Link to my Are You Aware? Website: https://sites.google.com/view/are-you-aware/home
Link to my Are You Aware? Website: https://sites.google.com/view/are-you-aware/home
My goal for this paper is to open people's minds to my idea of how something can be true and fiction at the same time. This should help us understand other people's ideas and the problem as a whole. I'm proud of the deep analysis I wrote for this paper because I feel like I really explored and explained an idea that's not widely thought about. I hope my essay influences you guys to ponder on this idea of truth and fiction.
We hear numerous stories from different people all the time. Whether it’s drama, one’s experience, breaking news, or just something made for some laughs. But how can we know if someone’s telling the truth? Can a story be true only based off of one’s person’s point of view? Many people may question someone’s reliability because they believe there’s only one truth but it’s actually possible for a story to be true and fiction at once simply because one person’s truth can be someone else’s fiction and vice versa. This is different for everyone as we all have individual opinions and beliefs that affect how we process and react to certain things. But society made us blindly believe in things that are simply not true. Because of this, people aren’t truly understanding what they are being told, restricting them from other thoughts, ideas, and opportunities.
For example: police brutality. There’s a lot of rumors that policemen have been abusing their power and have been targeting people of color, which is gradually becoming true over time. According to a WITNESS.org article by Madeleine Bair, in 2014, a 36-year old woman named Kianga Mwamba was attacked by the police for recording them beating a man in handcuffs. She was tased and charged for an attempt of running over a police officer. When she was released from jail, the video on her phone that recorded everything was gone. Police officers have this armor that protects them from initially being accused of a crime because their job is supposed to do the opposite. This led to Mwamba being falsely accused of a crime she didn’t commit. Luckily, in her case, her truth was unveiled after discovering that her phone had backed up the video automatically but even with the truth out, she hasn’t been able to seek disciplinary action against the police officers who assaulted her.
At first, this story was only told from a police officers point of view. The information was biased in a way to make them seem innocent and for the woman to be guilty. But why did we believe them in the first place? It’s because we grew up believing that it’s okay to trust the authorities. Their story may have told what happened but not the entire story was explained and this is where truth and fiction overlaps. In the officers’ world, this is what happened; this is their truth. For the woman, it was only partially true. Her intentions were not to hurt the police officers, but to share what’s really happening behind the scenes of these police officers. The video recording is another truth to the story as well as it reveals the events that lead up to her arrest. Charges were dropped against her but the officers remain untouched. The power of the officers’ truth had affected her more than the actual truth and this is where the problem is in our society. A story must be laid out completely from all angles in order to thoroughly understand how to take action upon it.
Another example where a truth is not entirely told is from Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried novel. This book was about the Vietnam War and the experiences of what the soldiers went through before, during and after the war. A quote by him states, “I have been accused of ignoring the Vietnamese in my fiction, ignoring their concerns and so on. It's not a question of ignoring, though, but of not knowing. It involves the question of point of view.” For the author to tell a story from one point of view is telling one part of the story, similar to the Mwamba case. On a surface level, it influences the reader to only think about what is being told but on a deeper level, the reader is slowly believing this one side and not acknowledging the other.
Although this novel is fiction, the author was able to execute a story that made it seem very real. The stories of these soldiers were detailed and personal which made it believable. Emotions and certain characteristics can influence what we would or wouldn’t believe. The way a person shares a story is another way that truth and fiction can overlap. It’s possible for a person to completely convince another person with a made up story, and for a person who’s telling the truth not be heard.
The question of the idea of the truth and fiction overlapping is what do we truly believe? We tend to only remember things that make an impression on us and that means that it’s significant in some way. It’s okay to believe one side over the other but it’s about respecting the other point of views as well as your own. This mindset is not often applied to the justice system which is why people are constantly being mistreated. Also, it silences the voices who are already so small to begin with. We need to understand that there’s different sides to everything and that it’s not always about pinpointing things to the root but about how the idea grew to be. We should also explore the idea that it is possible for something to be true and fiction at the same time, it’s just the matter of how we choose to perceive it. With that, we need to take a step back and look at it as a whole.
At some point in our lives, we go through a difficult phase. A phase where we don’t know who we are or why we matter, a phase of questioning our existence and motivation to keep progressing. This phase doesn’t creep up on us and, it can really hurt from where it began. Losing a loved one, dreams crushed, failure, poor health, pain, stress; the list goes on for eternity. It hits us just like a snap of a finger and we had no way of knowing.
When we are lost, we have no feelings, we have no opinion, we are empty. A clean slate. One may think this could be the worst thing in the world because it doesn’t make you human. Thandie Newton had a TED talk on the value or non-value of having a “self.” She quoted, “I always wondered why I could feel others' pain so deeply, why I could recognize the somebody in the nobody. It's because I didn't have a self to get in the way. I thought I lacked substance and the fact that I could feel others' meant that I had nothing of myself to feel. The thing that was a source of shame was actually a source of enlightenment.” If you have no feelings, you’re perceived as damaged, but this is an advantage in life because we get to see and learn more. Newton was able to see others’ emotions and understand them because she was lost. It’s “a source of enlightenment” where we can discover new things in our lives. Being lost is like not having an identity and no identity means no judgment. You can see all the options from the different point of views and from there, you can make choices of your own.
An example of someone who feels like they have no identity is Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author of Between the World and Me. In his book, he talks about how school was one of the ways that made him lost. As stated by Coates, “I did not master the schools, because I could not see where any of it could possibly lead” (115). In many cases, students wonder when the information they are given will apply to the real world hence Coates stating “I could not see where any of it could possibly lead.” The idea of not knowing what to do leads to the sense of one being lost because they do not understand the purpose of it all. He became lost because he was confused about the options that were just handed to him.
But this is where Coates was able to see everything as it is. At first, he believed that the world was cruel for people of color like himself and that it was almost entirely impossible to change that. However, when he was lost, he was able to discover more opinions that he hadn’t thought about. He observed how people like himself and people who are completely different from him behaved. He saw individuality, selfishness, fear, confidence, and much more. Through this, he was able to re-accept himself in his own ways while understanding the choices and behaviors of others even if he doesn’t agree with them. From understanding more of what confused him , Coates was able to grow more as a person and still have the advantage of an open mind.
Times when I went through this dark phase was when I’ve lost people who I thought couldn’t live without. I’ve had a recent experience of being lost when I was peeling green beans. I was annoyed by the task but it didn’t matter because I had to help cook if I wanted to eat. My mother walked towards me as she walked out of the kitchen. “What happened to Nasir? You guys haven’t been talking much lately,” she asked concerningly but casually.
“Nothing happened,” I responded monotony. I blanked out because I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t thinking about him before but now I am, which put me in an off mood. She continued to ask me random questions that I didn’t know the answers to. Did I do this, did he do that, did he get a new girlfriend, did you guys fight? I didn’t really know why or what happened. I already accepted that it was okay for humans to change their feelings, but I questioned why it was always them to change their minds. Was it me? Was I not enough or am I just someone who eventually becomes unwanted? It was my third time going through a relationship and they all ended the same way.
But now looking back, I can prove myself wrong. I discovered that for me, love from another person is never enough because true love comes within. Other people may need someone to show them love but, it’s different for me. I only looked at love in one direction, one image, one meaning, one way but the state of being lost showed me otherwise. It forced me to open the doors that were behind me, the doors that I ignored and found unappealing. But the new doors were what I was missing. They were the perspectives that I had never even thought about yet they were the ones that I learned the most from. I picked and chose what I didn’t like and what I do like. I chose me.
Life hits us like a snap of a finger because it’s carving the right path to ourselves. It forces us to be at our worst so we can discover what makes us feel best. But the idea of being lost has more purpose than to smash us down and then rebuild. It’s to break down the walls that narrow our horizon of the things we ignore and don’t know, and then rebuild. The state of the lost phase is truly when we can become the better versions of ourselves because not only can we find ourselves again but we can also understand others. Understanding other beliefs, opinions, thoughts and ideas more will prevent ourselves from becoming lost again.
It’s Not Me, It’s You
The most insecure that I felt with my body was when I was 11 years old. As my body was changing into a young woman, my mind and feelings remain innocent. I didn’t know how to protect my confidence from bullies or unfavorable opinions because I never had to until I was 11. The other 6th grade girls didn’t wear training bras anymore and had a fuller bum, but that didn’t matter to me. I was jealous of their pretty hairless arms.
My father is covered in thick-curly-dark hair from his chest, to stomach, to arms, hands, legs, back, toes, and even his ears. I’ve always been mad at him for giving me his hairy genetics but my mother has been telling me, since I was five, that having hair on your arms means you will have a easy life. I have always believed her until I entered middle school.
My middle school didn’t have central air condition so it was usually humid during the warmer months. Because of that, I would always wear short sleeve shirts. This boy, who we will call Keith, came up to me for the first time during recess near the playground. “Why do you have so much hair on your arms? You have more than me and I’m a boy. Look,” he said as he puts his right arm and my left arm side by side. I shrugged my shoulders to tell him that I didn’t know why I do. Then another boy, who we will call Anthony, chimed in and teasingly said, “Yeah, you have hairy arms. You’re more of a man than me,” which made the other childish boys and girls giggle. Their echoing laughter shattered my heart and self-esteem. I felt the tears in my eyes begin to creep up so I flusteredly hid away. This was the first time that I was embarrassed of my own body.
That day scarred me for months. It was the only thing that the boys would point out about me in 6th grade. I became so self-conscious that I wore long sleeve sweaters for the rest of the year, even during the hottest school days. As June came around, another traumatic incident happened again. I sat at a desk with my best friend. A table away sat Keith and Anthony. It was my last class in the most sweltering room of the building. The air was grilling us as we sat in the classroom. All the boys and girls had short sleeves shirts on but me. “Can you take your fricken jacket off, you’re making me even hotter just by looking at you,” Anthony mocked towards me. Everyone turned their heads like an owl spotting a baby mouse. My best friend followed, “Yeah, it’s too hot to be wearing that.”
I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t know what to do but my body decided to take off the sweater. Then Keith chuckled, “She wanted to hide her hairy arms,” which made some kids laugh as usual. I looked at my arms with hatred eyes and buried them under the desk. I leaned in, pushing them further under so nobody, including myself, can see the disgraceful hair.
For years, hurtful names have been ruminating subconsciously whenever I run my hands along my arms. Hairy, hairy girl, little boy, monkey, ape, and Chewbacca. I didn’t even know who or what a Chewbacca was until someone called me it. That one stung the most. After a while, it became an old joke and people left me alone. Once in a blue moon, someone would intrusively comment, “You have hairy arms,” and I would bluntly reply, “You think I didn’t know that already? I get it from my dad,” and walk away. I slowly stopped caring even though my self-esteem was shattered like an iPhone screen.
Entering high school was a door made and held opened by a butler for me. No one knows you and you know no one else, except your best friend of course. As a freshman, I expected everyone to be more mature and not make insulting comments about my body. And thankfully, I was right. Instead of remarks on my hairy arms, I’ve been receiving compliments just about me. People have been telling me left and right that I’m pretty, gorgeous, perfect, cute, etc. High school was the strongest glue that fixed my broken pieces.
My arms isn’t going to kill me or others, and it rather became an idea of luck in my mind. I learned to be grateful for my working body and that it is just hair. It also made me realize that not everyone gets the opportunity to change their perspectives about themselves. Sometimes the insecurities continue to haunt you for many years of your life. In some cases, insecurities don’t develop until you’re older because that’s when you start to care. What people fail to realize is that you are not the problem, it’s the people around you. At sixteen, I can say that I love myself in every way, shape, or form and nobody can tell me otherwise anymore.
Can children be born evil? Most people believe that children learn the most during their first few years of life, and during that time they are always distracted with toys, games, and the T.V. while their parents work. Therefore, the kids have the freedom to do whatever they want with their imaginations, not knowing what is good or bad because there is no one telling them what to think. When a child “acts out” or does something that is “inappropriate,” they are not punished because their peers believe children have room for growth and don’t explain to them why something is wrong. Young people get away with bad behavior because their peers enable them to behave however they want.
In the novel “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, a group of young boys on a plane crashed onto an unknown island. The boys unite together in order to survive. One of the things the boys agreed on doing was keeping the fire going so they can get rescued. Shifts were established between the boys and at this moment in the book it was Jack’s, one of the hunters, turn. Despite that, Jack ends up leaving the fire to seek after the pig. “I was chief, and you were going to do what I said. You talk. But you can’t even build huts-then you go off hunting and let out the fire-” (70). Ralph, the chief, was aware of the inappropriate behavior from Jack since the beginning of their time on the island. His rebellion against the chief could be because he was jealous of him for being the leader of the boys, thus giving him a reason to act out. As a hunter, Jack would kill animals which can be defined as violent behavior. Because of his unsuccessful first attempt, he was even more motivated to catch it this time. Although Ralph addressed the problems, he did not punish Jack. He allowed him to remain a hunter which is enabling his bad decisions and actions. Jack apologized to end the argument between them, but he wasn’t sincere because he does not believe he did anything wrong. In his eyes, it was a great accomplishment that he killed the pig and was looking forward to doing it again. Not only did Ralph allow the hunts to continue but the other boys loved it. They admire Jack for his bravery and skills in hunting which normalized the violent behavior. Their admiration gave Jack confidence and power which only enabled his behavior to progress for the worse.
Throughout the novel, the idea of a “beast” arose from a littlun. The beast frighten the boys even though there haven’t been actual proof of its existence. Jack, who is portrayed as the brave one among the littluns, was driven to find the beast in order to befriend it or kill it. One night, they all thought that they spotted the beast and attacked it. The boys believed that they were defending themselves against the beast but in reality, they were murdering Simon, a fellow survivor. “At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws” (99?). They were determined to kill the beast because they only pictured it as something bad. Their imagination urged them to hurt it back because they were surrounded by aggressive and brutal behaviors that were often praised for, such as killing the pigs. When they realized that it was Simon, they ignored the fact that it was him because they were used to the murderous acts. Also, there was nobody there to tell them that it was wrong or to punish them for the murder. The boys came from an environment full of war so killing and violence was often present in their lives. This gave them reasons to think that they did what they had to do in order to protect themselves. Even though Ralph knew it was wrong, he didn’t do anything to explain it to the boys, therefore, enabling their evil behavior.
Violent behavior is also present in the real world. School shootings are one of the most frequent incidents that are happening in America. One of the world’s most fatal school massacres is the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, 2018. Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz was charged for the murder of seventeen people. Prior to the shooting, Mr. Cruz showed numerous signs of his disturbed behavior. “A Snapchat video shows Nikolas Cruz cutting his arms and talking about guns. A message sent by Cruz to a Mississippi bail bondsman says, ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter.’ An anonymous tip warns the FBI of Cruz’s potential of ‘conducting a school shooting.’” Nothing was done to prevent the incident despite the clear warnings that were given. Multiple people (students, teachers, police, FBI, his guardians) let him be his mentally and emotionally unstable self. His behavior could have trigger because of the passing of his mother in November 2017. Not only was he already challenged in life but he fell into a great depression after her death. If he was approached about his behavior, he could have learned that shooting people is something he should not do, someone could have been watching him, or he even could have gotten help. Instead, his uncommunicative environment only became an advantage for him to express his fascinations for guns. This is similar to the novel where Ralph did not stop Jack from killing despite knowing all the signs of what he was capable of.
Although what Nikolas Cruz did is unjust and horrific, young girls send him fan mail praising him for what he did. The families of the victims are disgusted at the fact that he can receive mail in jail knowing that his court case has not been determined yet. “Cruz is getting mail, too, including fan letters from teenage girls. ‘He’s famous,’ Finkelstein says. ‘They want to be connected to him. They’re star-struck. I’m ready to call the parents and say, ‘You need to know what your daughters are doing.’” The girls are admiring Mr. Cruz similarly to the boys admiring Jack. This only makes him think that what he did was acceptable in some way. If he wasn’t getting the mail, he wouldn’t know what people were thinking of him. The girls are supporting his murderous behavior that should be corrected as unjust and evil. The parents of the girls are enablers because the girls think similarly to Mr. Cruz and are not being informed of the problems. They are normalizing violent behavior and seize to see the wrong in the shooting. This is like the boys following Jack’s commands and beliefs when they murdered Simon.
Enablers are why bad behaviors are becoming widely accepted among young children. The children are not informed of or punished for their mistakes, therefore they continuously grow worse. In cases like the novel and the real world, people get hurt and die because of evil behaviors and the person who should be held accountable are the people who allowed it to happen. People need to teach children that violence is not acceptable. If this was a standard lesson, then these problems could have been prevented. Simon didn’t have to die and those teachers and students didn’t have to part from their families. It’s unfortunate that we have to learn why awful things happen this way but now we can learn from these incidents and continue to fix our ways for the better.
I Am Fifteen Years Old
My friend lives 13 miles away from my house. I take four different public transportation lines to get there. Over this hour-long trip, I see new people of all ages ranging from about 10 to 50 years old who take Septa daily, like me. Nine out of ten times, men assume that I am a lot older than I am based on my appearance. They say my dark long hair and makeup makes me physically look older. My tight fitting clothes make me look more flattering which can come off as grown. My straight posture and focused but kind facial expressions make me look mature. I’m only fifteen but men are ignorant.
This one day was a terrible day to go to my friend’s house. Because I didn’t want to spend $2.50 on the bus, I decided to walk to the subway. As I walked along Oregon, a small white Honda filled with college boys honked at me. “Hey sexy lady, why don’t you come in the car with us?” yelled a scrub in the passenger side but then drove off in a rush. I paid them no mind like I usually do when this happens. I didn’t think a tank top and ripped jeans was showy compared to my other outfits.
“Mmhhh, you looking real good there sweetheart,” a 40 year old man says as his eyes followed me slowly trying to take me in. I focused myself towards the subway entrance and ignored the very annoying perverted man. At the time, I wondered if he would still have said that if he knew I was only in my first year of highschool.
I skipped down the flight of stairs only to be glared at by strangers. The subway pulls up and I always go for the middle carts. The moment the doors opened up at Snyder, I could sense this man’s attention locked on me. He settled himself across from me. I just stared down at my feet and then looked up to catch glimpses of this man gazing at me. He was obviously lost in his thoughts. I wondered if would he still be imagining things involving me if he knew I was fifteen? I waited for the subway to fully stop before getting up to prevent myself from falling. I could see that he looked surprised when this was my stop and proceeded to look at me until the subway moved on.
Hundreds of people shifted themselves into the tiny staircase of Exit 3. When I get to the top, I take a right and go straight until I get to the other staircase. From there, I go all the way up and then take a left to the end and then another left to go down the staircase. Here, I stood against a pole as I waited for the next L to come. A group of people from the southbound BSL came flowing in. A short man, around in his thirties, stands beside me. We remained in silence for about a minute until he complimented my hair.
“Thank you,” I smiled politely.
He continued to talk about his mother and his tattoos. Basically anything to keep my attention to hit on me. I attempted so many times to end our conversation. That day, the L decided to take it’s precious time getting to me. It’s like everything that day wanted to make me suffer. When the L rolled up, the man asked me where I was going. I told him that I’m on my way to school. He then questioned what college do I go to and I told him I was a freshman.
“A freshman in college?” he asked.
I responded, “No, in high school.”
“Wait so how old are you?” he said surprisingly.
“Oh my gosh! I thought you were 21 or 22. You look so much older like I thought you were an adult.” He awkwardly said his goodbyes and parted ways.
I can’t blame people for what they think of me. This society is stuck on what a “older” female should look like. But I’m not trying to look older and I don’t do it for attention. I have a passion for fashion and my style is popularly shared among older women. The way I speak can also make people believe that I’m older because I’m not afraid to speak out and I have manners. Kids are usually rude and wild so older men wouldn’t try to approach them. The idea of what’s right and wrong for young and old people is so broad and controversial that we should just do what fulfills our own happiness. But the intentions of naive men shouldn’t have to get in my way of doing me.
La hija de padres inmigrantes,
producto de Camboya.
Yo nací en América.
Veo felicidad y mi familia.
Saboreo amor y afecto.
Huelo flores y comida.
Oigo risa y gritando.
Toco mi mamá, mi papá, mi hermana menor, y mi hermana mayor.
Camino con mi pena.
Corro lejos de mis problemas.
Hablo desde el corazón.
Duermo por mi destino.
Somos productos de Camboya.
Vivimos en Filadelfia toda nuestra vida.
Hablamos inglés pero mis padres hablan su idioma también.
Comemos, dormimos y vivimos juntos.
No tenemos problemas.
Somos felices.Somos familia.
¡SLA es fantástica!
Overview of SLA
¡Hola! Bienvenidos a Science Leadership Academy. Somos Zeke, Serenidad, Monie, y Emmett. Somos del primer año. SLA está en Filadelfia, 22 y Market st. Está cerca de muchos museos, cafés, y tiendas. Es muy divertido. Es loca y chevere. Es muy bastante feo. ¡Es una broma! Hay sobre las quinientos estudiantes y sobre veinte siete profesoras, y cinco pisos. Tenemos muy buenas clases y profesores divertidos. Ofrecemos béisbol, fútbol, baloncesto, correr, el club de cine, unión de estudiantes, y unión estudiantil afro. Participamos en el Franklin Institute, ILP, deportes, y actividades extracurriculares.
Que tenemos inglés, español, almuerzo, historia, drama, arte, informática, álgebra, geometría, bioquímica, el instituto Franklin, y consejería. Nos encanta nuestras clases, menos bioquímica y ingeniería. ¡Es una broma! En la escuela, necesitamos unos libros, unas carpetas, las computadoras, una mochila, y unas batas de laboratorio. Nos gusta leer y escribir en las clases. Para tener éxito en esta clase, tomamos apuntes, hacemos la tarea, trabajamos duro, y participamos activamente.
Los Profesores y Los Estudiantes
Como estudiantes del primer año, tenemos seis profesores. La Srta. Manuel enseña español. Ella es baja y seria pero cómica. Sus proyectos son muy divertidos. Siempre hablamos español. La señorita McCollough enseña bioquímica. Ella es simpática. Hacemos experimentos chéveres. El señor Kamal enseña ingeniería. Él es muy cómico y bobo. Nos encanta porque la clase es bastante interesante y no hay pruebas. La señorita Bushnell y Giorgio enseña geometría y álgebra. Sus clases son fáciles. La señorita Jonas enseña historia. Ella es bastante tranquila. Tenemos muchas discusiones y prestamos atención. Él señor Kay enseña inglés. Él es muy cómico y sociable. Su clase es un poco estresante. Escribimos ensayos. La mayoría de los estudiantes son buenos y simpáticos, pero depende de quién.
Nuestras clases son divertidas. Nuestra clase favorita es bioquímica porque es en esta clase, aprendemos sobre experimentos y disección. Lo que más nos gusta de SLA es almuerzo porque salimos con amigos, comer y descansar. Hacemos proyectos divertidos. Y en la clase de español, intentamos hablar español y trabajamos duro. Al final de cuentas, SLA es fantástica, chevere, y divertida. ¡Ven a visitarnos!
Para más información, ve a www.scienceleadership.org.
My network is Verizon. I have three tablets, one is Windows and the other two are androids. I have two computers, one is PC and the other is Windows. I have one DELL laptop. Lastly, I have five cellular devices, two are LG phones, and the other three are iPhones. I didn’t know anything about networks until I had this class. I learned that everything is connected to a network no matter what device you use. I don’t recall having a OMG moment. I would tell other people to be careful with what you do online because anyone can access your ISP/Home network and find out all the little things you do.