What is Patriotism?

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Happy fourth! 
During my humanities class this past year, we discussed patriotism and its role in literature. We read articles of various viewpoints on what patriotism means to different people (from 18th century farmers to a Stanford professor). As I reflect on this, I have been led to question: 
What does patriotism mean to me?

To me, patriotism isn’t boasting how great our country is over others. It isn’t a way to say, “America is the greatest, it is the best!” 

America is great in many ways, but we should not use such broad statements. America also has its fair share of flaws, and to me, patriotism means working on these flaws to create a more equitable country for ALL its citizens. To me, patriotism means that we recognize our great power; and we must also show sympathy for countries who are not in our same position.

“With great power comes great responsibility.”** 

I believe that our responsibility as Americans is not to turn a blind eye. Not to be ignorant or apathetic to those who have less than us. With current political leaders who do not represent these sets of beliefs I (and many others) hold, it is our job as the people of this country to clearly redefine the true meaning of patriotism.

This means speaking up for black lives, Muslims, LGBTQ, and other marginalized groups. 

This means not letting America get away with things that leave lasting damage on people in other countries (such as the chemical attacks in Syria). 

This means that healthcare is a RIGHT not a PRIVILEGE. 

To me, patriotism means that we can celebrate this nation while at the same time recognizing its flaws. America is beautiful, and I am proud to be American. However, we have a lot of work to do to create a more equitable, aware country. 

I implore you to think about how you can practice mindful patriotism.

What does patriotism mean to you?

(**note: I looked up various sources to find the author of this quote, but was unable to find this person. Some credit Voltaire, others say it was Spider-Man comics. Please comment below if you know the author. Do not quote me on this, it is not mine.$

Perpetual, Imperfect, Intersectional Feminism: Carrying Feminism in our Daily Lives

Musings

People wearing red, walking out/striking/protesting, changing their Facebook profile picture to the Women’s March rectangle: all of these actions have been taken for today, March 8th, A Day Without Woman (aka International Woman’s Day).

But what does this all mean? 

Today we have come together to celebrate feminism. Specifically, today we voice what feminism means to us and why we need it.

A year ago, however, this day meant something a little different for me: it was a day to be proud of being a woman. While I still believe 100% in the beauty of all women, I also have come to realize that “feminist” is not just a title, but a constant state of being. A movement that has life and breath. 

Feminism is a call to change. It is something we must carry in our lives not just today, but every single day. We have to voice our belief in equal rights. We must practice intersectionality. And we must be willing to make mistakes AND LEARN from them.

I guess a good way to put it is “perpetual, imperfect feminist.”

Perpetual: continuously, not stopping

Imperfect: not perfect, never perfect, yet always striving for improvement. 

Feminist: the belief in equitability, the practice of equitability, and a part of a movement bigger than myself.

Here are some everyday ways that can help us carry the Feminist force beyond today:

Be kind. Celebrate fellow women and their accomplishments. Gossip is poisonous and a cheap way to make conversation. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it. Giving kindness is a small gift that leaves a big impact. 

Eliminate derogatory terms from your vocabulary: Slut. B*tch. Whore. Many people use this word as a “joke” with friends, but is it really funny to call your friend something that has historically been used by men to degrade women? 

Know when to speak up- and when to listen. We are all born under varying circumstances and have different experiences, from race to gender to sexuality to mental/physical disability to economic status (etc.) check your privilege and be active on causes that not only affect you, but others as well (see point #4)

Follow organizations such as ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), change.org, and Women’s March on social media to stay informed about current events. A personal favorite website of mine is called http://everydayfeminism.com, which features so many amazing articles, videos, and comics on social issues. 
Of course, there are so many more things we can do to help one another, but these are just a few ways that helped get me started on my personal journey with feminism- maybe they will help you too! 

I vow to speak up more and be a better listener for issues that don’t directly affect me, but largely impact marginalized groups.

I vow to not apologize/humble myself for my accomplishments, my opinions, and my rights as a woman.

I vow to learn more about my Chinese-Puerto Rican heritage and love being biracial.

We will never be perfect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to become a more accepting, empowered, and equitable human race. ❤ 

Thank You Note

Musings

To all the wonderful people in my life- this is for you ❤

Dearest friend:

I am blessed.
I am blessed
By your beauty,
Your strength, 
Love and support.

I am graced with your glowing smiles…
Your laughter, your hugs.
I am fortunate
Because of the richest warmth
I find in your friendship.
For that I am grateful–

For that I know love;
And I am home.

Copyright November 26, 2016 Luisa Rodriguez 

Letting Go of It

Musings


Why is it that we hold on to the things we no longer want?

Is it because we hold sentiment and carry memories with it?

Do we actually really want it? 

I’ll let you interpret what “it” is, maybe something going on in your life.

Maybe we’re afraid we won’t find something better. Maybe we think we’d better hold on because something this great won’t ever come by again.

But the truth is, you can never find what might be better, more suited to you, more rare, if you only search and cling on to what you know.

Never settle for anything that doesn’t bring you joy or excite you about life.

I hope that one day you will find the spectacular, miraculous “it”.

I know you will.

Who Will You Become?

Musings


I believe that it is important to think about who we want to be. How do you wish to speak? How do you wish to look? Who do you admire and why? How do you wish to treat others?  These questions culminate into the bigger, most important picture: how do you wish to live? 

As philosopher and activist Mahatma Ghandi once said, 

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, 

Your thoughts become your words, 

Your words become your actions, 

Your actions become your habits, 

Your habits become your values, 

Your values become your destiny.”

We cannot afford to live a day where we do not consider these questions because a day becomes two days, then three, a week, month, year and so on. We are responsible for the quality of lives we lead. And only YOU can choose how you are going to spend your life. Make your time worth your while 👣💕

A Little Brighter

poetry, Uncategorized


Sometimes I feel very small
And my heart feels weak

And I don’t stand tall.

I don’t know what to do

Sometimes I’m red

Sometimes I’m blue.

And I feel all alone…

Can you hear me?

But I’ll be okay

Because tomorrow is a brand new day.

 I know that God carries my soul

And He loves me.

I stand a little straighter,

I smile a little brighter,

I pick myself up from the fall.

Because I am loved by so many wonderful beings-

So I continue marching 

Strong and tall.

Copyright Luisa C. Rodriguez 2016

Poem For Someone

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You are all that you need.

I am my strength, 

I am my uplifting spirit. 

I am the greatness I seek. 

I am strong,

 I am independent, 

and I stand for what I believe.

 I used to rely on you

To tell me that I was good.

That I worked hard enough.

I wanted that validation.

I don’t know if I will ever make you proud enough
To see all I do

And not have to criticize it after

Or count each measure

To make sure I’m perfect
Because I know I will never be

Perfect enough
But enough is perfect for me.
I know my self-worth

And I know who I am.
I know I don’t owe you anything

And you won’t understand
How much pain it used to cause me

When I was always searching 

For that glimmer of approval

In your eyes 
But I’m stronger now

And I don’t need you now.
I am more powerful than ever before
And Ive accepted that you can’t recognize 
That I am perfect enough

Perfect enough for me. 

Copyright Luisa C. Rodriguez 2016

“I Don’t Know Where I’m Going, But I’m on My Way”- Carl Sagan

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Note: With the exception of spell-check, this article is completely unedited. Everything you see is exactly as I originally wrote it. 

Sometimes I think…

And I think

And think

…. And think.

About what I want to do with my life. What am I supposed to do with my life?

I have many interests. You know when you were at a carnival as a kid, and saw all these toys, and when you FINALLY won the toy, you wonder whether you could’ve gotten a bigger one? Or a better one?

This has always been my worry. I mean in life, not just at carnivals. 

I have many activities I am involved in, and love them all. I love violin. I love fashion. I love public  speaking. I love writing everything and anything. I also rediscovered my passion for acting recently after having been discouraged from school plays since my dormouse days in Alice in Wonderland. Did that sentence even make sense?

This is exactly my thought process. I can’t choose. Maybe I don’t have to choose one passion. I used to worry, worry, worry about the person I would be some day. 

Do you ever feel like you’re destined for something, but you just can’t quite put your finger on what it is?

Yeah. When I was in 5th grade, I was SET on being a fashion designer. I just knew that was my destiny. Could I sew? Nope. But that didn’t stop me from filling out hundreds of pages of sketch paper with outfit designs. 

And then came 9th grade, which, technically speaking, was last year. I had noooo idea what I was going to do with my life. I loved violin (still do), but I also loved fashion (STILL do). 

And I just couldn’t see myself doing both at the same time. 

So then I decided this year that I would want to become a musician. THAT would be my future. Playing lots of violin every day for the rest of my life. But becoming a musician is not that simple. You have to start preparing repertoire to audition to get into music conservatories in high school. You can’t make school or other activities your number one. 

And this kind of scared me. 

How the hell am I supposed to make school second? Drop my clubs? No AP classes? What if I go into music and realize it’s the wrong thing for me? 

In short, my thoughts became: OH NO WHAT IF I FAIL AT LIFEEEE????!!!!!

I immediately wondered if becoming a musician was the right thing for me. On one hand, I love music with all my heart, and I feel like I can communicate a story to an audience in ways that words can’t. But in other ways, I wonder if there’s something else out there for me. 

I also realized this wasn’t fair to myself. How could I lock myself into one thing? Why didn’t I let myself be imaginative and realize that I can do and be many things?
I let go of my fear of not knowing.

I was being way too closed off, and really just caging myself in. 

 I decided to stop worrying, and to just absorb everything that comes my way. I am going to be open to everything. 

I feel strongest in the arts, and the idea of coding and doing math and science sounds quite daunting. 

But who knows? I could end up being a computer scientist! Or a brain surgeon. I don’t know!

That’s okay. I accept that I do not know where I am headed. 

There’s this quote (not my own, idk who said this) that always reminds me to chill: 

  
Be inspired! Take in everything you can! I hope that if you are feeling  confused about what you want from life, you know you’re never alone 🙂

 Wishing you a lovely week!

Love, 

Luisa

Weekend Wandering: Lulu Gloss takes Pike Place Market!

Travel

Happy New Year!

On the second day of 2016, aka the second-to-last day of winter break, 10 am, the Rodriguez family was headed across the 520 bridge, minivan-style. I live for random trips like these.

 
Finally tried piroshky! I always hesitated to buy some because of the lines, which run out the door on a daily basis. Let’s just say that the line is sooo worth the wait. 

Oh, and shoutout to the awesome accordion guy who serenaded us with pop songs-he was really into his music! 👏👏👍

  

Found this little cafe called Ghost Alley Espresso  and had THE BEST chai latte in the world. Seriously, go there. The people are so friendly and the coffee is amazing! (This isn’t a picture of the shop though, just a cool design on a warehouse door in Ghost Alley)

My brother, Tanner, wearing a Macklemore-inspired coat in Ghost Alley.

  Visited the (somewhat) clean Gum Wall for the first time! Note to self: bring gum next time 😋

 Tanner peering over Elliott Bay. 

  
A little nod to Gerard Tsutakawa, who sculpted this awesome bolt of lightning 👋🏼
For me, the New Year is about trying new things and adding a healthy dose of spontaneity to your calendar! Have an awesome 2016 everyone!

Love, 

Lulu Gloss