How I Feel About Bullying

I was already crying. Fourth grade really hadn’t been my year, and I was just the kind of person who cried a lot. I was telling my best friend, Anna, about some of the things the other students were doing. I remembered when I tried to join a basket ball team at recess. A “girls team” was evolving, but when I was assigned to that group, the other two girls left. I remembered being in a lunch line when my hand grazed this other girl’s, Lisa’s, hand, and she stared at it like I was toxic. I remembered how another “friend” of mine was telling rumors about me behind my back. Anna was one of the few people who was always there for me, never judging. She would listen to the tearful stories with compassion and friendship, always being kind to me.

Kind to little fourth grade me. That chubby, weird, know-it-all girl who always seemed to be crying.

Anna and I were sitting on a bench off the soccer field. The bench was some type of plastic. It was a lovely shade of evergreen next to a small tree. Sitting in beautiful midday sunshine, Eleanor Chase was crying. A girl stormed up to the bench, and Anna, who was friends with everyone, even this girl, had a worried look on her face. Lisa’s very curly blond hair came into view. She was a little taller than me with her brown eyes narrow and determined.

“I hate you!” she screamed.”Everyone hates you! Everyone-”

But that’s all she could say before Anna stopped her. I just stared crying harder. Tears littering my T-shirt, I had my face to the back of the bench, sobbing.

This happened to me. I changed the names to protect privacy, but, as well as I can remember, this was real. I was bullied, and for better or for worse, that memory is part of who I am today. People asked why I changed my name between elementary school and middle school. This is the reason. I hoped changing my name would make me forget “Eleanor”. The Eleanor who was bullied. But it didn’t.

I lost weight. I started dressing differently. I worked on picking up social ques and not talking so much. But no matter what, I’m always going to be Eleanor. Ella was a dream of a girl who was never me. No matter how much I try bury my old self, it’s still there. The odd thing is, I don’t blame the kids who bullied me. Some of them even expressed apologies later, and now many of them are my friends. I don’t hold someone at fault for mistakes we all make. I hope everyone understands we all change, grow and mess up.

In my school right now, I don’t really see much too much bullying, but that is still too much. When people think they are making a joke, they are actually making someone feel terrible. When one person doesn’t like another person, ignoring can be even more hurtful. Most “bullies” don’t even realize what they’re doing, and when they do finally see the pain they’ve caused, regret is the next emotion, not joy. The stereotype of a person who purposefully tries to make another feel bad isn’t real. After all, we’re all humans.

When you talk with your friends about that one person who’s been annoying you all week, you sometimes need to think, “How would I feel if people talked about me like this?”. You then wonder if the person you were just talking about is doing the same thing to you right now. Who’s the bully? Is it you, or is it the other person? Or maybe we’re all guilty. A bully is defined not just by actions, but it’s defined by who you are in the situation. Everyone is guilty of some kind of bullying, even me. Even you.

I’m not trying to say that bullying is okay in anyway at all, but what I am saying is that things are never black and white, right or wrong.

Portals: Part Five, a Cave.

In, out, in, out. Breathing was the only thing Jane could focus on. In, out, in, out. Jane couldn’t focus on the fact that she was walking on clouds that shouldn’t be able to be walked on, that she was looking at a sky that couldn’t be real, that she was in a room with no end.

In, out, in, out.

Jane still couldn’t open her eyes all the way; it was too bright. Still squinting, she wondered exactly why she was walking. What if this place went on forever, what if there was no way out, what if-

No, she told herself. In, out, in, out.

The ground, or the clouds she supposed, was like walking on a pillow. Soft, but there was no support. Jane felt like she would just fall through at any second. What was below? she wondered. Was there even a ground, or if you fell, would you keep falling forever?

After what felt like an hour of walking, Jane saw something other than this endless expanse of white. She couldn’t tell what it was, but in the distance, there was a patch of cloud that looked to be higher elevates higher than the rest.

A sudden thought struck Jane. How would she find her way back to the door? There hadn’t been any landmarks, just clouds. No, she thought. One problem at a time.

As Jane got closer and closer the thing in the distance, she realized that it really was just a patch of cloud, at least from this side. Her heart was dropping with every step. This was NOT going to be the way home. A wave of hopelessness fell over her. She was stuck here. She was going to die here in this cloud dimension.

Now that Jane was close enough to have a good view, the first thing she noticed was that it wasn’t just a hill of clouds; it was a mountain. The clouds towered 200 feet above her at least. The second thing she noticed was that there looked to be an entrance to a cave. The entrance was no taller than five feet.

A flicker of hope trickled into her heart. Maybe this was the way home.

Or maybe not, part of herself thought. The first time she decided to take a chance, she ended up in the dark room. Then she took another chance and went through the white door. She even left the white door, but none of that had payed off. And it won’t if you do nothing, she thought again. Nothing will happen if she just stayed there.

In, out, in, out. She stepped into the tiny entrance of the cave.

 

Portals: Part Four, The White Room

She was blind. The only thing she could see was white, and endless expanse of nothing but white. Jane kept her eyes clamped shut, not wanting to open them. This definitely wasn’t her room, and this was definitely not the way home.

She knew that she needed to open her eyes, but Jane didn’t want to. This wasn’t just bright, this was blinding. She should squint, she should just squint. Jane opened her eyes just a crack, and they immediately started to water.  The last room was darkness, and this one was light. Jane couldn’t decided which she hated more.

In the small sliver of view that Jane did have, she saw that it wasn’t just light she was standing on, but clouds. The odd thing was that the sky was also clouds, not just the usual blue.  It looked like the horizon of  a snowy day, but Jane was above the clouds. That didn’t make sense.

Well, neither did any of this.

Her eyes were starting to adjust, little by little, and she got a slightly better view of her surroundings. Now, Jane could fully appreciative the cloud’s beauty. Perfect cotton balls, but one-hundred times the size. Pristine white clumps of fluffy water vapor. She realized she was standing on water vapor.

Obivously, this room wasn’t the way home. Jane turned around and readied herself for going back to the dark room where she might be able to find her way back home. The door was still there, the same shade of white as the clouds around her. The silver handle was the same as the wooden door that had first appeared in her room. Jane braced herself for darkess once again. Her hand was on the handle-

It was locked

Frantically, Jane pulled harder at the handle. She pushed, pulled and threw her whole weight against the door, but nothing was happening. She took off her shoe and hurled it at the door, but it didn’t even scratch it. The handle had to keyhole, no lock. There weren’t even hinges. No way up, no way back, no way out, Jane thought. She was stuck here. Here in this cloud dimension, this sky palace.

Once again, she turned around. Those cotton-ball clouds didn’t look beautiful anymore. Could she even walk on them? The only way out was forward. Again, Jane evaluated her options. Stay in the one spot forever, or leave to face the unknown.

Taking a shaky breath, Jane put one foot in front of the other, and set off to find her way home.

Spring

Spring, a breeze upon your face,

a sound of bird song through the air,

the wildflowers dot the grass,

the time to lose all cares.

Spring, the end to winter,

the beginning of a new,

life begins again once more,

to find a world renewed.

Pixabay CC0

Pixabay CC0

It’s hard not to like spring. The feeling of returning growth to the environment brings a smile to anyone’s face. I wrote this poem to show some of my favorite parts of spring. The transition between spring and winter is always beautiful (minus the oak pollen) because, just a few months ago, it was cold, but now the weather is perfect and the sky is a crystal clear blue. I added a little bit of rhyme to this poem to help the words flow, but I didn’t drown my poem entirely with those rhythmic words.

Three of the Wackiest Tourist Attractions in the U.S.A.

America, the land of the free and the home of the brave is also home to some really crazy things to see. Whether you have to see these weird and wacky attractions, or you just want a laugh, this list is for you.

Pixabay CC0

Pixabay CC0

Worlds Largest Ball of Twine

To start off our list, we have an attraction in Cawker City, Kansas. The World’s Largest Ball of Twine is a whopping 5,000 pounds! It stands at a massive eight feet tall and took four years to complete. Definitely a weird and wacky attraction, this is a must see if you find yourself in Cawker City.

The World’s Largest Ball of Twine

 

This n ThatCreative Commons License Rusty Clark – On the Air M-F 8am-noon via Compfight

 

World’s Largest Bottle of Ketchup

Here in Coinsville, Illinois we have another “World’s Largest” attraction, the world’s largest bottle of ketchup. A huge “Castup” bottle stands at 170 feet tall and was built in 1949 is sure to draw anyone’s eye if you were to pass it on the road. This display is actually a water tower made to look like a ketchup bottle.

Catsup Bottle

Pixabay CC0

Pixabay CC0

Cadillac Ranch

The Cadillac Ranch in Arlimo, Texas is definitely a sight to see. The row of ten Cadlillacs was first placed there in 1973, and visitors ever since have been encouraged to graffiti the cars. What used to be ten automobiles half buried in the dirt  is now a unique art attraction for people everywhere.

Cadillac Ranch

Portals: Part Three, The First Room

Jane felt numb.  She couldn’t feel anything else but a sensation of pure nothingness. She waited for the pain of her fall to come, because surely  this was just the calm before the storm. Jane was waiting and waiting for something to happen, anything that could end this nothingness. Her lungs felt empty, but when she tried to breathe, they felt full.

Realizing that she was flat on her back, Jane tried to open her eyes; they felt heavy, but not like she was tired; they felt like she had tiny weights on each of her eyelashes. The room around her was exactly how Jane felt, blank. Everything was black, so much so that the floor she landed on was indistinguishable from the walls. She didn’t even know if there were walls.

Jane knew that she had to stand up, but she still felt that sensation of every part of her body being twice its usual weight. First she lifted an arm, then a leg, then another arm until she was finally on her feet. Finally, Jane had a proper view of her surroundings.

There were, in fact, walls, but the only way that she was able to see that was because there was something already there.

Doors.

They all looked different. Each and everyone of them had their own unique pattern or design. One was a dark navy blue with snowflakes falling across, another looked like field of grass stretched across a single frame. None of them looked like the door that Jane used to get here. They all seemed to be floating in a pitch black void, just like Jane was.

All Jane felt like doing was just to stare at all the doors, to admire their beauty. She wanted to find every pattern and keep the memory of it forever. What could have been better? Of all the doors though, one spoke to her the most, a pure white door.

The surface was pouring out light. It was illuminating this endless darkness that surrounded her. The door was her own little sun, light and warmth shining into this dark abyss. The door was almost calling her, asking her to come closer. Part of her wondered what was behind it, but most of her didn’t care. Jane just wanted to admire the light.

Suddenly she snapped back. What was she doing? Jane had just fallen down into a pit behind a door, just like the one she was walking straight towards. All of this mess and started because of that door, because she fell through. And now, Jane was walking right towards another one. Would it lead her into an even deeper pit?

Then another thought struck her. Door lead both ways, in and out. She should be able to go right back through a door, the way she came, but her door wasn’t here. She fell down into this room. Jane’s door was above. Her options were to stay here, waiting for nothing in the oblivion, or to go through a door here and face the unknown.

Finally, her choice seemed obvious. Breathing in and out. Jane, once again, reached for the door handle. The white door she decided to call it, the first door. Jane closed her eyes and pulled the handle.

Portals: Part Two, Down.

Jane was almost pulled into the frame. The door was dragging her into the black void behind the polished wood. It felt like being sucked into a giant vacuum, and Jane was the lint stuck to the carpet. She held on as tightly as she could to the door handle, which wasn’t affected at all by the door’s sudden rampage, hoping that it would keep her feet rooted to the carpet. Her hands hurt from the effort of holding on. Her hair was whipped away by the door. What was going on? The only thing that should be on the other side of this wall was open sky, but what was logic right now? What was logic when a magical door in her room trying to eat her?

Finally, Jane managed to escape the door’s grasp. She stumbled to the opposite side of the room, praying that she wouldn’t get hauled right back into its clutches. Slumping across her wall, she looked back at the door. It was her own personal black hole a hole that shouldn’t exist, a void that consumed her reality, a gateway to the underworld.

Even from here, the door still tugged at her hair. Its presence filled the entire space. She was now an intruder in her own room. Jane now saw her dilemma. She needed to get to the door, but that path was being blocked by the door. What a mess she’d made! All she’d had to do was just leave the door alone. Her curiosity had gotten the better of her. What had she been thinking?

Jane had no idea what to do, but something that was impossible was just sitting here. Eventually, her parents would come check on her or get her, and when they opened the door, they would just get pulled in. Pulled into what? Thought Jane. What could be on the other side of the door? Looking at it now, she saw nothing but blackness, an empty void. But, could it be something more? Could there really be something behind this door? Could anything be lurking behind that gleaming, silver handle?

Jane needed to snap out of this. Useless questions would get her nowhere.  She had to focus. She had to move.

Breathing in and out, Jane calmed herself. Her task was simple: get past the door. She just had to stick to the outer edges of the wall, away from the door, and she wouldn’t get effected. Probably. Taking a shaky step up, Jane put her back to back to the wall. There couldn’t have been a single pocket air between them. She slid, step by step, never leaving the wall. As Jane moved, the door’s pull kept getting stronger and stronger. A steady increase that she could just feel through her entire body.

She was almost to the exit, to her door, when something happened. The door’s pull had been strong before, but now it was overwhelming. Jane lost her grip on the wall. She slid on her stomach towards the door. Her hands desperately tried to dig into the carpet, but no use. She turned around to see that she was inches from the door. Screaming her head off, Jane fell down the abyss.

Portals: Part One, The Door.

There was a breeze going, a peaceful kind of light wind. Jane had the window open. She watched as the leaves danced in the sunlight. She looked upon the great blue sky and couldn’t see a single cloud. Truly, this was the perfect day.

But, Jane was stuck inside for now. She couldn’t go anywhere because she was just getting over a nasty case of the flu. Why? She thought does the most perfect day of the year need to be the one day I can’t enjoy it? It was like the birds were mocking her, flying all over her yard. They’re songs were like little taunts, “Why can’t you come join us?” they asked her.

Jane was just about to close the window when she noticed something strange. Part of her wall paper was waving in the wind too. That’s strange Jane thought. She’d lived in this room her entire life, and her wall paper had never strayed from its place on the wall. Knowing that she should probably get her mom, Jane got up and headed to the edge of her room.

As she walked, Jane thought about when she had picked out that wallpaper. It was the same shade of lavender with dark purple flowers that it had been when she was only eight. She somewhat regretted the colors now that she was thirteen, but it reminded her of her childhood at the same time.

Jane wanted to investigate what had happened. She keeled over to the loose part of the wallpaper, wondering if she could just use tape to fix it. Jane carefully started to lift the bottom piece, but to her horror the entire piece of it fell off, as if it wasn’t attached at all. Then, Jane saw something she could never have imagined.

A great oak door.

Jane stumbled back in shock. She couldn’t stop staring at the door, at the thing that had replaced her wall. Pure fear flooded through her. She felt sick, dizzy at the sight of this thing. It had invaded her room, taken her space, stolen her home! How did it just appear? Who had brought it to her room of all places? Had it been here her whole life, lurking in the shadows? Feeling so confused, Jane took a closer look at the door. The oak wood was gleaming and freshly polished, there was an elegant silver handle. There was also some kind of word in a foreign language written in glaring gold ink, but Jane had no idea what it meant.

Taking in a breath, Jane stood up from the ground and  faced the door. Thinking more logically, Jane remembered that her room was on the second floor. She thought of how this side of the wall would just lead outside, and that there couldn’t possibly be a room on the other side of this gleaming, silver handle.

Then why was she still shaking? The only thing wrong here was the door. There wasn’t anything behind it. Jane reached out a hand to the door. Her fingers grasped the shining silver. Her palm curved around the glimmering metal. Now certain that she could go get her mom, Jane took in another breath and opened the door.

The Phantom of the Opera: Team Raoul!

The Phantom of the Opera, a master piece of drama, love and of course, music. Those who have seen the play are familiar with the ever famous love triangle that involves Raoul, Christine and The Phantom (Erik). The main debate is who is better, Raoul or The Phantom? Well I am here to answer that question, with both my own opinions and the solid facts.

Raoul is mainly introduced when he sees Christine singing at an opera performance (“Think of Me”). The Phantom is introduced when we see him practically hypnotizing Christine (“Angel of Music”). Later in the show, both Raoul and The Phantom a sing love song to Christine. Raoul’s song is about love and light, forgetting your fears and stepping into the sun (“All I Ask of You”). The Phantom’s song is about abandoning reality and living in the darkness (“The Music of the Night”).

The Phantom is a murderer! From what we see in the 2004 movie, he kills at least three people! When we talk about The Phantom’s pitiful past, we overlook minor details, like his multiple homicides. In the ending, he is going to kill Raoul unless Christine agrees to love him (“My Dear I Think We Have A Guest”). Raoul on the other hand, is captured by The Phantom while trying to save Christine from The Phantom.

To discuss age, in the original plot, Christine is about 20 years old. Raoul is between 20-25 years of age. The Phantom however, is between 40-50 years old! The Phantom is at least 20 years older then Christine. Raoul is a little bit older than her, but not by much. In the 2004 movie, we have say that Christine is 16-17 because her grave says that she was born in 1854 and we know that the story takes place in 1870. Raoul is in the same age realm, 20-25, but the phantom was made much younger at around 30-35. Even in the 2004 movie, he is still about 15 years older than Christine!

Personally, I have always been very strongly Team Raoul. Unlike some people, I was very happy that the play ended with Raoul and Christine as the couple of choice. I think that the young, handsome hero is the better man then the creepy, ingenious stalker.

Stranded

Eric heard the pounding of ice against metal, the deafening roar of icy wind, the sound of his own ship falling apart. The storm felt like the very sky was falling. The floor was shaking with each hit of hail, the ceiling was threatening to collapse at any second. What was he supposed to do? He was stranded here with no fuel, no training and no way home. 6 days he’d been stuck on this icy mess of a planet. 6 days he’s seen nothing but the inside of this ship and whatever he could make out of that tiny window in the corner.

Hail storms were common on earth, with hail the size of peas that melted within the hour. Here the hail was the size of soccer balls and the ice of whenever the last storm was had not yet melted. His A116 StarCruiser had foot thick steel walls; ice shouldn’t be able to get in. Then he heard a distance sound. Not like the wind or the ice that he’d heard before, but something warmer. Eric made his way toward the window and saw the source of the noise. It was a dog.

There he was, stranded in the horrible storm, just like Eric, but the difference between the two of them is that Eric was safe in his ship, while the dog outside was in mortal peril. He looked out the minuscule window once more and saw, while he was looking out, the dog was was looking in. Its face, though he was far away, had a clear plea for help. It begged for anything that might safe its fragile and precious life. For the first time since being here Eric knew what he had to do. He had never been so sure of anything in his life. Grabbing his jacket and whatever other supplies he could find, Eric braced himself, and he opened the door.