Saturday, November 2, 2013

NaNOWriMo

Do you daydream and people-watch? Do you have an imagination that surprises you or even scares you at times??? If you identify with this, then chances are that you, my friend, are a storyteller. But have you dared to tell your stories? Have you taken what's in your mind and put it down in words? Today our guest is Tara Haring, an amazing writer and my best friend. You can check out her blog here but first read below. She has a challenge for you. Yes, you.
It's National Novel Writing Month!

Have you heard of it? If you haven't, here's what you need to know:
"National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel."

To sign up, go here or sign up for the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program here. The site and community are amazing. There are pep talks from famous authors delivered to your NaNo mailbox; forums for encouragement, brainstorming, and answers to questions (I needed an idea for a prank in my story one year and the community did not disappoint); local writing events and you get a fancy nickname - you become a "WriMo."

If you win not only have you written a book, but you get prizes. Things I've won in the past were discounts on book writing software, a couple of free hardcopies of my manuscript, bragging rights and a fancy certificate that I can hang on my wall.

But, those are just the details. First, you have to make a decision.

I'm sure there are a few of you who dream of being a writer. For some of you, it's the only thing you want to be. I was just like you once. I remember my first composition, which I am proud to say, blew the minds of my fellow classmates and made me realize I had a gift. It was a story about cupid (yeah, fictitious bow wielding angel) complete with crayon illustrations. I was in fourth grade. It doesn't seem impressive when compared to 50,000 words (in 30 days!) but at the time my peers were amazed that I could write so much. Three whole paragraphs. And over the years I started to realize, I was different than my friends. I had stories inside of me and words were my playground. But, I never put that pen to paper, those stories, they only lived in my head. I wonder about what would have happened if I had written a novel as a teenager. The final product would have been terrible, without a doubt, but, I would have done something that millions of people daydream and talk about doing . . . someday, before I was even out of High School. You can do that. You may not publish your first NaNoWriMo novel but the truth is that for most people, even successful writers, a first novel never sees the light of day. Or if it does, it's only after it's been rewritten half a dozen times. Writing is for those who are patient and willing to work, hard.

I want this for you. I want you to write your first novel this month. It doesn't matter what it is. Write a fantasy life for yourself with that really cute boy who you only wish would notice you. It doesn't have to be good. Nobody has to see it. Just write it. Get your first book out of the way and the next one will be better and the next one after that, maybe it will be worthy of publishing. Write. Practice. Work. Do it now and change your life.

Do you remember in December of last year, your lovely host (and my greatest friend) Nicole blogged about choosing a word to be your focus for your goals and positive change for 2013? I thought about that for an entire month before I settled on not one word, but a phrase.

Today is the day. It really is.

If you want to be a writer, do NaNoWriMo. You will become the person you dream of being, not in a few years or the distant future, but at the end of this month. Do you realize how amazing that will feel?

I know you are in school. I know you are busy. I know you have homework, tests, sports, plays, orchestra, friends and the holidays are coming up. My life is just as busy but this is my third year (you can witness my struggle and victory here, here and here) participating and I love it. It makes you frustrated, it requires sacrifice, sleep-deprivation and hard work but just tell yourself, "I can do anything for 30 days." It is so worth it and it is so fun.

Do not question whether it's possible. Make the decision and do it. In the immortal words of Yoda, "Do. Or do not. There is no try."

NaNOWriMo is the time. Today is the day.

Now, go sign up, the clock is ticking.

(If you sign up and want to become my NaNo buddy - I would be honored - my username is tharing. Happy Writing!)
 
  



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween!

So today I checked my email and was reading through the usual stuff and then I came across a message from 16 year old Emily who let me know that she has poems to share. Now it's no secret that I've been neglecting this site. I do have a good reason which I plan on explaining soon. But its been months,(MONTHS!) without a post. The letter I got from Emily was a good reminder of why I started this site. I know you girls have thing to say and talents to share and I want to give you that place to come together. You girls inspire me with your creativity. I promise that I'm working hard and I'll be able to devote more time to the site in the very near future. For now, if you have something you've created, send it to me. Send in your art. Send in your writing. Tell your friends to do the same. We'll be up and running again soon. Until then, take care of each other and Happy Halloween! - Nicole



Halloween Night
By Emily Webster

The moon is full and overhead,
Clouds cover the stars above;
The night is black as coal;
A cat is as dark as midnight,
Witches fly across the sky,
And vampires feast on blood;
Werewolves howl at the fullest moon,
And ghosts come to haunt the living;
On Halloween and only on this night,
Creatures can come out to play.


Monday, June 10, 2013

The House in the Middle of the Street

This next piece of writing is...well, magic is the word that comes to mind. The author is the talented Amara Allinger. She was a crowd-pleaser at the Gala last spring. As you read, you'll have to imagine a animated voice sweeping you away with nostalgia and just a hint of mischief. I give you The House in the Middle of the Street.

The house stood in the middle of the street, right behind the communal mailbox. It was a nice home, with a garage that could squeeze in two cars if you really tried, not that we ever used it for that. Instead the garage was full of boxes, boxes from classrooms and full of baby clothes. There was bins full of Christmas ornaments, surrounded by two large couches, all memories that we couldn't bring ourselves to throw away. The basement of the house belonged to our renter, Nancy Fisher. Although she has made some memories over the years, she doesn't play a big role in my story. As my mom was a teacher, and had also traveled the four corners of the globe, you can imagine what our house looked like. Well, maybe you can’t, but I can… Buddhist statues set on tables with elephant trunks for legs, fancy golden stitch works hung on the wall. A metal Prometheus fighting an eagle on a red coffee table sat next to dozens of shiny tin jugs, all surrounded by piles of books. Books full of artwork, of people, of places to go… lining the coffee table, the hallway, the bookshelves in my mom’s room.

A picture of my mother always caught my eye, before dad, before school, before life brought her down, she looked happy, surrounded by lion cubs that she snuck into the zoo to see. She had so many stories… of getting stuck in jail, being interrogated, getting chased by sharks, and swimming with dolphins. She doesn't tell those stories anymore… The point is, and yes, I do have a point, is that was my life, and that was my mom and when mom was happy she made you happy too.

The one memory that comes to my mind when I think happiness is Irish music. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, what kind of memory is that? Well, I’ll tell you. It all started with a gift, a gift in the form of a radio. It didn’t take long to find an Irish station, and since my mom is Irish, and determined to act as such, it became our favorite station. One day we were working in the kitchen, my twin brother, Ian, was somewhere else as he always was.. so we decided to dance.

It started with a step, then another, a few fumbles, and we were tapping our own routine in the little kitchen that never stayed clean. Throwing our arms into the air and kicking our legs, we danced… and danced some more… I could’ve stayed in that moment forever. The kitchen forgotten, we jumped around, banging elbows into counters and knees into legs, the music spurred us on and on. A smile was stuck on both our faces, plastered on as if by glue when the music stopped and we both doubled over laughing, trying to breath at the same time. After that, we listened to the radio almost every day, waiting for the right song to come on and take us away... back to the place where nothing mattered. I remember showing the dance to my brother, of course he didn’t get it. He didn’t understand why that dance was so important to us. But we loved it, we connected with it, we were happy with it.
Long after that first dance, and many dances later, the radio stopped working. Me and my mom both tried to find a way to play the Irish music once again but could never get ourselves to go through the trouble of turning on a laptop or burning a CD when it was time to work. So we worked in silence...

Even though we haven’t danced for a long time, and I’ve gathered quite a few happy memories since then, I don’t think I will ever be as happy as that first time, when the music kept playing for longer than usual... and our smiles didn’t fade from our faces until the darkness of night swept past the picture of my mother, with the lion cubs in her lap...past the stacks of books in the hallway, past the red coffee table and Prometheus statue, past the fancy gold stitch works and the tables with elephant trunks for legs, and the Buddhist statues surrounded by rows of beads. And past the house in the middle of the street, right behind the communal mailbox. The garage could fit two cars if you really tried... not that we ever used it for that.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Apple

I love this poem.Every word of it. This is the work of the talented Ashlyn Allred. It makes me oh so happy.


The Apple

Look up
Higher up the tree,
A little hint of red
Perks some interest in me.

I grasp my hand on a branch
As I begin to climb,
Branch after branch
I should be done in no time.

I am almost there
Just a little bit away,
I reach my hand
Where the apple does lay.

I take a swing from my arm
Where I sadly miss,
I have to have this apple
Then my hands turn into fists.

I reach one more time
Now on my toes,
I barely touch the apple
When the wind starts to blow.

I lose my balance
And begin to slip,
I struggle and struggle
That's when I trip.

Down I fall
With something in my hand,
It's the apple!!
That's when I hit land.

There's pain in my body
But I don't mind,
I grabbed the apple
It is my favorite kind.

It looks wonderful
The best it ever could,
Then I hand it to my little brother
With the promise that I would.

With a big smile
He grabs it with great care,
He looks over my shoulder and asks
If I want to share.

And We're Back

Well hello ladies. It's been awhile. A long while. I won't bother you with reasons why the site came to a screeching halt. What I will tell you is that I'm grateful for you faithful readers that have continued to check in on the site, waiting for something new. I'm thankful for those of you that have gently (or not so gently) nudged me to come back and get posting once again. So here we are.

First, a few words about The Wonder & Gala. A month ago we held this event at Utah Valley University and had a blast. It was such a powerful and uplifting night and it was so nice to meet all of you that came out and spent the evening with us. There were many requests that we make it an annual event which sounds like a plan to me.

Today is the last day of school (around here anyway). So I want to wish you all a very happy summer. I'm excited for it. I love this time of year. The trips. The lazy days. The sunshine. As always, we want to hear from you. Send in submissions about things you experience this summer. Are you visiting a new place? Preparing to move to college? Involved in a cool camp? How are you spending your time this summer? Write something up and send it in to nicole@thewonderandworry.com

This site is great because you girls are great. It can't be great without you. So send in something to share and encourage your friends to do the same. Let's make this summer awesome.

Much love,
Nicole

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I'm back

So very sorry for the LONG delay since the last post. I've been busy with all sorts of wonderful craziness that I will share more about at a later date. I have so much to tell and so much to share about the Gala - which was TERRIFIC by the way. But today I just wanted to mention an important issue and suggest that you quickly take action if you so desire because you only have a limited time to voice your opinion.

So it turns out that the Federal Communications Commission (these guys regulate what can and can not be broadcast on television) are thinking about changing their decency standards which means that more obscenities including the F-word (not Funny) and the S-word (not Silly) would be allowed and shows could also show female frontal nudity (really?!?).

So if this bothers you in the slightest, you have the opportunity to voice your concern. The Commission, which I appreciate by the way, is allowing people to weigh in on the matter before they make a decision. So, if you have an opinion you can tell them by doing this:

Go to http://apps.fcc.gov

Fill in the "required fields" that are empty — your name, address and the comment you want to become part of the public record — and click “Continue.”

Inspect your comment for accuracy, and click “Confirm.”

All I know is that when me and my husband spent some time in Europe, the country we were visiting  had similar polices regarding their broadcasting and it was uncomfortable to watch tv there, never knowing what words or images could and would pop up.

So there's your challenge for the day. If you have an opinion, you have a chance to share it. You have a voice. Make sure you use it before it's too late. The Commission is only accepting comments until APRIL 30th!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Checking In

So, I have to apologize for the lack of posts this last while. I've been busy with life, and Spring Break, and planning the Gala. Just a little over a week until the big event. Crazy. It's all coming together nicely though and it really will be so much fun. I promise after all the Gala craziness is over I'll get back to posting your submissions and the other random posts that make their way to this site.

As you know, we talk a lot about doing what we can to make the world around us a  bit better and in that spirit I have an announcement to share. On the night of the Gala, we will be holding a clothing drive for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah program. This is a great organization that really makes a difference in the lives of young people throughout the state.

So, to all that can join us on Friday April 12th, make sure you sweep through your closet (it's time for a spring cleaning anyway) and bring all your unwanted clothes with you to the Gala. Encourage your family and friends to do the same. Clothes can be any style and and size. Every item donated will be greatly appreciated!



That's it for now girls. You're amazing!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Bully Project

This week, my husband cam home from playing basketball with his friends to find me weeping on the couch.

"What are you watching?" he asked.

I was watching a documentary. Here's the trailer...


It's called The Bully Project and I can't explain how deeply it effected me. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it, talking about it with friends, it's haunting.

As I've talked with friends, I've asked, "Have you been bullied?" Some people I asked haven't. Others had stories to share. When they asked about my school experience, I told them no. I hadn't been bullied. Not until now, sitting here writing this, did I realize that's not true. I was never beat up like so much of the physical violence shown on this film. But there was that older boy that slapped my butt every day of the forth grade when I walked past him to get off the school bus. Even when I told him to stop, that I didn't think it was funny. Every day I dreaded walking past him. Every day it was the same embarrassing, frustrating, belittling experience. This is one example. I could go on.

But this isn't about me.

This is about the kids that are being bullied today and what we can do about it.

What is so frustrating about the issue of bullying is how little is being done to stop it. Everyday there are young people being ridiculed, beaten, humiliated and many of the adults that should be able to protect them aren't doing it. Sometimes parents and teachers just don't see what's going on. Other times they know about it but dismiss the seriousness of the harm being done. Police rarely get involved. School administrations are slow to take responsibility. So what can be done?


I was going crazy watching the footage of The Bully Project because time after time after time these kids were being hit or harassed as they were surrounded by their peers and NO ONE SAID ANYTHING to those doing the bullying. Mostly they just ignored it sometimes they even laughed or egged it on. And I kept screaming in my head at these bystanders - DO SOMETHING! SAY SOMETHING! TELL SOMEONE! It still makes me crazy just thing of it.

No wonder these poor kids being bullied feel helpless -they are being victimized while surrounded by people and no one helps them! It brings to mind the old saying, "The only thing needed for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to do nothing."

What I LOVE about this documentary is that it concludes with an invitation to get involved, because that's what it's going to take - all of us getting involved when we see someone being treated in a cruel way. You can go to The Bully Project to learn more about the efforts to stop bullying. On the site you can take a pledge to join their anti-bullying movement. I joined today and earned my first badge (which is explained on the site). I'm now officially an "Upstander".


As defined on the site: An “upstander” is someone who recognizes when something is wrong and acts to make it right. When an upstander sees or hears about someone being bullied, they speak up. Being an upstander is being a hero: we are standing up for what is right and doing our best to help support and protect someone who is being hurt. In many ways, this is another word for being socially responsible. Here's a really cool link sharing Things You Can Do Today to make a difference.

My thought for you is this = be kind and be brave. That means treating people with courtesy and civility including those who might not be your favorite people in the world. And when you see someone getting bullied, don't just turn away. It could be as simple as saying something like, "Hey be nice" or "Bullying is so not cool." Any form of disapproval, will make the person getting picked on feel better and can also give courage to other people around you to speak up.  

You can be the voice of reason and compassion. You can be a hero.

And to any reading this that are currently getting bullied, know that you're not alone and that things WILL GET BETTER. I promise. Don't allow anyone to make you feel insignificant. Ever. 

You matter to the world and one day you'll know why.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Gala Submission Extension

The Gala program is coming together beautifully. The submissions have been wonderful and Friday April 12th is sure to be a fantastic night. Today I received a few submissions with apologies for being past the technical deadline. I'm so grateful that these girls sent in their work despite the tardiness because they've been great. This got me thinking that maybe there are a few more of you out there with things to share that got busy and missed Friday's deadline or maybe this is your very first visit to the site and you want to get involved, either way, I've decided to extend the deadline just a bit. So, if you missed Friday's deadline here's your shot. Email your submissions to nicole@thewonderandworry.com by Wednesday March 20th. That's not a great deal of time so get your work in and I'll be in touch!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Emma Checketts

If this doesn't make you happy, I don't know what will. Today I'm sharing the extraordinary talents of Miss Emma Checketts, a young photographer living in the good ole' Utah. Check out these awesome pics and when you're done and wishing there was more to see head over to Emma's blog to enjoy more of her delightful work. Thanks to Emma! You're awesome!

Just a quick reminder that all submissions for the spring Gala are due THIS FRIDAY so, if you haven't all ready done so, send in your work. Certificates will be given to those chosen for Outstanding Achievement - that could be you.
















Monday, March 11, 2013

Women's History Month

Hello lovelies! Did you know that March is Women's History Month? Me either. Luckily, I have wonderful people in my life to inform me of such greatness. This month is a time to honor all the incredible women that have come before us, pioneers and ground-breakers, bright-minds and brave hearts. I've included a video below that spotlights many noteworthy women of our shared past. Just a tip: read fast and enjoy the music. I think I'll have this song stuck in my head all day...


There's also this cool link: Women's Words of Wisdom: Thoughts Over Time that you can check out to find quotes from outstanding women over the years.

This month is also a time to honor the women in our lives that inspire and strengthen us on a daily basis. In honor of Women's History Month, Flickr put together this tribute:


Here's a closer look at a few women highlighted in the Flickr video:


MOTHER
My Mom, my hero.
"This is my beautiful mother. The older I grow, the more I realize how perfect my life has been, despite all of the hardships my family and I have faced together. She encouraged me to go after each and every dream of mine. She taught me strength, love, acceptance, and what it means to be happy even when life’s circumstances are telling you to feel the opposite. My thank you’s will never be enough for this awe-inspiring woman." – kmitchell11

Retrato de Dolores
"She’s a powerful woman, who taught me the high value of independence, generosity and enjoyment." – Daniel Ivan

GRANDMOTHER
Mormor
"My grandma; the lady who taught me that having a positive attitude makes life easier." – Ida/FarWestLogbook

Grandma
"This amazing woman is my grandmother. She has been through so much strife — from losing her husband at a young age to having to raise five kids on her own. Not only did she raise my mom, aunts, and uncles, she raised me. In a sense, she is my mother, my best friend, and my everything. Her smile is as contagious as her love!" – Terry Vo

MY LOVE
"Monica is my other half, who always smiles as beautiful as you can see on this picture. She is the same as me, with the same positive and negative qualities, with the same values and family background. And she is always supporting me in photography ;)" – p.dave

My Little Bride ♥
"Amy Chu, my wife who changed my life too much. I first met her in the late 2008 in my own coffee shop when she went here with her friends. And I think I loved her at first sight. Now we’re happy together and plan to have a child in the next year!" – Khanh Hmoong

BEST FRIEND
Shy smiling woman wearing eye glasses
"This woman is my best friend, Nikki. She inspires me daily by sharing her love of teaching with her students, family, friends and with our children. She truly enjoys watching people’s eyes light up when they finally understand a concept that they’ve been struggling with. I am inspired by her strength, grace and love for helping others." – Pink Sherbert Photography

HOPE
"Women like her come from the lower rung of the society, where resources are limited, survival is difficult, no education, and it is a constant struggle to make ends meet. But the most amazing thing is that, despite all this, they manage to smile through. This woman is [a person of] fisherfolk. I come across her very often, and I have always seen her smile. We all need to learn from them because we seem to get perplexed and worried with the slightest problem. We need to be calm and composed to deal with it all." – M D


Lastly, this month is a time to think about what kind of woman you want to be. What legacy do you wish to leave behind? Social reformer Dorthea Dix once said, "In a world where there is so much to be done, I felt strongly impressed that there must be something  for me to do." And so it is with each of us.

Happy Women's History Month!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Six Silent Prayers

In our Creative Energy Series we usually feature artist that use paint, a pencil, or a camera to channel their creativity and reflect on the world that surrounds us. Today, I have something a bit different, an artist that paints a picture with words instead of a brush. Brittany McAdams contacted me and expressed her love of writing fiction. She has a story to share with us. Please enjoy, "Six Silent Prayers".



Six Silent Prayers
By Brittany McAdams

I walked through the rundown streets of the broken village. The devastation of the town tore at my heart. I knew at that moment that not only would I have to report on the situation of this country but help the people as much as I could. As I walked, I said a silent prayer asking my beloved God to help me serve His children.

Using the camera that was strapped around my neck, I began taking pictures of the poverty I saw: a starving baby clinging to its mother, a woman hanging what little clothes her family had on a clothesline, a widower leaving his crying children to go to work to put food in their stomachs. Ripped shirts and pants were all the people had to cover themselves from the hot Sun; most had no shoes. I looked down at my expensive hiking boots and sturdy jeans. I had so much compared to these people.

So I began my personal mission of service and my real job of reporting. Every night I interviewed a new family then gave them what they needed. I learned their stories. I learned their needs. I learned their wants. I learned to love them. After interviewing them, I would go to my small rundown hut with barely a roof, loaned to me by the people I was working for, and type the stories into my laptop, eventually putting them all together to show the world what was really happening behind the wall the dictators of that country had put up.

One of the families I interviewed especially stood out to me. The mother was only twenty four but she already had six children, the oldest being five; the youngest were twins six months of age. She had a amiable face with smile wrinkles all around her eyes. Her smile was warm and welcoming. It made you feel loved. She was gorgeous with her dark skin and curly hair. She was a good wife and mother. She kept the small, dirt-floor hut as clean and tidy as possible. She loved her children and worked very hard to make them happy and give them a little fun. The father was a quiet, yet opinionated man who had plenty to say about the state of his country once he started to open up a bit more to me. He was thirty years old. He also loved his family and labored in the mines 12 miles away to keep food in their stomachs and a roof over their heads. He always seemed to be covered in soot that never seemed to wipe off. He was careful with his smiles, only sparing them for his wife and children.

The husband and wife shared their story with me. "It all started when I was a boy," the father said. "I was just ten years old when they came to power." The mother nodded her head, gripping her husband’s hand. "I was only four," she said "but I remember feeling a change come about. Ma and Pa didn't smile as much, and my oldest brother grew refined unlike the crazy boy he used to be."

"They invaded our country like they had a right to it, but they didn't and they still don't," he informed me. "They said they would pull us up and help us, but since their reign over us they've done nothing except take our money, and force us to make more, for them." Every time he said "they" or "them", he said it like it was poison in his mouth. I quickly took a note of that. "My family used to have good money. Not too much nor too little. We lived comfortably. But that changed when they began to tax us. The taxes were so huge we couldn't afford to pay them. They sent my father to prison, and eventually he died there from the brutal torture. My mother found herself widowed, jobless and with three young children, she couldn't find a job that would allow her to take care of us. We were sent to the street. I, being the oldest, took on responsibility as the father, and got whatever job I could to take care of my family." The husband paused for a very long time. I could see the red hot anger burning in his eyes. He stood abruptly and left the room mumbling something about how that was all he would say. My heart ached for the quiet man and as I left the hut that night, I said a silent prayer for him and his family.

As I went along, I found myself becoming one of them. These were my people. I was already fluent in their language before I came, and as I learned more of their culture it became easier to believe I had lived here all my life. I loved their culture. I loved their natural mannerisms: burping was not only appropriate but expected after a meal, they called each other “brother” and “sister”. Each person had a remarkable amount of respect for the other. I loved their darkened skin, and as I spent more time with them in the Sun, my skin began to darken a bit to be more like theirs. Serving the people gave me a sense of purpose I hadn’t felt in years.

At the end of every month, the newspaper I was writing for asked if I was ready to come home to New York yet, but every month I asked for one more month. It went on for a 12 months before they told me I must leave or they wouldn’t give me money for my housing, food, or a way home anymore. It was time to leave.

As much as I didn’t want to go, I knew I had to. I had no means to live on my own and my family was insistent on me coming home. The farewells from the villagers had been hard and emotional, but I made it through with a silent prayer for the strength to keep moving. I walked up to the small dock where a boat was waiting to take me across a sea, where I would get onto the plane that would take me home.

As I reached the boat I had assumed was the one I would be boarding, an old man told me I wasn't allowed on. I tried my very hardest to explain to the man that we had arranged for me to go on his boat. He told me that the government had passed a new law saying no passengers were allowed on any boat without a signed document from the government official that specialized in the travel of the citizens. So that's where I went, but no matter how much I argued, they wouldn't give me the paperwork I needed. There was no way home.

So I went about living my life. I got a job washing dishes in the neighboring village, nearly 24 miles from where I lived. A kind woman, a widow with 12 children under the age of fifteen, let me live with her and use her horse to get to and from work until I earned enough to rent my old hut that the newspaper firm had loaned me.

I still added to my writing as much as I could. In the first 12 months, I had written over a 120 pages and every few days I added one more. I believed with all my heart that these people's stories deserved to be heard more than any celebrity or politician. That's why I wrote; for this people. My people. When I would read through my work, I would say a silent prayer that somehow the rest of the world would see it and do something about it.

Eventually, after a year, I earned enough to actually buy the house I had previously lived in. Because the newspaper firm had owned it, they somehow installed Internet connection in the house. I finally had communication with my family again. They were all terribly worried about me being stuck in a third world country, but I always reassured them that this is where I was meant to be.

* * * Six Years Later * * * 

“Any objections?” the officer asked, though we all knew he would arrest anyone who did.

The crowd was absolutely silent. Anger raged through me. How can they do this to us? To me? How can they take away our rights like this?! I had to do something. I couldn’t sit back and let them tell me what to do.

My heart thudded in my ears. I looked around to see the same dumbfounded stare on every face. If no one would stand, I would. First I said a silent prayer asking for the courage I needed. Then, with nothing to lose, I stood, my eyes trained on the officer. I watched as his sly grin turned into a deep frown. “I object officer!” I yelled up to him.

Shaking his head he said, “You’re a woman with no means. You have no right to object.” he waved the other officers who started to come towards me away, and turned to walk off the stage. So, now I’m not good enough to arrest? I thought. Well, let’s show them.

I squeezed past the people on my row, and briskly walked up the aisle to the stage, surprised no one arrested me before I got there. I grabbed the microphone, and put it to my mouth. “This is exactly what I object to!” I almost jumped when I heard my words being broadcast over the whole audience. “Not only the new law, but all the ones already set! Just because I am a woman, I am stupid and have no voice! But I am not stupid! With the help of my father, I learned to read and write!” I smiled at the audience's collective gasps. Apparently, most had forgot I was raised in America where I was free to learn.
I was surprised that the officers hadn’t dragged me off yet, but I knew they were probably waiting to see what other laws I would admit to breaking, but I didn’t care. I plunged ahead. “And now, I am smart enough to know that these men shouldn’t be ruling our nation! They claim to bring us up, but they are pulling us down! If we just--”

An officer grabbed me, his hand over my mouth. I struggled, hoping I could wiggle out of his grasp. I bit the guy’s hand, which made him pull back, but I was still constrained. “Don’t let them do this to us!” I yelled, hoping my voice would carry.

Suddenly there was a gag around my mouth, and they shoved me to my knees. I knew something bad was about to happen. The fact that they weren’t dragging me off stage told me as much. And I was right. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the officer I spoke out against come towards me, a stick in hand.

I looked out to the audience with pleading eyes, hoping that someone else would have the courage to stand, or at least save me, but no one did. They all looked up at me with a organized stare. My heart sank.

But then, what could I really expect? I brought this upon myself. I was the one who stood, who broke at least a dozen laws just by stepping on stage. I made that decision. I wasn’t even one of them, though that is how I often considered myself. I couldn’t expect others to make that sacrifice for me. I was an outsider. I was a nobody.

A nobody who would die today because of her own stupid determination.

The sound of approaching boots filled my ears, matching the beating of my rapid heart. I looked to the heavens and said a final silent prayer to the outlawed God I so desperately believed in.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Friendship

Today I have a special treat. A poem written by 17 year-old Kiana Park, followed by her thoughts on friendship. Finding and keeping good friends is a tricky thing. It's hard to find someone  you really click with and who you can trust. Some people will try to use you, taking advantage of you in every way possible. Others will be there for you but only until the right opportunity comes along. Girls hurt each other, sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes in a moment of weakness and other times out of  carefully crafted meanness.So choose your friends wisely. Make sure that you are a good friend to those that let you in. And when you find someone that is a true through-thick-and-thin-bring-out-the-best-in-you kind of friend - cherish them. 


When you find someone that really gets you
It’s like finding a rare gem. It’s priceless.
And you wouldn't even dare think to toss it back in the rough
It’s like finding a lost item. A lost book.
A lost key. A lost ring. When the lost get found,
there’s a feeling of instant peace, relief, immense joy.
Finding you was like finding a lost journal.
You held within everything I knew, everything I needed to hear.
I guess in a silly sense I fell in love with a book.
Told me the happiest story ever told and brought me to life within its pages.


What is a best friend? Is it simply someone to tell all your secrets to? Is it someone you spend all your time with? Is it someone that likes all the same things as you? Or is it someone who you run crazy and wild through the summer nights with and mourn with through the dark winters of life?

I've had several best friends throughout my life; each very unique and different from each other. I never expected them to step into my life and become such a big part of it. I never said, let’s be best friends – and it happened. It has always been a whirlwind, crazy, emotional, and sudden.

And they too have ended as so.

I think it takes a special individual to be your best friend. You can search throughout the world for one, yet I believe you will never find one until it is meant to be. Like sparks of electricity you click and there is nothing like it – knowing that someone loves you as much as you do them.

That’s best friends; pure love. Not perfection, but understanding. Acceptance of the flaws, the way one sings off key or how late nights turn into long talks and lots of foolish laughter, habits of biting your nails or laughing at your own jokes. Complete and total love for a person full of imperfections.

However, just like seasons come and go, so do best friends. The ones I’ve lost I’ve kept dear to my heart and cherish the memories we've had. Though written personally to one of my past best friends, the following applies to all:

“Maybe in some bizarre universe this is best for you, but I think part of you knows that it hurts a little more than you'd like. I know that you say how you feel has faded... but I don't believe it for one second - because I will know, the second I look in your eyes, how you feel about me. I always know, and you know that”

Sometimes friendships are broken, the tie between two souls is cut. Sometimes what’s cannot be fixed. Just as a broken glass glued back together, what’s broke is still broken. By choice or circumstance – people leave.

The beautiful hope is that there can always be new friendships. A new best friend. Best friends aren't an endless commodity – but in time, new ones are found. And that deep internal connection begins again.

Something lost isn't gone forever, and something as beautiful as the connection between two human souls can always be found again.

Thank you Kiana for sharing your thoughts on friendship. If you'd like to read more from Kiana, she has a great blog that you can check out here:andshelivedinthemannerofhappiness.blogspot.com

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thank you!

So the weekend is almost here! A very happy Friday to all of you and may your weekends be full of good clean fun. Something really cool happened this week - our site reached over TEN THOUSAND views! Not bad for the first three months. So I want to say thank you, dear friends, for coming to the site and sharing it with other people you know. Thank you for contributing and inspiring me and each other. Thank you for being the amazing girls that you are.

As for me, I'll be at Utah Valley University tomorrow for the Expanding Your Horizons Conference. So, if you're there come say hello.

I leave you with this lovely watercolor painting created by high school sophomore, Manpreet Kaur.
Enjoy the painting and enjoy your weekend!



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Escape

Hi girls! First,  I must say that I have been overwhelmed by the submissions lately! Every time I open my inbox I am amazed by your talent, creativity and passion. Thank you for reaching out. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for sharing your voice with me and with all of our readers.

If you haven't sent something in yet - I'll be waiting for you. If you'd like to contribute to the site just send me an email. If you live in the great state of Utah (or feeling like swinging by) you can be a part of The Wonder & Worry Gala on April 12th. Just click the tab above for more information.

Today I wanted to share with you one of the submissions I received a few days ago. It's powerful and raw and real. Thank you to a wonderful girl for putting a very painful experience into words, that we may understand your world a bit better.


Escape
Name Withheld


I crouched behind the sofa praying he wouldn't find me. He'd been drinking heavily all day and now he was looking for me. I knew what would happen. Silent tears streamed down my face, he was getting closer and I knew it was only a matter of time before he found me.

“Lookie what we have here,” he drawled. I could smell the booze on his breath. “Did you really think you could hide form me Rose?” He grabbed my arm and yanked me out from behind the couch. I barely had time to stand before the first hit knocked me down. Blow after blow rained down on me. My arms, my stomach, my legs, but never my face. He couldn't have anyone knowing that he beat me.

 Later that night he pretended to be sorry, crying and holding me close saying that it would never happen again. That he would change, get help. I knew it would never happen and I'd lived with my dad long enough to know the only way it would stop is if I left. No matter how many times he told me he loved me it never seemed to make a difference. The drinking didn't help matters and don't get me wrong, I wanted to tell someone, but I was scared. Scared that no one would believe me, I mean everyone thought my dad was such a great guy. He shoveled the neighbors drive in the winter, raked their leaves in the fall, and held barbecues in the summer. Who would believe he beat his daughter?

I couldn't wait till May, it would be my 18th birthday and since I'd been saving my money since I was 12 it meant I was the much closer to freedom. I was getting out, and soon. He didn't know what I was planning and didn't need to, but I refused to live like that any longer.

 It had been three weeks since he hit me last. I had hoped that maybe, just maybe, he really had changed. That the AA meetings were helping. But I guess that was just too much to ask for. Later that day when I got home from school I hurried to make dinner before he came home. I went to put the casserole in the oven, but before I could , I heard the door slam and I dropped the dish. It shattered and went everywhere. I don't even remember him hitting me, but I do remember waking up covered in the glass and what was supposed to be our dinner. My body ached all over. I hurried and cleaned up the mess, knowing it would only make him angrier if he came out and saw the mess still there.

 Later that night when I went to shower I looked at myself for the first time that day. Big bruised covered my arms, ribs, and legs. Finally I looked at my face. The mark I found there on the left side of my face, was the size of his hand... So much for my face being off limits.

Weeks later the bruises had finally faded. I'd taken a couple of beating in between but none that were that noticeable. It was the week of graduation, only a few more days before my birthday. I'd finally be getting out and leaving all of this behind me. 3,256 dollars and 47 cents: that's how much I'd saved up. I had enough to get a new start somewhere far from here.

The last couple of days he'd been surprisingly nice. He kept talking about me and him going to New York for my gradation present. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It fell the night before graduation. He came home late that night, around 11, and of course he was drunk. Guess he stopped by the bar on the way home. I was in my room packing the last of my things when I heard him outside my door. I knew it was locked but that didn't stop my heart from jumping to my throat. I was too close for him to stop me now. He banged on my door and called me terrible names. After a while he got bored and I heard him stumble away. Probably going to his room to waste away. All my money was hidden in the kitchen, I had to get it before I went to bed. I crept out into the hallway, and down to the kitchen. Being as quiet as I could, I moved the sugar jar aside and grabbed the jar labeled 'Wheat Flour'. Inside was my life savings. I set it on the counter and put everything back. Right as I turned around something hard hit my back, causing me to fall to the ground. Pain radiated all over my body. He must have snuck up behind me. He kicked my ribs again and again till breathing became next to impossible, and when I thought it would never end, the pounding in my head became the only thing I could hear. He had left me there all alone.

He was storming all over the house and throwing things. I couldn't move, couldn't breath. Black spots danced over my vision, and I got angry. Who did he think he was? How dare his treat my like this? I was his daughter, his own flesh and blood, and he thought he could beat me? Finding strength I didn't know I had, I stood up, grabbed my money, and ran to my room. I didn't have much, just my duffel bad and my back pack. Grabbing both I opened my window and threw them out. I was so close!

He banged on my door, yelling that he hated me and I was the worst thing that had ever happened to him. I left him like that. Left him to be alone and bitter all by himself. I jumped Out the window, grabbed my things and finally walked away. I didn't look back. I didn't regret my choice. And for the first time in years, I felt hope.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's Your Turn To Change The World: Google Science Fair 2013

Welcome to the Wonder and Worry! If you came to the site looking for information on our Spring Gala please click the tab above, otherwise read on for today's exciting post.

A dear friend sent me an email the other day telling me about the Google Science Fair and insisted that I post information about the event on our site. I took a look at what the Fair offers and was immediately impressed by the caliber of youth involved and Google's mission to help them along the path of innovation. I was also touched by my friend's urgency on the matter. A lifelong science lover, she expressed how important it is for young scientist to be encouraged. She said, "I just wish that when I was young, someone would have supported my dream to pursue science."

So to my amazing young lovers of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and every other branch of science that exists - this post is for you. And I am here, along with my friend to tell you to go for it. If you have a passion for science - follow it. If you have a crazy idea you want to try - go for it. There are young people all around the world making discovers that will shape and transform our world. Why about you? What about your idea? The opportunity is yours for the taking.

Here's a video with some footage from last year's competition. Take a look.



There are only 66 days left until the submission deadline so get started today. Who knows, this year's winner might just be you. Here's a finalist from last year's contest...



Last years' winner was 18 year-old Brittany Wenger. Click below to see how she is helping doctors diagnose breast cancer more successfully.



Here's one last video with brief instructions on how to get started (remember all entries must be received by April 30th). Can you guess who's speaking? Ahhh. I could listen all day. You can visit the Fair's main page for more information here.



For one last boost of motivation, here are a few female scientists that were pioneers in their fields:

Mary Anning: Along with her brother, she discovered her first fossil at the age of twelve, in 1811. Her work helped establish geology as its own scientific discipline, and her fossil discoveries would be among the most significant of all time.

Marie-Sophie Germain: In 1789, at the age of 13, she read about the life of Archimedes and knew that she wanted to become a mathematician someday. She became interested in number theory, published research papers (often using a male pseudonym) and eventually worked on Fermat's Last Theorem, as well as what became known as Germain's theorem. She also collaborated with some of the most distinguished mathematicians of her time.

Ada Lovelace:As a teenager, she became passionate about mathematics, developed her own algorithms, and in 1843 would write what is now recognized as the first computer program.

Patricia Bath: As a teenager, she won a National Science Foundation scholarship, leading to her interest in cancer research. Eventually, she would develop a mathematical equation to predict rates of cancer growth, become the first woman on staff at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, and the first African-American woman to receive a patent for a medical invention.

That's it ladies, now get to work!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More Info on the Gala

On April 12th, 2013 we will be hosting The Wonder & Worry Gala at Utah Valley University. I'm so excited for this event and grateful for the Women of UVU Club for being our sponsors.

This is going to be a great night! Our theme for the night is "The Wonder & Worry of a Teenage Heart". I want the night to be a reflection of what it's like to be a teen girl in today's world. What do you cherish in life? What are the challenges? What makes you unique? What can we all relate too? What can you create? What do you have to say? Basically we're taking the mission of our website and translating that into an evening of art, music, readings and performances. You girls are amazing so I know the night is sure to be a blast. I can't wait.  And, did I mention, it's free? That's right. So be sure to mark your calenders and tell your friends so you can all be a part of the program or come watch and cheer on your peers. It's going to be awesome.

If you're interested in being part of the program here's what you need to know...

For the Writers: I'm looking for a few girls to write some great poetry, a short essay on a topic that interests you (for example: why bullying bothers you or what you learned watching a friend struggle with an eating disorder or telling us about the best day of your life, the possibilities are endless really)  Also, if you have a knack for creative writing you can send in a short story. Ideally you could read your piece as part of the program. If distance or nervousness is an issue I could also get another girl to read your piece (giving you the credit of course) if you would prefer. Please just email your entry to nicole@thewonderandworry.com by March 15th.

For the Musicians: I need singers and musicians! There are no limits here - opera, country, folk, classic, jazz, you name it. Just do what you love. You can email me a video of you singing and/or playing. I'm also open to do an audition over the phone or possibly in person if you live in Utah county. Email me for details at nicole@thewonderandworry.com. All auditions/videos must be completed by March 15th.

For the Artists: The night of the Gala, we will have a gallery set up for viewing before and after the program and I want it filled with your amazing art. Send me your photography, drawings, paintings, sculpture, etc. I want it all. I want everyone to see what you can create. Show us the world through your eyes! Email your entries to nicole@thewonderandworry.com by March 15th.

For the Doers: Part of our gallery will be set up to exhibit projects that you are working on or have completed. You are changing the world and here's your chance to share that vision with others. This could include science projects, inventions, humanitarian projects, and whatever else you want to surprise me with. Email your entries to nicole@thewonderandworry.com by March 15th.

For the Dancers: Dancing is also a great way to express yourself. If you have an awesome routine that you want to share just let me know. Again, video submissions are accepted by email. Live auditions may be possible within Utah County. Email your entries to nicole@thewonderandworry.com by March 15th.

Let me know if you have any questions! I'll be making the program decisions by March 22nd. You girls are awesome. I can't wait to see what you send in. To all of our readers across the country and around the world - we will miss you at the party but you'll be there with us in spirit and we'll be sharing what we can online.

I  think that's it. Send in your submissions. Spread the word and have a great day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Exciting News!

So, I must apologize for the absence of posts lately. I promise I haven't forgotten about you and all the other faithful readers out there. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I've actually been busily working behind the scenes planning/organizing/prepping for something awesome. So here's the big news...

On April 12th, 2013, the Women of UVU Club of Utah Valley University will welcome us onto the university campus for our very first live event!

I give you The Wonder & Worry Gala!!!

Mark your calenders because you won't want to miss this. We're going to have so much fun! There will be music and art and readings and mingling. It's going to be an amazing night. You can bring your mom, your sis, a group of friends, a date - bring them all.

So between then and now, I'll be putting together the details of our program which means I need your help. If you would like to be a part of the program that night send me an email or tweet. I'll be looking for all sorts of art to display in our gallery. I also want to hear from you if you'd like to sing or play some music for us that night. We'll also have tables for displays of projects (science, humanitarian, etc) you'd like to share. And of course, we want to hear some poetry or short readings about the things that matter most. You girls are so wonderful and I am thrilled that we'll be able to get together for a night and celebrate your awesomeness.

I can't wait to see you there!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Present

Today I'm excited to share with you another beautiful poem by our dear Bryndi Shepherd. You can read the poem and then we'll talk.


The Present

The future is a terrifying place.
There abides fear, uncertainty, and so many possibilities—
Sickness, loss, death, poverty, injury.
We worry that fairytales don’t really come true,
That Cinderella didn’t really find Prince Charming,
True love’s kiss won’t break the spell,
Underdogs don’t always come out on top,
Happy endings don’t exist.
They tell me this and
Sometimes I believe them.

Other times I cast their opinions and their pessimism into the fire.
I think of the opportunities to be taken,
Adventures to be experienced,
And lessons to be learned.
I remember that the glass slipper did fit!
The cold, still girl did awake,
The spell was shattered,
Good can conquer evil.

Suddenly, the future is a skyscraper
Filled with hundreds of doors, windows, stairways, and turns.
They are all waiting to be opened, explored, decorated, and experienced.
There is a building just for me.
Today I will start upon the path
That leads to my happy future:
It is called the present.

I just love the way Bryndi captures the mixed feelings surrounding the uncertainty of the future. It can be both nerve-wracking and wonderful to think of all that lies ahead. Life is unpredictable, even unplannable in many ways. Sometimes life will get hard. Circumstances will complicate. You will face trials and disappointments. But the world is still a beautiful place. It is possible to walk a path through dark times and still experience joy, love and learning along the way.I love the words of Camilla Eyring Kimball, "You do not find the happy life. You make it."  The sentiment shares the same determined optimism as this poem. We must all choose not to be victims of our circumstance. Don't be afraid of the failings of yourself or others. Don't be discouraged by all that could and can and will go wrong in life. Choose to embrace each day, to embrace the unknown. I once saw the legendary Dr.Patch Adams speak and he said, "The most revolutionary act one can commit is to choose to be happy." I've never forgotten those words. I wrote them down and read them over and over again until they were forged into my mind and heart.

That's my challenge for each of us today, choose to be happy. Choose to look on the bright side. See the glass half full. Hope for the best. Find the silver lining. (And every other cliche yet wise bit of advice you can think of). Assume the best in yourself and everyone around you. Don't fear the future. Don't let challenges overwhelm or discourage you. Choose to dream. Look forward to the future and make the most of your present.Thank you Bryndi, a girl who has seen her share of life's ugliness, for your message of hope and go-to-it-ness. May we all find happiness in life, today and every day.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Anime Artist: Lena Uchiha

Happy Monday and welcome back to The Wonder And Worry. Today we have seventeen year-old Lena Uchiha contributing to our Creative Energy series. Lena has a particular passion - anime aka Japanese style animation. I first fell in love with anime years ago,watching Dragon Ball Z. It's a style that is growing in popularity within the U.S. with films like Ponyo, Spirited Away, and The Secret World of Arrietty. If you haven't experienced anime, you should check it out. Here's Lena's message for you:


I really love to draw. It has been my passion ever since I was little. When I was in 3rd grade I started drawing anime because I saw my friend drawing it and I really loved the eyes, so I started to copy all different kinds of anime art until I found my own style. I feel like I draw better traditionally, but I really love to draw digital because the coloring always looks so clean. I am inspired by many different things, when I see a picture on the internet that I love I will be inspired to draw and get better to make my art look even better! I am also inspired by my animals and my stuffed animals. Every time I get a new stuffed animal or pet I want to draw them and make them a new OC, like my drawing of Haku, she is one of my pet albino rats. I'd like to say to other artists is that there is no such thing as a bad artist. If you're just beginning, you aren't bad, you just have room to improve! If you keep on drawing, you'll get much better. Everyone has potential and no one is a bad artist!












Thanks to Lena for sharing her work with us.I love the look of anime, the big eyes and vibrant colors. There's often a magical feel to it that I find really beautiful. For your enjoyment, I've added a few videos below. Have a great day everyone!




Friday, February 1, 2013

Priorities

So, I have another post to share with you today but I must admit that I've missed having posts from teen contributors the last little bit. I have several girls working on posts right now so we should have some great posts coming up next week. Also, if you would like to contribute a post or know others that would, please send me an email (nicole@thewonderandworry.com) or tweet and I can help get your work on the site! Now on to the topic for the day...

I was at the gym the other day in spin class, which I love. I think it's hilarious. A bunch of people squeeze into a room filled with bikes. It's dark. The music is loud. People are screaming as we all go crazy pedaling in place. The instructor is shouting things like "Mind over body!" and "Your lungs should feel like they're about to explode!" It's honest-to-goodness so much fun.

Anyway, during my last class the instructor was talking about one of the other girls in our class. She was commenting how amazing it is that this girl is always at the gym. She was joking that she must have a bed tucked in some corner where she sleeps for a few hours at night because this girl basically lives at the gym. All of this was fine, the girl she was talking about is a good sport. She was laughing, partly because she does spend a lot of time working out. Then the instructor said, in reference to this girl, "We all want to be like you."


To be honest, my first reaction was "Yeah, we all want to be like that...I want to be like that." But then this inner voice inside me shouted back, "No you don't!"

Now, I'm not saying there's a single thing wrong with spending a lot of time in the gym. What I am saying is that over the years I've learned something about myself.

In the past, I believe I looked at other girls and saw all of their strength, all of their best qualities and then I would make the mistake of comparing that to all of my faults and struggles.

The truth is no one can be all things. Life is a series of choices. It's up to each of us to choose what we want to do with what we've been given. This means deciding what we value. Prioritizing. Setting goals and going after what we want most in life. We're all different. We have different talents and dreams and desires and that's great.

So if we all have a list of what's most important to us - our lists will look different. The girl at the gym, maybe her list looks something like this:

Priority Number 1: Working Out
Priority Number 2: College Classes
Priority Number 3: Serving the Elderly

Someone else's list might look like this:

Priority Number 1: Being an Awesome Big Sister
Priority Number 2: Painting/Art Projects
Priority Number 3: Reading Great Books

Or this:

Priority Number 1: Piano Practice
Priority Number 2: Church Service
Priority Number 3: Working Out

Every one of us must choose what matters most to us. Those will be the things that we give our time and energy. The trick is choosing your list conciously and carefully and then being happy with it.

I enjoy working out but it's not my number one priority, let's be honest, it's not even in my top five. But that's okay, my top five are all things that I love deeply. That's what my inner voice was telling me. I've made my list and I love my list.

My challenge for you is to do the same.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm Not Buying It

To the messed up world of so-called high fashion advertising, so desperate to get people's attention. You're a ruthless bully. A shameless manipulator. A greedy, twisted, mess of deceit. I've seen your work and I have something to say...


This is not okay with me. You're selling a rug? A coat? What is that anyway? An idea? A culture? Women are meant to be  stepped on, walked over, suppressed by loafer-wearing men? Is that what you're trying to sell me?


What's the pitch here? Men that buy your brand are what? Powerful? Dominant? How about creepy? Why is this man pining a woman to the ground? Why do all the other sweaty men in this shot look amused or interested and not concerned? It should be okay with me to be forced and held against my will by an angry looking man? It's okay if his buddies use and abuse me? Do you want me to accept this or are you just giving me a head's up that this is the way your world works whether I like it or not? 


Really? Really! Do these women have gigantic heads or did the Photoshop guys just go crazy here, making these bodies WAY too thin. Are you trying to sell me clothes? I can't tell. I'm too distracted by the bizarre bodies on the page. Their heads are bigger than their hips! Really?

Sexualization of a very young girl. What is attractive or "sales worthy" about this?

Why am I seeing more and more ads sexualizing young girls? Who (other than pedophiles) could be okay with little girls being turned into sexual objects? This little one should be out in the yard with her friends singing a Justin Bieber song or talking about her favorite Disney show or coloring at the kitchen table. Why is she lying on a tiger, glammed out from head to high-heel, posed like a sexy diva three times her age? 


What the heck is this about? Why are your pages full of women posed in these unnatural, uncomfortable, unbelievable poses? Why are you trying to portray women as unfeeling, nonhuman creatures? Poor girl. Somebody help her up, dust her off and take her out for an ice cream.


And then of course you take it even a step further. Nothing says "high-fashion" like making a woman look like a corpse. Why do you do this? Why do you want us dead? Why do you glamorize violence against women? You show us bruised and bloodied and lifeless? Is that beautiful to you?



Women are not objects. Every cropped shot of cleavage and glistening skin belongs to a real woman with a name and a brain. Why cut out the woman's face? Why must your ads continue to reduce us to body parts for your gratification? 

The women is nothing more than an object, a living display rack. She is also interchangeable with any other female model.

I can't get over the picture above. Who is this poor girl? Can you imagine if that was your day at work? She's naked, on her hands and knees (can't be comfortable). She's got her hand in a shoe, another shoe on her bum. Can you imagine how long she must have waited as some team of people used her body as a display board and set up all those belts and glasses and bags (awkward). What is she thinking here, with a shoe on her head and a watch on her calf? Somebody better buy her and ice cream too.

Women are beautiful. Of course you want to put women in your ads, to show off whatever here-today-gone-tomorrow product your selling. But we are beautiful because we are intelligent, compassionate, creative, life-enriching human beings. Why not show us for who we really are? Why use us in such a superficial and derogatory way? I'm just saying, this whole dominated, dead, degrading thing you're trying to sell me - I'm not buying it.


PS: Girls if we want the world to see us as powerful, more-than-our-body-parts, intelligent beings it would help if we all acted that way. It would help if we all respected ourselves and each other. What would happen if women everywhere would learn to say no? No, you can't crop out my head and take a zoomed in shot of my cleavage. No, I will not let you make me look beaten and then call it beautiful.  No, you can not turn my child into a sex object. No, I will not pretend to be a murder victim because you say it's art. No. No. The answer is no.