Friday, September 26, 2014

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do

The Missing Stitches:
When I was younger, I received a great deal of hand-me downs, clothes, toys...You name it. I especially liked the toys (of course...What child wouldn't?) even though they had the faint smell of "other child" and were always having some indication of ruin (marker marks, dents, etc.). There is one toy in particular that is slowly creeping into the back of my mind at this particular moment. First, I should tell you that this toy is most likely somewhere in the basement, rotting away with my art supplies and books on how I should behave when I become a teenager. But, when I first received it, I cannot express to you how much love was put into the condition of that toy. At that stage of my life, I had become obsessed with vintage, a foreshadowing of my interests when I got older. I had always wanted a vintage teddy bear. The classic ones that grandmothers put into little chairs to decorate the living room. They brought such warmth to a home in a way that creepy porcelain dolls never could. Truthfully, they were a possession, and people love having possessions, especially those that other people never had. That is the one great thing about hand me downs. No one in your peer group would ever have that toy unless they had a sibling that was way older than them. But, this teddy bear had an even more special charm. It was on the verge of losing its head. I am trying to remember if that was when I decided that I wanted to be something in the medical field...It most likely was...But regardless of when, what happened was this teddy bear became my patient. When you ask a person what a medical professional should be like, the first answer that you get is: Someone who actually cares. In my nursing courses, I am thought not to be love my patient, but to have empathy for them, to place myself in their shoes and be their advocate in the same way that I would want someone to be my advocate. There was no way to fix my teddy bear's head. Someone had already attempted trying to sew it back on. It was a deformity that it has to live with for the rest of its teddy bear life, and yet, I carted that teddy bear around like it was the best toy in the world. As if it was still a teddy bear...Perhaps, because it was. A human being. All the problems in the world, all the wars, and all the little arguments begin when one or more people stop seeing an individual (or a group of individuals) as some thing. Some thing that must be on the losing side of the argument, some thing that must be submissive, some THING.... In psychology, I learned that people define themselves based on their relationships with other people (sister, friend, father, grandfather). The list goes on and on. This is wonderful, because it shows an appreciation for other people. It shows that we know that we cannot survive without these people helping us in our lives. But, turn it around. Think of it in the perspective that we label people. You are just my brother. You are just my patient. You are just my student. If I thought of a patient as just my patient, a pathway toward paying my rent or my next vacation, I would go in and check his/her vital signs, give them their food, their medication, and just leave. Because, that is all my job requires. I would miss the most important evidence that would help me care for another human being: communication. I have had this plea inside my heart for so long, and it needs to be released. I plea for professors, teachers, mentors...I plea for all of you to teach in the way that defines a teacher. Do not allow yourselves to be caught up in your perspectives. Do not generalize your students and associate themselves only as your students. Because students demand the same thing that you would ask for in a health care professional. I ask for someone who cares (who has empathy). I ask for someone who is not afraid to improve themselves so that I can improve my own learning style and increase my level of knowledge. I want someone who sees error AND provides a solution. All this starts from caring. Because seeing me as a student sometimes becomes an excuse not to be a teacher.
With all due respect,
Baylee Sta. Valentina
P.S. Hello Zoya!!!
I would have written this in my WR section, but currently I am working on (snail-place slow) on several more organized notes for WR material. On this blog, I am thinking of providing some links for the other WR lists, including a list of topics and names that I would if other people could contact me with regards to having information on those topics and names. (Just as a note, resources that are preferred are books and published scholarly articles.) On the topic of networking, Audrey (Hello, Audrey, as well!) and I have continuedly discussed the desire to have a WR network of people. So far, we have met success in the terms of quality over quantity. Zoya, who is my new email buddy, is a Tumblr blogger. Audrey and I discovered her Tumblr blog, WhiteforFreiheit after searching for more pictures of the WR. She has a unique collection of pictures that I have never seen before. As we have discussing about this shared interest, we also got to talking about our lives. She is an interesting individual who collects old, vintage items. On top of that, I think she has a powerful and creative command of the English language, without even considering that it is her second language. (Her first language is French). So, welcome aboard, Zoya on this journey with us! You are most welcome, and I am so grateful to have your wisdom and insight as we navigate through WR material together. More information will be coming regarding Tumblr and WR posts. We are attempting to source every single piece of material. One, because we do not want to get shut down for copyright, and two, because those sources provide unique insight (and sometimes, information) into WR scholarship. Thank you for your patience.
As always,
Baylee

Thursday, February 27, 2014

SOON.

My dearest future readers,
In the past couple of months, I have managed to make the transition from high school student to full-fledged college student with all the challenges and adjustments that come along with it. I have made new friends and have learned that losing the old ones is a strange and complicated process. The college experience varies for everyone. There is something else that I would like to say, but I fear that it would hurt a friend, and I am no promotional device for college that raises up some children while putting others down. If there is anything that I want you to get away from this is that despite having gone through emotional turmoil in the past, there is always a chance for you to pick yourself up. I am not saying that after picking yourself up, your situation will not try to stomp all over you again, so that, sometimes, you become weary of getting up. College/University is a community composed of people, and like every community, it has its share of excitement and faults. You, as a person, will also carry your faults with you. And...yes...those poisonous regrets will seep in once in a while too. In the midst of studying and paper writing and trying to figure out why in the heck every professor, who has a multitude of degrees, does not seem to know how to properly organize a class or even how to teach, you will be exposed to different ways of thought, debates that, until now, you have only been having with yourself, and get to become more educated through cultural events like a classical music concert or an opera all within your campus area. You get to feel independent and finally do things on your own terms. You get to meet other intellectuals, who are passionate enough to be intimidating. So far...I have not had any trouble with any hard core partiers. I am pretty sure that they can make out who is willing to join their crowd and who isn't. Am I saying that you will never get first-hand experience with how drinking can induce vomiting? Definitely not. I have already witnessed something like that. Is the temptation to party there? That is also a definite. You may be tempted to more so out of curiosity than anything else. If you do go, here is my advice. First, go with someone that you absolutely trust with your life. Most parties happen off-campus or just somewhere far off from your dorm which means that you may have to walk back in the dark. If you go to a party with someone that you don't know (which is pretty common since you probably just came to college), the chances of them getting drunk enough to not care about your welfare is pretty high. Secondly, do not, under any circumstances, accept any drinks from someone else even if it is someone you know or are familiar with. If you want to drink, get the drink yourself so that you can make sure it is relatively safe. I would advice you not to drink at all, but that is my own personal belief. I am not going to impose that on you guys. Before you make the choice to go, know where you are going, how you are going to get there, and how on earth, you are going to get back. If your friends are ambiguous about the location, you can always politely decline by pointing at your big pile of laundry. Don't point at your books. You'll just get "the glare." Trust me...I hope more than anything though that all you incoming freshman for next year are quick to find people who don't drink, who have fun watching movies and eating popcorn, who know how to plan TV dates, and game nights, just as I was able to. I hope that you are able to find people who are willing to help you talk through over certain debates that you are having with yourself, like how should we react, if in the future, our children come out to us as homosexuals. Or...are the Ukraine protesters over-reacting? Why does no one address the topics of human-trafficking and the persecution of Christians in the Middle East? It might not be a fluid conversation. (I will always go back to this point: People are humans.) But...you always have somewhere to go if you ever feel lonely. If still you feel lonely, campuses are nice for walking around. There is so much that I can say about my university life. It has become such a huge part of my life...
I know that I have not written in the longest time. Partly, it is because I am a university student, and partly, it is because, I am trying to seriously understand my level of skill in creative writing. This is a writer's blog, even though I use it to express my emotions most of the time. The title of this blog post is "SOON," because this is just an overview of what has been going on in my life. I want to go into so much detail later on, but I wanted to let you guys know that I am very much alive, and that I will be continuing this blog.
In terms of White Rose research, I have been able to set up a weekly conversation with my fellow WR enthusiast, Audrey. In addition, I have also been in contact with Denise Heap who is one of the heads for the Center for White Rose Studies. I would like to take this time to personally thank Denise and everyone, who is a part of the CWRS, for their continued support of my "work." (They gave me the full White Rose Histories! And, they have offered up the option of going on a trip to Germany!) These past couple of months have been simply marvelous due to your generosity. Thank you! A million times thank you! The WR has recently been mentioned in the news due to the fact that the guillotine, that supposedly executed several of the WR members (including Hans and Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst), has been discovered. It has come under much debate about whether or nor it should be displayed within a museum. Come friend me on FB for my opinion on the matter! Yes, I have set up a FB page where I have many an interesting conversation with Audrey and Denise! For now, I am focusing my WR work on two things: 1) Read the full Histories and take lots of notes. Analyze them with the primary resources available, and so on and so forth. That should take some time. 2) Analyze Sophie's relationship with Augustine's works. She read more than just Confessions. It should be an interesting type of research as Augustine is becoming one of my favorite thinkers. Do I agree with his ideas on human nature? No, but I do understand where he was coming from. All great thinkers react to their times, which means that Augustine and the members of the WR have that in common. There are also so many other fields that I want to explore with this, but...I don't want to over exert myself and then end up unhappy with the results. I am taking this one step at a time. I am wondering if I should continue with the idea for taking sign language as I wanted, or should I study German? Or...should I just go to the German professor and ask for side lessons? And should...I talk to the Russian professor as well? On top of all that, I have to some how work a trip to Germany onto my schedule with the added obstacle of informing the parental units. It makes me stressed out, just thinking about it, but this is fun stress. Midterms, on the other hand,...School stress will forever be somewhat of a brutal force that likes to beat me up whenever it feels like it. I lack all confidence to fend it off. Sometimes, it helps me be motivated. Most of the time, it is just burdensome. So...on that note, I have to go study for this exam season while bearing in mind all the other school work, and the added stress of "having a life" outside of school. But, I promise, my dearest future readers, SOON. I will tell you all about the nitty-gritty details. Of college life. Of WR work. Of my attempts at trying to be a creative writer. But for now, Goodbye, once again.
Yours, Baylee

Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Invasion of the Monkees


I’m randomly writing on this.

(Okay...Hi, dearest future readers. It is Baylee, who has to write on her own blog in parentheses, because Deanna has taken over and is writing a guest entry. I have no idea what she is going to talk about, but I have faith in Dean. I hope she does not give me any reason to not have faith in her. Lol, Dean. Just saying.)

Ok, well Baylee told me that this blog is just her being her and talking about what’s important to her, so I guess that I’ll do the same. Now she doesn’t have to worry about me going on one of my rants like I normally do. I’ll be good... Well, about as good as Babyface Morales about to steal the loot again.
I guess all you really need to know about me is that Baylee is one of my best friends, and that I live in the 1960s. (If you need proof of that, look up who Babyface Morales is.) Just like Baylee likes researching the White Rose and the 1940s, I do the same with protest groups and the 1960s. The time period was caught in ups and downs of all kinds, and though I can never forgive the American government for what happened to thousands of soldiers in Viet Nam, including my cousin Phill, I think that some of the best laws came out of the decade (Civil Rights, Immigration, Scenic Rivers, War on poverty, Head Start, Medicaid/Medicare, just to name a few).
I write stories, mostly set during wars in American history. They’re what I guess you could call protest literature. They’re stories that call for change on the part of governments to stop the senseless killing of innocent men and women who just wanted to protect their country. I’m sorry, but I never thought that defending our country included being shipped off thousands of miles away to fight in wars that no one back home cared about or believed in.
Ok, well, this is going to get a bit rant-ish soon, so I’ll just pass control of the blog back to Baylee so I keep my promise and she doesn’t lose her faith in me. So I guess I’ll just go from Babyface to Micky, and say ‘Bye-bye! Bye-bye!’

So...Hey, guys...It's Baylee, again. I talk about Dean all the time, so I thought it would be nice if I introduced her to you through this guest entry. I know I have not written in a while, but I am cooking up a few things for you guys that may be coming up in a week or two. Things have not been so bad for me, lately. The most exciting part is that now, I can say that I am seventeen years old. I do not want to take too much attention from Dean's words, so I'm...
Signing off, 

Baylee (and Dean)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

"Everything is Rent": Welcome to the Pocketburner

Issue #1:
My dearest future readers,
I have not written in such a long time. It feels strange now coming back to a place where I began taking writing seriously. I have been spending my time doing two things. One, I have not been taking life seriously, and two, I have been doing a great deal of pondering about everything revolving my life. It feels good to be opening about everything, now, as my fingers strike the keys quickly but without a sense of fury. The frustration still lingers within me. Sometimes, I feel as if it will never go away, because I demand so much from myself. Perfection in my mind is not just some sort of goal I may achieve; it is something I have to achieve. In some way, I finally understand why it is so difficult for me to handle my mistakes or my imperfections. At some point in my life (I do not if I have mentioned this before, but if I have, I apologize.), I thought that perhaps by being perfect, people would stop hating me. People would finally find a way to accept me. People would stop yelling at me and finally allow me to have the chance to like myself. If I had a choice on how my story would be structured, I would not make it so cliche. This is why I constantly strike at myself twice, not just once. Whatever I am feeling inside is wrong. I am not allowed to feel it, because there are people who suffer and endure worst fates than I. I have a home, a bed, clothes, food...And yet, I have the audacity to ask for more. What do I do? I try and stop feeling anything at all. Have I really been trying? No, not at all. That is...I have not been trying to get a grip on my life outside of my writings, or anything "safe." I am still a bit scared of dealing with the things that can hurt me. It is silly...Trust me, I know. Even though I make it sound like all I do all day is sit around and think about how I could change my situation. Although I hate how many hours I spend watching television and sleeping, I have kept up with my schoolwork and other portions of my life that do not involve being in a room all day. I am enjoying taking a carpentry class, reliving my Biology days in a Human Body course, and spending time with friends. I just feel withdrawn from it all, which is probably why my first project for Carpentry is not symmetrical, and why I am only doing bare minimum when it comes to my homework. Sometimes, when I am hanging out with friends, I look up at the sky and the surrounding nature, and wonder why I am this girl, the girl laughing and making sarcastic comments that she despises. 
A Study on Friendship:
My friends are good people. It is just...I find it difficult to relate to them sometimes. When I come home from excursions with my friends, my parents look at me, and they know something is wrong. They understand in their own way why I am unhappy most of the time. Everything just seems superficial to me. Friendship is a two way street. Out of all the people that hang around me, Deanna is the only one to make me feel like I am not just some after thought, or someone to hang around with, because it is beneficial to their image. With Deanna, I know that even when we are not hanging out, she is still thinking about me, how I am doing and how to cheer me up. We write letters to each other, exchange emails, call for hours on end, and text almost every single day. Because we live in two different regions, the time we do have with each other is spent preciously. We talk about our current situations, our fears, our secrets. We force each other to be productive by talking about our respective pieces, and she never laughs or mocks me when I act all poetically. It is good to have a friend who does not mock me when I stroke the leaves on trees or walk like a dancer with my arms extended and my legs on point. She encourages my artistic ability and criticizes me gently. She always makes me humble without coming off as arrogant. It makes me wonder why all my friendships cannot be like that. I am not saying that our friendship is perfect. We have our highs and our lows just like other friends. I am just gad to say that for as long as I have known Dean, we have never had an argument about anything, ever. We just never see the point in arguing. If we have an issue, we just talk about it and see how to find a solution that suits both our tastes. I thought that is what friendship is about, but I may be wrong. It may seem like I am criticizing and being judgmental when it comes to my other friends, but that is simply not true. I am writing this, because I care about them. Like I said, friendship is a two way street. When I ask these questions about my friendships, I am taking a look at how I could have done better, not them. I am trying to see how I can fit into their personalities, or what I should do to put more effort into the retaining the friendship. There are stories about friendship coming naturally, about how you do not have to change if someone really cares about you. I guess I understand why my past friendships were something I left to die. As a young girl following the above described philosophy, I just thought everyone was suppose to accept me and do what I say. During sleepovers (including the ones, I myself hosted), I would follow my own desires and not really care about what the other people involved. I would purposely exclude myself, because I felt like what they were doing was pointless and not amusing. Looking back on it, I can understand why one of my brothers described me as arrogant during this time. I probably did feel like I was high and mighty, above everybody else, but that was because I was succeeding in school above my level. In some way, I had found something I excelled at, and I guess I felt like nobody could take that away from me, until of course, somebody (somebodies) did. So...You see...I am not exactly regretful of what happened to me, because it really taught me to be humble. I only wish I could apologize to those I hurt during those arrogant moments of mine. Some people would tell me that as children, we are all often arrogant. Sometimes, this even trails into adolescence, which is why we refuse to listen to the advise of the wise and commit careless acts. We always think we know better. I suppose that is true, but there has to be people out there who were willing to take the advice, who knew better than to fall into the clutches of arrogance and pride. I, like everyone else, make mistakes, but the fact that I keep repeating them makes me vulnerable to negative circumstances. Vulnerable and negative circumstances are terms I seem to repeat constantly within this blog, but none of that seems to have to do anything with the friendship I am talking about. Vulnerability when caused by pain is expressed differently by everyone, just as friendship is expressed in different ways. Some of my friends come over and talk to me in a large circle and greet me in a somewhat regular basis, and then, there are some friends who push me to explore and wander, and often approach me as the first person when they are emotionally down, which is not a bad aspect (I often tell my friends to depend on me when they need it, due to that strong maternal instinct that I have previously mentioned in one of my older entries.). And then, of course, there is Dean... Due to such differences, I often left to deal with a negative (and frustrating) situation. People always tell me that I have a tendency to allow people to walk all over me, but I do not know if it would be crueler to demand more from people or to refuse giving them all off me. I guess friendship is not just a lesson on handling diversity; it is also a lesson on the quantities for emotions, etc. you must give to friends and those you must reserve for yourself. Am I being too harsh? Am I being too lenient? Or...Have I achieved my goal of analyzing something in order to work it all out? I guess only time will tell.
The Story of How Remembering Sarah Valentine became the Pocketburner:
When I began writing this blog, I had somewhat of an idea of what I wanted to do.
1. Force myself to write without any exaggerations and leniency to a favorable side on my part on dealing with my depression and other emotional problems, which would then enable me to gradually build up a firm determination to change. Well...That did not obviously happen. I do not know if it is because writing about depressive thoughts made me even more depressive or that writing, instead of improvement, began to take up most of my time.
2. Work on my writings. Since freshman year, I have not written anything but depressing thoughts, and they are not even written in my favored writing style, which I also have failed to develop since freshman year.
Then...As I began writing, I had so many other topics I wanted to discuss, most especially the White Rose. I also began talking to so many of my friends that had gone through depressive periods and realized that they received little to no support, because some people are unable to cope with having to discuss those problems (That includes both the people who have them and the people surrounding them.), or that they begin to feel as if the entire world has given up on them, which when you are depressed is something that makes you exceedingly vulnerable. Based on my experiences, when I began to feel like I was not worth life, I became increasingly dependent on others to provide me with some feeling or words to make me feel like I did have a reason to live. I realized the full potential of a blog at that moment. Instead of trying simply to motivate myself to move past it and become free, I could write for others to let them know that they are alone. That no matter how hard it becomes to find hope, it still continues to exist. Episodes of depression attack a broad range of people, who are affected by different negative circumstances. In my blog, I wanted people to not feel as if there pain was worse than others but to feel as if we all had a chance, no matter where our starting point is. In a strange way, pain equalizes all of us. No matter what our circumstances are, we are all hunted down by it. Now, this is not a positive fact of life, but maybe (hopefully), we can turn it into something positive, because hope and belief are two invisible items everyone needs to be given no matter if you are a young child living in poverty or an old man who seems to have all the riches of the world or a teenager who cannot see life past his/her small town. We all need it. I do not see a Utopian society appearing in our future (or in any future for that matter) since being wounded apparently strengthens our beings, but I do imagine a few people realizing their FULL potentials, even if it is just my few closest friends who come to this realization. We, who choose this path of life which is neither better nor worse than any other path of life, choose to keep ourselves open and never promote ourselves. "In this nakedness, your spirit finds its rest, for when it covets nothing, nothing raises it up, and nothing weighs it down, because it stands in the center of humility." (-Text from unknown, religious source) I found this quote when I was struggling to find a basis for my new life completely dedicated to others. Because even when everything I stated above was discovered, I still had no willingness to continue writing my blog. There were so many factors against it. To name a few, there was my schoolwork, my college process, the haunting idea that I was boring my audience as well as the restless concept that I was losing my ability to write. I had no progress to write about, and no idea if anyone cared. I needed desperately to focus on helping others in the physical world than in the virtual world than in the virtual world. Can you feel the large spectrum of emotions that comes from those questions? For some reason...all of that confusion, and anxiety (and thinking about doing things) also made me want to continue writing. Writing is the only time I can seem to move away from everything and just focus. The real world is frightening, but words are easily controlled, manipulated, produced. Does that represent an inability in me to actually act? I desperately hope not. If I had to give up writing for the rest of my life, I would not know what I would do. Every idea, every piece of life within me comes from my writings. It gives me hope. There are numerous topics of discussion I want to write about, and I want to do that here to finally give me some experience as a free-lance writer. As Sylvia Plath once said, "And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." So...In short, I had to find a way to make a fresh start and create a blog that moved towards progress without getting rid of all those old memories that made me who I am today.
Here is the new Remembering Sarah Valentine, Trapped within the Pocketburner Network:
The Pocketburner was a name I came up with when I was a freshman. I wanted to become the writer, publisher, and editor of a new newspaper that was completely different, bolder, and more personal than any newspaper magazine out there. Can you feel the innocence and naieve sensations radiating off of that dream? I wanted to name it the The Pocketburner, because unlike putting this issues most people place in the back-burner to be dealt with later, I wanted to place them in their pockets, so that they could have it with them to carry with them and have a greater motivation to act for them or against them (depending on what issues I would have been discussing in that edition). Whether in an attempt to revert back to the memory of that young girl for comfort or the tempting atmosphere surrounding that message (goal), I chose that name for my blog, but I realized I had two other untouched blogs that I needed to deal with. Should I delete them and focus on writing one blog, or should I give them an opportunity? In the end I chose to keep the other two blogs, but have placed some form of security on them, so that only those who wanted to read those other two blogs could. In a way, I am sticking to both of those ideas, because Remembering Sarah Valentine will contain all "overviews" related to those two blogs. On a more conclusive note, here is an outline containing information on all of my blogs, including purposes, descriptions, etc.
I. The Pocketburner
--A. First Edition
----1. named Sarah Valentine
----2. original blog
----3.purpose(s)
------a. To tell my story on how I am discovering with and coping with my emotional problems
------b. To have a safe sanctuary for all those who are dealing with similar emotional problems or just a lost of hope
------c. Analyze all aspects of life that come my way
--------i. including, but not limited to social issues and methods of dealing with life
--------ii. As well as my White Rose work
----------a) This tells of my beginning work as I attempt to work through the world of research in this increasingly modernizing world from the age of fourteen onward...
--B. Second Edition
----1. Named Butterflies for Deanna
----2. Dedicated to my Aunt Diana, who passed away from breast cancer, and of course my best friend, Deanna
----3. Purposes
------a. To specifically focus on analyzing other works of literature and other aspects of the literary world as well as my own writing style and how I can specifically improve it
------b. To introduce other writers to my own personal writing process and have them comment on it, critique it, and tell me there own stories
----4. It should be noted that I have (for the meantime) limited the access of this blog, because it is in an experimental stage, but if you are interested, please notify me, so that I can send permission to your email.
------a. I am not sure, but I think this security access situation, only limits readers to gmail accounts...
----Upcoming Events
------1. A Review of Regine's Book: A Dying Girl's Last Words (Yes, it is based on Regine Stokke's blog. It contains her actual blog entries, pictures, paintings, and other supplemental information.)
--------a. Her blog is still online. The link is: http://sinober.blogg.no
------2. A on-going review of the English Journal as well as other literary journals/magazines
------3. A Review of Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer's Between the Lines  *I unfortunately do not have the time to complete these literary/ journal reviews. For one, I am in college and could not bring them with me. I am working on book reviews and the like for this blog. I just have not gotten the time to publish anything yet. I do hope that I get the chance to review Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer's collaborative book. I found the conception of it intriguing and the execution of it questionable.
--C.Third Edition
----1. Named Recovering Passions for the Fairy Tales
----2. It was originally meant for me to study the art of humor centralized writing (since I am not very good at it), but I changed that purpose to include the "publication" of all my writings.
----3. Purpose
------a. To "Publish" the edited and significantly "self-approved" wrtings
------b. To (eventually) give all people an opportunity to read my writings.
--------i. I am nothing special, and I believe that art is created for the simple act of creation, just as performance is about performing.
--------ii. That is how I would define a free-lance writer.
----4. See number four of Butterflies for Deanna for the security-access information.
As always, thank you for reading. I hope that you at least found my words somewhat amusing, and I hope that you find great enjoyment in the rest of your day.
With love, Baylee


Monday, August 6, 2012

IF I WAS WRITING A BIOGRAPHY...THIS IS WHERE I WOULD START

Inevitably...At some point, I was bound to be a senior in high school. Rina is steaming ahead in her preparation...And well...I spent my time today finishing David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty Someday, watching some Korean Drama that I was paying attention to for the cute moments, checking my twitter, and writing an extremely long letter to Deanna (which I have not finished, but if you caught a glimpse of it so far...You wonder why I need to write something so long.), rescheduling a college visit, and getting yelled at by my parents for not putting any initiative into anything. Another typical day in the waiting period or the "interim" as Rina likes to call it... (You can check out her blog in the link next to my posts. Rina has moved her blog to Tumblr. She adjusted the name a bit to be grammatically correct. I think it's called In the Interim, instead of For the Interim.) Actually...This post is meant to be a thank you to Rina for teaching me how to redesign my blog. (I have been playing around with that, too.) The only thing that would make this better is if I could somehow make my journal entries have cool backgrounds on Wordpad. (Yes...I use Wordpad for my writings, because it helps me to remember my spelling.) The whole reason I am now getting interested in computers and programming and stuff is for my writings. I want to make them "pretty" on my laptop (or in a less childish manner, I want to be able to create background designs for my pieces). If you are wondering why I am sounding like a whiny teenager not just with my story, but with the actual words...You have no one else to blame but the pile of young adult books I have been analyzing and criticizing recently. As much as I love a pile of complicated literature (and that was stated without sarcasm), there is nothing like the simplicity of young adult novels to make you smile. In the odd chance I do find a complicated one, I instantly put it down. Among the summer romances, first loves, and troubled family life every teenager goes through, I found a basis for my writings. I got a copy of a Susane Colasanti book on sale from Barnes and Nobel's, and for some reason, I took to writing within its pages and underlining favorite quotes. I asked questions and really thought hard about this book. At first, I was very critical of the book, not because her writing was terrible, but because I was criticizing myself for not moving forward, for putting young adult fiction novels for sparse leisure time. You see...My heroes as a young child where the intellectuals... The guys and girls who always had a book in one hand, a pen in the other, and a notepad on their knee...The type of people who always have an intense problem in their world as every single little detail of the world was a small problem, because you know...one gigantic problem would be too easy...They were always trying to figure out something. I guess that is why I enjoy reading about the members of the White Rose so much. The type of people, that I am describing, do not save lives out on the field in the normal sense of the word...Actually...they do not do much of saving at all, but what makes them so interesting is their ability to make life so interesting. Every moment, their mind is comprehending something different, coming up with some new fascinating idea, even if it is small. For instance, I see the roots of being an  intellectual in Deanna and Rina. Deanna is teaching me two types of shorthand, the old forgotten method used long ago by secretaries (...Or do some people still use it today?) She also moves from one book to the next, trying to reign in as much information that she can gather. Rina reads a great deal, too. To effectively describe it, they both plainly think differently than anyone else I have ever met. Sorry, other people...I do not mean to be mean...Everyone has their own individual personality...I just do not know how to describe it...I do not even know how to describe my attraction to those type of people or how they saved me...All I know is I want to be like them, in between constantly helping people, flourishing in some form of career...So when, my parents say I have no initiative...It is not that...I just get distracted easily...If you read this, you will probably think I am on a sugar rush or something...But no...This is how my mind works...I delve too deeply into something, never reach my point, and then, move onto something else...But to be more serious...Here is my situation as of now...
I desperately need to show my gratitude to Rina, other than buying her food. Not only did she help me fix my blog, but she also took me on a fun adventure to NYC (Yes...another one...) Rina helped me fix up my blog, two styles ago, but she has been inspiring me to do a lot more with technology. It is a frustrating process, sometimes, but the frustration only seems to be more inspiring. You are the best, Rina!!! Thank you for everything!!!<3
I am debating how I want to structure this blog, not in terms of its physical appearance, but more of my writing. What I want to put on? What purpose do I want to continue writing for? Etc...
What steps do I want to take for my future...I need a basic outline of what I want and do not want.
I need to tone done my fear and anxieties...I have been letting them get out of hand lately...
On the upside...
I have begun writing again.
Been doing research alongside my White Rose research.
Update: I am adding another character to my already long character list for the White Rose, and yes, she was a real person.
I finally understood military time.
I know how to proceed in research findings.
I have found a sort of calm and collected demeanor. For now, it is a mask, but I feel like it can turn into something more.
Until next time...-Baylee

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Unstable Level of Two Percent

The thing is...Rina and I have some history that dates back way further than this year, the year that we officially became friends. Rina and I met in elementary school, during a time when we were both enrolled in the advanced math program. Back then, Rina and I were not really friends. In fact, Rina and I were, in my opinion, not in especially good terms during the first three years we knew each other. It was not that we hated characteristics of each other. It was that Rina had her own group of friends, and I...well...for the most part, was a loner. This may sound like the beginning pages of a young adult fiction book about high school drama and cliques, but it really is not. High school for Rina and I, from the very beginning was different. From my perspective, I was conflicted over the image I had seen on television and read about in books, and the image my parents had described. I guess...What I wanted from high school was a new beginning, for it to be a sanctuary where I could freely learn how to indulge in my studies and meet more people like me. From that very beginning of formation of that single concept, I had paved the road towards my dark path. I was in no way prepared for the competitive atmosphere or the fact that I still bore my childhood tendencies, which I would lean on constantly, as I struggled to adjust to high school life. But...This entry is not about my high school career. This entry is about how much my relationship with Rina has changed over the years. Rina was at the top peak of the class, and by the second half of my freshman year, I had begun my very visible progress downwards into the lower (way lower) levels of the mountain. Rina was one of the people I had associated with, truthfully, teasing me behind my back at how far I had fallen, although what was supposedly "their voices" might have been my own mind's creation. I could have just associated them with "them," because of their incessant dark glances at my direction, and not to mention, my history of having people discuss me negatively when I was in the same room, but in a position seemingly out of ear shot. 
In fact, every time I glance in Rina's direction; I am surprised by how far we have progressed in our friendship in this single year and how much we have come to know each other. This has taught me that my instincts are not always right about people. I cannot judge people based solely on the emotions I feel radiating off of them. There is so much more to people than a single year or even three years. For Rina and I, it took three years for us to have this close of a friendship. During a time, when I could have fallen much deeper into my condition, Rina picked me up with her fierceness and taught me different aspects of myself. Where would I have been without her and Deanna? Where would I be without all the friendships I have gained this year? How can I describe Rina? She has a sarcasm that could make any joke last a lifetime. She traps you within her kindness and never lets you escape. When she cares for people, she has an indescribable depth of compassion that she gives to every single one of them. She has an endurance and capability to dream that could last more than two lifetimes. She knows what she wants and would not push herself to accomplish goals for other people, even though at times she, herself, is confused about what she wants or which direction she needs to go. For a girl her age, she has suffered through a lot. Being on the top and remaining at the top of the mountain is almost as difficult as working your way upwards. People demand so much from you, because they expect so much from you. Rina never likes letting anyone down, but she knows that she needs to focus on her own happiness. (Always remember, Rina, that the words I put in the number five will always ring true no matter how distant we get. You are one of the two people who have given me the strength to keep reaching out for my dreams.)
This past week...Rina and I took a walk around her neighborhood. She has begun her own blog, about walking a hundred miles and life. Looking into the rays of the sun, with an intensity to weary any soul, we began talking about a light subject. Rina, since her first year in high school, has planned on taking a trip to Europe the summer before she is to go to college. She has invited me to tag along, but unlike Rina, this trip does not ring with certainty for me. My parents will only grant permission for me to go on this trip, if I obtain a job this summer. No job, no trip to Europe. Rina has it all planned so delicately from the cost of the planes, to where we will be heading, to how we will get around. It seems like an amazing opportunity. What was the most noticeable about this trip was the surroundings? The weather forecast and my mother had proclaimed it to be a day in which two young ladies should not be taking long walks around the neighborhood, but the two of us, ever the adventurers, decided to disobey. The long stretches made surprising with every step already taken. The momentary shades provided by the trees we were forced to pass to reach a destination. We joked about how we would tell our children how we spent our afternoons walking, while our children would spend their afternoons playing on their tablets (because most likely by then, all children would have tablets.)
I kept thinking about the members of the White Rose and their own wanderings around their neighborhoods, towns, and cities. What it must have been like for them, to experience those momentary freedoms, with the tide of war riding down their backs? The lives they created now reduced to photographs and readings for future generations make me wonder what photographs and writings would I leave behind. Rina decided it would be best to take photographs of only the landscape, and I came up with the idea of taking pictures of lonely items, like a single bench surrounded by trees. We sat by a creek, just like in the movies we use to watch as children, and let our innermost turmoil be reflected back up to us through the sparkles dancing on top of the water, while the bugs bit into the flesh of our legs.
As we walked, I had already begun writing this entry within the confines of my head. What is frustrating now is that I cannot express as thoroughly as I did then our discussions, my thoughts, the experience of it. What I can relate to you is the taste of the root bear float after walking four miles. Its rich creaminess sent chills down my throat in the most tasteful sensations I have ever experienced, but then again, I had never walked four miles straight before. I can also disclose to you that I almost passed out under the heat of the sun twice on our way back to Rina's house, which in turn gave me new definitions for the words heat exhaustion and dehydration. (I, now, know that when one is on the verge of passing out, it does not give off the sensation of falling but rather one of the most excruciating head aches that numbs one's body into sleep. Do not panic. I am perfectly alright, now.) It also taught me the importance of wearing a hat on a hot day. How foolish those actions seem now, but not regretful, never regretful. The suspicious activity of the children in the park during one of our stops and the knowledge that a small group of boys can provide the creatures of this world with beauty as well, will rest within me almost as much as the more hefty experiences. What else can I say about the day? Telling you exactly, every small detail of the experience would be rather boring; would it not? So...I leave you with this, because I am pretty sure you know that it does not matter what I had for lunch that day, but rather that I experienced that day. 
-Baylee
 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Only Two Percent Guaranteed

I guess I will begin with the advances so far in terms of my White Rose work, considering that is more hefty stuff than my daily life. I state this not with bitterness but with acknowledgement of the different levels of importance. I finally discovered the events that surrounded Traute Lafrenz after she moved here to the United States. It must have been difficult for her after the executions and her continuous arrests. Then, the war's end came. It must have brought such a powerful breath of relief for her, as well as sadness. Some of her closest friends were never able to see this end, yet she never failed to continue on bringing about change. She finished her medical studies and was able to open up her own practice here in the United States. What I believe to be her most influential accomplishment is she was able to discover a way to allow children with mental disabilities and emotional problems to receive the education they needed. She got married and had a couple children. In these years, her name went from Traute Lafrenz to Dr. Traute Page. 
It is amazing, though, as I find myself closing the books, containing the stories of the White Rose, I still desire to learn more about what happened. For those who survived, what did they do? What was it like for them? For me and many others, the White Rose story does not end with the executions of Sophie, Hans, Christoph, Alex, Willi, and Professor Kurt Hubert. It continues on, further than that towards the children and even the grandchildren of the survivors. Every member of the White Rose handed over essences of themselves to someone else or something else. These essences drip down into the current generations, whether by relation or by pure discovery. Then, the question appears in my head: Where does this end, then? I guess...It ends at different times for different people. I remember watching an interview for a band, that my father enjoyed listening to when he was young. The interviewer kept pushing for the members of the band to admit that music was their life, but the band members remained resilient. They told the interviewer that they have many activities that compose their lives and make it worth living. 
I thought that statement was extremely beautiful and symbolized an important lesson tfor the young audience viewing that interview. Our lives are  stained glass windows, with us making each making a piece one at a time under different circumstances, but by the end, we all have this beautiful image we can look up into. The White Rose had played a major role in Traute Lafrenz's life, but her story continued further than that, just as it began much earlier. She dedicated as much of her life to helping others as she could. Reading her story, it finally begins to sink in me, that the reason this story has impacted me so greatly is because it taught me the importance of depth. There is so many stories within one story, and the further down you go, the more lessons you are able to obtain. Thus, there is never really any clear reason for me to be bored, or to be tired, or restless. Each piece of information, that I gain and retain, is a triumph against time. It allows me to reach further into the world and connect outward. 
We live in a world, which allows us to obtain so much information in such a short amount of time. It allows us to me people in countries miles away from this world, yet I fear that I remain ignorant to this fact. (I can only speak for myself, because I have decided that judgement and criticism can only be made against myself. I must allow people, especially the people I care about, to live their lives in their own fashion. They have a different concept of perfection than I do.) In this ignorance that I surround myself in, I also become blind to potential, to the life that I have every advantage of living. Traute Lafrenz saw the potential of her life. Her many accomplishments, alone, present her to the world as an inspiration. With every information I gain upon her, no matter how much she struggled in her daily life, she continued forward and saw the beautiful stain glass window of her own making, even before she started on the individual pieces. She had the frame already created. 
* I originally wanted this entry to contain two parts, but I think it would be best to just end here. The next part is to be about my adventure with Rina and how I plan to deal with the consequences of my actions.
**Needs CITATIONS for the parts containing Traute Lafrenz's life. I thank each and every one of you as you bear patience with the time it is taking me to edit.