"Words without poetry lack passion; words without passion lack persuasion; words without persuasion lack power."

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Imagine if you were SILENT (mature content)

Many precious lives are trapped into slavery: the abuse of their own personal sexuality for a strangers pleasure.

Children.Women. Souls.

Innocent children are forced to submit theirs bodies to repetitively selfish desires of others, and this becomes their lives. Their Identity.

"Human Trafficking is the fastest growing and second most profitable crime in the world. The majority of this multi-billion dollar industry exists in the form of sex trafficking, where women and children are bought, sold and exploited for profit in the global sex industry."

Many are sold, stolen, tricked, and manipulated into situations that radically change their lives stealing any sense of dignity or freedom. 
"Traffickers, pimps, pornographers and gangs are eager to supply the demand in this profitable marketplace and they prey upon the young, the weak and the vulnerable, exchanging their bodies for cash.Because traffickers threaten, abuse, brainwash and/or starve new recruits to condition them, victims often remain silent and force a smile in order to survive."
This injustice is huge, and happens all over the globe, as well as in our backyard: the United States of America.

These people, children- ARE SILENT.

Please watch this video, it will melt your heart.

Their Stories from For The Silent on Vimeo.

 It is estimated that 1.2 million children are sexually trafficked each year, and a 1/3 of those are boys. 

Analysts say 100,000 American children are sexually trafficked in the American sex trade each year.

Sexual injustices of any kind are in the dark. They are hidden because of shame.

Someone must step up and become THEIR VOICE.

How can you help?
For The Silent is an incredible organization that contends for victims of sex trafficking. The non-profit does many things to shed light on trafficking. The staff at For The Silent believe in awareness, and assist individuals in bringing awareness. We must drag this dark subject out into the light in order to see change. Another great organization is Not For Sale.

I have hope in redemption. 

So, today, I write FOR THE SILENT.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Addiction: A Thief In The Night?

In the fall 2010 semester I wrote a series on student addiction for the Patriot Talon. Writing the series has become a highlight of my life thus far. The privilege of conversing with different specialists on the subject, and the personal conversations with various people concerning their past, or present addiction truly impacted my thoughts and functioning invaluably.

The types of addictions I wrote about included: Drug addictions, body image addictions/ eating disorders,  technology addictions, and sex and pornography addictions.

Here is an excerpt of a final column I wrote to sum up the series:

"I feel pressured to look a certain way because ...

I don't have many friends, so I ...

I was lonely and seeking intimacy, so I ...

You fill in the blank; but whatever it is, college kids likely struggle with it and may even be addicted to it.
While writing the series on addictions in student life, I must have heard six different variations of the same cry, a cry of need in some way: "I smoke weed because it releases inhibitions and dulls anxiety," and "I didn't date in high school, so I sought intimacy with pornography."

My favorite description of an addiction I found while interviewing experts is the counterfeit concept that Chris Legg, licensed professional counselor in Tyler, told me about.
"I think, overall, addictions are usually about us trying to meet a totally appropriate need, a totally appropriate desire, just in an inappropriate way," Legg said. "All addictions are counterfeit versions, and so the real thing that you want, you're still not getting."

I love this perspective because it humanizes the people controlled by their addiction.
Often times, I find spectators of addiction speak of it in such a morally black-and-white fashion, and what I mean by that is people commonly consider addicts to be fools because they just need to stop, since it's obviously "wrong" or "bad" for them.

Common stereotypes simply do not do justice to the real transparent lives of addicts.
Looking at addictions as simply counterfeit, cheap versions of real, legitimate needs people may be looking for, allows for healthy people to relate and empathize rather than chastise or belittle.

What I realized is addictions are really all the same underneath the various manifestations.
People are looking for something whether it is intimacy, acceptance or a way to escape their realities because of hurt, shame and remorse or to supplement low self-esteem, loneliness, anxiety or rejection.

Addicts are people who struggle in life just like you and me, but instead choose the cheap, fake, quick version of the Rolex watch they really want rather than saving up for the real thing.
It's easier in the short term, but often it obliterates the long term.

It's almost as though I have had and continue to have a ringside seat in watching people struggle with addictions, as I'm sure many of you do also.
I have many people in my life that have or do meet the criteria of an addict, including my older sister who struggled with addictions to many substances.
I have to say several of my friends and family, who smoke marijuana use other illicit drugs, drink in excess or are addicted to the way they look, stand among some of the most unique, intelligent and beautiful people I know.

I sincerely enjoy them as individuals, but I don't enjoy their substance abuse or addictive actions.
Addictions are so relevant in this generation, and I feel as though I've observed addictions swallow up the potential of people I love.
I want to see people live life to its fullest and watching people become dependant on a substance or an action that is rapidly or slowly eating away years of their lives, or inhibiting their lives to any degree really hurts me.

I've seen addictions ruin dreams, families, relationships and personal health."
Find the complete column printed in the Patriot Talon here.

What are your thoughts on addiction? Leave a comment, or post on my Facebook!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Changing Lanes

When I began driving I, of course, spent the required hours of practice driving before I recieved my license. One of the tasks I clearly remember struggling with was changing lanes. My dad would always instruct me to check my mirrors, look behind my shoulder, turn on my blinker, and then speed up during my transition to safely change lanes. In my own mind there was such a disconnect. For some reason, the only way I could interpret his guidance was to somehow switch lanes in a formation resembling the letter "L." I thought I had to slide over into the lane and then speed up, and this structure was the only way I could comprehend. Although this recollection sounds silly, and perhaps embarrassing, I believe it is a perfect metaphor for the many choices and transitions I, we, face in life.

When I encounter choices, changes and transitions I'm often only able to picture the situation from my pre-existing or created comprehension of what it will look like. Sometimes I cannot comprehend how these adjustments could look from a different view, or even from the other side. Many times I try and impose my understanding to the elements when sometimes I don't understand from where I am.

One day it just clicked. Afters hours, days, months of practice and licensed driving I acquired the skill of changing lanes, but it wasn't just the skill I assimilated, I gained the perspective of transitioning in a diagonal line rather than an "L." This new perspective was much easier, safer, and made more sense. The struggle was not a question of destination, but rather how to run the course to the end. Sometimes it takes life experience paired with perseverance and other key character traits to grow.

The interesting thing about the whole learning process was my dad right there coaching me. The entire time he outlined step by step instruction, but still, it took time to grasp. The disconnect had little to do with rebellion, for I wanted the ability to perform well, but instead it had much to do with how I processed the given action. After all, I had someone right beside me guiding me.

The solution to my quandary was found in the relentless attempts of applying the instruction I received, the courage and dignity to keep trying, and never running away from my given guidance. The same is true for our lives.     

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew." -Francis de Sales 
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