What the ‘ISIS in Southeast Asia’ Tells Us

Just a disclaimer: I only just heard about until today. So I’m pretty late on this.

And I’m such an amateur at this, and I tend to make a lot of assumptions. Please excuse me. I’ll never be perfect.

Philippine marines aboard their vehicles maneuver through a street on their way to an assault on the hide out of Muslim militants near the town center in Marawi, in southern island of Mindanao on May 28, 2017.


Last month CNN released this article:

ISIS in Southeast Asia: Philippines Battles Growing Threat

The Diplomat released this article:

Islamic State in Southeast Asia’s Grey Zones

Not only this, but the latest edition of Time magazine also released an article on this subject.

Not only is this obviously a big threat to people’s physical and mental health, but it also affects the rest of the world, even thousands and thousands of miles away in the U.S. It’s scary, honestly, especially since today what a person or organization wants doesn’t have to stop at ‘how far you can walk’ or ‘how much money you have’. As a race, we have progressed a lot in travel in the last hundred years.

What does this tell us? What does my reaction to this tell me? What does other people’s reactions tell me?What does ISIS tell us about our society today? In my amateur brain, I have a few suggestions.

1.) We have so much. Though I have not been to very many other countries, I see through my eyes that as a world culture we have been giving so much connection to people, to corporations, to streets and medicine. Yes, it may be behind closed doors or across a border, but it’s there. Some of these things did not exist until just a few weeks ago. We have been given so much to know about and learn about, and sadly, so much of this is from billboards, fro TV, from popularity, from the boldest of people. And a lot of times, that is not the best source of non-prejudiced news. This leads to seeing that so much can be gotten through, so much can be defeated and taken advantage of. I think the power to do the things ISIS is doing is not new. ISIS just took advantaged of it.

2.) We are scared. The public is outraged. Families are scared, terrified even. We have not been met by such a large range of terror as ISIS has in a while.

3.) We need to do something. From a first look, it would look like the best thing to do would be to lock everything down. Close borders, lock the doors, turn off the lights, close the curtains. Protect ourselves from the pervading sense of doubt and hate and fear.

When has this worked in the past? And does locking out our fellow human beings really help? Does locking out the enemy really work? Or are we just locking our own enemies inside the confines of our minds, disguising our hate into fear in the image of pointing fingers and frowning mouths.

Vote when possible. Make yourself knowledgeable in the subjects that are important, that you are interested in. Change the way you talk, the words you use. Change is in the small things. The letters, syllables, words, shapes that comprise what is flying around our brains and those of the ones around us right now. Read. Watch. Pay attention to the small things, and question everything. Find what is true, and cling to that like a life depends on it. Eventually, it probably will.


Update: I got bangs!

If you have any idea how hard it is to cut someone else’s hair, try thinking about cutting your own. Seriously.

The first cut is by far the hardest. It doesn’t hurt physically, but emotionally it’s like being an octopus and cutting your tentacle off. Except that that’s physically painful for an octopus. Man, I’m so bad at similes today…

Anyway, it makes you want to fake-cry and then look in the mirror, remember you’re in charge of your own body, be motivated, and continue snipping. And the snipping part is fun. There was one point where I stopped and looked at my hair and was like,” OHMIGOSHWHATHAVEIDONEIHATETHIS.” And with bangs, hating it is not a good thing, ’cause you’re gonna have those suckers for a WHILE. Anyway, I continued on and by the end my sister and I were laughing our heads off and making jokes about just randomly snipping off each others hair for the fun of it. I am SO glad we didn’t do that.

So far, I really like bangs. I like how they curl, and how with a little water in the morning mine naturally curve in just the right spot and lie down on my forehead pretty well with hardly any prep necessary. And here they are:


This  post may seem a little teenage-girl-ish, but I really don’t care right now. What I will care about in the future, however, is growing them out. I am not looking forward to that.


As I write this, it is raining outside. I can hear drops pitter-pattering on the tilted roof above me. I don’t think I love any feeling or sound than that of rain. It is completely consuming internally, and yet at the same time it’s like being opened up to the rest of the world. In Pema Chödrön’s book ‘How to Meditate’ she explains a type of meditating that reunites you with the world, as an appendage of sorts, with thoughts flitting in and out of your head. In a way, rain has a bit of that quality. It flits in, it passes, but in a  way it is, and will forever be, a part of the world as the beautiful creature I know it to be, and a way I think about the world and myself.

I have recently been reading Lauren Winner’s book ‘Wearing God’. In each chapter she compares God to an earthly element, something we can physically feel. Whithout even thinking about it, I have been comparing everything to God as I go through the day.

In this way, I have begun to see how ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL the manifestation of everything I find beautiful in the creator I love has been physically embodied in different physical aspects of this world.

One raindrop falls on the windowsill and begins to roll off, navigating itself through the rivets in the brick it’s on, dividing itself and moving in a thousand different directions at once and in that moment I see how much our choices are like that raindrop on the sill, poised to go a thousand different directions at once.

And the rain seems to speak to me in hushed whispers and loud, rolling tears falling from the sky, telling me to make a choice. Where will I go? What will I do? How will I fall? And where? All of a sudden, falling into oblivion doesn’t seem so bad after all. At the bottom of oblivion, there will be something, or someone to catch me.

And maybe that’s where the story begins.

Cracks Through the Wall

Two days ago, this article hit the Huffpost headlines:

Outside a Clinic In Charlotte, 600 Protestors Claim Abortion Is ‘A Man’s Issue’

Not only is this a little frightening because of the sheer enormity of the crowd of pretestors, but also because of the reason they are standing there. They are standing there because they mean to frighten, to disturb, to inform people of half the story so as to prevent women from having abortions. Parts of the reason why they were protesting, I found I agreed with. Abortion is a men’s issue. It is a man’s right and duty to support and help any woman who is having or thinking of having an abortion. But it is not their choice as to whether or not women should or should not have an abortion.

Justin Reeder, the man who founded the group that organized the protest, said in an interview, “Men are called to be providers and protectors of women and children.”

Yes. They are. I completely agree. But not in the way you seem to be referring to.

“We are calling for fathers to be fathers and take responsibility. If men were taking responsibility and standing with mothers then the majority of women would not feel like abortion is their only option.”

Again, yes. And it really never is a woman’s only option.

But is protesting against a woman’s right to do what she chooses with her body really representing this responsibility realistically?

It seemed to be meant as a prayer, but instead it looked a lot like a battle field. It was said to be meant to show that men were a safe haven, but what frightened pregnant woman would have been welcomed into that crowd of angry people, mainly white men?

The statistics tell us that 1 in 3 women has an abortion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for abortion. But I’m all for the choice. The choice it what recognizes that every woman has their own autonomy and has the power to do what they choose with the body they have been given.

A huge part of me it so saddened and terrified that this happened, that so many men in one city had stood up for their thought process that disabled women from feeling safe at the clinic that day.

But another part of me is so glad that we have a country that has laws enabling free speech. That no matter what someone believes, they can voice their opinions freely and lend their voice to the conversation.

In this was, maybe the march helped the conversation. Through this, people can maybe explore what they believe in, leading to a chain reaction of people giving their voice and spreading the word, leading to more conversation and learning and searching and finding. And that’s is what the world needs. Maybe we all need to see a little bit more of the world through the cracks in the wall.


Makeup and its Various Reasons for Existing

So recently, I was having a really messed-up day. As happens on really messed-up days, I tried various ways to make myself feel better. None of them really worked, and as I continued to hole myself up in my own world, I could feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into the sadness I felt. I went into the bathroom for whatever reason, and on the way out I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My eyes were just a tad swollen, and red stripes, like stretch marks, spread from the outer edges of my iris. I breathed in deep. Without even thinking about it, I reached into the drawer beneath my elbows and pulled out a small bottle of liquid eyeliner. I started applying it, lightly at first, but then darker and darker. There was a strange satisfaction I felt as the more layers I added, the bolder my eye looked. I added a bright red lipstick. Now, instead of the weak, squirming child I felt I had been before, I now felt grown-up, bold, completely self-sufficient. I felt confident. And I headed out to volunteer at the library, my usual place of comfort on weekday afternoons. I didn’t feel there was anything wrong with my wearing makeup, but later my mom leaned against my doorway and told me that maybe it would be better to not go ‘all the way’ with makeup, maybe make it a little more toned-down, a little more subdued. Being the indignant feminist that I am, I quickly pointed out that it was my choice whether or not I wore makeup, and how dark that makeup was. She said that makeup should be used to accent different parts of someone’s face, not to show off or draw attention to one’s self. You should draw attention to one’s self by what you do.

The truth is that I kinda was trying to draw attention to myself. But not as much from other people as from myself, I told her later in a tearful response. I wasn’t appreciating or loving the parts of myself that I love the most. I wasn’t loving the person I was at the heart of me. And since I couldn’t really accent these parts in a visual way, I accented my face in a very visual way. It was my way of standing up to myself and telling self that it was not okay to hate myself. I spoke back to myself with color, with confidence. And it did help that other people seemed to look at me with a little more respect than usual. And in my mind, that’s okay.

So for me, makeup exists for fun. For experimentation. For help, and cheering up, and transformation and being noticed for the person I want to be. They are a tool, and an interest. A relationship with myself and with color.

What are your experiences with makeup? Do you ever feel like you are treated differently based on what you’re wearing on your face? What is your relationship with makeup? Do you think that how you dress yourself on the outside indicates or changes who you are on the inside?

What Nature Means to Me


What does nature mean to me? More importantly, what is nature? According to Merriam-Webster, respectively, it is

  1. 1.
    the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations.
    “the breathtaking beauty of nature”
    synonyms: the natural world, Mother Nature, Mother Earth, the environment; More

  2. 2.
    the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.
    “helping them to realize the nature of their problems”
    synonyms: essence, inherent/basic/essential qualities, inherent/basic/essential features,

So really? It’s just what something is. It’s simply. What. Something. Is.

SO CONFUSING, am I right?     But not, somehow…

But to me, the synonym that got me the most was essence. An essence, for me, cannot be wholly bad or good. It is the root of all that is that certain thing. Or at least a part of the root. Mmmmm….I guess it really depends on the sentence.

This morning, for example, after I rubbed the dark circles from under (and inside? :/)my eyes, I looked outside. It was just a little misty, but not in an uncomfortable way. It was cool, but not cold. I opened the door and immediately. I. Just. Stopped.

Closed my eyes. Took a breather, and tried to make sense of what I was feeling. It felt as if I had been infused with the…..essence, I guess? Of something bigger. Bigger than myself, and my little wake-up world, which consisted of a 200-foot radius around me and the things within that radius. It was so empowering though. It almost made my feelings and fears and anxiousness about ‘whatever’ seem so small and insignificant.

But what about you? Have you ever felt this? And if so, what words do you think describe it best? As for me, I think I will continue to try to be ‘infused’ every day with this feeling. Maybe just start the day out with that. I think it would be really helpful just to keep that mindset in my head for the rest of the day, and realize that I am enough, in my small, but not so insignificant way, and that there is a whole world to explore, that I’m only as stuck as I believe myself to be. If I’m stuck in an imaginary jail cell, why not just change my perspective and break out?


Is this really a big jump though?

So I’m doing this! I’m actually writing a blog post! This is awesome!

It’s actually more relieving that I thought it would be. At the same time, it’s also a little terrifying because, well……PEOPLE MIGHT SEE THIS???

Well, maybe no one will ever see this, and that’s okay too, but if people do see this I know that my writing personality and style will be critiqued and judged with every word I send out into the great world wide web by everyone who sees this.

Honestly, it’s a littel scary. Less so than being in front of people, but still. I have this glowing computing THING in front of me, separating me from the rest of the internet world and yet I’m still a little frightened. Honestly.

Okay. We’re doing this. Right……NOW! Click BOOM!

I’m on the internet now. There’s no turning back now.