Browsing Category:

Writing

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Travel, Writing

    My Greek Odyssey

    “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others”

    Pericles

    As history students, we subconsciously fall into a cycle: memorize, regurgitate, and delete. Intrinsically, much of the information from our elementary history classes is lost, yet one civilization strangely remains in our memories, Ancient Greece. This civilization’s contributions in politics, arts, and more outweighs any other ancient society. Due to Greece’s rich history, the land itself if riddled with remnants and traces of the past, ancient superpower.

    My first experience with connecting to the past is connected came as a byproduct of a hike in Sparta. My heart began to pulse and my hands began to shake, and entire existence felt obsolete, yet eternally connected with the environment and people around me. I finally felt the magic and beauty within the lands of Greece that had been thrown at me via mundane textbooks for the past seventeen years of my life. In one single instance, I could sense the barriers of the time continuum caving in. This all hit me as I reached the end of my twenty-minute hike to the top of a secluded mountain shrine and church site near the modern city of Sparta. This mountain will forever have a place in my heart, for it allowed me to experience rather than read history for the first time in my life.

    Through my eight days in Greece, I traveled around the entire countryside, up mountains, along coasts, and through large metropolitan cities. No matter where we were there was this weird whisper within my head. It kept asking me; “What could be under all this soil? Is there something waiting to be found?” After days of suppressing this voice, I finally caved and allowed myself to want to search for the answer. My pursuit to find the answer to my whispers within Greece has allowed me to discover a passion of mine, archeology. Some people are meant to write history, but Greece has allowed me to see that I am meant to discover it.

    For those out there wanting to travel, all I can say is do not think, just act. One can find the most surprising thing waiting for you hiding within the unknown.

    “Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves.”

    Euripides
  • Articles, Bullying, Confidence, Environment, GirlSpring.com, Interview, Lifestyle, Local, Mental Health, Relationships, School, Sexual Health, Social, Stress, Tough Questions, Writing

    Deciding To Come Out

    coming out

    ( Author’s Note: This website is for women empowerment. Men and Women can be feminist, therefore there are some males in this article.
    bri xx )

    Coming Out

    Coming out and discovering your sexuality is a really touchy subject and not everyone is comfortable with talking about their experiences. Although, it is a sensitive subject I know people (especially those who aren’t out yet) like to hear other LGBTQ+ coming out stories. Everyone’s story, of course, will be different! Some were accepted while others maybe weren’t. I had an okay experience which made me very curious about what other LGBTQ+ peoples’ experiences were. This led me to interview a few people with different cultural backgrounds to see how their experience went. I asked them all the same four questions.

    Here are their responses:

    Hayden Robinson
    Current Age: N/A
    Age You Came Out: 15
    Gender: Male
    Sexuality: Gay

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    During middle school, it felt kind of awkward walking through the underwear aisles. He started to realize when he had a crush on rapper Flo Rida.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    It all was a bit of a process, the first person he told was already a part of the LGBTQ+ community. He told them over Instagram demos, but then told them to delete their conversation. Then in November, he told his sister. The next month, he told his mom, and the month after that, his father. Soon, he told his stepmother on Valentine’s Day. Eventually, he told his close friends, but he still wasn’t out to everyone which affected his mental health. So, one Friday afternoon, he made a Snapchat story saying he was gay.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Most of them knew already. Sister thought it was awesome that they could talk about boys together. Mom took it hard and was scared. Dad was kind of quiet and didn’t ask many questions besides how long did he know he was a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Stepmom didn’t think it was a big deal.
    Friends were excited and pretty much already knew it.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    He is very happy about it! He would not be where he is today if he hadn’t come out. His family and friends are also still very supportive.

    Linus
    Current Age: 16
    Age You Came Out: 14
    Gender: Female
    Sexuality: Queer / Doesn’t really like labels though.

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    Younger, people would say a lot of homophobic things and she would take up for the LGBTQ+ community, not really realizing she was just standing up for herself.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    It wasn’t really formal, she just kind of talked about a crush who was apart of the LGBTQ+ community.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Overall, friends acted normally while one “friend” tried to fully push her out of the closet which resulted in her cutting them off.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    She’s only out to friends, but is happy about making that decision. She plans on coming out to family when ready.

    Carter

    Current Age: 15 turning 16
    Age You Came Out At: 12
    Gender: Transgender Male
    Sexuality: Bisexual

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community?

    The first time was when he was in a hospital and met people a part of that community. During that time, he was given a chest binder and a packer and decided to try it.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    He came out as bisexual when he was twelve around thanksgiving time. He came out as transgender at fourteen.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Friends weren’t accepting at all and didn’t really understand it.
    Mom was giving him the talk when he came out as bisexual and was okay with it. Dad didn’t really care, but questioned if he was really sure he was bisexual. When coming out as transgender, his mom was confused and not accepting. She thought he was too young to make that decision. Four years later, Mom has accepted it but doesn’t want him to make rash decisions.
    Parents told teachers to call him a different name but didn’t tell them that he is transgender.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    Yes and No, he’s still battling with a couple of different things. Wishes he hadn’t told friends, but glad he came out to his family otherwise he would still be confused about things.

    Jamiah
    Current Age: 16
    Age You Came Out At: 15
    Gender: Female
    Sexuality: Lesbian

    When did you discover you were apart of the LGBTQ+ community

    In seventh grade. The first year at a new school and decided that she wasn’t attracted to guys anymore.

    When and Why did you decide to come out?

    Made the decision to come out because she didn’t want to hide anymore and just wanted to be honest with herself.

    What were your responses from friends, family, teachers, etc?

    Mom and Brothers already knew and did not care nor treat her differently. Dad doesn’t know and is not gonna tell him because she feels he just won’t understand. Friends were really happy and weren’t really shocked.

    Looking back, are you happy with your decisions on coming out?

    Yes, Very Happy. She was just tired of hiding it and finally happy she can be open about her relationships.

    Talking with these individuals opened my eyes a lot.

    You always hear stories about people’s coming out experiences. Some are like a happy fairy tale ending. Some are not so happy and end with people taking their own lives. Not everyone is gonna be accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but every individual has a right to express themselves and not be treated differently or less than anyone else in this world. Coming out is not the easiest to do so wait until you’re ready and are comfortable with sharing it to friends, family or anyone. Don’t let anyone force you to do anything you don’t want to do. If you are not comfortable with coming out, it’s perfectly fine, no pressure, but know that, even if it doesn’t feel like it, there are many people out there who love and support you.

    If you do come out and you start to experience verbal, physical, emotional abuse or any form of bullying, tell someone. Don’t let other people’s stupidity make you feel bad about being yourself. Hopefully, reading other people’s stories helped or educated you a little bit on how different everyone’s reactions and how it changed or didn’t change their lives.

    much love,
    bri xx

    Everyone deserves to feel comfortable being themself, gay, straight, bi, trans, whatever! Check out some tips on being comfortable in your own skin.

    If you are thinking about coming out but don’t know how to, or have more questions than you can count, look at the Human Right’s Campaign’s Coming Out Resource Guide.

  • Articles, Artwork, GirlSpring.com, Writing

    The Relevance of Calvin and Hobbes Today: Corruption in the News

    Calvin and Hobbes

    Calvin and Hobbes is a comic strip by Bill Watterson that was released daily from November of 1985 to December 1995. The cartoons were used as vessels for portraying serious topics simply through an opinionated boy, Calvin, and his make-believe tiger, Hobbes. Although new original strips are not being produced, they live on in form of collections and on the official Calvin and Hobbes website (https://www.calvinandhobbes.com/about-calvin-and-hobbes/).  From topics of the existence of fate to the selfishness of man, the cartoons touch on topics that are extremely relevant in today’s society. In this article, I will be presenting a specific cartoon addressing the corruption of the news.

    What is “The News?”

    In this particular strip, Calvin yells at a tv screen complaining about the lack of information, and how this is wrongly defined as “news.” The news and media have been under-fire for the last few of years, especially in the United States. The term “fake news” has been used time and time again after President Donald Trump used it on his twitter on countless events. Although its popularity grew in 2016, the term was originally coined in the 1800s, with a neutral connotation and a simpler, less political denotation. Fake news: can refer to false new stories, often spread as propaganda on social media. It can also characterize any information that one finds critical about themselves, popularized as a catchphrase by Donald Trump after the 2016 presidential election. The term itself is can usually be described as false information. In the case of the President, he will refer to information as fake news when it has been backed up and proven by several sources to be true.

    News: newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events. Along with the political corruption of the news, there is a phenomenon of presenting not news, but particular stories that aren’t incredibly relevant to the state of affairs. For example, Buzzfeed, “the leading independent digital media and tech company delivering news and entertainment content to a global audience,” has been criticized for posting articles that are not relevant, and even offensive to some groups of people. When expected to present equal parts news and entertainment, often the entertainment is more common. Many have pointed out that quantity is more valued than quality in their case, and that the articles are more similar to opinion pieces, and are not informative.

    Sensationalism Today

    Sensationalism and fake news are similar terms. However, the main difference is that “fake news” is more used than sensationalism. Although we often forget about sensationalism, its relevance in the world today is just as important as fake news. Sensationalism: the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement. Because many people access their news online, online news sources take advantage of the fact that each time a person clicks on a story, they will receive earnings from ads and other monetization inputs. Sensationalism in the modern day may also be referred to as “clickbait,” literally meaning sensational bait that will get you to click on the article. This phenomenon takes place in vain when the job of the news is to inform instead of obtain. Sensationalism in the cartoon is mentioned in terms of television rather than handheld devices or computers. The type of sensationalism today is even more dangerous because of the access that children have to it. Hackers can even use click bait as a way to inject a virus into a system. Next time you see an article claiming a title too crazy to be true, just don’t click.

    Ignorance is bliss, right?

    Finally, in the third part of the strip, Calvin says, “Fortunately, that’s all I have the patience for.” This is a statement that I’m sure many people can relate to. Sometimes the struggles of the world are just too much, and it’s nicer to have tame information at your disposal. However, it is important to know what is really going on. Because many people would rather hear the good than the bad, they just accept the fake news and sensationalism. This is not a good mindset to have. It is always needed to take a break from the news, but don’t let the need for happiness overtake the need for true information.

    What can we do?

    To lessen the spread of fake news, always investigate the information given. To make sure that we all get information that is true and backed-up, double or triple check what’s being put out there. If you read an article that says something a little off, research it. If you read something from one website, read other sources. Always do your homework before you tell someone about something. This is especially important for us teens. Do your research, and have fun doing it! As teenagers and rising leaders, we can stop the spread of fake news and inform each other on the important things.

    Sources:

    https://www.calvinandhobbes.com/

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/where-does-the-term-fake-news-come-from_n_58d53c89e4b03692bea518ad

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/the-real-story-of-fake-news

    https://www.dictionary.com/e/politics/fake-news/

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/about/jobs

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/220746819206074047/?autologin=true

  • Poem, Poems, Writing

    You Taught me to be a Writer; a Poem for my Mother

    You taught me to be a writer

    Since this is Women’s History Month, and mothers can play such a huge role in their daughters’ lives, I wanted to share a poem I wrote dedicated to my mother. She has always been a positive female influence and someone I look up to a lot.

    ~

    you gasped as you looked at me for the first time.

    9 pounds, 12 ounces.

    you were just happy i was here.

    you told dad to drive so carefully,

    you were terrified i would wake

    to a loose pebble on the road.

    you named me Grace, cause why not?

    it’s a sweet name, and i was sweet.

    you rocked me to bed each night,

    eyes never leaving mine

    you filled shelves with children’s books

    and let me flip back and forth through them

    pointing to images along the way

    and gargling in glee.

    you got me a easel and teared up

    when i painted a blob and it called it you.

    you let me use all of our tape rolls

    to put together pieces of paper

    with incoherent sentences written on them

    and call it a story.

    you watched movies with me

    and then watched as i went to my bedroom

    to think about them for hours

    and came back with a new movie, created by me.

    at night, you let “i have a headache”

    be my excuse to crawl into bed with you

    and snuggle into your arms as if i was still

    9 pounds, 12 ounces.

    you brushed my hair as tenderly as you could

    even though i still hated it,

    and rubbed sunscreen onto my face

    while i was trying to get on the swing.

    you bought me birthday hats and

    and watched with amusement

    as i used them to throw my stuffed dogs parties

    (and later weddings).

    you smiled when i came home and told you about my elementary school

    reading awards and smiled, even more, when i showed you

    my a+ essays.

    you laughed when i showed you the “oscar-worthy”

    movies me and my friend, and then me and my cousins,

    had created using the power of my ipad’s editing software.

    you cried almost every mother’s day

    when i handed you a letter, or poem, or collage

    and told me never to buy you something

    if i can write you something instead.

    you sat me down next to you one day

    and showed me a website you had found

    for a school called asfa

    and then you celebrated when i became as excited

    about it as you.

    you squealed when i got accepted,

    and you told me i would write amazing things

    even if i didn’t believe you yet.

    and now you hug me and buy me junk food

    every time i tear up and tell you i’m overwhelmed

    you fold my laundry

    every time you can see i’m too stressed.

    you tell me to relax and watch netflix with you

    even when i tell you i have no time

    because you tell me i need a break.

    you ask to read everything i write,

    you give me books from your library to read,

    you told me when i told you

    that maybe i should just be an accountant or something

    no. you’re too talented to punch numbers.

    you need to keep writing.

    and then you squealed again when i got my first publication,

    and again when i won my first writing award,

    you enveloped me in your arms

    with pride i could feel radiating off of you

    and held me, although i may be half a head taller now

    as if i was still

    9 pounds, 12 ounces.

  • Writing

    Yasmeen’s Not so Modern Life: The Series

    Yasmeens's Not so Modern Life: The Series

    Note From GirlSpring: This is the first part of a fictional series from our one of our contributors. GirlSpring empowers girls to be creative in different outlets, such as fiction writing (as this is). If you want to become a contributor, head over to www.girlspring.com/submit.

     

    Episode 1: “It’s Life”

    Hi, my name is Yasmeen Marie Pepei Lopez, I know I know a very very very long name but that’s what my abeula Roseleen named me. I am a sophomore and I go to James County High School but everyone just calls it J.C.

    “yasmeen! hurry up, you’re gonna be late!” my mom xiomara yelled.

    “coming!” I said as I put on my sneakers and head down the stairs.

    “well look who’s alive.” my papá roberto said as he picked up his bag.

    “I know, i know..” I said picking up some toast as I heard my brother xzaiver’s car horn beep indicating that he’s about to leave.

    “better hurry mija.” my mom said entering the kitchen.

    “I’m going, love you guys.” I said hurrying outside.

    “love you too, be safe!” my mom yelled as I approached the car and hopped in.

    “took you long enough.” xzaiver said pulling off.

    “yeah yeah, whatever.” I said.

    “what if I’m late?” my sister ava said.

    and here it goes, let me just give you a run down on my life.

    I have three siblings, xzaiver who’s 17, ava who’s 12, then joey who’s 7. we all have very different personalities, just like me and my best friends, but in the end we’re one big family.

    speaking of friends, let me introduce you to them.

    first, we have isiah, he’s very outspoken and a wild card you could say. he LOVES makeup, and you rarely see him without it he’ll probably start his own makeup company one day, he also happens to be gay but he’s open about it and we wouldn’t trade him for the world.

    next, we have kacey, she’s the artist of the group you will never ever see her without her pencils and her sketchbook. most people think she’s shy but when you get to know her..let’s just say not so shy..

    then there’s elijah, we just call him eli. he’s the star quaterback, the “hot jock” everyone loves. even through he plays football and seems like that “hottie” that’s too cool for school, he’s actually a huge geek. he loves astrology and star wars and anything that deals with the galaxy but not many people know that but us..

    and onto ivy, ivy is the mom of the group she’s also putting herself before us and also keeping us in shape and at times out of trouble. not at all times though, she loves to dance so she will occasionally drag her to a party or two and then.. a whole new ivy comes out.

    next is nova, nova is the more reserved and quite one, her parents hold certain standards over her that kind of makes her not that social, but when she’s around us she’s herself. she’s actually really funny and loves to collect cameras. she has a huge passion for the photographer world.

    after her, there’s isabella, but we call her izzy. she has a passion for music and playing instruments, you will never not hear her singing or making some type of music.

    last but not least, theodore, yes that his name but he goes by teddy. he loves nature and animals and he’s always dragging us on some type of adventure. he will not just stay in one place, he’s determined to travel the entire world and we most definitely can see that.

    and that’s our group, we’re not all perfect and we don’t always get along but hey, that’s natural.

    “see if one of your friends can take you home, I have baseball practice” xzaiver said as we hopped out.

    ‘thanks for the late heads up” I said sarcastically

    “you’re most definitely are welcome” he smirked walking away to his group of friends.

    “yass yasmeen!’ isiah yelled out walking up to me.

    ” you look fab-ou-lous honey!” he said causing me to laugh.

    “thanks siah, where is everyone else?” I asked as we intertwined arms heading into the school.

    “I think they-” is all he could get out before they all head towards our way.

    “right here.” he laughed.

    “morning chicas” isiah said hugging everyone as I do the same.

    “why are you always so happy in the morning?” kacey asked rolling her eyes.

    ‘because, who wouldnt be this happy when you look like this?” he said doing a vogue and walking down the hall as if it was a fashion show walk way.

    the bell ring sounds for homeroom.

    “and it starts, see you guys at lunch.” I say as we all part our ways.

    nova, teddy and I head to the same class.

    “so there’s this party this weekend at rebecca’s house, we should go” teddy said as we took our seats.

    “not really up for a party…you know how my parents are.” nova said.

    “just say you’re staying at my place to study.” I said.

    “I would but its too close to weekly exams and you know how my dad gets around this time” she said sadly.

    she’s right, you know how people makes jokes about how smart asians are and how their parents are super super strict well those are nova’s parents. they expect her to make all A’s and be the perfect daughter and go to church and be an innocent angel.

    “we’ll come up with something.” teddy said.

    “maybe..” nova replied.

    “okay, what’s really wrong? you seem more off them usual.” teddy said as the teacher told us to quiet down so he could take roll.

    “I’ll tell you later.” she said turning her attention onto the teacher.

    teddy and I gave each other a look, nova’s usually not like this but whatever it is hopefully it’s nothing too bad but in this group you honestly never know.

    but hey, everyone goes through all kinds of stuff especially at our age but that’s life.

  • Writing

    Defining Individuality With My Natural Hair

    Defining Individuality With My Natural Hair

    As I have grown older, how I have defined myself has gradually changed with the experiences and the emotions that I have garnered along the way. After I had begun to unpack the vast socialization, or social stigmas, that stood in between myself and the world, it was easier to see the things that I liked about myself. Because of how quickly my hair began to sprout, I paid close attention to how I expressed myself through my makeup and my clothing. I wanted everything to match the velocity of my hair, or the thought that I could be seen and others would know that it was me because of its voluminousity. I loved decorating my lips with dark, plum-like purples or fiery reds, and mixing eye shadows with Urban Decay eyeliners. In the mornings, I created a set ritual where I would wake up in the mornings before everyone and indulge in self care through the expression of makeup without having the presence of someone rushing me.

    I liked that I was forced into taking care of my hair, because it forced me to spend time with myself. I used to roll my hair with sponge rollers, and have a spray bottle off to the side and I used to love the the thought of my hair soaking; it was like my own plant on my head and it required nourishment from water in order to grow. Most of my teenage years, I used products such as OGX shampoos and conditioners and would switch out with Shea Moisture. I allowed myself to be the sun, no matter where I went and no matter what others thought of me. Suddenly, washing my hair became less of a burden and more so a way that I could gauge the progress I was making towards having a healthier outer appearance.

    I credit Pharrel’s album, GIRL, for most of the confidence that I have today, since most of the mornings were spent in solitude and looking inside of myself for the answers that I had always been seeking. There is also the ongoing pressure to look like or to act like everyone in the world, and that is not true. One of the most important lessons that I learned from stripping a major part of myself away from the public eye was that I was gifted the opportunity to finally say and do as I had always wanted to. And in those small actions, there were a plethora of chances to learn more about myself. For instance, I had developed this insane amount of love for myself and seeing myself in photographs which was something that I had struggled with for a long time because I didn’t really like the way I looked. I learned that in order to be able to even exist on this large Earth, that I had to at least learn to love who I was in the mirror, first and that the rest would follow over in that image.

  • Writing

    Transitioning Into My Natural Hair

    Transitioning Into My Natural Hair

    As a black woman, hair is an important and imperative part of how I have navigated this world, and essentially, my own identity. I can’t remember the first time I had a perm, but I remember the recurring anger that built up in my small, elementary school body every time the beautician ran a relaxer through my scalp. To say the least, it was painful and having to repeat the process took me away from truly accepting myself outside of the beauty standards that were already constructed for me. I was always jealous of my granddad, my father, and my brother because all they had to do was go to the barbershop and sit in a chair. Forcibly, I realized the strain of my own femininity was unable to mesh with the skewed perspectives of others; I then sought to align my own unique ideas of beauty with my physicality, leaving no space for unnecessary critiques and taking my own womanhood into my hands.

    With the encouragement from my peers and other like minded individuals my own age, I went into the bathroom one day (when I was a senior in high school) and completely chopped my hair off. The immediate response from family members was filled with complete shock, but on my own accord, I felt the purest form of liberation. It was as if I’d washed away the outside world and the only reliable source of comfort came from inside of myself. Beforehand, as I was contemplating and deliberately sitting on whether or not I was going to “revamp” myself, I found solstice in Willow Smith’s song “Female Energy” and Amandla Stenberg’s 2016 viral video Don’t Cashcrop My Cornrows, which spoke on the fetishization of blackness (black hair, specifically) in hip hop culture. Aside from the fact that we were the same age, I admired how confident she seemed to be in who she was and how comfortable she was with educating the world on something that occurs as frequently as it does throughout American history: the dehumanization and objectification of black people across the globe. As I opened the door of transitioning into a new life with my hair, I simultaneously felt a shift in terms of how I viewed race that grounded me because I had never known the more serious, systematic or cultural effects of it.

    Uncovering a new sense of identity for myself was nerve racking because I had never been allowed the safe space to unpack how I viewed myself in my own terms and my own merit. I had internalized every thinkable concept of eurocentricity and tried to apply it to my life. Because of this, the self hatred I developed was spilling into harmful thoughts, comparison to others, and depleting me of the energy I felt to define my own life. I, slowly, began to realize how unfair and how much of a disservice that was on my behalf with a simple decision to isolate myself and be reborn again through the essence of my hair.