Thursday, October 8, 2009

Babies Gone Wild: Children of Reality TV

It seems like every week there is a new TV show about multiples. Luckily with the whole Jon and Kate scandal that trend has died down a bit. While it is hard to look away sometimes, I really can't help but feel sorry for the kids and disgusted by the parents. No one ever asks these kids whether or not they want to be on TV. Their lives, their mistakes, their sorrows are broadcast to the entire world. Most children who have been through a divorce don't want to talk about it and would be happy playing dumb. These poor kids have to see it on the cover of every magazine and hear stories and speculation on every entertainment show. Everyone is so obsessed with this car wreck of a marriage and Jon's douchey mid-life crisis that they never even consider giving the family, the children in particular, some privacy.

I can understand the appeal of reality TV, especially for families with a large number of children. When all the expenses start to pile up, money for documenting their story suddenly sounds very appealing. But there is a point when parents, as parents, need to say "That's enough." When your lives are falling apart, the world doesn't need to see it. What makes me really mad though, is when people like Kate continue with the show and say they're doing it "For the kids." Bull. When college students are watching the show and taking bets on which kid will end up being a slut, a bitch, or a serial killer, it is no longer what is best for your kids. I don't care if you're selling a book and want to be the newest member of The View: you are making your children suffer for your own gain and that is inexcusable.

Don't even get me started on you, OctoMom...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Love in the Time of Swine Flu

Can one join a nunnery without having to do all the nunny tasks that go with it?

Everywhere around me people are falling in love, getting married, and having babies (not necessarily in that order). I, on the other hand, have never been farther from the land of love. At least in school I was around guys all the time. Yes, no one else seemed to notice that fact, but it was always a possibility in my mind. Now, I never see guys my age. Even if I manage to get a job in a clothing store it will most likely be girl's clothing. The only boys I'll see there are attached or have a dirty little secret hidden in their closet.

The older I get, the lonelier I get. I used to be so busy that my love life (or lack-thereof) was rarely on my mind. As my schedule clears, I can feel a growing emptiness in my chest. It's like I've lost part of the quintessential experience of growing up. I've never had a high school sweetheart, a summer romance, or the experience of trying to keep a relationship going through the summer (which probably isn't a bad thing). I can't speak from personal experience when I give advice and I can't join in when girls tell horror stories about past relationships. It sometimes seems like my lack of romantic connections keep me from connecting with the rest of the world.

Some girls will read this and say things like "Boyfriends aren't all that great," "You are lucky to have your freedom," or "You don't need a man to be happy." Notice how all these girls have boyfriends...

I'm sure that someday I'll find the man of my dreams (or at least the man of the moment). But that belief does not ease the ache in my soul or the heart-breaking fear that I'll never experience love. Anthropologically speaking, one of the few characteristics that appear in all cultures is the existence of social relationships. As human beings, we are meant to feel a connection with those around us. To love, to truly love someone, is to feel the most beautiful connection: one that cannot be described in words and can never be forgotten. It is something that all of us should be lucky enough to experience.

So, to all those who have loved and lost and for those of us who have never loved at all: you have my excitement, my condolences, and my sympathy. Til next time...

Erika America

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Loss of Self

I have noticed that since I started college I have changed. I know, you all are probably thinking, "Well, duh!" But this isn't in a good way. A lot of people describe the college experience as an awakening, but for me it has been more of a dying. I have lost so much confidence in myself. I used to be the girl who raised her hand so much that teachers would start to ask "Anyone else?" before calling on me. I was never afraid to give my opinion, even if that meant telling someone they're full of shit in front of my entire class. Now, though, I sit in class praying that the teacher doesn't consider speaking the only form of participation. I almost never speak in class. When I do, it is just to quote from a book, never to give an opinion.

I wasn't that way in the beginning. Fall quarter of freshman year you could hardly get me to shut up in class. The only time I didn't have something to say was in Arabic, where I didn't have enough vocabulary to express coherent opinions. It seems that the old Erika began to die during Winter Quarter. I took a class on the history of the African diaspora. There were some very Afrocentric students in that class. One in particular seemed to take everything as somehow being racist. I never felt comfortable enough in that class to speak, let alone speak my mind! Ever since, I feel like I haven't been the same.

I have been reevaluating my life recently and realized that I don't like the person that I have become over the past two years. I have gone from a loud, opinionated, smart-ass with know-it-all tendencies to a quiet, meek little doormat who cares more about how people see her than what feels right. I've noticed it in my writing. When I compare the writing I have done recently to my writings from high school, there is a noticeable change. While I have improved technically, I have lost the creative, quirky flair that made my writing fun and interesting. However, that might be due to the fact that I've written nothing but research papers for the past two years ;)

College is supposed to make you a better person and prepare you for the big, scary world out there but the jury is still out on that one. Yes, I don't feel as miserable, but is that just because I hardly feel anything at all? The only thing I really feel right now is remorse for the part of me that I've lost and sadness that she may never be found again.

I know, what a depressing first post! This has been weighing on my mind and I started this blog because I needed a place to express it. Don't worry, it won't always be this way.

Erika America

Hello All!

Hello everyone,

This is a new blog that can act as a companion blog to Erika America Goes Abroad. I have things to say that have nothing to do with studying abroad so I needed a different outlet. I'll try not to be too emo. I would like to incorporate both fun and serious issues. If I start getting too dark and depressing, pull a Cher: send me a digital slap and tell me to snap out of it. Also, feel free to send me topic ideas--issues, trends, problems-- and I'll post my thoughts. I'll be like your own little advice columnist (but hopefully less pretentious).


Erika America