Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life with a Lob

I caved and got a lob (long bob). After this record-breaking long winter, I definitely needed a change. And I must say, I'm really loving it. It's a weight off my shoulders and it's easy to style now.

(Photo from Unsplash)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Musings on Love

There are many forms of love, some uncontrollably passionate and wild, some conservative and restrained, yet all are from the same sturdy foundation. They all, whether life-long or fleeting, evoke that same feeling; whether it be a look, a touch, a call, or a distant memory in a black-and-white photo, the middle of your face tingles, moistening your eyes, you feel your heart and its heavy weight in your chest, and, like air filling your lungs, it fills your core, your soul.

In its universality love touches everyone and its effect on a person has the potential to be life-changing. As a baby we are born into this world and eventually come to learn love through others. Perhaps you first feel love from your parents, or another family member. Maybe you even come to learn about love from a non-biological person. You finally realize the meaning behind the phrase, "I love you." At some point, you learn love as a child. It's associated with a caring look and a genuine compassion felt from someone. After that, you realize it's your turn to start reciprocating, and out of your birth comes the birth of love in you.

However, no life is perfect, and not all childhoods are positive. I'm lucky enough that my childhood was generally good. No divorce. No abuse. No poverty. No tragedy. For those who have experienced a troubled childhood, I hope you find genuine love at some point in life, so you can be your truest, happiest self.

Learned familial-type love expresses comfort and caring, and it's a treasure I seek to return to in order to feel whole again. As I get older I realize the concept of love spreads beyond just family and friends, to the global population. I can love anyone. And it feels pretty good.

(Photo by Julia Keim)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Long Hair, Don't Care

This is what my hair looks like right now. Same color and everything. I know I need to get a haircut soon, but I like having long hair. Plus it's cool to put in a side braid. Forget all the trending bobs and lobs! Who's with me? (Check out Taylor Patterson's locks. Rockin' it!)

(Illustration by Renata Latipova)

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Mentality of an Abuser

So what's the mentality of an abuser? Lundy Bancroft is an expert on this topic. He has worked to heal abusive men for 15 years. He knows what makes them tick and wrote about it in his book, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men. Bancroft tells their story from his perspective and also includes quotes from abusers themselves. I totally recommend it for other survivors of domestic abuse, if you're curious. (Bancroft refers to abusers in his book as men, as most abusers are male, but they can be either gender.)

A few things I learned from the book:

"An abuser's core problem is that he has a distorted sense of right and wrong" (p. 35). "Their value system is unhealthy, not their psychology" (38). Beliefs, values, and habits are the driving forces of abusive or controlling behavior (48).

Is an abuser born or made? Bancroft says it's the latter. "Abuse springs from a man's early cultural training, his key male role models, and his peer influences" (75). So, for instance, if you're a male and your male family members are abusive, there's a good chance you'll be abusive too. Society plays a role as well: "Abusive behavior is reinforced by multiple social messages, some of which are specific to the abuse of women and some of which reflect the overall culture of oppression" (333).

One of the most enlightening things I've learned about abusers, though, is that their abusive behavior extends to everyone in their lives. They may not show much of it to a stranger, but are most abusive to those closest to them, particularly their partners who they view as "theirs."

(Illustration by Helena Perez García)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Grammar Schooled: Verbs

Let's school some verbs. The Grammar and Style course's lectures for week three covered main types of verbs and their subtypes and aspects. Some verb types are pretty confusing to decipher because they are so similar, including the gerund and present participle, and phrasal verbs and verbal phrases. It would be great to go through what these types are, along with some info on the secretive passive voice.

Present participles and gerunds are verbs ending in -ing. However, a gerund always functions as a noun. (I thought all words ending in -ing were gerunds, so it's nice to know the difference.) For example, "swimming" in "Swimming can be good" is a gerund, and "riding" in "I am riding north" is a present participle. As you can see, a present participle contains a helping verb; in the example, the helping verb is "am."

The terms "phrasal verbs" and "verbal phrases" are so similar I thought it important to distinguish the difference. Phrasal verbs consist of a main (finite) verb and a preposition or adverb integral to the meaning of the verb. Phrasal verbs include "climb up," "turn on," "add up," "back up," back down," "call in," among others. A verbal phrase is trickier to distinguish because it contains a non-finite verb and the words modifying it. So you'll need to know what non-finite verbs are (present and past participles, gerund, and infinitive). Here's an example of a verbal phrase: "When examined carefully, the substance did not seem harmful." "Examined" is the past participle, and "carefully" is the adverb modifying the verb.

Whew, that was tricky. Now onto the passive voice, which is when a subject is acted upon in a sentence. Teachers taught me to avoid the passive voice when writing, which in general is correct, as it's better to stick to the active voice. Yet, there is a type of passive voice, called the impersonal passive, that is acceptable when used intentionally in certain circumstances, particularly in business/work settings. Examples include, "It was decided...," and "It was agreed...," which soften the tone of the message.

(Photo of some hard-core grammar school prefects from OP Club Webmaster)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

El Haikus


her skin is bronzed
a ballet bun molds her hair
she's au naturel

but is sans one thing—
him—in her life, seeing her
believing in her

a ballerina
he doesn't want to dance with
she still pulls his strings

her walnut eyes gaze
validity into his.
rejection stings her

like a hangover
the only true cure is time
which passes so slow

(Image from DTTSP)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Spec-tacular


Harvard Square Eye Care in Boston is a small hip shop with a diverse selection of frames. After perusing the city for eyeglasses with no luck, I decided to try this place. I turned off of the busy square onto a quaint side street, and a ways down, there it was. A female clerk was super helpful and friendly, and I managed to find the perfect professional-looking metal pair.

Two years later, I am kinda feeling all the cool larger frames out there (à la Frannerd :). What do you think, dear reader? Do you own two pairs, one formal, the other more casual?

(Photo by Pete Prodoehl)