Police Officers and Overheard Conversations

I meant to blog about some events last week and didn’t have time to write! Prepare to time travel into the nearly present past…

tumblr_n4gsiv4ufM1qirafjo2_500

It is last Tuesday and I’m driving to class. I have two classes one after the other, and if I don’t run, I’m usually late. So today, I decided to drive instead. The buildings are maybe a five minute drive a part, so naturally, I wasn’t wearing a seat belt. I forgot that my life is…well, Beck, so I didn’t think anything of it. Lo and behold! Who should see me turning into the parking lot but the good ole town police. I didn’t see the cop pull in after me, so I parked and prepared to get out when I saw the flashing lights in my mirrors. I immediately knew why he had pulled me over and waited for him to get out of his car in slow motion (with his deputy in tow) and approach my window. The usual cop and driver script was played through, both of us unenthusiastically, and I gave him my license and registration. He kept me waiting in my car for a long time while he did magic and mysterious things with my documents in his car. Eventually, he returned with a bright and shiny ticket, which I didn’t even look at before throwing it in my glove compartment and heading to class. At this point, I was twenty minutes late and very hot and bothered.

I can understand if I wasn’t wearing a seat belt on the interstate, but I was in the car for less than five minutes and I got a ticket. Of course, I didn’t tell him that; he wouldn’t have cared anyway. I know it’s ultimately my fault and “responsibility” and “Click-it or Ticket” blah blah blah, but really, he could have let me go with a warning. In my experience, Po-po don’t give “warnings” unless you’re a flirty blonde. Maybe that’s not true, but I’m upset about this, so (:P). This has not been a good year for me and Rihonce (my car) thus far.

Update: I went in for my court date and a super cute DA let me off. Hooray for not having to pay the ticket! I’m mending my ways and never driving without my seat belt again!

my brain gets angry

I’m getting the feeling none of you realize how small the dating pool is for intelligent women at my school. This goes beyond the girl/boy ratio as many of the guys that do attend my school are, well…frat boys.

Exhibit A
I heard a conversation very much like this while waiting in line to pick up a package this week.

Dude 1: How was your weekend, bro?
Dude 2: I’m exhausted. I threw up, like, four times every night.
Dude 1: Yeah, I just chucked it out the third floor balcony every night. Haha
Dude 2: I went home, popped a Prozac before bed and maxed out.
Dude 1: Yeah dude, I got home, smoked a bowl and just chilled.

Ladies and gentleman, these men will most likely procreate someday…#ohdear

I’ll leave you with that,

Beck

PS: Yes, I’m aware that all my images are from The Mindy Project and I don’t care. Mindy is my spirit animal (sometimes).

Advertisements

White Girl Black Girl, a poem

I learned today that one of my poems was chosen as a winner of the Human Rights and Social Justice Writing Contest at my school. I am incredibly honored to have won. I almost started crying during my midterm when I found out.

I wrote this poem to make people uncomfortable and get people reflecting on who they are on campus. It’s not supposed to make you feel happy, and its purpose is not to offer solutions, but to bring awareness. It was born in a moment of reflection and frustration, and I hope it creates a moment of reflection for you too.

White Girl

Get out of my way Brown girl
I’m walking here
My North Face jacket and cowgirl boots
won’t stand for your presence
See this Longchamp purse?
It cost more than you spent
on textbooks this semester
And I have it in five colors

Get out of my way Black girl
You don’t belong here
With your Payless shoes
And your sub-par brands
I make sure you know
You can’t match my style
When I stare you down
at the coffee shop

Yeah, keep hiding in your MCC
That’s where we like you
Out of sight, out of mind
Not seen or heard
Not On Our Campus
We own these bricks
And all these societies we join
Ensure we’ll never mix

You wish you were me, you all do
With my straight blonde hair
And my classic blue eyes
My polished ivory skin
and my Vineyard Vines
Don’t even try to compete
You’ll just fail again
like you always do

Get down Black girl
When will you learn?
Your knappy hair and
Your face like mud
Will never outshine me
Why don’t you just give up?
Crawl back to whatever ghetto
you managed to escape from

Don’t worry, I’m not racist
I have that one Brown friend
We haven’t spoken in weeks
But she’s convenient to me
Don’t worry, I’m not ignorant
I’m fully aware of the distance,
Of the disparities between us
And that’s just the way I like it

This campus won’t ever change
Always separated, never equal
Always silenced, never celebrated
There’s no hope rising from these ashes

Every slur that goes unnoticed
Every crime that goes unchallenged
Fuels my fire, My desire
to stay beyond your reach
And leave you in the dust
Cause we both know
you don’t bELONg here

Photo courtesy of Heather Cassano, The Pendulum.

Photo courtesy of Heather Cassano, The Pendulum.

Black Girl

Go ahead, White girl
Walk past me with disdain
Stomping down the bricks
In your brown leather boots
Your nose stuck in the sky
I’m impressed with the number
Of designer purses you have
Tell me, how many will you
Be taking with you when you die?

I don’t have to explain my style to you
I don’t have to defend my face and hair
Against your judgment and your stare
I can express myself with or without
Whatever brands I choose
You can keep your expensive-
Eco-friendly-keeping-up-with-the-Jones-’
mine-is-shinier-than-yours-Porsche
I’ll stick with my simple-broken-in
Gets-me-where-I-need-to-go-sedan

Tell me, did your daddy buy you
A new MacBook Pro
After you told him yours was stolen?
Do you understand what it means to work?
To be in need? To go without?
Your moneyed perception is so blind
To the realities of this world
Your excess is sickening
But your ignorance is just sad

Truth is, I’m a threat to your
Imaginary superiority complex
Because even though I come from the ghetto
And you come from old money
We ended up in the same class
At the same college
And your perfect White world
Is disturbed by my presence

Truth is, you ignore me
Because you can’t come to grips
With the crimes of your ancestors
You come from a history of injustice
I come from a history of resilience
I would never want to be you
You hate me because you hate yourself
You hate me because I remind you
Of your guilt; it’s okay White girl,
Some things you can’t help being born into

Don’t worry, rich girl
One day you’ll learn
That you can’t keep us down
That we’ll never give up
That difference doesn’t mean deficiency
That the world is only turning
A more beautiful shade of brown
With every passing generation

This campus may never change
Always separated, never equal
Always silenced, never celebrated
I’m covered in ashes
Still I rise, filled with hope

Every slur that goes unnoticed
Every crime that goes unchallenged
Fuels my fire, My desire
To remain, to be heard
To change the status quo
Even though, we both know
Minorities don’t bELONg here
Minorities are just allowed here

Beck

Dear Professor

Dear Professor,

If it’s possible to be a completely different person from one month to the next, I can say with confidence that I am not who I was last semester. The reason I know I am a different person is because of those two small words, “with confidence”.

But first, I want to apologize. I’m sorry for letting you and myself down. I’m sorry for not being able to finish my assignments on time and not performing to the highest standard. I’m sorry I had to work during the semester. I’m sorry I was homeless. I’m sorry I wasn’t reliable and doubted myself. I’m sorry things turned out the way they did.

I’m also not sorry. I’m not sorry for the things I couldn’t control. I couldn’t help that I needed to work to afford to stay in school. I couldn’t help that I lost my job and didn’t have a place to stay. I couldn’t help that I was spending two hours every day commuting instead of doing work. I couldn’t help that I found a place to live too late in the semester to give me time to catch up. I also couldn’t help that my course of study required me to take five classes, two of which were capstone courses, complete a practicum, and study for a huge standardized test.

I’m tired of being sorry. I’m tired of regretting my actions and feeling bad about my failures. Because I learned from them. Who I am is not what I have done. I am not a failure. I am an intelligent, capable, responsible student. I have fears, but I don’t let them stop me from trying my hardest to achieve my goals. I have confidence in my ability to be not only a good student, but a successful professional. Failure is giving up when things get hard. I do not give up, no matter what. That is who I am.

You once told me that teachers make poor students, but I think teachers must be good students in order to learn from past mistakes and grow as individuals and professionals. I may or may not teach in a high school classroom, but whatever I do, I will be a teacher, because that is who I am. I don’t need a license to invest in those around me and help them grow. As you said, I have a lot to offer the world. I may do one thing or many things in life, but what I won’t do is limit myself because one person told me I couldn’t do it.

Sincerely,
Beck

How to be Homeless in College

helpmeimpoor

I was stranded at my friends apartment last week while NC was in the middle of a snow storm. This reminded me of last semester when I was staying there almost every week because I had no other place to go. I learned a lot about how to go without last semester. Becoming homeless is a process that makes you realize exactly what you do and do not need to live. It’s a painful process.

I started the semester in a small apartment attached to a house nearby campus. The rent wasn’t bad and I had just gotten a job as a barista at the local B&N cafe. After about a month, I moved out because my landlady didn’t want me to keep my cat in her house, and I wanted to live with my cat (don’t judge me).

At the beginning of October, I moved into a house with a student couple, their evil cat, smelly dog, and loud chicken. (Yes, I did say chicken.) I settled in and then…I lost my job. Apparently, my availability was not working for them, even though I told them I could work anytime I wasn’t in class. With no job to pay rent and a new landlord asking for a deposit, I found myself, at the end of the month, moving for the third time that semester…home.

My Mom lives in Raleigh, about an hour from campus, and I had a full schedule with seven classes. I was so scared and I didn’t know what I was doing, but I had no choice but to keep going. For weeks, I woke up at 5:30am so I could drive the hour commute and be on time for my 8am class (and I’m not a morning person in the least). To save gas, I asked my friends if I could alternate sleeping on their couch, but I didn’t want to be a burden, so most of the time I slept in the library or took naps in my car.

I had a system. I would go home every Tuesday and Thursday night to get more clothes and food. I would shower in the gym locker room and do laundry on the weekends when I could stay home. I would work in the library and then drive home to sleep in my room with no bed. And I would student teach and try to finish my projects on time. Part of me knew this meant I wouldn’t be passing all my classes, but I’m nothing if not stubborn, and I thought I was strong enough to do it all.

Okay, so technically I wasn’t homeless, but I was constantly moving between my car, my friends’ apartments and public spaces like the library and gym. I felt homeless, and that anxiety really affected me and my ability to work. I learned how to get through the day by getting “free” coffee from faculty lounges and attending school events with free food. I ate a lot of pizza that semester.

Having no where to go makes one anxious and alone, and I very quickly fell apart. Every single one of my professors emailed me or “had the talk” with me about my low performance (some more than once). What could I say? “Sorry I didn’t finish the paper, Professor, I was busy trying to find somewhere to sleep last night.” I felt tired all the time and it wasn’t from the mountains of work I stayed up doing. I knew I needed to do something about my living situation and fast.

That’s when I remembered that I had been adopted recently. My church has a program that allows families in the church to “adopt” college students so they can get a home-cooked meal, and have a place to stay if they can’t go home for breaks. I emailed my “family” and asked if they knew of anyone that had an extra room to be rented out until May. I received a quick response offering a room in their own house for the year. It felt weird accepting help from people who were essentially strangers, but I wasn’t in a position to say no, and a 30 minute commute is better than an hour commute, so I said yes. I’ve been living here ever since. I won’t say it wasn’t awkward, really awkward, at first, but God has put me in a good home and I’m so grateful that He has provided a place for me to live during my senior year. I hope I can do the same for someone else one day.

What my adopted family did by taking me in reminds me of this passage in Matthew 25.35-40 (NIV)

‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I was a stranger and they invited me in, and that’s pretty awesome.

Beck

The Flower Man

What kind of a name is Soul Gastrolounge? It’s a bit weird, I’ll admit, but it is a really cool place for eats and drinks in Charlotte, and is where my friends and I started our Saturday night last weekend. It was really dark, but the bar was impressive and we all know that’s the most important part of the restaurant. The place was really busy, so we didn’t end up staying to eat or drink, but it’s definitely somewhere we want to come back. Once they told us the wait time was an hour and forty minutes we decided to leave.

Beneath the lounge there is a neat art gallery called Twenty Two (Check out this great review!). As we passed by, a man accosted us and asked us to come in and check out the show. He turned out to be the artist on display. We got drinks and walked about. The space is small but the atmosphere was really laid back and fun. I really liked the paintings of the artist, John Hairston Jr. I couldn’t find any pictures of the paintings we saw that night, but below is one of his that I found online. I’m no art critic, but I really like his style and use of color.

CapturePicture Source

Our next stop of the night was Dharma Lounge, another place we didn’t stay because the cover was $13 dollars. I’m sorry, but if the cover is that much, the floor better be made of gold and the drinks free all night. We ended up at Nan and Byron’s which by day is a super cute restaurant, and by night a classy lounge and bar. The drinks were overpriced and there was hardly enough room for dancing, but you can’t beat the price (zero dollars). Also, those “train wreck fries” were delicious. We had a good time. There was a guy that was really fun to watch drunk dancing. A weirdo even hit on my friend with the line, “Are you a bar tender?” Haha.

On the way home, my friend had a sudden undeniable urge to eat a donut at 2am. We found NOVA’s Bakery and while they didn’t have donuts, they satisfied our appetite for baked goods and sweets. I got a muffin and some bread. As we were eating, a man came up to us and handed my friends and I a white tulip each. He introduced himself as The Flower Man and then said he was homeless and would appreciate some help (aka money). We didn’t have much, but I gave him some cash. He seemed really nice and I wished I could have done something more for him. He didn’t leave the shop immediately and later I went up and offered him my extra loaf of bread. He looked surprised when I asked his name and shook his hand. If it wasn’t two in the morning and I was slightly more sober, I would have liked to talk with him more. I’ve always wanted to be friends with a homeless person. Not because I feel like it’s my job to help them or make them un-homeless, but just because I think they would have interesting stories and experiences to share. People who are homeless are often ignored by everyone and I can imagine they feel invisible a lot of the time. I like making people feel visible and heard. If I can’t give him a job and a home, at least I can do that.

This seemed an interesting way to end the night. The intersection of my lifestyle and that of The Flower Man made me realize that while I call myself poor, I’m actually richer than many in the US. At my school, I’m surrounded by students from the upper middle/ high socio-economic class and I feel poorer than I really am. I’m really just lucky to be in college at all, even if I did have to take out thousands of dollars in loans to make it through. I really hope I meet The Flower Man again.

Much more to come
Beck

Warning Signs

“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal.” – Jane Austen

Earlier I said that I sort of made a friend in my class and I wasn’t happy about it. Let me tell you why.

At the end of class the other day, I knocked my water bottle over…again. Luckily, this time it was properly secured. The only people in the room were me, my friend, and a classmate I had never spoken to before (which is everyone really). “I don’t know why I’m so clumsy!” I said picking the bottle back up. He says, “I share that clumsiness with you. My friend calls me Murphy’s Law because everything that can go wrong, does go wrong when I’m involved.” To which I replied, “Me too. It would happen to me when the entire class is watching too.” And then he said, “You pulled it off well though.” By this time, I’m pretty sure he wants me (jk!), but all I say is, “I have learned to play it off and embrace it because it happens so often.” Then I flashed him a dazzling smile before leaving the room with my friend. Just kidding, I probably looked constipated because my brain is incapable of processing interaction with the male species. We briefly bonded, so what? It’s not like we’re best friends now. “So what!?” my brain responds, “He wants to marry you!” SMH brain. SMH. Just because he’s slightly attractive and said a total of two sentences to you, doesn’t mean he wants to marry you. Somehow, that doesn’t stop me from instantly liking him.

Sometimes I wish guys wouldn’t be so nice to me. I tend to overreact when they do something nice or are just plain friendly. One time, a guy smiled at me in my Astronomy class my freshman year and I stalked him for three years around campus (This didn’t end well). People say they don’t know what love is, or they don’t know what it feels like to fall in love, but I fall in love with everyone every day. If guys weren’t nice to me, I wouldn’t want them to like me. It’s all their fault. But really, I think I’m just a little bit crazy. I’ve watched too many romantic comedies and read too much Jane Austen. (Where are you, Mr. Darcy?!) So, I’m not happy about this sort-of-friend I’ve made because it puts me in danger of developing a crush on this dude. I’ve already learned that he is a universal donor and donates blood and plasma to save babies, SAVE BABIES. The warning signs are already there.

Beck

Winter Term First Impressions

Darn you WordPress! You deleted my post and now I have to recreate it in a lesser form. Oh well…

brown

My school has a Winter Term every January that allows students to take one class every day for three hours. To sit in a small desk and listen to the slow ramblings of a professor is a unique form of torture. But it’s almost the end of the first week and it gets easier every day. Today we talked about Nazi book burnings during WWII. Oh yeah, I’m taking a Banned Books course.

On the first day of class, we went around the room and made introductions. We were supposed to say our name, major, year, and a “memorable fact”. I hate thinking of fun or memorable facts for intros! How am I supposed to know what’s fun to everyone else? Probably not the best moment to mention that I like Lord of the Rings or playing board games. It sort of turned into a boasting session anyway. Most of my classmates told us their sports team made “all-state” or something like that during high school. All I could think was, “Really? You haven’t done anything more interesting since then?” One girl proudly proclaimed that she worked with a Nascar driver over the summer and knows “a lot” about cars. “I even know how to change my own oil” she said. I had to stop myself from laughing out loud.

My turn was coming up and I still didn’t know what my memorable fact would be. I usually say something like, “I’m half Indian,” but that didn’t seem very fun compared to working with Senator mustache face in Pennsylvania. I ended up creating a memorable fact instead. As I was trying to wiggle out of the smallest desk in the universe, I knocked over my large cup of water, which rolled off my desk and broke, spilling water all over the carpet. Instead of catching it like a normal person, I just kept saying “oh my god” and fumbled after the cup. “This would happen to me” and “Is my life a movie?” were my first thoughts as my classmate handed me the empty styrofoam cup. I stood up and realized that everyone was still staring at me waiting for my introduction. “Well, I’m clumsy” I said and everyone laughed. I quickly said the rest of my intro and sat down with my feet resting in a puddle of water.

I’m so awkward. The ice was broken (literally) and since then I’ve sort of made one new friend (which I’m not happy about). As you can read, I’m really good at making positive first impressions. When have you made an especially good or bad first impression? Tell me about it in the comments section! : )

Beck

PS: As you read this post, I want you to imagine me sitting in a college classroom flailing my arms about every 5-10 minutes to get the motion-sensor lights to turn back on. It looks like I’m doing really bad yoga in a dark room.