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Most folks would agree that 2020 left us wanting more peace in our lives--and searching for tools and tricks to deal with the isolation and the anxiety that living in a time of pandemic can bring.
I didn’t mean to die. Not really. Not entirely. I only meant to live. The woods sang their daily song as I trailed a lazy hand over rich, leafy greens. Rough, hallowed logs. Damp, fertile soil. The sun streamed lazily through the canopy above, creating curtains of hazy light along my trodden path.
Code-switching, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is "The action of shifting between two or more languages, or between dialects or registers of a language, within a discourse, especially in response to a change in social context". Growing up, I was always accused of "talking white". Spoiler alert, I am not white. I did, however, attend a somewhat prestigious secondary school and there's a pervasive trend in my country of mocking the accent of students from said school. We were posh, "hoity-toity" (their words, not mine) and we spoke with an accent that gave off an air of superiority.
In late winter 2007, I was a in charge of several human intelligence elements, which were comprised of 3–5 person teams who sallied forth to collect rumors. The practice provides a relatively good idea of the local vibe, motivations, and perhaps even a heads up to potential upcoming threats. One of my buddies who was in charge of ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) was on mid-tour leave, so I shifted my schedule to cover down her shift, which was the night shift. As I was the highest ranking person during that shift, I became the TOC (tactical operations center) commander. This was my first deployment, and I was a shiny new 2LT. Basically - I was Jon Snow and I knew nothing.
My roommate has developed a close personal relationship with the neighborhood crows. First, she started putting out water for them. Then she started feeding them. And now they are starting to communicate with her.
We first found out my dad owned my grandma’s condo when it burned to the ground. A result of poorly fabricated insulation and improper installation, the fire started in the building’s attic and quickly spread downward. My grandma lived on the top floor, and her home was soon engulfed. The flames didn’t abate until the hoses were hooked up, and by that time, they were eating away at the garden level, having wound their way down the concrete of the Brutalist apartment building like orange and yellow vines. Everyone was surprised that a building with so much concrete could burn so quickly.
The year that was 2020 saw many big tournaments postponed, including the European Championships. All eyes often fall upon the Champion League, the biggest tournament in domestic soccer across the Atlantic, but their own major international tournament is not without its own thrills and spills. Indeed, much like the World Cup, an international tournament can often add an extra narrative depending on the countries involved and their political standing at the time.
I’m not talking about full-time professionals with a studio or a wedding photographer. I’m talking about part-timers or stock or nature photographers that do most work in private and isolated from the public. I try to always have business cards on hand, and I’ve covered my office walls with my work, to create a conversation about my photography. But how many casual acquaintances know that photography is a craft and business that I am pursuing?
The seasoned writer doesn't randomly edit; he stays true to his overarching story showing no mercy to each layer of freshly sowed words. Only then he ascends to greatness.
New year’s resolutions can be a tricky thing to stick with, especially since good habits...and bad ones, I suppose, can take about thirty days to develop. With perseverance and grit, continuing that resolution of hitting the gym, eating healthier, or even just spending less time on social medias can become second nature. And each year our society has us conditioned to set up some overarching goal to challenge the best within ourselves. Last year, quarantine left my friends on their own with workout challenges, binge-watching The Outer Banks (no, I haven't seen it yet, John B.), and learning how to fail at becoming Tiktok famous. I watched strangers across the internet pick up new hobbies and recreate themselves in truly unique ways.
2020, the terrible year that it was, came with an ending that I can only describe as a beginning- a new chapter. I've started an intensive therapy schedule, been diagnosed with bipolar (to my not-so-but-kind-of surprise), and started medication. To be honest, I always thought that no matter how messed up I was, I would never end up in therapy. It always seemed rather ridiculous to me to talk to someone about your problems. I felt like I lost, and I felt a little ridiculous myself for deciding to do it. However, it has been done and I've been going for about three or four months now, even though it feels like forever.
“CG.” Her initials are tattooed on the left side of my back and sometimes, inexplicably, the tattoo raises like a welt and I can trace her script with my pointer finger. We got these tattoos two months before we graduated from college—a journey we shared together right from the start. You see, we were randomly paired up as roommates in 2011, our freshman year. Throughout those four years, we were known across campus for our immovable friendship. We were attached at the hip—we sobbed together when things got hard, we drunkenly danced at house parties we weren’t invited to, and we played hilarious pranks on each other that drove the rest of our dorm absolutely crazy. She was my person and the existence of one another had us believing in soulmates.
This past summer I went through a challenging time. I have been dealing with mental health issues for years and thought it might be a good idea to go off all my meds at once.
When thinking about what healthy resolutions we should take, most of us gloss over the most important component to enable a healthy lifestyle: our brain. How many of us have set resolutions for ourselves just to quit halfway through January (if not sooner)?
It was a dog-eat-dog world and I was painfully aware of it as I chugged into the final round of the interview. Just 3 hours ago, in that same interview room over 100 people were jousting, over performing, and fighting tooth and nail for that one vacant programmer position. There were young boys and girls with dreams in their eyes, fires burning high in their bellies, and a ‘go-getter’ attitude fuelled by youth to succeed at any cost. Nobody was speaking to each other. Everybody was competing. Period.
It’s my 25th birthday today and I would love to say a massive thank you to Vocal because of the way it has changed my life over the course of the last couple of years. It’s not because of the clicks, or the money, or even the V+ sign that I have now, though they come into it. It’s because Vocal Media can let you reach a whole range of audiences over the media spectrum. I have had my articles shared by people I don’t know on Facebook groups, I have had some of the people included in my articles such as writers respond to me with thanks, I have gotten great responses from my articles and book reviews stating that it was very insightful and has gone on to persuade others to read the book (the most recent being “Brother Robert” by Annye C. Anderson). So I would not only like to thank Vocal Media, but I would like to celebrate my 25th birthday, on the 25th day alongside my articles of 25 films, books and albums with you - on Vocal Media.
When it comes to Star Wars video games, one that many fans want to see have a resurgence, whether it be in the form of a video game remake or an adaptation for film or television, is 2003's Knights of the Old Republic. Taking place nearly 4,000 years before the films, this game spawned a sequel video game, an MMORPG franchise, a comic series, and some novels. The names of some of the game's characters, especially the Sith, have become staples of Star Wars lore conversations. The game was so well received that some of those who played it express that they want to see some sort of return to it in our modern era, perhaps even a remake that would be considered canon instead of Legends. Some bits of the lore have even made their way into the animated series Star Wars Rebels and the visual dictionary for Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.
“Mommy!” The scream wakes me with a start. The room pitch black, silent. For a moment I think the scream was just my own bad dream, it wouldn’t be the first one. Since Lizzie passed away, I’ve had them on and off, so has Nina, my little niece asleep in the room across the hall. I’ll never get rid of the image of her clinging to her mom in the ER. Demanding her to wake up. Begging the doctors to bring her back. Cooper, stroking her back and pulling her to him. Trying to explain to a four-year-old why that wasn’t possible. I didn’t think I could fall apart any more than I had when we’d been told my baby sister had died from the accident, but every bone in my body gave out watching Ninas world fall away from her so fast. That was a year ago, Cooper and I were all she had now.
As a child, I grew up to be ashamed of my name. Danika, Dan-ick-ah. Boys would follow me on the school yard and yell my name in a way that bastardized it and hurt my ears, formed a chorus in the dark corners of my brain that fostered my self hatred. Dan-eek-a, Dan-eek-wa. It wasn’t hard to make a lonely girl cry when all she wants is to fit in, but in a school filled with names on top ten lists and Hollister shirts, that was never an option a poor girl with a weird name received.
I have grown up listening to Taylor Swift songs. I was 13 years old when I heard ‘Love Story’ for the first time and fell in love with Taylor Swift’s rendition of Romeo and Juliet’s love story.