Most of the time reading for me is not to find a deeper meaning. It’s to watch a movie with my imagination. Reading books with a group this marking period was hard because I had to analyze it for a deeper meaning, which I’m not used too.
This marking period helped me dig into the deeper meaning behind the words that people write. It was cool to realize why I care about some topics more than others. I liked working in a group because I then got to see other people’s reasoning for caring about certain topics.
I wanted to learn to connect more with the things I’ve been reading, and I can say that I did learn to do that this marking period. To learn all of this, my group and I wrote a short post discussing what we learned from digging deep into a book we read.
I’m waiting for the day I can get out. This town is too goddamn small for my dreams. I want to leave and find people that understand me. I want to be happy with them. I want and deserve to be treated like a real human being, not like a friend who is available at every beck and call. My town has half a million people, but I still feel alone in it.
When I get out, oh, the joy I’ll have. While I'm in college, the friends I make will be great. We’ll hang out, and I’ll feel included. When we hang out, we're going to laugh and have a good time. They'll help me, just as much as I help them.
When I get out, I'm going to find a man. Now, this guy will be special. He loves to be treated, just as much as I do. We’ll cuddle in the corner, kiss by the lake and sleep under the stars.
I didn't used to think I could escape. But then I had my summer of escape. I tasted what freedom and happiness tastes like. And just like that, I’m addicted. I crave it, and I need it. In my mind, it can't come soon enough. When I leave I’m not going to cry, because I'll be glad to be gone from such a godforsaken place.
What does freedom taste like? It tastes like happiness. What does that taste like? It tastes like not caring. I used to care about what everyone thought of me, but I learned that the only persons opinion I should care about is my own. I learned that, and I’m happier because of it. I found my people this summer. I found how to be happy. And neither of those things will happen if I’m here.
Let me take it back to the beginning of my unhappiness. Middle school. 2012. Fat child, with a ragtag group of friends. They were the first friends I had had since I was a young kid. Enter high school. In reality, I wasn't overweight anymore. However in my mind, I still lived as the oversized middle schooler. I lived in my mind as that kid until I found my escape after junior year. When I realized I’m too harsh on myself. I'm not like that anymore. And now? I'm feeling great about myself. Those friends I told you about though? Long gone, but I realized it’s okay.I felt bad about it, and I blamed myself for doing something to make them leave me, but I didn't. We just grew apart. I learned to be okay with that while I was escaping.
This summer I tasted what freedom tastes like, and I’m addicted.
Words From the Author - Joy Kriss
My inspiration for this piece came to me when I was looking back on the summer before my senior year. I realized how much I valued all of the people I meet and how they truly impacted my life. Through most of high school, I had a hard time accepting myself for who I am and what I look like. I had accepted that I would never really be happy with myself, however I then found my escape. I always thought my escape would be a place far away from my hometown, but I learned that it could be a group of people. The group I found this summer is what changed my mindset, not the places we went. My main revisions for this piece were fixing typos and revising grammar and punctuation. I also changed words to make them flow better.
This last marking period has been the busiest of the year so far. There have been so many band things happening that it’s been hard to find any time to ready. Between solo and ensemble, winter drumline, jazz band and musical, there is next to no time to read. All of the school reading I did was done during school. When I did have time outside of school, I usually read a miscellaneous book on my phone.
Since I am so dedicated to band, reading is not a top priority in my life. Alsong with band, I’m planning for college and focusing on money and expenses, thus not giving me time to read. I’m not really upset that I don’t have reading time because it’s such a low priority for me in my life at the moment.
All I have read this marking period is the bare minimum, if that. I have read enough to successfully do all of my required assignments, and no more than that. I’d like to say I’ll try to read more as high school ends, but that is just not true. My priorities lay elsewhere. Maybe once I’m out of college with a career in hand I’ll enjoy reading again. However at the moment, that is not the reality.
In today’s society, there is still a large stigma around mental illnesses. Recently, there has been more awareness about how mental illnesses affects people, but there is still a lasting stigma around those who suffer from mental disorders. While the world is more understanding that mental illnesses are not the fault of those who experience them, those affected still often blame themselves. Why do people with mental illnesses blame themselves and feel guilty? We took this question to heart because we want people to feel comfortable being who they are, and not to be ashamed of how their minds function. We don’t think that people should feel bad about who they are based on how they think, especially when they have no control over it. While we personally do not suffer from mental illnesses we see people around us suffer from them everyday, and believe it’s important for people to be educated in order to better understand.
People who suffer from mental illness that blame themselves can be seen in various young adult novels such as The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. In this book, two of the main characters both suffer from mental disorders. Mike suffers from anxiety while Mel struggles with eating disorders. Although they experience different things, they both often feel ashamed about having them. Throughout the book, they talk about not wanting their minds to burden other people's lives. Their mother is a politician who has the media's full attention surrounding her family forcing her them under scrutiny and always having to be on defense. Both Mel and Mike don’t want their disorders to put their mothers campaign at risk because of an unstable life at home. Along with their mothers busy schedule, they also have to work around their alcoholic father and take care of their younger sister. Under the pressure of their upcoming graduation and strange deaths within their school Mike and Mel's mental illnesses start to make a reappearance in their lives.
In the end, Mike comes to the realization that his anxiety does not rule his life. He is strong enough to overcome it and that he has people that care about him to help him when he needs it. People love him for him which includes his mental illness, without it he wouldn't be the person he is in the end. He is not seen as a burden that other people have to put up with. This is a great life lesson, and everyone who reads The Rest Of Us Just Live Here can take something positive away from it. While the book does not center around mental illness, the themes of it perfectly effects how mental illnesses affect those that experience it.
Alexis Rolling, Chyna Bergevin and Joy Kriss are all seniors at Mount Pleasant High School in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. After high school they all plan on attending colleges to gain a higher education.
This trimester has taken place over Christmas, and the transition in after school activities. Between all of the extra curricular band that I do, I have about fifteen hours a week of free time a week. If anybody thinks I'd rather be reading than spending time with my friends, they're wrong.
The main things that I "read" are the dumb articles that pop up on social media that waste my time. I have read two (complete) books so far this trimester. I read the Perks of Being a Wallflower for about the 13th time, and a leather bound copy of Alice in Wonderland. I'd like to read more, however I prefer hanging out with my friends. When I have time to do things, reading is the last thing on my mind.
I haven't improved my reading very much solely based on the fact that I have barely read anything. When I do read, I don't read anything challenging because I don't have the time or patience to deal with that. I like sticking to the books I know because I can keep finding new details, and I like remembering why I like something as much as I do.
I can read anywhere, because I read on my phone most of the time. However, if I'm reading a real life book, I generally read in my room, or in an English class. I don't have a reading goal for the rest of the school year. I know no matter what goal I set, I won't complete. I don't really mind that, though. I am perfectly okay with only reading for learning things based on school assignments. I'm not a huge fan of reading right now, based on my schedule.
Once I have more time in my life, I'm sure I'll be back to enjoying reading. However, right now I see it as more of a hassle than a good time.
Over the couple of weeks that we studied Macbeth, I mostly looked at it while trying to see how it fit with Marxist thoughts and ideologies. Before starting, I already had a pretty good handle on Marxism, so this project was mostly learning more about Macbeth.
The biggest thing I learned was the connections that link Marxism and Macbeth. I had a good handle on most of them, however I never saw how Macbeth and Joseph Stalin were similar. I never would have thought of this on my own, mostly because I'm not a history buff. Most group projects in high school have the stigma surrounding them that there is only one person that does anything, but I'm happy this one wasn't like that. I learned from my partner, and I saw new things because I enjoyed hearing his thoughts and criticism based on the topic we were researching. I liked hearing the historical connections, because I know very little about history around the world.
Another thing I learned was that most critical thinking theories all have something to do with power. I thought it was neat to see how even though they all focus on different things, they mostly all still lead back to the idea that power and who holds it is important in all aspects of life. I thought it was informative that the idea of power changing people has been evident through all different time periods and groups of people.
Lastly, I learned that we as humans have not changed at all. We still make the same mistakes we have been making for thousands of years, yet we still let them happen. I liked Macbeth because it showed that we are complex as people, and no action we take will be taken without consequences.
Teddy is what my boy called me, back when he still loved and cared for me. I remember the day he brought me home. I was shiny and new, in a toy store crammed with other toys just like me. It was a dainty, old store filled to the brim with old and new toys. Everyday, kids and parents would come in to look at all the toys. Most of the time I wasn’t looked at; I was passed over and deemed not good enough for the children.. I fought my way from the back of the shelves to the front, I was always hoping to have any loving little pumpkin of a child to pick me. I had been in that store for three years; always pushed over and ignored. One of my ears was ripped off in the factory; but I guess nobody there seemed to notice; so I was sent to the toy store anyway. The only people who seemed to have noticed this are the kids and parents picking out new toys, all of the bears and dolls and trucks that weren’t me. They would see me, and think I was okay. Then they would notice my lack of ear, and they would put me back. None of that matters anymore, though. I don’t need some snotty nosed child to pick me out from the others. At least that’s what I thought for years, until I laid eyes on my boy.
This boy was different from all of the other snot nosed kids that came through this store. For one, he wasn’t snot nosed, he almost seemed respectable, as much as a kid could. But the most important thing that made him different from the others was that he was interested in me. He wasn’t interested in the overpriced cars and trucks, or the roaring green dinosaurs. His sparkling love filled eyes were drawn to me. When he picked me up, he looked at me with utter astonishment. “Mama!” He gleamed. “He is just perfect! Look, look Mama! He has one ear! Like Papa!” I watched this child with amazement. I didn’t hear what his mother said to him; I was too distracted because I was being taken to be purchased. I wasn’t thrown back on the shelf with disgust. Would I be loved? Would this child care for me like I have longed for? I truly hoped so.
On the way from the store to the child’s home, the boy told me his name was Charlie. I learned that he was 6 years of age, and he was going to have a younger sister in a few months, according to his mother. He told me he loved me, and that he was going to be my loving friend forever. But forever is a long time, especially because I am only a stuffed bear. “I love you!” Charlie told me again. “My Papa fought in the war, you know. Got his ear blown right off! Just like you! Isn't that crazy? You’re like my Papa! Mama! Did you see Teddy?” His mother said that she had in fact seen Teddy. Am I Teddy? I thought. As if Charlie could read my mind, he stated, “I’m going to name him Teddy.” He held me up, and told me again that his name was Charlie, and that he was going to call me Teddy from now on. “Do you like the name Teddy?” He asked me. No. I wanted to respond. I couldn't however answer him, because I am only a bear.
On the first night in Charlie’s home, he hugged me close to him all night long as he slept. This happened for the next few nights; even during the day. He would drag me around everywhere he went. After a few days, we had developed a schedule. At night, I would be cuddled up next to him to fight away the monsters under the bed, and during the day I would still be by his side, fighting the everyday demons of bathing and chores. As he did his daily chores, he would would tell me me how much he loved me. I may have even loved him too. He came into my life and showed me that even I , a deformed bear, was worthy of love. He was my best friend, and I his. After a few months, the baby girl came. Charlie told me her name was Adeline, named after his father’s mother. Charlie let her hold and play with me sometimes, however he would always stay near to swoop in if Adeline were to put me in danger.
On our first Christmas together, I finally met the father of Charlie. I often could hear Charlie’s mother on the telephone talking to her husband, Byron. They would argue for hours about him not being at home to support his son. “He needs you.” She would say. “ You’ve been gone for months, and I think it’s time to come home.” Byron would be gone for months at a time, saying he needed to leave for “personal health reasons” or for “work”.
Byron was a large man, and when Charlie showed me to him, he looked at me in disgust. “You don’t need that, son. He’s missing an ear!”
“It’s okay Papa!” My Charlie told him. “I love him! He reminds me of you!”
“No.” His father responded. “Here. I got you a new one while I was in London. This here bear is the newest one, and in perfect condition!! Do you like him?”
Charlie looked at me. For the first time in our friendship, I couldn’t read what he was thinking. “Yes papa! He’s lovely! I love him. Thank you!” He didn’t sound like my Charlie would sound if he were actually happy, however, I couldn’t say that to him.
“You are very welcome, Charlie. Let’s forget about this thing.” Charlie’s father picked me up and tossed me to the side of Charlie’s room. Charlie never once looked back at me, or looked for me. I sat silently in the corner of his room and watched him grow up while half heartedly loving another bear. I hope their forever lasts.
A few years after Charlie jumped into my life, he left just as suddenly as entered. I heard his mother telling him to pack the essentials. They had to get out, and move to a new place. As I watched Charlie pack up his bedroom from my dusty corner, I could see him looking around to see if he got all of the important things he would need, and it seems as though he had. His family was gone within the hour. I hoped that Charlie would rush back in, to pick me up and and tell me that he loved me once more. However forever is a very hard promise to keep. How could anyone love me forever? I am only a stuffed bear named Teddy.
Words From the Author - Joy Kriss
I chose this piece because it was one of the only completed works that I have at the moment. I liked the development I did with it because I switched out some words to make phrases flow better. I liked the sad feel that I had within the words, and the meaning behind them hit deep within me.
The main revision I made was adding and subtracting different parts of the story. Reading through my rough draft, I had many different parts that didn't add to the plot. I took them away, and added new details that help edge on the story. I like the revisions, and I'm glad I mad them.
When I was in middle school, I was an avid reader. I was in book club and I could read a 400 page book in one night. Once I got into high school, I lost all motivation for reading, and I became to busy to read. However, now that I’m older, I still enjoy reading when I have enough time. Most books that I start to read, I get bored of and I stop reading it. Reading has always come easy for me, and I’ve never really had a problem with it. When I read, I concentrate really hard because I hate the thought of forgetting what I’m reading. One of my favorite things in reading is choosing books that are hard to read. I love the challenge. I like harder literature because it helps me grow stronger as a reader.
Through all of middle school and all of high school until senior year, I didn’t consider myself a writer. I think people learn to write through school, and only for school. However people only excel at it if they have a large enough interest in writing, or in school. In my opinion, people write outside of assignment only when they have to much to keep in their minds. They need to clear their heads, and they do that by writing their thoughts down. I know that anyone could be a good writer if they put their minds to it, and practice enough. I hate writing, and tries to avoid writing in any way. When I’m forced to write for school, she writes the minimum amount that will still get her a good grade. Writing essays and papers, or even journaling makes me unhappy. I don’t write for fun, I generally only write for school, so find topics to write about is usually easy. Writing topics are generally easy because they're given to me by teachers. In general, I think my school essays and papers are adequate enough. It has just enough detail and length to get a good grade, without any extra information or words. When I was at home, I don’t usually write anything because I don’t like putting my thoughts into words.
However, that was before my senior year of high school. Once I realized that I should be writing for me instead of for my teachers, I started doing better with my writing overall. With my class writing, I started to be less angry about my writing, so my quality went up. My free time writing also went up. I started writing outside of school, and I actually find it kinda relaxing. I’m still not a huge fan of reading anymore, only because I can’t concentrate for that long, however I’m getting better than I was in my previous years of high school.
My goals for the rest of school is just to keep developing my writing skills. I still like learning new things about the process, and adding new ideas to write about. In the far future, I am hoping to become a teacher or counselor of some sort. I love helping people with advice, but I also love teaching people things. I like seeing people start to understand what they didn’t before, and I love the feeling of being the one that makes them understand. Educators have shaped parts of my life, so I want to do the same for younger people once I’m older.