FREE HUGS for the Degenerate Beauty Queens

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To quote Lana Del Rey, we are a bunch of “degenerate beauty queens”. It’s unfortunate that our generation is so warped into this dehumanizing way of life. We live in a world where we give people weird looks when they wave to us or think someone is being creepy when they’re just smiling. You let a car go in front of you and, 89% of the time, you don’t even get a thank you’ wave. We spend more time on our phones than we do having an actual face to face conversation. When was the last time you started a conversation with a stranger? If you go into a doctors office nowadays, all you see is everyone on their phones. I think the lack of verbal and physical human interaction has caused us to become these stuck-up Miranda Priestly (Devil wears Prada [Meryl Streep’s character, the snobby bitch]), where it’s all business, all the time. I was becoming this Miranda-Priestly-zombie until I went to the NCSL leadership conference in Arlington, VA and met some amazing people. One of them is Tom Krieglstein (I had to google his last name because I definitely butchered that!), who was the MC of our conference. He brought the FREE HUGS campaign to our attention and it really sparked something inside of me.
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ImageHe showed us this video that shows a man walking around with a sign that says, “Free Hugs” and him walking around hugging strangers.  I got a bit emotional watching it because I thought to myself, “how sad is it that there are not more people like this out there?” I turned to my gal pal, Sarah and said “THIS IS MAKING ME SO EMOTIONAL!” After hearing the story of Juan Mann, it didn’t take much to get me on board, nor did it take much to get my fellow student senates to join in as well.

ImageWhile we were waiting for the time to board our flight, we spent an hour walking around and holding the “FREE HUGS” signs and this was the reaction we received:


This inspired me to start this club with my friend called, PaK which stands for “Positivity and Kindness”. Our mission is to show that with very little efforts, you can make a positive imPAKt [punny!] on lives through simple acts of kindness. Movements such as FREE HUGS, cost nothing but you can see from the video that this made a lot of people smile. The world is already cruel enough. If more people went out there and tried to make it a better– then maybe people wouldn’t be so bad. This also motivated me to donate my birthday for a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. Pencils of Promise is something that I believe in because I see education as an absolute necessity in changing the world. Some people don’t share my views but I truly feel that if everyone is educated than there would be less ignorance and therefore better judgement. Who knows, there could be a child out there who will be able to cure aids one day, or a child who will one day become a leader that says NO to war–all that child need is an education. You can totally support this effort, and give me the best birthday present in the whole entire world by donating here.

Follow PaK on twitter : @jointhePAK

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Touring through Washington, DC during the NCSL conference.

ImageI was glad to have been able to have some free time to go on a tour around Washington, DC during the National Center for Student Leadership conference (NCSL). I felt I have learned more from being there, on that tour, than I’ve ever had in any of my history classes throughout my whole academic career. There is something about being physically there that just makes you retain more information and seek more knowledge about different things. Such as, did you know that George Washington laid cornerstones to the U.S Capitol Building but died before it was finished? Our tour guide was knowledgable and provided us with the substantial amount of information. I mean, I feel as though I can now probably answer some questions on jeopardy! Kidding, kind of.
ImageThe only complaint that I have really have about this tour is that we were on a strict time limit; I was pretty upset about not being to walk closer towards the Capitol Building because we had to get back on the bus to get to another stop. I have this weird thing where I want to actually physically touch the building to feel complete. Is that weird? Probably so but it gives me this weird I’m touching history feeling and not being able to walk up there– it made me pretty annoyed.

ImageAhh, the White House. I remember in fourth grade, I looked up how many rooms there are in the White House and when I learned that there were 132 rooms..my initial thoughts were, “holy cow, I feel bad for the person who has to mop those floors!”. As I got older, my concern for the cleanliness of the house is not as apparent but what is is my desire to live in this house one day. Whether I marry a President or become President– I will live in the White House.

The rest of the tour consisted of walking around different memorial sites and I can’t even begin to explain to you how each site touched me differently. What broke my heart was seeing the Vietnam Memorial wall face to face. Knowing that every name listed is a life gone too soon (or missing in action) is unsettling. The worst is while I’m standing there, teary eyed, staring at these names– I hear a teenage say, “I know veterans are people who are dead….sooooo how do you know which of these names are people who are dead?” I was so mortified by her statement because of her tone of voice as she said it. She was completely nonchalant and did not really seem to care about her surroundings. Her ignorance is truly what scares me for the future because she is our future. TEACH YOUR KIDS!
ImageImageImageOne of the best things about all this is experiencing DC with some of the best people. My fellow student senates and I were able to get closer because this trip. It’s nice to be able to be with a group of motivated, energetic people that have a thirst for knowledge and life. They funniest bunch of turds. If anyone ever has the opportunity to go to DC– I would definitely recommend taking the tour but also be sure to take the time to walk around and experience it for yourself without the group. There were moments where I wished that I was able to just take a moment to let everything sink in but because there was a time constraint.. it made it difficult.

Pictures by @photographybysarahm

Happiness is your lifesaver.

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I am Callous Christina. It is much easier to want, need, and dream than it is to work, earn and accept. According to Wikipedia, “Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy”. For me, this “intense joy” usually comes in forms of shoes. I spend more time thinking about my future than I do paying attention to what is going on in the present. Everyday I wake up telling my self that “one day, you will be immensely happy—when you finally move into that big house with a closet that is comparable to Carrie Bradshaw’s in “Sex and the City”, drive that brand new car [preferably a Mercedes convertible], doing that dream job [Dr. Le delivering babies], be featured in some fitness magazine as a motivational figure, and also be married to a dashingly handsome scholar of some sort [or James Franco, because any other man would be subpar]. I know these things would make me happy. They say “money can’t buy happiness” but these materialistic gains would really help. Thinking about my lovely future makes me happier than a unicorn eating sparkly oats while galloping over a rainbow.

If everything goes as planned and I get all the things that I have ever dreamed of then the security of my happiness is promising.  What about now though? What about this present time? People are always talking about how we should just learn how to appreciate what we have and be happy with it. “Appreciate all the little things”, “It’s the little things that count”, and so on and so forth. What I got from all these little life affirmations is that I should be happy while living from paycheck to paycheck. I should be happy being a single mom as well as a fulltime student who is working forty plus hours a week. I should be happy that my social life is comparable to Seth Cohen’s before Ryan Atwood. (That was an O.C. reference for those who didn’t get it.) I should be happy seeing most of my friends get all these big people jobs while I’m still here dreaming of being happy.  That’s the problem with me.

 I’m a dreamer.

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 A dreamer without plans. Needless to say, I do not currently like my life. I’m almost resentful towards God for not blessing me with a life like Miranda Kerr’s. I blame my parents for possessing the recessive alleles to give a short phenotype. You see all these other people out there making names for themselves: becoming veterinarians, going off to law school, winning these fitness competitions, and being able to afford a Chanel bag without worrying about making rent. I’m even envious of those who get to do humanitarian trips to other countries when I’m stuck here because I would never be able to leave my son for a long period of time. This is why I tell others that if they think about having kids, they should consider getting a dog first. At least with dogs you can neglect them for a bit or leave them at a kennel when you want to take a trip. People are living the lives that I only dream of living. If someone were to ask me how I would describe my life right now… it’s simple. I can describe it in three words.

 My life sucks.

My organizational skills are simple: I have none. I have all these great ideas but do you know how often I follow through with those? Put it this way, I can count on one hand (or maybe half a finger) of all the things that I have completed on my extensive to-do list. Such as my sad attempt at Norwich University, as well as University of Southern Mississippi, wanting to become a Commissioned Officer in the Army, then wanting to become a pilot, and even wanting to try all these new gluten free recipes. I think I just let the ideas form but once I let it ruminate a bit, I begin to realize that all my ideas requires me to overcome by dominating trait of laziness. There was a time where I thought I would travel the world and maybe become some sort of activist, comparable to Sophia Bush or Olivia Wilde. Perhaps even build a school or just help out with local things around here. Even with community service, I come up with ideas of all the things I can do but then make up excuses as to why I can’t do it: “I’m too busy”, “No one will do it with me”, “Maybe tomorrow”, “Maybe next week”. Well, those weeks turned into months and guess what? I’m still here. With the same dreams and no actions. So I have dreams!  That’s great! It would be fine if I just had dreams and can accept the fact that it won’t be easy to make them come true and be happy with it. Yet, I’m not. I’m not happy with my life. Somewhere along the line I turned into such a negative person. I blamed everything on everyone. I was so angry all the time. Crying that life isn’t fair.

So I don’t know when it happened. It might have been when my son began singing the ABCs. Or it could have been when that stranger reciprocated my smile with theirs though they looked miserable beforehand. It also could have been woman at the Walmart profusely thanking and blessing me for donating two dollars to her red bucket. Something just came to me and I began trying to look at the positive side of things. I read Miranda Kerr’s “Treasure Yourself” book at this café in my hometown. Though I originally bought the book because I’m a huge fan of Miranda, I actually enjoyed the quick read. What I got from it is that you have to learn to love yourself and love the life you’re given. There are people who have it much worse.

My best friend and I talk about our dreams for the future on a daily basis. It’s nice to have someone who understands you and don’t view your dreams to be silly. Or maybe she does but she would never tell me that I couldn’t do it. She would fully tell me up and down that I can and even throw up some witty compliment to make me feel good.My mother tries to tell me to be realistic and she’s not too supportive of some of my life goals but who can blame her with my track record of  the incomplete to-do lists. But I digress. What I’m trying to say is that life is hard. Life is work. Life is just life. How we look at life is up to us. I could keep doing what I have always done and just dream but never act. Say but never do. Be disappointed but never change. I can either dwell or motivate myself. This will be my first step to change. I want to appreciate life. I want to see all the beautiful things that life has to offer. I want to just take this opportunity to do anything and everything that I’m capable of doing. Really believe that “nothing is impossible”. I want this blog to show who I am and all that I love. My amazing photographer friend, Shawn Pearce, will be helping me see all the beauty through his photos for this blog. Whether it’s on my little adventures through the Christina wonderland (all through MA and RI), fashion, books, scattered thoughts—whatever. I just want this to set the foundation to being Cheerful Christina.

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