Tag Archives: family

To My Aunt

One of the greatest gifts you ever gave me:
A rain-soaked afternoon
Digging through a shoebox of broken crayons
Spinning the stories in my head to their first willing ear.
(But not their last. I swear to you.)
Gentle eyes and complete conviction
as you tell me,
“I bet you’ll be a writer one day.”

“My life’s greatest mystery: How to thank someone for being catalyst to some of the best parts of you.” Photo from: http://answerangels.com.au/images/doyoulikebeinginsideandwatchingtherainoutside2.jpg

A dozen more stories like that
Branded on the parts of my mind
That drag me to my early morning classes
When my comfortable bed warns against it.
There is no thank you card for that.
Prepackaged, Hallmark-branded sentimentality could never hold a candle to it.

My life’s greatest mystery:
How to thank someone
For being a catalyst to some of the best parts of you.
But I think I’ve finally figured out the answer.

Maybe I’ll tell you about it one day,
On the acknowledgments page.

10 Things That Happen When You Join a Sorority

You’d be surprised.

Joining a sorority is one of the best things that has happened to me since I have been at Radford University. Having a group of girls that you share the same interests with and can always go to when you need good counsel is such a blessing. There are so many stereotypes that surround sorority girls and what happens when you join a sorority. I don’t know about some of them, like that whole “paying for your friends” thing, but I can tell you about a couple things that do happen when you join a sorority.

  1. You gain a family.

No matter how big or how small your sorority is, the more you spend time with your sisters, the closer you get and the less they feel like friends and more like family.

  1. Letters become a part of your wardrobe.

Okay, okay, admit it; letters and leggings are so much more comfortable than jeans and a blouse. Letters are the best thing to wear because you can be comfortable and rep the best organization around all at the same time.

  1. You find your “twin.”

There is always that one person who you have everything in common with. Your favorite show, favorite food, favorite store—it’s all the same! And it’s awesome, because now you know that you’re not the only person who likes the person that everybody else hates in that TV show.

  1. Hugging is not even a thought anymore.
“Letters and leggings are so much more comfortable than jeans and a blouse” Photo from: http://cdn.hercampus.com/s3fs-public/2016/06/29/635960100406462189883087294_Chi-O-Sorority-Racist-Snapchat-Photos.jpg

What do you do when you see a sister? Is that even a question? You hug them! There’s no other way to greet them than with a warm embrace.

  1. You never have to eat a meal alone.

It seemed like when I joined my sorority that I always saw my sisters in the cafeteria. It’s wonderful never having to worry about sitting alone. Sharing a meal with sisters is like sharing a meal with family.

  1. Their family is your family.

You can not help but be emotionally invested when you hear that one of your sister’s little sisters or brothers are going to prom or getting their license. Or when their parents got a raise at their job, because you know that they deserve it—even if you don’t know them.

  1. You can ugly cry and no one will judge you.

Whether you’re trying to deal with the passing of a family member or that boy that broke your heart, you know that no sister will judge you, no matter how “Kim Kardashian” the cry is.

  1. You begin to like the things your sisters like.

Monkey see, monkey do. It is hard not to pick up the habits of the people you’re around. But that’s okay, because I know around my sisters, I can only pick up good habits, like being more kind-hearted or having more patience.

  1. Nothing can break the bond of your pledge class.

After going through the recruitment process and the pledge process, you can not help but feel closer to all your pledge sisters. There is a bond that is made when you spend almost every hour of every day with people.

  1. There is always someone there for you.

No matter, the time, the place, or the day, there is always going to be someone there for you. There is a bond that you all share. Even if people do not get it, or they judge you for being in a sorority, that’s okay. It is different being on the inside than seeing it from the outside. You do not have to worry about judgment, or what your sisters may say, because a sister is a sister, and they are always going to be there for you and with you, no matter what.

Power Outage

I sit on my grandmother’s porch and pray for a breeze.

She complains about the heat from behind her fourth glass of sweet tea in as many hours.

The distant, unending buzz of cicadas stretch every lapse in half-hearted conversation.

She eventually disappears behind the screech of a flimsy screen door,

But I hardly notice her absence.

As I lean heavily into one of the wooden beams keeping the home relatively upright,

I pick absentmindedly at the chipping brown paint.

photo album
“Grainy instant photographs labeled with fading ink, Smiling family members I’ll never meet.” Photo from: nibsblog.files.wordpress.com

She returns from the pitch-dark house

Clutching a thick photo album in her shaking grip,

Pulled from wherever it lurked,

Locked tight in some cabinet I wasn’t allowed to touch.

She motions me to sit next to her

And I wordlessly oblige.


Grainy instant photographs labeled with fading ink,

Smiling family members I’ll never meet.

Wistful recollections of long past memories.

My grandmother pours decades of family history into a single, sweltering afternoon.

I couldn’t tell you what time the lights inside finally flicker back to life;

Neither of us notice when it happens.

Thanksgiving: Love it or hate it?

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and for some people it’s an exciting holiday, one of nice family get togethers and the sharing of love and great food. For others, it’s a holiday to be dreaded, dealing with racist and homophobic extended relatives and having to answer the same damn questions over and over again. No matter what your circumstance is, Thanksgiving is happening and you’re going to have to deal with people that you don’t like. However, here are some tips to deal with awkward and uncomfortable family encounters.

  1. Force your way through small talk

Dealing with relatives can be easy or hard. It all depends on how you approach the situation. Small talk is something that I, personally, can’t stand. It’s superficial and boring. I don’t really care how your job has been or how your snot-nosed child is doing. I know that they really don’t care about the classes I’m taking in college or what I hope to do in the future, but for some reason, society says it’s what people do to be polite, to be conversational.

To get through introductions and small talk with your family, answer one of their questions as quickly as you can and then excuse yourself to the bathroom. Trust me, it works every time. If they attempt to approach you again, excuse yourself once more by saying, “I have to help my mom in the kitchen.” Not only do you get away from their stupid questions, you also are perceived as helpful and kind to your mother. What more could you ask for?

  1. Ignore or call out you bigot relatives

Depending on your relatives and your personality, these two options are up to you. If you’re shy, don’t feel like starting a fight, or you know your relatives would react badly to any sort of argument to their dumb comments, simply ignore them. Depending on how old they are, trying to change the mind of your 92-year-old grandma on why you dating a black person is okay is a pointless argument. She’s old and was brought up in a certain way of thinking, just like you were. At this point, it doesn’t really matter.

On the other hand, if you are sick and tired of hearing the same bigotry that you do every year, stand up to them. Make them understand why they are wrong and why it needs to stop. Even if you simply say that their comments make you uncomfortable, without saying why or how it affects you directly, it should be enough to shut them up. Do whatever feels right to you.

Do you have a crazy family? Photo from pinterest
Do you have a crazy family? Photo from pinterest

Thanksgiving is a holiday you either love or hate. You can choose to love it if you pick your battles and know when enough is enough. The point of Thanksgiving is to be love and give love, be thankful for what you have and who you have it with. Stupid relatives with dumb views shouldn’t affect the meaning of the holiday. Have fun and tell those bigots where to stick it.

American Sniper: Remembering our heroes

If you haven’t seen “American Sniper” yet, then go out right this moment and watch it.“But I have homework to do and a paper due tomorrow!” Excuses! Homework can wait. This movie is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. The film received a 7.6 out of 10 rating on IMDb and we all know how harsh their rating system is! “

Chris Kyle takes up arms after seeing a terrorist attack on TV and heads overseas with only one mission in mind: to protect the brothers that stand beside him. As time goes by, Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy with his sniper rifle brings him recognition and praise from the countless soldiers he saved. He earns not only the nickname “Legend” but also notoriety from a growing number of Iraqi enemies in the shadows. Kyle not only has to deal with the enemies trying to cash in on the price on his head but also the demons that plague his mind. Upon returning home, Kyle’s military experiences and his duties as husband and father clash because he’s unable to find a balance between the two. The movie gives a beautifully realistic view of the struggles Kyle faced during and after each of his four tours. From suspenseful action scenes to humorous ones, this film has all the components to keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle in American Sniper. Graphic from IMDb
Bradley Cooper plays Chris Kyle in American Sniper. Graphic from IMDb

The action scenes all take place overseas, naturally. The first scene opens up with Kyle perched on a housetop looking for abnormal individuals. A young boy and woman step out into the street and the woman gives the young boy (no more than 13-14 years old) what looks to be a pipe bomb. There is no visual confirmation of the pipe bomb, so Kyle must choose whether to shoot the boy or not. If that’s not a stressful situation, then I don’t know what is. The action scenes are so intense, you’ll feel more overwhelmed than disappointed.  So, to all my action movie lovers, I suggest you bump “American Sniper” to the top of your need-to-watchlist.

The scenes where Kyle is stateside hold the audience’s attention much like the action scenes do. Bradley Cooper perfectly depicted Kyle’s feelings of uselessness and failure when he’s home. As I mentioned earlier, Kyle’s one mission is to save the lives of his brothers-in-arms, and he feels he can’t do that if he’s not out there fighting the enemy. Watching his friends die around him only strengthens his resolve and as a result pulls him farther away from his family. The struggle between family and duty have been romanticized (cough, cough Love and Honor) in countless movies. However, Clint Eastwood finally put his foot down and showed the real pain that is embedded in the conflict.

“American Sniper” is a movie that every U.S. citizen needs to watch. It’s easy to go through life forgetting the men and woman laying down their lives in order to keep our country safe. This movie serves as a reminder that war is not an easy thing to carry on your shoulders and those who carry this burden deserve not only our respect but also our remembrance. Wow, that got deep. “Yeah it did but it was a good deep.” The moral of the story is to go and watch the movie based on Chris Kyle’s biography! “Buying my ticket now! Thank you Fandango!” SPOILER: As the movie ends, take notice that no one will be saying a word as they leave.

Changing the concept of ‘family’

In order to avoid getting arrested for existing during Quadfest this past weekend, I went home to spend time with my family. And during these few short days, I realized something: I don’t fit in with these people at all. The moment I stepped in the door, my family began instigating me. My uncle found out I was the new Opinion Section Manager and immediately wanted me to write right-winged articles. I felt like an insect under a microscope. Swear words are an important part of my vocabulary, and being shot dirty looks every time I swore made me extremely uncomfortable. This extreme discomfort that I faced got me thinking about the concept of family. Continue reading Changing the concept of ‘family’

Social interactions required for academic success?

When I was younger, I didn’t have many friends. At home, my life was on the computer. I locked myself in my room for countless hours at a time. I spent a good portion of my early to middle teens surfing the internet and playing video games. I feared social interaction and found pleasure in my games. I traded social interactions with NPC interactions and game saves. While I don’t regret my lifestyle choices, those choices hindered me somewhat in college. What I didn’t know was that a better family environment and social interactions would increase productivity in school. Continue reading Social interactions required for academic success?

Family: You gotta love them

Once a year, families gather to share a meal and talk about what’s new in their lives. They discuss their trials and tribulations and give thanks that they’re together this year. This sounds great, but most college students know that this aspect of the holiday inevitably leads to uncomfortable questions from relatives. Continue reading Family: You gotta love them

Middle child syndrome: Myth or reality?

We’ve all heard families who joke about the middle child having “middle child syndrome,” a disease that supposedly causes the middle child to struggle to find their place in the family. Middle child syndrome is also rumored to have other consequences, such as depression, low self-esteem, psychotic behavior and more. But how much truth is there to these family rumors? Continue reading Middle child syndrome: Myth or reality?

Do parentals mix well with academics?

A Radford University student’s agenda is full of important tasks. Homework and studying usually show up at the top of the to-do list. Then comes eating and hygiene, and after all that, they have just enough time to catch a little shut eye. Occasionally, students may go out on the town on weekends to unwind from the hectic school week. Now, what exactly happens when this schedule is interrupted by sudden visitors? Continue reading Do parentals mix well with academics?

Why rush?

Photo by Jenny Krashin.

Earlier this semester sororities and fraternities made themselves apparent at Radford University. Beginning with the frequent displaying of letters, group chanting and meetings and socials on and off campus, Greek Week has non-affiliated students wondering what the hustle and bustle is all about. This lifestyle in college may deem a mystery if gone unexplored.