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Religious Freedom. Nertz.

Religious freedom. Well, that’s a bombshell combination, isn’t it? The whole world is up in flames at those words, and the intensity behind them. I’m just about in flames too. Honestly people, I’ve just had enough of Religion. Not necessarily of Jesus, or God, but of the people who choose to be a direct representation of him. I’m so tired of it that my heart is hardened. I’m so tired that it plays a huge part in my soon relocation ( I live in the Bible belt.)

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“Holy crap, another rebellious youngster/liberal that wants to turn against the cross!” Oh yes, I get this label daily. Um, Nertz. Calm down crazy, lets back up a bit into religious freedom. You see, people across the world right now are literally fighting for theirs. Be-headings, executions, persecutions, and I get in a way we still have to fight for ours in America. To be able to say a prayer at a football game, and all that. Yes, I do get the fight for religious freedom. I should be able to answer my student’s question about Jesus in school without having to shush them. But when are you just crossing over into being a straight up asshole? When does your religious freedom become your new weapon against society making you the “Frank Burns” of the religious world? This should be fun.

Shall we continue?

You see, that’s why this blog post had to be. So many of us think that because someone opposes our views, they are they enemy! Don’t pull a Frank Burns; Unless they are telling you that you may no longer pray or go to your place of worship, then they are not the enemy loves. Unless they are directly effecting your way of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness then they are not the enemy…they are simply different.

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“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Good grief, can you imagine trying to put up with everyone’s happiness? You just can’t, that’s why you leave it up to them. Sure, we feel responsible to keep other people happy. To donate that extra dollar, gather cans of food, and save the world!! Why yes, some of your deed’s might be good, and others might be unwelcome. Sharing opportunities versus pushing them are two very different things. Your Religion is not threatened by others who do not choose the same path as you. Hobby Lobby for example; they choose not to cover birth control for their female employee’s out of religious freedom. Wait, so because you believe something, I don’t get to live my life the way I feel as though I want to? “But that’s my religious freedom!!” Well, what happened to theirs? You get to worship freely on Sunday, don’t you? You get to wear a cross on your shirt, and openly say you are a Christian, don’t you? Thats more than a lot of people get in most countries.”You shouldn’t have an abortion because that violates what I believe in!” What about what they believe in? Shouldn’t they have religious freedom too? After all, didn’t the God you are throwing in people’s face even give the humans he created a choice to believe in him? Hmmm. You have religious Freedom; now you just want religious force.

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Moving forward from the religious force, er, I mean freedom, into loading your religious guns. Haven’t you ever been around someone where they used it as a weapon against you? We all have. Its annoying, it tarnishes the belief for us (especially if this happens when you are young) and it hardens our heart. The driving force behind this problem is fear; fear of what that person is doing, believing, how it will affect you, and how you will protect yourself. 

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You see, most people find me weird (are we surprised?) because Native American spirituality is a big part of my life. I don’t know what life the Creator (God), or Jesus have planned for me, but they have given me some awesome gifts; gifts that let me feel closer to them. I just don’t click in a church, sorry. Dont shoot! During worship, the songs make me feel weird, I’m distracted by lights, I’m bored, and I’m usually drifting somewhere else within my mind. When I put on Regalia I’m proud of, that I studied, and I’m gathered with people who make me feel loved, and happy doing something we love together, I just feel him. It’s the weirdest, but best high ever. When I’m dancing, I don’t know how my lungs let me do it, I’m on autopilot. I’m feel elated, and I know he feels that energy he gave to me vibrating back through to him. When I study his creation, from the organic food I should be consuming, to the mountains that give me peace…I see him and I feel him.  When I study animal spirits, I feel a great puzzle piece has been found. These animals I know he chooses to communicate through because they are his creation. He is present through his art. People don’t know that because people don’t ask. People think I am some anti-church and crazy buffalo eagle spirit lady with bells on…because they choose not to communicate. I am different, and I am to be feared…which is ridiculous.

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You should never fear another person because they are different. It leads to a shut out, lonely, misinterpreted and lost life. In that individual’s mind you just took away their worth. You’ve labeled them, pushed them away, and shown them exactly who they do not want to be or what they should not believe in; you lost and so did they. People wonder why I don’t hang out with certain groups? Because words may lie, but energy doesn’t. You can feel the invisible barriers, and being “ganged” up on. What do we do to change this? One of my favorite quotes is “We do not go into ceremony to talk about God. We go into ceremony to talk to God” by Quanah Parker. We are made in his (God’s) image. Sit down and talk with him, as well as you should the people. I don’t care where you are, who they are, what they look like, believe in or represent. Just be a human with them, that’s all there is to it. No, you are not Jesus. But supposedly the holy spirit is still around, doing its work. Maybe just sitting down as though Christ would with people who others rejected, you could be passing something onto someone else; You could also feel a change within you. The kind of change that makes you feel so good that the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. What a privilege it is to go outside the typical limits and experience things others have no idea what they are missing. I’ve had some pretty incredible answers, and experiences too in abandoned schools for instance. It’s insane the feeling you get from just loving people, even if you do not believe in anything…loving people, and listening to people is still something to practice. “If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt; Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.” John 4 20-21

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So, what image are you upholding to people? What circle are you running around in everyday and who are you impacting? Do you have guns-a-blazin’, or just an open mind? Because these days I hear a lot of outcries for freedom, but I’m seeing more force.

-haley.

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Emotionally Exhausted and Morally Bankrupt.

Sitting here after a wasteful three-hour nap, wide awake at midnight and staring into a damaging computer screen. All I can think is, “My cat is in the backyard.” She would usually be to the left of me, perched on the couch.

I’ve always been told that life is full of change, agreed to it, but never did I grasp it until these past few months. You expect change, you are told to get ready for it, but it hits like a title wave…and when you are left laying there wondering what the hell you are doing on the ground, you realize things changed. I love the quote along the lines of, “day-to-day it seems like nothing changes, but within a year everything is different.”

Lately, there has been so much change that I can’t get my bearings. I’m knocked down only to barely get to my knee’s, and catch a glimpse of another wave coming. At this point I’m “emotionally exhausted and morally bankrupt”as the MASH 4077 would put it. I’ve had things thrown in my face that I shouldn’t have, people stripped from me, and I’m left to sit here in the dark and type about it. Isn’t this everyone at one point though?

For those who don’t follow me on social media, My childhood pet and first black cat, Fantasia, passed away on April the first. She was my first best friend who slept by my  head every night, licked my face until I fell asleep, listened to cries from a breakup…and she was such a fighter. The older, and unhealthier she got, she was still fast, sharp, and after she lost consciousness around 11:45pm, she should’ve died within minutes. She continued to fight off death until 2:06am. Losing Fantasia was in a way relief after how much her body was failing her. But burying her was like putting a final piece of my childhood, and support system into the ground. I only hope that the couple of hours her heart continued to beat, that her soul was still around somewhere, felt our hugs, and listened to our goodbyes.

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Throughout our lives we will have to continually shed our skin, and adapt to change. It will knock the breath out of your failing or healthy lungs, bring you to your knee’s, and sometimes you just have to release an outcry of anger in reply. I’m tired of people acting as though my anger is abnormal, unexpected, and inappropriate. Anger is a human emotion; while it is not healthy to feel anger continually, it is okay to feel it and express it. Feel your anger and release it as you please. Stop condemning people, or treating them as though there are “issues” present, when really all that lays underneath that anger is humanity; a human response. Anger is natural. Let your anger be felt, and let others feel accepted.

I have every right to be angry. I’m stressed, I’m changing my lifestyle, and my normal. I’m losing a place of dance, and things that I love for change. I feel the daily strain on a body that I can’t fix, cant excel in the points that I want to, and doctors that want to restrain dreams. I’ve lost people who greatly had a grip on my heart, I feel betrayed, and watch best friends in my life take their last breaths and decide where they should be buried. Time will not heal my wounds, but create scars. Time will ease the intensity of change, and hopefully transform into peace. But until then…

I am angry. I am not insane, unhealthy, or “need to talk.” I am just human, dealing with human things. I am normal. Let me be angry. Let me be me.

-haley.

@haleyann92

Song of the Week is Blessa by Toro Y Moi.

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Move It Out!!

Happy Monday loves!

I’ve been a tad absent while focusing on other works in my life. I’m getting poetry written, paintings painted, jewelry and dreamcatchers made, and its been crazy! I feel like the artistic side of my brain has been on overload!

As y’all may or may not know, I am (hopefully) moving the first of May. Yes its soon, its quick, and I really feel like I’m finally ready! Because of these big changes, I’m getting rid of about 80% of my stuff that I don’t need. Clothes, Jewelry, Camera’s, you name it. If you think you want to take a look of what is leaving my closet, then download the Poshmark app! It’s an amazing little app where you can buy right out of people’s closet, its quick and also safe. I really love Poshmark. Look for my closet @halynn92 and use the code BBYFW when you sign up so you can get a $5 credit. Thats five dollars off a purchase!! :)

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Also, if some of y’all have taken a look at my Etsy, it’s not only my vintage and art shop, but a little PH shop too! You can find the Just Breathe Lung Tee’s, PH Bracelets, PH Medical ID cards with the Just Breathe lungs, and even super cute cards with my quote! So if some of you PH’ers want that then check out, my Etsy shop PHenomenal PHinds. Link is in the Shop section!!

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Thank y’all for reading this super short and sweet post about me auctioning off most of my belongings! This is the movement to get Haley the hell out of Texas!! ;)

Enjoy the song of the week Sunshine of Your Love by Cream

-haley.

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True or Toxic?

“Never be afraid to do whats right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

My loud mouth is very well-known for exactly that; being loud, standing up and speaking my mind. I annoy people, I get hushed, or people are “appalled” by my “behavior” and I just want to say that undoubtedly…I don’t give a flying fuck. People pleasing will never be a hobby of mine. I will not walk on eggshells to keep you happy because fake happy is not happy; its false expectations and lies.

So many of us get caught up in putting our “fake smile” on to get through ninety percent of the day. The only people I will ever fake smile for are children, and giving them the absolute best part of myself I can at the time. Anyways, back to people pleasing; its stupid. People will never be pleased, and in the process you are ruining yourself. How exactly? Because with each person, or friend, it’s like you have to go home and change into a different you for someone else. There is no “one person.” Soon, there are five different versions of you that clash with three different groups that you can never actually be yourself with. Why? Because you decided to be untrue; you went from true to toxic.

Now what does this have to do with standing up for whats right? Because it shows you the extent that people go through to change themselves, only in order to keep other people happy resulting in a loss of happiness for themselves. People pleasing is focusing on everyone but you, and I’m sorry, until those people are your children  then they can screw off. Who cares what they expect, what they hear, what they talk about, what they think, and what they do not like. If they don’t like who is truly you…if they wouldn’t like who was truly you, then why are they in your life? To fake smile at?

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After becoming addicted to MASH these past couple of weeks, Hawkeye is not just the new love of my life, but an inspiration. Simply because he does not give a damn; not of your rank, your thoughts, your opinion, or your hatred. What he see’s as right is what he will stand up for despite the number of people who want to throw him in jail. You’d think he’d be shaken up? Nah, he has the ability to laugh because he has no image to uphold. He loves and respects others without ever having to like them. He is himself with every person; there is no three “Hawkeyes.” Everyone loves him because he is true; not toxic.

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“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” -Desmond Tutu

maskI really don’t know what else to say other than I’m tired of people hiding their words, thoughts, feelings and actions because it’s really just a form of self imprisonment. I can’t imagine living a life of wearing a costume to appease someone. Stand up for what you think is right, despite how many people attack you on social media. Talk back when you are being talked down, speak your mind, do what you want to do, and don’t be afraid to feel what you are actually feeling. Its society who wants you to put a mask upon your face. Masks are creepy so take it off.

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Haley’s Homeless Haul.

Soo lovelies, as you may or may not know, I’m considering making some big life changes pretty soon. Also, I was tired of feeling trapped, and slaving away at a job I hated. So, because I have no  major responsibilities, I quit. “Oh, how irresponsible.” Well thanks for the positive thoughts, but no. This is one of the few times in my life where I can make irrational decisions because I do not have a marriage, or child to weigh it down. So yea, I’m being irresponsible and loving it. On the other hand, its given me opportunities to actually use some things I’ve bought in the past, and finally try some things that I’ve been wanting to forever, and others that I just wanted in my life. Lets goooo.

Betsey Haul

haul1What I love about this Betsey Haul is how inexpensive it was. Betsey is my favorite designer ever because of her lovely creations, but amazing personality. When she went out of business, and had to close all of her pretty pink stores I thought life was over. But, Steve Madden saved the day! He bought Betsey’s brand, and she became creative director, obviously. Because of that, Betsey is now everywhere! She has really expanded, and made her products affordable!! I got sick a couple of weeks ago, and the same day Betsey Johnson tissues were released at Walmart. (coincidence? I think not.) Once again, she released another set of limited edition stationery supplies at Michael’s craft store. I scooped them up last year, and unfortunately didn’t make it in time to get to the cards and journals this year. I LOVE pink roses, and that was obviously the theme once again this year. As you can see the Betsey Kleenex’s above, I bought two three packs and each box (and side of the box) has its own design. This was my favorite (and is empty because I felt like my nose was falling off.) I never use these drink tumblers, but had to purchase this one. My second Betsey tumbler! I bought two large vinyl storage pouches, one in yellow and pink. I of course bought a Betsey rose pen, and finally bought a phone case…which did not fit. Its available in my Etsy store for anyone who wants it! Last but not least, Betsey close-line clips (I have no idea what I’ll use them for) and a Betsey Luggage tag because my suit-cases are already pink! Merp!

Forever 21 – Accessories

haul2Finally, my hometown decided to bring in a Forever 21. I thought my best friend and I were going to bust down the door because we don’t have any access to quality retail around here. Moving on, when it opened, the store just didn’t seem right. It didn’t have the classic “Forever 21″ feel to it, or choice. Literally, there is nothing to choose from. I happened to look up, and notice the front said “Forever 21 RED.” After asking an employee what that means, it all clicked. We didn’t even get a full store. We got the basic bitch store, and on top of that we got the “not full store” while they are trying to bring back a hideous selection and what looks like a mix of my Mom’s closet when she was pregnant with my sister, and my three-year old closet in 1995. Seriously, Jelly platform sandals and denim jumpers?! So I’ve ignored the clothes and found refuge in the accessory selection. I found a fabulous storage bag that unfolds (and can re-fold) finished with a hook so that it may be thrown on a door somewhere. I decided to spend a whole two dollars on a blue floral stand up mirror, and finally, I bought eye lash curlers. A girl actually asked me if my eye lashes were real today. Made my week. I fell in love with this very gypsy-like necklace, and a ridiculous array of gold stackable rings. Then last but not least a new contour brush, and black sponge. I’ve always wanted a black beauty blender (come on, its fricken black!!) but couldn’t bring myself to spend $22 dollars on a small sponge. I found this one for $3. WIN.

New Hurrr Haul

haul3As some of y’all might know, unfortunately, my hair is not naturally super dark brown. While its adapted well to it, I have to take good care of it to not only keep the color, but to keep my hair happy and healthy so it will grow. Yes, it requires a bit of cash but that’s better than damaged and ridiculous hair. What I have been using for a while has been Matrix Biolage Color Last. First off, the smell is AMAZING. Also, it does a really good job at keeping the color on your head (if you have a washing routine, and are not washing everyday.) Matrix So Silver is also what I recommend to Platinum Blonds to keep your hair blonde not yellow, and only using it once a week so you don’t develop purple-tinted hair. ;) Matrix is just one of those brands where people think it’s freshly dyed after every wash. Since I live in dry Texas, my hair has no moisture. So, usually once a week I break out the Kenra moisturizing conditioner. It smells like Sweetgrass (if you’ve never smelt that, then how awful) and it does a pretty good job of repairing dry hair. I really don’t see it as useful for weekly use. Since I bought a Kenra product, I got the Blow Dry mini sprays as a free gift! This stuff came from God himself! It smells so good that my hair dresser will sometimes use it for body spray. This stuff is ridiculously expensive, works like a charm and is a for sure splurge. Then for those of you that have frizzy, dry and damaged hair, invest in the Marc Anthony Morocco oil to calm it down throughout the day. Yes, the smell is amazing, but when lightly sprayed into dry hair on the go, it calms it giving a nice sleek look. Plus, Rocco’s name is in it.

LUSH!!

haul4Finally!! I had been wanting to try Lush forever. The thought of these truly organic products, that are not tested on animals, and hand-made right there was beyond appealing. Anything that directly comes from the earth, and not processed through a machine first IS good for your body. My friend has the Ocean Salt scrub which I got to try first, but since I love mint I’ve always wanted to try to Mask of Magnaminty. HOLY COW! Why yes it is organic because of the texture and fresh smell, and when applied its even better. Yes, you just look like you crawled out of the jungle, but when you rinse it off you feel and see a difference. This is not just a mask but a true cleanser. My skin has been cleared up ever since I quit a ridiculous job (my hormones and stress levels probably evened out) and then this kicked my face’s butt! My skin has been a dream since I’ve been using the mask. Truly impressed with the refreshing feel. When I saw a couple of videos of Lush’s bathbombs, I was so excited to try these. I ordered blackberry, avocado, and rose (not pictured.) I used the rose while sick, and could still smell it. The flowers that came packed in it spread all over the tub. It was truly a majestic feeling bath. I believe these can be relaxing, they smell good, the salts and oils are amazing for your skin, and watching them fizz and change the water colors is fun. I can’t wait to use my other two bombs, but I can’t soak right now due to a healing tattoo. I think these could be great here and there surprises for kids! Also, I got a soap sample I’m excited to try I think by the name of porridge. We will see.

Sephora Haul!

haul5Sephora can be too much fun if they would get a bigger store (well, in my town) and would actually keep things stocked. But seriously, their selection is so much better in my opinion than Ulta, also the staff that knows what they are talking about, and their little samples are actually helpful! Kat Von D has been a favorite lately. Not only is her Tattoo Wet Liner the best stuff to ever grace my eyelids (it’s the only wet liner I will ever wear), but her new contour palette and fabulous lipsticks have rocked my world. While on a hunt for a new amazing color, I discovered Coven. The name was perfect (cue American Horror Story) but the lilac color on my lips made me feel like a whole new person! On top of that the smooth formula of the lipstick is amazing. It evenly spreads over the lips, and has lasting power. A couple of weeks later, I invested in a fabulous nude color, Agatha. Sounds like a Bewitched name, doesn’t it? Maybe its just me. Skipping to the other lips, I bought a little six-dollar tin that has made it to my favorites. I couldn’t go with the original rose, but invested in the Minty Rose. This stuff instantly softens my lips, and a little goes a long way. For my dry lips, this is a miracle, and is better than using the same stick especially if you develop cold sores from cracked lips and keep spreading that virus. Bottom line, a must have for dry lips. Finally, back to Sephora samples, I received a sample of the Soap and Glory “Peaches and Clean” cleanser. I was impressed, and bought the full size one. It smells like actual peaches being smothered across your face, and it leaves a nice moisturized feel unlike most cleansers. Love. it.

Vinyl Haul

haul6My vinyl collection no longer fits in the little crate that was intended to hold it…and I keep buying more because music is yessss. Anyways, I decided invest in a couple of classics, and a few new artists. Cat Power originally caught my ear in Juno’s album when she sang “Sea of Love.” It’s still hard not to cry with that song playing. I decided to try one of her albums, and I’m going to have to be in the right mood. Its one of those super relaxed vinyl’s that I’m hoping I’ll be glad I bought. Also, the name is just right. Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy is a must have for anyone. The Rain Song is unbeatable. When I found Marvin Gaye’s Whats Going On vinyl at Barnes and Noble, I actually shrieked. What a fantastic piece of art to own!! This was his heart put onto vinyl, and something he was so proud of. It killed him when people ended up “hating it” despite its climb onto the charts. This is a classic. Finally, I can’t believe I found Empire of the Sun on vinyl. I discovered them on Myspace (I know) fell in love, and so did my dad. Their music wasn’t even available in America yet (they are from Australia), then BOOM two years later and they were everywhere. This is their second album (I think) Ice On the Dune which is a fantastic mix of techno pop. Its like updated 80’s music. They are wonderful performers, and to own a vinyl is mind-blowing.

Etsy Haul

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetFake nose hoop in action

Etsy is an addiction, obviously. I call it a classier Ebay because of how things are listed. It’s a great place to find just about anything art, handmade, and vintage you can imagine. I indulged in a classic vintage Eagle Katchina shirt, and another set of my nose hoops. A lot of people ask the size of my nose “piercing” and where I got my hoop. Actually, my nose isn’t pierced. My body just does not respond well to the metals. When I was a kid, I remember the pain of having my ear piercings cleaned, and how infected they constantly were. The second hole in my ear was impossible, and finally I just let it close at fifteen years old. My belly button piercing was beyond infected and painful for weeks, despite cleaning it how I was supposed to, not swimming, and all other precautions. I let that close too. My body is fine with tattoo’s, but anything going through the skin with metal behind it will just start a war. So, putting one on my face is not worth it. I discovered JewelleryK by accident which creates real, and fake sterling silver, gold, rose gold and just about anything else hoops and piercings. I ordered one fake sterling silver hoop last year, and everyone complimented my piercing. I wore it constantly, but beware! They are super easy to lose! However, they are cheap, so this is my third order. I love having my nose hoop when I feel like wearing it, without the infection behind it!

Speaking of Etsy, YES my Etsy shop is finally open! I expect to put vintage finds, things I create as well as a few PH nick nacks listed. Keep an eye out for new things being added each week! I can’t wait for people to have some new Haley Ann creations available to y’all, so be sure to check it out. Have a fantastic week!!

Song of the Week is Sea of Love by Cat Power.

-haley.

 

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Why My Career Ended Before It Even Started.

As lost as I seem to be these days, when someone asks me, “Well, what do you eventually want to end up doing?” My answer will always be teaching. Working with kids, and actually seeing them learn, knowing I was a part of that is the best feeling. I love changing their mind-set, molding them, and hopefully being a small fragment in their life that they might look back on one day when they need to. Everyone always asks me, “Have you ever thought about education?” Um, yea. Been there; wrecked that.

My first year in education was magical. Mainly because I worked four hours a day, and was teaching Pre-K. It wasn’t just colors and shapes, but I took my work very seriously. My kids were learning that full four hours of the day from manners, to movies. Everything connected, and I loved it. My students were beautiful, and they were my true loves for that year. To see a Spanish speaking student (who refused to talk for the first three months) finally, and proudly announce that he was coloring with orange, then spelled it, made me want to lie on the floor and cry. I was exactly where I wanted to be. My second year (and third) in education came a change in administration, and hours. My first full-time year, and this time I was making rounds as an actual assistant. I saw a change in my desires to teach, as I now was leaning towards a more middle school atmosphere, and I also felt a pit in my stomach. I heard the meetings, the push for tests scores to get higher, the invasion of teachers thoughts and classrooms, and the overall destruction.  It became clear to me that it didn’t matter what they were wearing, feeling, eating, or experiencing…all that mattered were what they were scribbling out on their test packets with their plain yellow number two pencils.

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With teachers being pushed to their limits, working twelve hours a day, conferences, meetings, and still taking papers home, they are not equipped to teach. Which brings up another issue; Are our teachers really teaching? I want these students to leave my class educated, and what our teachers are doing is not that. They are test scorers, givers, reading from pamphlets, egg-shell walkers who answer to the report of their numbers from the boss like salesmen would. Its annoying that these little humans are no longer people who have feelings, problems, and bleed red…they are walking numbers who have the potential to possibly be in the whatever amazing “percentile” that will pass!!! We don’t care if they learn a damn thing, as long as they pass!! We don’t even care if they end up serial killers, but hey, they passed their standardized tests in fourth grade! Not only how we are treating our students is a massive problem, but how we are treating our educators; their feelings reflect in their work. We cover our asses in inventing little programs that make students feel special, and family nights (which teachers will be mandated to attend with a fake and tired smile on their face), and we buy all the teachers their favorite drink one day a year. These fake attempts to reach out do not cover being told they are not enough, to work harder, you are not making a difference (WRONG) because their “scores” don’t show a difference…its bound to leak through your pores onto your chalkboard. Enough is enough after a while; a reason why so many educators have retired, or walked away…simply because they are no longer educating.

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After walking the halls, and being pushed to tears in what could be in these classrooms, excuse me, testing rooms, I had to walk away. Children are not professional test takers, and little robot machines. They are human, and they will be better little humans when they are actually learning about the actual world they live in; When they study their culture, their environment, and things that will make a difference…not fictional math problems, and why Suzi used that word in that paragraph. Really? Standardized testing has literally taken over the world, and destroyed education. We spend our entire year teaching children how to study for a test, rather than teaching them important things in life that will stick, and teaching them how to love school. We don’t even have time for that anymore! We only have time for tests, practice tests, workshops and tutorials!!! Thats all that ever matters!! Screw fun, guest speakers, time outside, and field trips!! How is any of that educational?!?! Don’t forget to plan that two weeks of when we lock down the school like a state prison with teachers roaming the halls, one at every corner, and even listening to you pee in the bathroom. Don’t you even think about talking about this test you little nine-year old! Stick to your script teachers on how to answer that question (you’ll be arrested if you don’t) sign this contract (yea, you might actually go to jail) and here is a step-by-step instruction guide on how to protect the test packets if a tornado hits, or a child vomits on the valuable packets.

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So, after all these standardized tests, and billions of dollars pumped into it, what do we have to show for it? Well, here are the highlights of my research.

1. Standardized testing has not improved student achievement.

After the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) passed in 2002, the US slipped from 18th in the world in math on the PISA to 31st with a similar drop in math, and reading.

2. Standardized tests are an unreliable measure of student performance.

A study published by the Brookings Institution found that 50-80% of year-over-year test score improvements were temporary and “caused by fluctuations that had nothing to do with long-term changes in learning.”

3. Standardized tests are unfair and discriminatory against non English speakers, and students with special needs.

I don’t even need to find some fancy evidence to support this; I saw it first hand. They are pulled into classrooms with a one on one teacher which yes, you think would help them, but all the students know why they aren’t testing with everyone, why they get more time, and not to mention they are being watched like a hawk. It’s just not fun to be “different” because you are with one teacher all day (even during lunch) and who wants to listen to a teacher talk directly to them, then watch them eat their sandwich? Didn’t think so. They want to talk about Power Rangers, and eat lunch with their friends because they are eight freaking years old. Also, what teacher wants to be with this one student all day reading a script? Exactly.

4. Standardized tests measure only a small portion of what makes education meaningful.

AMEN. “Standardized tests cannot measure creativity, critical thinking, resilience, motivation, persistence, curiosity, endurance, self-awareness, empathy, leadership, compassion and so on.” Once again, AMEN. They cannot measure HUMANITY and TRUE LEARNING.

5. “Teaching the test” is replacing good teaching practices with “drill n’ kill” learning.

As stated above, if you even present a fun idea to a teacher, they have the stressed response of, “I don’t think we have time for that! We’re getting ready for the test!” I’m not surprised. I’m glad that test will change their lives, it’s so awesome! Thumbs up for learning! NOT.

6. Instruction time is being consumed by the monotonous test preparation.

On September 11, 2002 students at Monterey High School in Lubbock, TX (Hey, this was my dad’s high school!) were prevented from discussing the first anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks because they were too busy with standardized test preparation…yep.

In a society so mentally, and emotionally at risk because of things exposed to them at such young ages, they need to come to a place where they can correctly learn things that truly matter that they might not be learning in their home life…if they even have a home. They need teachers who are happy, not stressed, and have time. They need administration who can look past the rule book at the little human being on the other side of the desk. These students need to learn about the world around them so that they understand love, compassion, leadership, and determination to become better little human beings…while also being disciplined correctly. Why, WHY would they want to put themselves through college when they have been working, and studying like a college student since second grade? By the time these children graduate, they will have literally learned nothing, but will be so tired of looking at books and attempting to comprehending their own scores (that they think rates them at how worthy they are at life) that they will be done with education, and learning. How sad; they were never even shown how to truly learn to begin with.

I’m tired for these kids, and I’m upset. I’ve been cheated out of a career that I thought was a lot different. “It wasn’t like it was when I first started” is something that falls out of so many educator’s mouths. I’m deeply saddened that these kids have no time for mistakes or to even act like a human child. I’m angry that they do not learn, that they merely study. I’m shocked and overwhelmed how much worse it gets; their attitudes, their issues, and these internal educational problems in the system.

Show me a school that wants children to learn, and mentally and emotionally grow, and I will gladly work for my masters in education. Because EVERY child despite how many times they yell in your face, and breakdown is worth educating and loving.

-haley.

The list goes on forever, literally. If you would like to read more (even the pro’s) you can visit standardizedtests.procon.org

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Active Parenting.

Back in my educational days, the phrase “active learning, active teaching” was something you heard at almost every conference which happened what seemed like everyday of the week. Because ya know, on top of all these ridiculous hours that teachers put in, they still have to attend the ten conferences a week too. Anyways, from what I can remember (and if they haven’t changed anything – because they change the new acceptable teaching styles like they change their underwear) active teaching meant you are literally active with the kids; you are singing with them, sitting at the table with them, interacting, asking questions, and everyone is laughing and painting rainbows. Just kidding, it was more like trying to rope a litter of kittens sometimes (depending on the lunch food or moon), but active teaching was actually fun if you were doing it right. Still, active teaching, and learning is definitely my thing. When you are active in this child’s life, you are learning just as much about them as they are hopefully learning about the subject. It’s a bonding experience with your students, they develop a sense of trust, and they enjoy learning in your company. You are not just the typical teacher leaning over their desks with your red pen. This got me thinking about extending this further into a child’s life. What if we had active parenting for children these days?

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Now what in the hell am I talking about? When I see a lot of kids social media for example, it blows my mind how many are posting what they want to, and how unaware their parents are. They put their suicide notes on Facebook, and all their friends are calling and arranging rides to drive to this teenagers house to check on them, while the parent is in their bedroom peacefully unaware. Kids posting on Instagrams about all their drug loves, “Snapchatting” things they shouldn’t be, using dating apps, and looking up Fifty Shades of Grey porn. What teenager wouldn’t have been doing this throughout the ages if they had access? They have the world in the palm of their hand, they have friends to pick them up and take them out into the world, and that Football game or sleepover? They get lost in a sea of kids to go do God knows what while you think they are just at a “football game” or “sleeping over.” If you aren’t careful your kid is acting twenty-one at fifteen when they do not have the capacity in their brains to be “acting” like that. Yes, they are in “grown up” bodies, and can feel “grown up” things, but they do not have the knowledge, experience or power to execute those emotions correctly yet.

No, you cannot control your kids actions; you cannot sit on top of them. I’ve watched parents control everything down to the minutes on the kid’s phone, and let me tell you, they weren’t successful either. Its a delicate balance of power, respect and back-fire. So what exactly as a parent are you supposed to do? Get active; be an active parent. Trust your kids, do not trust the internet. BAN (yes, ban) certain apps from their phone, know their friends, keep in contact with the friend’s parents, watch their social media, talk to them and let yourself become an active safety net. The way I see it, the parents that are “chill”, have no structure within their kids lives, then freak out when something goes wrong are the wrong kind of safety net. They make themselves seem like an awesome parent, but they are not paying attention or listening. That kind of safety net rests on the ground, so when the kid falls they hit hard. Why? Because that parent wasn’t paying attention. Be the parent that is there to pick your kid up when they did get in over their head. Other parents don’t even let their kids get OUT of the safety net, therefor everyone loses their minds. Don’t be that parent either. Delicately balance an off the ground, not too close but in the middle system that is best for all, and each age will need adjusting because each age is a completely new set of traps.

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I’m not asking you to be the perfect parent. Your children are human, and in a world where they literally are given the world at even an elementary age, you are going to have to pull up your bootstraps. Sit at their table, participate, sing with them, talk to them, learn with them, instruct them, and be there for them. They will learn everything themselves, but they don’t have to hit the ground to do that.

Active parenting.

-haley.

New shop, and song of the week!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PHenomenalPHinds

feminism

Feminism; Not Just for Females.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping (because what other kind of shopping is so exciting?!) and found a shirt that I immediately made mine. “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” We all know that Haley is a feminist because a long time ago I decided to start playing on my own team. Now before we make this a man-hating session, lets quickly establish what feminism actually is and what all you “Women against feminism” and “feminism haters” have made it.

feminismShirt by Wicked Clothing

Feminism is for everyone; It’s not just a vagina squad yelling about the injustices done to them, and how all of these injustices were committed only by men. Feminism is taking a stand for women’s rights, and realizing that they are people. Your girlfriend? She’s a person. Your mom? She’s a person. Your daughter, sister and nieces? They are people. Just because they don’t have a dick doesn’t mean they should be treated any less. If you agree with that paragraph, then yes you are a feminist. And that word, feminist, something people seem to have tainted; it’s not a bad word. It’s merely summing up where you stand on a hefty issue instead of explaining everything that defines it.

feminism3No, no, no! She’s such a whore for choosing the “easy way out!” Despite how many people cannot have kids because of other dangerous medical reasons…

I read the other day that women not being paid the same, and that “rape culture” is all a myth; It doesn’t exist, and that women are as equal as they believe themselves to be. “Ahh, slavery never existed. Blacks were as free as they believed themselves to be.” Yea, you make yourself sound like an ignorant jackass when you say that, whether you are a man or a woman. Sex slavery, and women being traded into it is still a very real thing. Women not being paid as much is still a very real thing that people continue to prove. Women being put into positions that make them weaker, or sex objects is still a very real thing (cue the Fifty Shades of Shit battle.) Get online, start researching, or just walk outside the fucking door and its easily everywhere. After all this time we are still raising generations to think women do put themselves underneath a man. The only time they belong underneath a man is in a consensual missionary position, of course. It is equally important that not only women believe, but men as well believe and act on the notion that women are equals, and important.

Now the women who just think it’s all about man hating; NO. How else can I put it? Feminism isn’t about hating men, because despite my thoughts on equality I still have awesome men in my life that support me. How can I put it simply; why are you giving any type of damn (outside of the bedroom) what is in anybody’s pants? Men are not all lazy assholes. Yes, a lot are because the world is progressing towards the end. Women are not all psychotic contradicting bitches. Yes, a lot are because the world is progressing towards the end. It’s your job to sort through the shitty pile of people and stop blaming them for whats in their pants.

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I need feminism because first I am a woman, and want to respect myself. Second, I am a young, fertile woman that happens to have a fatal disease with an eighty-five percent mortality rate with woman who become pregnant with this disease. A disease that also does not allow these women to be on birth control because of the risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes that us patients already have. I need feminism because of the massive risk that maybe one day I will get pregnant, not because I’m a careless whore, but because I love someone. Despite the children of mine I want to become a mother to, I will have an abortion so that I may continue to live MY life, because that abortion is my choice. I need feminism so that I may have a safe abortion, free of judgement despite the already ridiculous emotions I might be feeling with that decision. My life is my choice. I choose equality, and freedom.

Feminism is about recognizing that women are people; it’s not a big scary liberal riot like you are making it out to be. We are not your “fuck holes”, sex slaves, BAE, or anything else. We are your equal. We are equals, and we deserve just as much respect. That is feminism, ladies AND gentlemen.

Check out the Contest, and the Song of the Week!!

-haley.

openminded

The Secret to Living a Better Life.

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When having conversations with not only adults lately, but youth as well, my ears were assaulted at how many “I cant’s” and excuses fell out of their mouths. Not only were they limiting themselves, but limiting their life experiences…and it made me die a little inside on what life experiences they choose to miss out on. So many people these days build up “Pinterest Boards” of things to do, see, and make these fake bucket lists. Fake? Yes, fake. Because when it comes down to getting shit done, you make an excuse. We all watch these fabulous travel movies, or “Remember the Titans” and get all inspired to try new things, and be accepting of other races…yet the next day you refuse to go to the “sketch” side of town to have those awesome enchiladas, and you still curl your nose at the thought of someone having different colored skin. This is not only a problem making you adults look like the exact ass you present yourself to be, but you are raising your children to be little asses too; closed-minded ass-like families. “Well that’s a little harsh” – Yea, well I’m a little tired of it.

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You see, life experiences do not come out of routine. Learning, and growth do not develop from comfort, but from pushing the limits. Anthony Bourdain is a huge inspiration to me because he is the living example of this. No, don’t pray to get famous, and be a travel show host, but what is so different about him goes beyond this “food network” image. He is not just trying new dishes, he’s talking to the locals, learning new customs, and genuinely interested in what is going on around him. Because he’s been ran off, and almost died in most countries (and sacrificed those not pleasant experiences) he has had the privilege to see things most would never see in a lifetime, taste things we’ve never heard of, met beautiful people who fight everyday to live a normal life, and in return he is living a truly beautiful life. For all the uptight Christians out there, do you really think this Jesus that you talk about all the time didn’t venture to the other side of town? Do you think he did what he was supposed to do by remaining closed-minded? Your “religion” gives you no excuse.

A beautiful life with one of kind experiences does not happen at a party college. It does not happen throughout your daily routine, and about ninety five percent of the time it doesn’t happen when you are doing what everyone else is doing. Stop raising your children within these mental walls. It happens by stepping outside the red lines that society put up to keep you guarded, and expanding your mind into consistently adapting and loving everything you could possibly learn. Never stop learning. It is a true gift to live the actual meaning of an open-minded individual with a life full of blessings. Yep, you are going to feel like an against the grain loner about seventy percent of the time…and its the most freeing feeling in the world.

-haley.

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Love Is…Fading.

Happy Love Day everyone! I’ve decided that’s what I’m calling it for now, because people love to pity party themselves into thinking that if they are single on this day then they are screwed, and have every reason to whine about it. Do you seriously not have anyone else in your life to love? Moving on.

catheartLets just say that I’m highly disturbed by relationships these days. How quickly they form (and fall apart), and now what qualifies as normal behavior when you are bonded to someone. People always ask me, “Why aren’t you dating?” and I really just want to say, “Why would I?” Please show me a person who has some values; I know there must at least be one out there. Until then, I’m not flying through men looking to find him. What will happen should happen organically. Its fun to love other people, and to support them. I can’t tell you how many people I stand back and watch, and think, “Man, I really do love this person.” Sounds a little creepy, but it’s not. And its a lot more satisfying than giving only one person your all, unless they are meant to be that person.

Backing up to relationships; my best friend made a comment the other day of the natural flow of how relationships should progress these days, and I couldn’t believe how much she hit the nail on the head. This natural healthy flow, what it consists of, and what blew my mind is how our generation and economy is teaching us to flip it. People should first connect spiritually (what you believe in, the things that keep you going), then they should connect emotionally (your music, your favorites), and last, did y’all see this, LAST they should connect physically. I’m not saying be a prude, but seriously, wouldn’t this cycle save us all a little? “Man, the sex is great but we just aren’t getting along. I guess I’ll keep dating him for another five years and make it work.” Why am I hearing so much about this?! And why am I seeing it on TV Shows, and movies, and books…its stupidity.

Our children are failing emotionally, spiritually, and physically. We are passing STD’s, having babies (so happy for your blessing – but you know you didn’t plan on it and now they bounce back and forth between a split family, or have no parent at all) and bottom line; they are growing up too fast without ever really feeling what love feels like at all. They are temporarily pleasing themselves because they learn that you should meet someone, hook up with them, and then go from there. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Generations are damaged these days into thinking that dating is stupid, bitches be bitches, single life forever, and blah blah blah because they are not dating right or smart, and they fall in “luuuvv” with people. No, you have never tasted true love.

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I remember my first actual love. We talked for about a month, about stupid little things, and even about family. From there it progressed into music, and then he bought me my first pair of TOMS (how romantic.) We had some of our first kisses while he took care of me for a month because I was deathly ill with Mono (and miraculously never caught it) and we existed like this for years. Talking, kissing, and supporting each other. Yes, it was a successful relationship, and yes, it ended. Not everything that is successful has to last. It taught me a lot of things, and I believe it felt right for a long time, and lasted a long time because the relationship progressed slowly and in the correct order.

In the simplest of words, stop jumping people’s bones and expect a relationship from there. Because you just exposed the deepest parts of yourself (the things that are supposed to be enjoyed after truly knowing each other – like your minds) and now there may never be any connection at all. I’m tired of seeing so many people complain about dating when you don’t even attempt to do it the right way.

Women – stop being man haters, act like a lady, don’t take your clothes off for another two years, stop being overly emotional, stop expecting him to do everything your way, support him, and be real with him.

Men – stop being woman haters, act like a gentlemen, don’t send dick picks, grow some balls to take girls on real dates and ask them out, put down the remote every once in a while, communicate, and be respectful towards her.

Maybe just maybe, we can get things back in the right order. In the meantime, if you are spending your Valentines Day with Netflix that is OKAY. Tell the people in your life how much you love them, buy yourself some damn chocolate, and wait patiently for maybe just maybe, someone who might surprise you one day when you least expect it. Until then, focus on you. Because you, and you are going to be spending a lot of time together.

-haley.