SHHHHHHH, be quite, listen, Hey do you hear that? Yeah that, while reading listening to the voice in my head read, like everyone reads with (like you are now) and thinks with. I realized I had multiple voices, don’t worry I’m not crazy- or at least I don’t think I am. I have more than my vocal voice and the one I think with, I also have two that tell me what to do. Some may just think I’m crazy but they are different, they sound different and have different tones and have different feelings, emotions and some don’t have any at all. Sometimes a lack of one voice makes for sadness, or anger while the lack of the other makes room for happiness and success. I believe that along we have three consciences and they control the forth one that the world gets to hear. I also believe that some people can hear your other voices when your souls connect, in a way no other does. Once I heard the saying “Two wolves live inside of you a good wolf and a bad wolf, they are in a constant fight, the one who wins is the one you feed.” I always thought after this my brain tells my speaking voice to say what the winning wolf says. There is no need to use your thinking voice in a moment of no ration and when all is done-one had just one. My mom always would say “Think before you speak”, I never could though. The thing is I never got the chance to. I always fought and fed the truth-telling side so I’d always open my ‘big-mouth’ so she’d always say-it was honest to me. On the flip side, there were moments the other wolf would win like hitting my brothers, acting before I thought because the wolves already came to their conclusion. I hate when someone tell’s me to shut up, me and my voices have so many thoughts to share. Now, I try to teach my niece to use the same logic as she speaks before she thinks. I believe there’s multiple versions of you controled by your consciences, i believe they grow, spiritual ones might arise, the one about your race, your sex, politics and so forth, they may also leave and you can always change it’s mind- just like I try mine. Philosophy and belief is what will drive my day, not letting the bad win over the good. Your voices will be your worst enemy, your best friends, your supporters, your naysayers, they can be your downfall or rise; Over the years I learned when to feed each voice and wolf, everyone must learn themselves, you must take them all and figure out what the perfect concoction off all your you’s and their voices are, so you can present the ones you want to feed onto the world. I’ll never hear “Hey do you hear me? I’m here and so are they, we are here so listen” They will never make themselves known but through the vast journey of your brain you will discover just like I did.
LOVE IS ALL WE NEED
I believe in love. The historical lust that was suddenly accepted because of God. Love has many forms. Not always good but never wrong. Sexually, romantically, and even hate. Some of our love stems from fear. It's love that gets me boxed up and hiding from an open window. It's love that makes me crazy enough to run outside in the middle of a thunderstorm at 1am and cry on the benches at 6. It's always stalking me. Haunting my flesh and making it sin. Giving me a thirst for action, love is always missing. It's like you could never get enough of it. I got some stories to tell....
Almost a decade ago, I met my dad. I can remember everything like it happened yesterday. My aunt gets into a car accident with my uncle. They make an connection with my mom. My mom then connect to my grandmother. There I am, sitting on my grand mothers couch. Staring at family pics knowing I'm not in none of them. Love hurts. It's dangerous to look at. I had this big smile on my face. A smile that was glazed in sweat created by nervousness. Then my father came. The smile grew more. We took family photos and I even worked with him the next day. That's was the last time I ever saw him. How can you love someone after two days when they been neglecting you for 12 years? It was my first heartbreak and I wasn't present to know. I believed every little bull shit of a lie that he told me. All the things he would do for me. All the things he hoped of me becoming. I could finally call someone dad without having that second thought. He never told me he love me. At Least, I don't think I ever heard him say that word . Maybe he did and I just forgot because I knew it was a lie. It never really matter to me though because I already had a love growing on him. Now I'm heart broken again and calling random men "daddy". Love makes you do crazy things.
Butterflies drifted away. The sun stood still. My eyes never opened that day. How can love do me like this? How dare it take away my pride and throw away my vision? Why did love make me blind? I never fell. I tripped on flat ground, treated it like a fall. I can't stop eating. Im gaining weight. No one's checking on me. My insecurities look so beautiful to me. If looks can be deceiving then why do we die from the same trick?
That day, love did not exist. It giggled at me while holding my veins tight. It embrace my body and ripped every man made thing off of me. It knew what it was doing. I am dumb and naive. I am dumb and wise. I am wise yet dumb. The setting was so perfect. It smelt so pretty. It felt so good. It read me like a dog begging to go outside to pee. All it had to do was unlock a few things and put a leash on me. Now the door is open. I only wanted to rest. Love woke me up. It made my words seem like corny excuses so I had to allow it. Love assaulted me that day. I went out to celebrate. I wanted love to assault me again and again and again. I try finding it in many other forms. It died. If It can die than it must've lived at some point. For it to live then it must've been real. It is real because I was forced to believe in it. I know it exist. I feel it everyday. I use it everyday. I taste it twice a week and I listen to it once every five years. I believe in love.
There is one quote I like from one of my favorite actors Jim Carrey. He once said ¨ Forget the pain, Mock the pain, Reduce it. And laugh.¨. I had chronic migraines from March of 2016 to April 6th,2017 the day of my septoplasty but we will see in mid June what my neurosurgeon says if I still have them. I probably had them longer but there is no way to tell.
The 3 days I sat there trying to avoid the discomfort of the stents,stitches,blood covered gauze pad,and trying to avoid sneezing and all without blowing my nose. Yes,that all sucked but in the end I have no headaches and a facelift with a nose job as well. Not only did I get a teenage girl's dream but for 3 days I got to watch my favorite comedians to relieve my pain even though I was not supposed to laugh. So it must true that laughing is the best medicine.
I believe that causing someone it or receiving it from someone laughter is the best medicine to feel better or just at random you don't even have to be sick. For this treatment I could either 1st go and and see the doctor at his office (buying a ticket right to show or movie),or 2nd I could call him and ask him to come to my house (Searching comedian on internet or watching movie on TV or On Demand). Well personally,I have multiple doctors (Comedians) I like to watch every time they are on. Here is the list Gabriel Iglesias,Jeff Dunham,Carlos Mencia,Adam Sandler,Kevin James,David Spade,Chris Farley,Jim Carrey,Joe Gatto,James Murray,Sal Vulcano,Brian Quinn and possibly a few other just to name a few.
I think that for those who have diseases or sickness or even recovering this really helps out. But the best one of all would possibly half to be doing your own comedy for those people. So for example let's say my mom is sick from the flu and she is bored but she does not want to watch TV so I crack some jokes or just at random say funny things and she laughs. I also crack jokes even when someone has surgery so my grandpop had surgery last week so I called him and told him jokes as well.
But if my jokes do not work their is always old plain 1 and 2. Which are going to see a comedian or just my favorite comedians and watching them. But there is one more option and this is probably the best one as well which is go and crack jokes with your friends. So here is an example you are sitting and then something funny happens boom everyone laughs and then we crack jokes laughs some more and then stop and repeat.
So if you want be happy after being sick,surgery or even if not sad at all just go ahead like I do and watch,see,do it yourself or do it with friends laugh and comedy.
This, I believe
It’s better to be ugly on the outside then it is on the inside.
You can fix looks, not who you are.
I believe, a person can change
But once a nasty person, always an evil one.
Once the darkness wrapps its hands around the heart
I’ve felt the nasty radiate from fallen purest
So I stepped back to keep my purness.
I was screamed at
Sick to where my bones sored and the dark people that surrounded me quivered my blood, and made my muscles into stones.
I was left in a pretty mess.
Survival was needed.
Remember, I am the white pure angel that needs no fixing.
I look upon the darkest hearts and pity them.
For they will never be free.
They will never know the feeling of being lifted in the arms of a loved one
Or notice how beautiful the sun shines down on the world
All over grassy hills and pink sunsets.
How bright your hand becomes as you lift it from the ground into the sky
Knowing that someone else's lonely hand was holding up to the sky too.
To know what it's like to have the corners of your mouth perk up, and let a heavy sound of laughter budge from your belly.
They don’t know the feeling of warmth filling you up all the way in.
They let darkness and hatred consume them.
The ugliness on the inside, they can never fix
Their hearts are stained like gravy on a white t-shirt.
They are broken like the glass scattered from an abandoned home at the end of the block.
They should learn from me.
To feel forgiveness and spread kindness like bees spread pollen.
I pollinate kindness through softly speaking to.
I believe on God. But I don’t consider myself to any religion.
My mother was educated in a catholic home. She never was very religious, but she felt the need to rise me and my siblings in catholic values. As many of the children's, I was baptized when I was a baby. I went to catholic schools, with nuns (the nuns only were there, and taught religion class but the rest of the teachers were normal teachers). When I was a child I believe in God, because was something they told me since I was small, and is still in my head.
I started to question the existence of God when I studied other religions, jew and muslims basically. I didn’t understood the differences. What’s the difference between a Jew, christian or muslim? The first though is they believe in different gods. Muslims pray to, Jew to Jehovah, christians to God. But there is really a difference?
All the things they do, make no sense. They say that God is everywhere, but you are a bad christian if you don’t go to the church every. The difference to go the hell or heaven is if you say a bunch of worlds every day. They read a book that contradict many times, but they do every thing as real.
You can’t do anything during Sabat, and in Ramadan you can’t eat. From my point of view nothing of this have any sense.
The faith should not control for anybody. If you believe in something, you should feel free to pray and believe in whatever you want.
Now, I see the hypocrisy of much of them. Many priest talk about help the other, but they build huges houses for them. The fight for any child have rights, but when is homosexual and doesn’t deserve this right anymore. This things make me go away from the religion. Things like the richest christian never had donated a penny to charity, but others people like Bill Gates did. For them is just a excuse for don't feel bad with himself.
People like me say that we are atheists, because is hard to explain what really we think. Sometimes, arguing with people, they don’t understand that I believe in a god, but not consider myself in any religion. Maybe you can think why I still believe in God after all of this. The answer is easy. Some values for the moral are necessary for mew.
Throughout my life, when I have studied and learned about the history of this planet, I have heard many stories of mankind’s unsettling capacity for violence, cruelty, xenophobia, hatred, and greed. Too many times, I have read or learned about a historical event where humanity took these sins to their absolute worst levels. The Civil Rights Movement. The Holocaust. The American-Indian Massacres. The Era of American Slavery. All of these events left a nauseatingly long trail of ruined lives and dead innocents in their wake. These types of tragedies have happened far too often in human history. It’s easy for many of us to lose faith in our species, but at the end of the tunnel of tragedy is a light of hope. For even in the darkest eras of human history, humans have proven that while their capacity for evil is great, their capacity for good is even greater. I have learned about many instances where a select few people have risen up above base instinct and xenophobia so as to help others. For example, Martin Luther King was not only a fierce advocate for civil rights, but he did so without resorting to violence. He preached the ideals of fighting with words rather than bullets, and his followers behaved exactly as he pleaded for them to. Even when faced with overwhelming odds and constant threats from his enemies, he never once lashed out in rage.
Throughout my life, I have always believed that despite our flaws, humans have an unbelievably huge capacity for good. Learning about people like Martin Luther King and growing up surrounded by family and friends who accepted me for who I was helped to strengthen my belief that if me and my loved ones could accept and love each other unconditionally, then humanity has that potential as well. If you wish to see more modern examples of humankind’s capacity for good, then you needn’t look very far to find them. All around the United States, and the world at large, you will come across thousands of organizations dedicated to helping others, acting on the ideals of compassion. Philadelphia is the home city of Project HOME, a homelessness rehabilitation program that takes homeless people off the streets and provides them with housing, job opportunities and training, medical care, education, and all of a citizen’s basic necessities while teaching them to fend for themselves. Philadelphia is also home to the Saved Me Animal Shelter, an anti-euthanasia shelter that actually rescues other dogs and cats from pro-euthanasia shelters and keeps them safe and warm until they get adopted. These two selfless organizations help to fully cement Philadelphia’s reputation as the city of “brotherly love,” and I have had the honor of volunteering for both of them in the past. While at the animal shelter, I helped by folding laundry, cleaning windows, playing with the animals, washing the chalkboard, and scooping the litter boxes. At Project HOME, I worked at the medical clinic shredding old documents so as to make room for new patients. Even though my work at the clinic was clerical at most, I was confident that in one way or another, I was making quite an impact on the community and helping many homeless people to avoid getting sick, or worse. During my orientation day the beginning of my two-week volunteer session, I also got to hear from a formerly homeless man who told us how Project HOME helped him to become a productive member of society. Not only was I inspired by his story, but I also learned that when you look beneath all of the stigma and stereotypes, homeless people are really no different from what society considers “normal” people.
Not only have I had the honor of working for Project HOME and Saved Me Animal Shelter, but I have also helped make commitments to science and the understanding of Autism. You see, since Autism is such a mysterious and strange condition (which many people have even arrogantly labeled a mental disorder), people tend to be afraid of what it is and if it will harm people. Others even taunt and tease people with Autism because they believe that their victims are not as intelligent as people without Autism. Some parents actually refuse to give their children vaccinations because they see some non-existent connection between vaccinations and Autism. My volunteering to have X-Ray images taken of my brain and to do computer games for Autism research have helped to improve the scientific community’s knowledge of it and I am confident it will help to allay people’s fears of the harm Autism has the potential to cause. I foresee that in time, people will come to see people with Autism not as mentally defective or insane, but simply as regular people whose minds just work a little differently than others.
As a child, I relied on other people’s opinions. I let them control what I said, what I did, what I wore and what I didn’t wear, my hijab being one of them.
It was my eighth grade year of middle school, also time for me to start wearing my hijab. All my other Sudanese-Muslim friends had starting wearing their hijab, some without a doubt, some with some hesitation. And then there was me, with fear, and reluctance, and a million other emotions my 13 year old self couldn’t conjure into one single word for.
At the start of an adolescent Muslim girl’s life, she must start wearing her headscarf and dressing modestly. One question that is always at the tip of another person's tongue when looking at my hijab is,
“Where you forced?” they would ask with arched brows.
When it was anything but the opposite. My mother and father never forced me to wear the hijab. I always knew growing up that I would wear it, eventually. When I did start wearing it was my choice, and as I explained this to confused face in front of me, they started to be more puzzled that I would put it on voluntarily. My parents, never asked me to wear it, I wore it on my own, it was the love for my religion and support from my family that drove me here. However, it took me awhile to get to this place of confidence and acceptance of my hijab.
Middle school was a tough time for a kid who struggle with an identity crisis, who was trying to make a drastic change in her life, but too afraid of the response from her peers. Islamophobic remarks was common for me during that time. Although I didn’t wear my hijab at the time, people still knew I was muslim by very obvious last name, Mohammed. Thinking back to a time when our 6th grade class was discussing Islam, and someone talked about how their family members were Muslim.
“My aunt and her three daughters are Muslim, they all wear the headscarf thingy.” The boy said, and without any consideration to my vulnerability asked,
“Israh, how come you don’t wear it?”
All of their tormenting eyes turned to me, my hands started to shake a little, so I sat on them to hid it, I wish I could hide the fearful look on my face. I looked down at my grey and dark blue plaid skirt that was part of our uniform. To keep us from making fun of each other if one person’s clothes weren’t as nice as their peers. In those moments I imagined a bold Israh who was quick with her tongue that could make 12 year old boy's silence their mouths forever, but I was a scared girl with shaking hands that she hid underneath her gray and dark blue plaid skirt, getting asked a question she had no idea how to answer.
“I’m too young to wear it.” was all I could manage.
He replied with a dazed and confused look on his face, mouth halfway open in confusion as the room seemed to be getting smaller and smaller.
“Well, my cousin is three years old, and she wears it.”
The entire class stared at me some with quizzical looks, others with a sort of ‘this isn’t my business but I’m gonna make it mine’ look and one kid in the back of the room with a pen doodling on the desk, he was my favorite classmate from then on.
I wasn’t afraid to wear hijab, just how my friends would treat me differently. My most known feature in middle school was my hair. Girls would always undo my braid and redo it for sport. Other girls would always joke as we stood in the lunch line,
“Girl, if you ever cut your hair off please give it to me!”
“Are you even black?”
“I’m sure that’s not your REAL hair.”
“Can I braid it for you?”I should have been flattered all this positive attention should have made me some overconfident egotistical girl who could rule the halls of middle school. But I thought that wearing hijab would mean covering up the girl that was favored and liked, that the moment I put it on I would be a target for more humiliation. I was scared. I didn’t want to hide myself because of the opinions of others. But words hurt, and I chose rather than be myself, to succumb to their torment and be hijabless.
For two weeks during the summer of 2016, I volunteered at Project HOME, a Philadelphia-based homeless advocacy organization that provides homeless people with food, housing, job training, medical care, and education. While my work was largely shredding old documents in the medical clinic, my experience working with Project HOME inspired me to do more to help combat homelessness in Philadelphia. Thus, I took it upon myself to dedicate my CAPSTONE project to supporting the organization. For two weeks in a row, on Wednesday after school hours, I had set up a clothing drive, wherein I had my fellow students bring in any new or gently used clothing for me to donate to the Project HOME boutique. I managed to get them to know about my clothing drive both by pasting flyers throughout the school and writing about it on facebook. In the end, I ended up donating more than a dozen bags of clothing to the boutique, both from my fellow students and from friends outside of school. While I worked on my clothing drive and frequently checked in with my CAPSTONE mentor, Margie Winters (who was the director of the two-week program I was working for last summer), I also did some research and learned many interesting (and very disturbing) facts about homelessness. For instance, I learned that in Philadelphia, an average middle-class worker has to work 81 hours a week at a minimum wage of $7.25 just to pay the rent for a single-bedroom apartment. I also learned that at a national level, 800,000 more children were in poverty in 2004 than in 2003, with 1.2 million more living without health insurance. This research helped me to realize just how horrible a problem homelessness is, and strengthened my conviction to lend the homeless a helping hand in any way I could. I realize that my clothing drive may be very small (and only works at a municipal level), but I am confident that every little act of kindness can help to end the problem of poverty once and for all.
"About Us." National Coalition for the Homeless. National Coalition for the Homeless, 2014. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <http://nationalhomeless.org/about-us/>.
The National Coalition for the Homeless is another organization that advocates for the rights of homeless people. This one is composed of currently or formerly homeless people, activists, and community service providers dedicated to ending the problem of homelessness. The "about us" section of their website will help me to demonstrate how people are working the solve the problem of homelessness at a national level, rather than simply in Philadelphia. It will also encourage them to donate to or support more than one organization that helps the homeless.
"Criminalization of Homelessness Increases in U.S. Cities." National Low Income Housing Coalition. November 21, 2016. Accessed February 01, 2017. http://nlihc.org/article/criminalization-homelessness-increases-us-cities.
This resource will help me to show my viewers just how horribly homeless people are stigmatized in the United States. It demonstrates how people in certain cities can be arrested for no reason other than that they are homeless and can't find food, clothes, or shelter. As a matter of fact, over 187 United States cities criminalize homelessness and the prevalence of laws that disenfranchise and criminalize the homeless have been increasing since 2006.
"Facts on Homelessness." Project HOME. Project HOME, 2016. Web. 31 Dec. 2016. <https://projecthome.org/about/facts-homelessness>.
This source will further help me to get some concrete, numerical information on homelessness in Philadelphia. It lists annual rates of homelessness in the city, the age groups of the homeless, and the primary causes of homelessness. My audience might not be able to grasp a complete national scope of homelessness, so this source will help them to get a good idea on how much Philadelphia is affected.
Gambrione, Andrew. "A New Space for Homeless Youth Quietly Opened in a Church Downtown." Washington City Paper. Washington City Paper, 8 Sept. 2016. Web. 31 Dec. 2016. <http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/news/housing-complex/article/20833081/a-new-space-for-homeless-youth-quietly-opened-in-a-church-downtown>.
This article is meant to show the light at the end of the tunnel of homelessness. In it, we are given information about a new space for homeless youth that has been opened in an old church in Washington D.C. This center for homeless people of all ages offers free meals, HIV testing, counseling referrals, recreational activities, and movies.
Groves, Martha. "VA Unveils Housing for 65 Homeless Veterans." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2015. Web. 31 Dec. 2016. <http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-veteran-housing-20150609-story.html>.
This semi-recent current events article will be meant to add a silver lining to the dark cloud of homelessness in America. While I'm trying to stress how big a problem poverty is in the United States, I don't want my project to be entirely doom-and-gloom. What better way to keep people's hopes alive than to inform them about an ingenious way of keeping homeless veterans happy, healthy, and comfortable?
Kneebone, Elizabeth, and Alan Berube. Confronting Suburban Poverty in America. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2013. Print.
This is one of two books I ordered off of Amazon for my bibliography. In this book, we explore the conditions of suburban poverty, as well as diving into some statistics on American Poverty, the causes of poverty, and what solutions the American People have come up with to solve this problem.
LaMarche, Pat. Left out in America: The State of Homelessness in the United States. Portland, Me.: UpalaPress, 2006. Print.
While the other book I ordered from Amazon explores statistics and causes of poverty, this book will serve as a way to connect me to those suffering the effects of homelessness. The author, Pat LaMarche, spent fourteen days exploring the United States and living in homeless shelters in order to connect with the homeless. This way, he was able to know exactly what types of problems homeless people face in different states.
Lombardo, Paul. "Social Origins of Eugenics." Social Origins of Eugenics. University of Virginia, 2014. Web. 29 Dec. 2016. <http://www.eugenicsarchive.org/html/eugenics/essay8text.html>.
In the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, many regions of the United States began an unethical population control method through the use of eugenics. This was the theory that certain personality traits or physical taboos could be genetically passed down through the blood. 1914 was the year wherein geneticist Harry Laughlin proposed a law that forcibily sterilized the "socially inadequate." This basically meant that all of those who lived "outside" of the social order or on the fringes of society would be forced to have their ability to reproduce removed. The umbrella term "socially inadequate," included the homeless, orphans, mentally challenged people, insane people, physically handicapped people, and alcoholics. This article will come in handy because it will show readers just how much homeless people have been stigmatized and persecuted throughout history.
"Our History." Project HOME. National Healthcare for the Homeless Council, 2016. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <https://projecthome.org/about/our-history>.
This article is located on the website for Project HOME. In it, users can take a look at some of Project HOME's premier accomplishments from 1989 all to the way up until 2016. This source will come in handy because it will help me to demonstrate to my audience how old Project HOME is and how it has been helping to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.
Scullion, Mary. "Commentary: In Philly, Memorial Pays Tribute to the Homeless." Philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 Dec. 2016. Web. 27 Dec. 2016. <http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20161221_Commentary__In_Philly__memorial_pays_tribute_to_the_homeless.html>.
My project is centered around Project HOME. Sister Mary Scullion was one of the principal founders of this non-profit homeless aid organization. I'm gathering research on homelessness and what we can do to help solve the problem, so who better to ask than the founder of Project HOME herself? As an added bonus, the first three paragraphs are about three formerly homeless people who Project HOME presumably helped get back on their feet. They would continue to help advocating for the homeless to the end of their days.
Scullion, Mary. "Commentary: Philly Nurtures Pope's Seeds of Justice and Mercy." Philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer, 27 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Dec. 2016. <http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20160927_Commentary__Philly_nurtures_pope_s_seeds_of_justice_and_mercy.html>.
In this article by Sister Mary Scullion, readers are given information about how Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia caused advances in homeless advocacy. The Holy Father is a well-known advocate for social justice and a firm believer in God's mercy. In honor of this visit, Project HOME helped raise more than $1.4 million to address the needs of the homeless. The U.S. Senate also introduced some new proposals to assist homeless or at-risk teenagers. This article is useful to me because it will help reassure my audience that despite all the problems homelessness entails, there is still hope for humanity.
The assignment was to cut out a design for a stamp in negative space. We had to pick a symbol or a design that reflected our personality. I have always identified with my astronomical sign, Aries. I knew that I wanted to add it into my stamp because it is a big part of my identity. I also wanted the piece to be simple and striking. I decided of coloring half of the S because it is defined and sleek. I wasn’t sure how I would put these two symbols into one stamp, but I didn’t want them to be separate. I decided on an overlapping design and I’m glad that it turned out the way I envisioned it. Explain the importance of negative and positive space and how you used it in your design. Negative space allows the view to see your piece exactly the way you want them to. It makes your piece stand out with bold color. I used negative space by cutting away the parts that I didn’t want the viewer to see. I kept the dark, solid outlines and the middle of the S to help convey the message of my personality. One thing that I learned was that colored paper is very helpful. I drew and pasted my stamp on white paper, when I should have cut it out on black paper. This would have allowed the black parts to stand out even more. Ms. Hull also said that I would have trouble cutting out thin lines, so I made them thicker. This not only made it easier to cut out, I also helps the stamp with its striking image.