Doo-Wop and the Root of Evil

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Alright, I understand the confusion that probably came with reading that. And maybe I am the only person who feels this way about the correlation. Nonetheless, it makes for an excellent blog discussion, and it’s fun to look at otherwise innocent things from a cynical point of view. I would also like to make something extremely clear: I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THIS GENRE OF MUSIC. In fact, I’d go as far to say that classic ol’ doo-wop is one of my all-time favorite genres. The beats are catchy, the moods are romantic, and the dream-like harmonies make me nostalgic for jukeboxes and poodle skirts. It is fun, however, to read a little bit deeper into the lyrics and interpret them in a more complex light.

I’m also not trying to push the idea of an enormous musical conspiracy on anyone. This is more just an observation of the times, and how women were (and continue to be) portrayed unfairly.

So, where does these very basic, primitive ideas stem from? Unsurprisingly, the Bible.

Take the predicament of Adam and Eve. At the root of everyone’s suffering, Eve is portrayed as the woman to blame. It doesn’t matter that the snake essentially manipulated Eve into committing such a sin; utopia essentially goes to shit because of her mistake.

Now, let’s take a look at some of my favorite songs. The themes are all nearly identical: a young woman is distinguished as some sort of heavenly entity (usually an angel.) She is heaven-sent, glorious, glowing, and built on light and purity. And god forbid she decides to leave her lover, the world is suddenly in life-altering shambles, destroyed and stained forever. If anything, Johnny Maestro’s crumbled life without his woman shouldn’t be a reflection of her corruption, it should be some pretty solid evidence that ole Johnny has deep-rooted attachment issues. Let’s elaborate on this, shall we?

Earth angel, earth angel

Will you be mine?

My darling dear

Love me all the time

I’m just a fool

A fool in love, with you

Earth angel, earth angel

The one I adore

Lovely forever and ever more

I’m just a fool

A fool in love with you

Yes in love with you

I fell for you

And I knew

The vision of my love’s loveliness

I hope and I pray

that someday

I’ll be the vision of your happiness

(“Earth Angel” record by Johnny Maestro & the Crests)

As sweet as the song is, we can’t deny that Johnny is putting an unfair amount of pressure on whomever he is bestowing his love upon. We’re seeing the analogy yet again that his lover is a celestial being, and thus alluded to be incapable of making a mistake. And God forbid the woman doesn’t return his love, well…we’re getting there.

You took the joy out of spring

When you broke my heart

Robins don’t sing

Church bells don’t ring

Oh why, why did we part?

You took the joy out of spring

When you kissed me goodbye

Flowers don’t bloom

Gone is the moon

Since you, you made me cry

I used to think that you and I would be a perfect team

You were the girl, I was the boy in every single dream

I told my friends this love of ours would go on good and strong

Then you had to go and prove me wrong

(“You Took the Joy Out of Spring” recorded by Johnny Maestro & the Crests)

Spring, life, joy, and growth are apparently halted and taken away when Johny’s woman apparently f*cks up the relationship. Apparently, impressing his friends with relatively far-fetched expectations was also on the agenda. Essentially, a woman who disobeys in any way is the rough equivalence to the perfect world crashing down.

Obviously, these are (1) personal opinions, and (2) vastly detailed criticisms of songs that are clearly intended to be taken light-heartedly. But, at the same time, why not dig deeper into it? Why not challenge our thinking and our context instead of limiting ourselves?

This is undeniably not a theme that has gone away; in fact, the portrayal of women in media has actually gone even more downhill. Just switch on the radio to hear a glimpse of that loveliness.

I think it’s time I end my tangent here, even though I could go on for a while more. The point of this account is just to share my opinions on the matter, and hear some of your thoughts as well. Feel free to leave me a comment below, and I’ll see you next week!

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A Brief History of Everything I Fear

What scares me about my future, you may ask? I think a better phrasing of that question would be, what doesn’t scare me?

Before I dare divulge into a question that large, I’d like to (briefly) share my feelings on the extremely flawed public school system. I spent three quarters of my life in an extremely underfunded, microaggressive, middle-class school system where teachers still denounce spaghetti straps as young girls being “sexually distracting.” I spent all four years of high school keeping my fingers crossed that the entire arts & theater program wouldn’t be removed from my curriculum and completely go to sh*t. I spent most of my young life not only feeling confused by what adults expected of me, but also what I expected of myself. It’s difficult to feel confident in your future as an artist if the public institution granting your education would rather pay for football jerseys than pay an art teacher a salary.

I’m scared because everyone around me is telling me I lack experience in the “real world.” I’m scared because I was somehow supposed to have figured out what my life’s true calling was by the age of seventeen, then smacked down fifty grand to a college to pursue a degree I had relatively no experience in. And then, after I made that payment and relocated my entire life, I realized that I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. All I knew was that I was broke, locked in to an absolute institution, and completely bored with my life.

Why the hell did I do that?

If I could go back and rewrite things, I know I wouldn’t jump right into college at the age of eighteen. We tell ourselves we go to college to find ourselves, but how can we do such a thing if we don’t know what we’re looking for in the first place?

I’m scared because I didn’t give myself a chance to figure “it” out. I jumped on the college bandwagon because that’s what everybody else was doing, and if I didn’t, well, the only other option was to flip burgers at Mcdonalds for the rest of my life.

Duh!

I’m not denouncing college as a whole. In fact, I rather enjoy the environment. But I just wish that I had given myself a chance to breathe, try new things, maybe travel the country, and search for a passion. After all, one thing I’ve known since kindergarten was that my perfect, bright, future didn’t belong to Amesbury, Massachusetts. I knew, even at the age of five, that I wanted more than that.

Control is very versatile. I can choose to do nothing and accept the cookie-cutter life that my high school teachers hoped I would follow, or I can leave everything behind and take control of exactly what I want. And, when the time is right, that is exactly what I intend to do. Initiating change is hard, and obviously scary, but it’s a “good” scary. I’d rather be frightened of what’s yet to come, rather than what never will be.

Zigging in a World of Zaggers: My Experience With Microaggression

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In my nineteen years being passed around and examined on this planet, I’ve picked up a few things about ignorant human interaction. Without trying to sound vain, probably even more than the average millennial. It tends to naturally happen when you’re the perfect mixture of queer, disabled, sensitive, and essentially just a woman.

Microaggression is one of those topics that’s extremely important to some people, but irrelevant to others. The latter have probably never experienced it, and therefore don’t realize it’s importance. I’ve never been thrown down a staircase or slammed into a locker, or anything else you’d pick out of a early 2000s coming-of-age film. Just because I’ve never been physically assaulted in school doesn’t mean I don’t notice when a class full of people is uncomfortable with my presence. Which, in turn, can make me extremely uncomfortable.

You could argue that microaggression isn’t even a plausible theory. And to an extent, it’s a difficult point to prove, because there really isn’t any physical evidence to prove it. The point of the matter is, it doesn’t matter what you are trying to convey to me with your body language. The point is that I have no control over how I react to your cues, and I may very well take them offensively.

Our upbringing and early family dynamics have a clear impact on how we respond to criticism around us. The girl who grows up in a loving household of constant emotional support and socialization is probably going to have an easier time making friends and handling criticism than the girl who was emotionally abused in her family. I say probably because I believe there are predetermined factors, like anxiety and disabilities, that can diminish your self-esteem in a group setting. In my experience, for example, I received a great deal of emotional support and love from my mother, but criticism and emotional abuse from my father. Combined with my sensory processing sensitivity, anxiety disorder, and nonverbal learning, I spent a great deal of my childhood in a constant state of panic- especially in classroom settings. Feeling like you’re a failure of a human being at six years old is definitely a sting that sticks with you.

I can walk into a room and immediately sense hostile energy. Is it all in my head? Sure, maybe a portion of it is. The point of the matter is, I can tell when people are avoiding sitting next to me, or if their curt whispers and glances are pertaining to my existence. And I don’t care if that sounds vain, because frankly, it’s true.

If you are going to judge somebody promptly on the color of their skin, their gender, their sexuality, or their style, then that is a reflection of nothing more than your ignorance. Your lack of empathy or understanding for an individual who lives a different lifestyle than your own should only be a you problem, so don’t make it mine.

At the root of insensitivity, I think people are distrustful of what they don’t understand. And this is projected by a number of things; media, personal experiences, stereotypes, etc. If you’re zigging while everybody else is zagging, the world will take notice and perhaps even ridicule you for it.

I don’t mean to sound so decidedly pessimistic about the chronicles of the those who zig in a world of zaggers. There are the positives, too, of course. When we all come together as a collection of misfits, the potential for something creative and mighty.

There’s a reason I’m not using any media sources for this article, and that’s because I want everything I say here to be completely my own. These are my opinions, and my experiences, and I want everyone to feel entitled to their own beliefs. Feel free to drop your own thoughts in the comments, because I’d love to see a conversation develop!

Cooking My Own Meals in College

To some extent, learning to cook your own meals can feel like learning to drive a car. It takes quite a bit of practice, it can be messy, and it’s something that you (might) inevitably need to learn in order to be a functioning adult. Obviously, not everybody is going to be a first-class chef, just like not everybody is going to be the perfect driver (myself included.) However, since becoming a vegan this summer, I can genuinely say that the quality of my diet and energy has improved. My energy throughout the day is more sustained, my mood is regulated, and I look forward to trying new foods and recipes every week.

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Photo by Ivan Torres on Pexels.com

Going into my second year of college with my new diet, I decided that cooking my own meals would be more effective than frequenting the dining hall. I did have some doubts at first; after all, wouldn’t it be less expensive and time-consuming to eat my college’s food? Sure, if you’re content with shoveling done plain pasta and a dry salad every day.

Armed with three cookbooks and a very generous gift card from my mother, I stocked up  my pantry with olive oil, spices, pasta, and bread. And, miraculously, I fit $60 worth of produce into my tiny refrigerator. And thus, my new favorite hobby was born!

There are an abundance of advantages to cooking your own meals in college. For me, one of the biggest perks is that I now have control over my diet. What I consume in a day isn’t dependent on what’s available in the dining hall; it’s in my own hands what I choose to it. A lot of the foods I make, such as pasta salad and burrito bowls, can be made in bulk and refrigerated up to five days. This makes shopping relatively cheap for me, as I’m only cooking for one person. Because I eat a diet high in protein and fiber, many of my meals are hearty and keep my stomach full for hours. I remember the struggle of my stomach always being peckish my freshman year, because the majority of what I ate was carbohydrates and sugars. No matter how hard you try to eat healthy on a college campus, it’s hard to choose a salad for dinner when there’s a tray of penne pasta staring at you from across the room.

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Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Because I am paying for all my food out of pocket, I’m forced to take accountability for my spending habits and money management. While I used to find myself blowing cash on clothes and useless dorm decorations, I’m now counting down the penny on every paycheck. Obviously I treat myself to something nice every once, but the concept of disposable income is much more important to me now. After all, money only gets tighter from here, so I might as well learn to manage it and shop for food smartly while I can.

Being a vegan has not only changed the way I feel about my body, but it has also given me a more open-minded outlook on food. These past months have opened my eyes to foods I never even considered buying before, like vegan mayo and tofu (the former is extremely delicious, by the way.) While a vegan diet may not be right for everyone, the benefits have definitely changed my life for the better. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about recipes, brands, or just to chit chat in general! I love sharing my favorite meals to cook with others.

YouTube Channels for Anxiety Relief

If you’re anything like me, you’ll know that trying to sleep in the summer can be an absolute nightmare. As if falling asleep with thoughts of crippling anxiety swirling in my head isn’t bad enough, now I have to do it while I feel like I’m baking in an oven?

Needless to say, ASMR and relaxation videos have become my go-to for falling asleep in the humid months. While many of my favorite channels are indeed ASMR ones, there are also a handful of other genres that I frequent to help me relax. Without further adieu, these are my top five favorite youtube channels for falling asleep and anxiety relief.

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WhispersRed ASMR

Genre: People & Blogs

Subscribers: 556,808

This probably comes as no surprise to many of you, as I’ve posted about my love for this channel on several occasions. Emma’s content is extremely diverse and versatile for all lovers of sound therapy, and her beautiful personality has a truly sedative effect on me. Because her voice and attitude have a particularly motherly vibe, I find it easy to relax and fall asleep to her content. Some of my favorite videos to doze off to are crystal hauls, Q & A’s, role plays, and show-and-tells.

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Sassy Masha Vlogs

Genre: People & Blogs

Subscribers: 126,071

Perhaps more commonly known as Maria GentleWhispering, I find Maria’s vlog channel somehow more therapeutic than her actual ASMR. Her nature speaking voice is very feminine and soothing, and her knowledge on life’s many adversities is admirable. Similarly to WhispersRed, Maria posts several haul videos and “story-time” style uploads. If you, like me, enjoy falling asleep to the sound of soft chattering, Sassy Masha Vlogs is a satisfying place to start.

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The Lune INNATE

Genre: People & Blogs
Subscribers: 57,257

I discovered this channel whilst deep-diving for information about crystal healing. Jillian, better known by her online presence Lune Innate, has an extensive knowledge on everything from crystals and grids, to chakras, grids, and sacred geometry. Not only are her videos informative for fellow crystal nerds like me, but her gentle demeanor and lovely voice make it easy to relax after an intense day of work. Listening to her videos feels similarly to how one might listen to a friend at a sleepover: deep talks, swapping stories, and discussing the potential secrets of Earth and the Universe.

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Buddhist Society of Western Australia

Genre: Nonprofits & Activism

Subscribers: 109,448

I found this channel after I began to worry in middle school that I was gay, and must have concluded that Buddhism would bring me some sort of peace and acceptance. Being in college now (and much more comfortable with my gayness), I still frequent this channel to listen to Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm’s Friday night philosophy talks. While this channel might not qualify as traditional ASMR, the soothing nature of Brahm’s voice combined with his incredible wisdom brings me tranquility as I find myself wrestling with my anxiety. There have quite literally been times where I sat up in bed after listening to something he’s said, marveling at the peace and closure his words have suddenly given me. The channel features other monks besides Brahm, but his hour-long talks are by far my favorites.

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Poppen Atelier

Genre: Howto & Style

Subscribers: 157,208

Straying farther away from ASMR, this is a channel I actually watch for relaxation, not necessarily listen to. Maryna is a master doll crafter who purchases cheap Barbies (and Monster High Dolls) to give them complete glam makeovers. I enjoy watching very intricate tasks, like calligraphy and doll painting, because they give me an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and relaxation. Poppen Atelier is the epitome of this satisfaction, and I often visit her channel to completely distract my mind from the worries of the day.

 

Next week! Vintage Doo-Wop and The Root of Evil

My Nighttime Skincare Routine

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Like millions of other people, I spent my early teenage years trying to combat the embarrassing outbreak known notoriously as acne. Over the past five or six years, I’ve (nearly) perfected a skincare routine that works great for both my skin and my budget. Do I still experience breakouts and bouts of redness in my skin? Absolutely. Ultimately, however, the condition of my skin is brighter, healthier, and smoother than ever. Obviously, what works for me may not work for you, but I’m happy to share my routine nonetheless. Many of these products are extremely affordable and easy to find at any drugstore, so enjoy!


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The first step of my routine is to completely remove my makeup from the day. As you can see, I’m wearing some pretty thick full-coverage products on my face, so it’s important to me that I let my skin breathe and refresh as thoroughly as possible. To remove my makeup, I’m using the Beauty 360 fragrance-free makeup remover towelettes. I find these wipes to be very easy and soothing on the skin, making them ideal for me. My skin is both very sensitive and oily, so it’s crucial that I don’t scrub my face with anything that’s too harsh.


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Next, I’m exfoliating my skin with a berry mud mask by Formula 10.0.6. I don’t use face masks every day of the week, but I try to use them at least twice a week to boost my skincare routine and practice some quality self-care. This particular mask smells delightful and has a smooth, creamy texture once applied. I really dislike face masks that dry too intensely on the skin, so I’m happy to report that this one actually feels quite comfortable! I leave this mask on for 10-15 minutes, then wash it off gently with warm water.


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After I remove my mud mask, I’ll go in with the Bioré pore unclogging scrub. As I previously said, my skin tends to get quite oily by the end of the day, so I like to keep my skin as clean as possible. This cleanser also contains tiny scrubbing beads that give your face a nice, delicate massage, in addition to providing extra exfoliation. This cleanser also carries a cool, almost minty aroma, making it ideal for waking my skin up on early morning starts.


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This cream is a benzoyl peroxide acne gel that I acquired through my dermatologist, which means that it might be a bit more difficult to find and probably a lot more expensive than the other products on this list. That being said, any benzoyl peroxide product can be a great solution for anybody that suffers from blemishes and breakouts. Because benzoyl peroxide is such a strong formula, I usually only apply this cream once a day. It’s fragrance-free, light, and goes on completely clear, making it ideal for my sensitive skin.


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Finally, I am using the CeraVe moisturizing lotion all over my face and neck. I SWEAR by this product to everybody looking for a moisturizer- the formula is perfectly restoring and smooth. Ever since I started using this moisturizer years ago, I haven’t been able to part with it or find anything that tops it. After smoothing it all over, my skin feels rejuvenated and completely hydrated. I apply this product twice a day, but feel free to apply as much as you want.


With my skin now totally pampered, I’m finally ready to catch some Zzz’s. I hope this article was (in some capacity) helpful to you, and I’ll see you again on Friday!

Coming up next: My favorite conspiracy theories about The Shining!

 

How To Cleanse Your Living Space Naturally & Metaphysically

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In order to maintain positive, happy, energy in your living environment, purifying is essential. The term “purifying” itself is very versatile and can mean different things for different people. You don’t have to dedicate an elemental shrine in every room of your house to keep it cleansed and positive, but that is one thing you can do! For me personally, cleansing my living space is a very simple and harmonious part of my life. I’ll be taking you through everything I do on a semi-daily basis, but feel free to put your own spin on things if you feel like doing so.


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Perhaps the most essential tool is purifying room mist. This room mist is simple to make, use, and store, making it ideal for everyday use. On top of a spray bottle to keep the product in, you will also need water, lavender essential oil, a few drops of lemon, allspice, anise, basil, cinnamon, clove, and thyme. Combine all of the ingredients and shake the contents well. The color will change from clear to a peachy light-brown. I use this spray generously on my bedding, curtains, pillows, and simply just throughout the air. I also spritz it on my spiritual altar and crystal collection, as these areas should always stay as purified as possible.


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Decorate your living space with crystals, plants, spices, and symbolic objects. The elements of nature carry an enormous amount of power within them, so it is important that we honor this power and use it wisely in our living space. I keep my crystals together in a small glass plate in my room, and, depending on my mood, will take out particular ones to meditate with. Having a personal relationship is crucial to anyone seeking healing through their crystals, along with selecting the proper crystal for whatever it is you may be struggling with. I also have a small succulent on my bedroom windowsill- not only does it add beauty and interest to my room, but it also strengthens my intimate relationship with the natural world.


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Try to keep the purpose of each room as simple and organized as possible. For example, it may not be wise to keep your television in the same room you sleep in. When too many conflicting energies are put together, negativity and chaos can linger and hugely affect your mood. Keeping things minimalist and basic not only appears better to the eye, but also greatly improves the overall mood of your living space.

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Lastly, aromatherapy is a terrific way to purify your space and keep your mind detoxified! Natural scents like lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and frankincense can add another dimension of cleanliness to your living space, and all of these smells have their own individual healing properties. I enjoy diffusing lavender oil before bed to relax my mind and prepare my body for the objective of a good night’s sleep. Zesty smells like orange and eucalyptus can be extremely energizing, making them ideal for pushing you through the start of your day. Whatever it is you choose to do to make your space feel cleaner and more positive, always remember to stay safe and do whatever is in the best interest for your health and well-being.