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Cans of blueberry preserves, boutique, small-batch handmade bon-bons, organic wildflower honey with comb and Icelandic yogurt --- what do all these items have in common? I found all these items and more in the trash. It's no secret that I love trash. No, I don't mean the smelly, stinky and meant-to-be-actually-dumped kind of trash. The trash that comes from the pursuit of perfect capitalism (which, as it turns out, is anything but). My love of everything dumpster started a month before COVID19 did, just in time too. What's a better way to spend time than rescuing food, outside; a totally harmless and productive activity during a worldwide pandemic? The word "rescue" doesn't really sum up the breadth of what I would find and donate to one of many "community fridges" in my neighborhood. Still, it gives you an idea: I plunge my (usually) gloved hands into the womb of a typical black polyethylene 10 gallon bag, sometimes immaculately and serendipitously free of actual trash and full of boxes, cans or containers of various types of bougie foods, other times, not-so-immaculate. Here's an exhaustive list of items I can remember finding: -Jacques Torres 40-piece bonbon boxes -free-range, organic eggs by the dozen, in bulk boxes of around 10 cases per box -Siggi's, Chobani, Skyr, Fage yogurts (all types and flavors) -egg white omelets, ready-to-eat -all kinds of canned food (including organic beans, coconut milk, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie filling, even dog food) -olive, coconut, macadamia, canola, sunflower oils -multivitamins, elderberry supplements, manuka honey cough syrup -vegan cheeses, tofu, tempeh, beyond meat, hot dogs, yogurt, tofurky (I remember this specifically since I eat all these as a vegan!) -pantry items: cases of all purpose King Arthur flour, Bob's Red Mill flours (teff, coconut, rice, risotto, oatmeal), crackers, snacks, chips, baking mixes, yeast) -prepared foods like pizzas, breads, sandwiches, wraps, Mediterranean meals (grape leaves, falafel, tabbouleh etc) The list goes on, but I won't since I think you kind of get an idea already. Everyone always asks me why I started dumpstering (sic) and I can pinpoint it to one moment: my craving for overpriced (read: bougie) French bread. I had to have it, I didn't want to pay for it. That's when I remembered: as a high schooler working at a bagel shop, I used to have to dump out all the end-of-the-day bagels and pizzas into the trash. Back then, I would cringe whenever I had to do this and actually enlisted my mother to come by for the bagels and pizzas to give out to our friends and family. When that became too much, I would sell them for $1 each in band class. I turned a pretty good profit, too: students are always hungry, which was great for business! So, I applied the same reasoning to the French bread. They must dump their breads out at the end of the day, right? Lo and behold, I visited their dumpster and found a bevy of boulangerie by the bag: baguettes, pastries, cookies, even cake, which I sadly couldn't eat as a vegan, but which I posted to my local Buy Nothing group to the delight of ecstatic carb lovers in my group! After that, I became galvanized to rescue not just bread, but anything and everything edible I could salvage. The waste was not only depressing, it angered me since the media was broadcasting about how there were food and supply shortages, specifically on flour, sanitizer and toilet paper. I was able to find all three in the trash on separate occasions (especially flour, which I found bags and bags of several times). When I was younger, my mother espoused the virtue of never wasting food, no matter the amount. The fact that companies were indiscriminately disposing of perfectly edible and overpriced (funnily enough, the more expensive something was, the more likely it was to be dumped since it was less likely to be purchased, gotta love capitalism) food spurred me to spring into action, on an obsessive-level of passion. After a while, I began to crave assistance and felt that there must be others who would have the same objective as I did. I created an encrypted chat group, which grew to over 50 members. Only a few people show sometimes, but it's still a salve to know I am not alone. Many times, while diving, unhoused or needy persons would come up to me and I always offered them anything I had found and directed them to the nearest community fridge. Time for a round of statistics: in the USA, a whopping 30-40% of the food readily produced is wasted. This doesn't account for food that hasn't yet entered the supply stream (think culled produce and animals deemed unfit for consumption due to appearance or perceived quality), rather, it's food that was already collected, packaged and manufactured. That's about $161 billion dollars of food waste in monetary value (from the year 2010). I hope I've made a dent in that number. I will keep dumpstering, long past COVID19, as long as I can.
When you're born and raised in the beautiful PNW, you know how the seasons are year - round. You've observed how the dreary, wet winters can go all the way into what should be the blossoming of June.\nAs a child into my teen years, the shorter days would take a toll on my self worth. When that was the case, my wonderful mother would take us to Nordstrom's Cafe in Clackamas every Friday for that tomato - basil - pick - me - up - cure.\n\nNothing compares to the delicate, bold flavors of roasted Roma tomatoes and fresh basil pairing with the most flavorful toasted baguette bites. This, in my head, will always be true bliss \u2014 especially on the never ending days. Every bite that entered my body was the warm comfort I've been needing since the warm fall days faded into long, soaked winter nights. Filling me up with warm courage to face the weekend, I'd take what I couldn't finish to go because I knew I'd need it again.\n\nThis creamy tomato basil soup will warm up every inch of your soul and bring it to life even on the coldest, dullest days! When I found out this easy, healthy version not only helps my husband and I stay motivated during the darker times, it's so much better than Campbell's! It's a child - proof recipe I love pulling out everytime it starts to feel like the Fall - idays!\n\nIngredients - Creamy Tomato Soup:\n\u20221 large yellow onion\n\u20223 large cloves garlic\n\u20221/4 Avocado (or Extra Virgin Olive) oil - normal or garlic infused\n\u20222 1/2 pounds Roma or tomatoes on the vine\n\u20221 large carrot - cut into chunks\n\u20222 teaspoons salt\n\u2022A few shakes of red pepper flakes\n\u2022Freshly ground black pepper\n\u20221/2 cup heavy cream (or chicken stock)\n\u202210 large fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving\n\u20221 block of Boursin cheese (or use heavy cream at the very end).\n\nIngredients - Parmesan and Garlic Crostinis:\n\u20221 French Baguette\n\u20224 tbsp butter\n\u20221/2 cup Parmesan cheese, hand grated or pre shredded\n\u20221 clove of garlic\n\u20221/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning\n\nBlending options:\nAn immersion blender is the easiest & safest way to pur\351e this soup, but I prefer a standard blender like my NutriBullet I use. It honestly works just as well \u2014 If opting to use a blender, please work in batches and make sure the feed hole or tube is open while blending so that steam (heat) can escape. Pur\351eing even a warm liquid could result in a messy (not to mention dangerous!) explosion, so work in 10-12 second intervals at a time!\n\nInstructions - Tomato Soup For The Soul with Blender:\n1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.\n2. (If using Boursin): place cheese block in middle of your sprayed casserole dish.\n3. Chop all your vegetables (tomatos, carrots, onion) into 1/4's and place them in the same dish with your Boursin!\n4. Place your garlic cloves in the dish - unpeeled.\n5. Drizzle on 1/4 cup Avocado / Olive Oil across your veggies & cheese block (make sure it covered every vegetable in that dish)!\n6. Season vegetables with your salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.\n7. When the oven's ready, place your dish on the bottom rack for 45 minutes or until vegetables have softened and tomatoes are splitting and sizzling.\n8. Take your pan of roasted vegetables out of the oven and place on top of the stove - add a pinch of salt to the simmering bliss - let stand for 10-15 minutes or until it's cooled down enough.\n9. When your all - in - one - pan has cooled down, put your vegetables (minus the garlic) and Boursin in a blender \u2014 we use our full size NutriBullet.\n10. Get your 3 garlic cloves and squeeze the tapered ends; the roasted garlic will slice out of it's peel with ease! Pop them into the blender.\n11. Grab those fresh Basil leaves (or 2 teaspoons of dried basil) and dash it into the blender with your tomato base.\n12. BLEND BABY!! I usually manually press and pulse the mixture to get it chopped up so it doesn't overheat!\n13. **If you want your soup to be thinner: Get 1/2 cup heavy cream or chicken stock (cooled) and add it to the mix: BLEND SOME MORE!\n14. Once you get it to the desired consistency of your choice (chunky or smooth), pour some soup into 2- 4 bowls & garnish with fresh basil, black pepper, and Parmesan cheese! Serve with a side of Parmesan Crostinis or crumble some on top for that satisfying crunch!\n\nInstructions - Parmesan & Garlic Crostinis:\n1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.\n2. Combine your 4 tbsp butter, Parmesan, and Italian seasoning into a bowl so you have this aromatic herb butter!\n3. Slice up your French baguette into 1/4\u201d slices.\n4. Butter each slice of bread with your DIY herb butter and place them on a baking sheet.\n5. Top each crostini with fresh Parmesan.\n6. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes (until the baguette crust is a crunchy golden brown).\n7. Serve hot as a side with your Tomato Soup For The Soul or crumble them on top for a delicate crunch!
I simmered with humiliation as Gram insisted on taking challah home from the diner. “Don't make that face. It's a shanda to waste like that mamaleh.” I didn't understand, but I do now. Wrinkly tomatoes become sauce and shriveled blueberries become compote. Gushy strawberries and sparkling wine remnants are summer sangria. Mealy apples and hard raisins become cinnamon-sugar oatmeal bars. Vegetables and fruit are sculpted to remove evidence of decay. You can freeze anything. Fresh spinach, as is. Onions, chopped. Grapes on the precipice of death, make for an amazing late-night snack. Greek yogurt in ice cube trays can use it to make ice-cold creamy smoothies. The pandemic exploded my anxiety. I was alone a lot and food was exorbitant, and mostly delivered, and with so many people suffering, it felt gratuitous to not be appreciative. I exercised freedom in the only way I knew how. Nourishment. I played with textures and flavors. I mixed hot and cold, sweet and salty. Diced bell pepper, mango chunks, tuna, and red pepper flakes. Smoked turkey, white-fleshed juicy peaches, bread and butter pickles. Oatmeal with almond milk and crunchy peanut butter and a soft egg, oozy yellow core dripping. I started with old chipped Pyrex and then, I upgraded. Vintage. An amber-colored etched bowl. I loved the way the sunlight played off its golden hue. I adored its weight. Delicate, iridescent plates, reflecting rainbows on my ashen-stained kitchen table. Miniature blush tinted bowls with the most feminine scalloped edges. Obsession with kitschy cocktail napkins. I hunted. I negotiated. I needed appropriate tools. I often worked through lunch, hunched over my laptop. Occasionally, I had the bandwidth and ability to chat with a friend or family. Whatever my company, I escaped into my creations. I savored. I cherished. During a hyper-stressful time, I allowed myself these few moments of joy. I couldn't explain this to anyone. How could I share that I found a portal into a right-side-up world through my culinary exploration? It felt shallow. Self-serving. Irresponsible. People had lost everything, and I had found respite in candied pecans and vegan mayonnaise doctored with sriracha and chunky sea salt. And so, the garbage pail salad was born. I affectionately titled my mid-day meals as such because nothing in my refrigerator or freezer ended up in the trash. I didn't have a savior complex, I don't, I just had a deep, burning desire to be mindful. Ironically, my meals mildly resembled salads but were mostly not. I felt comfort in knowing that each meal involved some sort of greens and so, the salad descriptor was reasonable. I am an equal opportunist when it comes to greens. Spinach, romaine, butter lettuce, broccoli slaw, shaved Brussel sprouts. I might not fight you for that last bunch of kale, but I'll definitely throw dibs on a meaty bunch of tangy arugula. It feels important to declare this point, to explain that greens were always a part of it. I had become the mistress of food conservation. The queen of combinations. The arbiter of complex taste arrangements. If I went astray, and I occasionally did, I bent my taste buds accordingly. Alexa, what's the quickest way to caramelize fruit? Alexa, what's the best way to store an avocado? Alexa, what's the safest way to defrost cooked turkey meatballs? I've always liked food. I've always been a live to eat rather than an eat to live kind of gal, but this was different. My garbage pail salads became my canvas. My clay. They became an act of self-love during a time when little else was feasible. I couldn't just peel open a yogurt anymore and throw in some granola. That felt rude. Many months have passed, and the world is still weird. There is some modicum of stilted socialization. There are fearless trips to the supermarket. Trader Joes! One can indulge in fine dining. I have every reason to abandon the garbage pail salads, but I don't. I hold steadfast to this tradition, this ritual that I've created and cultivated. I noticed very recently the acronym for my habit. GPS. This makes sense. When it was easy to get lost in the world, I found this odd but most perfect way to get myself back to me. Every time. I drew my own map. A large piece of parchment, meticulously folded, with handwritten scrawl across every inch. Fresh corn cut off the cob, stringy bits included for posterity. Crispy sugar snap peas with the ends still affixed. Lime sprinkled cashews. Hummus with everything seasoning in abundance. Pistachio ice cream drizzled with honey and coated in toasted coconut. A path paved with invention and patience and bravery. Also, humor and a lot of love. That's the thing about being human. Sometimes the world falls apart and we need to find ourselves through therapy or travel or relationships. And then, sometimes, just sometimes, we find ourselves in the most magical and real way, at the bottom of a pre-loved and oft-neglected crystal bowl.
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* This is just something that I quickly wrote back towards the beginning of the pandemic. I think it's still pretty relevant (though not as much as before), and I just wanted to post this somewhere lol * In the blink of a second, everything has changed. Something that I thought would never happen in my lifetime has taken the world by storm - a global pandemic. COVID-19 has struck and it seems that this virus won't be leaving anytime soon. So what does this mean for us teens? No school!! But while I usually can't wait until a break from school, this isn't something I can be ecstatic about - not when people are dying by the hundreds every day. In order to reduce the risk of catching the virus ourselves, my family and I have shut ourselves in our house. Not that we have much of a choice after Gov Pritzker issued the stay-at-home order. Our teachers gave us work to do at home to make sure we keep our brains active during this time, but there's only so much work they could give that wouldn't be too dependent on the internet - some kids don't have internet access at home (not that I'm saying I've finished everything cause I definitely haven't, but I'd rather not spend 16 hours doing work everyday). So what do I do with all this extra time…? At first, I had no idea what to do. I spent most of my time on my phone watching Youtube videos, kdramas, reading on Webtoon, etc. You know, the basic stuff I do when I want to waste time. Except there's simply too much of it to just do that now… So I had to find a better way to make use of this extra time. I decided to think about what I liked to do - yes, I had to think about it for a while because my brain had been consumed by school for too long. I made a list of these things; - Baking - Drawing/Calligraphy - Writing - Painting et cetera, et cetera … That's when I realized that I have waaaay too many hobbies (heh), but at least I've found a better way to spend my time now. This week I baked breakfast for my family; pull-apart cinnamon roll brioche. Yes, it's as good as it sounds (also as hard to bake). This was only my second time baking it, but I think I did a pretty good job… I also baked a batch of brownies yesterday and they're pretty much gone now - I don't know why, but that makes me happy. I did some calligraphy art to post on my insta, and I'm starting some sketches and paintings to decorate my wall. I can't wait till I start doing DIYs from Pinterest again! I feel like being locked in like this made me re-enjoy the things that I love doing. While I'm still stressed about keeping up with school stuff and making sure I stay safe amidst all this, I feel like I can breathe a bit and calm myself amidst the panic. It's hard to not panic when you can't go outside in fear of catching the virus. Right now, I'm just appreciating how kind people are, and how amidst this crisis, everyone across the globe has been united to fight against this common enemy. To keep my mind off of things that'll worsen my anxiety, I'm going to make sure that all the little side projects and ideas that I've had are completed during this time that I have. I'm not exactly happy about this situation, but that doesn't mean that I can't live through it without panicking. Right now, anxiety and panic is our enemy. I feel like preventing that panic and fear from taking over is what everyone has to do to help - even if you're not battling this virus at the forefront. Stay safe.
My relationship with food is highly complicated. Good food is woven into the very fabric of my personality. Nothing cheers me up more than a good meal. Food teaches you patience. Either waiting for the food itself to be finished, or being patient with yourself to master a meal. Food teaches you caution. You can hurt yourself a multitude of ways making one dish. Food teaches you passion. Safe ingredient choices aren't the most delicious ones. Most importantly, we need food. We can't survive without it. So why would food be at all bad? The very reason food is good, echos my problem with food. I like too much of a good thing. I lack self-discipline. Food takes over. I eat and eat until the frustration goes away. Until I am emotionally content and physically drained. I let my emotions guide me and not the physiological signals God has so carefully placed in my body. I am the target, and food is the enemy. But no longer. I will no longer stand in perfect silence; allow people to shriek, “you're not fat!”, as I ponder at the appearance in the mirror that is so far from my personal standard. Food may be the enemy, but I am the conqueror. Call me David, and picture Goliath as a huge potato. I will win. And food will bow before me.
I didn't cry when she got sick, or at the funeral, or at the graveyard. I didn't even cry when my mother brushed the hair out of my still dry eyes and held me as the undertakers wheeled away her coffin. Mom never said it, but she hadn't approved of our relationship from the first moment I brought Elise home. It wasn't that she didn't like Elise. What was there not to like in smart sweet Elise? Mom had tried to understand us, I knew that. I guess it doesn't matter anymore. The next morning, I awoke alone. The sun moved shadows across our bedroom while I just stared off the edge of my side of the bed. I was waiting for something, the smell of her coffee I think, but nothing came to snap me out of this fog. Was I supposed to be doing something? Breakfast, I guessed, though I didn't feel hungry; I didn't feel much of anything to be honest. I went into our pantry anyways and saw row upon row of canned sauces, fruits, and preserves she had prepared for the long winter ahead. The shelves were filled with Elise's preserves and her light curled handwriting. I picked up a Mason jar and stared through it without seeing the diamond shapes etched into the glass or feeling the paper label as my fingertips absently traced the word ‘strawberries' over and over. I didn't see the bags of flour and sugar or the boxes of her favorite cereal crowded together on the mint green shelves in the cramped little pantry. I was back in July, sweating as I hauled in another tray of fresh picked strawberries. She would have picked them herself like every other year if she had still had the strength. I smiled and laughed when I thought she was looking and stole glances at the scarf wrapped around her head when I thought she didn't see. I opened my mouth to ask her again why she was doing all of this and wouldn't she rather fly away somewhere to lounge on a beach? I closed my mouth without a word, we'd fought about it enough and her answer was always the same. “I don't want some crazy trip. That's not me. I just want every day I can have with you,” she would say. I knew she just wanted her life- a normal long life- and it was the only thing I couldn't give her. I hefted the jar turning it over and over in my hand, puzzled by the weight and feel of it like some alien artifact. The jar ate away the cold numbness wrapped around me and I couldn't push away the itching burning feeling rising from the pit of my stomach. I clenched my fist around the jar as if it and it alone had taken my wife from me. I couldn't stand the sight of the wretched thing, it brought anger to a boil suddenly spilling over onto my carefully sealed up resignation. I flung the jar with all my might at the pantry wall, red exploding over a bag of chocolate chips, syrup and glass and strawberries falling to the floor. A low guttural animal yell erupted as red as the strawberries and I hardly noticed it was me spewing anguish and rage at the rows of silent glass jars until my throat grew sore. I slid to the floor completely boneless without anger to hold me up, rocking back and forth holding my head with both hands as if it might come loose without a firm grip. My whole being shook, tears making cold splotches on my pajamas as I sobbed there on the floor of our pantry. I felt like my insides had all been scooped out leaving me hollow and empty, blankly staring at a bag of dried beans as if they could anchor me to the world again. The smell of strawberries touched me tugging me gently back, not to the world around me but further back to a moment with her. The bright sweet fruit conjured up that birthday cake she had made filled with our first strawberry harvest, and how we sang and kissed that night joyfully celebrating life. I looked up at all her jars: the tomato sauce recipe we'd spent years perfecting, the peaches from her mother's tree, the BlackBerry jam she hated but still labored over knowing it was my favorite. I saw her there, all her work and planning and love, every moment of our lives together laid aside here giving me a million tiny roads back to my life with her, if only for a moment- a taste. My vision blurred again as tears flowed, gently now, onto my cheeks. I nodded my head imagining her beside me, gazing at me with that secretive smile. I whispered to her, and to myself, “I see what you did, my clever wife. Thank you.”
“Put yourself first.” It's a mantra that most of us live by and practice daily, and in the midst of a crisis, our own survival and wellbeing become especially imperative. But just because we put ourselves first doesn't mean that we should forget about others. The world functions the best when people help out one another and make an effort to show that they care. This seemingly simple concept is challenging for many, myself included. In the early days of the pandemic, the only thought on my mind was how much of an inconvenience it was on my life. I didn't realize then how fortunate I was because I was too focused on myself to stop and wonder for a single second how others were managing. This wallowing in self-pity lasted for a couple of weeks until my stay-at-home mom suggested that I help her deliver food. My mom has been an active participant in the food assistance programs at our church over the past few years. She'd gotten especially involved in the Fern Street Backpack Program, which delivers backpacks full of food to food-insecure families with children enrolled in the school district. When remote learning went into effect, my mom switched to home deliveries. But delivering forty-plus bags of food all over our town was no easy feat, and my mom needed help. Seeing as I'd been laid off from my three part-time jobs and was holed-up at home, I was the perfect assistant. Prior to this, I had little involvement with food assistance. Sure, I knew what it was, but I'd never experienced it myself or been close to anyone who had. The neighborhood where I live is upper-middle-class, predominately white, educated, and privileged. This was the environment I'd grown up in. It was all I really knew. I'll always remember the first few days of our deliveries and how shocked I was at how drastically different living conditions were just on the other side of my town. Every Wednesday and Friday, my mom and I would drive to each location, lug heavy paper bags—two per family—overflowing with food out of our car, and leave them on doorsteps or outside of housing complexes. We'd wait for someone—usually a mother, some of whom weren't much older than me— to collect the bags, then drive off to our next destination. On one day in particular, it was incredibly hot—blistering, even. My latex gloves were damp with sweat and my bare legs stuck to my car seat as my mom pulled into an apartment complex where four families resided. She eased over a speedbump, being extra cautious since we had eggs in the back, and parked under the shade of a tree. The mother of the first family, who I'll call Nadine, lived in the basement of one of the apartments. She was disabled and had a hard time walking, so we routinely delivered her food through her window. As my mom unloaded two bags from the car, I called Nadine on her phone to let her know that we'd arrived. “Wonderful!” she exclaimed enthusiastically! “I'll be right there.” A few moments later, she opened the window with a broad smile on her face. I could tell that she was warm by the sweat that had formed on her hairline. While most of the families kept to themselves, Nadine loved sharing the details of her personal life with us. She had cancer and underwent chemo semi-regularly. She was a recovering alcoholic and a devout Christian, always ending her conversations with us with a “God bless you.” She had a daughter not that much younger than me. She had a tough life, and yet, she was one of the most positive people I've ever met. On that particular blisteringly-hot day, we had a couple of cartons of ice cream from a Trader Joe's pickup we'd made earlier in the week. We gave Nadine one—butter pecan, I believe it was—and her eyes lit up with excitement. We received two “God bless yous” that day—one for the ice cream; the second as we were heading back to the car to finish our deliveries. When we drove past her window, which was still ajar, Nadine's smile was unwavering. I couldn't remember the last time something I'd done had had that effect on someone, but it was an amazing feeling knowing that I'd made a difference. It's been over a month since we made our final delivery. My mom plans to start back up in the fall, and I'll probably join her. Assisting these families has done more than just connect me with my community; it's humbled me and reminded me of my privileges. No one is enjoying this situation. That said, I'm lucky to have employed parents, access to basic resources like food, and be in decent physical health. It seems only right that someone like me should make an extra effort to support those who aren't so well-off. After all, just because we can't be near each other doesn't mean we can't still look out for each other.
My lips--parched Longing to be quenched By the scattered drops Of your presence I gave you All of me Only to Receive Mere morsels, Bits of breadcrumbs Left along the way Leading me back to myself Devotion devoured Detoured by deviance Until one day I took back my power
By: Ymir clark One of the major problem's youth face in the twenty first century is the youth thinking they aren't good enough when they have not had the chance to fully blossom into the amazing person they will become. I saw this video where a little black girl looked into the mirror and said that she was ugly, and eventually broke down and started crying. The little girl's mom started telling her that she is beautiful and that she should not think like that and the mom started crying too because her child was having these thoughts that she should not even be thinking about. This is a major problem because no kid should even have the thoughts that they are ugly and that they don't deserve to be here. I don't want any kid to feel the way that girl felt, but sadly many kids do, and they eventually grow up with those insecurities, causing them to have anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and so on. This one problem can easily turn into so many other problems. Kids should be playing outside, enjoying life, messing up their hair that was just done this morning, instead of feeling these insecurities. A way I would stop kids from thinking they aren't good enough would be to just get out in the community and help. I would open little free libraries and fill them with books that empower children and tell them how beautiful and unique they are. Books that tell kids and the youth that it is okay to not look like everyone else, that it is okay to be different In the little free libraries people can switch out books and put new books in as they go. The little free libraries would be set up in parks or other places where kids are a lot to ensure that the kids have easy access. This is just one of my plans, I would also start a club that that would be free to helps kids get active, where I would help lead the kids in different fun actives. I could also help kids who aren't feeling like their selves by bringing awareness to this problem by starting a campaign about how kids should love themselves, and bring awareness to the fact that sometimes people can't help the way they feel about their selves, and that depression and anxiety is real. If someone is telling you that they aren't feeling well, then they shouldn't be ignored and they shouldn't feel ashamed or be shamed for having the confidence to realize that they need help. So many that are part of the youth don't speak out about the problems they have. They feel as if the cant talk to people or their parents, because that's what they are taught to do, not speak out when they have a problem, or they try to ask for help and people try to make it seem as if they aren't having real problems and then they push their feeling down and start to disconnect from the world In conclusion kids, teens, or the youth thinking they aren't good enough and that they should hide their feelings is a major problem in the twenty first century. Kids should never feel the way that little black girl felt. Kids should be out hanging with friends or on the playground, not worried about the way they look.
"When you truly reflect on life, you come up with such creations. I like the way Adiela has weaved simple poetic stories out of the complex strings of life in which humans remain entangled. From social to soul exploration, all has been done and depicted neatly in this poetic beauty. As a poet, I especially relate to the poetry style that is made very understandable, yet churned out of an ocean's depth." - Ruchika Pahwa Available here: https://adielaakoo.wixsite.com/writer/shop
I cradled the ticket in my hand as I watched the dust motes dance to the silence of the fading sunshine. The tracks shifted gently somewhere far off down the line in the crumbling remnants of what once was a strict European station. Swallowing my heart, I saw the café nearby housed patrons that came as quickly as they went; but hidden in my memories, a family once sat united. Even if remembering meant knowing what I could not have, I still held to it like a petal on a flower. But with the rustle of wind as a train tore onto the platform, the ticket slipped from my fingers as the memory faded beyond reach. Once again, the hole in my chest etched its way out, and hazy eyes followed the dying scream as the train departed. I fixed my shoelace; tying my life together in a flimsy bow. Finally, I sighed and stood unsheathing my sword, ready to face a world full of people. Me? I walked alone. The café held smells that made my nose twitch and being jump in excitement. The dessert display contained a wild array of textures – the shattering, airy crunch of meringue, and the softer ones of glazed jams and gleaming chocolates. Pastries with rolling bubbles and cooling air pockets steamed, causing a tsunami of desire to churn within my mouth. My hand reached for the lightweight (but not brittle) treats before my brain could catch up and shout furious instructions that lead me to a table isolated far off in the back. Not even the sun dared to shine as I sat in personal punishment, waiting for another train to arrive. The pennies clumsily scattered on the table were barely enough for a new ticket. I couldn't afford to eat. It felt as if rough hands had grabbed me and forced me back into a casket. Without a word, the lid slammed silencing my last hope, and my rumbling stomach served as a dying protest. Every shaky breath bought me one more moment, and the longer I fought, the less appealing the chocolate drizzled delicacies appealed. Even then, I held my breath to stifle the temptations caging me in. My lungs strained against the thin air; however, the tight darkness choked me as it seeped into my chest. The only option was to gasp like a dying man. It burned and thumped through my veins in a complete reversal of how breathing is supposed to work. Glassy eyes searched for a lifeboat to cling to, but nobody was coming. The waitress bustled, preparing a coffee for a woman in clothes too smart to be riding a train. A man sat hunched over a paper and pen, resembling a tart engorged with custard. And a boy just like me with dreary features, and a worn-down attitude slouched at a table picking at the ghost of his meal. The minute hand of a clock ticked its way full circle, and even with the continuous reminder of the fluidity of time, the world no longer spun. Like tremors, it began as a twitch in my nose, and soon the horrible monstrosity of nature was upon us. A sneeze so grand the table's napkins swirled into a hurricane, but still, not a soul turned. I blessed myself, but the room swallowed the noise, and I realised then that I hadn't heard my voice since the last blue moon. Instead, the café's radio murmured like T.V static. A blaze of light animated the brick that connected me to an alternate reality, and as if it could tell that cotton clogged my throat, it alerted me of a notification. The phone was a false hope, for no wires trailed from the base that led to the outside world. Once again, my shoulders caved in like a sandcastle overrun by waves. I was an addict for human contact, needing the sweet morphine to quell the craze pinching my brain. It hurt as if nails were trying to claw me apart. Exiting the store in a flicker of a moment, I stood by the tracks and gazed down the line. My pennies were replaced by the purchase of a new ticket, but this one was strangled between fingers, trapping buried memories within the crinkles. In my ears, a million tiny whispers echoed like a heartbeat, but home was an ocean away and as old as stone. I was close –a few beats off– but like muscle memory, I still knew my way back. The incoming train creaked and cringed in a sweltering welcome, and with stilted steps, I clambered aboard. A crooked man resembling a screw stamped my ticket, and my head fell back like a weighted anchor. The damp scent of mildew and rotting fabric swamped the atmosphere in a thick blanket, but just knowing that I was returning to a place that blazed brightly with laughter diluted the stench. I surrendered to the massive hulk of horsepower; to the chains and rigs that ran on the energy of a single piece of coal. No matter how often the cables would break, or the gears ceased, the machine learned to function, just as people learned to move on; learned to get by with every chip and mark. It's not quite right. There are broken pieces, missing pieces, and sharp edges that still draw blood. It's strange, unique, and filled with tragedy; but, it's the belief that the machine still functions despite itself.
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