Cover of “The Scientist” by Coldplay

Recently I started getting into singing. I decided to start making videos of me covering songs on YouTube. Admittedly, my singing technique needs a lot of work, and I feel kind of awkward in front of a camera, but I had a lot of fun making it, and hope to improve on both singing and video making as time goes on. Here is my first video, a cover of “The Scientist” by Coldplay. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

On Mental Illnesses as Adjectives

As someone with multiple mental health diagnoses, I would like to address the use of mental illnesses as adjectives. I’m talking about the times people say things like “oh, there she goes acting anorexic again,” about a picky eater, or “I’m O.C.D about that,” if they are really into cleaning, or “He must be bipolar,” about someone who is acting a bit moody. It is not acceptable to use the names of real illnesses, which can be debilitating, in such a trivial manner. There is already enough stigma and misunderstanding around mental illness. Casual use of the terms contribute to inaccurate perceptions, such as that someone who is depressed is just sad, and can make themselves snap out of it if they only tried hard enough. They are struggles that real people go through, and their names should not be tossed around like that. Words have power. If you have used a mental illness as an adjective before, I ask you to consider how it makes the people who actually have it feel, and to think about your word choice. We can all help contribute to dismantling the social stigma if we make a conscious effort to be mindful of our language. Thank you for reading.

Poem of the Week: This is Just to Say, by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

This is an imagist poem where what you see is what you get: a passive aggressive plum pilferer, probably scrawling this as a note while licking the plum juice off his fingers. The plural, “plums,” bugs me because he could have left her at least one, and still indulged his temptation in a halfway decent way. Some people say that this poem implies a level of intimacy between the narrator and his wife since he could predict what his wife would do with the plums. I personally think it implies the opposite. He may know her motivations and desires, but I think the intimacy from that is canceled out by the fact that he would sabotage a simple pleasure at the start of her day and then offer this smarmy, mocking apology. If this was written in the age of Twitter, he probably would have added a “Sorry Not Sorry” hashtag at the bottom. As annoying as it is, I still felt compelled to highlight this poem because it makes me smile at the same time. I have a thing for poems that can cause that kind of tension.

Source: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/245576
Photo: Plums, by Andy Price via Flickr Creative Commons

Poem of the week: The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

 

I found some solace in this poem because I’m trying to do exactly what the narrator is doing – saving the only life I can save. I feel that the wind has been prying at the foundations of my own life as I have begun to question what I hadn’t questioned before, what I had just taken for granted as the path set before me. For years, I had assumed that my life would follow a certain pattern, including going to college, marrying a man, and having children. But I have come to realize that college may not be the right environment for me right now, I’m also attracted to people of other genders, and I’m not sure anymore if I want to get married or have children. Just like in this poem, people shout their bad advice: “Oh, so you want to work minimum wage the rest of your life?” “You’re not bi, it’s just a phase.” “You’ll change your mind.”

I’ve been charting unexplored territory here. It’s been invigorating, and I try to focus on that instead of letting other peoples’ reactions make me feel small. This poem challenges us to break away from society’s expectations and take care of ourselves. It’s heartbreaking to read about the narrator having to turn away from people who are also suffering, but I think that by making our own self care a priority, we will become wiser and stronger and ultimately more equipped to help others.

Source: http://maryoliver.beacon.org/2009/11/new-and-selected-one/