wait…it’s 2017?!

Soooooo where have I been?… Welp, yeah I’ve been busy…procrastinating. But hey–new year, new me!! I actually promise this time that I won’t forget this blog. I WILL be posting more. At least once a week…i promise. Anyway, brief update: I’m in my last semester of high school???????? Kinda in shock. Still waiting on college application responses.

As I reflect on 2016, I am reminded that through all the struggles, there were tons of blessings. I made great memories at chorus trips, made new friends, learned a lot, tried new things. Let’s not forget the good things in every day. As I enter 2017 I’m reminded of all the good things in life and to make the most of every opportunity. I’m excited for this year. New things. Scary things. 2017 is the year of graduation and the start of college. However, I’m going to take advantage of these changes and live life to the fullest.

So, yeah. This was super random and short, but just wanted to tell you I haven’t forgotten about you guys and I plan on investing more time in 2017 on this blog.

 

Cheers!

Ashley-Anna

if i could change one thing it’d be the objectification of women.

So HEY! Sorry I’ve been so distant from this blog :'(. College applications are so annoying…BUT I’ll be back at this again soon!

Anyway, here’s an essay I wrote asking me if I could change one thing in this world what would it be and why. Soooo here ya go.

I constantly feel watched. Spied on and followed. There are eyes everywhere, looking up and down. Searching, scanning, comparing, humiliating. I pull my shorts a little lower and hold my head up higher, confidence is key. Welcome to a typical day in the life of a woman. The objectification of women is a term thrown around a lot these days. Feeling helpless in a world held under the impression that they exist solely for sexual pleasure, women attempt to ease their conscience. “All men are sick.” “It’s not my fault.” “That’s just how it is.” They are brushing over a problem assumed unsolvable. If I were able to resolve one issue it would be the objectification of women, for the improvement of society and women everywhere.

The objectification of women has seeped into nearly every aspect of society. At a young age, I found myself in line at the grocery store, my eyes scanning magazine covers, wondering if that was what I would look like when I grew up. When I watched movies, TV, went to the mall, or simply saw a magazine, I was being indoctrinated that that was how I was supposed to look. It is ironic that society expects you to look “perfect,” yet they do not tell you how. They leave out little details like surgery, makeup, unhealthy eating habits, pressure, money—lots of money. In the real world, there is no Photoshop. No two women are the same. Humanity comes in a variety of beautiful shapes, sizes and colors. Nevertheless, girls around the world grow up with the presupposition that there is only one way to look to be considered important.

It saddens me that this world has limited women’s importance to appearance. So much so that women everywhere feel vulnerable in nearly all places. Cultures around the world have attempted to shelter women from objectification. Being part Arabic, I have seen this firsthand. A few months ago as I sat down with my cousin from Saudi Arabia at a coffee shop, I realized to what extreme this “sheltering” has gone. With an innocent smile on her face and in broken English, my cousin told me how lucky I was to be a girl in America. “I cannot even go to the movies back home,” she explained. “I can’t wear my hair down.” I will never forget that conversation. We were two girls from different sides of the world, yet we had the same problem.

I no longer want to feel watched. I do not want to be spied on or followed, scanned or humiliated. I do not want to be objectified. I know there are other girls around the world who feel the same way. Whether you are like my cousin, feeling punished, or like me, feeling violated, you are not helpless. I dream of the day I can walk down the street with neither insecurities nor shame, but with satisfaction both with the world around me and with myself.

 

im not a senior…

Why, HELLO! It has been too too long…as usual. When was the last time I posted? 2 months ago? Okay, that’s NOT ok. I promise things will change! But before I start plunging into this blogging thing again, here’s a recap of my summer and an update on me.

If you can recall, I hated junior year. Thankfully, however, this summer almost-just almost-made up for the dreaded past school year. I had fun this summer. Period. end of conversation. I. Had. Fun. You know how normally at the end of summer you’re just like “I didn’t do anything…?” Well, this was not one of those summers for me. While a lot of great things happened to me this summer, the highlight has to be my trip to New Orleans. Let me be blunt here. I did not like New Orleans AT ALL. The city just wasn’t for me. Why was it the highlight then? I went to NOLA with my chorus to perform with 200 other kids from around the US. We got to perform in an amazing cathedral and received excellent training and musical experience. I grew even closer to the girls in my chorus. I made some amazing memories.

In addition to NOLA, this summer I was a mentor at a children’s choir camp and got to teach theory for two weeks-that was also a great experience. My aunt and cousin from Saudi came down (I had never met them so it was awesome). My great friend from Maryland visited. Lastly, and to me most importantly, I spent time with some awesome people. This summer I really got to enjoy some of my friends and grow closer to them. I think that’s something that can get lost amidst the hustle and bustle of the school year. Friendships are forever and it’s important to invest in them.

So there you go! My summer 2016.

And now for an update on me…

I’m a senior. Well, apparently I am. I don’t think it’s true, though. It’s impossible! How can I be a senior?! It feels like it was just yesterday when I entered high school. Most people get so excited for senior year. “It’s finally over!” they all say. Well, for me, I don’t want it to be over. As a homeschooler, I’ve made irreplaceable memories throughout school. All those hours of my mom reading to me as I sipped my coffee, those days when we would spend time just studying nature and enjoying the outdoors, the two hour deep convos we’d have on art and culture and history and theology, even the simple moments like when I walk around my house reading in my robe while eating cookies (all in the name of education, of course). This was-is-school for me. I don’t want it to end. But, that’s just how life goes. There are a couple different stages in life and I’m entering a new one. Yeah, it’s sad that my childhood (which was so great) is coming to an end, but I’m excited for what the future holds. BUT…IT’S NOT OVER YET! And, because it’s just the beginning of senior year, I’m going to hold onto my youth for dear life. And when I graduate, and only then, will I agree to shift into the new stage of my life. Thankfully, I learn from my many mistakes and am therefore only taking one AP this year :D. Boy will life be easier *and more enjoyable*. I’ll also have a lot more time to do things like blogging.

So, yeah, I guess I’m a senior. But I just have to make the most of it!

“See” you soon. I promise this blog won’t fade away.

XO,

Ashley-Anna

Women, it’s about time things changed.

So there’s something that’s been on my mind for a while…

Women. Nearly 100 years ago on August 18, 1920, us women were given the right to vote. Ever since, equality between women and men has increased. Well, we would think so, right? For a while, this was true. From voting, to military rights, to equal pay, things have been looking up for women. In a legal way, at least. But there’s still that mindset. That degrading mindset that will–no matter how many laws are passed–force women into one role. Or, should I say, one “object.”

It seems that now, a “free” woman (one that can do what she wants) is anything but free. Even subconciously women are still in bondage. In bondage from men. And, no, not in the superficial way. Thankfully, in the 21st century, women can have whatever job they want, they can vote, wear pants, and run for president. However, that’s not what I mean when I say women are in bondage. In fact, this culture and these laws, while good, have altered the role of women. They’ve made the roles of women, that of men’s. I believe, this is a main reason why women are in such bondage today. A woman should be able to be a woman and be proud of it. Instead, it seems as though, in order to succeed in careers and other life things, a woman must take on a man’s personality. They feel pressured to be hard, strict, tough, strong, big…unnatural. They feel that they must suppress their natural women tendencies to succeed in a man’s world. Why is it that in order to be viewed with respect, women must begin acting like men? Men should be able to view women as women and still respect them. But, unfortunately, women feel like they must take on a man’s personality to gain this respect. I believe this stems from an even greater issue. Which leads me to my main point. The objectification of women. What’s up with that?

Yep, I said it. You’ve probably heard it a million times, “the objectification of women.” But, let’s be honest, no matter how many  women have stood up and fought for this issue, nothing has changed. Actually, this issue has just gotten worse over time. From billboards, to commercials, to movies, to even reporters, women are portrayed and valued by their physical beauty. Unnaturally so. This value has forced women at a young age to begin viewing themselves poorly. The self-esteem of girls now-a-days is incredibly low. Eating disorders are prominent. Plastic surgery is promoted. Beauty products are prevalent. The sexual abuse women face everyday is sickening. But, sadly, it has become a part of a woman’s everyday life. Without even realizing it, women are in bondage. Girls, let’s be honest. Would you really straighten your hair, contour your cheeks, and wear that low v-neck shirt with a push-up if there were only girls in the world? I don’t think so. Every time a girl gets ready for HER day, subconsciously men are controlling her. It’s sad. It’s twisted. It’s wrong. And, while this realization and change must first take place in women’s minds, it then has to take place in men’s. For the most part, I don’t believe most men (and, of course, not all men) even realize the effect they are having on women and the entire culture.

Women it’s time to change.

But…men, it’s time to change too.

Change your perception and standards.

Once, if ever, this is done, everything else will change for women. A gentle, kind, and motherly figure will be prized. Because if the objectification of women ends, then women will be able to be themselves. They will feel free to be the person they were created to be. A woman can be a woman and be confident about themselves, too. They can do whatever they set their mind to, but they won’t have to change to get there.

It’s about time our culture changes the way we view women. The sooner, the better. But this is a joint effort. Women and men must change their mindsets. The media, must change. Everything must change. And it’s all for the better.

salutations. i survived junior year.

Well, hello there. Yes, it is I. I am back from the dead. Okay, no I didn’t die, but I went through my junior year…same difference. With that being said, I’m officially a senior! (Is this even possible?…) But, boy, have I learned a lot this past year. Good and bad. But every experience is sent our way for a reason. Junior year definitely stretched me academically–that’s no doubt–but it also stretched me spiritually and emotionally. It seemed that during my junior year everything around me began changing. I hate change. But whatcha gonna do? I was forced to change some things, learn some things, and move on from some things. Everything that happened, while I might’ve strongly disliked it at the time, pushed me toward improvement within my life. So basically what I’m saying is that I’m a new person! Well, no. Don’t worry, I’m still the same old me ;), but I’m an improved version of me.

Anyway, I want to apologize for my extended absence. Aaaaaand, yeah I say this all the time, I am again going to be committed to this blog and that’s final! (Granted I’ve also said that a bajillion times…but I truly mean it.)

So here we go Summer of 2016! Let’s see what’s up with you.

Always lots of love,

Ashley-Anna

verse of the week

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

the top five books to read on a rainy day

Way over a month has gone by since my last post… Oh dear readers, please forgive me! But, I’ve been busy…okay, okay–maybe not so busy as to not blog at all, but hey! I’ve been busy enough!

But, because of my long absence, I will reward you guys with a long “real” post. AKA not just a quote or verse ;).

So let’s just get to it!

top five books to read on a rainy day

one. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

For some reason, when it rains, there’s an almost mysterious and dark vibe, especially if you are indoors. Jane Eyre is exactly that! Its strange and nearly horror filled plot is the perfect story to curl up with on a dreary, rainy day. It’s a long book, though, so prepare yourself. But boy is it worth it! Its characters are so rich and full of passion. Be prepared to shed a tear. Be prepared to get so frustrated you throw the book across the floor. Be prepared for weirdness. Be prepared for gripping dialogue. In general, just be prepared for awesomeness. Definitely #1 on this list!

two. Thr3e by Ted Dekker

Yes, it’s me, so there has to be a Dekker book somewhere on this list. Well, over my blogging break I read this book. Because you all know me and know how much I love Dekker, you’re expecting me to say: “AHHHHHHHH DEKKER IS AMAZING I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT!” Well, technically, yes. I love this book. I love Ted Dekker. But there was something special about this book. There was something more to it. And, going with the “creepy,” rainy day vibe, this book fits in perfectly. Let me tell you, it’s scary as heck. I found myself reading this and checking my window to make sure there wasn’t anything there. Legit serious.  But back to my point. This book has some serious plot twists. Like nothing I’ve ever read before. It will leave you truly contemplating the battle between good and evil that we have within us all. It is an amazing book and perfect for a rainy day! You will never get bored and will never leave that couch until it’s done!

three. The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth

This is another semi-creepy book that’s just perfect for a rainy day. It’s out of print, but it’s free on kindle so yay! It follows a total mystery about a young girl’s life and all the craziness she gets herself into. Super fun book to read when there’s nothing to do outside! Plus there are great plot twists that will leave you flying through those pages!

four. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This book is just the cutest book in the world. It is complete fun! It will definitely make you laugh out loud and just in general entertain you. If you’re not into all that creepy stuff, then this book is perfect for you on a rainy day!

five. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This one’s pretty obvious. Who doesn’t like a classic mystery on a rainy day? And most of these are short stories so it’s perfect if you don’t have all day (*cough* Jane Eyre *cough*). And if you’re not a book person (you should be that’s weird if you’re not…), just watch the modern Sherlock BBC series. They are SO perfect for a rainy day…but that’s not the point of this list…books only! (hmm…maybe I should do a movie list too?).

well that’s all folks

So I hope I helped you out in some way. These books will surely get you through that gloomy, rainy day!  Read on my readers ;).

XO,

Ashley-Anna