Friday, May 13, 2016

Violence In The Media

"Nothing good ever comes of violence."
–Martin Luther

Does violence in the media make children more prone to violence?


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This is a question asked by psychologists since Albert Bandura's 1961 Bobo doll experiment. In this experiment, adults were told to act angrily and hit a Bobo doll in front of very young children. Before leaving the room, the adults placed a box of toys just out of reach of the child. When the adults were gone, the children became frustrated, and eventually hit the Bobo doll when they became angry.

This begs the question: does violence in the media make modern children more prone to violence?

Violence on TV and How It Can Affect Your Children


On one side of the argument, scientists say that exposing children to violence at an early age can make them more violent later in life. An article titled Violence on TV and How It Can Affect Your Children in The Huffington Post claims:

"children seeing too much violence on TV are more likely to be argumentative, as they have dispensed with the slow caution of inhibitors. These children act out in class and are more likely to be the class bully. Since they seem to be less patient than their counterparts, studies show that children who watch too much violence on TV appear to be more unwilling to cooperate, and delay gratification. Therefore, they seem to demonstrate a strong sense of entitlement."

The Indiana University School of Medicine decided to test this. They examined young men who were exposed to violent media, and after a week of playing violent video games, there were visible alterations in the MRI brain scans of the men. (Note: Though there were changes in the MRI scans, it is unclear what the changes actually did.)

Studies from The Macquarie University Children and Families Research Centre show that children who watch violent movies are:

"more likely to view the world as an unsympathetic, malicious and scary place, and that this stimulates aggression. It also suggests children are more likely to exhibit competitive behavior while becoming desensitized to violence."

Is this true?


Is all of this true? Does this information prove that children are more prone to violence when they are exposed to violence in the media at a young age? Is all of the violence shown in the media contributing to a more violent world? Do we need to protect children from all this?


Nope.


Despite all of the violence shown in the media, we are actually living in the most peaceful era ever seen in human history. Since the Medieval era, violence has slowly subsided over time, and has recently taken a nosedive.

In the age of the Nazi, Darfur, Rwanda genocides (and a few others), the World Wars, the War on Terror, the conflict of the Palestinians and Israelis, and school shootings, a "currently less violent world" may sound incredibly ridiculous.

And yet, this is truly the case. In fact, men and women in the United States and Europe have only around a 2% chance of being killed by another person, opposed to the 60% chance of being killed by another person 500 or more years ago. What's most surprising, is that these statistics include all of the deaths in both World Wars.

How is this possible?


In the Middle Ages, if you stole a loaf of bread, you could have your tongue cut out. Think about the days of ancient Rome, where gladiators fought to the death to entertain the public. Today, those things would be considered inhumane and terrible. Back then, it was modern life.

Back then, these acts of violence would not be broadcast to the nation. No one would draw such mass attention to horrific ways of punishment or entertainment. Maybe some people spoke out against it, but they didn't have anything like CNN.

The truth is, violence seems bigger and more prevalent nowadays because of the media. Media makes violence a very big deal. You hear about ten deaths in an earthquake. A school shooting. A murder. When we (the public) hear about the details on these horrific events, when we read the backstories on the people who were wronged, it becomes personal. We pick a side, and in turn, we feel personally wronged too. The media makes these acts of violence felt by the nation. It makes people feel like it's too much. And they're right. Any violence is too much violence.

But it is less than it has ever been.

Conclusion:


Yes, violence in the media is very disturbing. But statistics point out that our world is less violent than it has ever been. This doesn't mean that being exposed to media's portrayal of violence has no effect on a child, but if it does, it does very little to change a child's behavior. Shielding your child from violence in the media will not make them a less violent person.

So what does cause violence?


The real answer to that question lies within ourselves. What kind of role models will we choose to be for our children? The recipe for a violent person is witnessing or experiencing violence, but not in the media. It is witnessing violence in their own personal lives.

A violent person may watch more violent movies or play more violent video games, but correlation is not causation. Lots of people play violent video games.

My Personal Experience:


According to my friends, past friends, and even people who I don't know very well, I have always been described as gentle. I'm the patient one, the comforting one, the forgiving one. A lot of people have described me as very sweet and innocent.

So when people find out that I was allowed to watch R rated movies, read books with explicit and violent content, watch the same news stories, and play the violent shoot-em-up video games with my dad since before I can remember, people are very surprised.

Despite all of these things, I have never been a violent person. When I was little, I may have hit or pinched my sister a few times. But that is the extent of it. I am dedicated to love, peace, tolerance, and understanding, and I am setting out on this journey to help do something good for humanity in my lifetime. My parents never treated me like I was a child. They spoke to me as an equal, as long as I acted like an adult. I learned important values in life, not from the media, but from my parents.

To put an end to violence, people must be exposed to it. You can't fight an enemy you don't understand.

The media is very easy to blame for all the problems of the world. But when children act out violently, it comes from his or her parents, or his or her friends. It comes from how, where, and when they grew up. Do the parents listen to the child, or does the child feel alienated? Do the parents try to understand what their child is going through? All of these things play a very important role in children.

Whether children see violence in the media or not, the true determinant of whether a child will be violent or not is us.

So be the best you can be.

Your children are watching.

Jess

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Sources:
Huffington Post: Violence on TV and How It Can Affect Your Children
Psychology Today: Violence, The Media And Your Brain
Steven Pinker: The surprising decline in violence
Livestrong: What Are the Causes of Violent Behavior in Children

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Breakup Letter

Dear Hate,

I don't really know how to say this, but I think it is time we parted ways. This isn't easy for me. You have always kind of been there for me, especially in times of great distress. I know you came into my life to protect me. You build up walls for me whenever I get hurt, and you always give me someone to blame for problems in my life.

You have done a lot for me, but the truth is, everything you do for me really just makes things worse.

When things are bad, you cloud my judgement. You make me say things I don't mean, things that I would never say to anyone. In the heat of the moment, you give me delusions instead of solutions. You make me irrational and cruel.

As much as this will hurt you, I have been trying to get rid of you for quite some time. I have been trying to stay away from you more and more, but I keep running in to you now and then. There was a while when I didn't mind it. There were times when I thought I needed you, even relied on you to help me get through times here and there, especially when things were hard. But the truth is, you're the one who needs me.

You are a parasite, and I won't be your host anymore.

You feed off of my stress, my anger, even my fear. When I am with you, you take away everything in me that is good, and I have had enough.

I'm done with your intolerance. Done with your ignorance, and refusal to understand where other people are coming from. You are the cause of every wrongdoing throughout all of time. You are the face behind the mask of evil.

I am done with the fear you place in my heart. You tell me to build walls around my heart so that I don't get hurt. Yes, I've been hurt and I have every right to fear. I have good reasons for wanting to listen to you, but these walls, though they may keep pain away, they would also make it impossible to let love in.

Also, the constant blame you place on other people isn't right. Sure, it makes things easier for me. It makes me feel like I did nothing wrong. It makes me feel better about myself, but it also gets me nowhere. How can I possibly improve when you blame the problem on someone else?

When you are with me, you leave no room for anything else. Hate, I do not hate you. You think you know what's best for me, and you try to help, I know you really do. You keep me safe from pain, from heartbreak, from sorrow. You keep me safe by keeping me in my comfort zone. And yet, through all this, you deny me the chance to actually live. Because in the end…

Life is a mess of joy, of sorrow. Good and evil, and everything in between. Of love, heartbreak and more love. It's taking chances even when I'm scared, it's being brave and exploring. It is a search for knowledge and meaning in this world that never seems to make sense. It's about taking leaps of faith, aiming for the sky, the moon, the sun, the stars. And even when I miss, when I crash land in a heap and I am broken, I will not come crawling back to you. Because life is about getting back up again, putting myself back together even when I think I can't.

You have no place in my heart, and I deserve so much better.

I pray we never meet again, but if we do, stay away from me. You are not welcome, and I will get a restraining order against you if you start stalking me. I'm sorry, you're just really not healthy for me, or anyone, or the world.

As I said, this isn't easy. But that's the point. Life is hard, and doing the right thing is hard. I choose to love instead.

We're done.

With love,
Jess

Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Eating Disorder

My best friend of six years was unintentionally killing me.

That's a strong opening sentence, but now that I reread it, it's not entirely true. My best friend of six years was causing me a lot of stress, and anxiety. It wasn't her fault at all, she didn't mean it or know it, but the stress our friendship was inflicting on me was killing me.

I always had problems with stress, anxiety and a bit of depression. Whenever I would feel anxious or depressed, eating would become a very difficult task. (My post on anxiety goes into a little more depth about problems anxiety can cause.)

Anxiety is a fight or flight response, and whenever I got anxious, it would take over and I would throw up. It wasn't intentional, but it would happen all the time. First, it would happen only when it came to really big things.

My best friend, I'll call her Olivia for the sake of anonymity, would have breakdowns a lot and consider suicide. This was extremely stressful, but over some time I was able to recover a bit. But then, it started happening when things didn't even matter.

Olivia and some other friends would want me to go to a football game. I would be excited and happy, but I couldn't keep food down. In fact, on days when I knew I was going to be busy, I would eat as little as possible so that I would have nothing to actually throw up when it was time to leave.

According to Anxiety Centre:

"Part of the stress [anxiety] response includes suppressing digestion so that the majority of the body's resources are made available for emergency action. When stress responses occur infrequently, the body can recover relatively quickly and easily from the physiological, psychological, and emotional changes the stress response brings about. When stress responses occur too frequently and/or dramatically, however, the body has a more difficult time recovering, which can result in the body remaining in a semi-emergency readiness state. This semi-emergency readiness state can adversely affect normal stomach and digestive system function, which can cause all sorts of stomach and digestive related maladies, such as nausea and even vomiting."

At the time, I didn't know this science-y part about anxiety and nausea and vomiting, but the effects it had on me were drastic. Basically, my body was stuck in a semi-emergency state, which caused a lot of digestive problems and of course, not eating made things worse.

One grey January morning in 2015, I stepped on the scale and I read the horrifying number.

I was 18 years old, 5 feet and 4 inches, and 79 pounds.

I was rushed to the doctor and two weeks later I was admitted into a day treatment center for eating disorders.

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I was diagnosed with an eating disorder called ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder). I had no idea what it was, or even what it meant really. I didn't like the name ARFID either, it sounded like the name of a rabid dog. Besides my weight, I didn't feel like anything was wrong with me.

As it turns out, my body was eating itself.

I spent four months in treatment, and a few more months in an out-patient program. The basic treatment plan was just to make me, and everyone in my group eat.

The first few days were the loneliest, but I don't think I could name a day that wasn't as hard. I was so alone, no one else in my group was suffering from ARFID, not that I knew of. Everyone else was suffering from bulimia or anorexia.

I regret to say that I was ignorantly opinionated about the suffering of everyone else in my group at first. Because my eating disorder had nothing to do with body image, eating disorders like anorexia were confusing to me. I would see the girls in my groups, and they were all so beautiful. I couldn't help but thinking, why can't they just get it in their head that they're beautiful? Can't they see they're destroying their body? Why can't they just stop…?

The answers to those questions are a lot more complicated than a simple yes or no.

The reason I'm talking about this is because I never was close to someone who had an eating disorder before I went through treatment. But some of you might know people who have eating disorders, or you might have one yourself.

There is a lot of misunderstanding about what it means to have an eating disorder. Before getting to know such wonderful people in treatment, I thought being anorexic was a choice. That someone would wake up one day, and think, I think I'm fat so I should starve myself. But that isn't the case at all.

The mirror lies.

For the people with body-image related eating disorders, the reflection that stares back is a lie. And with every purge or every skipped meal, that distorted image in the mirror only gets worse.

For everyone struggling, don't struggle in silence. You're not alone.

Love you all <3

Jess

#SpreadTheLove #Awareness #MUGTE

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tribute to Home

Ever since I was a child, Carl Sagan was a huge inspiration to me. He died three months after I was born, but I was introduced to him through my dad. My dad has always been a thinker, the kind of person who can see the things that many other people can't. Half the time, I don't know what he's talking about or where he gets his ideas.

Anyway, a long time ago, my dad bought Carl Sagan's DVD series COSMOS. Carl Sagan was an astronomer, cosmologist, author, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, and a lot of other things that have to do with astronomy. I watched his series as a child, and though I didn't understand half of what he talked about, it's what got me fascinated about the universe.

Despite all this, the video below, narrated by Carl Sagan, is not about astronomy. There are no crazy concepts that you need to understand to watch it. But it is one of the most inspiring videos I've ever seen. I urge you to watch the whole thing. So without further ado…



I think that even though this video shows us how small we are, I think it also stresses the importance of being kind to one another. Here we are, living on this little spec of light in this universe filled with darkness. This world is our only home. It isn't perfect, but this is ours to protect and to share.

I guess what I thought about most when I watched this was how easy it is for people to hate, and I thought about what it does for us. I think it's easy for most people to hate, myself included. In the end, love and kindness are the only things that will ever protect us from ourselves.

Anyway, I just thought this would be lovely to share, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

What did you think about this video? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Love you all and I hope you have a wonderful day <3

–Jess

#MUGTE #SpreadTheLove

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Living With Anxiety Part 2

In my previous post, I talked a lot about the science behind anxiety. It's actually quite fascinating when I think about it, how anxiety has helped our survival, and how it can cause us so many problems in the modern world.

In the modern world, anxiety can be extremely dangerous. Especially if you're like me, and you have a higher baseline anxiety than the average person. Thousands of years ago, this trait would've saved people like me from getting eaten by a cheetah. In the modern world, it can cause our minds to turn on our bodies, it can cause us to forget our basic instinct of survival.

Today, I'm going to try and talk about ways to soothe your anxiety, or how to at least help deal with it during the day. This is actually going to be a bit hard, because I've been a bit more anxious than usual the past week, so we'll see how well this goes.

*Note: depending on your situation, you may not be able to use certain techniques. If you are stuck in a situation where you have to be social, you may not be able to reduce your stress until later on, or try a different technique.

Calming Down Quickly:

If you can, please just stop what you're doing. Whatever is stressing you out or making you upset, try as quickly as you can to get out of that situation, or to get away from whomever or whatever is bothering you.

Have you ever had that feeling where your chest kind of hurts, and it gets hard to breathe? You sort of worry you might be having a heart attack? And when you think you're having a heart attack, your anxiety gets even higher, and you freak out even more? It's okay, just breathe. It's normal, you aren't having a heart attack. (At least, I seriously hope you're not.) That is what anxiety does to you, and what it's supposed to do when humans actually need it on a daily basis to survive. It makes your heart rate spike, it makes your breathing speed up so that you can get more oxygen to your brain, allowing you to think faster. DON'T THINK. Unless you are on the run from someone or something, or if you're getting into a fight, clear your thoughts, and try to stop thinking. Take a deep breath. Understand what your body is doing, and that you're alright.

Breathe.

While talking about anxiety, this one is huge. Most techniques for calming yourself involve breathing, because it helps slow your heart rate. This helps your body recognize that you don't need to run off or fight someone, and that you are in no physical danger. If you're facing a thought that stresses you out, distract yourself.

Example:

I texted Anthony an hour ago, but he hasn't responded. We've been dating for a year now, but things have been more stressful lately because his parents don't like me very much. This stresses him out, too. So why hasn't he replied?Is he sleeping? Is something wrong? Did his phone get taken away? Is he grounded? Is he ignoring me? Is he mad at me? Does he hate me now? What did I do wrong? Does he still love me? Is he still alive? Did he crash his car? Did his house explode? Was he attacked by bad people!?

This is a classic example of anxiety. Thoughts escalate so quickly when you're anxious, you think of every possible outcome, no matter how crazy or realistic. Something you can do to stop yourself is, yes. Take a deep breath, and then distract yourself. Go turn on Netflix and watch a show. Any show at all, doesn't matter. Just pay attention and watch. Listen to music. Text a friend you haven't talked to in a while. Watch videos on YouTube. Some good keywords to keep you busy: Cute Animals, Cats, Dogs (especially beagles), Adorable Things, or Random Acts of Kindness.

Relax.

Taking some deep breaths is always a go-to when it comes to relaxing, but there are a lot of other things you can do to calm yourself down. Don't worry about taking time to think about all the problems or everything you're worried about. Light some scented candles, take a hot bath or a shower. Play with a pet, drink some tea, read a book, or meditate. If you have the time and can afford it, maybe even try to get a professional massage. That can be very helpful!

Stay Healthy.

Make sure you're not starving yourself or overeating. Stress and anxiety, depending on who you are, tends to make people want to eat a lot, or not eat at all. (Unfortunately, I am a victim of the second, and it's extremely dangerous.)

Make sure you're getting enough sleep, but also don't sleep too much. Getting too little or too much sleep can make you more likely to become irritated and stressed.

Exercise can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Anxiety is what you feel when your body starts to pump adrenaline into your veins. It's preparing for you to be active. A good way to release that sensation is to exercise.

Reflect.

Try and think about what made you stressed, or anxious. Many times, the thing that makes people the most stressed is when things don't go your way.

I made dinner plans with Lucy. At the last moment, she calls me, saying she can't make it. She knows I needed to talk to her, more than anything, but at the last minute she decides she can't make it. That's so rude. I feel so lonely. It isn't fair for her to do that.

In this case, you must remember that…as much as we want to believe it, the world doesn't revolve around a single individual. Not me, not you, or anyone. Maybe Lucy didn't have time to fully explain her situation, and she had to babysit the neighbors kids. Maybe a family member or family friend just died. There are a whole list of reasons why Lucy couldn't have made it to dinner with you! And it's okay. It sucks a little bit, but it's okay. Things can't always go the way we want them to, and you just have to push through it.

Be Honest. (Don't fake it.)

Whether you're a girl or a boy, a woman or a man, you need to have an outlet to express your feelings. You can only hold in so much hurt, so much stress, or pain, at some point you're going to overflow and have a breakdown, fall into depression, be suicidal, or anything else along those lines. Let me just say, you need to have some way to express your feelings. Don't put a fake smile on your face.

Of course, don't make a big deal about it and hope everyone feels sorry for you. Complaining never got anyone anywhere. But sometimes, you just need to talk to someone about what you're feeling, no matter how embarrassing it is.

Also, real men cry. Just saying. If you're a man who can't cry in front of anyone, chances are you're going to get a really shallow girl who only cares about appearance and not about who you really are. (Unless you actually have a problem with your tear ducts, then I totally understand.)

Don't worry about it!

Easier said than done, but the truth is, life is always going to be throwing shit at you, and sometimes you get hit. But that's actually okay, just take a hot shower, clean yourself off, relax, breathe. Next time you feel anxious or stressed or depressed, try a few of these strategies. If nothing works, there are so many other ways to calm down, you can do a quick google search and find something else that could be helpful. Just keep in mind, anxiety, like depression, grows stronger when you let the thoughts get to you. The more you enforce it, the stronger it gets, and the harder it is to untangle yourself from it's grasp.



I love you all, you are awesome, and I hope you have a lovely day <3

Love,

Jess

#MUGTE #AnxietyAwareness #SpreadTheLove

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Living With Anxiety

When I was diagnosed with severe anxiety a few years ago, I couldn't help wondering why evolution let anxiety exist. I wondered how the hell anxiety could help anyone survive when in the modern world it can be so destructive. So, I did some research and some practical thinking.

Long ago, anxiety (along with suspicion and fear) helped the human race as a species survive. It is the "fight or flight" instinct.

You are an early human on the great plains of Africa, and you see an early form of cheetah stalking you. Within fractions of a second, anxiety and fear kick in. They enable you to think a lot faster, to see all of the possible things your attacker might do. The cheetah could pounce, or it could charge. You are able to calculate the distance between you and your attacker easily. The cheetah will most likely charge, it's too far away to pounce. The cheetah starts to run, but that doesn't matter. Your anxiety seems to slow down time in your brain, allowing you time to think. Do you run or do you fight?

You know that shelter and the rest of your tribe is too far for you to make a run for it, the cheetah would surely catch you before you could get there. So you choose to fight. You grab the small spearhead in your satchel. Your heart is racing, you will only have a small window of opportunity to kill the beast and save yourself. The cheetah is almost upon you, it jumps into the air, you move your hand as the beast falls onto you. You feel the impact, and you are knocked to the ground. The cheetah's claws find your shoulders, and you hear it shriek. Your weapon has killed the cheetah, and you stand up, bruised but alive.

It was situations like this where anxiety meant life over death. Those who were more suspicious and anxious tended to survive better, because they could picture every possible outcome, and prepare for each one.

At the dawn of civilization, anxiety was still a very useful trait. If someone wanted you dead, you could run from them or fight them more successfully than people who had lower levels of anxiety. This was the case throughout the centuries into the middle ages, the Industrial Revolution, and into the modern era. Since the dawn of civilization, humans have not changed much in their chemical and physical makeup.

The modern day first world human sees little to no day-to-day violence in his or her lifetime. There are exceptions, such as if you choose to be part of a gang, or if you are in an abusive relationship. Aside from that, physical violence is not something that first world humans have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Despite the lack of physical violence in first world nations, there seems to have been an outburst in verbal abuse (this is also mental abuse or psychological abuse). It turns out that physical violence and psychological violence, while different, can lead to similar outcomes. With physical violence, you walk away (if you can still walk) broken and bruised, injured and if it's bad enough, you could easily be in danger of losing your life. Yet the human body is built for fighting, it is built for physical stress and strain, it is built to make you anxious and afraid so that in a fight, you can think better, see clearer, and win against your enemy.

The human body was not built for dealing with the stress of the modern world. We were not built to stare at computer screens all day, or to be sitting down in a classroom or an office all the time. Today, a lot of stress comes from psychological abuse, yet your body still acts like it is in physical danger. When you experience psychological abuse, your body feels the way it would feel in a pre-historic "fight or flight" situation. You become anxious. Time slows down and your thoughts speed up. You try to find ways to figure out how to solve a problem, but this time you can't. Because the problem is coming from a screen, a parent, a friend, school, or work, or everything at once. When there is no clear solution, there is no release for the anxiety. It rises, but has nowhere to fall.

Over time, built up anxiety can turn into added stress, depression, and possibly suicide.

In the modern world, anxiety can be extremely dangerous. Especially if you are like me, and you have a higher baseline anxiety than the average person. Thousands of years ago, this trait would have saved people like me from getting eaten by a cheetah. In the modern world, it can cause our minds to turn on our bodies, it can cause us to forget our basic instinct of survival.

Though this post sounds pretty damn depressing, there are things you can do to ease your anxiety or depression (or both). This is the first post in a possible series of posts about anxiety/depression, and in my next post I'll be talking about ways to reduce stress and anxiety. If you're a victim of extreme stress, anxiety and/or depression, I really hope this helps. Believe me, I know how hard it is.

Thanks for visiting today <3

Love,

Jess
#awareness #MUGTE #SpreadTheLove

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Change

I like the way it smells after a storm. The way the glittering leaves tremble against the grey sky. The way the cool, wet air clings to me like the past. The silvery pearls that fall and vanish as they shatter on the ground. I listen to the sound, and allow myself a silence.

I feel most content outside after a storm.

There's no one that I have to try to save, nothing that I have to try to stop. There's no guilt over the chaos that has passed, only peace when I pick up the broken sticks and splinters. I like the taste of trees, of earth, of renewal on my tongue, and how the birds start singing only minutes after the storm has passed. When the violent disorder ceases, and everything has changed, it reminds me that each end is also a beginning.

Change is the only constant in our lives. It's the only thing we can count on, the only thing that is certain. In my childhood, change was all I knew. My family was restless, we would pick up everything and start anew in a different house, a different state, every year or so. By the time I was nine, I had moved nine times across six different states.

We change as individuals between the years, the days, the minutes, and there is no moment in which we are the same as we were before. Madeline L'Engle said, "I am still every age that I have been." In my brief adulthood, I have come to understand that though we change, we can never forget who we used to be. There are people I have been, people I regret being, people in my past that I wish I could erase and forget. Yet to forget is destructive. To forget is to deny. For it is the memory of who we were that makes us who we are, and it is who we are that chooses who we become.

I like the way it feels after a storm. There is a certain power that lingers in the air. One unlike the imposing dark clouds, the awesome, destructive might of lightning, wind, and rain. It's an energy, a driving force that propels life forward. A slow, undying resolve echoing across the years that tells us to take in the damage, and rebuild. Renew. Grow.

***

In this life, change is constant. It is terrifying, but sometimes it can lead you to the most amazing things in the world. Be kind, be honest, and love unconditionally.

Love,

Jess

Friday, April 1, 2016

SOLVED: The Lost Colony of Roanoke Part 2

To this day, no one has found any conclusive evidence about what actually happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke, yet we (my family) came up with a theory about what really happened. Keep in mind that this is probably totally fictional unless somehow I am right. (For the historical record of what happened, check out my previous post, SOLVED: The Lost Colony of Roanoke Part 1)

***

John White journeyed to the New World with his daughter and her husband to start a new life. He loved his daughter dearly, and being an Englishman, he was very naturally concerned about his social status.

When the colonists mistakenly landed on Roanoke Island instead of on the Chesapeake Bay, everyone decided to make the best of it and start a colony where they were.

When John White was elected governor, he had reached the peak of his career. In 14th century England, if you weren't born into royalty or if you didn't marry into the royal family, being governor of a colony was the highest you could climb.

During his time on Roanoke as governor, the situation of the colonists began to worsen. And John White made a few dire mistakes. (This part is factual) White and a few other men attacked a Native American tribe, thinking it was a tribe that had previously killed other Englishmen. Yet instead, the tribe they had brutally attacked had been friendly. This quickly made relations with other friendly Native tribes in the area disintegrate.

Because of this mistake he made, we can assume that without the help of the Natives, the colonists had a much harder time growing food and hunting. We can also assume that this caused people to go hungry, possibly even starve.

It was around this time that the colonists asked White to return home. But why would the governor of a colony just leave? Especially since his daughter and granddaughter were both left on Roanoke? Voyages across the ocean were dangerous, but isn't it a little strange that he wouldn't take his family back home with him? In fact, he could have easily just sent a messenger home and stayed with his colony.

The theory goes, that when things started to go wrong, a lot of people died and had many doubts in Mr. White. They feared he could not govern the new colony. It is possible that his daughter even had some unlawful relations with other men, or even just outright disagreed with White. This would have destroyed their family name if word ever got out.

Maybe everyone had left or had died before White left to return to England. Being the sole known survivor of the colony, White's story told from his perspective is all historians can go on. As far as the destruction of the buildings in the colony, it wouldn't be surprising if White and the crew of the ship sold the supplies gathered in the colony to the Spanish. It is possible that White himself carved the word "CROATOAN" into the posts, so that the English would find his story tragic, but wouldn't put too much stress on searching for the lost colonists, thinking they had moved on and were safe.

White only came back to the New World once to search for the lost colony after his leisurely three years in England. Which is also odd, seeing that his daughter and granddaughter were lost.

So what happened on Roanoke Island?

John White. According to my theory, he did it all.

Now how is that for a conspiracy theory?

This was really fun to do, it's possible it's even true, though of course no one can be sure. What do you think happened? Do you think I'm totally wrong, or do you think this maybe has some truth in it?

Jess

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SOLVED: The Lost Colony of Roanoke Part 1

The mystery of the lost colony of Roanoke Island has been solved.

Well, quite unofficially.

I'm writing this post in two parts to make sure it's not too long. What I'm about to tell you is the story of what happened on Roanoke Island. Or…what supposedly happened.

Once upon a time, in the year 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh of England sponsored the creation of a colony in the New World. The colony was supposed to be founded on the Chesapeake Bay. The 115 colonists were lead by John White, and established a colony on Roanoke Island after landing there by mistake. John White was appointed as the governor. Among the 115 colonists was John White's daughter, Eleanor and her husband, Ananias Dare. (Ananias and Eleanor Dare would later have a child, Virginia Dare, who became the first English child born in the Americas.)

As time went on in the new colony, relations with the Native Americans deteriorated, which made growing and finding food difficult. Many of the colonists also feared for their lives, afraid that the Native Americans would kill them. Eventually, the colonists begged John White to return home to England and explain their desperate situation. His mission was to return as soon as possible with food and supplies to maintain life in the New World. The colonists and White agreed that if anything happened while White was gone, they would leave a message for him carved into the trees. If they were in danger, they would carve a cross into a tree, so that White would know how he could find them.

White was sent home against his will, along with the captain and a crew. The journey home was filled with misfortune. The winds were bad for sailing, and much of the crew was severely injured even before starting their journey home. During their journey back to England, many crew members died of scurvy or starved to death.

After a long and terrible voyage, White made it safely back to England. Yet the misfortune had not ended. England was at war with the Spanish, and they needed every ship ready for battle. The English could not spare time for colonists in the New World, and White's mission was delayed by a total of three years.

Once three years had passed, the English finally granted him a ship and supplies to return to Roanoke. Yet when White arrived, everyone was gone. The houses and community buildings they had constructed had been lost as well. All that was left was a simple carving in a tree that read "CRO" yet no one had marked a cross, and carved into a post was the word "CROATOAN".

John White never found his family, and due to bad weather he was forced to return home to England. He never came back to the New World.

To this day, no one knows what happened to the colonists. There has been no conclusive evidence as to what happened there. Historians have come up with many theories as to what may have happened, yet no one has been able to find enough evidence to prove anything.

What do you think happened there? I'll be posting my theory on Friday, so be sure to stick around ;)

Jess

Monday, March 21, 2016

Trying To Survive Vacation Without Him

If you're a human being, no matter what age you are, it's very difficult to find love. Some people have better strategies, but in the end, real love is always very hard to find, especially if you're looking for it. (Finding love is a topic I will address sooner or later, but for now, let's leave that alone.) If you're very lucky, and if you're very brave, you will find it, and you can never let it go. Otherwise, as the stories go, you will regret it for the rest of your life.

Now, I'm a very clingy type of person, and a very honest type of person, so I know I won't ever have to worry about accidentally letting go of the man I love. Lucky for me, he doesn't mind that I'm clingy, which is wonderful.

Right now, I'm on vacation in North Carolina. The ocean is beautiful, and even though the weather at this time of year is still bone-chilling, it's hard not to go outside and walk along the beach.

As beautiful as it is, I miss him dearly.

I've been to the ocean a number of times, and yet this time it seems to have less color, less life. It seems colder (which it is, I can assure you), and more fearsome. Like the waves are laced with poison that makes me long for home.



I guess my biggest question is: how the hell does one survive that?

So far, I have not found an answer if there is an answer at all.

Either way, I will make one suggestion. Don't go to a beach in North Carolina in March because it's freezing. Go to Florida instead if that is an option!

Love,

Jess

P.S. I've got a raging headache at the moment, so I apologize for the very broken transitions in this post!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Purpose of This Blog

Lately, I've been a bit saddened by the state of the world. I don't think anything changed except for the way I see things. The world seems to have always been a difficult place to live, with crazy things and sad things happening. Some of the events that led me to this realization would be the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Donald Trump running for President of the United States (and actually gaining a following), and experiencing life in an eating disorder treatment center for four months.

Once I wrote the "About This Blog" page, I realized that I'm starting this project as a way to spread some hope.

Of course, I'm a real person, not some robot hiding behind a screen. I don't know everything (not even close). Everything in this blog comes from me and my observations of the world, and what I've learned in life. In other words, whatever goes down on this blog may or may not be very different from the things you believe in.

I accept that I'm young and naïve, and that I've got a lot to learn, so I'm going into this with an open mind and an open heart. All I ask of you while reading this blog is the same, that you go into this with an open mind and heart as well. I've come to find that keeping an open mind and heart in a world of constant change is all we can do.

Without further ado, I invite you to read everything I write. Though I'll warn you, I may talk about politics, or religion or other controversial issues, and when you read about it, just go into it open-minded, consider the ideas, and then if you don't like them, just let those ideas go.

The point of all this is to spread love and hope, and to inspire others to do the same. And not just spread love and hope to those who are like you, but to those who are also different. To those of different religions and who have different ideas and political views.

Whatever you and I agree on or disagree on doesn't matter. We are different and that is what makes us beautiful. And in knowing we are different, let's be unified. Join me in this project to spread love and hope to people in any way you can.

Love,

Jess