From dance to music, plays and museums, art is everywhere. It is a form of expression and entertainment for so many around the country. The arts have changed people’s lives whether they are performing or attending as an audience member. Can the funding for the arts be coming to a close?
The National Endowment for the Arts was established in 1965 by Lyndon B. Johnson. On the NEA website the displayed statement is that they are an "independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation."
President Trump has mentioned cutting the funding in it's entirety for this highly important agency, but why?
According to arts.gov for the 2016 year, the NEA funded $147,949,000 on the arts. It covered major programs noted in one of the most popular places for the arts, New York City. The money especially helped the less fortunate areas to fund activities. Trump made the statement that he would like to have more money for military spending (or maybe a hotel in place of where the NEA headquarters used to be in Washington). Randy Shulman from metro weekly.com writes, "while cutting the NEA would make little difference in the overall budget, it would vastly impact the often meagre budgets of non-profit arts organizations nationwide, resulting in, if not exactly decimation, very clear and present hardships, impacting economics, programming and outreach."
If we spend all our money on tanks and missiles while our schools are falling apart, our environment is toxic, our kids aren’t provided after-school programs, and our seniors are starving to death, what is there left for the military to defend?
With this statement, it could bring about many questions. Why would the funding for an agency that can not only be used by people for entertainment, but for a livelihood be cut? Wouldn't it affect jobs? Would it eventually put theaters out of business over time or even those performing arts schools and colleges?
There are groups and organizations throughout the United States that solely depend on funding from the NEA to be able to afford supplies and travel to other cities to share what they love with others. Major dance companies based in New York City were some of the first recipients of the grants to be able to produce and come as far as they have over the years. Without the funding or the NEA, would other small dance companies or theater groups be able to evolve into well known performing arts groups like companies such as American Ballet Theater have become?
As of March 11, 2017, there is no definite answer as to what will actually be happening to the National Endowment of the Arts. If you think about it, this funding is not wasteful. Think about where the arts were back in the 1920's with the jazz age or even 10 years later with the Harlem Renaissance. These historical times have influenced the world of performing arts will continue for years to come. In 100 years, would the future of the arts be able to still be influenced by what current performers do now if we do not have the funding to do so?
"I go to see a great perhaps"
When I originally sat down to write this blog post my plan was to write about "the importance of joining clubs in high school," and I even went so far as to go and have a mock interview with our wonderful SADD councilor, Mrs. Murray. I was almost halfway done with my open letter formatted essay when I picked up a copy of a book I'd wanted to read for a while. The title isn't important, and frankly nor is the plot, but what is is what I read and how it impacts me now, and how it will in the future. Though I made a promise to write an article about clubs, I think this lesson is a bit more meaningful and important in a blog that is only read by a certain type of student.
The quote above is by Francois Rabelais, his last words; supposedly. In his context the quote refers to the unanswerable question of what happens after death, if anything. Every religion had their own answer to this question and by extent assume the other groups beliefs to be wrong. I’m not here to argue about religion, but instead spin the quote to be more relatable to high school and what happens when it’s over. Most students will tell you when asked, “What are your plans after high school?” that they’d like to go off to college, get a degree in (insert profession here), start a family, and live out the rest of their life happily ever after. The fact remains of course that that’s not only only most students, but also that you don’t always get what you want. The world is a harsh place and you will always have to compete in life against people, ideas, and oppression for what you want. People make plans for after high school but don’t always have the opportunity or will power to see them through. I have a teacher who I don’t always see eye to eye with, but they taught me that you will always have to work towards your goals, and only then does the seemingly improbable become possible.
So set goals in life, and work for them. High school is just the beginning of your journey into the “great perhaps” of life. Join a club (Ah ha! I did work my original point into here!), get a hobby, play a sport, learn an instrument. Mrs. Murray, when asked about her thoughts on student involvement, said that she saw a direct correlation between success and a student's involvement. Make a goal, and achieve it. Lay the stones now for your path to success in life. You are worth no less than anyone else, even in a time when people are scared of what their government might do to impose on the freedoms that make all that we are and can be possible. Life is a great adventure that we all must take, why not make every second of your finite time on this Earth worth it?
As we all march towards adulthood, remember that anything is possible if you work for it; and that work starts now, when you can take your life in any way you’d like. Be inspired. Make the world a better place not just for yourself, but for all those who live in it.
Post by: M. Mariani
Let me tell you now; you keep using that word and I don’t think you know what it means. Feminism is not just about equal pay or being on equal footing with men. It is about everyone, not just women, being on equal footing with everyone else. This includes people of all genders, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, ability or disability. Just because the name is feminism does not make it inherently exclusively female. In the beginning, sure, it was just women fighting for the rights of women, but it has blossomed into so much more than that since then.
Feminists now fight toxic masculinity, sexism, racism, ableism, transphobia, and a multitude of other issues prevalent in today’s society. Being a feminist does not mean you can’t be a stay at home mother or any of the traditionally female coded gender roles. In fact, that’s even part of the reason why we are feminists. We fight to give people the choice. We fight to end the stigma against all people, regardless of whether or not they want to fit into the mold that society was created. There is nothing wrong with either.
Also, women are not inherently fragile creatures. Since you seem like a religious woman, let me put it to you this way; according to the Bible, Eve was created from Adam’s rib. We are made of the same stuff that men are, and we were created from the rib so that we could stride by Adam’s side—Not in front of him, not behind him, but at man’s side as an equal. We are there to support our partner, as our partner is there to support us.
I think that when you have been picturing the people writing the articles explaining feminism, you have been picturing those people as angry, bra burning women waving around signs about abortion rights and protesting the unfair disparity between the prices of things marketed towards women and things marketed towards men. You are only really half right. The women you are no doubt imagining are some of the older waves of feminism, Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs), and other radical feminists. I am not an angry bra-burner (because as you probably know, bras are expensive as heck). I am a 5 foot 3 inch ball of love and acceptance, and I am a feminist.
I do not exactly understand why you are not a feminist. I do not understand what you mean when you say you do not want the kind of power that men have had all these years, because here is the thing—It is not that they have some great, almighty power like your God has. It is that they have been withholding any kind of power from women, automatically putting us beneath them. We are not going to rule over and terrorize men-- as has been done to us since the Feminist movement started, and long before. We just want equality for all, not just between women and men. Maybe if you can understand this, you can join us.
I think back to the first time I felt my insecurities take over. I was in my early teenage years, I knew what I was feeling didn’t feel good but I didn’t know how to put it into words, and who wants to admit to being the dreaded words, “insecure?”
I pushed down the awful feelings for quite a while, and in that time of not really truly feeling comfortable in my own skin and not acknowledging what it really was, I let it transform into uglier feelings which sometimes led to ugly actions. I would push good opportunities away. I would push any good in my life away, because I myself never felt good enough, so in turn for many years my life was very empty. I think any insecure person (which is more people in the world then a lot would like to admit) can say they have found themselves in some self-destructive situations that have left their lives empty during periods of time.
I know by this point someone is thinking “get over it!” or let’s talk about REAL life problems but the truth is many people have hard REAL life problems and then insecurities on top of that. So, many people feel afraid to own up to the fact that they are struggling with themselves and their image of themselves while dealing with many other real issues in their lives. So, in turn they push down their insecurities because their friendships, or relationships, or work is suffering or falling apart, and the truth is if you work on yourself while trying to tweak what’s not working in certain parts of your life you will be FAR more successful.
If you are insecure and you know it but you don’t take time to work on it because you think you will just “get over it” like I’m sure someone has told you in the past, you will only see your life fail in more areas. You can’t be a good significant other, sibling, friend, co-worker, or even functioning person in society if you aren’t taking time to getting closer to loving yourself for EVERYTHING that you are. Yes, I said everything. You have to learn to love your annoying sensitive side that makes you cry when you see a sappy commercial. You have to learn to love your crooked nose that you have prayed away for many years now. You have to learn to cope with your past and the mistakes you think you may have made, they only occurred to teach you better for your future. You have to learn to come to terms with your insecurities about your weight that fluctuates and often leaves you feeling guilt ridden, you are more beautiful than you can truly see, and no one notices the ten pounds you fluctuate throughout the year. You have to let go of the fact that your life seems to be a repetitive series of people walking out of your life, because trust me when I tell you, you are not unlovable or easy to leave, you just had to make room for better people to come into your life.
There is no straight and narrow path to overcoming a life full of not really being comfortable with who you are. There are some ways to help you get there though. You have to put yourself first, even if it’s sometimes. You can’t keep putting off the things you have wanted to do because you feel you have to take care of everything for everyone, you will be happier and better to be around if you take time even if it is only a little while, to do something for yourself. The second you start feeding your soul again with the things you love will be the second you feel even a little bit better about yourself.
Another thing that really helps is to make sure the company you keep doesn’t add to the negative feelings you have about yourself. If you keep people around who only bring negativity, drama, or feed into your insecurities, it doesn’t matter who they are, you have to set boundaries. These boundaries aren’t necessarily to keep them out, but they are set to draw lines and to keep your peace of mind. The company you keep can be toxic and if these boundaries don’t suit them and they leave, you know how unimportant they were to begin with.
Last two points in strengthening your self-esteem, are number one, treat yourself, and number two, STAY OFF of social media (even if it’s a couple less log-ins a day). Go get your nails and hair done, go shopping, even if it is not really in the budget make it in the budget for that week, it can pump up your confidence, even for a second. Second, love yourself enough to stop trolling Instagram or Facebook! Stop checking in on who is liking what or what Instagram model who you didn’t think could get any prettier, did. Believe it or not every time you log onto social media you are bombarded with pictures of lifestyles you don’t have, or you are faced with insanely gorgeous people who you don’t know how it is humanly possible to look like that, and you immediately feel bad. I know I am about to blow your mind with this statement but, social media is not a representation of real life! Most of these people don’t have the money they say they do, and another mind-blowing statement, most of these Instagram models did not, I repeat DID NOT “wake up like this” #NoMakeUp #WokeUpLikeThis #BornThisWay. I could hashtag those things on my selfies too but that would also mean I woke up perfect eyelashes, and was born with a pack of extensions in, but we all know that is not the truth. I could side by side my baby pictures or you could ask my mom and she would tell you too that I wasn’t born this way either, and that my dog ran down the stairs yesterday with one of my extensions thinking it was a toy (just trying to keep it REAL).
So the truth behind this article is, I struggle with insecurities, every single day. Some days they are overbearing and they are all I can think about, and that’s just the truth. They come and go and some days I feel great and others it is hard to get myself out of the door. I have had years where they were not as present and then over the past year I find myself struggling once again. I am working on it every single day because I want to be confident with who I am fully, with no exceptions, and in a lot of ways I am. I guess I may be more secure then I think I am because I openly showcasing my insecurity struggles with the internet because I think it MATTERS. I truly believe as much as I wish it wasn’t true, that I am not the only one who has ever felt this way. I am a girl who thinks this conversation needs to be had. I think that we need to be more honest about how we are told to “suck it up” or to “let it go” when a lot of us are hurting. I think we need to be honest about the fact that our generation is the first that is constantly exposed to prettier, happier, better people every time we log onto Facebook or Instagram when all we wanted to do was reply to Aunt Tiffany’s “Happy Thanksgiving” message.
This is my attempt at being a part of trying to start the conversation and making guys, girls, and anyone who feels not good enough, feeling good enough, or at least strong enough to talk about it. I want to help get people to feeling better and living a life they feel they are good enough for. You are not the only one who has ever struggled with insecure thoughts, or a repetitive feeling of just not being good enough, but the truth is you ARE good enough. Now it is just time to break the barrier of what you think you see in the mirror and what you should see in the mirror, what you think you are, and what you really are. You should be proud of who you see in the mirror you have earned the right to feel that way. You should know that you are good enough because you were born good enough. If you can learn to control your mind you can learn to control your thoughts. For yourself, let your thoughts be good, let your thoughts be uplifting, and let your thoughts remind you that you are good enough.
Language is a funny thing. It is, perhaps, one of the most powerful things we carry with us, yet it’s played with as a meaningless arrangement of symbols of sounds. This is the result of a unique isolation of feelings to actions that this generation seems to pride themselves on having mastered. We no longer feel comfortable showing the world the raw side of our emotions—fear, anger, worry, hurt—instead we pick and choose our blissful, drunk, successful, playful moments to show the world through as many social media outlets as we can handle. It has become a cultural norm to give ourselves up to as large of an audience as possible, to give up as much of our lives as possible—with the exclusion of anything that could make anyone think we lead anything less than a perfect life. And then, we've taken on the responsibility of deciphering what all of that means for ourselves.
This impersonal, shallow, afraid culture spites itself into one where miscommunication happens constantly, in waves of “he said” and “she said” and “I saw” and “but I think I heard” – followed by Snapchat story explanations or through-the-walls whispers that no one can help but strain to hear, despite their claim to be honest, down-to-earth, and uncaring about anyone or anything that isn’t beneficial to them.
In recent conversation with a friend of mine, I came to understand how big the gap is within our generation. It exists between the communicators, and the communicated. My friend is the communicated—the person who has words put into her mouth by those who deem her fragile enough, or empty enough, or stupid enough to conjure up their own interpretation of her words. And in attempts to defend herself, or her opinion, or the words she never said, she is invalidated. That’s the generation that we come from.
And while this might seem juvenile and strictly applicable to the younger generation—this is not necessarily true. Miscommunication through efforts to appear heartless or cool or happy both on and off social media come from both ends of the spectrum. There are marriages failing because of Facebook. There are siblings living worlds apart, interpreting love or appreciation for each other through status messages and tagged posts. There is misguided and underthought information out there guiding women and men alike on subjects ranging from their body images, to their political values, to their sense of what family should or shouldn’t be by media guidelines. We are becoming a world misled by what other people have to say, or think they have to say (or heard someone else say, or think they heard someone else say, or accidentally heard while listening in on your conversation and then decided to twist your words).
The way this culture has come to ruin friendships and sever family ties is remarkable. Its articulate. It’s harrowing. Its artistic.
So, here is something to try--don’t let anyone speak for you, or against you, or about you, in ways that are demeaning or untrue.
and for the other end of the spectrum--I triple dog dare you to take a chance on truth, you may be surprised at all the things you really don’t know.
We have made some incredible strides as a nation toward spreading some equality to marginalized groups. Yet, work still remains. Though it is far easier to be gay in 2016 America than it was in years past, there are still undeniable challenges. Being gay in 2016 means waking up each morning knowing that much of the world, even within your own country, still thinks of you as disgusting, as less than, as second class, as irredeemable and damned. It means moving forward despite these challenges, and pushing forward in the face of a bigotry that has not yet
Being gay in 2016 means looking at a map and determining where it is and is not safe for you to travel, or for you to live. If you were married, and something were to happen to you during a trip to Tennessee, would your significant other be allowed to be at your side? If you moved to Nebraska, would you be accepted at your workplace or would you have to hide photos of your loved one for fear of being let go? If you traveled to South Carolina with your partner, would you be able to walk the beach together? If you walked the streets of Alabama, hand-in-hand, would you be accepted? There are many jobs in Texas, but is it safe for you there?
Being gay in 2016 means walking the streets of one of the most liberal cities in one of the most liberal states in one of the most liberal countries in all the world, your hand intertwined with your partner's, and still feeling the gazes on you, the judgment weighing down on you, and pretending that it isn't really there.
Being gay in 2016 means watching a tasteful kissing scene between two men or two women on television turn into a controversy, and being unable to ask why the steamiest romantic scenes in The Bachelor/Bachelorette are somehow more acceptable without being told you're "oversensitive."
Being gay in 2016 means listening to family and friends describe your partner as your "friend," or referring to him/her as your "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" only in hushed whispers as if the word were dirty and uncomfortable and nobody else must hear it.
Being gay in 2016 means insecurity even in marriage, knowing that the bond could at a moment's notice be made null and void should the political climate shift even slightly.
Being gay in 2016 means minding the people around you before you hug or plant a quick kiss goodbye. Who will it offend? Will it attract undue attention? What will the children think?
Being gay in 2016 means finding little comfort nor a place in the arms of religion, because much religion still dictates that you don't have a place at all.
Being gay in 2016 means laughing off assumptions made about your sexuality, and pretending that it doesn't upset you.
Being gay in 2016 means watching America elect one of the most actively homophobic vice-presidential candidates in history, and genuinely wondering whether or not you have a future place in your own country.
Being gay in 2016 means living within a paradox, secure in your insecurity and confident in your lack of confidence, proud of your nation but ashamed of it as well, hopeful and yet also fearful.
Being gay in 2016 means many things.
Being gay in 2016 means writing this article, and knowing that almost half the people who read it are rolling their eyes.
Being gay in 2016 is NOT wrong. It’s human nature, you love who you love no matter who they are. Please accept yourself and the wonderful person you are. Don’t look for approval from anyone else to love who you are meant to be with.
This is something I’ve always wanted to speak about. This is something I’ve dealt with my entire life.. and if you are going through something like this, you are not alone.
I was 4 years old when I first learned of my mother’s addiction. I never saw it coming. Let me explain the person my mother was. She watched soap operas, blared country music, sang beautiful songs at the top of her lungs constantly. She was the kind of neighbor you’d call over just to talk or make you feel better. She taught me how to do my hair, paint my nails, and match my clothes. She’d take me on spontaneous road trips. All of my friends in my grade loved seeing my mom, I had the coolest mom of all time. She was the most amazing person I knew, I looked at her like she held the universe in her hands.
My memories of laughing turned into crying, dancing in the house turned into police or CPS barging in, and our fun road trips turned into midnight runs with my mother to go out and hang with her friends. I was never scared, because I never understood what was going on. Finally, an incident happened where I had to move away from my mother and move in with my father.
I had settled into my new home, and my mother contacted me every day. Starting a new school at about 11 years old wasn't easy. I was terrified, I broke down in class and cried because I missed my mother. I understood why I was taken away only to an extent. I was only a kid. Over the next 3 years, I would stay with my mom in her apartment on the weekends. Things only got worse. When I visited I could tell what was going on, old enough to know the signs. She barely ate, she was always on the computer or watching TV, a trip to the gas station took hours, and she would fight with people over nothing. I watched the woman I first loved, turn into a different person. She lost everything, her only child, her boyfriend, jobs, everything. She couldn’t stay with family members because she would steal things, for the drug. My heart broke into a million pieces, I cared so much about her and there wasn't anything I could do. After feeling heartbroken I became angry. My mother chose to get drunk and spend most of her money on drugs instead of being there for me when I needed/wanted her the most.
Loving an addict for 12 years I went through a lot. A lot of heartache, disappointment, and even depression. I finally got into counseling, and it helped tremendously. Never be scared to get help, you shouldn't fight all of your battles alone. The battle with loving someone who's an addict isn't easy, it's:
Late nights up, thinking. It’s answering your phone, scared it might be news of their death. It’s wondering if they’re hungry. It’s blaming yourself. It’s anger. It’s crying. It’s regretting holidays. It’s knowing you won’t get a phone call to wish you Happy Birthday but still staring at your phone all day. It’s saving money in a mason jar to pay for their needs. It’s seeing them post a Facebook status about how much they love you, but not receiving a direct message. It’s staring at old pictures. It’s wondering how different your life would’ve been. It’s missing the way they smelled. It’s a waiting game, deciding when it’s time to move on. It’s trying to connect with them, only to be ignored. It’s being told that this is permanent, and to just deal with it. It’s torture, but most of all it’s realizing there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
It’s been roughly 4 years now since my mother has passed away. It was my understanding that she could have had alcohol poisoning. That means she wasn’t there to take pictures for prom, or yell in excitement when I cross the stage at graduation. She wasn’t there when I got my heart broken for the first time, or dealt with constant pain after she died. She won't be there for the birth of her grandchildren, or to see me walk me down the aisle. She missed out on my life, and continues to everyday. What do you say though? What do you say about someone who missed out on so much of your life by choice?
Everything that I’ve gone through with my mother’s addiction has shaped the woman I am today, and I hope to steer my life in the right direction when I graduate high school this year. I still think about my mother every day, and I’ve forgiven her in my heart.
“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness” – Marianne Williamson
If you love an addict, you are never alone. There is hope, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You must forgive for your own well-being. The person you love will always be a part of your life no matter what. But you must never hold hate in your heart.
Ms.Grogan, to the teacher who changed my life,
I want to start off by saying thank you. I can never thank you enough for everything that you've taught me, not only in the classroom, but also outside of it, too. You've made such a big impact on my life and I will always appreciate that. It's been awhile since I've been in your classes, but I haven't forgotten about you at all. I just want to say thank you for everything.
Thank you for teaching me how to think outside of the box.
I know that may not sound that important to some people, but you've changed the way I thought about certain things. You made me ask questions and see both sides of the story. You've helped me look at things from a different point of view and that has stuck with me ever since I left your classroom.
Thank you for being different from other teachers.
And that's why you were my favorite. You did things differently and you taught things differently. You had your own way of teaching and it was great. You remind me of Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society. I always looked forward to coming to your class because I knew I would enjoy it. You had a different way of doing things and I'll never forget that.
Thank you for your dedication.
I appreciate everything that you did for me and for everyone else in my classes. You probably didn't think you would leave such a lasting impression on people but you did. You were just doing your job and I'm thankful for that. You didn't give up on your students. You pushed for every single one of us to succeed and I have always appreciated that.
Thank you for the great memories.
You've had a ton of students walk in and out of your classroom since the time I did, but I still remember a lot from them. You may or may not remember me years from now, but I'll never forget about you. There's certain scenarios, memories, books, and life lessons that I will still think about all of the time that will take me back to being in your classroom.
Thank you for educating me.
There's a difference between teaching people and educating people. Anyone can be a teacher, but it takes a special kind of person to truly educate others around them, and that's exactly what you did. To this day, I can say that you did teach me a few things, but you educated me and every other student that has been in your class. It was obvious that this was your passion, and you always inspired me to become passionate about something I loved doing, too. Thank you for everything.
Maybe you’ll find out sooner or later