Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm thankful.

First of all, happy Thanksgiving! I hope that everyone is eating good today, because I sure did.

Although I don't reflect on the things I'm thankful for super often, I think it should be known that I am absolutely aware of all that I've been blessed with, and I'm forever thankful. When I sit down and really think about it, I honestly couldn't ask for better. It's crazy how good I have it... some people just don't understand when they're this privileged, but I do. It would be impossible to condense all that I'm grateful for into a single list, because it's so much, especially since I'm one for the small things. I think that I could sum up a few, though. I'm thankful for...

  • My wonderful family. I honestly think that I was blessed with the most amazing family in the world... words can't describe how much they mean to me. Of course, we all have our differences every once in a while, but at the end of the day we all love each other and are there for each other 100%, no matter what.
  • My absolutely amazing friends -- the ones I've known for years and the ones I've known for months. They have all impacted my life in some way, and I'm grateful to know such extraordinary people. The people who make me laugh and smile and be the best I can be make me happy. That's love.
  • The simple things in life. Admiring the beautiful fall colors, receiving a hand-written letter, snuggling up with popcorn to watch a movie -- things like this are what gives me such a great appreciation for life. The little things are what make life big.
  • The fact that I'm blessed and privileged. When things don't go my way, I try to remember that there are people out there who have it way worse than I do. Really, I can't complain at all. I have it great. And for that, I'm grateful.
  • Art and music. Without it, the earth would be so bland. Music speaks to my soul when my mind can't find the proper words, and art allows for so much creative outlet, no matter what form of art it is. They are both true gifts.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Life's Little Roadblocks: School

I was thinking about school and the extremely large role it plays in my life and it started to become clear to me how much bullshit school is. We sit in a building for 7 hours a day, then come home to 3 hours of homework, then wake up the next day and do it all again. If you asked me to explain what I've learned in school for the past 12 years of my life, my answer probably wouldn't be all that impressive. I can understand needing to learn the basics, but there comes a point where school just becomes extra. When will I ever use geometry in my life? Why do I care about British literature?

Every day as I sit in school, and each time I go to start some homework, I get frustrated thinking about how I could be doing more productive things with my life. I could be out doing and learning things that I actually care about, things that I'll actually find useful for what I want to do with my life. I feel as though the value of knowledge is masked behind fixed grading scales and generic, standardized tests that measure everyone's education by the same principles. We aren't robots. We aren't all the same, so we shouldn't have to learn like we are.

And yet, here we all are, wandering astray from the true essence of education because all that matters is doing what you have to do, most likely cheating, to get the right grades on that fixed grading scale and bubble the right answers on those standardized tests. To me, it's all just busy work. I'm not getting anything truly enriching out of it. Yeah, there are those few classes that teach me things I'll find useful for what I plan on doing with my life, but what about all that other bullshit? I feel my brain frying, getting overloaded with irrelevant material that I'll forget after I scribble it down on the next test--hell, maybe even before then.

Life's most valuable lessons aren't taught in a classroom--that's a fact. So why are we forced to spend so much time in them?

Monday, November 7, 2011

On conformity.


Take a look at the picture, and tell me it doesn't speak volumes.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the whole "non-conformist" thing. I've been meaning to write this post for a minute now, and I think that after the pretty interesting conversation a couple friends and I had earlier in the car concerning conformity, now is a pretty good time to do so.

This generation seems to be all about non-conformity, bashing those who "follow" and every once in a while, trying too hard to be something they're not in order to be "different." Personally, I think that it's all another fucked up way to mess with people's heads and confuse a group of people that are already struggling to truly find themselves. It's all a paradox -- what with everyone stressing the fact that they're different, doesn't that make them all the same? Everyone thinks that they're so much different than the next guy, when in reality, the simple fact that they're trying so hard to stand out is what's making them blend right in -- right with the conforming non-conformists.

My opinion? Don't try so hard. Just do you. Figure out what truly makes you happy, and go for it. Don't try so hard to fit in, and don't try so hard to stand out. Don't be afraid to do something because no one else is doing it. At the same time, don't do something just because everyone else is doing it. With all the influences that come with being a teenager and from the media, it can be hard to form your own opinions and ideas, and it's only natural that it influences you to some extent. Everyone gets their ideas from somewhere, whether they're ideas that everyone seems to have, or ideas that seem to be different than everyone else's. Just make sure that the decisions you make are for you, not to prove a point to other people -- whether it's that you're completely different than everyone else, or that you're completely the same.

Growing up and finding yourself can be frustrating. It's confusing, I know. People are so quick to judge you for the simplest things, and everyone is way more concerned with what other people are doing than they should be. I may be different, or I may not -- I'm not really trying too hard to establish that. I just wanna be me. That, I know I can be.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist."

On being happy.

I believe that happiness is something that comes from within. It doesn't take much to be happy, and if you aren't happy with yourself, then all the material items in the world would only cover it up -- like a band-aid over a sore.

Recently I've been working on finding my inner happiness so that I can truly be content. Yeah, of course I can say I'm happy -- I'm surely not sad, and I've definitely been enjoying life -- but can I say that my mind doesn't wander to places that evoke upsetting emotions late at night, or that I'm not guilty of harboring nostalgic feelings, a tiny part of me yearning for moments from the past? Not at all. Yeah, on the outside I'm pretty happy, but there are things deep within me that I need to work on so that I can truly be content.

I've stopped caring about what people think of me, and stopped making it my duty to please everyone, two key things in being happy with myself. I just think that I need to learn to let go. I need to stop thinking what if, and graduate to bigger and better things. I need to stop thinking about the way things were, and focus on the way things are going to be. I need to accept the fact that things change.

These things, I will accomplish.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

RIP Rodney.

I'd like to think that people valued and respected the lives of others, as they would want their life valued and respected. I'd like to think that people didn't take others' lives, then go home and sleep like a baby.

I'd like to, but I can't. Yesterday morning, I learned that a guy that used to go to my school was stabbed to death. I didn't really know him like that, but we followed each other on Twitter and have had at least one short conversation before. It affected me so much because his murder hit so close to home...we weren't close, but he and a lot of people I know were. When I saw the first "RIP Rodney Kyles" tweet in my timeline, I was in disbelief. It seemed like everyone in Chicago was somehow connected to him, or knew someone who was, because before long his name became a trending topic on Twitter. I thought that that was amazing, how much love he was shown and how many lives he's affected.

His murder just brings up an even bigger concern that I've addressed before. The senseless violence has to stop. It's not just Chicago, but everywhere. Chicago is an amazing city and has the potential to be even better, but it starts with the inhabitants. It sucks to say it, but our generation is fucked up and I just hope we aren't in too deep to fix it. When I heard about Rodney's death, my first thought was that I need to get outta Chicago, but what good will that do? It's the people. It's the people who feel like picking up a gun makes them more of a man than picking up a book. It's the people who join gangs instead of joining clubs. It's the people who's messed up beliefs have them out here gunning down anyone who looks at them the wrong way or says something they don't like. Where has the value for human life gone? Who the fuck said it was okay to take it upon yourself to end someone else's?

What we need is a change, and I just hope it comes before it's too late. This needs to be a wake up call. Our generation is killing each other off, and it's getting out of hand. Although I didn't really know Rodney like that, I could tell that he was intelligent and ambitious. He didn't deserve to lose his life.

We need to wake up. RIP, Rodney.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Our new addition to the family!


His name is Max. :) He's only a couple weeks old, small enough to fit in a shoe box, and super adorable. I love him already!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Be mindful of what you toss away, be careful of what you push away, and think hard before you walk away."

"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou


You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou

Friday, August 5, 2011

Adventures To Go On


I like this. A list of very simple adventures that make life big. I'm all about the small stuff.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quote of the Day

"It's easy to take off your clothes and have sex. People do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit, thoughts, fears, future, hopes, dreams...that is being naked."

What I'm listening to



The Morning - The Weeknd
By now, we all know the type of music I favor--relaxing, chill music with mellow beats and good lyrics. Duh. With all his music having a kind of nocturnal, after-hours feel, The Weeknd does an amazing job with this on his mixtape "House of Balloons." This is one of my favorite songs from the mixtape, right next to What You Need and High For This. ;)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What I'm listening to

Never Think - Rob Pattinson
Ever since I first heard this song on the Twilight soundtrack, I've been in love with it. I love the guitar playing, I love the lyrics. Lately, I've been feeling kind of blah, and this is nice to just listen to while I think about things. This is definitely one of those timeless songs that I'll never really get tired of hearing.

A Salute to All Gang Bangers


I was on a close friend of mine's blog (thefourthjames.tumblr.com), and came across this letter. I got angrier and angrier as I read through it, but at the same time I realized that it's true. Black on black violence is something that I'm very aware of, and very upset with. What the letter says is exactly what I've been thinking--that the black community is suppressing OURSELVES, and doing to ourselves what we fought so hard to break free from. Maybe I'm just more aware these days, but it seems like now, the violence is getting more and more out of hand. Letters like this make us look like downright fools, and it's sad because it's true. I feel like the black community is the most held back out of all the others, and for the most part, it's brought upon ourselves. We're killing each other. 

Blacks have come a very long way, but it's clear that we still have a very long way to go. I think that racism and the historic misconception that the lighter the skin, the better, has brainwashed some blacks to an unacceptable extent. It's ridiculous that kids would rather have light skin and long, straight hair, and that blacks look at other blacks with upturned noses as if they're better, and that blacks are killing other blacks for no reason. It's gotten to the point where blacks are aware of the stereotypes and the racism and the notions that we're all violent and ignorant, and are just like fuck it, we'll live up to that shit. But the goal should be to prove everyone wrong, to show the people who try and hold blacks down that we are above the negative perceptions.

I could literally go on all day about this, because it's something that really gets to me. I just hope that this letter is a wake-up call to whoever reads it, and things change. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bastard Out of Carolina

I just finished reading Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, and I loved it. When I fist started reading it, I thought that the book wouldn't be my taste and I would get through it slowly, especially since it's about 300 pages, but it was definitely a page turner and I was interested. A lot goes on in it, but basically, it's about a girl named Bone's life, and how her mother marries a man who sexually and physically abuses Bone, but her mother just can't leave him. I loved it so much because there was such a strong sense of family and togetherness during times of hardship. It's one of those books that pull you into a different world when you read it--and THAT is strong writing. The end made me want to cry--I mean, I am a crybaby lol, but still--because of the severity of Bone and her stepfather's final encounter, the way her mother handled it, and the way Bone felt about it. Bone's mother loved her, but she also loved her husband, and although she was pissed at him for what he did to her daughter, she still comforted him when he cried to her and it almost seems as if she gave in to him, even after all he did. Bone's pain and feelings of betrayal when her mom wasn't by her side in the hospital really hit home.

I don't want to tell too much of the story though, haha. I don't get as much time to sit and read as I used to, but whenever I can, I do--I love reading. I was definitely feeling this one.

Friday, June 24, 2011

To the Extremes

So, today as I was sitting at the Metra station, I thought back over my day, and about random aspects of my life, which I do very often, and realized that the characteristics that define me are a bunch of extremes. When describing myself, I'd most likely add an "extremely" or "super" in front of a lot of what I'd say. Is that just me?

As we venture through out teenage years, and probably a good chunk of our young adult years, we also embark on the journey of self-exploration and self-discovery. So far, my journey has been an interesting one--everything that I thought I'd end up being when I was younger, I'm, more or less, the opposite. Sometimes, I'm disappointed; sometimes, I'm thankful, but either way, I'm me, and that will never change. I'd never want it to.

Anyways, I just thought it'd be interesting to lay out a couple of my "extreme" traits.
I'm...

  • extremely ticklish 
  • extremely sensitive/emotional
  • super shy (but I've been working on this)
  • extremely analytical
  • extremely impatient
  • an extremely picky eater
  • super nice (I've been told that I'm too nice)
  • extremely amazing (lol jk)
Those are all that currently come to mind, but I'm sure as time goes on, more will fit the bill for this list.

Quote of the Day

"Life is the biggest jam. Unfortunately, no one gets out of it alive."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Team Lightskinned vs. Team Darkskinned

(Recycled from my Tumblr)
I don’t even know where to start with this one. The black community has been so brainwashed by the media and society in general, it’s sad. 
Those who believe that light-skinned people are more beautiful than, or better than dark-skinned people, are ignorant, lost, and simply pathetic. Do you not understand that by claiming “Team Light-skinned” or “Team Dark-skinned,” you are, in a way, pitting yourself against the other “team?” Let’s stop and think about it. We need to be creating unity, not competition. What blacks fail to realize is that, while we are a freed people, we are still prisoner to the misconceptions that whites tried to instill in us so long ago: that the lighter the skin, the better the person. Since when does less melanin determine the worth of an individual? While we’re out here going back and forth at each other over skin color, the people who once suppressed us are now laughing at us, because now, we’re doing their job for them. We are no longer getting held back; instead, we are now holding ourselves back.
I’m, to no extent, saying that white people are still racist or anything. I’m just saying, if you open your eyes and look at it that way, maybe you’ll understand how foolish we look. How, in a way, we’re doing to ourselves what we fought so hard to break free from.
We are all beautiful. No matter how light or how dark, each and every black individual has something to bring to the table. I just think we need to embrace and love ourselves and one another, rather than claim the mentality that one is better than the other. Blacks are already plagued by negative stereotypes and lingering misperceptions…we don’t need to hold ourselves back, too. Black is beautiful…and don’t you ever forget it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

J.O.B.

Today, I started work at Gallery 37. Gallery is a stipend-based arts program downtown for talented teens that includes programs such as dance, vocal ensemble, creative writing, culinary arts, painting on canvas, etc. Although I did the program last summer too, I still feel great that I have this opportunity to do what I love and get paid for it. I'm my biggest critic and sometimes I doubt my writing abilities, but at the end of the day I know I'm a strong writer, and I'm glad that I'm doing something that will help me continue to foster my skills.

On another note, my parents have been teaching me to be independent and have a good work ethic. It's always been mandatory in my household to work hard, and less than average results aren't acceptable. I think it's good that I'm getting work experience now, so that I'll know what it means to make my own money when I'm older. I live a pretty good life, but this won't be my life forever. Once I move out, the moves I'm making will dictate the type of life I have, not the moves my parents are making. I know some people my age who don't even want to get jobs because their parents will just hand them money whenever they need it, and I can't even imagine being in that spot anymore. I mean, I know I'm still a kid and it's their job to provide for me, and don't get me wrong, I still love that occasional treat of them spending their money when I shop lol, but I just like the feeling of having my own, earned money. I don't want to be sheltered by my parents until the last possible minute.

Idk. I just have big dreams and great visions for myself...success is calling my name.

Summer bucket list

Alright. On my quest to start living and have an amazing summer, I made a summer bucket list. I may or may not get everything on it done, but I'm really hoping to. I want to branch out and do new things, and things that I never imagined I'd end up doing before. I'm big on appreciating the little things life has to offer, so my list also includes small things that I don't normally do, but want to do. I'm trying to make the most of this summer! Here's my list--I'm thinking it's pretty much done, but if other things come to mind, I'll add them on.
  1. Ride each CTA train line end to end
  2. Get my cartilage pierced
  3. Watch the sunset
  4. Watch the sunrise
  5. Kiss in the rain
  6. Learn a recipe and cook a dish
  7. Bake something from scratch
  8. Lay under the stars
  9. Have a bonfire
  10. Play hide-&-seek/tag at night
  11. Scary movie marathon sleepover!
  12. Stay up for 24 hours straight
  13. Play truth or dare with NO LIMITS
  14. Play on a playground
  15. Find a perfect theme song for my summer
  16. Try a new/exotic food
  17. Go skating
  18. Get kicked out of a store
  19. Drive a boat
  20. Explore a neighborhood I've never been to before
  21. Go to Field Museum
  22. Go to Museum of Science and Industry
  23. Eat at a restaurant I've never been to before
  24. Go movie-hopping
  25. Go to Michigan
  26. Go on a tour of Chicago
  27. Write an erotic story ;)
  28. Rearrange my room
  29. Climb a tree
  30. Go thrifting
  31. Do something crazy that I would otherwise never do
  32. Take pictures on train tracks
  33. Work on being less shy
  34. Buy a dream catcher
  35. Take tons of pictures!
  36. Take a walk around the block
  37. Attend a co-ed sleepover
  38. Ride a segway
  39. Swim in the ocean

And you know this.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quote of the Day

"When it comes down to it, everyone is a follower--the difference, though, is whether you follow your own heart or someone else's."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sing these Autumn melodies.

Are you living, or are you just alive?

Today as I laid in bed, I thought about how glad I am that summer is finally here, imagining all the shit that I plan on getting into. Then it crossed my mind…am I really living, or am I just alive?
In a sense, I’d say that I’m living, but not as fully as I’d like to be. Honestly, I’m more “just alive” than “living.” I see some of the people around me living it up everyday, and I admire them for going out, living their life to its fullest potential, and doing the things I’m afraid to do. At the same time though, I know that a lot of my peers are just like me; they have their fun here and there, but live life with a lot of “maybe tomorrows” and “nah, I’ll passes.” I may not have “the rest of my life” to do everything I want to do. If I died tomorrow, would I be happy with all that I’ve accomplished so far? Maybe. Probably not. Tomorrow is not promised, so I can’t continue to say “I’ll do it tomorrow.” 
I’m in the process of making my summer bucket list, which I’ll post soon. I’m gonna try to complete everything I put on that list…there are no excuses. I’m even gonna make an actual bucket list…things that I want to accomplish before I die. I can’t continue to allow myself to lay around and waste perfectly good days…I need to get up and make moves, whether it be money making moves, moves to to help secure my future, or just fun having, life living moves.
Life is better lived.

Quote of the Day

"Never let success get to your head, and never let failure get to your heart."

The Introduction

Hey y'all! I'm Rielle, 16, from Chicago. I'm new to Blogger, but not blogging. I've been on Tumblr for the past year, but with all the buzz it's been getting, it's not as... I don't know... exclusive as it once was. EVERYONE wants one now, and it just doesn't feel much like a blog site anymore, as just another social networking site. Don't get me wrong, I love Tumblr, and will continue to use it, but Blogger is appealing to me now as more of an authentic, mature blog site. It serves the correct purpose of a blog, which is allowing people to post what's on THEIR mind...something that kind of gets lost in the use of Tumblr because of the reblog feature. Also, not many of my peers have Bloggers, so I can vent and just say what's on my mind in a place with much more exclusivity than Tumblr.
Anyways, with my new blog, I plan on expressing myself and sharing my thoughts. It doesn't have a particular theme, like fashion or music, but it's simply an outlet when I need to vent or express something on my mind. Maybe it'll help me figure out who I am, a journey I'm excited to embark on. Ciao for now!