You’re almost eleven now, and halfway through your first year of middle school. At first, I wanted to write this about how much I remember in regards to becoming your big sister, but I quite frankly don’t remember too much about it. I was in that awkward stage of life where I can remember some strange or traumatic events (like flushing myself down the toilet in preschool) but can’t remember the feelings of my six year old self. So, I’ve decided to write you a small field guide on how to deal with getting older.
While your goofball cousin Sarah and I have started your introduction into the teenage girl world, I figured that I should write all of this down in a better and more appropriate setting without your favorite two knuckleheads (as mommy calls us) laughing and making jokes you don’t understand yet.
You may or may not recognize this picture. Every year, we took annual holiday photos dressed as angels sent them to send to our large extended family. Ms. Gooden, the same woman who does our dance portraits, brings us into the cold messy photo room after we got all dressed up in the kitchen. We sit down, snap some pictures and leave. Ms. Jackie and Ms. Gooden eventually choose their favorites to hang on the wall, and for some reason this one made the cut. What you might not know about it is I got my first period during this. I was literally dressed like an angel, in all white, and there was blood coming out of me. Of course, I didn’t KNOW it and to this day I have no idea if I stained that dress. I didn’t notice until I had gotten home and was ready to get in the shower. I even know the exact date, November 6, 2012 the very minute we heard that President Obama was reelected for another term. So, after four years, I can finally tell you the reason that we no longer take angel pictures. It was never because we don’t have the time or mommy forgot the order form once again; it’s because every time she brought up the idea all I had to do was raise an eyebrow and say “period” and she’d drop the issue. Ever since that incident, I almost always avoid wearing white near my bum.
I did try it again once, but that was an even LARGER disaster, I wore white shorts on my 8th grade forensic sciences trip and bleed through them and beyond. It was my then boyfriend who had nervously pointed out that I had a rosebush that was running from the seam of the seat of my pants to the halfway mark of my thigh with a “You’ve got… There’s something on your… Your pants are.. Dirty?” Naturally, I was only halfway through the trip at the time, and had to ride the bus back sitting in my own blood. Yes, being afraid to wear your AWESOME white sparkle tights is an unfortunate part of getting older. I don’t know a single menstruating human who hasn’t lost an article of clothing in this bloody battle.
2. Bust and Build
My crazy best friend Julia had once told me that if you put a bar of soap in between your boobs and smushed them together while in the shower, the bar of soap will launch into the air. I am happy to have proved this theory true. It is so true in fact, that I knocked the overhead shower light out with the bar of soap. (Sometimes, theories don’t need to be tested, so I saved you the trouble there.) While this is a hilarious joke to tell my friends, it isn’t exactly a thing my family should be hearing about. Although, as you know, our family seems almost overly comfortable in discussing our bodies to each other. This doesn’t just hold true for our family I’m afraid, but women’s bodies will always be under scrutiny by everyone. People will hate you just based on how you look. It gets worse as you get older, trust me. I know as a plus sized little girl, you’re going to get it a lot worse than I ever did. I hope that this ever changing world finally will acknowledge the beauty of girls that look like you. Some little voice is telling me that this is a too far fetched dream, but standards change constantly, every ten years it seems. You’ve already been alive for ten years, so hopefully by the time you’re my age another change will happen.
3. Moving on
Whether you leave your school for high school or college, I’ll tell you first hand that all those year book “Keep In Touch” messages mean nothing. People get older, busier and new people come into our lives constantly. Sometimes holding on is a lot harder than letting go. PTSD doesn’t just hit those who have lost someone through death. Sometimes, I know that reliving those seemingly happy memories isn’t good for me. It’s like being stuck in this world that no longer exists. These people are no longer in my lives. In a way, we deal with death even when they aren’t gone forever. You want to keep yourself surrounded by the people who already know who you are, so you aren’t under any pressure to make yourself seem interesting. Abigail, you are so young, and you never ever have to be the same person you were twenty minutes ago. Now is the time to keep changing until you find the person you want to be and are happy being. Don’t become like Mommy who is nearly 50 and still says she still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. Allow yourself to grow and change. Meeting new people is hard, I know, but surround yourself with new people. Meet people who are different from you, who you never would have thought you’d be friends with in a million years. Chose the company you keep carefully because whether you want them to or not, people will change and shape who you become. Sarah and I have been trying to make sure we shape you into a good person from the moment we realized how toxic people can make us. Move on from toxic people, and be the beautiful person I know you are.
There are thousands and thousands of other things I wish I could write to you Abigail. I wish I could tell you that as you get older the world gets easier. It didn’t for me, but you and I have been different children since the days we were born. Try not to change too much squirt.
Your favorite older sibling
(And your only)
My not so Mid-Life crisis
Sydnye Ilise Hill. That is not the girl writing this essay. Sydnye Hill was a girl who struggled a lot with her own identity. The root of this crisis stemmed from my name. Your name is something that follows you for your entire life, it is how other people identify you and attach memories to. It is the center of your identity. To me, my name is as important as the oxygen I breath.
My birth name, Sydnye Hill, was not the name I wanted to live my life with. Why would my name reside so strongly with me? It was the last name of my father. I can't remember a time my father was in my life. I felt so confused for such a long time. I felt like not enough. I felt that it was my toddler selfs fault that he left, inadequate at such a young age. I felt that I would never fill that gap of a father in my life. I looked at my last name and saw him, and I did not want to be a reflection of him or want anything to do with him. When I saw my last name I thought of loneliness and abandonment. My grandparents had raised me, and they had the beautiful last name Misero. In Italian it means ¨wretched¨, which I find ironic. I decided that was the identity I wanted. I associated this name with nurturing, love, and a sense of what felt natural. I began the process of changing my last name legally
It was the big day, I could finally be at peace with my past and embrace my future. I approached the courthouse with my grandmother and grandfather on both sides of me, I felt my jaw become tense from the stress. I looked forward and saw our family friend who has helped us through this whole process, he was our lawyer. We entered the courthouse, the same courthouse my grandmother had come to take her citizenship test. It was freezing compared to the hot july sun, I felt myself shivering but I'm not sure if this was from the change in temperature. I faked a smile at the guards, trying to fool myself that I wasn't bursting with nervousness. We entered the courtroom and were greeted by the judge, who seemed like a nice man. I was wrong. He noticed we had not contacted my father that I would be eliminating his mark on me for life. He did not approve my application, stating that
¨We must send a letter informing the biological father that his daughter wishes to receive permission for change of name¨.
Thousands of thoughts swarmed in my head. I had no idea where my father was, nobody did. I thought this was the end, that somehow my father was still apart of my life although he wanted nothing to do with it. It wasn't until weeks later that we approached the courthouse again.
This time, I had received approval. I started crying right away, I was nervous yet happy. I wanted this to be a solution, that somehow my emotional turmoil would go away. I looked up at my grandfather, Papa was what I called him. His face was red and he had tears brimming, it was the first time I had ever seen him cry. He looked at me and gave me a big hug, and I saw my grandmother watching with the same teary eyed expression. I could feel how happy they were, we had always been a family but I felt like I was proving how much I loved and valued them. I let myself hug my grandfather, hoping that he could feel the happiness radiating off of me. My grandmother came and made it a group hug, kissing both of us on our cheeks. These were the two people who she loved most in the world.
Would changing my last name really change how I felt inside? Yes. After I changed my last name, I felt apart of my family. Looking at my last name now, I see so much growth. I feel warm looking at it, I think of everything my grandparents have provided me with, and how much they love me. I can see how after I changed my last name, it gave me so much clarity that I could be who I wanted and be free of the last name that weighed me down. I will continue to change a person. As I continue to change, maybe my last name will change as well. If marriage is in my future, I would change my last name to be my husbands. Embracing the atmosphere I am in, helps me understand that I change with it. Another change of name would have a big impact on me, something I feel others do not experience. My name has gone through all my hardships with me, and will go experience all the good in my life that is yet to come.
I am now so much more at peace with myself and the world around me, I feel that I am my own person and that I can make my future and give my all to those around me. I no longer have a predetermined destiny saying I will follow in my father's footsteps. I embrace the possibility of new chances, and the things yet to come.
For my new slide I have decided to change it completely. I wanted it to be more creative so that’s what I did. I kept the quote the same. Instead of having the background blue I changed it to black. It’s because I feel like the black background makes everything stand out more instead of the blue. I also added a picture of New York because that’s the place where I grew up and was born in. What I learned was be more creative and have a little something about yourself.
A normal day at SLA is drastically changed when an escaped convict appears and attacks students starting with two love birds. Will the two survive? Find on tonight´s episode of ¨Escaped”
As I sit on the pews, waiting for my cue, I shake my foot anxiously. I know that I am completely prepared and I am perfectly capable of performing, but I still don’t want to. I don’t know why I agreed to this. As they announce our names, my mother and I approach the stage. I pick up my guitar, adjust my skirt, and put on my capo. My mother counts us off and I begin to strum chords I know all too well to a song I barely know. The tension in my shoulders refuses to ease as the song comes to a close and the audience stares. They clapped, I cringed. I make every attempt to avoid eye contact. The next song flies by in a heartbeat and I still can’t shake this uneasy feeling. The pit in my stomach is bouncing on a trampoline with every beat. Finally, it’s over. The crowd gave an acceptable amount of applause. I put the guitar down, stood up, adjusted my skirt, and returned to my seat in the pews.
This was the first time I had performed since my grandfather, Clarence Matthews, passed away in January of 2015. Not that I was big on performing before that anyway, but it felt different. He is the main reason that I play the instruments that I do. Way back in the 50’s, my grandfather was a bell ringer for the Salvation Army in Harlem, NY. He began going to the church services to listen to the band and he fell in love with the music. There, he met my grandmother and they had my mother and four other kids. They all took up an instrument or two. My mother learned to play the piano, the trumpet, and the E♭Alto horn.
I was born in the Bronx, NY but then my family relocated to Philadelphia, PA in 2005. At my church, I learned to play the trumpet, the guitar, and the piano. At my school, Shawmont Elementary, I was taught to play the violin and the cello. I was also involved in the school musicals. My last year there, we did Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and I played Charlie’s mother, Mrs. Bucket.
Recounting the night we got the news my grandfather passed, my sister and I had just come back from our friend David’s house. It was movie night and we watched the Green Hornet. We took our jackets off. As I set up Netflix on the Wii, my sister went and told my mom we were home. We sat on the couch to watch tv, just the two of us, while my mom was in the back watching a movie. Suddenly, the phone rang. It was my Aunt Valerie. We payed it no mind and continued watching the show but what came next was completely unexpected. My mother screamed, “What? What do you mean?” My sister and I ran to her room. My mother was in tears. She hung up the phone. She could barely get the words out. “Your grandfather is dead,” she stuttered. She told me to call my father and tell him to come home. The three of us went out to the living room, sat on the couch, and cried together. My father came in from the garage and sat with my mother. Later that week, we found out more information about what had happened. They said he died in his sleep, peacefully and that’s all we could have hoped for him.
After that, I sort of stopped playing the guitar. It wasn’t intentional, I’d just lost interest. I readjusted my priorities. School and friends and family trumped my music, then more than ever. It was my first year of high school and I decided that it was no longer going to be a part of my identity. I wasn’t interested in going into the music industry even in the slightest. It was hard even though I didn’t notice a change.
During that summer, the church where I currently attend Youth Group went on a Mission Trip to Vermont. One of the nights there, we had a bonfire at a farm that was the worksite I was stationed at earlier in the week. There, we had somewhat of a confessional time. I was there with some of my closest friends and I had developed a fairly strong bond with the other teens I had met there so I decided I was comfortable sharing about myself. We got to open up about our struggles in life and prayed for each other. It was there that I remember for the first time realizing I shut myself off to my music after my grandfather passed away. As soon as I returned home, I got into playing again.
Later on that summer, my dad, who is a college professor, arranged a meeting with one of his co-workers, Ms. Jackson, and I. He said he wanted us to talk about my options for college and my plans for after. We ended up talking about scholarships and schools that I could apply for regarding my musical abilities. I told her that I didn’t want to pursue a career in music however, she said that I shouldn’t completely rule that out. If it’s something I’m good at then I should go for it. We talked about how I could expand my audience and she suggested I start a YouTube channel and post videos of myself singing. The next day, I began filming a video of myself singing Lost Boy by Ruth B. A little while after posting three videos, I began to think this wasn’t for me. The I decided to post recordings of myself on SoundCloud. To date, I have 5 tracks posted and I intend on making more.As of right now, I still don’t perform for people often and when I’m practicing and someone opens my door I stop immediately, but I’m a lot more open to performing than before. I think that self-reflection is extremely important and sometimes you need to check in on yourself more than others.
Bechdel - women that talk to each other not about a man
These two types of test exist to show that females are valued and can defeat gender bias. That women do not have to have a purpose in life because of a man. That these female characters do something because they themselves are passionate.
Tangled is a story about a girl named rapunzel. She is kept away in a tower by a lady who kidnaped her to use her hair to keep her young. She is a princess. She has never left the tower. Rapunzel, every night on her birthday sees glowing lanterns and is fascinated by them. She wants to leave the tower on her 18 birthday so she can go see them in person. She travels along with a criminal named flynn rider, acting as her guide to see the floating lights.
Tangled could be compared to frozen. Both movies each, have a strong character that wants to escape their life and have freedom. Rapunzel from tangled, and Elsa from Frozen. Both characters also have men that come later in the story but are not the reason they live their lives they way they do.
These movies relate to both lenses because; in a mako mori lens, rapunzel has her own passion about leaving the tower to go see the floating lights she is fascinated by.
A gender-bias lens I have is if a man doesn't kill people with a weapon. This teaches that men are suppose to be violent and associates men with violence, which is a stereotype standard society has. There are movies that have men without weapons included, but it is uncommon. I like movies where I can see a man that isn't trying to kill someone to the death with weapons. I would also like to see that a movie doesn't make a women strong by making her a badass killing machine. Violence does not make you strong.
A group of friends are starving for pizza but there is one problem. It doesn't arrive on time and with an unexpected friend, murder!!!! Find out what happens in "¿Donde Esta la Pizza?"
Josh como Trego
Micah como Enrique
Oszain como Alisa
Amayah como Alena
Julio and Rosalita have been bound by marriage but separated by their own endeavors outside of their home life. Both Julio and Rosalita have secrets to hide but none want them to be revealed. Watch the telenovela “Quién Eres Tú?” to see what happens when one of Julio’s biggest secrets gets revealed and how his wife reacts to it...
Amani como Rosalita
Jeremiah como Julio
Alexis como Natalia
John como Sebastián
Sierra como Andrea
Kishara como Isabella
Rahmir como Ricardo (Ricky) Hernandez
Isayas como Jose Rodriguez
Ricardo goes missing after his boxing match scared that he might not win. Was his opponent behind the disappearance? Were his friends behind it? Watch to find out.
Kyle come Rico
Kai como Julio
Kennedy como Juanita
Abraham como criminal
It was all going well with the three amigos at school until one makes a huge mistake. Someone receives a strange message and chaos occurs. In this telenova you will watch the three amigos fight for their life.
Intro:This telenovela is about Domínico (played by the witty Tim) who has been an unfulfilling and lazy boyfriend of Veronica (played by Mayah). Veronica is tired of it! Watch as she meets (and cheats) with the adventurous Cecilia (played by the stunning Odilia). Will he find out that she has been unfaithful? Watch as the drama unfolds!
Timothy Williams como Domínico
Odillia como Cecilia
Mayah Gold como Veronica
Emilia como Cinderella, Ella
Sarah como Cinderella’s friend, Camila
Karen como Evil Step Sister, ValentinaRudolfo como Prince, Nicolás
Personajes: Sara como Rosa (suspect), Daeja como Maria (detective), Briannie como Carmen (detective), Sean como Sr. Santiago (suspect)
Announcer (most energetic voice, voiceover): Leah Bradstreet
Filmer (One with the best phone): Imani’s phone, Chloe Hart
Female Model(s) (depends on who brings U.S. clothes): Imani Williams, Julia Furman (legs only), and Chloe Hart
Male Model (depends on who brings U.S. clothes): Eli Zimmerman
Editor (person/people who actually know how to edit videos): Leah Bradstreet / Chloe HartDJ (knows how to find good songs): Julia Furman
En Toda Americana Influencia, los productos están todas hechos en los Estados Unidos. Nosotros orgullosamente producimos ropa nunca hecha en maquilas. // In All American Influence the products are all made in the United States. We proudly produce clothes never made in sweatshops.
¡Suéteres de niñas desde cuarenta y cinco y cincuenta y nueve dólares! ¡Suéteres de niños son cuarenta y nueve y noventa y nueve dólares!
// Models show off clothing
Female:: Un suéter negro y café hecho en los Estados Unidos con algodón y lana. Pantalones azul hecha en los Estados con la tela vaquera.
Male: Un suéter moreno y café hecho en los Estados con algodón. Pantalones azules oscuros hechos en los Estados con la tela vaquera.
¡Puedes comprar vestidos para niñas por solo sesenta y nueve y noventa y nueve dólares! ¡Zapatos simples de niñas son treinta y nueve y noventa y nueve!
Female: Unas vestido y sandalias.
Camisetas de las niñas y los niños son solo treinta y cinco y noventa y nueve dólares. Camisetas de mujeres y hombres desde setenta y nueve y noventa y nueve dólares. Pantalones cortos para niñas y niños son sesenta y nueve y noventa y nueve dólares. ¡Compra ahora!
Female: Una camiseta rosa y rojo, pantalones cortos negros, y chancletas negras todas hechas en los Estados Unidos.
Male: Una camiseta, pantalones cortos de baloncestos, y zapatos baloncestos.
Nuestras bufandas de moda son veinte y cuatro y cincuenta y nueve! ¡Tenis para mujeres y hombres son solo setenta y cuatro y noventa y nueve!
Female: Una bufanda gris, unos botas cafe, una camisa roja y blanca, y unas medias negras.
Male: Una camiseta graphica, tenis zapatos blancos, unos jeans azul
¡Tienda en Toda Americana Influencia para estas grandes ofertas! ¡Ten prisa, estas ofertas no duran mucho! Estamos en Uno Dos Tres Americano Forma de Sacramento, California, puedes ir al http://www.allamericaninfluence.com, o puedes llamar al (Dos Uno Cinco) Cuatro Cinco Seis - Siete Ocho Nueve Cero.
Modelos - Mindy, Antonio, Waverly, AmeerNarradores - Ameer for Mindy, Waverly for Ameer, Antonio for Waverly, Mindy for Antonio