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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Wonder

In light of recent events I've wondered what it would be like to grow up in the America that my Grandma or even my Mother grew up in.

I was born in 1992 and the first mass murder I remember happening was 9/11 in 2001. My world has never been quite the same since then. I can't remember the last time I went to the airport without getting a pat down. And when it comes to extremely large crowds sometimes I wonder if I'm in an area that's about to get bombed or shot up. Morbid, I know. Although 9/11 is the first one I can recall, the really sad part is all this stuff started happening when I was 3 years old, with the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

One day there's going to be metal detectors in every school, heightened security at every movie theater, thousands of police officers at every event simply because everyone is scared for their safety. If I have kids they will never know how it feels to leave the house and not have to worry if something bad is going to happen to them. When I hear my elders reminisce about their younger days I envy their youth because that security they felt is something I haven't known for years. The innocent years that every child deserves are being shorten because certain people are going off their rockers and trying to kill hundreds at once.

That type of murder is not normal. I don't know if it's a nature versus nurture thing that's making people lose it. Nature being the fact that our air is more polluted than our ancestors' air and there's harmful chemicals in a lot of food now. Nurture being that sometimes really messed up people decide to spawn when they don't want to care for anyone. Or if it's because the media makes every person who goes on one of these killing rampages instantly famous. But what I do know is this country is suffering from a mental health crisis and maybe the government should be looking at more than just gun control. I'm not going to ramble on about guns (that'd take up a whole different post) but I will say that guns should be harder for the wrong people to get hold of and nobody should have guns that were designed with wars in mind. This is America though, so if the government were to try to take away everyone's guns it probably would not go over well. That being said, bombs have started their fair share of the tragedies in this country.

I honestly think the main issue here is mental health. I have many family members that deal with with varying mental health issues and I can fully appreciate how hard it is to talk about. As a country we shame, mock, and make light of these problems that people live with, when we really need to make people feel like help is more accessible and less taboo. I'm not excusing the horrible crimes of the people who blow up and kill countless other people (let's face it, some people are just pure evil and will hurt others no matter what) but I can't help but wonder: would all these tragedies still have occurred if the person(s) committing them had gotten help before they reached their boiling points?

America has become extremely focused on I and Me. Maybe it should become more focused on We and Us. Maybe when we ask someone how they are doing we should actually mean it. Maybe when we know that one person who seems disturbed we won't avoid them but try to get them help. Maybe over time we can start reducing how often these mass homicides take place. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Love we Could Have

I've been busy lately working on a few writing projects hence my absence here. Plus I never know what to write but I have been thinking about the idea of love a lot lately and it's national poetry month so here's a poem I wrote a few weeks ago. Not all my poems make fairy-tale references but I used to watch Disney movies like an addict and somehow they have been sneaking into my poetry lately.

Today I’d like to have your love
Not the perfect love that danced through my childhood fantasies
But not the dysfunctional love I grew up witnessing
I don’t want the late night fights,
The angry words we can’t erase,
My scars appearing and causing space between us

But all I am is product of my youth
And my youth was filled with the love that lies
And the love that tells the truth of fairy-tales
I can’t hold you to any of those extremes
Which kills me because today I want your love
And those are the only types I know

I want that love where we grow together not apart,
Where we fight but not enough to turn heat into ice,
Where we trust each other and don’t look for the cracks where lies hide
I want it because I need it
And for once the whispers of want and need in my head say the same things

I’m not asking you to be my Prince Charming
And the dress of Cinderella won’t fit me
But I want the old age
Flickering yellow flame
Beautiful but not vain
Type of love that makes others say “I want that one day”

It sounds insane but we could be that flame that never dies
I just need you to give me a try

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Prop 8, no hate

Everyone is talking about Prop 8 and since I have nothing else to talk about I figured I might as well too.

     America is the land of the free so why marriage equality for all people is such an issue is beyond my comprehension. Employers, businesses, and schools are not allowed to judge us because of our religion, race, or sexual orientation. Yet, in most states couples who are not straight are denied the rights as straight married couples when it comes to taxes, medical authority and many other things because they can't get married. How can we set a standard for oppressive nations if we are being oppressive?

     Now I was raised Christian and believe in God. If one wants to take on the righteous holier than thou attitude, then yes homosexuality is a sin. Then again so is premarital sex and most people seem to not care that everyone is basically having sex before they get out of high school. Or what about alcohol? Constantly getting drunk is a sin too. Or what about body modification? Tattoos and piercing are also sins. I could go on and on about sinning but what it comes down to is this: 1. Somewhere in the bible (not sure where because I suck at remembering those things) it says that all sins are equal in Gods eyes. Which means whether you murder someone or disobey your parents it's the same thing. Not that I'm saying go murder somebody. 2. The Old Testament is full of laws. There's basically nothing one can do not to sin. It's human nature to sin. Jesus died on the cross to erase our sins. So I'm not really sure why people get so caught up in the homosexuality part of the bible. I think a lot of Christians would be much better Christians if they left the judging up to God and focused more on love. 1 John 3:23 “And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” To all the Christian people out there who hate gay people: WWJD? Probably not bash them, just sayin'. 

     Besides the whole religion argument there's the whole children-need-to-have-a-mom-dad argument. I think children need love and support. Do they grow up to be better people if they have 2 parents? Maybe. But I'm pretty sure the sex of the parents doesn't matter. I was raised by my mother as my dad was M.I.A. most of the time and I think I'm an okay person. Hypothetically though, if my mom were a lesbian and raised me with another woman who was there my whole life it would have been better than having a dad who chose not to fulfill his duties. A lot of kids nowadays are growing up in divorce and single parent homes. I'm not saying gay people aren't going to get divorced but I'm saying it doesn't matter which 2 people are raising kids as long as they stick out their commitment and raise the kids in a nurturing environment. And honestly, wouldn't it better for children of homosexual couples to be raised in a married home then to wonder why their parents can't get married like everyone else? 

     It's time for marriage equality, if for no other reason then America has actual problems to be working on. Like poverty, hunger, education and so on. Who somebody loves is nobody elses business, it needs to be a non-issue. If you're a straight person, unless your parents are gay, marriage is not going to directly impact you or your children. This is no different than people of color wanting to marry white people 60 years ago. We can not control who people love and want to spend their lives with but what we can do is accept it and make this country a better place. And maybe in 100 years a little kid with 2 mommies or daddies won't feel any different than someone with just a mom and a dad because it'll be accepted by so many more people in years to come.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Steubenville Controversy

This past week I've been waiting for blogger inspiration and then came this Steubenville debacle. I know it's being talked about a lot but people need to keep talking about it until the media stops victimizing the boys who did it.

I'm sickened by the fact that a vast amount of news-casters are sympathizing with Trent Mays (17) and Ma'lik Richmond (16) because “their futures are ruined.” I honestly could not careless about the fact that both of those boys are star athletes. I'm sorry, but just because you can throw a ball around really well does not mean you're exempt from being a decent human being.

The more I read about the case the more disgusted I am by the society I live in. This isn't one of those cases where a girl slept with a star athlete then regretted it and decided to cry rape. This is a case with hard-core evidence in the forms of texts, videos, and pictures showing an extremely intoxicated girl being raped and humiliated. The fact that as a country we are so divided by this is mind boggling.

Many people are saying it was her fault because she was drunk. So to all the people out there who think that, please correct me if I'm wrong, but that means the next time you're shit-faced your orifices are free game for whoever happens to want to put their fingers and/or dicks inside of you, right? Exactly.

A lot of news-casters are also harping on the fact that these young men had such bright futures. Yet, everyone seems to ignore the fact that if these guys are already raping girls at 16 and 17 they were probably going to continue to do so. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but something tells me their futures were going to be a little dimmer than people thought. Honestly, if I were the judge on that case I would have tried them as adults and they would have gotten a minimum of more than 1 and 2 years. If they make adults decisions such as drinking and doing drugs then why not try them as adults?

And while so many people lament the altered future of the boys what about the girl? Her future is different now too. I am not a victim of sexual assault but I know people who are and it's one of those things that stays with someone forever. Not only was this girl assaulted but she was humiliated on the Internet, judged by people who don't even know her and has received death threats by 2 teenage females. It doesn't matter if she has fucked every guy in school or not or if she was drunk or not at the end of the day her body was violated. Her body might be fine but her mind is going to need time to heal. I can't imagine how ostracized she must feel after putting away the town stars.

Which brings me to my point: since when do we live in a society where 1. this even happens and 2. it's attempted to be covered up by people of varying ages? When I party I like to do it with people I know and trust simply so I know regardless of how messed up we all might be we can distinguish right and wrong when it comes to the really important stuff. All those kids at that party show a complete lack of morals because they let Mays and Richmond do what they to that girl. But then when you find out that parents and coaches tried to cover up what happened in that party it's no wonder, kids learn everything from the adults surrounding them.

I think it would do us all a lot of good if we start teaching kids that quality of character is more important than one's skill on the court, field, or rink. This isn't the first time that someone gets raped by an athlete and controversy ensues. The media needs to stop making fallen angels out of people who clearly have issues. Not everything is black or white, right or wrong but invading some body's body has always been on the wrong side and it needs to stay that way.

I'd like to leave my readers with one last thought. If this is the way more and more people are thinking:

Where exactly is humanity heading?

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Beauty of a Woman

Happy International Woman's day!

Tell me I'm beautiful
It's what I'm programmed to desire
I was raised by beautiful princesses with perfect features on perfect faces
And Barbie with a body anatomically incorrect

I want to be aesthetically pleasing
Media says I should be
A woman's looks seem to be put up in the storefront windows
While their personalities are described in the buyer's manuals no one reads
So why work on something nobody reads?

Forget everything I just said and pretend you've always been blind
Now tell me I'm gorgeous
Because within my body, I can create and hold another life
Because for every hard plane of a man, I am all the softness of a woman
Because I'm not the size of my bust, waist, or butt
Nor am I any other feature bound to wrinkle, sag, gray, disappear along with time
I have a brain you can explore and a soul you can touch
A heart you can live forever in if it decides to open its doors

I'm a woman
The magic of my body
The strength of my love
The waves of my personality
That's what my beauty should be founded on,
Anything else is just...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Who would you be?

     Growing up my younger sister often asked me, “Do you think you'd be the same if you weren't in a wheelchair?” I was young then too, so of course I said “yes.” I didn't see the real answer until I had lost some of my naivete about life. The real answer now is, “I don't know. Maybe but probably not.”

     My blog isn't going to focus around SMA, this isn't Wikipedia. For those of you that don't know I was born with a rare genetic disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, that kills muscles over time. It's the largest genetic killer of children under the age of two. I never crawled or walked. I'm on the weaker end of the wide spectrum and everyone who lives with this disease is different. I've lost my smile, the use of my arms, and many other things over the years. Not everything I've lost is so obvious.  SMA isn't who I am but it is a significant part of my life and played one of the leading rolls in making me into the young woman I am.

     A few rights of passage, some dreams, and most of my independence has disappeared over the years. Most people don't know this about me but because of all the physical help I required in school I actually spent my pre-school year in a special education class. I remember hating it. We never learned anything, we would just sing and do arts and crafts. But in retrospect, I do not believe the respect I have for people with mental disabilities would be what it is today without that experience. Being in that class is one of the key pieces to the development of my personality.

     I'm quiet because I'm used to most strangers not having the patience to try and understand me. Once upon a time I was an outgoing little kid who didn't think twice before speaking. Now more often than not I think too much before I talk to strangers. Despite the fact that I'm typically afraid to converse with new people I do regularly say to “hi” strangers passing on the street. “Hi” is a word that can pass through my lips and everyone will understand it. All through middle school there was a small group of people, less than ten, that ever talked to me. During passing periods I waited for someone, anyone, to say “hi” to me and hardly anyone ever did. Years later I realized that I couldn't make a stranger's day by smiling at them but my simple “hello” might suffice. More friendly greetings would have made my middle school years easier but middle sucks for everyone.

     I know for a fact that I wouldn't be as “wise” as people tell me I am if I didn't understand the truth of my disease, if I hadn't watched many friends weaken and eventually perish. I'm 20 but I tend to feel disconnected with many people my age and I don't understand a lot of their actions. My sister says I'm a “grandma” and I am, but I'm trying to be better. I do not always need to analyze the impact a decision is going to have on my life. Sometimes it's better just to jump than to worry about how that same jump is going to matter in five years.

     Alas, I'm not writing this for you to think “Aw, pity Allegra.” If there's anything I detest it's pity. I'm writing this because if heart-break, rejection, loss, and the importance of adapting never made themselves known to me I would not be who I am; I would not have the amazing friends I have, I would not have some of the brighter memories I hold in my heart and cherish during the darker days. We are nothing if we are not the products of our pasts.

Ask yourself this, “Who would you be if [insert various memories here] never happened?”

Friday, March 1, 2013

Like a blogger posting for the very first time...

(For all intents and purposes I actually had/have another blog but it's 90% pictures and I haven't posted in at least a year, ergo it doesn't count) 

     People have been telling me for years that I need to write a book about my life but I don't think anyone would read it. I don't think anyone will read this either but since I am trying to become a successful writer I suppose blogging is a logical step. Anyone that knows me well, knows that apart from my diva antics and cocky attitude I'm hard on myself. I'm hard on my looks, my personality, my level of intelligence, any talent I posses including my writing. I've always thought “If there's 7 billion people in the world somebody has to [insert verb here], better than I can.” But if I ever want to get anywhere in life that's no way to think. Maybe I'll never be one of the best writers of my time, but I'll never be the worst. I've already had some of my work professionally published. So where does my harsh self-critique stem from? Everyone was born with a skill-set, I was born with a skill-set. No one else will ever write the exact way I do. I'm content with never being the best or the worst because that means I have room to grow and encouragement to fall back on. I am me and that's enough. I think that's why I'm ready to start a blog and let the world or just the few people that might end up reading this, see my work. 

     I've never been the type of girl to keep a diary or journal. My diary has always been my brain, nobody could sneak and read that. But this could be like my diary, I'll just keep my x-rated thoughts, insipid daily activities, and other such key things out. After all what is a woman without her secrets? I'm uber (I don't know how to do an umlaut over the “u,” somebody help me)  random so expect to see anything from my thoughts on religion to celebrity gossip to food porn I've created to my thoughts on what it's like to be someone with a disability. Anything really. And if you have something you want me to write about, just tell me please. I'm honestly doing this blog to push myself to write more often and more eloquently. I'm also doing it to show people that I'm not an angel. I'm not just the young lady in a wheelchair. I'm not a cold, stuck up bitch just because it takes me awhile to warm up to people. I'm not anything but me, Allegra Keys. (Oh look, I made an accidental rhyme. Don't you love those?!). I'm also corny, sarcastic, and a whole bunch of other things. If you read enough of my posts you'll see what I mean. Toodle-loo for now!