Category Archives: Life

Anything about the everyday experiences, whether it be people I met or places I went, and their significance in my life.

Rant #2: Respect during chapel, and common courtesy. Oh, and twitter, too.

[Preface: This post will contain a couple swear words in some directly quoted tweets. So be prepared if that kind of thing bothers you. Also, if you choose to comment, I will moderate them. It is to my complete discretion to delete or keep comments, so do not say mean things about me, the man in the pictures, the original tweeters, or anyone else. You are allowed to disagree, just do it in a respectful way. [EDIT: Also, I have changed the twitter handles and blocked the pictures of the twitter users who tweeted originally. I should’ve done this a long time ago, and to not do so was a mistake on my part. I apologize to anyone involved.]

Here at my beloved ACU, it is a well known fact that we are required to attain a certain number of chapel credits every semester. For freshmen (and I believe all other undergraduates), the requirement is 55. That is 55 long half hours of sitting in Moody Coliseum, or at the venues of various small group chapels and forums. Many use this as an opportunity to slow down, to listen to a speaker reflect on some aspect of Christian life. Some take it as a chance to quietly finish a last minute homework assignment. Some use it to worship, and others just to catch up with friends. Certainly, it can be tiresome attempting to remain quiet and still for yet another half hour of a day already packed with classes. To many, chapel is an undesirable, unpleasant requirement. This leads to boredom, which often leads to what is now a well documented history of disrespect during chapel- students getting up and flooding to the card scanners while the speaker is still presenting, waiting anxiously to be released, talking amongst themselves, and playing on the many iDevices which we are required to have. This is very, very disrespectful, not only to the speaker, but also to any students who want to listen to their presentation.

I understand that not everyone at ACU is a Christian, or a practicing follower of Christ. I also understand that not everyone can be kind 100% of the time. But it seems to me that a basic level of common courtesy has been violated. The particular medium for harassment today (which provoked me to write a blog) is Twitter. I was eating my lunch and scrolling through twitter, as one does. As I read through the feed, I came across these tweets:

for rant #2For rant number 2

(If you wish to read the entire conversation, I have copied and pasted it at the bottom of the post.)

Both of these tweets were attached to pictures of the back of the gentleman’s head. Both are obviously problematic, and I want to detail why this kind of treatment should not be tolerated, and why I chose to respond. Doing so in 140 characters is difficult, which is why I want to elaborate here.

First, a tweet that has been bugging me but has gone unaddressed due to the more pressing issues:

keep your nose in your on business

Well, when you post your business on the internet, people can see it. It becomes part of the public domain, to be retweeted, favorited, quoted, used, replied to by anyone with an internet connection, and dissected in a blog post. To post something rude and expect people to stay out of it is a bit ridiculous. I understand that the reason you probably balked at my tweet is because you were not expecting negative backlash. I’m sorry to disappoint you.

Second: the posting of a picture of anyone (even the back of their head) without their permission (implied by the fact that the images are of the back of his head) is not only rude, but unethical. I do not understand what would motivate someone to post a picture of someone they do not know with a rude caption. Apparently, interrupting a conversation to ask someone to be quiet during chapel is enough motivation for these gentlemen. Why do I assume that they don’t know the man in the pictures? Considering these were posted on the internet, with the captions intending to humiliate or make fun of the target, it would seem as much humiliation as possible is acceptable. If they knew him, I assume they would post his name, his twitter handle, or a picture that they already had of him. This would achieve that maximum level of humiliation possible, by subjecting him to the most exposure possible.

Third: is it not overkill to take pictures of the back of a person’s head, post them on social media, and proceed to insult him, because he asked you to stop talking? This goes back to what I was saying before, about respect in chapel. In fact, here are some follow up tweets:

also for rant #2

May I point out the glaring error in your logic here, sir? You were the one interrupting first. You were interrupting the chapel service, and thus you were interrupting all of your neighbors’ experience as they attempted to listen to the speaker. In reality, the beginning was your initial conversation interrupting the chapel presentation. He pointed it out, and got taken down for it on twitter. The accusations are slung his way, but the original blame lies with you. If you wish to have a conversation undisturbed by other people, then don’t have it sitting in the middle of a crowd of people- especially people trying to focus on something else. That is a fundamentally unreasonable thing to insult someone for. But I won’t stop there. The bottom line is, it is unacceptable to insult anyone, particularly in the public eye, and especially when they are unaware of the insults.

Fourth: the actual words used. “Whinebag,” while potentially insulting, is not especially creative or incredibly offensive. The phrase “little kid” is also used to describe him, as though he is immature for wanting to listen to and participate in chapel without the distraction of a conversation going on behind him. In my opinion, that is more mature than many people here at ACU. Additionally, I think it is easy to understand why slurs are NOT okay to say about someone else. The connotation is that the gentleman in the pictures is somehow less masculine than the perpetrators of the insults. They are trying to strip away his manhood with terms used to insult women, and the LGBQT* community…all because he asked them to stop talking during chapel?

Finally, you might be wondering why I wrote a blog post about this, or why I bothered to take up the conversation in the first place. It seems insignificant to many. However, the idea that a twitter account even remotely tied to my school could promote ideas as unnecessarily and excessively hateful as those detailed here is bothersome to me. I understand that people are entitled to free speech. That is an American right. But when that right infringes on someone else’s life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness, I would argue that it needs to stop. The fact is, being called “f*g” or “b***ch” would not make the vast majority of people happy. It does nothing to promote a positive environment or the so called “ACU difference.” If enjoying chapel (and asking people to be respectful to everyone around them trying to listen) gets someone harassed and smeared all over social media, why would anyone think well of ACU? Or Christians in general? We represent more than ourselves, and I was not willing to let this slide by, turning an innocent person into a joke for anyone on twitter to see. There is more to life than just you and your conversation, and if this makes you angry or uncomfortable, I recommend you figure out why. The less people you hurt in this world, the better a place it will be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The conversation:

@Twitterer#1: Here’s the fag of the day for trying to tell me to stop talking. #fag #bitch #likesitinthebutt [picture]

@[me]: @Twitterer#1 @ACUProbs there’s no need to be so rude. Some people like chapel. If you don’t, just sit close to the top away from people.

@Twitterer#2: This kid asked me to quit talking in chapel, so he gets the whinebag award of the day #congratulations [picture]

@[me]: @Twitterer#2 @ACUProbs there’s no need to be rude. Just b/c you don’t like respecting the speaker doesn’t mean everybody feels that way.

@Twitterer#2: @kraye211 why don’t you keep your nose in your business like the guy in the picture should

@[me]: @Twitterer#2 I take issue with some person having his picture posted unknowingly and then made fun of online for simply asking for respect.

@Twitterer#2: @kraye211 he didn’t ask for respect, he asked me to be quiet. Get the facts straight. You weren’t even there so you know nothing

@kraye211: @Twitterer#2 asking someone to be quiet typically indicates they are distracted and/or can’t hear. And though you may not believe it, that…

@kraye211: @Twitterer#2 …is a form of respect. Simple respect for the speaker, allowing those who want to listen to do so.

@[me]: @Twitterer#2 bottom line is, there is absolutely no need to defame somebody you don’t actually know online.

@ACUProbs: @[me] @Twitterer#2 opps I forgot to care……..

@Twitterer#2: @[me] how do you know I don’t know him? Jumping conclusions much

@ACUProbs: @[me] =ACU twitter police.

‏@[me]: @ACUProbs that’s unfortunate. I guess I just expected people at this university to be held to a higher standard. I suppose I was wrong.

@Twitterer#2: @[me] why don’t you quit twitter stalking me and go study something

@[me]: @Twitterer#2 it’s not twitter stalking if it came up in my feed. sorry for asking for common courtesy from people representing our school.

@ACUProbs: @[me] get out of my mentions

@Twitterer#1: @Twitterer#2 @ACUProbs let’s bring it all they way back to the beginning. That little kid interrupted our conversation.

@Twitterer#1: @Twitterer#2 @ACUProbs that’s disrespectful in my book. If he had something to say maybe he should have waited till we finished.

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Swing dancing.

I am a part of the Swing Cats club here at ACU (they called us “Swing Kittens” tonight! It’s perfect!). There is just something about swing dancing. I love the turns and the lessons I am learning. It isn’t just the moves themselves. There is so much more than the East Coast swing, the lindy hop, the Charleston, whether they are 6- or 8-counts. It is the lesson of how to be a good follow. How to relax and feel for your lead indicating the next step. It is how you have to pay close attention and respond to the slightest signals, how you need to be prepared for anything they might try to do. It’s focusing intently on doing the footwork properly through all the transitions and still smiling and spinning and laughing and blushing if you get it wrong. It is trying again, over and over and over again. It is a beautiful feeling, bouncing and swaying and kicking in sync. It is the most amazing feeling when you finally, after working and trying and pushing and sweating and practicing, finally get it right. I eagerly anticipate every class, and feel slightly saddened after it’s over. I always search for opportunities to practice during the week. And I am so blessed by the people there, their kind encouragement and helpful patience in teaching. I am so grateful for this chance to dance. Even though I came in clueless and inexperienced and the slightest bit afraid, I finally feel more confident and prepared. Even when the song is too fast or the dance is complicated (darn lindy hop), I feel okay about it. I feel like I can catch back on and figure it out, eventually. With a patient teacher and persistent attitude, I can work through the road blocks. I am so excited for what the semester holds, especially for this swing dancing thing. I think this will be wonderful.

Song of the day: Dance With Me Baby by Ben Rector

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Hope & Happy Endings

Image

This picture is entirely unrelated to my post. But I like it. So here you go- my purple converse with an artistically placed flower. Just call me a hipster. #nofilter ANYWAY.

There’s something odd about me, which I’m fairly sure I share with a lot of people.

In terms of my crushes, I always think in terms of, and try to expect, the worst possible outcome. That way I won’t be disappointed if it happens, and I will be excited if something good does occur. But sometimes I can’t crush that little bubble of hope that blossoms whenever something positive happens (like, for instance, he follows me on twitter or asks me to dance). I know it’s ridiculous to want to control my thoughts and emotions to such an extreme degree, but let’s be real. This feeling of discomfort is painful and awful and I wish I could just control-alter-delete it from my life. I try to be logical and rational, but my mind always spirals into what-ifs (mostly good, which brings up the hope). And I wish that it wouldn’t. But then I wouldn’t be human, would I? I would be…a robot. *beep-beep-boop-beep* Goodnight, human beings. I need to shut down for a proper period of rest before resuming my menial tasks.

SotD: The Remedy by Jason Mraz

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Rant #1: Beauty

I don’t hate a lot of things. But I hate it when amazing people say that they hate themselves. It frustrates me to no end, because everybody deserves to know. Even though outside appearances are not the only thing that matters, confidence is important, and it is good to know someone appreciates you the way you were created. So here’s my daily <rant> :

You are not ugly. You are devastatingly*, amazingly beautiful. Your talents and your passions shine through your exterior, and let me guarantee to you that when you are singing along to your favorite songs, when you are describing what you love to do, when you are participating in this glorious and heartbreaking adventure we call life, when you are actively and joyously engaging the world: someone is watching. And they think that you are beautiful. The way your eyes shine, and your mouth crinkles just a little bit when you smile, and your enthusiasm to share with the human race the things which you believe they can no longer go without, the way you gesture expansively to indicate your vision for this dream, this hope, the future. Those things that make you unique and distinctly different from every other prototype human being there is out there. You have to realize that then, and always, you are positively radiant. You are hard on yourself because you cannot see in the mirror how truly stunning you are to others, how wonderful they feel to see you shining in your glorious brilliance. If someone doesn’t agree, they are too shallow and stupid to even deserve your time. Those who do matter are heartbroken, and they long to tell you how they feel. But sometimes it’s too awkward or they don’t know you well enough. Just know now that I care, and I think you are beautiful. </rant> Okay? Okay.

SotD: The Feeling by Ben Rector

*I mean this is a good way. Like, Helen of Troy devastating.

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Choices

Everybody has choices. Every single moment of every single day, every person has the choice to choose if they want to be happy with what they have or irritated with what they lack, to eat what they want, to wear what they want, to do what they want. We have the free will to help people, or to be selfish. Sadly, this free will is the reason people’s rights are often infringed upon and harm is done to innocent victims all over the world, whether it be someone choosing to drink and drive, someone choosing to steal, a person violating another human being through sexual assault and taking away their most basic rights. People’s choices make the world turn. And they can do great good, as well as great harm. They can bring relief to victims of natural disasters or poverty or homelessness or personal injustices. They can spread love and hope to the unloved and the hopeless, simply when someone chooses to be selfless and kind…even if just for a moment.

However, the choices which are weighing on my mind are much less dramatic or damaging (on a large scale at least). In my personal life, they are causing me a great deal of anxiety. Tonight, I am worried, and I will be utilizing once again the therapeutic function of writing to at least lessen this stress. So venture on, kind reader, if you want to know about my troubles.

I love my dad. He is the best dad I imagine I could ever have. I am very much like him personality-wise. I am an extroverted introvert, who can be oblivious sometimes. I have his premature gray hairs and his love for terrible puns, as well as (for the most part) his taste in music. He is kind & gentle & loving. He is a strong example of what it means to be a good person who makes the kinds of choices that positively affect people in the mundane moments of his day to day life. Every year for as long as I can remember, he took me to the valentine’s day dinner hosted by our church. Dads bring their daughters (or uncles bring nieces, or granddads bring their granddaughters, etc.) to remind them that they love them. It is a time that dads can express, without awkwardness, that they are proud of and love their little girls, and a time that they can devote to them. Even after we were too old to be able to attend these “dad-daughter” dates, he always gave my sisters and I valentine’s day cards with honest, heartfelt, encouraging messages, and he took us on individual dinner dates. He has always taken care of us and provided for us, giving to us even though we didn’t always deserve it and did nothing to earn it. I look up to him and love him more than I can explain. He has always been present and active in my life. I know that many people are not as fortunate as I am, and I am so thankful for the blessing that he is to me.

I know that this seems like an appreciation post- what is there to worry about? Life sounds great! And it is. But his work schedule has always been stressful. He gets up early to take my sisters to school. He usually skips breakfast. Often, he works through his lunch or eats just a little bit to get by. Then he comes home to dinner, ravenous, and overeats, spiking his blood sugar and harming his body. Work is stressful, so no one can blame him for wanting to wind down and relax after a long day. Yet, even on weekends, he would order larger portions than would be healthy, and he usually finished all of it, despite often times proclaiming that he was full. Eventually, he was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. Then later on, diabetic. Hyperglycemic. His symptoms were not always obvious, but after a decade and a half (almost twenty years, now) of these poor eating habits and almost non-existent exercise, his body was run down and began to really show. Toward the end of summer, before I left for school, he began running high fevers, which would cyclically break and leave him feeling extremely hot with sweat pouring down his face as if someone was dumping buckets over his head. He was fatigued and felt sick. He stayed home from work sick longer than I can ever remember him doing before. He went to the doctor multiple times, and later, I found out, to the ER. Things were getting worse and we weren’t sure why. He was essentially incapacitated. After these multiple visits to the hospital, they determined the same things as before- hyperglycemia and diabetes. Now that the symptoms were more serious, he took it seriously. We all did. So my mom went to Costco with him, and they bought A LOT of food that was good for him- low carb, healthy, snack food, breakfast food, easy lunches for diabetics. They spent several hundred dollars preparing the whole family for a radical diet change. Then the family began a regular exercise regimen- daily running. They were keeping up, making breakfast & running each day. Daddy checked his blood sugar at regular intervals and only indulged his sweet tooth/comfort food cravings occasionally (maybe once a week?). He lowered his blood sugar and regulated his diet as I was preparing to leave for college. I was proud of my family for maintaining the lifestyle change so well.

They came to visit me for “family weekend,” and it was unbelievably good to see them. But apparently, in the past week, he has not been eating well at all, and he has not even been checking his blood sugar. We ate lunch at the bean, tailgated for dinner at the football game, and had Sunday lunch after church at a pizza place. This was all a setup for additional failure on the “healthy lifestyle” track, it’s true, but there are still good choices available. While I was at home, I was very proud of how well he was doing as he made healthy choices from what he had available to him- even when we ate out. Even if it just meant forgoing the bun on a burger or skipping dessert. But this weekend, he ate like he did before the hospital visits and the health scare. And I have to admit how terrified this makes me.

I know how stressful his job is, and I understand that it is difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you are tired. I am a college student with continued access to the bean (which has an ice cream bar) and my varied assortment of junk food in the dorm. I know how easy it is to stop working out. It’s exhausting and stressful to try to fit in, even when you know you’ll be less stressed if you push through. I also know how vital my mom’s support is to him, and how essential she has been to getting him to eat better and exercise more. She is a pre-k teacher and has been for a very long time. 10+ years, if I am not mistaken. And this year, she has been kept at school very late every day. For her to have to be at school every day past 4 is unusual, let alone 6, which is just crazy. It is understandable for her support to be flagging under the stress of her own job & inability to prepare healthier meals for the family on a steady schedule. Things are hard.

But despite understanding this, I cannot understand why he would do this to himself. I am so afraid that something is going to happen to him while I am away at college- that he is going to go into diabetic shock, a coma, or even die. I am terrified that I might lose him, because he doesn’t care enough to put in the extra effort to eat healthy or exercise a bit more. I know people die. I know that they all could’ve died, my parents and my sisters all at once, on the drive home in a car crash. But things like this, that are under our control? I wish he realized what this means to us, my mom, my sisters and I, to try. I know that I bring up my worry at the worst possible time- when he is eating. But I only notice it then. And I am away from home, so I receive very few opportunities to talk to him about it face to face. I know he cares about us. I know that he loves me, and that he truly loves my mom. But when he refuses to take care of himself when he needs it more than anyone, it seems like maybe he doesn’t care about us. I know it isn’t true. But it still seems that way. It breaks my heart to think that his disregard for his health could lead to him not being able to walk me or my sisters down the aisle. That he might not attend my sister’s high school graduation or my college one. That he might miss out on my youngest sister becoming a teenager, the time when she needs him the most.

It amazes me, because he is such a strong spiritual leader and he works on improving his relationship with God every day. And yet he can neglect to care for the physical body God has given him. He can ignore the possibility that if he treats diabetes as “no big deal,” he could be prematurely abandoning his family, who loves him more than anything and needs him in their lives. I love my Daddy. I truly do. And so I am scared for him.

I have hope that maybe, I can talk with him about this. Maybe I can share all these reasons and things that are scaring me. Maybe I can make a deal with him. If I eat better (salads and healthy proteins at the bean, no sodas or desserts) and exercise daily (swim, maybe even run!), and he does to. I could call nightly, or tri/quarter-weekly as fitting with their schedule at home, to touch base with him. Maybe this could work. Accountability and expectations. I don’t know. But I am willing to try. I’ll do anything if it means helping Daddy live healthier.

Dear reader, if you have read this far, thank you. I am more appreciative than you know for your interest and/or concern for me. If you can put up with my rambling and anxiety, well, that says a lot about you, friend. Goodnight, and best wishes.

Song of the Day: Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman

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Family!

I feel a lot better today now that I’ve seen my family. I love them and miss them way too much sometimes. I don’t always realize it till I see them and hear the funny stories I’ve missed or about all the things they’ve done since I last saw them. They inspire me. : )

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I am scared.

I had a moment of panic yesterday. I was getting dressed, and before I put on my shirt, I saw myself in the mirror. I haven’t swam hardly at all since before I graduated. Which is normal- I did it every year. The problem is that I still ate like I was swimming, which caused me to gain weight. And that is not a bad thing. I must keep telling myself this. When I realized how much I’ve grown since the end of school, I felt sick. I felt like my mirror was distorted and like I was somehow all of a sudden less desirable. I felt like I could, for once in my life, relate to the girl in the book my roommate lent me called Letting Ana Go. It’s a really good book which accurately portrays a girl struggling with anorexia, until *spoiler alert* she dies. It’s a very sobering reality, and to view her struggle through her diary is painful. But to be able to relate was even worse. To imagine her drawing the red circles around “trouble spots” and severely restricting her diet to meet that standard of beauty is scary. Because I understand it, in my own head. Now I’m not going to stop eating. I know better. Just the fact that I am having this response of fear is good, because it means that I will make healthier choices, rather than crash diet or spiral out of control. Anyway, I love food too much to be hungry. But I was scared to think that society has finally gotten to ME. I’ve always resisted the ideas that I needed to change who I was to be good enough. But secretly, I’ve always been glad that I had a high metabolism and swimming to hold me accountable. Because otherwise I feared I would not have been happy with myself.

What if this doesn’t go away? It’s unsettling and disturbing to suddenly feel unhappy with my body, disgusted with the way I look in a dress that I used to love. Angry that I can no longer fit into my skinny jeans. The name itself is an insult, honestly. I mean, because I’m not “skinny,” I’m not desirable or attractive or acceptable? And now, I’m closer to the average size in America. 

I know for an 18 year old college student, 5’4” and 140 pounds is normal and more than acceptable. It’s pretty much expected for typically average people. But I put on the freshman 15 before I was even a freshman, and I don’t want to keep adding more. So I already gave up Dr. Pepper, which is terribly difficult because they have it in the bean (our cafeteria) and I am very much craving it.

I feel this self hatred for my body, my physical self, which I never have before. I used to be uncomfortable with certain body parts, maybe. I used to hate some of my mannerisms, mindsets, or some of the things I said or thought or did. But I never despised seeing myself in the mirror. This is new and scary. I’m not sure how to get rid of this negative mindset. Maybe it’s built up stress from school and people, plus I no longer swim to de-stress, all colliding with the fact that my clothes don’t fit as well anymore. It’s utterly terrifying to all of a sudden realize that I’ve dug myself into a deep pit of insecurity and body image issues. I know how hard it is to escape. But I am just trying to acknowledge it now, out loud, so that I can keep myself accountable and try not to be consumed by this.

Song of the Day: Beautiful, Beautiful by Francesca Battistelli

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