facts ≠ opinions

Hey guys! Sorry I’ve been off so long. I went on a cruise, I finished up my summer homework, actual school started… fun, exciting, time-consuming stuff like that. I can’t guarantee routine posting, but I will make an effort to give y’all something here and there.

As for today, well, it’s a bit of a political rant (and unfiltered too!). But do hear me out. I’d say this is really quite high on the importance scale.

Last Sunday on Meet the Press, Ben Carson essentially stated that a Muslim president would be incompatible with the Constitution. Upon hearing that, I ran to find my copy of the Constitution and searched through it until I stumbled across Article Six:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

So Carson’s logic is void. The only thing incompatible with the Constitution is his belief that practice of Islam equates to legal illegitimacy as president. What more is there to say? Carson is wrong, and the support for that argument lies in the Constitution itself. Fact-check that.

You know what? If you don’t think Candidate X should be POTUS on the grounds of his or her religion, that’s 100% okay. You’ll find that there are people who disagree with you, but newsflash! It’s your own opinion, and you’re entitled to it. You’re also entitled to publicly expressing it in a manner that does not harm others, and the Constitution is to thank. Any repercussions of doing so, however, will be your responsibility. Expect much backlash.

Saying that Candidate X shouldn’t be POTUS due to their faith because that’s against the Constitution is another story. What once was in the realm of opinion has been brought into the land of fact. Opinions are wishy-washy and subject to change. Facts, however, are absolute. There is no right or wrong to an opinion. Only from a particular paradigm or a specific viewpoint, one can decipher the balance between good and bad. Facts? There’s a right, and there’s also a very, very wrong.

Please do consider the above. And don’t hastily, wholeheartedly accept everything that’s thrown your way. Analyze things for yourself. Research. Be a critical thinker. Heck, critically think about this very blogpost!

I guess I’m a little salty after a conversation with a certain person who got mad at me for “being too politically correct” and denying “the fact that America is founded on Christianity”. (When I disagreed with the latter argument, said person shot back at me with a “so you think it’s founded on Islam?!!”. Ha.) I personally think that being politically correct and correcting legal misinformation are two separate things.

Overall, what an ironic situation.

Love you all. See you soon.

✪ Angie

choices – he said she said – a bushism (pt. i)

why choose cruel words when you can choose kind ones
why sing crude songs when you can sing bright ones
why see red scars when you can see red hearts
why breed hatred when you can breathe love far

– o – o – o –

bang! bang! said the gun
gun! kill! said the girl
kill! not! said the black
black! lie! said the court
court! adjourned! said the man
man! down! said the world
girl dead. black dead. world dead. who lives?

– o – o – o –

we must run for prosperity
reach for the happiness of our nation
patriotism soars into hardworking
fighting for virtue
values and a return to justice and equality

The first two are from way back in May. The third one was inspired by George W. Bush. Aha. 

✪ Angie

movies: the adjustment bureau, unbroken, interstellar

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

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overview: “The Adjustment Bureau” is based off writer Philip Dick’s Adjustment Team. It follows Brooklyn Congressman David Norris as he attempts to be with the woman of his dreams, who is destined never to be with him. Yes, the above premise is very romance-y, but the actual movie deals quite heavily with science fiction elements. I’d spoil it for y’all if I actually said what was up, though.

characters: Matt Damon stars as the determined David Norris with Emily Blunt as the down-to-earth Elise Sellas. They are likeable characters for the most part, although their makeout scenes are unnecessarily extensive.

plot: Very thought-provoking. Props to Dick for thinking up something of this grandeur. At times, the movie’s philosophies edged towards a “pretentious” aura, but overall, it is quite a dazzling plot.

With decent characters and an intriguing setting, I give “The Adjustment Bureau” a score of 7.5 out of 10. Go watch it if you have the time.

. | . | . | .

Unbroken (2014)

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overview: “Unbroken” is based off Laura Hillenbrand’s same-named biography of WWII veteran and Olympic track athlete Louis Zamperini, who struggles through a delinquent childhood, war, and two(?) years in brutal Japanese POW camps.

characters: Well, Louis Zamperini is an awesome guy in real life, and Jack O’Connell plays him well in the film. I’m not the biggest fan of the Bird’s portrayal in the movie; he seems a bit too effeminate and not as psychopathic on screen compared to the monster I first read of on page.

plot: I mean, this is the life of a real man. The plot is harrowing, painful, but kept my attention throughout. I suppose it made more sense to me, as I had read the book, but I could see how some may have thought that it was disjointed or confusing.

I rate “Unbroken” a 7 out of 10. (The end credits song falls at a 9 out of 10, though.) Read the book first.

. | . | . | .

Interstellar (2014)

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overview: Earth faces impending doom, a group of scientists must find a solution to save its inhabitants.

characters: The star-studded cast boasts depth in their acting, and I loved almost all of the characters in the movie. It is this same love that effectively broke my heart in certain areas of the film, which brings me to my next point…

plot: Christopher Nolan is a gem. My heart was shattered into a million little pieces (as you may have seen from my crude self-portrait above). The science fiction is intriguing, the humor is on point, the storyline is just. Augh. It’s just. Yeah.

What am I even supposed to say here? Go watch “Interstellar”. 10/10.

I recently had a crazy marathon of all the movies I was itching to watch, so I thought it might be appropriate to share my opinion on said movies. I have, like, 8 more movies to write about, but I’ll start with three per post. Have a fab day!

✪ Angie

a perception of outer beauty

I am a firm believer that inner beauty trumps outer beauty in so many respects- importance, endurance, genuine desirability. That’s not to say that outward appearances don’t matter. Sometimes, they matter too much, and that’s where my problem lies.

While I stress personality over physicality, the presence of my self-consciousness acts as a constant reminder that my ideals don’t equate to my reality. I know I shouldn’t think too much about my outer appearance, but the truth is I do. I’m vain. I have poor body image. I think my face resembles that of a troll’s. And that’s just the start of it.

Occasionally, I will find myself looking at old pictures, [un-creepily] longing for the body I once had. When someone grows up, their metabolism is obviously going to slow down. They’re going to get bigger, and that’s the inevitable nature of time. The thing is, I used to be really skinny compared to the other kids my age. Now, I’m the opposite.

It’s this constant comparison to others that works as the bulk of my insecurity. It’s the stark contrast between the European standard of beauty and the face I see in the mirror. Some people have cute, snub noses; mine looks like cartoon male genitalia. I have sparse, untamed eyebrows. Thick, dimpled thighs. Unflatteringly flat feet. A Lego brick face.

I could go on and on. I could critique every spot of my physical being, because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few years. I’ve resigned myself into thinking that my personality will someday cancel out my appearance and deem me “attractive”. Perhaps this habit of mine blinds me. Perhaps this habit of mine is the reason I am always genuinely, truly shocked whenever anyone compliments my appearance.

About a week ago, a girl I ate lunch with told me I had a “nice nose”. My nose? The one that’s shaped like a ding-dong some immature preteen doodled on a school desk? How could such a grotesque, misshapen thing deserve the word “nice”? She went on to compliment my clothing, calling it a comfortable yet stylish look. Yeah, right. My hoodie and awkwardly cropped leggings screamed “lazy”, not “fashionable”.  But that wasn’t all. She thought my hair was pretty and that I ought to keep it down more. Needless to say, I was utterly overwhelmed, but very, very flattered.

Similar events have also occurred on social media, where my physical appearance was given a positive connotation. In all these situations, I could only wonder: were these people seeing a different Angie than Angie herself was seeing? And to answer said question, yes.

I am no model. By society’s standards, I am not attractive. But maybe I’m not as repulsive as I make myself out to be. My perception of my outward beauty has been twisted by my own self-loathing and marred by my ceaseless comparison of myself and others. As much as I like being right, I was forced to admit that my perceptions were not.

If there’s anything anyone can take away from my disjointed rambling, it’s this: you are more attractive than you make yourself to be, and I mean that on a purely outward level. Go outside and rock those short shorts you’ve hidden in the back of your closet. Declare yourself “fabulous”. You’ll have days in which you feel like a rotten sausage, but someone out there will think otherwise. I don’t mean to base self-esteem on others’ opinions. I’m just putting it out there. Don’t condemn your appearance so much. You look positively smashing. I guarantee it.

What can I say here? Have a great day, guys. *throws confetti

✪ Angie

(in)digestion – the silence – the monochrome painter

my innards are a warzone
of acid army weaponry.
“charge!” cries the stomach,
readying its knives.
“goddamn” says the brain,
“stop eating so much pizza.”

º º º

so i did something i hadn’t done in a long time:
i sat alone in the silence
and at first there was something missing
but then i heard the sound of my heart beat
and it reassured me

º º º

she works in monochrome
fingers dipping paint-pots of midnight and blinding sun
smearing her stories in spectrumless shades
but a life is never two-colored, is it?

(there is no black smile. no white frown. only grey lines- winding, winding themselves into complexities she cannot unravel)

The first of many “creativity dumps”. Often on the borderline of poetry and prose- they come spontaneously. I’ll format them in dumps like this: several at a time, usually unrelated. Hope you like + tell me which one was your favorite.

✪ Angie

my brother, the murderer.

When I found out my brother was a murderer, I don’t quite remember what I did. Maybe I poured myself a mug of coffee. A pack of creamer, two sugars. So hot it singed the tip of my tongue. Probably shocked my coworker half to death, too, as he waited for me to cry or freak or faint, then realized I would do none of those. Just drank my coffee, as I did every morning. Didn’t even say a word.

The others in my office had one of two reactions. Either they avoided me like I was some ebola-infested rapist (I appreciated the space, to be frank) or they doused me with words of comfort and encouragement. That I’d “get over this”. That I, unlike Kennedy Briant whose angriest pictures plastered TV screens and online news sites, was a good person (which I was not).

I informed my boss that I was going take the rest of the day off. He seemed relieved, almost. A “normal” person would have done the same- gone home, cried for a long time, wondered why someone of their own flesh and blood would commit such an atrocity. I just needed to get away from the incessant office pity.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I felt some semblance of sympathy towards the students, those who had to experience such a traumatic event. Towards the families of the fourteen lost. A highschool shook to pieces on a sunny day, prom preparation replaced with bullets inside fellow classmates. They would never be the same again, that much was obvious.

Online, rumors circulated. Kennedy Briant had ties with the KGB? Outlandish. School shooter bullied as middle-schooler. Arguably true. Then, Former neighbor claims Briant “always seemed a bit psychopathic”. The interview was followed by a smiling shot of the freckled girl who used to play with us as children. Did the glare of the camera lens equate ‘psychopathic’ to ‘shy’? Was she still bitter about the one time we abandoned her mid-game of hide-and-seek?

Funny how things worked like that. People that seemed friendly could be the same people who slit your throat at night. People that were supposed to protect you ended up being the people you tried so hard to escape. Yes, it was caught on the cameras in the hallway, caught in the frozen eyes of the school- but, maybe. Maybe it wasn’t Kennedy’s fault. Maybe he had only seemed like the perpetrator. Maybe he was the real victim.

My Internet perusing was interrupted by strong knocking upon the front door. A gang of federal officials had arrived at my house, where they interrogated me, then, finding no evidence of my involvement, offered me legal protection. I declined. They told me that they had already interviewed my parents, and that Mom and Dad were hiding inside a state safehouse, surprised by the situation but “doing alright”. I laughed at this.

“You seem unfazed by this horror of an act,” one of the men told me, displeased by the lightness of my laughter. The hidden accusation did not lay unnoticed.

“I do not consider this a surprising development,” I replied.

He blinked, twice, then whispered something to one of his assistants. The assistant, a gawky intern with large specs and belligerent hair almost as tumbled as a certain other’s had been, eyed me cautiously and scribbled down a note.

“My heart goes out to all the victims,” I suddenly found myself saying, eyelashes fluttering away tears that had magically sprung up in my eyes. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”

The assistant paused, pen stuck mid-letter. He appeared almost compassionate behind those dusty lens. I managed a sniffle. Then, despite my innocence, a sense of victory washed over me.

“But Kennedy was always an odd one, you know?” I continued. “Liked to hurt animals and such. Never quite understood him.”

The elder officer looked a bit more relieved, the way my boss had earlier in the day. I wiped my face. Gave him a sad smile.

The officers left, reminding me one last time that I was always welcome to their protection if I ever needed it. Then they slid down the driveway in their long, black cars, tinted windows hiding them from the world outside. Maybe they would be back. Maybe they wouldn’t.

I felt a little sick in my stomach, a little shaky from my manipulative words. It’s not that I feared the truth. It was only that no one would understand it. To me, amidst the bloodsplattered hallways and brokenhearted parents and cries of political figures taking advantage of the situation, there was no surprise. Nor was there any confusion.

I boiled up a fresh pot of coffee, drank another mug of it. A pack of creamer, two sugars. Scalded the tip of my newly-healing tongue, but I barely felt anything. I sat down, thought of my parents hidden away in the safehouse and of the games of hide-and-seek that I used to play with Kennedy. He was such a bright boy. Used to be so happy, too.

I finished my coffee, soaked the mug in the sink, a final plea for my restless mind. Kennedy’s final plea to right a wrong had crumbled into a deplorable attempt of justice. I supposed I was just as deplorable- patching plastic pieces into a stony affect, fleeing from a childhood of deceit, not giving a thought to the brother running beside me, behind me- the brother now gone. Only caring if my sneakers were sturdy enough. If my feet could carry me far enough. Kennedy was a fighter. I, on the other hand, had fled.

Then, there it was. A rush of pale bitterness in my head, a buzz in my eyelids. Caffeine flooded through my veins, and I felt nothing again. Not even guilt for my guiltlessness. The same empty feeling I had ever since I was sixteen, when Kennedy’s room started to smell heavily of air freshener, when he became infatuated with those long-sleeve shirts that hung around his fingertips. I laid down on the couch, wondered why my brother had to go out like this. They said he left by his own accord, right after he stole the light from fourteen others. I thought of a safehouse and said nothing.

I wrote this on a whim a month(?) ago and have decided to post it. Hope it makes you think- I’d love to hear your interpretation of the story in the comments section below! (Also, constructive criticism. That stuff is helpful.) The art does not belong to me.

✪ Angie

coincidence? or perhaps not.

Last Tuesday (aka Gon’s birthday, for you Hunter x Hunter fans out there), I lost my phone. *cue the sympathetic gasps

Now, I don’t have a fabulous iPhone or the newest Galaxy, so the situation wasn’t financially jarring. I did, however, use my crappy little kinda-smartphone for a multitude of irreplaceable functions: daily alarm(s), GroupMe’s, Candy Crush Soda Saga… the list endures, much to my embarrassment. I am loathe to admit that my life is dependent on a metal chunk of sweatshop labor, but to tell you the truth- it kinda is.

Approximately twenty minutes after discovering my loss, I was scheduled to volunteer at a senior home, where I play piano every month (or week, during the summer, at least). Normally, I keep track of the time using my phone; now, I had to do so using a watch I snagged from my brother. It’s not as if volunteering wasn’t enjoyable; I just wasn’t too keen on staying longer than I had to. I mean, it was AP week, okay? I had to get home as soon as possible and procrastinate on my APUSH like I had originally planned to.

On the car ride to the senior home, I fretted over the whereabouts of my phone, then came to the cruel conclusion that it had slipped out of my pocket and fallen out onto the school parking lot where my mother had picked me up from badminton earlier. I could picture the poor thing in my head: crushed under the wheels of some unsuspecting vehicle, sad and lonely and upset without my constant “Name the Food” Quiz-Up matches. Perhaps it missed me just as much as I missed it.

My mother prompted me to search in the bowels of the car, to which I responded that I already had. The truth was, I had searched everywhere. In my backpack, in the car, in the nooks and crannies and ratholes of my entire house (okay, not that far). Discouraged, I slumped in the shotgun seat, piano book in my lap, and listened to my mother go off on a tangent about the importance of prayer. (Helpful background information: I’m a Christian.)

My mom was recounting an experience an older woman had told her. The lady had been babysitting when she lost an heirloom that belonged to the child’s family. It was a silver spoon, which happens to be the title of a really good anime/manga, and the woman was quite troubled by the loss. In her distress, she prayed to God, and then, by some miraculous measure, she suddenly rediscovered the silver spoon. All was good.

When my mother finished telling me the story, she informed me that she would pray for my lost phone. I said “okay”- she could do whatever she wanted, successful or not. Then, for whatever reason, I looked to my side, straight into the crevice between my seat and the center car thingy, and there was my phone. Less than five seconds after, I had found what I had lost.

The timing was spectacular. Call it a coincidence or whatever word you wish; I just think it’s a funny predicament. My phone lays by my side as I write this blog post. I have learned to watch it more closely, and I do not intend to lose it again. I have also learned to pray whenever I lose my belongings. And maybe more than that. It doesn’t hurt, does it?

Note: Yes, I did look in the car. Yes, I actually looked in the same exact spot I ended up finding my phone- clearly, though, I didn’t look hard enough.

Matthew 7:7: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

✪ Angie

food for thought.

It really saddens me when children have eating disorders. Early elementary school kids who should be worrying about baseball games or popsicles or maybe even nothing at all are instead worrying about the way their bodies look and the way others perceive them. (The 6-year-old girl who keeps a list of “diet foods”. The 8-year-old boy who skips his lunch.)

Words may just seem like letters put together in some abstract fashion- sounds or sights are fleeting and therefore impermanent, but I’d like to tell you that that’s wrong. Words stick to you like leeches, and they stick to children in just the same way. (I am no saint; I have hurt and have been hurt by these same words, but I can at least tell you this much, this much is the truth.)

Society seems kind of impersonal, so I won’t call it that. People, rather, people are the ones who sow these seeds. Anger and doubt and self-hatred grow faster than you would think, and one “harmless” comment is hard to erase when it’s buried so deeply. (Humor is no longer humorous when your self-worth becomes the joke. Children are towers yet to be built, and it’s unfair if their foundations are made of flat lies and your own insecurity.)

But that’s life, isn’t? Unfair, isn’t it? Children, exposed to Photoshopped bodies on magazines that scream out ‘this is your reality’children, exposed to bathrooms hiding weight loss pills and razors slick with the blood that ‘you are not enough’children. (How can you call it a childhood when jumpropes are replaced with tightropes, when the song of the icecream truck in summer is replaced with the shrieking reminder of what you should and should not eat?)

I don’t bash healthiness. I bash the senseless slurs, a thoughtless sneer.

“It’s just a word.”

And so? ‘Life’ is “just” a word. ‘Death’ is “just” a word. Words make a difference. Please, be the difference. Be the change this world so desperately needs.

(Children, you are enough.)