An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Once upon a time, in a far-off land, I was kidnapped by a gang of fearless yet terrified young men with so much impossible hope beating inside their bodies that it burned their very skin and strengthened their will right through their bones.

Damn. I read An Untamed State over a period of two weeks, taking in the torturous first half at a snail’s pace, speeding through the second half in an emotion-filled haze. Continue reading

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Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Amour, Redux

A few weeks ago, I watched Amour, a movie centered on Georges and Anne, a married couple in their eighties. They reside in Paris as retired and cultivated music teachers. Their peaceful lives change when Anne suffers a stroke that paralyzes the right side of her body. George chooses to take care of her no matter what the consequence.

My semester in a nutshell.

My semester in a nutshell.

The media floods us with images of passionate love, with dramatized versions of real life. Continue reading

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Filed under Movies, Personal, Society

Back to School (with Selfies and Posters)

This past Thursday, I moved back to college and volunteered to help freshmen with course registration. Afterward, acquiring alone time felt wonderful after such a hectic summer, and all of the nature on campus added a scenic touch. Also, because neither my roommate nor I brought posters to our respective rooms last year, I decided to buy a few to spruce up our living space.

Fitting posters for an English and Psychology double major, right?

Fitting posters for an English and Psychology double major, right?

The passage of time still surprises me. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal

Why Gender Roles Start in the Womb

My friends and I prepared a baby shower this summer. Planning the event involved a lot of frantic Facebook messaging and late-night Google Doc editing, as well as coming up with creative game ideas, such as “Pin the Sperm on the Egg.” We also spent a decent amount of time shopping for baby-related things, which led us to several gender-stereotypical items. Encountering these signals from society made me realize that gender roles really do start from within the womb – or at least they begin early enough to affect children from the beginning of their existences.

Clothing from the girls' section: a pink, cute-looking cupcake. Clothing from the boys' section: the words "Future Legend" and baseballs.

Clothing from the girls’ section: a pink, cute-looking cupcake. Clothing from the boys’ section: the words “Future Legend” and baseballs. Anyone discern a difference in tone?

Studies show that children detect gender differences by the age of three Continue reading

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Filed under Society

Lessons From My Bipolar Mother

When I was little, I fantasized about my mother’s death. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal

The Internet, My Inbox, and Other Soul-Draining Items

The other day I had an hour to kill before seeing a movie with my dad. I had options. I could write the next scene of my short story, read some poetry, or breeze through a chapter of my current novel. Instead, I went on Facebook. Then I checked my inbox on Yahoo. Then Gmail. Then Goodreads. Back and forth, from site to site, for 60 minutes.

By the time my dad came up to pick me up, the hour had disappeared. I had actually lost an hour online. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

Body Image Done Right: Colbie Caillat’s “Try”

Colbie Caillat at the beginning of the "Try" music video. Simple and stunning, just like the song.

Colbie Caillat at the beginning of the “Try” music video. Simple and stunning, just like the song.

A lot of artists have produced well-intentioned songs dealing with body image and self-esteem as of late. Though these tracks have a good feel and move the music industry in the right direction, several of them miss the mark: John Legend’s patronizing “You & I,” Bruno Mars’s subtly sexist “Just The Way You Are,” and even Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” which veers into the realm of skinny-shaming and man-appeasement. However, Colbie Caillat hits all the right notes with “Try” – instead of pushing women to respect themselves in a certain way, she tells them to love themselves without condition, no matter what anyone else thinks. Continue reading

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Filed under Pop, Society