Thank you, Dads!

img_0457.jpg

Dear Quiet Minds,

Yesterday was Father’s Day and although these lovely men didn’t birth us, we have to appreciate all the dads in the world who put up with us in our terrible threes, awkward adolescence and unbearable teen years. For us girls, our dads were there to make our lopsided ponytails when mom had to go to work, they were the barbecue masters, the bug killers, the personal chauffeurs. For guys, they were there to guide them into manhood and if they didn’t want to take the path to manhood, dads were there to support their sons and protect them from anyone who thought they were different. Dads are also the goofballs of the family. When mom’s trying to lay down the law, they are the softies, the one’s that break character.

They have their crazy stories from way-back-when and their philosophical life lessons that they bring up all the time. Sometimes, they may seem like know-it-alls and their life lessons may get annoying, but imagine a world without the lessons and the constant advice. It would be dull and gray if it were not for the enlightenment and laughter that come with each story. They work their butts off every day and the least we could do is listen to their memories, celebrate their past and help make their futures a little brighter. Having our dads and moms just makes a perfect blend of love and unpredictability as they both struggle to raise us the best way they can.

IMG_6289

So, let’s take this moment to thank our dads. Thank them for their jokes, their inability to take us seriously sometimes. For their unpredictability, their screams, their constant life lessons. They are there to motivate us, inspire us and constantly work to build us a better life. Although Father’s Day has passed, appreciating our fathers is something we should do every day. They are the iron hands that lift us up when we are down and the laughter we need to smile each and every day. Without them, our moms probably wouldn’t be going crazy, but sometimes a little crazy is what makes our lives happier.

So, go to your father and listen to his stories.

Even if it’s the same one from last time.

Because life wouldn’t be the same without our dads.

Love,
Jackie

Wonder Woman SPOILER-FREE Review

wonder woman 2

Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, is about a young woman named Diana (Gal Gadot) who lives on Themyscira, an island that Zeus isolated from the entire world filled with Amazons who are female warriors. Diana is raised by her mother Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and her aunt Antiope (Robin Wright). They train her to become a very powerful fighter, but when she rescues an American pilot named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) from the ocean, she discovers that all this time “the war to end all wars” has been brewing. This film was very empowering. Unlike many superhero movies that often times get lost in the fighting, Wonder Woman brought to light a very refreshing storyline. In the beginning, Diana had a fixed mindset and believed that mankind had been corrupted and controlled by the god of war, Ares. However, as she is thrust into the world of man, she spends more time with Steve, Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui) Charlie (Ewen Bremner) and the Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) who gradually start to change her way of thinking. In movies like the Avengers, Thor and Captain America, the superheroes are backed up by other superheroes or super intelligence agencies but in this film, she was supported by four other men who stood by her side despite their lack of superpowers.

The cinematography was beautifully choreographed. I was very glad to see a variety of different shots that made the film extremely artistic. Also, the characters were perfectly casted. Gal Gadot portrayed Diana with a fierceness that not only emitted strength and independence but also a tenderness that all women can relate to. Her readiness to protect and astonishment at the atrocities of war really demonstrated her kindness and desire to help people. She wasn’t fighting because she was a hero and that’s what she needed to do, she was fighting because she wanted peace amongst humanity. Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor was, in my opinion, the perfect male love interest. He added humor to the film through his awkwardness and perfect dialogue. Rather than evoke a sense of male pride, Steve recognized the defects of man and genuinely wanted to help stop the war. I loved that rather than try to be the hero, he let Diana be the strongest one and backed her up whenever she needed it. The other characters such as Sameer, Charlie and the Chief were also by Diana’s side. Despite the harm that the war had caused them and their differences, they all stuck together and showed Diana the strength of friendship. In the end, the secondary characters ended up becoming just as important as Wonder Woman herself.

another edit

I also wanted to take a moment to praise the director Patty Jenkins who had been striving to make this film for 13 years. Ever since she earned any success in Hollywood, she had been attempting to persuade Warner Bros to let her make the film. Thank god, her 13-year journey is over because the final product was absolutely amazing. It’s been awhile since I last saw a superhero movie and watching this one really reminded me why superheroes want to protect humanity in the first place. Furthermore, it was a perfect film for little girls and women in general because not only did Diana act as a symbol of femininity, but Patty Jenkins’ success was an inspiration. It reminded us that woman too can make movies and not only romance movies, but action films that both genders can watch and enjoy. Ultimately, Wonder Woman is a great addition to the superhero franchise. Diana entered humanity believing that ending Ares would make all corruption disappear but discovered that humanity is multi-faceted and despite our flaws, we have a goodness in our hearts called love. Sending young boys and girls this message of believing in love and the goodness of humanity is very important nowadays.

So, next time you go to the movies, I highly recommend you watch this film. It has the perfect dose of action, romance and depth to either change your perception or send you through an action-packed rollercoaster.

Save Sense8!

sense8 correct poster

Dear Quiet Minds,

On June 1st, Netflix Original Sense8 was cancelled, leaving the fans without closure after the series’ huge cliffhanger. This show directed by the Wachowski sisters is about eight people from all around the world who are mentally connected to each other. The characters consist of Capheus from Nairobi, Sun from Seoul, Nomi from San Francisco, Kala from Mumbai, Riley from London, Wolfgang from Berlin, Lito from Mexico City and Will from Chicago. This colorful cast from the start offered so much diversity. Not only because of the different nationalities but also because two of the main characters were from the LGBTQ+ community: Nomi who is transgender and Lito who is gay. On top of such diversity, the show gave a sci-fi spin to a very progressive and relatable storyline. When I watched the first episode, I was surprised at how I saw aspects of myself in every single character. I could relate to their fears, insecurities and dreams. Also, every shot was a cinematic masterpiece. No matter how ordinary the scene, the directors had a way of using the magic of dialogue and cinematography to turn it into something extraordinary. This show was one of the few rarities in life where there is beauty in every aspect: cinematography, acting, dialogue and plot. Ultimately this show was an unexpected gift. From the minute I watched the opening scene, I knew the show would change my life.

I would say that I am progressive. I don’t like to judge anyone because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or appearance. It’s 2017 for goodness sake and we have to start accepting the reality. It didn’t take me long to accept this because I believe that everyone has the right to live the life they choose. It’s normal for me, but when I saw Sense8, it turned something that I saw as normal into something beautiful. Despite the differences between each character, all eight of them still seemed like the perfect match. They bonded without prejudice, without hatred and loved each other unconditionally. This show gave me hope in a hopeless world. It showed me a bond that transcended all social constructs. It proved that people from all corners of life could love each other without judgment. Recently, it has felt like the world has been falling apart. It’s felt like we are walking backwards, away from progressive thinking. Every bridge that we have built to connect people is being torn down. Watching this show made me feel like those bridges were still there. It made me believe in people. Sometimes we look at all the horrible things happening in the world and see pure heartlessness but watching the incredible bond that this show created between its characters and fans showed me that people still believe in a loving world.

IMG_6396

Despite the show’s cancellation, I am not ready to let these characters go because each one showed me a better way to live life. Capheus taught me to have courage, Sun taught me to never give up, Nomi taught me to love myself, Kala encouraged me to be independent, Riley showed me not to dwell on the past, Wolfgang taught me to fix my mistakes, Lito showed me that it’s okay to cry and Will taught me to strive for justice. The lessons that these characters have given me remain forever in my heart. I also love how the directors presented their fans with two solid relationships that every couple should look up to. Lito and Hernando, and Nomi and Amanita loved each other for their flaws and virtues. They didn’t care if they were judged or hated, all that mattered was the unconditional love and mutual respect they had for each other. If you love these characters as much as I do please help me and every other fan save this show. Request the show on Netflix by logging onto Netflix, going to the Help Center and requesting Sense8. Also, binge-watch Sense8 as much as possible to increase its views. And lastly, sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/netflixlat-netflix-sense8-sense-8-season-3-renewal

Sense8 cannot leave without the closure it deserves because it celebrated life.

Because it showed me that “I am also a We”.

And because it made me realize that “who I am is exactly the same as who you are. Not better than. Not less than. Because there is no one who has been or will ever be exactly the same as either you or me.”

Love,
Jackie

sense8-pic.png

Just Keep Swimming

IMG_0468

Dear Quiet Minds,

For any college student who has decided to take a summer class, I’m praying for you.

I’m only taking two summer classes and already I feel like I’m drowning. My hands are splashing around sporadically, trying to keep my head above water. I have always tried to maintain a positive outlook on my schoolwork but every time, professors decide to make it manageable for a few weeks and then all at once, they schedule a ton of essays, exams and pointless assignments for one week. I’m in that miserable week and it pains me to say that this isn’t the end of it. Even writing this blog post brought a dark cloud over me. It’s very upsetting when the hobbies I enjoy become a hassle when all I want to do is relax and enjoy my summer. I feel like I’m doing as much as I possibly can but the second I take a moment to look up, I realize that I haven’t made a dent in the piles and piles of work I have left.

Maintaining good grades has always been my goal in middle school, high school and now college, but I feel like as I get older it’s becoming more like an obstacle rather than a goal. Since I have always done well, allowing this obstacle to defeat me seems like a failure. If I can do it, why allow myself to fail? Unfortunately, this mindset has dominated my life. School has become everything and I can’t let go of the fact that I don’t want to fail. Many people tell me that I have to let loose. Whatever happens happens (mmhmm… as if it’s that easy). Let’s be real here, letting go of a habit is extremely hard, especially when doing well determines your grade which determines your future. If you fail one class, then the world comes crumbling down and that’s it: your life is over. For many people, this may seem like an over-exaggeration, but for those overachievers reading this, they know what I’m talking about. Right now, I’m holding on as best I can. I keep dog paddling my way out of the water, but professors keep adding more buckets of work. Of course, it’s not like I was already submerged in water.

IMG_0810

Despite all this, I’m still trying to stay positive. I’m meticulously planning out my days, hoping that I can somehow squeeze in a little bit of enjoyment into my schedule before this memorial weekend ends. Hopefully, anyone else who is suffering can see that they are not alone. We will eventually get to enjoy our summer (unless you’re taking Summer C then honey I’m praying for you). Anyway, try not to let yourself drown. If you need help, make sure to talk to the people around you so they know what you’re going through. Maybe, you’ll find someone who is willing to pull you out of the deep end. Also, make sure to give yourself some free time to stop thinking about school and have a good laugh whether it be because you’re watching something funny or because you’re slowly going insane, either way try to disconnect. Find a way to be happy because happiness will keep you afloat and make it all worth it. Just remember that in a few weeks the torture will be over.

Until then, Dory said it best, just keep swimming.

Love,
Jackie

What is the Right Way?

IMG_0218

Dear Quiet Minds,

People of character do the right thing even if no one else does, not because they think it will change the world but because they refuse to be changed by the world.

-Michael Josephson

Since television was created, we’ve been constantly exposed to all the horrible news in the world. We realize how many people make bad decisions and ruin their lives. As a nineteen-year-old, I have found that learning how to be an adult is a difficult task. Who do I want to be in a world like this? I have to choose to be someone that I can be proud of, someone that I won’t regret when my final days arrive. Now that I’ve had to do more things on my own and talk to people even though my shyness gets the better of me, I realize that I need to figure out how I want to act. How do I want others to perceive me? Throughout my life, I’ve pretended to be an extrovert even though my introverted heart urges me to run at the sight of conversation, but why is it so hard for me to be who I want to be?

One thing I envy about not being younger is my ignorance. This ignorance is what allows children to act so innocently. They do not judge and they innately choose what they want to do. It might not be the right choice but they act like themselves because that is the only thing they know. I wish I could transport to my childhood so I could remember who I was, remember when I acted without overthinking. In childhood you are yourself, in adolescence you lose yourself and in adulthood you have to find yourself somehow. Being in the adulthood stage brings out my fear of never truly finding myself, but it also shows me that I have to look within my soul. Ultimately, I’ve come to discover that I want to be the person who tries to do the right thing. If I constantly try to improve myself, I will never lose myself again because I know exactly what I’m striving for.

IMG_0451

I don’t think there’s a right way to live life, but if you always choose the right path or the best path for yourself and others, then you have a pretty good chance of making it. However, the downside to this is the longstanding question: What if you do right by a person and that person does something wrong? You might see this question and think well, obviously, it’s not your fault, but let’s use an example. What if you save the life of someone and they go and kill someone else? Or what if you give money to someone and they use it to buy drugs? Is it your fault? These scenarios have played out on shows, in real life, everywhere and there’s one simple answer: it was their choice. You did right by them and what they do with your kindness is completely up to them. There are always going to be negative outcomes no matter how kind you, but kindness takes you farther than greed or pride.

That’s why I want to choose the right way, the way where I can be helpful, be kind and always stay true to myself, and not because I want to be loved or praised or rewarded, but because it makes me feel happy.

And why would I let the world change me when I have the chance to change the world?

Love,
Jackie

Thank you, Moms!

IMG_0861

Dear Quiet Minds,

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I wanted to take today to just appreciate all the mothers in this world. The mothers who stood by our side and didn’t abandon us in our times of need. When we had our first fall, they healed our wounds. From when we had our first heartbreak to midlife crisis, they were there to lift us up. They might not have all the right words, but their embrace is enough to sustain us. Their love is needed so that we can persevere. Knowing that even when we fall they will catch us gives us the strength to pursue even our wildest of dreams. Their advice is like gold, we might have to dig for it when they get a bit stubborn, but when we finally get it, it’s a treasure.

Sometimes, there are always days when they don’t understand us. Our eyes plea for help, plea for advice but they fail to recognize it. Sometimes we scream at them with rage or desperation and they, in turn, reprimand us. But at least, they always care enough to tell us what we do wrong and I’d take that over negligence and abandonment. Mothers sacrifice so much for us. When we need to go somewhere, when we need to do something, they have our backs. They are our bodyguards when we are weak and our biggest fans when we are at the top of the world.

IMG_0869

So let’s take this moment to thank them. Thank them for their unconditional love. For their screams, their laughs, their craziness because their presence is what gives us life. They are our will to live, our motivation and we should always acknowledge them for that. Today might just be a regular Monday, but Mother’s Day is never over. Every day we should tell our mothers that they are a blessing and the light in our lives. Without them, we wouldn’t be who we are. They sculpt us the best they can and their best is enough.

Go to your mother, give her a hug and a kiss filled with love and gratitude.

And tomorrow do the same.

And the next day.

And the one after that.

Love,
Jackie

Living Creatively

IMG_4080.JPG

Dear Quiet Minds,

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don’t bring forth what is within you, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you.

-Gospel of Thomas

Having the courage to reveal our most treasured ideas is like releasing your child into a world full of criticism, hate and discrimination. However, sometimes the only way to liberate yourself is by doing exactly that. The creativity you hold within yourself is like a precious secret – juicy, special, filled with possibility – but the second you tell someone about it, it loses something. The secrecy is sometimes what makes it appear so genuine and original. Once you demonstrate your idea to the world, the world has a say in what it becomes. The world can either accept it or reject it, but it will always find a way to change its essence. You have to grab hold of that essence and make sure that what made your idea so special in the first place remains alive in your heart. Don’t allow the world to blow out the light of that idea you’ve spent so much time and effort fueling.

We all have creativity within us that drives us to make decisions, but a feeling of liberation and productivity will only emerge if you bring forth that creativity. Ideas and dreams that remain dormant within you are what slowly cause you to lose hope and happiness. Ultimately, as the quote says, what you don’t bring forth will destroy you. I’ve felt it time and time again when this amazing idea boils up inside me. My stomach churns with excitement, my brain buzzes with impatience, but not knowing how to bring forth that idea or not having the courage to do so is what leaves me prey to anxiety, self-doubt and sadness. Even if it is difficult, I encourage you to live creatively. A book called Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, is what inspired me to act on my dreams. As Ms. Gilbert so wisely said, “We need something that takes us so far out of ourselves that we forget to eat, forget to pee, forget to mow the lawn, forget to resent out enemies, forget to brood over our insecurities.” Ninety-nine percent of the time our own insecurities are what stop us from pursing our dreams, the other one percent is just laziness.

IMG_4547

We have to learn to yearn for creative living and work on our dreams every day. It can’t be because we want to be praised for our success or we want money and fame. It has to make us happy. Bringing forth your creativity to earn money will be a great disappointment if the first idea you have is a flop. You must want it despite the failures. Not everyone is going to like your idea but you have to put your trust in the love you feel for the idea and for yourself. If this dream makes you happy, neither the success, the criticism nor the failure matters. Even though all the effort you put into it may lead to nothing in the end, the fact that you fed into your curiosity and accomplished it yourself fuels your motivation.

Unfortunately, not all of us are prodigies or creative geniuses, but Ms. Gilbert tells us not to worry about our nonexistent talents. You might dream impossible dreams and have absolutely no inspiration but “call attention to yourself with some sort of creative action, and – most of all – trust that if you make enough of a glorious commotion, eventually inspiration will find its way home to you again.” Just keep doing what you love and inspiration will find you.

In the end (after much contemplation and torment), it’s just that simple.

Love,
Jackie