My Culture is also Costume

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Senior Year- Starting with me and moving right: Hester Prynn, Minnie Mouse, Bunny, Batgirl, Police Officer, Hooters Girls.

Recently on my college campus I’ve heard alot about a campaign for the first time- It’s called “My Culture Is Not a Costume” and it draws attention to the implications of “stereotype” costumes/ is aiming to diminish the use of them completely. At first, I was all for it- after doing some thinking, I’m not so sure.

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Mrs. Gantzer’s Library

I havn’t posted in quite some time, but I recently received an assignment to write about one of my literary sponsors- someone who has advocated and nurtured my reading and writing. I decided to write about Mrs. Gretchen Gantzer, my elementary school librarian and then middle school English teacher- I learned from her for 9 years at St. Annes. I’m not sure if all the facts here are correct- I don’t even recall if the library was ACTUALLY purple. I do know that this incredible woman contributed greatly to my love for reading and writing and I wanted to share with her, and all of my readers, this little snapshot of her story.

“Mrs. Gantzer’s purple-painted library definitely nourished and cultivated my love for reading. After being raised on The Giving Tree and Guess How Much I Love You (I can still hear these in my mother’s voice), the next step was a school hand picked by my parents. The library belonged to St. Anne’s Catholic School, but it should be named for Mrs. Gantzer. Her love and hard work poured into that room for years. Her sharp, well-pronounced words were iconic. She was part of the package, and thank God she was. She’s educated countless children. Since her retirement, I’m proud to be from one of the final batches of children that know the truth- that purple painted library truly belongs to Mrs. Gretchen Gantzer.

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I’d just break yer camera!

Recently, I managed to snag a job snapping “quick photos” as people walk in to Carowinds, the local theme park. It’s a place I grew up visiting (I marked my growth by “you must be this tall” signs). I thought it would be a great place to make some cash this summer while working on my polo-shirt-farmer’s-tan. I’ve worked two days, and I’ve already noticed two things.

1.) When its 90 degrees, you’re on your feet for hours, and you’re snapping around 500 photos a day.. a simple job can become exhausting pretty fast. Serious props to everyone who is doing REAL outdoor labor jobs.

2.) People are seriously, seriously hard on themselves. 

The idea of the “Photo Memories” booth where I work, is the idea of taking memories home with you. When I look through the lens at every person who walks in I see people who are excited to spend the day with their families. I see people excited to soak up some sun rays, enjoy some thrill rides, and stuff themselves with a funnel cake. I see excitement in young kids, already tired parents, and couples walking through the front gate. I think it’s beautiful. However, it’s pretty obvious many people don’t see themselves in that way. 

I get “you don’t want a picture of an old guy like me,” “I look too gross to take a photo today,” and “I’d just break yer camera!” Literally three times an hour. These phrases are usually followed by an expression that reflects a need for me to validate these ideas. It’s as if I am supposed to agree with them and tell them they are in fact so ugly that they most likely WOULD break my fancy Cannon.

Some people don’t like pictures, most people don’t want to PAY for my pictures. That’s understandable. What I DON’T understand is why people feel the need to deliver a self-shaming excuse to me as if they owe me anything and expect me to either agree or argue with them.

So I’ve started asking myself, where does this attitude come from, and when do we develop it? Hundreds of children smile and pose for me every single day, while their parents cower away; typically muttering something camera-breaking related. When did this joke become so popular? When did we decide to bounce dark, self-loathing humor off of each other?

Why is it that children are amazingly willing to grin and pose and show me their “crazy face”. Why exactly do we as adults grow into a state of lower and lower self- image?

I don’t know, but I plan to learn more about it. I for one refuse to let people tell me that they are too fat, ugly, skinny, old, or wrinkly for a photo; not just at work, but on any occasion. I think that life is way, way too short for that kind of attitude. I think that life moves too quickly for anyone to loathe the changes their appearance will go through.

So here’s a challenge. Next time a friend wants to take a photo with you, smile without any complaints about yourself; it’ll make that photo much brighter. Next time there’s a family gathering, bring everyone together for a group picture. Celebrate life, celebrate memories, and celebrate who you are (and what you look like) in that moment. You look great, I promise. 

I think it’s about time we all be brave and childlike when it comes to our self-image. 

 

The East Hall Ghost and Dorm Room Dates

The last thing any freshmen wants to hear is that their home for the next 9 months is undoubtedly haunted, but that’s the first thing a google search of “app state east hall” told me. After a week I was convinced that even while I was alone, I was certainly NOT alone. As if the smell my grandmother described as “burning flesh” in the stairwell wasn’t enough (yes their was a fire somewhere in East’s history), things got weirder as the year went on.

The time my roommate got in a fight with the door and though it was me, the day the door handle turned and opened with nobody touching it, and the day the radiator started making those awful noises are just a few examples. There’s also that time I cleaned my entire room looking for a specific picture, only to find it face-up in the middle of the desk I had searched moments earlier. Chairs moved, things rattled, and people who didn’t live in East Hall thought we were all crazy; but thats okay, we probably are.

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In honor of coming home; 14 ways you know you’re from Rock Hill

The semester is finally almost over. We’re in the home stretch. We’re in the can’t-find-an-empty-table-in-the-library stretch. The washing-my-undies-in-the-sink-becasue-I-am-not-paying-for-laundry-a-week-before-I-can-do-it-for-free-at-home stretch. Yes indeed, we are finally in the four projects due, negative balance bank account, ratty hair and chewed nails last leg of this race. In eleven short days I will be heading home to the beautiful Rock Hill, South Carolina. While I am not exited to begin a four month long distance relationship with my Boyfriend or my other significant other, Kelsey… I am excited to spend time with my friends, family, make some money and hit the gym everyday. In honor of my soon to be homecoming, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. So please enjoy this list i’ve comprised; 14 Ways you know you grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

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Ice Cream Bikini

A couple months ago I dropped 80 dollars on a gorgeous, black, high-waisted Victoria’s Secret Bikini. For some reason I thought It would make me look like I dropped a couple pounds, as well. I was in for a surprise. After waiting FOREVER to try the darn thing on, I finally received the package in the mail, ripped into it with anticipation, and slipped (more like squeezed) my fat butt into it. Now don’t get me wrong ladies, VS will always have my heart, and their bathing suits are wonderful quality (seriously, buy one). But the miraculous transformation I had expected fell a little short.

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You mean to tell me, this model looks skinny because she hasn’t eaten in 30 days, not because she’s wearing a high-wasited bathing suit? You heard it here first, folks.

This bikini bottom makes me feel just like an ice-cream cone. With the fat from my love handles and muffin top pushed all the way up to my mid-tummy, that’s a lot of extra stuffing hanging out of a tiny tiny triangle. thumbnail1.pngd83bad4d-0db4-4726-8a05-4b8245f42111Large

So this is karma, right? I get it. I’ve learned my lesson. We shouldn’t be dropping mega bucks on clothing items to enhance our appearance and slim our waists. The only way to a slim tummy is diet and exercise, (and a lot of motivation)…yet here I am blogging from my bed.

Honestly, if you have to buy something to cover up those extra pounds, it’s time to let go. embrace yourself. We spend too much time trying to file down every little imperfection. So here’s to me rocking the ice-cream cone look until I get motivate my fat ass to get to the gym. And here’s to laughing at myself for it, loving my body the way it is, and working towards a goal. I know I’ll get there eventually. Maybe this time next year I’ll be posting pictures of me looking ultra slim in my hot VS bathing suit.
Brittney