Equality and the Power of Words

FullSizeRender

Friday June 26, 2015

images

Okay, to open up this website and see a rainbow? To go on Snapchat and see all the happy stories that people have sent? To go on Google and see that they had a link to a YouTube video celebrating marriage equality? I honestly started tearing up. Today is a very happy day. Marriage Equality has finally been attained in the United States of America.

I remember when my mom first told me what being gay meant. She talked about it as if it was a subject not meant for younger ears, something to be whispered about. My mom carefully explained to me how it was possible for a girl to fall in love with a girl or a guy to be attracted to a guy. She told me that it was something that a person was born with and that nothing was wrong with being gay. Yet, even though I fully believed that there was nothing wrong with it, I somehow felt like “gay” was something to be whispered about. I wasn’t comfortable with the topic.

l-45301

My books changed that. Thanks to all the courageous, strong authors who were willing to have diverse characters, I learned that “gay” isn’t something to be whispered about. It shouldn’t be an adult topic. It’s a fact of life, as easy to explain as a heterosexual relationship is. The fact that some people won’t accept LGBTQ people as normal, regular people who deserve love as much as anyone else is what is shameful and wrong.

One essential author that helped open my eyes was Cassandra Clare. Not only can she invent an amazing plot, but she uses a diverse range of characters to act it out. Magnus, a bisexual warlock, is probably (it’s hard to choose, okay?) my favorite character of hers. The contrast of his sexual confidence to his boyfriend’s cautiousness and the trials they both face to be together allow the reader to better understand them and others in their situation. I certainly learned to empathize with them.

Another author that goes by the name Rick Riordan (yes, we’re back to this guy) wrote a children’s book with a gay character. Riordan is a prime example of how being gay can be explained and talked about with children. He too helped to change my views. I saw that being gay is a safe topic for children. It can be explained in simple terms and kids will understand it, no problem. Some kids are gay. In fact, a lot of kids probably already know exactly what being gay means. Just because a topic is not discussed doesn’t mean it isn’t real. When someone grows up they don’t suddenly turn gay. Children need to be exposed to topics such as this one. By providing good examples and education, you develop a more understanding confident child. Riordan helped point this out to me.

large

An author’s goal is to create characters that their readers will empathize with, to create relatable people. If a reader is able to form a connection with a character, it makes the other experiences and feelings that the character has more believable. This is what makes literature so powerful. The human ability to connect with others and empathize through a medium as simple as words is quite amazing. Words such as Cassandra Clare’s and many others have helped us get to where we are today- attaining equality. Words will continue to affect us in the future, making an impact in our everyday lives. I have faith that we can continue to use the power of the word to change our world for the better. Today is proof of how far words can get us.

Brave Authors

Books I recommend with all my heart. These authors are worth checking out.

  • Cassandra Clare

tumblr_nk328svtmQ1r3oy4vo2_500

  • Rick Riordan

house-of-hades-us-cover

  • David Levithan

23231

  • Malinda Lo

Unknown-2

  • Becky Albertalli

  

  • Sarah Tregay

  

Smackacks and the Dream Circus

I’M FREE FROM SCHOOL except for the fact that I have summer school. Woo! As I mentioned before in my Oh! The places you’ll go… post, I  was going to see my cousins. Well, THAT TIME CAME. I am now safely back home attending boring summer school. Before I went, my cousins and I were texting each other all week about how excited we were for the trip. “I can’t wait till you guys get here!” “I knowwww!” and “I’M EXCITED!!!” was basically the extent of our texts.

Conversations with Steve and Aunt Addie are always quite interesting, and since we drove together, we had a whole seven hours to talk. One conversation we got into as we drove to my cousins’ was about the weird dreams we’ve had. This then brought up the topic of the book I just finished: The Night Circus. The actual name of the circus is Le Cirque des Rêves or The Dream Circus in English. (I was pretty proud of myself for translating the title by myself.) After I told them the general story, Aunt Addie and Steve both agreed that it was weirder than any dream they had had. I don’t know about that. Personally, I think dreams can get so much weirder. I guess I’ll let you be the judge of that. I’ll include one of my weirder dreams and The Night Circus summary here.

Smackacks Dream

In the beginning, I went with a group of my friends to the mall. As we were walking around, I received a vision from a dragon. The dragon told me that they were in desperate need of my help in their dragon world dimension. I split up from the rest of the group and went off with Dina to search for the gateway to the dragon’s land.

To find the gateway, Dina and I left the mall and started walking around in the parking lot, passing all these restaurants and stores. We passed this one restaurant that had set out mac and cheese with noodles the size of my head in piles for people to take. It didn’t occur to me that this was unsanitary in my dream.

Dina and I started walking around the mac and cheese mounds. This little boy came and tried to walk past us. We lifted our arms so he could go under them, but he had trouble doing that because he wasn’t short enough. This reminded Dina and I about how easy that maneuver would have been for Parker. (He used to be really short but now he’s finally having his growth spurt. In the dream I guess he was still super short.) Then we got to this one patch of grass behind the people at the restaurant and started looking up at the sky. We began studying comets and the stars, and what made comets show when they came close to earth.

The next part of the dream I remember is about this group of four boys who are trying to outrun this giant NEFARIOUS corporation. These four boys traveled around the world, always on the run to escape the corporation called Smackacks. I was pretty surprised I remembered the name when I woke up. Smackacks finally catch the boys. They are taken to this concentration camp-like place. Two of the boys are separated from the rest and put in this giant bar cage thing. The rest of the three boys (the number changed from four to five) look over their shoulders as they are hustled into the camp naked. They had been told to take their clothing off.

Within my dream, I saw things through one of the boys that were left outside. The two boys were the only ones left dressed and the officials ordered them to take off their clothes. They were wearing these jumpsuit things with belts. The main boy began thinking about how he had become so optimistic while on the run, even though before that he had been very pessimistic. Before the boys had been caught, the main boy had bought a teddy bear at a zoo they went to because he had been so optimistic. It was great until he realized he had to get rid of it because it was from Smackacks. My dream ended there with the boys naked and trapped. Dina and I had vanished. Maybe we made it to the dragon world.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

8bc91d5455e90ab1672faa19ecbe1c59

Since they were very young, Celia and Marcus have been raised to compete against each other in a game. Both are taught magic in distinctly different ways by their separate mentors, neither really having a say in the matter. The game takes place in Le Cirque des Rêves, a magical place constructed to embody Marcus and Celia’s imaginings. Le Cirque is open to the public, and as the years pass both Marcus and Celia continue to add more tents. They also begin to fall in love. The two learn to resent the game, knowing that they will never be free to love one another until it is over. It ends with only one of them standing.

As the reader, you not only follow Celia and Marcus’s story but a multitude of different characters who come into contact with the Dream Circus. Taking place in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the book doesn’t go in chronological order, leaving clues for you to slowly comprehend as the story alternates between different events at different times. The format in which the author presented the story is engaging, adding layers and giving it more depth.

In all, it was a magical, unique read, but let’s be honest; it wasn’t out of this world weird. Everone’s heard of magic, but have you ever heard of the evil company Smackacks?

Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day. Yaaaaaaay! To commemorate this special occasion, I am going to write about my dog, Beauty. Just kidding. Of course, I’m going to write about my dad.

With most of the books I read, the main characters don’t have parents, whether it be they’re dead, missing or neglectful. It’s not a coincidence. Not having parents is a common theme within the books that I read, leaving the main characters to fend for themselves. My main characters have to become strong because they can’t rely on their parents. Even if they aren’t directly there, parents have so much of an influence on who we are as people.

FOR EXAMPLE… Percy Jackson struggled both internally and externally because of his father. Abandoned by his dad as a baby, Percy and his mother were left in a sticky situation, having to keep Percy away from monsters who would love to kill him. Sally did an amazing job with what she had, but, unfortunately, that meant utilizing the man who Percy dubbed as “Smelly Gabe”. Smelly Gabe was an abusive stepfather, and Percy developed a deep hatred of bullies because of him. When Percy does come into contact with his actual father, he has trouble accepting him, angry that he had been abandoned for so long. Through Percy’s father’s direct and indirect interference, Percy grew as a character.

And that’s what a parent’s job is, to help their child grow up and become independent. I’m pretty lucky to have a dad that’s so involved in my life. He’s helped me become the girl I am today. I like to think that I take after my dad. We are both stubborn, calm people, and we generally like the same types of movies. Sadly, he does not enjoy reading, but I guess I’ll forgive him for that. Just cuz he’s my dad though.

Dad- You’re the best. I’m always proud to brag about you, telling people how my army-slash-chief-of-security-at-a-juvenile-prison dad has been to an exotic place, taught me how to put someone in a hold, etc. I love you, dad. Happy Father’s Day!

Love you this much! *pinches fingers together tightly* – ❤ Ariel

P.S. I hope you enjoy your gift. I came up with it. 😀

P.P.S. Yes, I know what speed bumps remind you of.