Post Graduate Job Frustration

Searching for a job is probably one of the most stressful parts of graduating from college. You’ve completed all your classes, put yourself in debt, followed your (or your parent’s) dreams and now its time to get a big kid job. But no one tells you how hard it is to become an adult. And once you get into your big girl pants, you can’t help but feel as if you’re just dogpaddling in a mudslide.

The biggest problem is that the career you studied for usually wants you to already know what your doing before they hire you. Experience: the necessary evil of all jobs. If you don’t have experience you won’t get hired; if you don’t get hired, you can’t get experience. The best way to bypass this catch-22 is by doing an internship while taking classes. However, if you are a working adult it can be difficult to fit in an unpaid internship with a job that pays the bills.

The issue should be addressed in college, but the problem is, it isn’t. There is so much emphasis placed on completing your degree, but not necessarily on getting a job in your industry. This is why people who go to career colleges make it there alot faster than people with a Master’s degree in English. Advisors in school need to ask the right questions: do you know what kind of experience you need for what you want to do? Do you see yourself in this career for more than 10 years? If you rack up debts, can this career help you pay it off?

Essentially, is it worth it?

But advisors aren’t the only ones to blame. Parents push their kids to pursue college and take out loans even when they don’t want to go. In the end, they drop out, still stuck with debt, and still not sure what they want to do with their lives. It’s something that a person has to figure out for themselves. Though it seems like a great idea to go from high school to college, it might be best to just take a break and evaluate.

Director Kevin Smith as a Writer’s Role Model

My recent infatuation with the career and life of director and writer Kevin Smith began after I saw the 2014 horror/thriller, Tusk. The film, starring Justin Long and Michael Parks, is more of what I would consider a genre blending comedy horror. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

I always wait past the end credits to see any special inclusions directors like to sneak in. The end credits of Tusk included a recording of a SModcast in which the idea for the film was introduced. This started me on a journey into the writing and personality of Kevin Smith.

Prior to my obsession, I had seen most of his movies and never really considered the writing. However, Tusk and SModcast came into my life when I had begun looking at writing as a real career and a real passion for me. Kevin Smith’s films haven’t won Oscars and his writing isn’t as appreciated as it really should be, and he knows it. In fact, he makes fun of himself often on his podcast, SModcast, and the thing I admire the most, is that he never apologizes for his movies or his opinions.

I find people who own their writing, and what they say with it, very impressive. Writing is very personal – I equate it to slicing your wrists open and putting it on paper – and screenwriting is extremely difficult to keep entertaining script after script. Somehow, Smith has been able to do this repeatedly, regardless of the box office returns. This is why I think of him as my writing role model, someone who has inspired me to pursue my dream despite feeling like its “too hard”.

Now, I know a good amount of people think he’s a cool dude, who smokes weed all day and doesn’t really care what you think, but I actually don’t believe that. In fact, I think he does care, a great amount. Anyone who puts that much effort into a script must care for their work and that is what a true writer must do.

Focusing on the hate of hate crimes

This year, social media and the news has exploded with racially motivated crimes, riots, and general hate around the United States. Much of the focus of these crimes have been about the races, sexual orientation, or beliefs of the people involved in the crimes, especially after the rash of police shootings that occurred earlier this year. Hate crimes seem to have risen in these recent years, even provoking folks to demand the Confederate Flag be taken down, despite its historical significance.

It feels like either people have a selective memory or they just want to imagine that hate and racism were never this bad in the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, there are those minorities that have experienced real hate within their daily life and they can never forget, but they do become numb to the hate they see on television.

As a mixed race child, I dealt with prejudice throughout grade school. I grew up in a Mexican household and related mostly to those with my same background, despite my caramel color skin (which was darker than most Mexicans I met at the time). I tried my best to fit in with the Hispanics in my class, but most judged me before getting to know me. I was subjected to racial slurs, pet names like ‘negrita’, and being outcasted altogether. It was painful and, for years, I was ashamed of my skin color.

Despite the mention of my race, it really wasn’t the slurs that bothered me. It was the unprovoked hate they had for me before they knew me. Similar to the way the victims in Charleston were judged by another human as being unworthy to live the rest of their lives. But, regardless of race, hate is the true problem here in America.

It would be a great change to see the news broadcasted without mentioning races and leaving photos off of the screen. Ambiguity would show us the incredible amount of crime between human beings. As humans, we have so much in common but hate causes us to focus on the one item that makes us different. But as Americans, that one difference should be the thing that brings us together, not tear us apart.

Celebrating Father’s Day without a father

Father’s day was always a confusing holiday for me.

I grew up without knowing my biological father and even the forced Father’s day projects in grade school didn’t make me want to know him either. It’s quite possible that he later became a better father to another child or maybe he was a good father before me. The point is, he has been nothing but an absent father to me and never deserved any of the construction paper ties made by my tiny child hands. Instead, those ties went to a more deserved man: my grandfather.

My grandfather was always a funny man to me but also strict enough to feel he knew best. I never questioned his decisions, I always tried to speak to him with respect, and, even after his death, I always asked for his approval. He was a genuine father, a present father, and that’s what every child needs.

Recalling those grade school days, I remember being teased that my grandfather wasn’t my “real” father. Despite their hurtful jabs, I knew my classmates would never understand the naturally occuring connection we had that usually comes from a biological father-daughter relationship. And honestly, I was okay with that. I know that if my real father had re-entered my life, the father-like position my grandfather held in my life would not have changed because he just simply meant more to me.

So happy Father’s day to every father, whether he’s a caring father figure, a biological father, or even a father to an animal child, every present father deserves to celebrate the day. Construction ties and all.

Why I Decided to Be a Fat Bride

Recently, I looked back on the photos taken at my wedding last October. My cheeks are plump and round, my eyes are pinched half moons, and I look genuinely happy. It’s been 7 months since I wore my laced, long sleeve dress, and I realized that I had become exactly what I was scared of becoming months before my wedding day had even arrived: I was a fat bride.

Engaged women are always bombarded with Facebook posts, Pinterest repins, and Tumblr reblogs featuring waify, lilaced-crowned brides under weeping willow branches and twinkling Christmas icicles. Basically, women are pressured to believe the ideal marriage spawns only from socially approved ideal weddings.

I fell into that system of brainwashing, and since our engagement lasted 2 years, I had 730 days of constant social media constructed wants. I found myself on a low carb/low taste/low food diet and worked out consistently for about a month. I lost nothing but gained about a year’s worth of stress in just 25 days. Eventually,  the month of the wedding arrived and I found myself with a wedding dress two sizes larger than I hoped to be on my big day.

Truthfully, I allowed myself to become a “fat” bride because I needed to be able to remember myself. I had always struggled with my weight and trying to lose more than 50lbs in 2 years was no different, so I destressed and decided to be myself on my wedding day.  Seven months later, the warm happiness coming from my photos is more satisfying than the idea of being a “model” bride. I was Christine getting married, not Bride #300,000,001 getting married.

In  the end, the only person concerned with my weight loss was me. And I was just as happy being “fat” as I would have been being “thinner”, maybe even happier because I wouldn’t be starving.  A wedding day is the day where you should look your best but still be you and, unfortunately, too many brides fall prey to the social media gods and look their best as someone else.

The idea of being “fat” depends on who is saying the word, and those people probably wouldn’t be invited to your wedding in the first place so why change?  Being authentic will only contribute to the happiest day of your life. My advice for any engaged, non-slender individuals: Imagine 50 years from now, do you want to see yourself in your wedding, or someone else’s idea of you?

 

Super Hero Hype

This past Sunday, David Ayer, director of the upcoming 2016 film Suicide Squad, tweeted a photo of the cast of misfits known as the Suicide Squad including Harley Quinn, Killer Croc and Deadshot. The film has slightly over a year before it’s released and a trailer hasn’t even been made yet however, with the release of this photo and the prior photos of Jared Leto transforming into the iconic character, The Joker, for the same film, it is clear that we are being hyped.

I used to enjoy the hype, the marketing, the press. In fact, I have always maintained that guerilla marketing is the most entertaining marketing and can be even more exciting than the actual film. It’s not always the film’s fault, the marketing team that creates the campaign is just far too talented for their own good. So when a film like Blair Witch or Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters gets the advertising but doesn’t deliver in the box office, the hype machine can force people to question if they like the film or the advertising.

It is great when it works (See The Dark Knight or Gone Girl), but for the great mass of film lovers, its hard to tell if it is going to be beneficial at all to one’s psyche to see the marketing. It’s similar to a friend recommending a film: they tell you it’s the best movie they’ve EVER seen, you have to watch it, if you don’t, you’re missing out. Then, you see the movie and it was good, but not the best movie EVER. So the next film your friend recommends, you take it with a grain of salt. Sure, if you are a casual film goer, it’s not a deal breaker to be disappointed but if you’re a “filmie”, it can ruin the fun.

I will be in the theater for both Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad (BvS is set to release a few months ahead of its counterpart Suicide Squad) but I will hopefully be there with little to no knowledge of the plot. Just so that I can have that moment when a film is brand new and nothing has tainted my love for it.

Gendered Toys & Forced Norms

There’s been a big argument recently against the common practice of gendering toys and books in order to appeal to a particular audience. For years, I never really paid very much attention to the argument. Honestly, if you don’t like something just stay away from it and do what you need to and be happy. However, I read an article on the Huffington Post about gendered books that really got me thinking of my own childhood.

I like girly things. I wear dresses, heels, I love makeup and I know how to sew. But I also like comic books, video games, baseball and boxing. Just those sentences show what I was taught as a child in terms of gender norms. It shouldn’t make someone feel different just because they like certain activities that aren’t considered “usual” for their gender. Things like comic books and video games appeal to certain people who have a certain cerebral perforrmance, not because they have certain sexual organs. And the same thing goes for dresses, heels and makeup.

In the article, written by Caroline Bologna, they point out some of the harmful gender stereotypes listed on the front of books called The Big Book of Girl Stuff and The Big Book of Boy Stuff. While the boy book implies boys need to know how to build rockets and what books to read, the girl book gives advice on how to start babysitting and how to give the perfect compliment. Another major issue is that the boy book says “how do I tell a girl I like her” and vice versa on the girl book.

Nobody is claiming that its not ok to include these things in the books, but the issue here is that a whole subsection of children are being alienated. I know there are those out there who believe that we are far too sensitive toward gays, transgendered individuals and gender queers, to which I affirm and understand. However, we should be sensitive to them because that’s what they deserve after years of having to remain in the closet. To hand a child a book that includes “how to tell someone I like them” will not at all make them say “Someone? That means I can like someone of my own gender! Suddenly, I’m gay!” Nope. Just like wearing heels doesn’t make a man want to be with another man or how playing sports doesn’t make a woman a lesbian. Unfortuately, that is not at all the way love works and kids are much smarter than we may think. By including the OPTION, we are opening the doors to children who will be proud of who they are and more accepting to people who like different things from them. The gendering of toys and books does not need to happen anymore because we should be able to be whatever definition of our genders that we want it to be.

The Oscars’ Special Guest Star: A Conversation About Suicide

Watching the Academy Awards this past Sunday, I noticed that the word “suicide” was a lot more prevalent than in any awards telecast before it. We had Dana Perry, winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject for her film “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1″, dedicate her award to her son, a suicide victim, and told us how we needed to talk about suicide out loud. Winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay award, Graham Moore, talked directly to those like him, who attempted suicide at age 16, and told them to “stay weird, stay different”. These people are the kinds of people affected by suicide. The saddest thing about the subject of suicide is the fact that it has always existed, it isn’t a new thing.

A little history about me, I attempted suicide at 22 and 23, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008. Since surviving my attempt, I’ve tried to make the people around aware that it is something that exists. Most people don’t believe that murderers will invade their home in the middle of the night, or that the brakes on their car will go out and cause a horrible pile-up. They also don’t believe that someone in their lives could feel so lost and alone that they would want to take their lives.

And this is why we do need to talk about suicide out loud. A key icon of the struggle of suicide, in modern times, is the late Robin Williams (it feels strange to say that, late) and as a child of the 90’s, I saw him in every comedy and thought the same thing that everyone thought, he’s happy. But I also didn’t see his personal struggles, probably similar to things that I experienced in my darkest times. Saddness, loneliness, and just a complete lack of a strong ego that most people have to prevent those dark, self-loathing thoughts from creeping up. People like to claim that suicide is for the weak and that it is selfish. And unfortunately, these are the stereotypes that survivors of suicide endure from those who choose not to understand or listen. It really takes a great amount of strength to hurt yourself and some times all that could pull you away from it is one person to say “I understand and I’m here for you”. However, the stigma of it and society’s constant pressure to keep it silent from our every day converstations make it easy for someone like Robin Williams to hide and put on a smiling face just because it makes everyone else feel better.

We all need to take responsibility for every suicide that happens in the world. That is not to say that we can prevent each one (my experiences as a bipolar sufferer have told me that if someone is determined to kill themselves, they will do anything to find a way) but our fear of just speaking about it makes it harder for people to find help. This is why I, as a survivor of suicide, appreciated every mention of the word suicide on Sunday night. Not only did we have someone who was very directly affected by the suicide of another, but we also had a suicide survivor. I truly hope that even after the post-Oscar glow disappears at the end of the week, people will still talk about Graham Moore’s call to the weird and Dana Perry’s heartbreaking dedication. I hope they talk about people they know who have attempted or committed suicide. I hope people will talk about their attempts or thoughts. I hope people will talk, and I hope soon we can all sit down and, at least once, talk about suicide seriously.

Humility & the Grammys: Song of the West

I recently watched the Grammys ( I don’t have cable so I always watch things after the fact) and I was a little confused by the whole Kanye West fake out that occurred when Beck won for Album of the Year. After, I reasoned, much as everyone else had, that he was making a joke out of his ridiculous moment six years before at the VMAs with Taylor Swift. I thought to myself, maybe he is changing, maybe he is becoming a much more calm and much more reasonable man now that he is a father and husband. I thought that until he came out and said it wasn’t a joke.

Shirley Manson’s response to his disgusting display is, by far, my favorite. My favorite line would be “you disrespect your own remarkable talents and more importantly you disrespect the talent, hard work and tenacity of all the artists when you go so rudely and savagely after such accomplished and humble artist [sic] like BECK”.

This response, not Buzzfeed articles comparing Beyonce to Beck, is the most appropriate in terms of what happened. I would never say that one artist is better than another. Each artist is different. Yes, Beyonce has other artists sharing the writing credits on her album, but how does that make her any less of an artist than Beck? I’m sure he was inspired by several artists as well. Sure, Beyonce doesn’t play instruments but that doesn’t mean she isn’t talented. To compare two artists who are so vastly different is not the way to stand up against such oppression as Kanye.

Beyonce seems like a classy, intelligent woman who doesn’t need the rude acts of a fellow artist to stand up for her. Artists lose, they get nominated and then, they lose. That’s how awards shows work. No one is saying that Beck is far more talented than Beyonce, but her album just didn’t win. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross didn’t win the Oscar for best soundtrack for Gone Girl, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t talented. Kayne’s outburst doesn’t help anyone notice Beyonce’s talent. Instead, it just makes a mockery of the awards ceremony and makes it seem like he’s a sore loser when he wasn’t even nominated! I feel sorry for him that he has to pout and stomp his feet to get the attention he needs. It has nothing to do with race, talent or recognition. It has to do with Kanye wanting to be noticed for something. He had a mediocre performance, wasn’t nominated and just had to be the center of attention so this is the only way he can get that attention. Maybe his wife told him he shouldn’t make an ass of himself so he stopped himself before going onstage and played it off as a joke but we all know tigers can’t change their stripes.

A Korean Import turned American: Oldboy

For many who actually saw the original film, Oldboy, back in 2003 when it was released, the idea of a remake was simply upsetting. The movie’s twisted background and psychological connection with the audience is just “unredoable”, in my opinion, and putting the name Spike Lee on anything just makes it seem like its a ploy to get more buzz around the film. However, after seeing the movie myself today, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

It wasn’t that the movie was done exactly like the previous film, in fact, it was done differently in a lot of aspects of the plot line (which I won’t give away here). The fact that the movie was adapted into a version that was much more Americanized than the Korean version was refreshing. I didn’t feel like I did with The Eye or One Missed Call. Those films just tried too hard to be like the original because of the Asian version’s strong followings. Instead, Oldboy decides that it can never be like the original and does its best to try to make due.

This brings me to the idea of remaking movies, which I absolutely despise. There are millions of writers in the world yet we are still making movies over again. There’s no imagination left in Hollywood anymore and when we take Asian movies and remake them, we make ourselves look like idiots once again. I say this as a writer and a movie fan. I don’t want to see all of my favorite Asian horror films remade, I don’t want to see all of my favorite manga or anime made into feature length films starring American actors pretending to be Asian. I want something new, but the problem is, if screenwriters do make something unique, it flops. But instead of allowing themselves to flop, they decide to take other, more successful movies, and remake them to ensure they make money for the big studio heads. But what will happen in the future when we run out of movies to remake? Then we have the silly reboots like Superman, Spiderman, Incredible Hulk, Batman….

I could go on, wage a war against Hollywood and their films, but I will always be willing to pay money to see a movie, even if I hate it. And that is why Hollywood will always win. There’s always someone somewhere who has never seen the original and probably won’t see it if there’s a new one on the horizon. And so we continue, but at least I can say to Spike Lee and other film makers that take a film and at least try to make it new, you’re kind of doing it right.