My First Garden

Today I am sitting in my garden. If you can call it a garden. It is made up of a multitude of mismatched pots and planters sitting on the front steps of my apartment. Few other places are as heavenly as my garden. A single green tomato has appeared beneath a cluster of yellow flowers. Hallelujah! 

It is hard to store potting soil and planting containers in a small living space, and my husband always complains of them getting in the way. However, he encourages to continue to nurture my green thumb anyway. We both realize the benefits of our little garden out way the costs. My vegetables, herbs, and flowers are going to take us a long way someday, and the journey has begun with this little tomato.

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My Breath of Life

I could live without makeup, jewelry, and fancy clothes. I love them, yes, but they are not essential to keep my breath.

Books are the treasure which I covet. Novels, texts, poetry, politics, short stories, philosophies, essays…the lists goes on…because I need them!

I need to know why the author wrote them, and what he thinks. I need to understand how it fits in my perspective.

I need to know what books teach because I don’t know everything yet, I am only 21 for goodness’ sake!

I need to know how the books’ author’s write. I need to SEE how they say their thoughts. To muse over their syntax and diction would be great benefit to a budding writer like me.

I need them! Books are my breath of life!

They improve my thoughts, my knowledge, my writing…I need them you see!

A Tale of Two Queens

Mid July 2013

Although my time is better spent on other things, I take this time to proceed to jot down my thoughts whilst they still remain fresh in my mind.

My recent study of two great queens of the British isles during the latter sixteenth century proved to be inspiring.

I still admit I know little about these great women from foreign lands, but I feel they their history is my history. I am descended from residents of those places and times.

It seems strange that God would allow such juxtaposed lives to be lived by some of history’s most prominent cousins. For one suffered much in childhood and became one of the most successful administrators in history. While the other was raised in rich court life as a dauphiness. Her latter years were marked by tragedy and the selfishness of her native born country men.

Both were very bold, yet they remained feminine. Their grace and queenliness is profound still today. Perhaps since these qualities are in such disparity today?

Please Pass the Klout…

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A month ago, I was introduced to “Klout.”

“Katriel, have you ever heard of ‘Klout’?” a coworker asked me.

A picture of a leafy green, kale-like vegetable took center stage in my mind.

“No…” I hesitantly answered. What was this new mysterious word? Whatever it meant, it certainly was a legitimate sounding word.

I consulted my favorite app, Dictionary.com, and “Klout” lost some of it legitimacy. It is only a REAL word if it spelled with a “c” instead of “k.” I do not like it when people try to be clever, and purposely misspell a word. It is not cute, and it is not funny. It promotes lackadaisicalness, and off the soapbox…

Clout, according to Dictionary.com, is a pull or strong influence; especially in political arenas. It is also a cloth patch or another word for “hit.” This blogged anecdote will be focusing on the first definition.

My coworker took us all to Klout.com where I and other tech savvy interns were clouted to join the website.

Apparently, Klout.com measures your influence across your worldwide spread of social media. An individual can finally see a comprehensive record of all of their connections in a single number. The number is a 30-day average of  a score that takes all the likes, retweets, and endorsements your abounding profiles have received into consideration. Mashable further explains what Klout.com does for curious, self-marketing individuals.

My question is: Will this number influence what my future employers think of me?

Doubt or no doubt on how well this ruler measures, the interns of the office, along with our social media guru boss, have created a Klout.com contest. The rules are that 1) the winner has to have a Klout score of 60 or above by September 1. 2) If by chance, there are multiple individuals who make it past the threshold, the individual that has the highest score in the end will be the winner. 3) Losers buy winner lunch.

Pretty simple, but not only do we have to get our Klout score up, we have to keep up.

In reality, it is up to our friends, connections, and networks on how well we do. Our greatest friends, at this moment in time, are the ones that are friendly with the “Like” button.  As they retweet and heart our posts, our Klout scores will increase.

It is up to the us in the office to come up with cute, interesting ways to post the highlights of our day online. I had somewhat of  booster in pocket. My wedding announcement (more on that later) on Facebook and Instagram this last week rocketed my score forward. However, my opponents are doing well for themselves. Their uploaded pictures of cute kitties and their bangs seem to be hitting the right strings with their networks.

The Women Who Remembers Part 3

The final part of an essay I wrote for my nonfiction writing class my junior year of college.

My grandma’s oldest sister, Tamera was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 63. At the time, her oldest grandchild was in his teens, and her youngest grandchild was a baby.

Tamera’s husband, Frank, lovingly cared for his wife through the confusion and the anger. He always kept hope. He put Tamera in studies, hoping they would help stave off the brain destruction that resulted in major memory loss. Sadly, it is thought to be one the studies that caused Tamera’s quick demise.

Frank spent his whole retirement and savings caring for Tamera. A couple years ago, Uncle Frank’s own health became burdensome, and he could no longer care for her. He sent her to a nursing home where she has remained ever since. He still visits her as often as he can. Frank is repaid for his love. Tamera has never forgotten him. She does not remember his name, but she knows him, and is as comfortable and content as ever in his presence.

This kind of vigilance is only derived from true, selfless love. It is from that love that heroes are born. Alzheimer’s is the worst disease because it does not just affect the individual, but the caregivers as well. In fact, it is the caregivers that are affected the most. The disease leads the affected individuals into a forgetful bliss. They have no idea what is going on. The disease leaves the caregivers to suffer and agonize over their loved one—their father, their sister, their wife—as they slowly become a shell of the person they once were. It is the caregivers, the heroes, that are left with the burden to remember.

Tamera was always so happy, so lively. I loved to visit with Uncle Frank and Aunt Tamera. Aunt Tamera knew so many things. She would bid the children come sit around her, and she would tell us stories. She played games with us, and her laugh was a mile long. Her life is marked by her sweet and loving personality. Even today it shines through the disease.

My freshman year of college I went to visit my grandparents. At the time, Frank and Tamera were visiting them too. Frank, Tamera, my grandparents and I spent the whole afternoon talking about their childhood and life growing up in Idaho Falls. At that time, Tamera still recalled sitting trapped in the cold outhouse as a little girl, shooing a little garden snake away. She went through all the actions. Tamera pulled her knees in close to her and shooed away an imaginary snake. I laughed so hard I got the hiccups. She still remembered how her parents and all eight children would pile into a tiny car with no seat belts to drive to church down dusty roads.

The afternoon sun warmed us in the front room as we sat in the circle of furniture. Dust particles could be seen floating the bright light. And Tamera, although quite giggly and perhaps a little bemused, was still Tamera. About two years have passed, and Grandma Shelley estimates her to have the mental ability of an 18-month old.

When Tamera’s children and grandchildren went to go eat dinner with her at the nursing home, she started eating off her youngest grandson’s plate. The little boy, only about two or three at the time, was furious, and threatened to tell grandpa if she did not stop. A fight between grandmother and grandson proceeded. It ended in teary-eyed tantrums…on both sides.

The toddler ran around the table and roughly pulled on Uncle Frank’s sleeve. “Grandpa , I don’t like her to eat off my plate.. “She’s my sweetheart,” Frank told the little boy. “Well, I don’t like your sweetheart to eat of my plate!.

Tamera can no longer feed or toilet herself. Her body is itself shutting down. Medical professionals attest to this extremely painful process. She has forgotten how to speak English, and instead communicates in the made up language of toddler before she pick up speech.

One day, Grandma Shelley went to go see Tamera in the home. Tamera has an unusual tick where she sits down on the floor and picks up nothing. She will fill other cupped hand with “nothings,” and when it is full, she will dump the nothings into another person’s patient and willing hand. Often, it is Frank’s hand open to accept Tamera’s “nothings.”

Grandma Shelley sat down in front of Tamera, and begun to pick up “nothings” too. Meanwhile, Tamera gabbed away in her unknown language. Once in awhile, there will be an inflection in Tamera’s voice as if she were asking a question. Grandma Shelley would answer ‘yes,’ and then Tamera would continue to talk Grandma Shelley’s ear off.

Then Tamera paused. She looked up into Grandma Shelley’s eyes and said,

“I love you.” Before Grandma could take in what had happened, Tamera was back in her world, conversing in an unknown tongue, and picking up “nothings.”

Tamera’s time may be near, her body is aware that it is dying. Her descent into a forgetful abyss was not as long as Great Grandpa Thayne’s. To the end, Great Grandpa could still speak, toilet himself, and feed himself. Compared to Tamera’s 18-month-old mind, Great Grandpa Thayne was around 4years- old. It will be a bittersweet relief when Tamera comes to rest. She will be free from her shattered mind. She will join the ranks of the many family members who have left behind an unforgettable and heartbreaking legacy.

Grandma Shelley putts around the kitchen while I sit at the bar musing. She and Grandpa Clint have moved down the road to care for my great grandma.

“I’m afraid,” she begins, “I’m afraid that Grandma will outlive my usefulness too her. I don’t know what will happen to her then.” That is Grandma Shelley’s fear. She will succumb to Alzheimer’s disease before Great Grandma leaves this world. Not that she will get Alzheimer’s, but that she will no longer be able to care for the people she loves if she does.

Grandma Shelley cares for her brain. It carries a most prized possession, memories. She takes vitamins, including Omega-3s faithfully. Omega-3s are fatty acids that important for body function, and may improve memory when they are present in the hippocampus region of the brain.

Grandma Shelley also puts coconut oil in her morning smoothie. Some claim that coconut oil helps reverse they affect of Alzheimer’s disease. It helps build essential molecules that are important for cell function in the brain. Unfortunately, no extensive scientific research can back that claim.

One evening when Boyfriend and I were visiting, we gathered around the kitchen table with Grandma Shelley and Grandpa Clint to play Rummikub. It had been a busy day, and we were all yawning. I could not seem to keep my mouth shut. The fixture swinging precariously above was our only source of light. Its yellow bulbs illuminated the ivory tiles below. Despite the late hour, Grandma Shelley quickly dominated us in demanding logically game not once, but twice.

Grandma Shelley’s brain is in good shape. However, genes are some pretty twisted molecules. Just because an individual may inherited a gene for Alzheimer’s they may not get it. Possessing the gene may simply mean that the individual has predisposition to develop the disease. It gets more complicated. It may be completely dependent on how they live their life and in what environment they live in.

This is a record of three generations. Family historians reveal that many generations before have died from, or had Alzheimer’s disease when they died. Genetics point to the opposite direction. They point in the direction of the fourth generation, the generation of my mother.

What if she develops Alzheimer’s? There is no one I would rather emulate than my Grandma Shelley. She is my hero. Her legacy of patience and long-suffering is great, but the burden of remembrance is heavy. I do not want to be the woman who remembers.

The pattern continues. No matter how upset my stomach is, the carousel will continue to whirl around. The chromatic horse will forever bounce up and down, and there is no way that I can jump off.

The carnival music will play on no matter how sick in the head I am. There is no relief from genetics. How can I willingly procreate knowing that I may force the burden of remembrance to my children? Only time will tell. The only thing left to do is remember.

I have begun my own search of the cause. I have joined the ranks of millions who have registered as occupants of studies. The studies compare the genetics of individuals that may carry the certain genetic mutations. Perhaps scientist can pinpoint the cause of the degradation of the brain. At

present Alzheimer’s disease stays illusive to the researchers. The disease stays just out of reach. This year I have found a fundraiser called “The Longest Day.” On the 21 of June, inviduals and

families will gather to be active for the entire 16 hours of sunlight. The will perform their activity of choosing—from watercolor to rock climbing—for an allotted amount of time. When they are finished, they physically or virtually tag a teammate, and their teammate activates.

The purpose of the day is to remember. It is to remember all the loved ones that have had their memory destroy. It is to remember all the loved ones that have bore the burden of remembrance as caregivers.

I immediately registered to participate in “The Longest Day.” Thrill pulsed through my veins as I created a team and named it Team Thayne. My physical prowess will need time to train. Recent illness have kept me relatively inactive for the past couple years. No matter, I will train. I will train hard and long. I will train to run. My high elevation will not stop me.

Support rallies around me. I graciously received donations from friends and family the day I registered. My goal is $1600. At this point, I have about five percent of my goal. In my excitement, I posted to social media sites. I want others to participate too. I want them to activate in remembrance for the longest day.

I will run in honor of Great Grandpa. I will run in honor of Aunt Tamera. I will for run in honor for my other loved ones that have forgotten. I will in honor of Grandma Shelley, the woman who

remembers. Perhaps, the money I raise will help end Alzheimer’s. Then no one will forget, and no one will have to bear the burden of remembrance. I keep hope.

This is my family history. A history that one day I may face; a history that one day I may forget. It is a history that I must remember.

The Women Who Remembers Part 2

My great grandpa, Thayne, had Alzheimer’s as long as I can remember. He hid it well. As a small child, I was not aware that he had the disease. I use to tease him. I would try to tie his shoes together while he sat on the couch. Grandpa-great would ignore me until I was almost finished with the last loop. He would swoop down, and grab me with his long arms. I would scream out in pleasure, and Grandpa- great would tickle me until we both were laughing so hard our sides ached.

In my early teens, Great Grandpa Thayne took a turn for the worse. He would leave to run errands, and be gone for hours. Eventually, he started home without his groceries. He never made it to the store. Great Grandpa Thayne just wandered around town until he found his way home.

One lazy afternoon, Great Grandpa Thayne and my two uncles went fishing. Later my uncles, both men in their 30s, came into my Grandma Shelley’s house, shaken and white faced.

“Grandpa can’t drive anymore,” they told her.

Great Grandpa Thayne was furious when he was told he was no longer allowed to drive. He screamed, swore, and carried on like a young child.

I close my eyes, and pretend for a moment that I am Great Grandpa Thayne. I feel confused. My confusion makes me feel angry. I do not like to feel helpless. Something is wrong, but I cannot remember what it is. I do not want to admit that I am lost. I am a proud man. They should not treat like a child.

Great Grandpa Thayne was an avid boxer in his younger days. He knew exactly how to throw a punch. Clench the fist, and throw with your shoulder, not you body. Twist as your come in contact, so you hit with your knuckles. More pain to your opponent and no broken fingers.

Great Grandpa Thayne hit a brick wall. His punch was stopped by my grandpa’s iron fist. My grandpa, Clint, is a strong man. He is barrel-chested with thick arms forged of muscle from hard labor. He held firm until Great Grandpa Thayne, exhausted from old age, his disease, and his explosion of emotion, dropped his hand and stomped home in fury. Upon arriving, he threw my great grandma out of the house and told her never to come back.

Grandpa Clint felt a bullet wiz inches past his face while walking through the pasture near my great grandparents’ home. He whipped around, stomped back through the weeds, and ripped the little .22 from Great Grandpa Thayne’s hands. Grandpa Clint is a passive man. He is always happy, and he has defined his life by serving others. When he is angry, there is a good reason for it, and Grandpa Clint

takes action. After that incident, all of Great Grandpa Thayne’s guns mysteriously disappeared. Visitors and family members began complaining about Great Grandpa Thayne’s stench. It wasnot just of old man, but also of the putrid odor of a grown man who has not seen a shower in awhile. When my great grandma would send Great Grandpa Thayne to the bathroom to shower, he would come back with his hair damp and a little tousled. He had forgotten to use soap. We are not even sure if he had even physically gotten in the shower. My great grandma, who was ailing from her own health complexities, could not keep up with him. He was stubborn, irritable, and flat-out denied that anything was wrong.

“There’s nothing wrong with me,” he would shout, “It’s you!”

He started fires in and out of the house. He would start them and forget about them. Great Grandpa Thayne and my great grandma had recently bought a brand new snowmobile. The snowmobile went backwards so that they could easily get down the snow-laden lane to check the mail during the blue, frozen winters. Their ownership was short-lived. One of Great Grandpa Thayne’s fires caught a hold of it. It did not let it go unscathed.

Great Grandpa Thayne was caught throwing aerosol cans into the white brick fireplace that boldly stands at the back of his front room. Other fire damage to his house has been discovered, but whether or not it was Great Grandpa Thayne during his arsonist phase, it is unknown.

Grandma Shelley cared for Great Grandpa Thayne as if he were a small of two or three. She bathed, shaved, and trimmed Great Grandpa Thayne’s nails. She would take his hand in hers, but before the clippers even touched the nail, Great Grandpa Thayne would rip away his hand and shout,

“Don’t cut the meat! Don’t cut the meat!” all the while waving his hand wildly about.

Grandma Shelley was also in charge of Great Grandpa Thayne’s wardrobe. He had begun to forget how to dress himself. He would come out of his room with variety of pieces of clothing on. He would have his shirt buttoned up wrong, pajamas on, or sometimes he would even have great grandma’s clothes on.

A smile crosses my face. I quickly cover it by sucking in my lips.

“You have to laugh sometimes,” Grandma Shelley says to me with a giggle. Grandma takes my hand and pats it. We are sitting at the kitchen table. Light pours in from the sliding glass door behind her. Green cat eyes watch us from their seat on the back porch. My 5-year-old cousin Lydia is across the table from me. Her dried-up markers scratch across her semi-colorful paper. Lydia’s markers are the only noise. Grandma Shelley and I are quiet. She is lost in her memories, and I am along with her for the ride. I watch as her whole face—eyes, cheeks, mouth—droop. When an individual is confronted something like Grandma Shelley has, sometimes all you can do is laugh.

The last years of Great Grandpa Thayne’s life, he sat in his chair, and vacantly starred out at his surroundings. He seemed to be completely oblivious to what was going on around him. When I would visit him, he would not make eye contact. He once had a tall, strong frame with superior posture. Now he was lank skin and bones, slouching in the faded blue chair with his bony hands folded across his lap. His knuckles stuck out like ping-pong balls. All he would eat were cookies. The doctors told Grandma Shelley that was okay, as long he was eating something.

He said nothing, except when specifically addressed, and then he would answer as simply as could and always call the person either “handsome stranger” or “pretty lady.” In my great grandma’s case, he would call her “my girl.” Although he could not recall that he was married to her. To the very last, he was still trying to disguise his memory loss.

The Woman Who Remembers Part 1

This is the first part of an essay I wrote for a nonfiction writing class. I took it as an exploratory writing course. A professor once told me that if I were to become a good writer, I would have to write in different genres out of my comfort zone. Since then I taken all the opportunites I could to grow.

Your world starts to collapse. Inside out, a neural connection breaks, and then another over the there…the severance of the cells cascades into a whole chain of breakdowns. Life gets dim. People you once knew—your spouse, your children, your best friends—are suddenly unrecognizable, as is your own face in the mirror. You are constantly lost, and you cannot complete the simplest day-to-day tasks. Lights go out. You are in darkness, alone, and you cannot remember why.

Geneticists are in the dark almost as much as the individuals and families they are trying to help. They have located potential, individual genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease on chromosomes 19, 21, 14, and 1, but the mutations vary from individual to individual. Alzheimer’s is hereditary meaning it is passed down from one generation to the next. In some situations however, the genetic mutation is not hereditary, but are caused by the environment in which the affected individual lived.

In my family, Alzheimer’s runs rampant through the generations. My great-great grandmother, Eva Violet Moss Wheeler died from Alzheimer’s disease. During her illness, she lived with my great grandfather, Thayne, and his family. At the time, my grandma, Shelley, was only a teenager, and modern medicine had yet to grasp the ferociousness of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the effects of the disease were just as backbone chilling as they are today.

Shelley and the other children hid Grandma Eva’s shoes, so she would not wander off. She still did. She still went to the neighbors and told them she was being kept locked by strangers. She told them they stole her shoes.

Grandma Eva grew up in the days before indoor plumbing. After the disease had destroyed her brain, she forgot that she lived in an age where indoor plumbing was reality. Her toilet became an unoccupied corner in her bedroom. Eventually the carpet and wall where she relieved herself was ruined.

Late one evening, young Shelley came back from a date. The house was dark and quiet. The atmosphere was full of sleep. Behind closed doors, Shelley’s siblings and parents were wrapped in a cocoon of quilts, deeply inhaling the oozing, dark air. Something was wrong.

Shelley walked quietly through the house, treading carefully over the creaking floorboards. As she crept into the kitchen, she let out a soft gasp, as if she were extinguishing a single candle. She saw the gray, lumpy shape on top of the dining room table. She stepped closer, and then quickly hopped back. There was a body underneath the tablecloth.

As Shelley’s eyes focused on silhouette, she realized there was something strangely familiar. Shelley pursed her lips and went to wake up her father, Thayne. It was Grandma Eva. She had crawled underneath the tablecloth and fallen asleep. Strangely, the cold remains of the dinner dishes had not been disturbed by the table’s unlikely occupant.

Grandma Eva’s husband, Jesse, succumbed to the same disease that took away her memories. At her funeral, Shelley’s father, Thayne, took Grandma Eva’s fragile hand and led her to the open casket.

“Who is this?” Grandma Eva implored. Her eyes were wide with wonder.

“It’s Jesse, your husband,” Thayne said huskily.

“Who?”

“Jesse Jacob, your married to him.” Grandma Eva stared blankly and the cold body.

“Oh.” No recognition or even understanding crossed her face. Finally, the frail woman shuffled closely towards the casket. Gingerly, she took the hand of the husk that used to be her husband, and patted it as if he were a hurt puppy rather than a human corpse. Without emotion she said,

“Poor Jesse, poor Jesse.”

Sun streams through the bay window as Grandma Shelley tells me about Great-Great Grandma Eva. She was sitting on the couch opposite of me, so I could see her face clearly. I always believed Grandma Shelley was the best-looking grandma around. She keeps her blonde hair in bob, cut to the

jaw line. Her eyes are shining sapphires that sparkle behind a pair of stylish spectacles. She has an effusive smile with beautiful, bright teeth. Grandma Shelley’s face appears youthful as ever, despite what she has endured over the decade. She had the exhausting task of being primary caregiver of her father, Thayne, as he developed and slowly degenerated from Alzheimer’s disease. He finally came to rest on January 19, 2011.

“Alzheimer’s is the worst disease,” she spits out each word with passion and pain.

“Even worse then cancer,” she added. She would know. She has watched many family members succumb to cancer. She watched as her grandparents and father suffer and degenerate for decades, until finally their body shut down from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. She watches her two older sisters as they now suffer from early-onset Alzheimer’s. They were both in their 60s when they were diagnosed and showing signs of dementia several years before.  She watches and she wonders if she could be next.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s. Medical professionals are not even sure of the cause. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. It is the most common form of dementia where essential neuron connections in the brain are destroyed. Learning ability is permanently crippled, and memories—one of the few things in life that are uniquely owned by an individual—are lost.

My Journalism Portfolio

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The link is to a document of scanned images of some my favorite news articles that I wrote.

I was a journalist for the campus newspaper, The Utah Statesman http://www.usustatesman.com/, for about two semesters.

I joined the Statesman staff for two reasons:

(1) To further develop myself as writer. A professor once told me that one of the best ways to grow as a writer was to write outside of your chosen genre or media.

Practicing journalism helped discover a new style of writing. The editors slammed the idea into our heads that no opinion was allowed while writing about news events. We were reporters, not opinion-givers. The people we interviewed were supposed to give the opinion, and we were supposed to be objective. Being objective is incredibly difficult. Any piece of writing is rhetorical. Depending on how I cast the event, the speakers, the audience my opinion was made known. It was hard to keep out.

I thought I knew AP style. Then it was ingrained into my brain. The style guide became my bible of writing. So many rules on when to quote where, how to start an article, how to attribute a quote to whom, when to spell out numbers, percents…the list goes on. When writing in a specific genre I definitely recommend purchasing or checking out a style guide for repeated reference.

I thought interviewing people was easy too. It is quite hard to come up with follow-up questions on the spot. Having a voice recorder is awesome, but sometimes the environment interferes or the technology just does not work right. Building a quick relationship with the interviewee is essential so you feel comfortable with asking them to repeat a statement.

I had to work with a team. I had my editor, and often I worked with photographer. This will help me in the future when I work with clients or work on a collaborative document.

(2) To build up a portfolio of published media. I have documents I have created since grade school, but future employers will want to see what I have actually contributed to society, not what I have practiced doing in class. That may of some value too, to show your new supervisor you have learned a skill. But to be published, to have someone or an organized like your writing enough…validation is essential for a professional/technical career. Employers want to know that you will be an asset to them. People telling them just that takes a lot of the load off of you. Besides, being published brings feelings of euphoria and accomplishment. When my first article was published, I walked on air to my next class.

(3) There were two reasons why I wrote for the Statesman, but discovered a surprising third. I became more involved on campus and in my community as I met with study body officers and university faculty. I was witness to some pretty amazing events; ones that have added significant amount of substance to my life. One of my favorites was a common hour event I covered. Spencer West’s lecture motivated me to become a happier, more accomplished person as I set out not only to overcome personal tribulation, but help lift others from theirs as well.

I covered exciting event like the opening of a new turf field specifically designated for student recreation. I saw and met the university president, the student body present, the provost, and many other important administrative officials.

There is so much more experiences that I was able to witness. For the first time in 2 1/2 years, I felt like I was really apart of the university. For the first time, it was my university. It was my alma mater.

Love that Face

I am the most confident young woman any individual will ever meet. Bold statement, but so true.

It was quite process. One that I didn’t realize quite existed until now: watching my baby sister “grow up.” Suddenly, my empathy overloads for any girl between the ages of 10 and 16. Why do they have grown up  in such a horribly judgemental world. My short discourse is to them. I want my sister to realize she is beautiful. She always has been.  So have I, but I didn’t realize that until I was ninteen. I don’t want my sister to have to wait until.

It’s not I’ve had any self esteem issues–no way. I have always had a healthy streak of vanity. But to realize that I would rather have my face than any other woman’s on this earth…I would not I trade out any of my features for someone else’s. I love them all. I am perfect.

I begin most mornings looking up from a rough, dry towel into the mirror. My eyes are still asleep, and my bangs are still damp from the cold water I just splashed in my face. Rivulets that escaped the towel now run down my face like a mountain river over rocks. They are quickly dispersed by my hands rubbing on primer before I apply my makeup. The primer will help the makeup last through the day.

It is common knowledge that cosmetics first appeared in Egypt. Both men and women put on organic substance to keep their faces from drying out in the arid, desert heat. Since then makeup has evolved to become an essential part of a woman’s toilet.

Next, my concealer comes out of my case. It is a half shade lighter than my foundation to give my face a brighter look. I dab a little under my eyes and on blemishes and breakouts. For emergencies I use a green-tinted concealer; it offsets the purples and reds of a blemish or scar. I blend in the concealer with wedge or a soft, small brush.

I apply my foundation with a puff, so I can quickly spread the powder over my face and blend it with the concealer. It evens my skin tones. I use powder foundation with golden undertones to give my face a soft shine.

Cheeks and lips often will draw out each other out. I powder on some blush after I put on foundation using select brushes. The are fat and well cared for. They are my friends. One is a bit more corse for application, and the other is soft blending. When my lips are cherry, I give the apple of my cheeks a very rosy glow. Otherwise, I like to accentuate my cheek bones.

It is a shame to what makeup has come to represent in our society. Women have to have on makeup to be beautiful. It irks me whenever a woman—young or old—excuses herself to ‘put on her face.’ I pretty sure she already has a face. If she didn’t, people would run from her screaming in horror.

I dislike applying eyeliner. It is such a meticulous process. One disturbance and huge blunder appears out of nowhere. This morning the heater turns on unexpectedly. A gasp escapes my lips, and now I have black smudge half way up my eyelid. With a muttered profane, I take up a piece of tissue and then begin again. I drag the black pencil along my lash from the tear duct to right past the outer corner.

Eye shadow is my favorite part about putting on makeup. I have about 15 different colors and kits. Sometimes I match my shadow with my outfit, sometimes it reflects the way I feel, but any way I use palettes that will draw out my hazel eyes, one of my favorite facial features. For high-impact, some days I might use an eyelash curler and mascara.

I would like to note here that I use to hate makeup. It was a drag to put on, and when I did I felt like a clown. I was almost eighteen when I began to wear makeup regularly. I didn’t consider myself to be really all that great at it until this year. It takes practice. One day,

I took a step back from my life, realized there very careful steps I take regularly to “put on my face.” I found it very laughable that I have created such cliche pattern. But the difference between be and other girls is I have reason…and I don’t have to do it to be comfortable with who I am.

Lastly, I work on the lips, and usually, very quickly. I define the outer edges with some liner–one shade darker that my own natural color. I am extremely fond of a soft mouth so I use moisterizing gloss or chap stick. Some days, when I am particulary bored or feeling bold, I dawn some color. For my complexion, I prefer cherry red.

Makeup is meant to enhance the features of the faces, not to disguise or cover them up. It is meant to make blemishes, ache, and age spots less noticeable; and accent a woman’s high cheekbones, full lips, wide-set eyes…Makeup defines the features that the woman already has.