Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Outrage - Stanford

The courage, strength, and dedication shown in this letter is admirable. The June 2nd verdict of six months in jail has sparked public outrage. Between the media, Facebook, and Twitter this story is everywhere – as it should be. Judge Aaron Persky sentenced an ex-Stanford swimmer to six months for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. SIX MONTHS.

I’ve seen the headlines, the Facebook posts, and the Tweets, but it wasn’t until today that I took the time to really read it. As I was reading this woman’s thirteen page letter I was struck with several different emotions – I’m sad for her, I’m angry for her, I’m proud of her,  I’m amazed by her strength, and I’m appalled at the legal system.

Brock Turner – the ex-Stanford swimmer – was given this sentenced because the judge believed his age and lack of criminal history made it so “he will not be a danger to others” and that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.” Last time I checked, that is what prison is for, to impact people and to make them pay for the crimes they have committed. Even after the six month sentence, which he will likely only serve three of before being released, Turner’s father came out with a statement saying, “That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action of his 20 plus years of life.” Brock, who has never once apologized for his crime, made his own statement in court where he blamed alcohol for his actions.

This is the society we live in. This is the legal system we have in place. When a judge is more concerned with the well-being of a rapist than the victim, justice, or public safety we have a problem. We live in a society where every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, only 60% are every reported and 97% of the perpetrators will not spend a single day in jail. For years anti-rape campaigns have been stressing that in no way is rape acceptable. Alcohol, flirting, short skirts, etc. don’t excuse rape. Ever. Unfortunately, this is a horrifying example of rape cultural that sets anti-rape movements back.  


As a society, we can't accept this any longer. We NEED to take a stand and let people know rape is never okay. Several petitions have been started to remove Judge Aaron Persky from the bench and can be signed here and here. Something has to change, because, while the victim in this case has had the strength to take a stand, she shouldn't have had to take it in the first place.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Mediocrity

When I was in 9th grade my Geography teacher gave us a heart to heart about mediocrity. She told us a story about a date she once went on. On this date they went lobster fishing. She stated once they caught a lobster they would put it in a bucket and it would try to get out, but as soon as they caught several lobsters they couldn't escape. She went on to explain how every time one of the lobsters tried to climb out of the bucket the others would pull it back down. The moral of this heart to heart was whether or not you were going to allow those around you to pull you down or if you were going to continue to climb. I remember leaving this class period being so motivated, telling myself I was always going to be the one to rise above.

As I've grown up and been in different situations I've realized how hard it is to rise above and how simply wanting to isn't enough. We are taught to dream big and that we can accomplish anything we set our minds, but what people fail to mention is the thing that always seems to get in the way - reality. Just like the story taught, it is nearly impossible to rise above and be more than mediocre when those around you are pulling you down. I've learned how exhausting it can be and how after awhile you give up. You get tired of climbing, rising, only to be dragged back down.


Striving to rise above is an admirable aspiration, but like a lot of things fear stops people from achieving it. I've realized it isn't necessarily the fear of rising above that stops people it is the fear of all the crap you have to go through to get there. No wonder being mediocre is enough.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Dash

On your tombstone you’ve got your birth date and the date of your death. In between those two dates is the little dash – that’s your life – everything from the time you were born to the time you die. The question is – how are you going to live your dash?

I was introduced to this idea while watching a documentary. At the time this idea blew my mind, granted it was three in the morning. I started to really think about this and the more I thought the more blown away I was by this concept. When we look at someone’s grave we don’t even think about what the dash means. It’s your whole life in one little line – what you accomplished and who you were.

The Dash Poem 
Linda Ellis 

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears, 
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth 
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars, the house, the cash, 
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left 
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives 
Like we've never loved before

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile, 
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read 
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash? 

It's interesting to think about. I've probably over analyzed this concept to the extreme, but I guess that's what happens on a graveyard shift. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

My Near-Death Whatever

A year ago today I experienced a miracle. This wasn't just a small everyday miracle, it was a huge miracle.

I was on my way to a hair appointment in Payson. I was in the fast lane and didn't feel the car in front of me was going fast enough so I made the (horrible) decision to move into the carpool lane, just for a minute. I thought I had looked, but as soon as I made my way into the other lane someone honked at me and I swerved back into the fast lane. Unfortunately, there was already someone in the other lane who then honked. Swerving again resulted in over correcting and spinning. The whole situation was very slow motion, I thought about my mom, my sister, my friends. I thought about how at least I got to see the BSB Concert the weekend before. As I was making my 1.5 turn I saw the semi. I knew I was going to hit the semi and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried to lean my body into the seat as much as I could, you know, like you do on roller coasters and braced for impact. As soon as I hit the semi I was thrown back into the carpool lane where I spun a couple more times before my car finally stopped.




Not only was it a miracle that I was alive, but that I only suffered minor injuries. Poor Molly (my car) wasn't so lucky. While I had had many issues with her breaking down she stepped up that day, took one for the team, and saved my life. 

Also, shout out to Michael Jackson! I was listening to Man in the Mirror during the crash, therefore, I'm pretty sure MJ also saved my life. 


My near-death whatever really opened my eyes to how quickly everything can change. Life is crazy is like that. Carpe Diem/YOLO/live life to the fullest, because you never know when your last day will be your last. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Oma,

Today, on your birthday I am overwhelmed with the love and memories we share. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and wish I had more time. I guess that’s the cliché surrounding death, wishing we had just one more day to spend with the person we've lost. You said it best in a letter to Lily:

“Our hearts are ripped open and bleed. We mortals don’t know what to do with the pain of separation and as we try to grasp the enormity of it we are quickly surrounded by family and close friends who seem, in some wonderful way to help us begin to accept which must be accepted.”

Losing you has been one of the hardest things I've ever been through. I've watched as our family has grieved your immense loss and the thing that strikes me most is how much you’re loved. Grandpa especially loves you and watching him deal with this grief has been heartbreaking. The love he has for you is admirable and something I can only dream of having someday. I've watched as my mother has dealt with this loss, knowing there’s nothing I can do to ease her pain. I've watched Ellie as she’s tried to comprehend what changes your loss will bring.  


You taught me so much, Grandma. Such as the importance of family, being there for people in need, and blue eye shadow. The traditions you passed on are also something I will always treasure. Your loss often seems unbearable, but it’s through our traditions and memories your legacy lives on.



Remember when I had to have my kidney biopsy and you were there every step of the way? You let me take the temperature of your eye while we waited, you pushed me in my giant stroller, and you made me a scrapbook to remember it all. You were there for me in some of the biggest moments of my life: the loss of Lily, the endless trips to Primary Children’s, Ellie’s birth, and my parents’ divorce. While we didn't always see eye to eye, I knew I could always count on you. 



I miss you every day and often find myself regretting the time I took for granted. Thanks for everything Grandma – for always being the person I could turn to in times of need, inspiring me to be the very best me, and loving me despite all my flaws.

I love you to the moon and back,

Zoe 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

People

Thinking about all the people I've had in my life blows my mind. Some have simply made quick appearances while others have become lasting, essential pieces to my life. Recently, I've learned it doesn't matter how attached you get to someone it doesn't stop them from leaving, no matter how strong you thought your bond was.

I often have this mindset that:


But then I read this:

"Not everything is supposed to become something beautiful and long-lasting. Sometimes people come into your life to show you what is right and what is wrong, to show you who you can be, to teach you to love yourself, to make you feel better for a little while, or to just be someone to walk with at night and spill your life to. Not everyone is going to stay forever, and we still have to keep on going and thank them for what they've given us." 

When I take a step back and look at the people who have come and gone I realize how true this statement is. It sucks having people leave, but without those people I wouldn't be who I am. As hard as it is, I'm (slowly) learning not everything lasts forever and the importance of enjoying things while they last. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The FUTURE

The unknown. It seems as though we go through life looking forward to the next milestone: graduation, college, marriage, kids, etc. It's kind of scary once you reach one of these milestones, because you've spent so many years imagining what life will be like once you reach it and now that it's here you can't help but wonder, "what's next?"


I've been thinking about the future a lot lately. I used to have my entire life planned out, but life has a way of changing things; things that were once priorities aren't even a factor anymore. For someone who likes to be in control, it's a terrifying thing. As per usual, One Tree Hill saves the day by saying,"You're way too young not to believe it's gonna be okay."

I realize I am only 19 and have so much life ahead of me. Sometimes it's easy to find yourself dwelling on what lies ahead. As much control as we think we have of our futures, it can change in an instant. Although I'm not sure what the future holds I'm sure it'll all work out. After all, I'm too young not to believe it's gonna be okay.