Society Against Feline Abuse

Society Against Feline Abuse

Safa means ‘safe’ in Farsi

She explained as

We made the trek down

From the ranch house to the barn.

By the time we reached the bottom of the hill

The paint cans in our hands were boulders

And we set to work with rollers,

Covering the old wood the color of the open sky

And changing the decrepit and forgotten place

Into a home.

Four beaming eyes with pupils the size of saucers

Still slink away from me.

I know they’ve been hurting

And I know that they’re scared

But I don’t pretend to know what it feels like

To have your life in someone else’s hands.

But that’s why we’re here.

To open our arms

To make a home

To open some souls up to life.

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Role Model

Role Model

In the minds of seven year olds, butterfly fairies are real and they really do visit when they cup their hands over their eyes. While listening to the legend of the fairy kingdom, Hannah helps recount the details with Miss Sama. The teacher’s eyes light up as she requests the help of the fifteen kids sitting criss cross applesauce in front of her. They immediately jump up from their carpet squares that are strewn with woodchips and smile at each other. They walk single file past the stream and the native plants growing back just past the path boundaries. They are on a mission.

“No peeking,” Hannah warns, a small smile concealing her breath. She places the miniature note on the tree branch, one she knows the kids can reach without too much trouble.

“The fairy can only send us a message if you don’t peek,” Miss Sama reminds them, taking note of troublemaker Oliver’s dark eyelashes fluttering through a gap in his fingers. Finally, Hannah asks them to open their eyes and they clamor to be the person to read the note to the rest of the kids. Angelica, a tall camper with sparkly barrettes, stumbles through the note’s small writing. She inhales sharply, then tells the rest of the patient group that the fairy has indeed asked for their help to make fairy houses and save the kingdom. The group rejoices at the good news. Amid all of the joyous exclamations, Hannah notices one boy not partaking in the festivities. Shayan stalks off with his arms folded across his chest. He is a small raven haired boy wearing the t-shirt he got that morning that says “Environmental Nature Center” with a cartoon frog underneath. A collared shirt pokes out from under the purple camp shirt.

“What’s wrong, Shayan?” Hannah asks, her eyebrows furrowed in concern.

“I know a fairy didn’t bring that note,” he pouts. Although it seems like the boy is complaining about nothing, Hannah realizes that he’s just upset that he can poke holes in something he used to believe.

“It’s okay to not believe,” she admits to the confused boy. “I just want you to know that I believe in the fairy. I’ve seen her. She’s more beautiful than you can even imagine.”

“Really?” his face lights up for a moment, and then he remembers to be stoic. “Oh, I don’t know…”

He smiles bravely then returns back to the group that is in the midst of gathering leaves for their fairy houses. Hannah and the other camp counselors ready the hot glue guns and other arts and crafts supplies. There are buttons, plastic toys, and other leftovers to choose from for decoration. At this place, everything is recycled or reused to be made into something else. Andrew, a smiley eight-year-old wearing a fire truck t-shirt, approaches Hannah. He twists his hands around the hem of his shirt in a nervous way.

“So there was this girl last year at camp…” he begins, then looks around, unsure of the end of his sentence. “Uh, I had a lot of fun with her and she was my camp counselor.” He eyes Hannah suspiciously. “And her name was Hannah.” He waits, silent and hopeful.

“Yes, Andrew, of course I remember you. We did have fun,” she admits, appreciating his smile that grows bigger and bigger. With a squeak-like noise, he rushes toward his older mentor, his arms wrapping around her. She kneels down to his height so his arms can wrap around her shoulders instead of just her legs. She lets out a small laugh.

“I missed you, too.”

On the very last day of nature camp, the mood is joyous up until the final moments when the kids part with their older friend. Hannah shoulders off her red emergency backpack and doles out last hugs and promises to see them again when school lets out. Angela and Hope compete for her affections one last time as they both clasp Hannah’s hands.

“Guys, I have to hug everyone,” Hannah laughs nervously. In the training manual, proper procedure dictates that no “favorites” be shown to the other kids.

As her last campers wave their last goodbyes, Hannah realizes that maybe they like her so much because she doesn’t try to distance herself from them. There wasn’t an imaginary line drawn in the dirt separating the mature and responsible adult from the girl that subscribes to the magical world. And when one kid saw her walls come down, the rest of the kids took notice, too.

a country divided

a country divided

To be quite frank, I just feel disappointed. In my family, in my country, and in the situation we’re in right now. The night of the 2016 election, my only obligation was to study for an APUSH test the next day, but it was hard for me to tear my eyes away from the screen in the living room. I felt a little blank, empty even as Donald Trump’s electoral votes pulled ahead. My parents and brothers sat around me, rejoicing. They hadn’t supported the entirety of Trump’s actions, but their conservative and traditionally Republican upbringing were enough to look past Trump’s controversies to vote for him. I myself have never really been that into politics until this year; after years of my immediate and extended family’s support for the Republican party, it’s kind of how I thought other white families were, too. I didn’t think there was another option when I was younger because what my parents told me is really all I knew during my childhood. When you’re a kid, you listen to your parents and that’s that.

2008 was the first time Hillary Clinton considered running, and I, being the young and naïve girl that I was, professed my excitement at a president like me to my grandparents. I honestly thought it was the coolest thing that there would be a “girl president” and exclaimed that they should vote for her. I still remember the tension in that room eight years later; it left that deep of an impression on me. That moment was a precursor for the many disagreements with my family that I would run into in the years to come, but I just didn’t know it then.

On the night of this year’s election, I went to bed early that night, just to get away from it all. A post of mine on social media featuring a sad face as the caption of Trump’s numbers pulling ahead. As expected, I received mixed reviews of my statement. What I noticed while scrolling through social media that night is that generally girls and people of color I knew agreed with me, while boys I knew commented things like “trump train,” “look at the scoreboard,” and “make America great again.” Most of them weren’t directed at me or my post, but I did have a Mater Dei boy message me, asking me why I opposed Trump and slamming my views on reproductive rights. I was seething and furious that people close to me could be so rude as to slam my views, while I hadn’t put them down at all. I just stated my opinion, which I have the right to do. I realized that I had had enough of Trump supporters that day. I was in shock, too, to be honest; I feel like I had a right to be after such a surprising comeback by Trump.

After this long election season, it’s apparent that racial division is deeply cutting our country apart. 63% of white men and 52% of white women voted for Trump, while 80% of black men, 93% of black women, 62% of Latino men and 68% of Latino women all voted for Clinton. It’s clear that we have to pull this country together again.

The aftermath of this election also had a personal impact on me. If Trump and the Republican majority in the Senate are able to defund Planned Parenthood and restrict female reproductive rights, I’ll lose some of my rights as a woman. I know it hasn’t happened yet and that I’m getting ahead of myself. But what if it does happen? What if I’m sexually assaulted in college, and getting an abortion isn’t possible with Trump’s new policies? What if the government limits my control of my own body? How could my father, the man who is supposed to be my protector, my flesh and blood, support a man that wants to limit my rights or even punish me if I choose to seek out an abortion? How could he support a man that he himself has been accused of sexual assault? If the majority of our country supports this man, does that mean we’re condoning this type of behavior?

Right now, the message my country is sending me is that as a young woman, my rights don’t matter. I get the whole argument advocating for Trump; he’s an outsider that’s going to shake up politics and bring change. But at what cost? And is it the change that we’ve been waiting for, or something else entirely?

chords

chords

The soft notes fall over me, cleansing me with their purity. They tell a story that I can’t yet see.

A laugh bubbles up in the background from a teasing little brother as her long fingers stretch out for the chords that are set farther apart. The early evening light glowing through the large floor to ceiling windows picks apart the bones and knuckles dancing across the keys. I see her glance over at me to see if I’m still listening. I applaud gently, urging her to go on with a wide smile plastered across my face.

Catherine’s music continues to fall over me like a waterfall tumbling into a ravine that’s been empty for days.

 

Summer Intensives

Summer Intensives

Sorry for my lack of posting. I have been working hard on a dance to send out as my audition video for some summer dance intensives I am applying to. It is a contemporary piece to the song “End of the Affair” by Ben Howard. I might post it on here when it is complete. I really want to go to NYU’s summer dance intensive, although, I would be happy going to any of the ones I am applying to. I have heard it is somewhat competitive though, which makes me nervous. Every dancer has different tastes in what they perceive as good dancing. Some people just want to see technique, but others want to see your quality of movement or a story. I do not know if my piece has enough technique. I am very into alternative music and I have tried to make this piece my own by just doing the movement I imagine in my mind. It is very milk and soda (when you pour milk, it is very smooth, and when you pour soda, it is more static and sharp). Wish me luck!