Depth of Memory.

This year mark’s the 70th anniversary since the liberation of Auschwitz prisoners. Tuesday evening I watched a one hour special of Holocaust survivors telling their stories of the camp to CNN corespondent Wolf Blitzer. 70 years isn’t so long ago in the grand scheme of things. Just imagine it: 70 years ago, human beings were destroyed forever whether physically or mentally. Human beings who, just a few years before were going to school, going to work, playing games, enjoying families, just…living. And now we no longer have these amazing people, people who could’ve impacted the world for the better but can’t because a man and his followers decided that they weren’t worth the space they took up.

And yet 70 years has put enough space in between today’s generation to those long ago. We read about the history of the Holocaust as if it’s just another event that we have to learn about it in school. Many of us choose to ignore the repercussions of what Auschwitz and others like it have done in the years hence. How sad, we think, that such a thing could happen, could be allowed to happen, and then we continue on our daily lives without another thought. Or there are those who say “I know it’s important, but I just can’t handle reading about these things. It’s too horrible.”

If it’s too horrible, then why did we allow it to happen? We need to remember it, we need to continue hearing these stories. If we don’t listen and remember Auschwitz and the people who suffered there, then we’re allowing Hitler to win. We’re telling those who wanted to wipe out an entire group of people that what they did was right. Why do we want to do such a thing?

When I was about 14, I visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. with my eighth grade class. Even though I’m not Jewish by any means (at least as far as I know), seeing this place had a huge impact on me. I remember walking into the room where they have a little shrine for all those who perished in the camps with candles lit and just standing there for several minutes in silence just thinking. It was as if I could feel these people around me. Needless to say it only fueled my interest in reading about this time period more.

I feel passionate about this only because I care about this part of history so deeply. I feel connected to the stories that seem so poignant to me. I can’t advocate as an expert or even for the Jewish experience because I’m not either, but I feel it on a human experience. I’m a person who only wants to connect and understand on an emotional level in some way or another. By trying to emphasize, we can keep their memories alive and never let it be forgotten.

A Brief Commentary.

The weekend has been warm, but unfortunately I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I wanted to as it was my weekend to work. I did get to go out a little yesterday on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. After I took care of the book drop at work, I went around town with my mom to various stores and shops. My dad would’ve called this gallivanting. I didn’t find much for myself, but I did find a book journal on the 50% off table at Barnes and Noble. This was nice because when I went in a few weeks ago, I had bought a different book journal to use as a record for the amount of books I’ve read. The one on the 50% off table was the one I was deciding with the one I got. So, in essence, I got both of the ones that I wanted and came out better for it.

We then walked around the mall and my mom got a couple of fold-able baskets and a Christmas tree that was on clearance. We then ate in the food court and had orange chicken with rice and broccoli. Not long afterwards, we made our way to the Goodwill store before going home. I enjoyed the day, but it left me exhausted, making it so much more felt when I was feeling slightly under the weather to begin with from the fluctuation in weather in the last few days. I’m not complaining about the weather, though. I would rather it be in the 40’s than the teens and negative weather we’ve been having a few weeks ago. It’s not as bad as it was last year, for which I’m thankful.

I’m trying to get back into blogging but haven’t quite found my muse again – or should I say, I haven’t found anything that made me want to blog on for any length of time. If you have any topics that you’d like to read about or think I’d enjoy writing about, by all means make suggestions. Something will come up, I’m sure.

Welcome to the New Year 2015.

The New Year has begun and I’m sure many people have set goals for 2015. I haven’t really made any goals for the New Year, except to read more books (among other reading challenges) and writing more in my journal (and blog). I’m not big on making resolutions, but that’s my general feeling for New Year’s any year. I’m just not big on New Year’s, for me it’s just like any other day. For me, I should be making resolutions every day and not just on New Year’s. We should always be improving ourselves throughout the year rather than just waiting until the new year to start. But I can understand the sentiment of the New Year. It’s a new year, so let’s make a new start! At least it’s getting people to start thinking about themselves and what they should do in order to improve. They might not finish the goal or even start, but at least they’re thinking about it and eventually those cogs will push them foreword into whatever it is they’re pushing for.

As I’m sitting here writing this, I’ve began to think of some goals that I’ll like to set for myself or at least improve upon over the year. Even I can think of some areas where I can work on for the next year:

  1. Drink more water and juice, less pop. I’ve noticed in the last year that whenever I drink pop in the afternoon/late afternoon I don’t get a good night’s sleep at night. So, more healthy drinks that don’t keep me awake all night when I need to sleep.
  2. Walk more. I did a lot of walking and hiking last year, but it wasn’t on a regular basis. Starting in the spring, I’d like to walk every day and maybe even hike once or twice a week.
  3. Journal and blog more. I want to write in my personal journal every day and try and blog more than I did in the last couple of months or so. Maybe this will give way to actual fiction writing (or memoir or nonfiction, whatever inspires me).
  4. Read more than I did last year. I read a lot in 2014, but it’s still lower than what I used to read back in the day. I plan to slowly build my reading levels up again. If you want to see more of my reading goals, see my blog at The Literary Attic.
  5. Start thinking about what I’d like to study if I want to go back to school. I have two degrees but I feel they’re not enough to further myself in my career. I would like my education to back me up and give me more experiences. I don’t quite know where to go next, but I can at least think about it and get myself in the right direction.
  6. No boyfriends or dates. I made this goal before 2015. The last year or so I’ve been dating someone on and off. I sort of wanted to date him after a while, but in the beginning I certainly didn’t want to date anyone and was convinced by the guy to date so I kept working at it. In the end it only drained me and made me hate myself for giving more than he was giving me. So for the next year, I’m going back to my old sentiments of not dating anyone. I hate dating, especially when I don’t want to go out on a date. I’m happier alone and no one’s going to make me change my mind. No matter what.
  7. Be healthy. There’s been too much sickness and death in my family in the last 7 years. I don’t want anymore illness to plague us.
  8. Be happy. Find what makes me happy and pursue it with abandon. That’s all.

What are some of your goals for 2015? I hope it’s filled with good health, good friends, and good happiness.

Singers Who Have Shaped Me.

If I’m not mistaken, most people enjoy listening to music. We listen not only for relaxation, but to find meaning and connection with ourselves and others. What we listen to and how we listen to it as well as our interpretations of the music is an individual experience. As many know (or will know), I’m a big fan of country music and it has shaped my how and what kind of music I listen to outside of the genre. That doesn’t mean there’s some anomalies in my listening experience, but for the most part my musical tastes have taken a similar trait.

Regardless, there are singers who have moved me, changed me, saved my life on my occasions. These singers, in essence, have spoke to my soul and have explained my views and life so eloquently. They’ve colored my life, some more so than others, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are some of those singers who shaped me:

  1. Garth Brooks.
  2. Josh Groban.
  3. Keith Urban.
  4. Shania Twain.
  5. Tim McGraw.
  6. Alison Krauss
  7. Chris Thile/Nickel Creek
  8. Toby Keith.
  9. Zak Brown Band.
  10. Faith Hill.
  11. Trisha Yearwood.
  12. John Denver.
  13. Lady Antebellum.
  14. Alabama.
  15. The Judds.
  16. Reba McIntyre.
  17. Montgomery Gentry.
  18. Little Big Town.
  19. Alan Jackson.
  20. Dolly Parton.

Things I Don’t Understand

I got this idea from Rick at Surrounded by Imbeciles and I thought it’d be a good idea to write one on my own and that is about things I don’t understand. I don’t understand a lot of things, but some things I just can’t ever understand, period. Maybe one day God will look down at me and say “Child, this is why these things happened,” but until then I’ll be forever in the dark about these things.

I do not understand why:

Men can’t ask women out to dates and pick them up for the date anymore.

People get such road rage and/or do stupid things while driving. Nowhere’s that important to get upset/risk other people’s lives just because you’re impatient to go where you’re going.

Others rant for ten minutes about why they hate country when I confess I like it.

iPhones/Androids/Smartphones are so obsessed over (I still have a flip phone with money added every 90 days).

Movies/t.v. shows are so important. Everything in moderation.

People don’t read.

Everyone’s pressured to be extroverted.

There’s not enough love in the world.

Why my eye likes to twitch randomly in the last couple days.

That’s all I got for tonight. Maybe I’ll do this as a series next time. And that’s a wrap.

My time to reflect and be thankful.

In the midst of wars, protests, deaths, and other heartaches, it’s easy to lose sight of all the good in this world and focus on everything that’s bad. Tomorrow we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a holiday created exclusively for reflecting on the good and being thankful for what we have. I’ve had my share of bad times and I’ve forgotten to take the time to stop and see what good things I do have in my arsenal of experiences.

This morning I’m thankful for:

A roof over my head.

A job that pays me for the hours I work on time.

Clothes that keep me covered and warm during these cold months.

Food to keep me nourished.

Being able to stay home for the holidays and not have to go out and fight for these rights.

Having an education.

Living the life that I’ve lived.

Having a car to drive.

Getting to choose who I fall in love with or date (if at all).

An iPod that plays the music I want to listen to.

Getting some time off this week to sleep in and relax.

Having the good friends that I do.

Having a computer so I can blog and connect with others through other social media.

Having good health.

Having the rights and freedoms that I have.

Being able to read.

Not having to fear for my life.

Being able to catch my first fish and have my first motorcycle ride this year.

Knowing how to care and love someone deeply who has a serious illness, even if we’re no longer together or talking.

Sleeping in and snuggling in a warm bed.

Life in general.

Deceived Looks.

They say never to judge a book by its cover, that looks can be deceiving. This is never truer when dealing with people, especially those on the celebrity level. I say this because we’ve had a lot of celebrities in recent months that made us realize they were never the people we thought them to be. Robin Williams was suffering from severe depression and eventually committed suicide, Phillip Seymour Hoffman died of a drug overdose, the lead father on 7th Heaven was convicted of pedophilia, and in the more recent news, rape victims of Bill Cosby have been coming out of the shadows to finally tell their stories.

It shouldn’t be surprising, to be truthful. They are humans, after all. Just because they’re celebrities mean they are above the petty troubles the rest of us have to face on a daily basis. And yet as a society we have elevated them all to the level of gods. These people entertain us through the movies, books, and music we enjoy, surely they’re nothing less than the perfection of gods? They can do nothing wrong.

And yet they can, as so many have shown to us over the years. They are not always the personas that they have so carefully constructed. Some celebrities hold dark secrets of rape and incest, drug and alcohol abuse, mental illnesses and other secrets they don’t want to come out, yet inevitably do a lot of times. They’ve come to join the fame that they’ve gained throughout the years and who wouldn’t want to enjoy at least part of their success?

And yet we hold them to that standard. When their horrible truth comes out, we all ruffle our feathers and exclaim angrily that they couldn’t “possibly” have done that, they are the pinnacles of our lives, childhoods, etc. But they can and have and done and will continue to do if they’re not stopped. Just because they’re famous mean they’re exempt from the law or anything else. It’s too bad that it happened, since talent graces itself on the unlikeliest of people, but sometimes reality is what reality is. I hope we have the strength to overcome and move on.