3 Christmas songs that won’t make your ears bleed

Christmas music: you either love it or hate it. If you’re like me, you love Christmas… but there’s just something about the traditional songs that drive you up a wall. This holiday season, I made it my mission to find three songs that may not annoy the hell out of you:

Here Comes Heaven – Elevation Worship

Finally, a Christian Christmas song that captures the holiday’s true message, but doesn’t cause me to immediately change the radio station! Elevation Worship tells tells the story of Jesus without an annoying jingle or a tempo so slow that you fall asleep (sorry Chris Tomlin). If I’m being completely honest, I like this song so much that I listen to in on repeat my entire drive to work today.

Yule Shoot Your Eye Out – Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy is the band that most of us listen to during our angsty middle school or high school years. Perhaps I’m not out of that phase because this may very well be one of the best Christmas songs I’ve listened to. It’s safe to say “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out” isn’t the best song to listen to if you’re trying to celebrate the birth of Christ, but it will give you a good laugh.

Hallelujah – Pentatonix

Okay, you got me. This song is a classic Christmas song, but just hear me out. Or rather, listen to the angelic voices of the five talented individuals in this song. This song is a great compromise if you’re stuck in a car with someone who insists on listening to Christmas music the entire month of December.

Taking Up Arms: The Feminist Movement

Don’t be too skinny, but don’t be fat. Be assertive, but don’t be a bitch. Make sure to dress cute, but make sure you don’t look like a slut. You might make a man want to rape you.

According to Sky News reporter Stephen Dixon, women who wear short skirts when they go out with their friends are responsible for the sexual assault that occurs. Apparently, the woman provoked that man into raping her for wearing an outfit that makes her feel confident in her body.

People like Dixon are the reason why feminism is a necessity in today’s society. Feminism is no longer just a fight for political rights. It’s a fight for females to gain respect from men, women, and the government.

American feminists have been in a constant struggle with the government since they began the women’s suffrage movement in 1848. Women have had to fight for the right to vote, to be accepted in the workplace, paid maternity leave and for equal pay. While progress has been made with the government, women are still not considered equals.

Since 1923, the National Women’s party, a feminist group, has been trying to push the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) through congress. The ERA would guarantee that women and women are paid equally based on qualifications, not gender.

According to Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by men on average, despite being the primary source of income in over 40 percent of homes. Women have earned the right to make as much as men. Feminism is the voice that makes that known to society and lawmakers.

While feminist groups attempt to advance legislation through congress, they also do what they can to make sure women are free to be who they want to be. The phrase “like a girl” has had a negative connotation around it for as long as it’s been used. In a study conducted by Always, a feminine product producer, 72 percent of girls feel as if society as limits that hold them back.

Based on these findings, Always launched an advertising campaign aimed at boosting the confidence of women and young girls. The first commercial aired during the Super Bowl in 2014, meaning entire families were exposed to its message. After seeing the influence and success of the “#LikeAGirl” campaign, Always created a sequel to “#LikeAGirl,” called “Unstoppable.” These campaigns reached over 85 million people. The negativity that once surrounded that phrase has since began to disappear.

During the 2016 presidential election, a video leaked of President Donald Trump saying, “Grab ‘em by the pussy.”

This comment about women sparked an uproar from men and women across the globe. At the Women’s March 2017 in Washington, D.C., around half a million people from all over the world to protest Trump’s election. Feminists of all backgrounds stood against the rape culture Trump promoted in the election. At the rally, feminist and Navajo Nellis Kennedy-Howard held a bright pink sign that reads, “1 in 3 Native women are raped.”

“We don’t want to promote rape culture any further than the problem that we already have,” Kennedy-Howard told Huffington Post, “and this president is not doing a very good job of modeling that type of behavior.”

Similar to the gender pay gap, feminists are taking up the fight for paid family leave, including paid maternity and paternity leave. Only 13 percent of employees in the private sector are able to take paid family leave according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A hundred years ago, society believed it was a woman’s job to have children. However, 77 percent of private sector business don’t offer paid maternity leave. But if a woman doesn’t want to have children, society judges that decision.

“The gender revolution has been a one-sided effort. We have not pushed hard enough to put men in traditionally female roles—that is where our priority should lie now,” Richard Reeves and Isabel Sawhill wrote in a Brookings Institution report.

Feminism is not about just fighting for women’s rights. It’s about equal rights for all, regardless of gender, skin color, sexuality or religion. While the general feminism population fight for shared interests, there’s intersectionality within feminism.

“There are many, many different kinds of intersectional exclusions ― not just black women, but other women of color,” Kimberlé Crenshaw told the Huffington Post. “Not just people of color, but people with disabilities. Immigrants. LGBTQ people. Indigenous people.”

The feminist movement isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Rather than shrinking, the movement continues to gain momentum. Women who wear short skirts are not provoking men to rape them, but comments like the ones made by Trump and Dixon provoke feminists to take up arms.

Inside the mind of a hiring manager

Go to college. Graduate. Find a job. This is what society expects from people in their late teens and early twenties, like me. But, how do we find our first job? What do employers look for in their ideal candidates?

I find myself in a unique position. I’m a senior about to start searching for my first “big kid” job, but my current job is to overhaul IUPUI Campus Center and Student Experiences’ on-boarding and hiring processes. This position has made me privy to some insider information about what characteristics employers are searching for.

I’ve sat through numerous amount of interviews since I began this position in May. Some of them have been really good, and some of them I thought would never end. Today, I want to focus on the good ones; the ones that made me remember why I love this job.

As I reflected on the resumes I reviewed and the interviews I conducted, I noticed that the candidates I couldn’t wait to hire had three things in common: passion, curiosity and individuality.

Be Passionate.

Listen, I’m not saying you need to love every aspect of a job, just be passionate about something. The jobs I tend to hire for aren’t super fun. Most of the jobs involve a pretty hefty amount of manual labor. It’s safe to say I have never interviewed a candidate who said, “Moving furniture around and setting up rooms is my favorite thing to do.”

So, what do my ideal candidate for this position say? There is no perfect answer to this question. There won’t be for any job. Whatever your passion is, do your best to connect it to the position you’re being considered for. Do you love to help people? Do you love being a part of a team? Whatever your passion is connect it to the position, and articulate that throughout the hiring and interview processes.

Be Curious.

This is an instance when curiosity does not kill the cat. I want to see candidates who are hungry to learn as much as they can. I want candidates who are genuinely interested in my organization and what it stands for. And maybe this is selfish, but I want candidates who are at least somewhat interested in my thoughts about the job and how I obtained my position.

My point is, come ready to ask questions. But don’t just ask the basic questions. Show me that you really put some thought and time into it. I promise that you can wow me, and any other hiring manager, with a question we aren’t expecting.

Be You.

I know what you’re thinking. Everyone says this, but it’s true. Organizations don’t just hire based skill sets. They hire based on personality. They want to see if you’re a good fit for the team. So before you freak yourself out preparing for an interview, just take a deep breath. The most important thing to remember is to let your personality shine through.

An open letter to my dogs:

Dear Trooper, Scout, Ace and Echo,

I don’t understand why you constantly pace back and forth or sporadically run through the house knocking down anything in your path. I don’t get why you feel the need to bark at the crack of dawn to get me out of bed. Most of all, I really don’t know why you insist on chewing on anything and everything.

But despite my greatest effort to stay mad at you, I just can’t. You can drive me up the wall, but as soon as I see your tails wag, a wave of happiness washes over me. I love you, all of you. I love your bad habits and your quirks. So, this blog is dedicated to each of you.

Trooper,

Sixteen years. Considering I barely remember the first ten or so years of my life, I can’t recall a day that you haven’t been there. As my first dog, you’re like my first child. You webp-net-resizeimage-2.jpgmay not necessarily like me the most, but I still love you. You’ve seen the best sides of me and the worst. But, through it all, you’ve never left my side.

Trooper, I’d really just like to say thank you. I know I’m not your favorite, but that doesn’t stop you from coming to say hi to me whenever I walk into Dad’s house. It didn’t stop you from coming to sit next to me. Thank you for showing me how special the bond between a girl and her dog can be. I know I probably don’t have much time left with you, so most of all, thank you for being such a good boy for the last 16 years.

 

 

Scout,

Not a day goes by that I don’t miss you. Losing you was the hardest thing I have ever been through. You were unlike any dog I have ever met. There will truly never be another you. You were feisty, and honestly, you could really be a pain in the ass. But, whenever I was upset, you were there to lick my face or to just lay with me until I was okay again.

I miss taking you on random car rides with me. I miss watching your eyes light up every time you ate a cheeseburger from McDonald’s. I miss wrestling with you. Webp.net-resizeimage (1).jpgI miss when 9 p.m. would hit and you’d instinctively know that it was time for you to crawl up into my lap.

I know that Mom, Jordan, Andy and I have welcomed two new dogs into our family since you passed. But, I want you to know, no dog will ever be able to replace you. You’re always going to have such a special place in my heart. I still keep a picture of you in my wallet. It’s the picture you took with Jacob and me before senior prom. That was really our last happy moment together. After that, your tumor became too much for you to handle. It was time for you to go, and as heartbroken as we were, we understood.

I don’t like to think about how bad things were the weeks before you left us. Instead, I like to focus on the happy moments, like that picture we took before prom. Scout, I hope that you’re enjoying as many cheeseburgers as your little heart desires up in Doggy Heaven. I miss you and I love you.

Ace and Echo,

You two drive me to the brink of insanity. It seems like the last couple of weeks, every morning I’ve come downstairs to find that you’ve chewed up something new. Please, I’m begging you, stop. You have like fifty different toys to choose from. Chew on one of those!

Even though you guys have probably taken a couple of years off of my life, you never Webp.net-resizeimage (3).jpgcease to be the highlight of my day. If you could talk, I’d tell you to ask anyone. I talk about you both constantly. Raising you has changed my life. Even on days where I struggle to find the motivation to get out of bed, you help me find the strength to get up. And it’s not just because you’re barking.

Ace, it’s crazy how much of Scout I can see in you. You’re spunky, but so loving. You’re stubborn as hell, but at then end of the day, all you want to do is cuddle. But there are so many things that make you, you. You groan every single time you don’t get what you want. Instead of wagging your tail, you wag your entire body. And as frustrating as it is, I still think it’s kind of cute that you make yourself dead body wait whenever you don’t want to go to bed.

Echo, buddy, where do I even start? You’re my best friend, my partner in crime, and as IWebp.net-resizeimage (5).jpg like to say, the only boy that will ever have my heart. Since the day I first met you, and you rolled into my arms and let me hold you like a baby, we have had an unbreakable bond.You get me like no person or dog every has. I’m your person, and you’re my boy. I know everyone likes to think that you like them more, but we both know they’re just kidding themselves. You don’t like to cuddle with most people, but you love to fall into my arms. You’re scared of almost everything, and I’m the one you run to every single time. But, you do more for me than you realize. You sense when I start to get stressed, and you lay your head on my leg, keeping my anxiety at bay. You would do anything for me, and I would do anything for you.

Guys, I know it’s going to be hard for you when I leave home next year, but I promise that doesn’t change anything. You’re still my babies and I will love you unconditionally, even if I am five hours away.

Social media changed my life

As I prepared to write this blog, one question came to my mind:

What’s something you hate, but can’t live without?

Some people said food because they wanted to lose weight. Some said working because they just wanted to travel the world. But the overwhelming majority said social media. You see, a lot of millennials, and even some in generation X, love to complain about how much they despise social media and technology. Yet, none of them delete their accounts. The next question that comes to mind:

Why not delete your accounts if you hate social media so much?

When I asked my friends, family, coworkers and classmates this question, I received an array of responses. Some said it was entertaining. Others claimed they’d feel disconnected from their social circles. But one response in particular stuck out to me:

Social media helped shape them into the person they are now.

I know that sounds ridiculous, but think about it. We were born in the late 90s, and the social media boom began at one of the most crucial developmental stages of our lives. As teenagers, we were discovering who we were and who we would eventually want to become. We were heavily influenced by our peers and inevitably, by social media. Social media helped mold a lot of us into the people we are now

Now, I’m not going to sit here and give social media all the credit. My parents raised me well. I’m surrounded by people who love me and push me to be the best version of myself. But, social media played a major role in my confidence. As a kid and as a teenager, I was bullied. A lot. I wasn’t the stereotypical girly girl who loved to do my hair and try on makeup. I wasn’t interested in boys. I knew there was something different about me; something I was too scared to admit.

Let’s fast forward a few years to high school. Sophomore year, to be specific. In that year to two year gap between middle school and where we are now, I figured out what was different about me. I was a lesbian. Well, I am a lesbian. But because I had been bullied since the fifth grade, I didn’t really have the confidence to just walk up to someone and admit that.

Enter Instagram.

Social media gave me to confidence to tell the world who I really am. So, I decided to put a clip of the song “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen on Instagram. In that post, I explained to my friends, family and strangers that I was in love with a woman.  I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I hid behind a screen, and no, I’m not ashamed of that. I was terrified of the reaction people may have had. I didn’t want to be bullied for being who I truly was, so social media became my safe place. It became the place where I could confidently be who I am.

That post changed my life. I walked into the school the next day, completely terrified of what everyone would say. But I was greeted with love and kindness. That post and the reactions I received from it not only molded me into the confident woman that I am today, but it made me understand the value of voice.

Fast forward again to the present. I’m now a senior at IUPUI, majoring in public relations. I get asked two questions all the time:

1. What is public relations?

2. Why are you pursuing a career in it?

I could give those asking the textbook definition of PR, which I’m sure my professors would love. Instead, I tend to give a more simple and personal definition:

 

Public relations gives voice to those who need it.

Remember when I said that Instagram post from my sophomore year of high school taught me the importance of voice? Well, it did more than that. It cultivated my passion to tell the stories of others. That passion led me to this career path. Now, I get to spend the next forty to fifty years utilizing social media to tell the stories of others.

Article Review: Christianity is about more than just rules.

Picture this: You spend your life living in two separate worlds. In one life, you’re happily married to your partner of 22 years and raising a 12-year-old child. In the other, you provide guidance to kids attending a Catholic high school. But what happens when those two worlds collide?

Ask former Roncalli guidance counselor, Shelly Fitzgerald. The school administration and Archdiocese of Indianapolis gave her a choice: divorce your wife or resign.

I know what you’re probably thinking. That’s crazy, right? Who would agree with that? Personally, I didn’t think anyone would, but then I stumbled across an op-ed on Twitter written by IndyStar’s Gary Varvel.

Varvel openly admits that he believes Roncalli made the right move when they handed the ultimatum to Fitzgerald. I applaud him for saying what he believes, but do I think he’s wrong? Absolutely. I’ll address that in a moment though.

Varvel’s conviction is based around two key elements: the existence of a contract and labeling.  Varvel, who used to teach at a Christian high school, says both he and Fitzgerald signed contracts which bound them to uphold the behaviors and beliefs of the Church. So yeah, I agree she knew the consequences. One point to Varvel. But, his second argument was a stretch. Varvel claims more people aren’t coming out in support of Roncalli because they’re scared of being labeled as bigots.   

Well Gary, I think people aren’t supporting Roncalli for a much larger reason: Forcing Fitzgerald into an impossible decision was not the Christian thing to do.

Varvel argued that the Christian thing to do for the couple was gracefully part ways, citing the creation of the Lutheran church. But Fitzgerald didn’t go silently to prove a point. All denominations of Christianity, whether it’s Catholicism, Lutheran, Baptist, ect., are based on the teachings of Jesus. What church leaders should keep in mind, however, is that being a Christian is about more than rules. It’s about the lessons Jesus taught us while he walked among us: love, mercy, grace and kindness.

Varvel based his argument on a contract, providing readers with verses about settling disputes. I’ve decided to base my argument on what should matter: the actual teachings of Jesus Christ.

This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.” – Zechariah 7:9-10

It’s not my job, your job or anyone else’s job but God’s to give a guilty verdict. God tells us that the true justice is mercy and compassion. Not to force a resignation or divorce.

While it seems like the school administration and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis have lost sight of crucial teachings like the one in Zechariah, students and parents haven’t.

Roncalli Senior Elijah Mahan defended Fitzgerald to IndyStar shortly after the story initially broke.

“It’s a Catholic’s duty to respect, defend and build up one another no matter what their race, sexual orientation or social background is,” Mahan said.

Interesting… What do you think? Does the ultimatum Roncalli gave Fitzgerald sound anything like that?

Earlier this week, Fitzgerald, Mahan and a few other Roncalli students appeared on Ellen to share their stories. It so easy to see that Fitzgerald touch these kids’ hearts. One of them even called the guidance counselor’s office her “safe place” in the school. To show their support for Fitzgerald and the LGBT+ community, the students decided to start a foundation, named Shelly’s Voice. Shelly’s Voice will be focused on cultivating equality in the workplace, so that those in the LGBT+ community, like Shelly and like me, won’t have to huge hide parts of our lives.

In his article, Varvel mentioned he signed a contract when he was employed at a Christian high school which stated he had to exemplify the values written in the Bible. That’s fine. I don’t see anything wrong with that… as long as the contract holds employees accountable to all teachings of the bible, including the compassion, mercy, love… Oh, and divorce.

You could argue, “It wouldn’t be a divorce in the eyes of God because they shouldn’t have been married in the first place.” And I’m going to stop you right there. Same-sex marriage is legal. Churches will perform same-sex marriages. There are same-sex couples all around the world who spend their lives giving just as Christ did. So, let me make this very clear: a homosexual divorce is the same as a heterosexual one.

You know what I find really funny, though? Homosexuality is only mentioned specifically in six or seven of the Bible’s 31,173 verses. Yet, the church has been up in arms about hindering the rights of the LGBT community. You know how many verses there are about divorce? A lot more than six or seven.

So, in the eyes of the Catholic church at least, Fitzgerald was told to pick her sin: divorce or homosexuality.

What happened to the love, kindness, mercy and compassion that the majority of the Bible was devoted to? People like the Roncalli administration, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and Varvel, who choose legalism over compassion, are not representing the Christian faith as described in the Bible. But people, like the students at Roncalli who choose to love unconditionally, embody the character and message of Christ.

I’m fine.

“I wanted to talk about it. Damn it. I wanted to scream. I wanted to yell. I wanted to shout about it. But all I could do was whisper, ‘I’m fine.'” — Unknown

Many of us have come to know that the phrase, “I’m fine” means many different things depending on the person and the situation. People say it when they don’t have time to chat. People say it when they don’t feel like getting into the excruciating details of their days. People say it when they don’t want anyone to know they feel like they’re dying on the inside.

Depression comes in many shapes and sizes. It plagues those who have fought through life’s worst circumstances and it haunts those who seem to have a perfect life.

My journey with depression began when I was 15 years old. I was in a constant battle between accepting my identity and conforming to who society thought I should be. That still small voice inside my head grew louder and louder every day telling me I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t deserve love. That no one would even notice if I was gone.

Over the course of the next couple of years, I put my family through hell. I transformed into a person a didn’t even recognize anymore. I vividly remember one night where I was home alone. That voice in my head had driven my to the brink of insanity, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I wasn’t sad or lonely or tired. I was completely numb. All of the sudden, I noticed blood beginning to pool in my bathroom sink.

That’s when I knew it this was a war I couldn’t fight on my own any longer. Now, the way my family found out about my depression wasn’t ideal. My mom didn’t find out from me, but honestly, I’m not sure I’d still be here today if someone hadn’t reached out to her without my consent.

Here’s the thing: No depressed person every wants to admit they’re depressed, especially not to the people they care about. It’s not because they’re ashamed or embarrassed. Despite the fact we’re hurting ourselves, the last thing we’d ever want to do is hurt someone we care about.

If a loved one is struggling with depression,

Don’t try to rationalize it. Don’t try to find the root cause. Don’t chalk it up to a “bad day.” We don’t need you to understand. We don’t need you to fix us. We just need you to listen.

You need to realize how important your actions and words are. I know that seems like common knowledge, but this journey is going to be frustrating for the both of you. You’re probably never going to be able to understand that every breath we take, it feels like we’re drowning. You’ll never be able to comprehend that we literally cannot fathom having to get out of bed another day.

You’re going to have to be patient, though. Depression isn’t something that will ever go away completely. I would love to be able to say that after I went to therapy, everything was sunshine and rainbows all the time. But it doesn’t matter how far ahead I seem to get or how happy I am, depression always catches up eventually.

If you’re depressed,

Know that you aren’t alone. I know that it feels like the weight of the world is crashing down on you. I understand that it feels like no will ever get that you wake up every morning living in a body that wants to survive with a mind that wants to die.

The next time you pick up that razor or that knife, or reach for your drugs or the bottle of alcohol sitting next to you, take a minute. Take a deep breath. And remember that there is someone is this world who loves you and who wants you to keep living. And when you can’t think of anyone else, you can think of me. I love you and I want you to keep fighting.

If you haven’t reached the point where you’re ready to tell your friends or family, that’s okay. There’s no shame in calling the suicide hotline or texting a crisis intervention specialist. When you constantly hide your battle and hold everything in, you let that voice in your head win. So, let it out. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be pissed off. It’s okay to not feel anything. But I promise, once you start to talk about it, it will get better.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Textline: Text HOME to 741741