News

News: Since April of last year I have managed to accomplish several monumental things in my studies, but I update you now to tell you that three nights ago I had the best sleep since I last visited my aunt's house (years ago) and probably will never have another good sleep like it for years to come *nods sagely*.

--12 March 2017 --

Quote: I really dislike how glasses slide down your nose impetuously when you're glaring down at your unfinished work. -Me

The Fellowship

June 4, 2017

My Own Face {Reflections of Hate and Love}

Laura William's Photography



I looked in the mirror and saw my own face
And I thought to myself, "What a solemn disgrace,"
What a solemn disgrace - all these social constructs
That demand me to hate me with violent misconduct.
What a pity! because when I look at my shell
I see beauty and wisdom; in my eyes, the seas dwell.
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It's the me that's been with me from birth until now
And the me that will be, until death's fulfilled vow.
I see mystery and magic in memories fair,
I see heartache and sadness deep inside my own stare.
Yet despite all that's happened and all that will come, 
I am happy to live here
--- every piece the perfect (sum).

I've been with me for forever and I will be to the end,
It's a marriage of my soul-flesh...some may try to transcend
- they will pour out all their money to confect a pretty mask
So they won't see all their true self - and they'll call it just a task. 
But I don't see such a hardship in the loving of your skin
For it's held you tight together to explore the world, within. 
Think with me, just a moment - child, think with me if you dare -
Can you love your lowly body, can you cherish it with flare? 
Will you promise to protect it from the force inside your mind?
Can you give its only lifetime simple blessings of a kind? 
I think, indeed, if you care.. it will show upon your face
As attributes of kindly years, of happiness and grace.
And when our time has reached an end & we must leave this sphere
We'll look upon our mortal span with joy from tender years.


---
Signed with wildflowers, 
Squeaks.

April 20, 2017

8 Reasons Why Not to Watch '13 Reasons Why'

I have taken quite some time to think about whether or not I wanted to write this post and, after much debate and hemming and hawing, I decided I was morally obliged (by my conscience - blasted thing) to do so regardless. 

First things first, a disclaimer: 1) I have not watched '13 Reasons Why' nor do I intend to, 2) some of the content below may be triggering or emotionally disturbing. There is no graphic description or details regarding such content. 

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A lot of people have been talking about the latest Netflix hit, titled 13 Reason Why. I'm not going to be linking to the official sites, promotional videos, or quoting any lines because I'm about to express my complete disgust and disagreement with the very notion that something like this has even been aired. Now before you get your panties in a knot and start spouting phrases like, "But this is a big step forward for mental health advocates!", "People need to understand how serious suicide is!", "Kids are dealing with this, we need realism to come along side them!", hear me out. I'm going to give you a number of reasons why you should definitely not be watching this series, which will include reasons why this is not a big step forward for mental health advocates, and so on and so forth. We can discuss your opinions vs my opinions at the end if you'd like, but some ground must be covered before that happens. Furthermore, before you consider sharing your life story on your struggle with depression, anxiety, suicide, etc (and I am not making light of this in any way) to explain why you think your opinion is more valid than mine, kindly remember this: everybody has a story and you don't necessarily see the big picture.

For those of you who are unaware of this show, don't let me spark your interest. It's rated R/MA for mature audiences and ultimately glorifies and dramatizes the suicide of a teenager, wherein the audience follows along with her post-suicide cassette recordings that explain why she killed herself and who she blames for it. It's a story of revenge and does nothing to counteract the harmful content with what is needed in the area of mental health these days. It provides no hope nor any promise of healing, no discussion of diagnosis or treatment or recovery; that is a huge misuse of the entertainment platform. Nothing about this series is entertaining. 


8 Reasons Why Not to Watch '13 Reasons Why'
  1. R/MA rating. If the notion of F-bombs, gratuitous rape scenes, and suicide don't already shout stay-away, massive trigger warning!!! with blazing red flares, then I honestly don't know what's wrong with you. This is not a teen-friendly show and, having read reviews and synopses discussing its content, I don't think it's adult friendly either. You're essentially watching the abuse and destruction of a child's life... how is that screen worthy? Even if it's fictional, it leads to her "death"... how is that something you can condone watching? And why would one consider hiding behind the statement of, "The message is important" - let me tell you, this particular message is detrimental and harmful, it is not helpful in any way, shape, or form. 
  2. There is no happy ending. Yes, life doesn't always end happily - sometimes it ends with a pitiful whimper in the midst of horrifying internal pain. If you know me well, then you will recall that I'm a strong advocate for realistic literature depicting the fact that life is certainly not fair, kind, or happy. However, it's one thing to write such hopeless, dystopic messages and send them off into the literary world... it's another thing to graphically show them on screen and not have appropriate measures taken to ensure that the information isn't going to harm viewers. 
  3. Triggers. I'm not even going to talk about this one in depth. Those who struggle will understand that graphic depiction of self-harm and rape is not healthy. In fact, several years back, the social media site Tumblr underwent massive renovation to remove/restrict all accounts that sent out negative mental-health messages to their audiences. Hundreds of sites were closed to ensure that tumblrs previously posting pro-anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, and sexual abuse would no longer be able to do so (this included, but is not limited to: graphic images, triggering content, and negative "advice"). This was one of several social media facelifts that occurred and prompted numerous users to employ trigger warnings on their content and has shifted the atmosphere from the perpetuation of mental illness to the encouragement for seeking help and recovery. If social media sites restrict and punish users for harmful content, why is there not a greater outrage at this TV series? This is not art. Death is  not art. And suicide, rape, and self-harm are absolutely not art. Too many people have already spoken up about how 1) it doesn't have nearly enough trigger warnings to make people cautious and 2) it has brought about unexpected and difficult emotional responses to those with past traumatic experiences or with a history of mental illness. 
  4. It simplifies the consequences and promotes blame. Death is final; handling such a serious topic in such a primitive, petty way is distasteful. It isn't a show that tells the story of the tragic loss of a human being... rather, it is a dramatic retelling that flaunts death and showcases how a school becomes wrapped up in the drama of the event. Death is not something to be taken lightly and it is certainly not something to chat about as if it were a mystery puzzle for your benefit. Additionally, the message is revenge instead of recovery. If this were truly a series with an intent on educating about mental illness, then there would be a far better coverage of steps to recovery for those who currently suffer.  
  5. It is in direct violation of the recommendations for reporting on suicide. Over 50 academic studies around the world have shown a connection between poor reporting on suicide and increased likelihood of suicide. These guidelines were developed by many well known suicide-prevention groups (including, but not limited to, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Medical University of Vienna, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute). Their intention was to provide members of the media with guidelines to ensure they do not fearmonger with their stories or write triggering news articles. If such statistics are associated with simple reporting of actual events, then how much more harmful would a graphic film be to at-risk audience members?
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  6. It doesn't provide any alternatives. There is no out-right discussion or naming of depression or mental illness. There is no balancing out of the graphic images with statements about how treatment is readily available and it does work - things DO get better and recovery is possible. Leaving an audience hanging, especially for a show that may attract those suffering from depression or struggling with thoughts of self-harm and suicide, is a harmful thing. Yes, suicide has happened and likely will continue to happen, but we need to focus on directing people to recovery and treatment instead of letting them drown in the agony of such emotionally disturbing information. 
  7. It gives a very bad reason for survivors guilt. Yes there is such a thing as survivors guilt, and yes it is based on a lie. The characters in this series are driven to feelings of guilt and obligation and the viewers revel in the revenge. No matter what the world tells you about responsibility for suicide, the only person that should ever be blamed is the one no longer present. Like I've already said, there are many treatment options and there is plenty of hope for people struggling with thoughts like these. It still all boils down to their decision - will they seek and wrestle out their recovery, or will they end their life. Yes there are factors that impact that ultimate decision, but the only one in control at that point of no-return is the person owning the body. There are horrible people out there who will hurt you and put you down, abuse you and try to destroy you - but unless they outright kill you, they cannot ever be responsible for your death. Basing this series around the revenge acquired by the infliction of guilt and humiliation does not help anyone - it only promotes further harm.
  8. It provides a graphic depiction of suicide. In no way, shape, or form should suicide be graphically shown on screen, even if trigger warnings are given beforehand. Authorities have removed and banned videos of real suicides and deaths from social media before - just because this series is not "real" does not mean that they should have any right to step-by-step show such a horrible thing simply for its shock value. People have become so desensitized to what is okay to watch and what is not okay to watch; once you see a graphic scene like this you can't unsee it. I mean heck, one of my English professors at university required her Holocaust Autobiography/Biography class to report any symptoms of PTSD because some of the readings were graphic. This is a university class full of adults and the professor was concerned about the impact it would have on our mental health...we're talking about a TV series with graphic scenes of self-harm and suicide. I am so deeply disturbed to think of people sitting comfortably on their couch with a cup of tea in hand, languidly watching a young girl kill herself. HOW IS THAT OKAY? THAT IS NOT OKAY! I don't care if it's a show, I don't care if it's "entertainment", and I certainly don't care if you think you are educating yourself on the struggle of mental health - that is not something anyone should ever watch. 
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This post was extremely difficult to write. It's the effort of multiple days, of weeks of thought, and I still feel like I haven't expressed my point very well. However, it needed to go out into the world and do its thing, so I eventually decided to not spend any more time on it. What happens will happen. I just want to bring awareness to the fact that it is very negative and harmful and I 100% do not recommend this show. Yes, we need to talk about mental health. Yes we need to discuss depression, self-harm, bullying, rape, and suicide, but not in a manner that is for simple entertainment. Not in a way that could cause people to hurt or to relapse or to suffer. We need to be delicate, but we also need to be bold. 

If you are currently struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-harm, depression, anxiety, or any mental illness, please seek professional help. Confide in someone you trust, or call a help line. For Canadians, please visit: http://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/.



Signed with love, 

Squeaks.

April 8, 2017

Twenty One Pilots - 5 Lyrics I Adore (+ some discussion)

Some of you skimming this post maybe aren't up to speed on Twenty One Pilots... thank you for clicking the link, because it is quite possible that your life will be different after you read what I have to say. If you want to check out their social media for yourself, please check out their links to major websites here:

Band Page   |  Twitter   |  Youtube   |  Facebook   |  Instagram

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Before I get into the lyrics (you can scroll down if you're desperate for the list), I wanted to discuss a few short things. Actually, they are exponentially LARGE things, in my mind, but I will try to condense all my thoughts for you so we can actually get somewhere with this discussion. I like lists, so let's have a small list on reasons why Twenty One Pilots is near and dear to my little heart. 


  • First, the band is made up of two men - there were more originally, but right now there are two. Tyler Joseph, who is the vocalist and plays the mandolin and keyboard and we love him for it - and his best friend Josh Dun, master drummer otherwise known as Spooky Jim Christmas. They are one of the best representations of friendship and loyalty that I've seen in what I call the Warped Tour world (although, don't get me wrong, there are a lot of other fellows out there in their genre of (and I use this loosely and carefully) "emotionally in-touch" musicians who are not running shows on Warped Tour). I love the freshness and humanity they bring to their art. And I love how they are clean with their language and encouraging to each other and their fanbase.  
  • Second, Tyler writes his heart out. This is why his music is so meaningful to so many people, because it connects his humanity to theirs - they see someone going through life and putting words and music to that intangible sensation we all feel but can never fully grasp. The fact that we are mortal, some of us suffering, and everyone trying to figure it all out. Purpose, meaning, the reason we're alive, etc. I cannot emphasize enough how much their lyrics mean to me or to others, or just in general - they're deep and important and I love them
  • Third, it's relevant. In a society that's wrestling with how to discuss mental health and matters of the heart, Twenty One Pilots' lyrics bring critical components to light and present an undercurrent of hope. This, again, leads to the encouraging nature of the fanbase and the support system they offer each other. I think it's beautiful. It also opens up avenues of conversation for people who are afraid to talk about their struggles - and opening up is the first step to healing :) 
  • Speaking of the fanbase... have you even seen the ART??? It's insane how many talented people there are out there. I love it. In fact, I love everything about this band and the community it has created <3 all the love! 


Alright, so, time for some lyrics. That's what we're all here for, right? :P I present, 5 lyrics I adore (out of SO MANY, guys this was ridiculously hard to do...). Click the links to access the music/lyric videos on youtube.

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  1. I try desperately to run through the sand as I hold the water in the palm of my hand. 'Cuz it's all that I have and it's all that I need and the waves of the water mean nothing to me. But I try my best and all that I can to hold tightly onto what's left in my hand, but no matter how, how tightly I will strain, the sand will slow me down and the water will drain.
    //
    But you specialize in dying, you hear me screaming, "Father," and I'm lying here just crying, so wash me with your water.
    {Addict with a Pen, Self Titled Album}
  2. Am I the only one I know waging my wars behind my face and above my throat? Shadows will scream that I'm alone, but I know we've made it this far, kid.
    //
    I am not as find as I seem, pardon... me for yelling, I'm telling you green gardens are not what's growing in my psyche, it's a different me, a difficult beast feasting on burnt-down trees. Freeze frame please, let me paint a mental picture portrait...
    //
    And I know that I can fight or I can let the lion win. I begin to assemble what weapons I can find, 'cuz sometimes to stay alive you gotta kill your mind.
    {Migraine, Vessel}
  3. ...they just might wage war on you, therefore it's true that I shot my general on my side of enemy lines.
    //
    I'm the son of all I've done, impostor, been fostered, then my new father drained my dirty blood.
    //
    I'm not done, I'm not done yet, no, kick me off the stage and take my microphone. Then you'll walk up to me and when you get close, I'll look you in the face and say, "Where's your home? Where are you going and why are you here?" Have you asked these questions? Have you been sincere? Want to know what I believe? It's right here, dig a little deeper and it's crystal clear.
    {Clear, Regional at Best}
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  4. I won't take much of your time, I just want you to see what I have made inside these lines. It's as good as I can be, it's as good as I can be, this is all that I can be, this is all that I can be... all that I can be. Head tilted down, knees on the ground and I will ask, "Please..... SAVE! Save me! Please, save, save! Save, save, save, save, save, save, save. Save me, save me, save me, save me, save me, save me."
    {Save, No Phun Intended - technically titled under Tyler Joseph pre-Twenty One Pilots era, but THAT DOESN'T MATTER}
  5. Death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit. Can you save, can you save my -- can you save my heavydirtysoul?
    {Heavydirtysoul, Blurryface}


*******

Twenty One Pilots Lyrics - Pinterest
I honestly can't pick a favourite song, or even a favourite album. While Blurryface (their latest release) is definitely the sharpest sounding because of the higher production quality, the previous albums are full of lyrical gold and glorious instrumentals. They all deserve to be listened to and thought over. 

My journey with listening to them started back in 2013, when Guns for Hands first came out (and can we just have a moment of joy for how adorable Tyler is in that music video? <3 :O so adorable). I actually didn't like them much at first, but the lyrics stuck and one day I suddenly realized I was in much too deep to not be a fan :P I simply can't get over how much meaning the lyrics have and how delightful Tyler & Josh are as people. They're kind of like lemonade - sweet and sour with a lot of quirky quotes on life. Many of their songs got me through a really rough 2016, so I am very grateful for them.  

Additionally, can we just talk a moment about how many references there are to the Bible and their faith in Christ? I mean, at first I thought it was a coincidence, but now I'm absolutely certain (particularly after reading their professions of faith). So this is doubly exciting for me, to see people who have the same beliefs that I do pursuing a career in music, struggling with deep thoughts and dark concepts, and coming out stronger in the end. Take Fairly Local for example, some of those lyrics are straight out of Romans 7. I thought I was imagining things the first time I heard it, but their whole Blurryface album is chock full of this stuff. It is awesome and so encouraging. 

If you haven't yet heard anything other than Stressed Out, Heathens, or Ride (which are the top 3 Twenty One Pilots songs on the charts) then you should check out the rest of the Blurryface album - from there, it's up to you where you'd like to take your adventure. Their discography is very eclectic and undoubtedly has something for everyone: Twenty One Pilots (self titled album, 2009 release), Regional At Best (2011), Vessel (2013, which has quite a few redone songs from RAB - don't be confused like I was, lol), and Blurryface (2015).  

I have a lot more I could write about these dear fellows, but I think I'll save it for another time :) Thanks for reading, folks! Tell me in the comments what your favourite Twenty One Pilots lyrics or songs are - I'd love to chat with you about it! <3 


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Signed with sunlight,

Squeaks.

Follow me on Pinterest @MinstrelWarrior for more Twenty One Pilots Fandom stuff & fantasy writing inspo!

March 12, 2017

Tag :O - One Lovely Blog Award - 7 Facts About Me

I never do tags (not since 2009 I think, back when I was a small bean). Those of you who have been with me from the turn of the decade know these things. Yet what does my title say? WOT?! Who unleashed this madness? Before we get into the heft of it (and before you scold me for starting my sentence with a preposition) I must tell you a few things.

  1. Thing 1 - I have been terribly busy - so busy that I have barely enough time to sleep before I needs be busy again. Such is life. 
  2. Thing 2 - I have been unbearably sullen. I promise, I do try not to be sullen, but sometimes the business gets in between my ears and I become a dark little raincloud, bustling to and fro between my Things that I do. 
  3. Thing 3 - Part of that business is writing academic papers. The droll of this particular Type of writing tends to vacuum dust into my head and I end up spouting facts to myself that I don't really truly want to know. Facts that will turn me into an old, rusty bucket. 
  4. Thing 4 - I have been absent from this blog (obviously <-- duh) because I have very little energy after all these Things have taken their due. 
Why am I even bothering to do a tag - A TAG, I never do tags - on this briefest of brief breaks from my business with all the Things? Well - I will enlighten you. It was this, stare at my dead social media, or cry tears of stress into my bedsheets and so obviously I picked the better of the three. 

That being said - I give you this gangly little tag, wherein I tell you 7 facts about me and we all leave here happy as a baby coconut. This dear coconut-inducing tag has been brought to you by the daring of Tracey Dyck over at Adventure Awaits (yes dear your name is in extra large font because the master poster can choose such things :) that is all). Let's give her a round of applause for unsuspectingly waking the sleeping dragon (or lethargic, comatose dragon... take your pick). You shake your hands and I'll shake mine. Deal? Fantastic. Now let's unbother ourselves with more stuff. 

[Tag] One Lovely Blog Award - 7 Facts About Me
  1. In terms of clothes, I abhor the colours orange and yellow (but still own some t-shirts like that??!! WHY!) and much prefer dark or muted forest-y tones. Mostly I just love blue. 
  2. On that same vein of thought, I used to have atrocious style as a teenager (dear lord) and would often go around dressed something akin to a motherless hippie child living out of a grandmother's tickle trunk. My mother did often try to suggest otherwise. There was one year in particular where I decided to use glitter glue to decorate my eyebrows... who ever thought that was a good idea. 
  3. I used to (and still do) think it admirable to read the books that people complain about - claiming they're impossible to understand - simply so I can know in my heart that I still have that knack for literature. (isn't this a horrible thing? it has led me to many fantastic discoveries though :P so my win, their loss)
  4. Most people think I'm between 16-18 years old and that I'm still in highschool *pats heads affectionately* that's adorable. 
  5. I have 2 non-intentional stick-n-poke tattoos from accidentally getting stabbed (or stabbing myself) with a pen. 
  6. I'm an extroverted introvert - I may seem outgoing in public, but I am truly a tired, lonely little penguin who likes to sit in silence, read books, and cuddle my cats. 
  7. One of my biggest everyday goals is to ensure no one gets left out and no one feels under-appreciated. 

Grief, child, looks like we got a little deep there - alrighty. Well, I've promptly run out of steam. I would really love to just sleep now, but it's still much too early for that nonsense. I was also going to add a nice picture to this post, but after 15min of not finding anything suitable it shall remain purely word-ridden *rolls eyes* pinterest, you have failed me. 

So anyhow..
Should I return to blogging? What do you guys think (if anybody is left reading this mishmash of words)? 


Signed with a breathe, 

Squeaks.
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