a conversation with someone who is homeless; make them laugh

18. Go on a spontaneous trip with someone I love

19. Make enough money to take my Dad on a trip with me

20. Find a way to prove to him that I love him, and make him proud of me.

21. Adopt a dog from the humane society (multiple dogs are okay too)

22. Buy my mom and stepdad a very expensive bottle of wine, then sit down and drink the entire thing with them

I know I had a couple more than 20, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have a lot of goals! I encourage you all to write your own lists, and if you do, send me the link! I would love to read them. This truly is one of the best ways to really reflect and get to know yourself a little bit better.