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Starting Photography

 

Bluejay0 Edited(2)

I’ve always liked taking pictures, but I was definitely not good at it when I was younger. I took pictures of boring things that no one really needed to see like my pets, and my toys – granted, I still take pictures of my cats because I find them to be really fascinating creatures, but I like to think that my photography skills have improved since 2012.

Exhibit A:

Before…
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After…
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Oh and we certainly can’t forget this special number…IMG_5827.jpg

If you take a look at exhibit B over here, you may notice that my subject matter choices have improved as well.

Exhibit B:

Before…
DSC06292.JPG  DSC05404

After…
IMG_4927  IMG_5208.jpg

As of this past summer, I’ve been more interested in photography than I’ve ever been, so I decided to make a Facebook photography page. (Self promo)
Neta’s Photography Page

I’m just getting started, and I definitely have a lot to learn about editing, and cameras, but I can’t wait! I already have a great teacher (YOUTUBE) and all I need is a lot of practice.

*Crash*

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Looking for Evil.

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LET IT BE KNOWN: I know a lot of people who are very firm in what they believe, and although I may disagree, I respect their opinions.

As far as I know, there are two reasons someone would look for evil.
1. In the hopes to take part in it.
2. In the hopes of avoiding it.

Today I’m talking about the second reason. To further explain, looking for evil in the hopes of avoiding it basically means to look for the bad parts of things so you can let yourself and other people know what to steer clear from. This, in my opinion, is not a good way of thinking. If something seems wrong from the moment you hear about it, like Ouija boards, and human sacrifice, use your instincts and avoid those things. However, if someone tells you about something, and your first thought is, “What are the bad things about it?” that means you’re a pessimist, and pessimism isn’t healthy. It can give you high blood pressure, lead to depression and anxiety, and it’s generally bad for your heart.

Proof

As someone who attended church weekly while I was growing up, it was clear that there were certain things that some people weren’t particularly fond of, and I was always a bit confused as to why. I decided that it would be fun and maybe even informative to make a list of things that aren’t necessarily bad, but often get a bad rap.

  • Halloween : This Holiday was given it’s reputation because of it’s origin. It started because November 1st was considered the start of the new year, and people thought that the night before was a time when the “boundaries between the living and the dead became blurred.” People would light bonfires and dress up in costumes to ward off ghosts. Thankfully, we as humans are now smart enough to know that there are no blurred lines on October 31st. Instead, Halloween has become a tradition for families to come together and carve pumpkins, dress up, and go trick or treating. This Holiday is an opportunity to spend time with the people you love and do something that you don’t do every day.
  • Harry Potter : This children’s book series is widely hated because of the fact the the story revolves around witches and wizards. I suppose it’s understandable that some people would be turned off by it, but when it really comes down to it, Harry Potter is only a book, and nothing more (unless you count the movies and merchandise). Not only that, but if you take out the flying broomsticks, wands, and unicorns, it’s really just a story about love and friendship. The good guys are smart, brave, and kind people, and the bad guys are cruel, greedy, and afraid. If anything, Harry Potter taught me to be the best that I can be. It certainly did not teach me to become a witch.
  • Video Games : Although I don’t condone spending most of your life playing video games, it’s about time we all realize that they teach kids a lot more than just how to sit and twiddling their thumbs. Video games increase your ability to pay attention, improve your memory, and enhance your visual and motor skills. –  Proof

The world is stuck with horrible things like racism, abuse, and murder. It’s bad enough without people demonizing holidays, books, and games.  I say, let people be happy about things that make them happy! It’s not always selfish and criminal to enjoy life. Of course there’s more to it than just pleasing yourself, but there’s no harm in taking some time to do things that you love.

*Crash*

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Being Asocial and Submissive.

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Asocialbehaviour seen in people lacking confidence while meeting new people. Someone who is asocial will often go to great lengths to avoid social meetings. They will generally prefer doing things all alone rather than making new friends or relations.

Ever since I was young, I was very shy. I always found it so much easier to stay home and be by myself. I didn’t like to be around people, because people were usually pretty mean. Why would I go out and spend time with someone if that just gave them the platform to make fun of me, interrupt me, or be generally rude? I didn’t even like going to family gatherings for that reason. There would, without a doubt, always be someone who would say something rude to me (not always intentionally). That was just how it went at gatherings. If you were younger, you were less, and I was younger.

I think my problem really comes from the fact that I can’t stand up for myself. Wouldn’t I like hanging out with people if I just told them how I felt about certain things so that they knew to stop? Yes, but for some reason I feel like I’m being very rude if I do tell them how I feel. If I spend time with people, and they’re doing something that offends me, I don’t say anything to stop them. I just smile and continue. This one time I was at a sleepover party and I was told I was “retarded” over and over again. At the time I would have thought I was being rude if I said, “Please stop saying that,” so I just smiled, and then they proceeded to make fun of the fact that I was smiling.

That is why I’m asocial. There are very few people that I really enjoy hanging out with because very few take my feelings into account. I’m not at all saying that everyone who doesn’t is a bad person. Some people really don’t mean to be rude, and others find it hard to be empathetic. That’s just a part of their personality. They’re brutally honest with strong opinions and a certain disregard for really sensitive people, and that’s okay, but if you really can’t help but be critical and harsh,  I suggest you spend time with someone who is more thick-skinned.

At first I didn’t really know why I felt the need to write about this, but I think I figured it out. I’m not the only person out there who’s asocial, so if you have a friend who doesn’t want to hangout, give them some time to be alone, because alone is when they’re most comfortable.
I’m not the only person who finds it hard to stand up for myself, so if someone doesn’t come off as particularly tough, don’t say anything that could clearly hurt their feelings, and for the love of all that is good, if someone seems reluctant to do something, don’t pressure them, because they might be too scared to say no.

The world is riddled with dominant and submissive people, and I really think it’s about time the dominants make it a priority to understand the submissives, and show them respect. 

*Crash* 

 

 

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Entertainment Part 3: Books

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I didn’t read much as a kid, and to be honest, I still don’t read very much now. I always had trouble starting completely new books because the beginning was always so boring. I once tried to read Lord of the Rings and I think I got a few chapters in and nothing interesting happened. I’m not saying that the series isn’t good, because I’m 100% certain that the books get to be more interesting the further you read, but if a book doesn’t interest me within the first two chapters, I won’t continue reading it. I actually really loved when teachers would assign books to read in school because I had no choice but to sit there and read them all the way through.

Even though I haven’t read many books, I still think it’s pretty easy for me to decide whether or not a book is good (in my opinion). The Catcher in the Rye? Hated it. Worst book I’ve ever read. The book’s meaning and symbolism does not make up for the complete lack of anything interesting happening at all. It’s gross. I hate it.

So what are the good books that I’ve read over the years? What do I recommend? Well I’m glad you asked!

Neta’s List of Books You Should Read

  • Harry Potter : I figured I’d start off with this suggestion because it’s easily one of the most hated book series by many who have never read it. Yes, believe it or not, I love Harry Potter. I’m going to be making a blog in the future talking about the stigma around it, but as of now I’ll just say this; The books were originally created for children. The first book is a kid’s book. Don’t expect anything too mature. However, the series was always directed to it’s original readers, so as the young kids who read the first book got older, each book got more and more suited for adults. I have read this series multiple times, and I’m currently reading it to my younger sister who has now fallen in love with the books too (We’re on the last 8 chapters of the whole series). Why read Harry Potter? Because of the characters. If you’ve read the books, you know that the characters make the whole story worth reading. J.K. Rowling is a fantastic writer in the sense that she can portray someone’s personality through everything they do, not just what they say. Even side characters have complex personalities. A lot of people don’t read books when they can just watch the movies, but tell me, movie watchers, what happened in the Half Blood Prince? [SPOILER WARNING] Why did Bellatrix and Fenrir burn down the Burrow? No reason right? Yea that’s because they DIDN’T. It never happened in the books.)
  • Among the Hidden : This is another children’s book that still interests me as an adult. It takes place in our world, but in this book, the human population is controlled by the government and no one is allowed to have more than 2 children. The story is from the point of view of a third child named Luke who has had to stay hidden his whole life. I’ve never finished the whole series, and I don’t even know how many books there are in total, but I do know that the first book is incredible, and I would read it over and over again.
  • Alive : This is a book that I was very thankful to have assigned to me in grade 12 by none other than the marvelous and sassy Mr. Greenham. Alive is based on the true story of a Uruguayan Rugby team that was travelling to a tournament when their plane crashed in the Andes mountains. Usually books based on true events don’t have a lot of character description because the people in the books aren’t characters, they’re real, but this book describes who everyone is in a way that it is not only informative, but also makes the book a very interesting and heartfelt read. (Disclaimer: This book is not for the faint-hearted.)

Now as I’ve said, I’m not much of a reader so these are the only books I can recommend (for now) but they’re definitely good ones so feel free to hit up the library, take out a book, and curl up on the couch for a nice, cozy reading session.

Enjoy!

*Crash*

 

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Feeling Stuck.

Image result for theater

For the past year or two, I’ve been very content just staying home, helping my mom with house hold chores and what not. The alternative would be to go to work. Last year, I worked as a waitress, and I felt horrible about it. I had no say in when I ate, sat down, or went to the bathroom. I would mess up often and customers did not always treat me very well. I felt really nervous about my manager always being there watching me. I actually felt a lot better when my manager wasn’t there because I could relax and stop worrying about what she was thinking for a second. I didn’t slack off when she was gone, I just felt a lot less stressed out. At the end of the day I would be absolutely exhausted, and I’d get home just to realize that I had to go back the next day and do it all over again. There are a lot of people out there who deal with this kind of life, and they deal with it very well, but for some reason I couldn’t. Knowing that I spent my whole day serving other people food while I could have been drawing, singing, and having fun did not go over well with my emotions.

Ever since my siblings went back to school a month ago, something changed. Last week, I drew, sang, played video games, walked through the back field to the forest to take pictures, painted my mom’s nails, made supper, and  even had time at the end of the day to watch a great movie, but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel fulfilled. I didn’t feel like I did anything because I didn’t do anything to get myself to where I want to be.

Where do I want to be? I want to act. I want to be a part in a play, and be up on stage playing a character. I always picture my craving to perform the same way someone craves for food. Imagine if you found this amazing meal with all of your favourite things and you haven’t eaten anything like it in 2 years. All you want is to eat that food again but you’re stuck eating beans all day, every day. That’s how I feel. I remember when I went to watch a few plays last year, I couldn’t even let myself enjoy it because all I wanted was to be up there with the rest of them.

The place where I live is probably the least artistic place I’ve ever been. There are no acting workshops near me, and even my high school principal didn’t allow our drama class to use the stage. I don’t know why, he just didn’t like it. (It was especially frustrating because the stage wasn’t used for anything else anyway). I’ve looked up so many theaters and sent so many emails in the hopes that I could somehow squeeze my way onto a stage somewhere, but I have yet to find a place where I can audition.

Every day for the past few weeks, I wake up in the morning and realize that I’m no closer to my goal than I was yesterday, or even 5 years ago. Every day I get up and say “I need to get a job if I ever want to get there,” and yet, here I am; jobless. Jobless, but too busy to get a job. Everyone seems to think that because I’m staying home I have all the time in the world, but that’s really not true at all. On Monday I volunteered somewhere, on Tuesday I volunteered again, today I went with my mom to her appointment which takes almost 5 hours (I always go to write things down so she won’t forget them later). Tomorrow is grocery shopping day and then I go to church for a bible study group. Any time during the week that I’m actually home is time that I use to clean, do laundry, help with supper if it’s needed, work out what I’m going to be teaching my Sunday School class that upcoming Sunday, and do other miscellaneous tasks. If I’m lucky enough to have any time left over, I use that time to work on a book I’m writing, write a blog, or even sneak in a video to watch. Now this is usually the part in the conversation where people would say “Then why don’t you just use that extra book writing, blog writing, and video watching time to hand out some resumes instead?”

Well, even if I did get a job, I wouldn’t be able to just pick my own work schedule and use my little snippets of free time to actually go to work. In fact, if I used every second of free time that I had this week to go to work, I still wouldn’t have worked all week until now. You might have noticed that this is my first blog in a while, not to mention that I haven’t worked on my book in about two weeks because I just don’t have time. 

So I’m sure you can imagine that I’m very stressed out about my future. I’ve been having an awful feeling of longing, worry, and anxiety in my chest and stomach. My face feels like it’s always burning, and my heart feels like it’s always aching.

What am I doing to fix these negative feelings? Well, nothing that’s working yet, but I’m remembering to drink lots of water, I’m trying to enjoy the little things, and I need to remember to take each day as it comes. Maybe I can try to find a good part time job and leave all of my home responsibilities for someone else to take care of instead. We’ll see I guess.

*Crash* 

entertainment

Entertainment Part 2: Movies

 

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Movies are incredible! Or at least they certainly can be with the right ingredients; Smart writers, great actors, and creative directors.

In fact, I think with the right story you can even get a good movie without a good director. (i.e The Sixth Sense by M. Night Shyamalan)

So, just like my list of favourite TV Shows, I’ve composed a list of my favourite movies.

Neta’s List of Movies You Should Watch

  • Remember The Titans : (Denzel Washington) Starting off strong, we have an inspirational movie based on true events surrounding the topic of racism. I want to avoid spoilers as much as possible, so I’ll try to keep this vague and brief. While watching this movie, you will feel anger, happiness, and sadness. At some parts I wanted to throw punches, and at other parts, I sobbed. Don’t rob yourself of the experience of watching this movie. You won’t regret it. Watch Trailer Here
  • Brother Bear : One of the best – if not the best animated film to ever exist, is Brother Bear. It’s great to watch with the family (or by yourself if you don’t like crying in front of people), and the soundtrack and story are beautiful. For such a deep movie, it’s also light-hearted and humorous which makes it my top pick for a movie to watch over and over again with my family. Watch Trailer Here
  • The Danish Girl : (Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander) Based on another true story, this is a movie that taught me to open my mind and look past what I’ve been taught and what I understand. With a great director, a great cast, and a marvelous soundtrack, I was thrown headfirst into the story of a married couple living in mid-1920s, Copenhagen. The visuals in this film are stunning, and the story is truly heart-wrenching. Watch Trailer Here
  • The Rabbit Proof Fence : (Everlyn Sampi) The Rabbit Proof Fence is a movie I’ve only seen once, but I could never forget it. It tells the true story of 3 Native-American girls, and it’s one of the most authentic, and powerful movies I’ve ever seen. If you don’t decide to watch it, I hope you stumble across it like I did because everyone should see it.  Watch Trailer Here
  • The Imitation Game : (Benedict Cumberbatch) You might have noticed my love for true stories by now, so I think it’s no surprise when I say that this movie is (you guessed it) based on a true story; the story of Alan Turing, a Cambridge mathematician who was recruited by British intelligence to crack Nazi codes during WWII. The visuals, acting, directing, script, story, and music make it an all around outstanding movie, and probably the best one on this list. Watch Trailer Here

 

I hope you enjoy!

*Crash* 

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Appearance and Gender Norms in a Traditional Culture

boys and girls

I am interrupting my entertainment series for a little bit to talk about this.

I grew up in Mennonite culture. Mennonites are very traditional.

My mom was born in Mexico but mostly grew up in Canada wearing really warm, long-sleeved, uncomfortable dresses.
My dad grew up in Mexico and wore button up shirts and jeans/overalls.
This is basically the style

Image result for mexican mennonite farm

Luckily for me, both of my parents decided to start a family in Canada instead of Mexico which is why our family no longer wears old-colony Mennonite clothes. We’re a lot more modern, probably the most modern form of Mennonites out there (especially if you consider the “Amish” Mennonites).

Here’s a picture of us being modern if you needed a reference.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, sky, ocean, outdoor, water and nature

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because Mennonite culture is very traditional, especially when it comes to gender roles.

I’ve had long hair for pretty much my whole life up until last June. Ever since then, I’ve had numerous people tell me how beautiful I was when I had long hair. (Funny they only decided to mention that now) Thankfully for my friends, my siblings, and a few lovely strangers, I was also told that short hair really suited me.

(Here are before and after pictures of my hair. Both of these photos are from this year, and It’s really hard to believe that I changed so much in such a short time, physically and mentally.)

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What bothers me the most about old-colony Mennonite culture is that it has so many giant double standards – double standards that affect me because my parents were old-colony Mennonites growing up.

Mennonites say not to dress like everyone else because “we’re not everyone else – dress comfortably instead” – but when I cut my hair for the sake of mentality and comfort, it’s all, “You hair was so beautiful before. Are you going to grow it out now? You really should. Are you cutting your hair again? I found hair in the garbage so I know you’re cutting it, don’t even lie.”

 

There are like 500 more double standards in this culture but it’s best not to get into all of them right now. Now I’m moving onto more pressing matters aka. this list. (I love lists)

Traditional/ Old-Colony Mennonite Opinions

  • Girls can’t have short hair. It looks bad.
  • Boys can’t have long hair. It looks bad.
  • Girls should not wear revealing clothes.
  • Boys should NEVER wear makeup, nail polish, the colour pink, flowers, sparkles, high heels, dresses, or skirts. Butterflies are not for boys, and baby dolls are not for boys either.

Now to be fair, the last point is not just a traditionalist’s opinion. There are some very progressive people who still stand firm in the belief that boys shouldn’t wear any of those things, but I just want to point out how ridiculous it is. I mean, humans just made it all up! We decided (for some reason) that flowers are for girls. FLOWERS ARE PLANTS! They’re just these little plants with a lot of different colours, and we decided that it’s not a boy thing. Can you imagine if someone said that a cactus is a boy plant?

We’d think they were crazy.

cacti

“Boys can’t wear sparkles.” Sparkles?! The human eye is drawn to shiny, and sparkly things, whether you’re male or female. And butterflies are insects! Like it’s totally fine for a boy to get a bee painted onto his face at a carnival, or even a caterpillar, but a butterfly?
“No. That’s for girls.”
A caterpillar and a butterfly are the same creature! 

Worst of all we decided that baby dolls are not for little boys. Please name an easier way to teach boys that the girl is supposed to do the parenting.

Am I getting ahead of myself? Maybe… so let’s go even further.

The more we force our kids to live up to certain gender norms, the more they’ll think that there’s something wrong with them if they don’t want to live up to them. A boy might think,

“I like sparkles, pink, and butterflies. I’m not supposed to, because I’m a boy, right? So… does that mean I’m a girl on the inside? The only way I can enjoy these things without people making fun of me is if I was a girl.”

You see where I’m going with this?

Image result for inside joke face

Now I’m not saying anything about the trans community because there are so many varying opinions on the matter, but I will say this; if traditional parents are so worried about their child being transgender, then maybe they should let their kids know that their interests have nothing to do with what gender they are. Maybe you shouldn’t refuse to let them have interests outside of their gender stereotype. Maybe you should even let your boys wear skirts and dresses because skirts and dresses really are just pieces of material and nothing more.

*Crash*