Monthly Archives: April 2015

This is a Photograph of Me- Margaret Atwood (Review

THE POEM:

It was taken some time ago
At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you can see something in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or how small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion.

but if you look long enough
eventually
you will see me.)

MY REVIEW:

Through the free verse poem, “This is a Photograph of Me,”  Margaret Atwood touches upon themes of feminism, the distortion of reality, and the importance of understanding others in society. Upon further analysis, this once simple poem is filled with symbols to the brim and weaves an extended metaphor. The poem literally talks of a photograph about, presumably, a woman, who has drowned. Throughout the poem she describes the photograph that was taken the day after she drowned, depicting the environmental setting she died in. But after digging deeper into the alternate meanings of words, and what they can portray, the meaning of the poem has changed as whole. Gone are the literal implications, but instead a poem that is focused on what has happened in between the lines. It has not been explicitly stated but the poem’s purpose is to discuss feminism and the role of women during the pre-war era leading up to WWII.The speaker’s voice is  veiled by the lake as if she were drowning but actually it refers to the lack of understanding and effort society tries to make to dig, ” under the surface,” of this water blocking her voice of freedom from most of the male population. Furthermore, the use of water evokes purification or righteousness, but in this case, it is the medium that distorts the reality: women being oppressed by men and societal’s predetermined roles for them. Prominently, this poem depicts the many thoughts of the women living in the 1940’s and the title itself delivers this message of a generic “me”. The “me” that speaks the thoughts of women but is also portrayed as a generic term simultaneously, from the meaning of photograph in the context of this poem. Photographs usually give others a better sense of someone’s identity but in this case, this photograph obscures the speaker even more. This effect by the author draws upon the often insignificance of the “me” or the many women of that era. By using adjectives that, “[blur] the lines,” the figure of a women is made trivial; the mindset of many during that time.

While reading this poem, the many feelings of the speaker connected on a personal level due to the similar emotions I felt. Often times I feel like, ” I [have] drowned,” not literally but on an emotional level. Where the feelings of ignorance and lack of acceptance really tear down my will to live. Giving up on life does not necessarily end with one taking their own life. It can also mean living a life without meaning and being affected by it, but not doing anything to change it. If the people around me, ” look[ed] long enough,” then they would, ” be able to see me.” Sometimes when I’m going through difficult times or feeling like my voice isn’t heard, I wished that people around me tried a little harder to ask me how I was just like the speaker in the poem. What I loved about this poem is that it is the epitome of simplicity yet it’s simplicity can be drawn to so many different perspectives and levels of analysation. I absolutely loved the extended metaphor focusing on the photograph itself and the drowning. It was incredibly thought out as the words which were written down were completely different from the theme of feminism, yet readers can still see the parallelism.

9.5/10

The Four Seasons- Cecilia Pang

images

A journey of thousands steps never comes to an end…

images-1

…with each wary step, a crisp sound echoes while

Swirls of bright colours fluttering through the now frost tinted air

A coolness that holds on but can’t battle the

Triumphant fragrances of oak and pine but,

The world, a sleeping beauty, needs its rest

Slowly and steadily the winds above tuck Her in

imgres

I peak under the white fluffy covers to wake Mother Earth

But She is covered with soft sprinkles of millions and millions of crystals

Obliviously the trees still stand but mourn their Mother’s brief vacation

dancing to a slow waltz while love ones cuddle to watch the show

They, we, are not alone, for the children of light come to us at night

Their radiance shining through the midnight sky leaving

Streams of Magic: Old Saint Nicholas is almost here

 images-2

The heavens open up to greet Spring and Spring greets us with

its fresh zephyrs nipping our cheeks,

it’s melodic sounds of sprinkling rain

it’s downpour of washing the Old

Coming in with the New:

(Then there’s the stubborn red rain boots that keep splashing in those turbid puddles)

There’s gotta be those rainy day for all those sunny ones

Yet the circumstances, in their constancy, the flowers blossom,

bowing to kiss Mother’s toes while

She awakens from Her enchanted sleep

Alert and ready to go

 imgres-1

The smear of ice cream and frazzled hair

We need a sweet slice of Summer:

the juice dribbling down chins

the laughter contagion spreading around

the hide and seek games of the sun peaking over waters

Do all good things come to an end

because Summer flies away to the clouds, the Home of Dreams?

images-3

I glance behind me.

Footprints that trail far into the horizon; a journey that hasn’t ended.

Sonnett- by Yours Truly

This is my first time trying a sonnet!

Hope you’ll like it!

LETTING GO:

There seems nothing as sad as letting go

What seems to be, sometimes can never be.

Indignant shakes of the head, a firm no.

Better things will await you, can’t you see?

Oh, you refuse it. Thrashing. Yelling. Stop!

Your Mind wandering to the could have beens

Disintegrating to puddles, to drops

That slip from: acceptance; never is seen

You’ve read the manual, the rules of life

No more clear then unfair spontaneity

Nothing gold lasts forever, only strife

Learn this, then cheer up and you will be free

Take a deep breath: in, out. It’s a new day

Move on so that none can stand in your way!

Letting Go Pt.2

Letting go can be the hardest thing we as humans have to do, because it is centered on acceptance of what has happened and moving on. It is extremely hard when years of something have been worked upon and to have it suddenly brushed away can be alarming. Friendships, positions, or goals can all be categorized under this thread that binds them together.

Today was a day when I let go of two friendships, one position, and a very big goal of mine.

Coming to acceptance is hard to choke down because we so often still have the spark of hope that someday our hard work will pay off. And I surely believe it will for you and I but there is a time when there is too much pain and suffering hurting you or me, that the effort is not worth the aftermath. What I mean about this I was in a friendship where I kept giving my friend second chances but never given any in return. Toxic relationships can really gnaw at the core and in the end so much stress and agony have been built up for nothing when the friendship wasn’t meant to be in the end. If you’re going through a difficult relationship right now, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth it? If you have been holding on for this long, it surely means something to you, but does it mean something to the other person? A relationship depends on reciprocation and if love and support is not reciprocated, it’s time to stop hurting. It’s difficult to draw the line of where to give someone another chance or even to give life in general another chance. Should I keep working hard in this job sector to show my dedication even thought I have been rejected time and time again, or should I draw the line to move on and discover better things? Whatever the choice, life leads you down, often, two paths. Both paths that independently will both contribute to even more decisions down the road. But once you make the decision take it with bold steps and venture on courageously!

The second thing this week I needed to face was stepping down from my position of Vice President as I did not run as next years Interact VP. Abnegating a position like this one was especially painful for me because I had worked my way up the ladder instead of being handed an executive position at my school’s club. This club has been close to my heart and watching it grow these past 4 years, I am extremely proud of the process and progress it has made. Unfortunately, as time goes on and new executives join teams, often the mission statement or values of a club has changed. The same activities may be still going on, but deep down I knew that even though I still wanted to keep my title, I needed to pave way to make better efforts elsewhere with my other intiatives/projects. Accepting the fact that I was now part of something that had a different purpose, I needed to re-evaluate my own priorities and values. By no means am I saying the club changed for the worse, but what I am saying is that I could not adapt to this new change due to me standing by my principles of how a club should be run and what it’s ultimate purpose is ( to help others and make a difference). If you’re in a situation where you’re working or volunteering for something you used to care deeply about but that passion has slowly died down because you don’t see the purpose of the organization anymore, it is not going to get better unless you do something about it. In my case even though I had a high position, my voice did not matter and was not listened to. Do not let others take you for granted because all in all, we as each individuals are capable of so much more than anyone can ever imagine. So either keep working hard to better your current situation or learn that it’s time to move on. Use the past experience to make what you’re going to do even better!

The third and final let go of this week was a big goal of mine. *No I didn’t let go of my dream to use education to change the world* but what I did let go was getting into an Ivy League university. Even though I never did anything solely for university applications, I realized that the stress and forcing myself to do certain things really interfered with my daily life and in the end my marks. Due to my narrow minded goal of getting into university, I began overlooking many important details of life and I started psyching myself out. Before my friends got into Ivy Leagues which was a few weeks ago, my marks were improving and everything was going great. But after they got in, I felt a lot of pressure, and that catalyzed into self doubt and everything started going downhill. BUT, now everything’s better because I’ve lifted off that boulder! I’m a lot better 🙂 Why? Aren’t goals good? Yes they are good! But I accepted the fact that there are so many variables in life that even if you worked your hardest, there were unexpected variables that were still going to block your way. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work hard but you shouldn’t measure your self worth by your results that add up to the big goal. Now I still work hard but I accept that fact that I’m just going to do the best I can, and if I don’t make it, it’s going to be okay. I don’t know what your case is, and it might not be okay if you don’t secure that job because you have a family to feed. And the only thing I can tell you is this, let tomorrow’s worry’s take care of their own. Your time is now, and you can either make the best of what you have or freak yourself out by your own goals.

If it’s anyone that can achieve their dreams, it’s you. But in the process of doing so, remember to love yourself, give yourself time leeway to be able to fail, and most importantly believe in yourself<3

A Mirror for My Thoughts; The Lady of Shalott

After reading the” Lady of Shalott”- Alfred Lord Tennyson and writing about symbolism. I came to an epiphany while I was watching my younger sister talk about the realism of what she watches on television. In that moment, I realized that at her young age she does not know about the behind the scenes set up for every TV show or movie; everything is never as it seems.

It seems that us as a society love to paint things about ourselves that we want for others to see, building walls upon our own insecurities and secrets that we force ourselves to make this illusion, a reality. In the poem, the mirror is a major symbol that led to my revelation. While this woman is upon a curse of weaving in a locked up tower, I see the humdrum of our daily lives reflected through her curse. She is only able to look at a mirror that catches the reflection of Camelot ( the perfect place she is striving for). She is so close to Camelot but in reality so far away. She can only see the reflection of Camelot and never the real thing in fear of breaking the curse.

But you see, the mirror isn’t it an illusion. It shows us what we want to see. The Lady’s own bias led her to believe that she wanted to be in Camelot and that it was a place of good. And perhaps it is a place of good, but what I got out of the poem was that a mirror often reflects reality but in some ways it reflects what we only what to see. It hides the deeper reality of things and alludes to a distortion of the reality instead.

While going about my daily life, I see this theme reiterated time and time again. All around us, people portray themselves and mold themselves into a person that they want others to see on the outside. And the circle of this illusion keeps rotating. While I too do this, (I try to keep up a certain image). I realized I don’t have to anymore, because today I finally understood, what is this all for? Why as a society are we all covering ourselves up and distorting the realism of our own lives, of all of our lives? Nothing is ever as it seems. And this rings absolutely true, we feel like we understand our friends. But unless we unlock their hearts we will never get to know who they truly are. It makes me sad to think this, but who are we hiding from? Is it from each other? Because we all are just people who want to be accepted and loved for who we are deep down inside, so why can’t we step out together and just let ourselves be who we want it to be, not the ones we want others to accept!

Love yourselves always!

XOXO,

Cecilia

Light in Darkness

” In the heart of darkness there is the most light,” those were the wise words my judge told me after my Top 20 Under 20 Interview. It’s been a long time since I’ve written (like a week) because I really was going through a rough time the past week. But I’m back up and really excited since when things are going so bad they usually end up well. The light that shined was that I was able to secure a 500$ grant for my Art2Heart initiative, and we got an offer to paint a mural at our recreation center! After all the support from the community, I just felt loved and that my efforts weren’t going to waste. After the longest time of not knowing if I was doing things right, this week told me yes indeed their is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s so hard to focus on that flicker of light in the darkness. Because when I was in that hole of darkness I couldn’t do it no matter how hard I tried. But let me tell you whatever you’re going through is not permanent. You have the ability to change it. And you may think I don’t know, and you’re right I don’t know because what you’re going through is tough and I might never taste it. But remember you will not bow your head down and let life defeat you. You are capable of anything literally! And I’ve reiterated this so many times, but hard work usually pays off<3

I’ll keep posting hopefully but AP exams are in 2 weeks, so.. I won’t be able to update as often!

Keep swimming<3

Important Life Lessons-Barack Obama

This is a really nice letter that President Obama wrote to his daughters, we can really learn something from it!

“Life is short. It may feel like it takes forever sometimes, but the reality is that you live, and a short time later,you die. It happens so quickly, many people don’t even realize they had a lifeuntil it’s already over.
1.Stop Doubting Yourself
If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. Success starts in your mind, and if all you’re doing is putting yourself down and predicting failure, it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of doubting yourself, think positively. Not only will you be happier and more successful, you’ll spread it to everyone around you.
2.Stop Being Negative
Now that you’re done doubting yourself,stop doubting others. You don’t like when people are critical of you, so stop being critical of others. Think about how you make other people feel – even if you have good intentions, people don’t like hearing negativity.
3.Stop Procrastinating
I don’t feel like procrastinating right now– I’ll do it tomorrow. When you procrastinate, you remain stagnant. Whatever you’re putting off doesn’t go away; resolve the problem, and move on. You’ll be much happier in the long run.
4.Stop Being Mean
It’s completely possible to step on someone’s toes without meaning to – it happens all the time. There’s no need to pile on by purposefully doing mean things, so make a conscious effort to stop being mean. If someone wrongs you, let it go. There’s no need to seek vengeanceunless that’s the type of person you want to be.
5.Stop Eating Out
Eating out is the biggest waste of money.Every so often it’s nice to treat yourself, but eating out for every meal is the quickest way to drain your bank account. Learn how to cook at least a handful of foods you enjoy: It’ll save you money, keep you healthier, and occasionally impress people.
6.Stop Being Lazy
Lazy people are annoying – it’s like pulling teeth getting them to do anything. If I can’t do something as simple as going to a movie with you without having to factor in an hour of convincing you to get your lazy butt out of bed, I’d rather go alone. People have enough
trouble motivating themselves; don’t make your friends and family waste their
valuable energy motivating you as well.
7.Stop Complaining
We all have problems, and sometimes we need to vent to someone. That’s acceptable, but pay attention to how often you’ reventing. We all love helping our friends and family, but when all you get from someone is negativity, it’s easier to cut them off than help, especially if they’re always complaining about the same things.
8.Stop Being Selfish
If you only think about yourself, you’ll soon find yourself by yourself. Stop for a minute and think about how your actions affect other people – did you take the last cup of coffee from the break room? Refill it! Do you live with others? Don’t drink out the milk carton. We share this world 100% of the time, so every action you take can affect other people.
9.Stop Wasting Time
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:time is the most valuable resource we have. Don’t waste your time on unproductive things. If you want to explore the world’s dark corners, that’s great. I still associate with people who have not-so-kosher careers, but I don’t hang out with those people at the expense of my own short- and long-term goals.
10.Stop Making Promises
Always under-promise and over-deliver. When you make a promise, you’re adding responsibility to your plate that, despite all your best intentions, you may not be able to deliver on. More often than not, your promise is an absolute (i.e “I promise I’ll always love you”), and onlySith deal in absolutes. Instead of making a promise with your words, simply be there when people need you, and exceed their expectations with your actions.
11.Stop Being a Pushover
We live in a capitalistic society in which everyone’s trying to sell us something. Everyone’s looking out for themselves in one way or another, and you need to do the same. Stop putting yourself out because you’re too shy to say no.
12.Stop Listening to Haters
No matter what you want to do in life,there’s always someone around to tell you why it can’t and won’t work. I can come up with millions of reasons Twitter won’t work, and yet it’s one of the most popular social media sites on the web. My opinion didn’t stop Twitter’s success any more than it convinced Kobe Bryant to quit the NBA or Josh Hartnettto stop acting. Why would you let someone’s opinion stop you?
13.Stop Being Wasteful
You don’t finish your meals,and away food instead. You leave the faucet running when you brush your teeth,pouring precious water down the drain. You drive places you could easily walk,burning gasoline (a non-renewable resource)。 You are wasteful,and it needs to stop.
14.Stop Littering
The only thing I hate more than wasteful people are litterbugs. Litterbugs are my least favorite bug, and there are more than you’d think. If you’ve ever thrown even one piece of gum, paper, candy wrapper, cigarette butt, etc on the ground, you’re a disgusting litterbug, and you should be ashamed of yourself. There are over 7 billion people in the world– if each person only throws one “innocent” piece of garbage on the ground, that’s 7 billion pieces of garbage littering a world in which nobody “did it”。
15.Stop Taking Everything Personally
People get offended about the strange stthings. Take Kendrick Lamar’s now-infamous verse on “Control” this summer: he called out a list of a dozen rappers he thinks he’s better than (and he’s right)。 The internet went crazy, and rappers all over the industry rushed to their mics to record a response. The thing is, all K-Dot said is he’s the best rapper. Everyone took it personally, and that’s exactly what he was going for. The lesson to learn from this is that not everything is about you, and if you’re easily upset, someone will use that to their advantage.
16.Stop Talking
Sometimes it’s best to just STFU –especially in relationships. I can’t even count how many times I created an issue that didn’t need to be an issue simply because I opened my mouth. Even if what you want to say is important, just shut up and ride it out. You can say more with your actions than words, and you can’t listen when you’re talking.
17.Just Stop, and Breathe…
No matter what you’re doing in life or how your day is going, there’s always room to just stop for a moment and just breathe. Try it right now to celebrate getting through this list of everything you’re doing wrong.

Hope you learned a thing or two because I sure did!