Monday, January 9, 2017

Endless Possibilities

      Welcome back to Storytime with Mya, I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season! After a long winter break, I am finally here to update you on my reading developments. Since my previous entry, I have completed my 10th and 11th novel. I am currently moving on to my 12th book. My reading rate has been slightly inconsistent, but I'm not too disappointed. I hoped to read more over winter break, but I procrastinated quite a bit. I'm really hoping to finish my current novel, before the semester is over, but it is a little longer than some of the other novels that I have read. I am currently reading I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson, and I recently finished 37 Things I Love (In No Particular Order) by Kekla Magoon, which happens to be the topic of my final entry.
      37 Things I Love (In No Particular Order) features the chaotic life of a sophomore named Ellis. One day, Ellis' father was involved in a construction accident that put him into a coma. Ellis very frequently went to visit her father in the hospital, but everything changed when  her mother wanted to put her father to rest.  Ellis dealt with an excessive amount of mental pain, but not being able to talk to her best friend made everything worse. Saying that her life is messed up is definitely an understatement.
      At the very end of the novel, Ellis finally faces her demons. I can't exactly state what happens because no one likes a spoiler, but I can tell you that Ellis realizes that "maybe I don't have to hold on so tight. Maybe it's okay to let go a bit. I'm ready to leap...If I fall, it won't be that far"(Magoon 223). Ellis had to let go of the things that held her back. Rather than continuing to dwell on the past, she knew that she had to launch herself into the future. In life, it tends to be very easy to allow the past define you because the past is the only thing that we are one hundred percent sure of. Focusing on the future is one of the hardest things to do because it is so unpredictable. Life is easier when we stick to what we know, but easier isn't always better. Sometimes taking risks can go wrong, but one bad event doesn't mean that we can't get back on our feet. Instead of holding onto every memory, making new ones should be our goal. No one truly knows what the future holds until each event actually happens. The future has so many endless possibilities while the past cannot be changed. One may be able to change the way they view the past, but the only thing that can be altered is the future. Ellis' hardships exemplify that the future has way more to offer than the past. Holding on to things of the past can only hurt your future. Even if you mess up in the future, there will always be a way to overcome your mistakes if try your hardest.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The World's Favorite Facades

      Welcome back to Storytime with Mya! As the weather has gotten colder, and the nights have gotten longer, my motivation to read has increased significantly. At the beginning of the year, I thought that I would read twelve books before the end of the entire school year. Surprisingly, I finished my ninth book, and I am nearly done with my tenth! As the year has gone on, I have taken advantage of independent reading time. Thanks to Ms. Mayo's reading suggestions, I have truly found joy in reading. Reading used to feel like a chore, but now it is one of my favorite activities. I read right before bed, and it really is the best way to fall asleep. During this year, a lot has changed for me, and reading has been one of my only escapes. In a time that feels like forever ago, I struggled to read a novel in under two weeks. If you have the time to read one of my old entries (specifically, Easier isn't Always Better), you'll get a glimpse of my old habits. Since my previous entry, I have read a total of four books, including the topic of this entry, The Color Purple by Alice Walker. 
     The Color Purple focuses on the life of Celie, and how the world around her affects it. Celie starts off as a very broken. Physical, and emotional abuse made Celie's early life nearly unbearable. Through Celie's letters to god and her sister, she transforms from a lost girl to an independent woman. Celie's character reminds the world that our past doesn't define our future. 
     In the novel, Celie is not treated fairly by many people, including her husband and her step-father. After being sexually assaulted by her step-father,  Celie has two children named Adam and Olivia. Both of her children get adopted because of her abusive husband's requests. Eventually, Adam and Olivia move to Africa with Nettie, Celie's sister, by their side. During their time in Africa, Adam marries an Olinka village girl named Tashi. Because Tashi lived in the early 20th century, "it was very clear to her that black people did not truly admire black skinned black people like herself, and especially did not admire black skinned black women. They bleach their faces... They fry their hair" (128). Tashi went through several procedures to make herself seem less black because she didn't think that she was good enough. She let the her appearance determine her identity. Even in our modern society, people believe that our outside figure defines who we are. The hair on our heads, the pigment in our skin, and the weight of our bodies are all facades that cover up who we really are. We can hide behind our exterior shells, but in reality, we are all only human. Whether it is 1932, 1781, or 2016, the genuine kindness of a person makes them who they are! No one is too dark or too pale, too short or too tall, or too thin or too large. We are all made to be ourselves. It is easy to forget that the things on the exterior of our bodies do not count for very much. Someone would appreciate a kindhearted person way more than a person who tries to appear perfect. To be brutally honest, perfection is boring. We are all different for a reason. Trying to defy the odds of our uniqueness isn't going to benefit anyone. If you're not accepted by your peers because of your looks, you're hanging out with the wrong people. There will always be critics who have opinions about your appearance, but in the end, their opinion is not as valuable as yours. By changing your appearance you'll just be wearing another one of the world's favorite facades.
     I realize that self identity can be hard to find and very hard to accept. Everyday, I work on accepting myself because loving myself, makes me more confident and happier. If you're ever feeling down, The Skin I'm Inby Sharon G. Flake will remind you that, YOU are truly important!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Good Friends Are Hard To Find

      Wow, it has been quite a long time! Welcome back to Storytime with Mya. For the first time in a while, correction, for the first time ever, I have managed to meet a reading goal. In my previous entry, I promised that I would finish Lord of The Flies by October 11, and I surprisingly finished it on that very date. After completing that novel, I began to read Speak. BecauseLaurie Halse Anderson did an amazing job with writing it, I finished the entire book in a single day! After completing Speak, I began to read The Impossible Knife of Memory, which happens to share the same author as Speak. While it took me a little over two weeks to finish it, I was actually proud of myself. This novel was nearly 400 pages, and I didn't expect to finish it quickly. I recently started to read The Color Purple by Alice Walker, I hope that I complete it by November 13. Now that I have finally been able to start this entry with a positive note, I think it is time to switch gears.
      The Impossible Knife of Memory features Haley, and the world around her.  On the outside Haley appears to be perfectly normal, but in reality she is the opposite. Haley deals with her father that suffers from very severe post traumatic stress disorder after serving in the military. Dealing with a chaotic household creates an even more chaotic life outside of her home.
      After ending a long lasting road trip, Haley joins a new high school. For years, it was just Haley, and her unstable father. She ended up having to take care of the one person that was supposed to take care of her.  When Haley entered high school, she claimed that “Having a friend made everything else suck less” (9). Honestly, I couldn't agree with her any more than I already do.    
      As a young girl in a malicious world, I have experienced a plethora of events that definitely could've sucked less if I had a friend. Before the summer of seventh grade, I switched schools. I was a generally shy person, and making friends was not my strong suit, as a matter of fact, making friends was nearly impossible for me. Without having someone by my side, I felt lost and hopeless. In Haley's words, my life sucked. I was extremely depressed during that phase of my life, but the one thing that saved me was having a friend. Most people didn't like me, I was unapproachable and always in a bad mood, but one person saw through my facade. I didn't know how to open up to people until I met my best friend, Angie. Originally, I was intimidated by her, and she was intimidated by me, but as time went on, our bond only grew stronger. Despite our different personalities, we were brought together through the power of music, and we were inseparable. After becoming friends with Angie, I didn't immediately shake out of my unhappiness, but eventually my sadness was lifted. The power of friendship changed my life for the better. In theory, "Having a friend made everything suck less" (9).

Monday, October 10, 2016

Easier isn't Always Better

      Long time no see! Welcome back to Storytime with Mya, I hope you're ready to hear another failed reading goal. I originally promised that I would finish my novel in less the two weeks, but that promise was sadly broken. After nearly THREE weeks, I finished The Year We Disappeared by Cylin and John Busby. My reading pace significantly decreased, but it can only go up from here. Reading a non-fiction novel was a totally new experience for me, and I surprisingly enjoyed it. My consistency of reading was definitely hindered because I originally dreaded reading a non-fiction novel. As of now, I have started the notorious novel,  Lord of The Flies. I have read every night so far, and I'm even a little surprised by myself. I hope to be done with the novel by October 11! I'm starting to ramble on a bit, so let's dive right into my reflection of The Year We Disappeared.

      In The Year We Disappeared, John Busby, the father of Cylin, gets shot in his face while driving his car. John Busby suffers from severe facial deformities, and extreme health issues. Cylin, her two brothers and her mother supported John through his recovery, but during the process, the family was under twenty-four hour surveillance. Eventually, the Busby family was unwanted by their own home town. They became fed up with constant supervision, so they essentially disappeared.  Even though John physically healed, his persona remained broken. Cylin explains how "He didn't seem to notice when we were around, or when we weren't. I felt like he didn't even like to look at me anymore" (185). John was very self absorbed after the accident because he feared for his safety. It got to a point where John almost forgot that other people even existed. Similar to John, our modern day society is very selfish.
      Today's society is filled with individuals that are extremely concerned about themselves. Their road blocks in life blind them from the ones they love. Sadly, our society neglects each other, and the only time that we decide to pay attention to others is when something extremely negative occurs. Being constantly concerned about makeup, hair, fitness, skin and a plethora of other physical things has caused us to forget the important things in life. Instead of worrying about what's on the outside, we can't focus on who people really are. It feels as if we are blinded by all of our physical. Society hides behind a mask. While we can see people, we aren't seeing them for who they are. We aren't physically blind, but we don't really know who anyone is. People have gotten so caught up in their own lives that they aren't themselves. Plenty of us feel neglected, so we do things for attention. This eventually has a ripple effect that causes even more self absorption. Similarly to John Busby, our society doesn't notice when people are around, or when they aren't. Life is so much easier when we only have to worry about one person, but easier is not always better. If there was a way to unblind our society, everyone would be open to new things, but we have reached the point of no return.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite

     If you haven't already guessed it, I just finished reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and I have nothing but positive opinions about the novel. Reading a novel that was in the form of letters was very enjoyable, but I didn't like that I only got Charlie's point of view. My biggest regret is not spending enough time outside of class reading the novel.  Reading a single book in two weeks is a little too slow for my liking, but this made me realized that I can definitely push myself way further on my next novel.  My pace of reading was undesirable in my opinions because the book was not very long. The next book that I want to start is The Year We Disappeared  by Cylin Busby, I am definitely going to try to read twenty pages per night even if I have homework!
     Personally, The Perks of Being a Wallflower touched my heart in a way that I didn't think was possible. Every time that someone talks to me about the novel, somehow the topic of infinity comes up in conversation. While riding in the back of a truck with his friends, Charlie expresses that " in this moment, I swear we were infinite"(42). This rather common quote, has a much deeper meaning to me. With school, and tennis, I have struggled to take any pressure off of myself. Typically, I am a very stressed out, but I have finally came to a realization. Sometimes, it is okay to live in the moment because some moments may never happen again. Instead of worrying about my future, I need to enjoy the small things while I can. Everyday my life changes, but of the 5,574 days that I have been alive, I have never truly felt infinite. I struggle to let loose, and truly have fun because there are always thoughts running through the back of my mind. I continuously worry about not being good enough and plenty of other things, trust me, the list goes on and on. As long as I am happy with who I am, I have the power to enhance my life to its fullest extent. Maybe one day I will feel infinite. It may not be today, and it definitely won't be tomorrow, but the day that I do, will be a day that I will cherish for eternity. Charlie's life wasn't alway plethora of happiness, but witnessing his character let loose, inspired me to do the same!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Who am I?

    Hey y'all,  I'm Mya, and I am a sophomore in high school. Truthfully, I was not always the biggest reader. Reading felt almost like a chore because I only read books in order to retain knowledge. Eventually, I realized that reading was way more enjoyable than a chore, but finding the right types of books can be tricky. Typically, I read young adult fiction, and the occasional science fiction novel. While reading is really enjoyable, I am very inconsistent with reading. Because of this, I have made my reading goal for this school year 12 books. I definitely want to push myself this year, 12 books may seem like a small number, but I tried to be somewhat reasonable. On the nights where I'm not busy with loads of homework, my goal is to ready at least 25 pages per night.
    As of now, I am reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower,  but I am very close to the end. I definitely want to read Me Before You next. As you can tell, young adult novels are my favorites, but I am hoping that reading Lord of the Flies will introduce me into other genres. I am required to read a non-fiction book, but I have not picked one yet because non-fiction is slightly intimidating. I am also going to read two AP novels, but I've decided to focus on my current novels. I have considered reading The Great Gatsby and The House on Mango Street.