Resolve Without Resolutions

Ah, the New Year’s resolution – the life changing, existential crisis reverting, youth repairing, year long fix to any of your on going problems! But really now…

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When it comes down to it, a New Year’s resolution is very much like giving up something for Lent. It lasts about a month, usually ends with you going back to your old habits after a big celebration, and it happens once a year, with a Savior brought unto us reborn in the form of “Oh Christ, really?! It can’t have only been a week” and “Jesus I didn’t think it would be this hard!” Yes, the New Year’s resolution very seldom works, which is why I, the very very un-famous Bailey of the very very un-famous blog Bailey Studies Psych, am suggesting a slightly already suggested idea! Don’t have a resolution!

I’ve been doing this for a year or two now. My former resolutions all seemed to be along the lines of: get into shape, do better in school, work harder, be happier. I saw all these people on Intragram, Pinterest, and Tumblr living out extravagant lives and I felt I couldn’t match up unless I made myself better. If I managed to get a life like theirs I’d be happy. I spent the beginnings of many years fruitlessly attempting to live out the lives of people I wasn’t supposed to be. So I stopped making resolutions.

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For 2016, as I did in 2015, 2014, and part of 2013, I have a very vague, shifting, obtainable-yet-slightly-out-of-reach goal for each and every day. I want to be a better me, for me. More or less, I wake up and think about how I can do something new today, or how I can be a more positive influence to those around me, with the knowledge that this is not because I’m unhappy with who I am, it’s because there’s so much to do, see, learn, and experience in this world and I need to put myself out there and do it. When you wake up with the mentality of “Wow! I’m an amazing human being who has all these crazy options of wonderful things to do this morning!” rolling out of bed at 7am doesn’t seem as daunting.

More often that not, we are our own biggest barriers. Jump the gate and sprint out onto the road, the universe is calling your name! Or, as my dad always says, “I don’t know Mr. Can’t, but I do know Mr. Can!”

xo Bailey

P.S. Thanks to all my wonderful readers who’ve kept me going through 2015! Best wishes for you all in the new year!

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The Cursed Child? More Like the Cursed Play

The title says it all – the new play based off J.K. Rowling’s writings must be doomed!

I’m just kidding. Many of you know I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and when I heard about the makings of a new play featuring the Big HP’s kiddo I was ecstatic. Like sharing multiple statuses and videos on Facebook, Googling news articles, finding where the auditions were being held, and calling all my friends with tears streaming down my face kind of ecstatic. So when I heard that people were upset over the new (err, well, she’s old now) Hermione being black, I was crushed!

22artsbeat-potter3-blog427 Noma Dumezweni will play Hermione Granger, all grown up, in the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Dumezweni, as I have read, is a fabulous actress and was no doubt chosen for the part because of her superb acting abilities. Some Potterheads beg to differ, saying that Emma Watson, who played Hermione in the Harry Potter movie series, should have been awarded the role. Other fans speak up about the break in character – young Hermione was white, so why should a black woman  be playing the grown up witch? Another group of readers and watchers have vocalized the questions they’ve had about Hermione’s ethnicity since the beginning of the series, because the books don’t say anything about skin tone.

Growing up, I lived for the next Harry Potter book to be published. I went to as many midnight book openings as I could, as many opening nights as I could, and dressed as Ginny Weasly for Halloween on many an occasion. When I first read the books I didn’t think about race. I was six. Now that I’m older and looking back on the series I realize that people of color didn’t play main characters and weren’t as prevalent as Caucasians.

For the original movie, the three main roles were selected by open casting with the only real criterion being age and a British background. This is how we came to know and love Daniel, Rupert, and Emma. I would like to say that only their acting skills were the reason they were chosen for the parts they got, rather than how they looked. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”‘s main cast was recruited because of their acting capabilities. I would like to think that no one was chosen to play their role because of their race, and that no one was turned away from the role because of their race, in either cast.

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What does J.K. have to say? Only this so far: “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione.” We love you too J.K.!

 

 

I think that if someone is more than capable of playing a role then they should get the role, no matter their ethnicity. It’s 2015, the color of someone’s skin shouldn’t be a barrier anymore. As for “The Cursed Child,” it’s a writer’s interpretation of the book series and the aftermath of Harry Potter, so a change in character shouldn’t disrupt a thing. If it does for you, then maybe you should reread the story to figure out what the series really stands for.

 

Doe a Dear, Oh an Opossum

“OHMYGOD! It’s a cat!” … “Oh my God…that’s not a cat…”

This is a story about what to do if you find yourself staring into the face of a possum in the entryway of your dorm.

It was 10 pm on a clear, star lit fall night last November. My boyfriend, Will, was walking me back to my dorm after a date. It’d been a fun day, nothing too memorable, and definitely nothing like what was about to occur. You see, I’m extremely passionate about getting excited about small things, like seeing a rainbow, guide dog puppies, new books, froyo, and cats. What can I say, I’m very easy to please. Another thing to point out is that my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.

So here I was, slightly squinting as Will and I meandered up the walkway to my dorm. Out of the bushes waddled this blurry, kitten-sized gray lump with a tail. In a maddened frenzy I dropped my boyfriend’s hand, stretched up onto my tiptoes, and scream-whispered “OHMYGOD! It’s a cat!” Immediately I began to rush up to the grey lump, who’d attracted more gawking students. Hey, it must be a popular cat, right?

As soon as I started to squad down and coo at the little baby pseudo-kitten, my eyesight adjusted. It must’ve looked like the world’s most awkward game of limbo. I reeled backwards as quickly as I could, thrusting my hips outward to propel me away from the now hissing possum, my hands outstretched to the heavens, head held back, mouth open wide. Oh my God, that’s not a cat.

I pirouetted towards my dorm’s entryway, landing clumsily on one foot before falling over into the landing’s railing. Spooked that the little bugger might have followed me to the door, I embodied my inner ballerina and performed an assemble, only to catch a glimpse of my boyfriend stifling a laugh and the grey lump waddling off into the distance. Moral of the story? Don’t mistake grey blobs for domesticated animals. And if you get too close, poorly performed dance moves seem to help.

xo Bailey

 

Top 10 Books I Read in 2015

As the year comes to an end I’ve started reflecting on everything that’s happened. With that, I’ve come to the conclusion that most of my memories come with the phrase “Oh I was reading – at the time!”

Here’s my “Top Ten” list of 2015:

  1. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

While the rest of the list is in no particular order, this book was by far my favorite. It’ll bring you to tears, both through laughing and crying, and delivers a powerful story about motherhood and family. I’d even go so far to say this is a book every woman in her 20’s should read.

2. Paper Towns by John Green

Just a good young adult book. Quick and easy, keeps you entertained until the end. Definitely something to pick up if you’re looking for an adventure or if you loved the movie!

3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 

I read about Maya Angelou’s death in a news article a while back and decided to start reading this book over the summer. I initially thought the book was a “coming of age” story. The novel focuses on the hardships of life and the perseverance it takes to make it through. An emotional, heartfelt story that I didn’t know I needed at the time, and another one of those books you should read before you finish college.

4. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini 

I adored this story. It’s definitely young adult literature, but it lends itself to being eye opening into the world of mental disorders and psychiatric health.

5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

I probably went through an entire box of tissues while reading this story. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s written so well that you never want it to end. There are highs and lows and even some plateaus, and the whole way through I was routing for the main character to have her happily ever after.

6. Rabid by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy

I’m a total sucker for historical books. This is a history of rabies, mainly centered in America and the United Kingdom. It brings up so many crazy stories and links to mythology that I never felt bored, as I sometimes do with these books.

7. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

To tell you the truth, I only picked up this book because my middle name is Katherine. By the time I was through reading it I was pleasantly surprised! John Green has always been on my radar as an author to look out for when I need a new book, particularly a quick read to get me through AP exam week or spring break. As always, this book is a cute little teenage love story filled with quirky characters and quotable phrases!

8. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry 

I normally don’t like reading plays, but this held my attention to the very end! What a story! Centered around the American Dream and its unobtainableness, this play is something I’d recommend all high school and college students go out and read.

9. American Psycho

The first hundred pages were boring as all getout, but after the main character loses his cool and starts becoming a serial killer the book gets interesting (as most stories would). If you’re a fan of American Horror Story or anything gorey/serial killer-esque this book is for you!

10. Going After Cacciato by Tim O’Brien

I’m about to sound very, very biased…I love Tim O’Brien, and I haven’t finished this book yet but it’s already just as phenomenal as “The Things We Carried” (which is one of my all time favorite books) so I decided it’d be fair to put it on the Top Ten list anyway. “Going After Cacciato” is about a squad in Vietnam when one of their members decides he’s going to walk 8,200 miles to Paris. Gut wrenching, heartbreaking, and raw – but also wonderfully, phenomenally written.

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“Hamlet” by my main man Willy Shakes almost made the list, but I’m still upset over all my favorite characters’ deaths so I didn’t put it on there.

Happy New Year!

xo Bailey

Update: I finished “Going After Cacciato” and I loved it! Not as thrilling and emotional as O’Brien’s “The Things We Carried” (which I’d totally recommend to any adult/older teen who’s in need of a new book), but still a terrific novel!

Appreciation Post!

I’ve found that getting a crap ton of stuff I don’t really need from a fat guy in a red suit makes me appreciate the things I already have. On Christmas Day, after everything’s said and done, I smuggle all my gifts up to my room and stow them away (neat, organized, either color coded or alphabetical). Sometimes I use them that night, but most of the time I pull out a CD or a book I’ve been meaning to get to. As I’ve gotten older I appreciate more of the simpler things, and since we are headed into 2016 I’m going to talk about the things I’m most grateful for in 2015 (shocker, right?).

  1. College

6.7% of the world has a college degree. I am so so thankful to be able to go to college! I’m learning every day, I’m meeting new people, AND I get to be away from home. It’s like a vacation, but a really really expensive vacation with lots of books and essays and labs. But it’s still great! Go to college! Live life! Learn important thingymajigs! Yes!

2. My Health

Honestly, I take this for granted every single day. This year someone close to be had a big health scare and it made me realize how important taking care of ourselves is. I’m eating healthier, exercising more frequently, and making a point to take my medications in a timely manner (because when it comes down to it, I can and will put off just about anything).

3. Friends and Family

Bailey, why didn’t you make these two categories? Well let me tell you something, friend, my friends are close enough to be family and my family I sometimes treat like very distant friends (sorry guys, I still love ya). Even though we fight, my parents and brother get me through life’s struggles. And for the struggles they create, my friends come in to rescue me and save the day! I love them all dearly and certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

4. Literacy

A large portion of the world is still illiterate, believe it or not. I am enormously grateful that my parents instilled a love of reading in me at a young age, other wise I would not be able to sit staring at dead, sliced, tattooed pieces of trees for hours on end while hallucinating vividly. Uh, I mean, reading. Yeah, reading.

5. Stability

Like an eighties aerobics woman on a BOSU ball, clad in neon leggings, leotard, and leg warmers, I have obtained the up-most of stability in my life this year. Well, that’s a stretch, but I’m thankful for what I have!

6. Wifi

Dad, this one’s for you. Even with ghostly household wifi problems, he’s our guru, and he hates it. Wifi is one of the many loves of my life, so thanks Dad for holding it together long enough so I can do my school work, surf through social medias, and update my blog.

7. The Bottom Rung of Haslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

That covers the basics, doesn’t it?

8. J.K. Rowling

Because what recent great article hasn’t featured her?

9. Laughter

The best medicine. Unless you actually need a doctor, then maybe some antibiotics would work.

10. Life, the Universe, and Everything

I’m truly honored and blessed to be a part of the world. With its light, its dark, and its in between, I’m happy I’m here to take part in it’s marvelous misadventures with all 7.3 billion of you.

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xo Bailey

Holidaze

Everything gets hectic around this time of year. Between my birthday, my cousin’s birthday, family coming over, and the actual Christmas celebration itself, many of our holiday traditions have become lost over the years. Inadvertently, many more have been added.

When I was a wee little munchkin my mother would take my friend Andrea and I to “Bethlehem” (it was a church decorated like the city, complete with a stable, characters, and many crying babies and toddlers). That stopped when Andrea and her family moved away.

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It was replaced by a short acting career (my parents have never been able to keep me out of the spotlight haha) in nativities and church Christmas musicals. I starred as many a sheep and choir angel, watching in horror as Mary nearly dropped Jesus or one of the Wise Men forgot his costume at home. Needless to say, that tradition only lasted about as long as my mother could make me do it.

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When not acting in musicals my family hosted Christmas Eve parties for the entire family. My family is huge. I have about thirty five cousins all together, and I’m not entirely sure how many aunts, uncles, great aunts, etc. but all I know is that I still marvel at how all of us fit comfortably in the living room of my house. We fit comfortably enough that this is the only continued tradition I can remember, other than Santa coming of course!

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Ho ho hope your holidays were merry and bright!

No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Who else is home from college? Just me? That’s a little bit how it feels right now.

I finished my exams early (fingers crossed for high grades this semester!) and came home last Friday. It’s a balmy 65 degrees in most of Western North Carolina right now and I’m starting to get the feeling that it really won’t snow on Christmas this year…

My family and I went to pick out our Christmas tree on Saturday and I’ve been at work decorating ever since! At UGA Christmas and Hanukkah decorations are everywhere, but my parents hadn’t strung a single light yet. I’m now determined to make it feel like Christmas, even though the weather makes it feel more like Easter.

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How do you celebrate the holidays over winter break?

xo Bailey