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As a Woman, I have Failed.

Something has been bugging me for a couple of weeks now. Not only do the attacks against women just add to everything, but now just something extra makes things worse. Recently when someone said, “I don’t know if I could commit to someone who might be dead before they are fifty” the words didn’t settle in till later. Now they are sinking deep into my thoughts, and I just can’t deal with it.

Growing up as a girl, we are taught to be a certain way from the beginning. We are taught to aspire for marriages, pretty dresses, and prince charming (Watch Disney for references.) We really do expect fairy tales because what girls watch grind that idea into our brains. We have dress up wedding dresses, baby dolls, and while all of this is very natural at the same time we need to make sure that with these little fairy tales we are teaching the right messages. Right now we are teaching young girls to put all their hopes in relationships, marriages, and men. That success is defined by the man that we “obtain”, the beautiful middle of the woods engagement photos we take,  the number of children we give birth to, the every month photography that is done of them, and the chevron decorated house we up keep. Success is not the achievement of attempting to be something like a Paramedic, speaking for what is right, doing something for you, or waiting to progress through things in life.

As a woman, daily, I have failed. As the gender I had no choice in, I have failed at the expectations set out for me that I do not choose either. I have to constantly defend my “singleness” at only twenty-four. In my early twenties that seems to be the ice breaker. “Are you seeing anyone? Are you dating? Is there anyone serious?” Why is this the major question to ask me? I have failed because I’m not married. I have failed because I find comfort in my cat more than I do men. I have failed because my weekends are filled with smoking, old movies, and writing instead of drinking and dates.

As a woman, I have failed. I have failed because I cannot have children. I physically cannot carry the children that I CAN in fact get pregnant with. As a woman, who needs the freedom to be able to choose abortion in the future to possibly save my life, I am told I am a murderer, liberal dumbass, slut, whore, baby killer and so on. Because knowing I can’t have my own children doesn’t hurt enough, your “pro-life” words help so much.

As I woman, I have failed. My lungs and heart are trying to kill me. My dad, mother, and I shell out a ridiculous amount of money for medication that barely keeps me going, and destroys other parts of my body. We spend thousands of dollars on gas money to get me to expensive doctor appointments every couple of months. I have failed because I am a sick person with a hefty price tag attached that no one wants to pick up. Meanwhile, people simply ignore it, and say “life isn’t fair.” Those hurtful and empty words just don’t cut it anymore.

I don’t mind being different from main stream people; I like that my apartment has no chevron in it, and I love falling asleep at night not worrying about my “relationship.” I’m fine with it, until I am reminded daily by outsiders how being different in two thousand fifeteen is still not accepted, and how in a way the “expectations” of women’s roles have not changed. I am disappointed in others views, and in turn I end up disappointed in myself. Why should I be taught to hate myself because I am not the every day woman?

People are going to call me lots of things, and it all matters on what I answer to. I get that. But how comfortable people are at making others feel so different is disturbing.

-haley.

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The Mystery of the 27 Club.

The first time I ever heard a cryptic organ pound the first parts to “Light my Fire”, I was hooked. Only nine years old, I danced in the hallway outside my brother’s room like a fool; whoever this was I was already in love with them. Jim Morrison was captivating from day one. His face stared back at mine from the poster hung on my brothers closet door, and I wondered exactly who this curly-haired “crazy” was who my brother taught me to love.

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Time spent alone with John (the brother) was like its own little educational hour in itself. I was consistently taught on movies, and most importantly music. Who was who (besides the actual Who) different sounds, era’s, and how to recognize them. We of course spent plenty of time in his Vista Cruiser, driving up to the local CD spot, and adding onto his CD collection. Then, he invested in the starting pieces in my collection. My first rock CD’s were The Who, Ted Nugent, Heart, and of course, The Doors. I was probably the only kid walking around in middle school, day dreaming of what my time would’ve been like with Jim Morrison while other kids were listening to…God I don’t even know what was popular in that time. Moving on, of course my brother quickly schemed over in explaining the Lucky 27’s. Since then, I never really forgot it, but there have been a few people we have added to it.

What in the hell am I talking about? If you’ve never heard of the lucky 27 club, it’s all these musicians that just happened to die at, well, twenty-seven. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Kobain, and Amy Winehouse among others. While they were still here, and even after they left, The 27 Club have been paralyzing to the mind. We can’t help but stare; at the clothing? Sure. At the outrageous lifestyle? Sure. But the words, the music, and the thoughts they left behind? We cant help but be mesmerized.

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A lot of people love to sum up these people’s lives as drug infused all night insanity poetry sessions. Those people have no depth I can tell you that right now. We need to be willing to push past “summing” people up, and exterior stereotypes. I can’t deny that these people didn’t have probably a steady stream of some sort of high-powered drug running through their veins, but lets look deeper than the usage into why the usage.

From my many years of studying Jim Morrison, anyone you talked to has always said that he was just a lot to “handle.” He was so smart, so progressive, and so ahead that he was almost unobtainable. At a young age he had possessed such an older view on things rather than how he had been raised to think. He was ahead of a time period where The Beach Boys, short hair, and Suzy Q dresses were the only thing acceptable. Jim Morrison refused to be “acceptable”, and lived sometimes a very lonely life doing so. Janis Joplin was much the same; she saw what was around her and refused to settle into it. She couldn’t help but act as her true self wanted to, and was laughed out of the state of Texas for just that. To watch interviews with both her and Jim are captivating. The wisdom that they spill only in their early 20’s, the point of views they bring to the table are mind-blowing. “They were just on drugs” doesn’t cut it anymore. Drugs tire out eventually, but the truth doesn’t. Why are we still spinning their records? Wearing T-shirts with their faces? Buying books on their life, or poetry they wrote?

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To me, every person has a spark. You have to have a certain kind of spark to stay alive in this world, one that other people recognize. Sometimes your spark fuels you through college, and lands you an awesome job. Sometimes your spark helps you connect with other people. Sometimes people dull their spark to settle for more attainable lives, which is what a lot of people are doing these days. People like Jim, Janis, Jimi, Amy, and others…even people like Michael Jackson…I don’t think were born with a spark. They were born with a bonfire inside of their soul. They were so big, and felt so much that they had to do. It’s like everyone see’s life normally, and these people see life through a panoramic view. They are bigger than themselves, they are legends, and because of that it’s almost destructive. Everyone worshiped them, wanted to  be them, and they wanted to escape themselves. They saw, and felt so much that they relayed it through songs, music notes, poetry, sex, and they wanted an escape from feeling so much so often. Maybe drugs helped numb the overall feeling of too much feeling to begin with. Maybe drugs helped close some doors of perception, and pain; Pain that they experienced much too young, pain that caused scaring, and an unknown pain that helped fuel this so-called bonfire.

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We have to understand that there was really nothing they kept to themselves. They put their entire lives in the open for people to see, mainly because they had no choice. Those who saw this raging fire, and new movement took to them like moths to a flame. Others sat and ridiculed them wanting to burn them alive. They were beyond themselves now; they were iconic, legends, and life artists.

Everyone will look to drugs as these people’s main killer. Personally, the world killed them, and their bonfire that they were born with burned them from the inside. They did everything they could to share these flames of amazement with everyone, and we were captivated, but eventually their soul gave out. Janis Joplin died because she was alone. She couldn’t stand to be alone because despite her beautiful laugh she hated herself. So, she injected super strength heroine that knocked her to the ground in seconds. Jim Morrison decided after a sleepless night to take a bath, maybe to relieve his mind that was constantly raging where his lifeless body was found later.

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I truly believed they not only killed themselves, but the world helped. We hated them, smothered them, banned them, made them idols while they attempted to remain true to themselves. Watching Janis Joplin answer questions, she tells not one lie. She’s authentic, and full of love. Listening to her sing, I hear nothing but pain. Reading Jim’s poetry is breath-taking. I may not understand all of it because I will never see, or understand things as he did. I don’t think there is exactly a big mystery about the Lucky 27 club. They themselves were a super strength drug that the world, and not even themselves could handle. They burnt up from the inside out, and life was merely too small for their spirits.

Song of the Week is Curses Invocations by Jim Morrison.

-haley.

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What Pageants Taught Me.

So the view has ticked off all the nurses, and pretty much everyone in the medical field has got that covered. Nurses, paramedics, doctors, and more have taken the internet by storm putting the View exactly in its place which has been quite entertaining. However, I’m here to discuss a different issue.

Most of my blog readers have no idea that I used to be a beauty queen. It’s not something that I discuss much because it didn’t carry over into the important parts of my life. I became a title holder at eight years old (my first pageant ever to compete in, and I shocked my family and won) and from there on out that was my life. I was dancing four days a week, making appearances as my current title, and off competing at others. At the time it was great fun, because I was young enough for it to be fun, but I also had no idea what it contributed to the issues I battle today.

Little Miss Amarillo Haley Ann Lynn, 8, Amarillo, looks toward one of her mother's friends while holding a fan of Miss Amarillo Brooke Staudt in Amarillo during a Thursday June 21, 2001, bon voyage event for Staudt. Staudt is scheduled to participate in the Miss Texas Pageant, which will be in Fort Worth on July 7. (Photo by Michael Lemmons) NR2-EA-LIFESTYLES/PAGEANT2-ML.CMYK
Most people don’t really get a sense of what goes into a pageant. We’ve gotten a taste, or glimpse at Toddlers in Tiara’s or whatever the hell, but when you are the one getting put into gowns that takes three people to get you into, then you have no idea. Pageants take training up until the moment you go on stage. I remember being picked up from school exhausted, and it was a day where I went to ballet until seven that night, or I went and worked on my speech with a coach to make sure I was enunciating. We had to work on walking routines, and getting outfits together. Usually in a pageant it’s not just pretty dresses, but casual wear, talent, and evening gown. Opening speeches, and interviewing skills. As a nine-year old I was expected to sit in front of three strangers, and answer questions about myself, and the economy while being graceful. Stressful much?  I remember my eleventh birthday was not spent opening presents or celebrating, but more and more training for an upcoming and very expensive pageant that I was expected to do well in. It’s all pretty, and it’s all great until one little thing goes wrong. All this pressure you’ve stacked on a young person, the money, the outfits, the friends and family that are coming to watch…the pressure is enormous. A kid without a history of anxiety might develop it just from this. Quite literally, I would lose my shit at any given moment, and a lot of little beauty queens did backstage. You were surrounded by pretty girls competing to be the prettiest so that you could wear a crown. Even if you had a crown, you didn’t feel like the prettiest…there was always a bigger crown to go after with a new hair style, new approach, new outfit, new expectations, talents, or watching your weight.

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I do have two main great things that I take away from pageants; public speaking and interview skills. I can talk in front of a crowd without ever really being nervous anymore, and I can interview without freaking out. Those are two amazing skills to have in a business world that I learned at a very young age. Those are REALISTIC skills to have in your back pocket.

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With that being said, pageants are the furthest from realistic these days. They back their attacks with “we are a scholarship program” yet, you’re putting more time and money into these things than what the scholarship is worth. Oh yes, the fur coat, new cell phone, new car, diamonds and all must help that amount out, but you get those in your next year married to the pageant system. You don’t get a jump-start on your career, you get a makeover and a crown. I’m tired of seeing a swimsuit competition. I mean really? You win this “scholarship” because you have the best tan and abs!! Um, NO!! I’m tired of seeing thousand dollar gowns…aren’t you needing a scholarship for your education to begin with? Why not put that money into a few semesters of college instead of a gown?

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What literally made my jaw drop the other day was to hear people criticize this Miss Colorado for going onstage in a nurse uniform. This chick has a wonderful career (why are you in this pageant again?) and wanted people to see that. Working your ass off for a career where someone’s life is literally right in front of you is a fucking talent. It’s a realistic talent. She was real. Instead, she was criticized because she wasn’t twirling around the stage, or singing, or throwing batons. I quote from Michelle Collins, “Talking about your job isn’t a talent.” So, my dad saving lives for over thirty years isn’t talent? I would love to see you get on an Ambulance, start in IV, deliver a baby, assess a patience’s needs as they are dying. So, the only talent that could ever be a talent is singing, or dancing, or acting I guess. I DONT FUCKING THINK SO. Everyone was born with a different gift, and our talent and purpose is to USE this gift. Miss Colorado was knocked because she was successful. She was not the idealistic Miss America…just a beauty queen.

Pageants taught me a few great skills that I will always be thankful for, and sometimes they really were fun. Pageants also taught me that I need to be better looking, have straighter teeth, prettier hair, more expensive dresses, and finally, after I thought I was done, pageants taught me that being successful is not to be valued, and is not lady like.

-haley.