Life Lesson #14: Women Who Changed the World

Dear Reiina,

 

“There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.” – Michelle Obama

Amen to that. Haha, okay, you know I’m not a woman, but your uncle is a feminist and I respect women (seemingly more so than a number of guys my age and older, but that’s for another blog post). Throughout history and across cultures, women and girls have faced innumerable challenges and injustices. Thankfully, there have been extraordinary women who have challenged society and pushed it toward the better. Below are some women from different countries and time periods, each with their own great accomplishments who changed the world for the better.

There are many, many more, but this post would reach novella length to list them all y’know. I’ve kept their descriptions brief, if you want to know more, you can do your own research. It’s just a starting point, in case your history class feels flooded by men and you want to find out what courageous and incredible women were doing while men were being written in to (and writing) the history books. Girl power!

 

  • Cleopatra – The last Ptolemaic ruler of Egypt. Famed for her beauty and intellect, and her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, changing the course of history in the process.
  • Annie Jump Cannon – Besides having a bad ass name, she classified about 400,000 stars and cataloged them by brightness and their chemical spectrum which was essential in the development of contemporary stellar classification. She developed improved methods for spectral analysis that are still used today.
  • Harriet Tubman – Escaped slavery and became a leading abolitionist. She led hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. She also served as a spy during the Civil War.
  • Sailor Moon – Not all women who change the world have to be real y’know. She may not have created anime or the magical girl genre of it, but she sure as hell popularized both. She wasn’t the perfect fighting hero, she was at first someone who was more concerned with boys, eating, and going to the arcade (she lives in Japan and arcades are still popular there). She wasn’t the smartest girl and was a crybaby, but she had a heart of gold. She eventually overcame all of her flaws and insecurities to become Princess Serenity.
  • Michelle Obama – One of my fashion icons. Before she was the first lady, she was a lawyer and Mom in Chief. She’s also an activist, visionary and author. During President Obama’s time in office, she led several meaningful initiatives, most notably her Let’s Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity. A very classy lady indeed.
  • Oprah Winfrey – She used her talk show to help viewers live their best lives, her book club created millions of readers, she’s a billionaire who still gives millions to charities. Josh Peck was right when he said “Oprah can do anything!”.
  • Madonna – Multi-talented woman who has the most important vagina in the world (tee hee, okay, that’s an inside joke I share with your other uncle). Anyway, she’s commonly known as the “Queen of Pop” and rightly so, she has made innovative, boundary-pushing creativity. Her top-of-the-chart hits have spanned across decades.
  • Marie Curie – The first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person to win it twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different science branches (Physics and Chemistry). She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris.
  • Joan Ganz Cooney – One of the founders of Sesame Workshop, the organization famous for the creation of the children’s television show Sesame Street, which was also co-created by her. Sesame Street is a treasure and has helped kids learn how to learn, and I’ve already seen you watch it, Reiina.
  • Miep Gies – One of the people who helped and protected Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis for over two years during World War II. She is also the woman responsible for saving Anne’s diary after the Franks were arrested.
  • Anne Frank – I highly recommend reading this young lady’s diary, Reiina. It was written as she and her family hid from the Nazis in an Amsterdam attic. It reminds us of both the Holocaust’s unconscionable inhumanity and atrocities and the child who still somehow managed to write, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart”.
  • Elizabeth Eckford – Racism is such a petty and ignorant point of view. Anyway, she was one of the first black students to attend a desegregated high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. The photograph of her at fifteen years old surrounded by a hateful crowd of angry white people is a powerful one, especially since that didn’t happen even a lifetime ago.
  • Malala Yousafzai – Defied the Taliban in Pakistan and became an advocate for girls’ education when she herself was still a child. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived and went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. She has since became the global face for female education.
  • Maya Angelou – Iconic writer, activist and a leading force in the civil rights movement who is best known for her influential series of autobiographies and poetry. Her words were like gold for the mind, and her “Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud” quote is one I live by.
  • Claudette Colvin – She needs more love. A civil rights activist in Alabama during the 1950s. She refused to give up her seat on a bus nine months before Rosa Parks’ more famous protest. Black leaders did not publicize her effort because she was a teenager who was reportedly impregnated by a married man.
  • Maria Montessori – Educator, physician, and innovator. She’s acclaimed for her educational method that builds on the way children naturally learn which is still implemented in Montessori schools to this very day.
  • Helen Keller – The first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. She overcame her disabilities to become a leading humanitarian and also a co-founder of the ACLU.
  • Sandra Day O’Connor – The first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor: the Presidential Medal of Freedom, on August 12, 2009 by President Obama.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft – A writer, philosopher and women’s rights activist, who is probably best known for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman written in 1792. In it, she argued that women are not naturally inferior to men and should be treated as rational beings,  a respectable opinion that I subscribe to.
  • Carol Moseley Braun – Became the first black woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992. As a senator, she tackled many issues, including women’s rights and civil rights.
  • Alice Hamilton – A leading expert in the field of occupational health and a pioneer in the field of industrial toxicology. She was the head of Illinois’ Occupational Diseases Commission, the original forerunner of today’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
  • Maya Lin – At the age of 21 while still an undergraduate at Yale University, her design was chosen in a national competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is considered one of the most influential and important memorials.
  • Benazir Bhutto – Became the first democratically elected female leader of a Muslim country. Having been elected the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan, she tried her best to enact her campaign promises of social, economic and political reform. She continued her work until her tragic assassination in 2007.
  • Ellen DeGeneres – Or as I playfully call her, “Ellen DeGenerous”. She’s a funny woman who has mastered the media dimension in TV, film, voice acting and comedy. She reminds us that the world should be a more kind, loving and fun place.
  • Sally Ride – The first American woman in space. At the age of 32, she remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space.
  • Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody – the first woman to achieve the rank of four-star general. In 2005, she became the Army’s top-ranking female when she received the promotion to lieutenant general (three stars) and became the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4.
  • Aaliyah Dana Haughton – I always felt that if she didn’t die, she would be in the position Beyonce is in now. She was one of music’s brightest stars and her influence on contemporary artists in the rap and r&b world is evident, even your mom was influenced by her. Whilst she was alive, she released music sparingly, but when she did, she sung with impact.
  • Junko Tabei – She was the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and the first woman to ascend all Seven Summits by climbing the highest peak on every continent. In addition to her climbing, she worked on ecological matters.
  • Margaret Hamilton – Was the director of Software Engineering for the Apollo Space Program. A computer scientist, she helped write the computer code for the command and lunar modules used on the Apollo missions to the moon in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

 

And there are even more women today making history. I guess what I want you to get the most out of this blog post, Reiina is that women are capable of doing anything. Be aware there are some people (mostly socially stunted men) who still think a woman’s worth is based on the size of her ass and breasts or her “most important job” is to bear children (I facepalm every time). Reiina, you, your mom, your grandma, my favorite teacher from OPHS and every other woman who has lived, is living and will live are more than all that. Your legacy is going to be whatever the heck you want it to be and don’t let anyone tell you different. I’ll leave you with a classic song called “I’m Every Woman”. I hope and pray you will grow up to be as confident as this song.

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My 同人誌 Collection So Far

Howdy everyone!

Apparently classes don’t end until Friday. -___- But before I pull an all study day for my final exam tomorrow, I wanted to make a quick post on the doujinshi I own. As I’m sure most of you know, doujinshi is something I’ve particularly enjoyed this year and the number I own has accumulated quite a bit so I wanted to share what I have with you all.

 

薄い本

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To start things off, this is the 薄い本/usui hon or porn doujinshi I have. In other words, this is stuff I wouldn’t share with my niece, or my mom, or my dad, or anyone really. Now you’re probably judging me based on my questionable taste and material, but besides reading I don’t do anything with them. I swear! One of them is covered because they’re nude on the cover and you don’t need to see that.

 

りこまき

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These were pretty cool. These doujinshi are by someone who goes by the screename ながれぼし, which translates into “shooting star”. Besides having a nice name, the anime series this is based off of (Love Live and its spin-off Sunshine) take place in the same universe. I’m not really sure what Maki and Riko have in common besides being pianists (that’s always a fun word to say) and the main composer of their respective idol groups. In this doujinshi series, Maki is in her third (and final) year and during this time she meets and gets a “kohai” in the form of Riko. µ’s (the school idol group Maki was a part of) disbanded by this time. It seems as though she has went to the way she was beforehand, playing the piano as a refuge from the tough times of living the life her parents planned out for her. Maki and Riko form a friendly bond and as you can tell by the covers, it turns into something more as they get to know each other. I don’t think I can spoil you though ’cause it’s not likely you’ll be buying these if you don’t read Japanese, right?

 

ようよし

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If you didn’t know by now, I’m a shipper. I enjoy this ship, despite their limited social interactions. You have the energetic and positive You with her contagious catchphrase (ヨーソロー!) and the socially awkward, but bright Yoshiko Yohane. These ようよし doujinshi are done by different people. The top four are all done by the same person though. It’s harder to get doujinshi revolving around these two, but then again it’s not like they interacted with each other a lot compared to other characters in the anime so that’s probably why. I still like what the writers/illustrators did though, so I hope to see more in the future.

 

のぞにこ

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My OTP and I think I have all of them now. These doujishi are done by a talented woman by the name of 上林眞/Kanbayashi Makoto. She’s as good at writing as she is at drawing, in other words, she’s really, really good! The characterizations are amazing and the art looks just like Nozomi and Nico. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought this was a spin-off series or something. It started with a handshake and a willingness to help and moved to friendship to maybe something more. But how does one handle their feelings when it gradually grows stronger? How do you let them know? Should you let them know? Or perhaps your actions already said more than enough? …Anyway, I love this artist’s work. It makes my 心/kokoro all happy y’know.

 

Illustration books

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And random illustration books ’cause why not? As the name implies, they’re doujnishi that simply have illustrations. These tend to be the thinnest/shortest for some reason. The art is wonderful to look at though so it’s great to see illustrators from Pixiv release something tangible.

 

 

And that’s my doujinshi stash so far! I’ll probably have more as time goes on and my Japanese reading skills get better. Thanks for reading and I hope you all have a wonderful day ahead. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go cry whilst studying for my final exam.

Life Lesson #13: Be a Doer

Dear Reiina,

 

Sometimes people will say things like: “I’m going to write a story”, “I’m going to start a vlog”, “I’m going to start going to the gym,” or “I’m going to learn a new language”. And then never follow through. Sometimes we spend an inordinate amount of time talking about our ideas, dreams, and aspirations, but never get around to manifesting them into the universe. Just do it. In fact, you don’t even have to tell anyone you’re going to do it. The trick to getting something done is to get started.

Your other uncle is the walking embodiment of a doer. I’ve gotten better at being one myself. But I’ve never known Manny say he was going to do something and not see it through. Like getting accepted to UF. Or learning to drive. Or become a music artist. He’s a doer and if he doesn’t plan to do it, then he doesn’t say he will.

I was watching a YouTube video when Kid Cudi was on TED talk and what he said at the end really resonated with me. “If you believe, and if you want it, and if you want to work hard enough for it, it can be so”. The only person who can stop you from achieving what you want in life is you. You’re either going to be making progress or making excuses. So practice playing piano, write a book, run a 5k, become a mathematician, learn how to speak Japanese (I can definitely help you with that one). Whatever it is you want to do, do it! Set your alarm, and get out of bed, you need nothing more than motivation, ambition, and a willingness to work hard. Be determined with your doing, even if it seems crazy or big, give it a try anyway. It’s better to live life trying, than to live life being scared of failing (and therefore not trying). And if you need any help or support, then that’s what we’re here for!

My advice is start today, not tomorrow. Some people will wait for the “perfect time” to arrive, but you know what? That “perfect time” will never come so you have to make it happen yourself. Even doing five minutes of whatever it is you want to do today is better than spending five seconds saying you’ll do it tomorrow. And getting started is always the hardest part! But like I said, getting started is how you’ll get it done.

Quick Update

Hey everyone!

 

How’s everyone doing? I hope you’re all doing well. I noticed I haven’t been posting or partaking much on WordPress recently. I’ve just been having the time to post life lessons for my niece. I’ve mostly been (badly) studying for my Physics class. Thankfully classes end on the 22nd, so it won’t be long until I again have the free time to do the stuff I actually want to do. I can’t wait to see my niece again! And draw, and blog, and read this textbook on genetics.

June is Yeezy season. If I had any doubts (I didn’t) that Kanye West had it musically, his eighth album Ye and collaborative album Kids See Ghosts with fellow musical genius Kid Cudi dispelled them. For those that don’t know, Mr. West is one of my creative influences. Out of all the music artists I listen to, he’s the only one who’s never made an album I never liked. I think it’s safe to say that man is unstoppable. One of the biggest things I took from him in my own creative endeavors was to be passionate about what I do. If I can do that, then I can create anything. And if I love what I do and make, then that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

Speaking of creative stuff, I have been listing ideas and topics for my vlog. I have wrote some things down already in my Blog vs. Vlog post, but this list I’ve been doing on my Google Docs is a bit more focused. I even have been daydreaming about some of the videos I want to make. Some of the posts I’ve made on here will be converted and presented in video format too. There isn’t any date on when the vlog will be up and running, but my first video will be embedded on here so you all will be the first to know (outside of YouTube, of course, lol). If you like my blog, I think you’ll like what my vlog will be about too. I’m sure some of you already know what I look like, but you’ve never heard my voice so yay, my voice will be heard! My goal is to become a quadruple threat in creativity: writing/blogging, vlogging, drawing and music producing. I think I’ve said it before, but it’s always nice to remind myself.

Oh yeah, my new, recent interest this summer has been anime art/illustration books. I’ve only bought two so far, but I really enjoy looking at the pictures and how other artists, whether it be the manga illustrator(s) or the anime staff interpret the characters of a show. Of course just looking at the pretty pictures isn’t the only reason I buy them, they’ll make for great references whenever I decide to do fanart of my own.

That’s all I have to say for now. I hope you all have a wonderful day ahead and I’ll leave you with a beautiful song and a pic of an equally beautiful anime woman.

 

Saya

Life Lesson #12: Everyone Has Their Own Life Story

Dear Reiina,

 

Imagine that. There are billions of people on this planet, meaning that there are over a billion of life stories out there. I think there’s a word for this kind of thought: sonder. From the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

Wow, that’s deep. But it’s an often overlooked fact of life. Everyone has a life story, and they’re all worth listening to. Everyone has a unique point of view and a different set of ideas, thoughts and opinions. If you ever think someone’s boring, be more attentive. There will be something to learn somewhere in their story, listen for it, identify it. Think, pinpoint the things you’re curious and interested about, ask questions. It never hurts to ask and no one is boring. No one.

Sometimes, people want and need to be listened to, sometimes they just need an ear to hear their story. Make sure to pay attention. Being a good talker is an admirable trait to have, but being a good listener is just as important.

You can learn something from every single person on the planet (you most likely won’t have time to, but if you had infinite time, you could.) Like Bill Nye once said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t”. Enjoy learning from the people you’ll come across through all the stages of your life. And enjoy sharing your stories with those around you, because you also will know things that we don’t know.

Life Lesson #11: Sharing

Dear Reiina,

 

“Sharing is caring” is something I remember hearing a lot during my middle school days. But I think it still has relevance to this day. Allow me to explain…

Share your video games with your friends, and they may teach you how to beat the level.

Share your drinks with your friends, and you’ll be less hungover the next morning.

Share your thoughts, ideas and stories with your family, we’ll always be willing to hear what you have to say.

Share your time with those who need it, it’s the limited currency of life.

Share your help and kindness when you can. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Share your dreams with those you trust, they may help you to build them up, to expand and grow them so they become realities.

Throughout my life, I’ve noticed sharing leads to greater things, better things than those you had before. All I’m saying is give sharing a chance.

Happy Pride Month!

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For zee record, the letter A means lot to me. It’s the first letter to my name, my orientation and also stands for “ally”. I don’t know if there are many things in life I can say “should” about, but supporting the LGBT+ movement is definitely one of them. I’m a staunch supporter of human rights for everyone. There is no good reason to restrict things like marriage equality and acceptance of those with same sex (or both sex) attractions. People have lives, lives that matter. Bigotry and hate never served anyone’s interests.

I don’t really have much else to say, but I wish everyone a happy and safe pride month!