Every single person has told at least some lies in their relationships, many for seemingly good reasons. Yes, you look thin in those pants. No, I didn't hear about it. No, I would never say that about you. Yes, I completely agree.
In one form or another, whether on a minor level or a more sinister and larger scale, we tend to look for people who have a lot in common with ourselves and avoid those who are different. One manifestation of this tendency is a social group. Often, a social group consists of members who all have common ground—either they have similar likes, dislikes and beliefs, or they have one common goal among themselves. Although these are not negative things in themselves, getting rigidly used to being around people who are similar to yourself runs the risk of not adapting to others. We are in a playground called life. We are bound to come across many different types of people. Most likely than not, we will have to mingle and work with people who are totally different to ourselves, who may well be on the far opposite end of the personality spectrum. For a practical reason, at the very least, we should have an open mind toward other personalities because we have to live and work with them throughout life.
I have to admit, when I moved to Canadian Lakes, this is not want I had in mind. I did not expect to find you, of all people, in this place, but I guess it makes sense. It’s home, and you’re the first person whose felt like home without me having to try to make myself fit in your rooms. So, no, I did not move there looking for love, but I found it all the same.
Two weeks ago, the Carr Fire ripped through my small, Northern California community. It started as a plume of smoke on the horizon Monday morning. Something to talk about at work: “Hey did you see that smoke? Must be a fire out there.” Nothing more. Tuesday and Wednesday passed with the same pencil line of smoke trailing into the sky. Thursday morning we woke up to ash falling from the sky like snow and an eerie orange glow in the air instead of watery sunshine. Overnight, the fire had tripled in size and was burning furiously toward our town. My parents live on the western edge of town, less than a mile from the fire. In a panic and choking on hot smoke, I helped them rake up as much dry debris (dead leaves, pine needles, etc.) as possible and then we doused the house with water. We carried out everything important, like old photos and birth certificates, and piled it in their car and then we drove away with the fire on our heels—not knowing if we’d ever see that house again.
Today, August 16, 2018, we lost the legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin. I am a woman who recently turned 21 in February. I am considered a youth in this year, and I want to be the first to say that we have a problem. We are getting further and further apart from understanding and associating with each other as humans. Technology and smartphones are leading us away from human interaction and having actual conversations. I honestly think that American millennials do get a bad rap overall for being very aloof and socially deviant. But, what generation that comes before another hasn't been considered more and more scandalous? I have had the experience of having a close relationship with my mother, and the older generations including grandparents and elders; for me it is easier to have bonds with older folks then people of my generation. I am usually steeped in music from the 90s, and below. I love history, classic movies, and the grace and regal ages of America. We truly learn how to stand and walk in dignity into a room when we know where we have come from. For some cultures it takes more digging to find the exact roots of our histories, but we all generally have pride in who we are.
One day I’m laying in bed and scrolling social media. I come across a video with a title that suddenly catches my eyes “Lady goes off on bus for boyfriend hitting girlfriend.” I immediately click on the video because I want to know what happened. As I watch the video the lady holding the camera is yelling at a guy for physically abusing his girlfriend on a public city bus. The guy is yelling at his girlfriend to get off the bus because they have called the cops and he doesn’t want to go to jail. The lady behind the camera demands that the girlfriend stays seated and doesn’t go anywhere with her abuser. A few other women on the bus helped and kept her seated by giving her advice that if she leaves she will be hit again and soon. Something that may eventually end in death. The girlfriend stays seated and waits for the cops.
Surround yourself with positivity. I hear this all the time but is this really something we should be practicing? True, this could be meant for not only ideas but people as well but that can still be a slippery slope toward ignorance. I think that everyone should have a nice balance of positive and negative thoughts and social interactions. We can't go living our lives ignorant of all negativity. How would problems be solved? How would we progress as a society?
There is a single question to explore for today: why do Baby Boomers hate Millenials, and why do Millenials hate Baby Boomers? Being a 22 year-old, Vietnamese-American woman from a Vietnam War era family, I am very much a part of the Millennial generation. As a whole, my generation has seen the evolution of technology, and the turbulent spiraling of our political climate. As a young adult, I attended the University of California, San Diego where I earned a degree in Studio Arts. The experience was, for lack of a better word, grueling. My academic struggles were a recurring reality for millions of other college students; on top of crippling student loans, and anxiety that ruined my interpersonal relationships, my mental health suffered. In other words, “the college experience” was a largely challenging, tiring, and demanding one with little to no payoff. There were times where, at best, I would be able to eat two meals a day, go to work and my internship, while also attending four lectures per day. At worst, I would have a weekly grocery budget of $20, little to no leisure time, sleepless nights, and toxic exchanges with family.
During the first decade of my life, when I was living at my parents’ house, there was an old man in our neighborhood. He was from somewhere rural and he was an old man for as long as I’ve known him. He didn’t really have a home. The few things I remember actually belonging to him include a thin walking cane he carried everywhere and the long-tailed khaki coat he wore all the time. Later my mother would give him a hefty Gabi that had once belonged to my father and a silhouette of anything resembling a tall, heavily wrapped human being holding a cane will forever remind me of him.
When I was 18, I met a girl. Let’s call her Bianca. Bianca was a few years younger than me, but we had so many things in common, we struck up a friendship almost instantly. Me, being the loner that I am didn’t have any friends at the time, and hadn’t really maintained any lasting relationships of any kind in the past, so the idea that Bianca actually wanted to be my friend, and enjoyed my company baffled me. She told me stories about her past, and I did the same.