January 31

RCL #2.2: “This I Believe” Final Podcast & Script!

 

Leap Frog Phonics Writing Desk

                 Yes, I know you talk, and you sound HIDEOUS!

This I Believe-v467ky

SCRIPT: 

As a young boy, to put it lightly, I certainly had my quirks. While not a “bad” kid by any means, I was certainly rather offbeat; I said unusual things, had weird interests, and was afraid of stuff that no one else was. What was one of my odd phobias, you ask? A “LeapFrog” toy; you know, one of those educational, electronic toys that helps little kids to learn their letters. For whatever reason, possibly stemming from a nightmare I could’ve had, I was terrified of the toy when it shut off automatically and said “goodbye for now!” Call me crazy, but the mere thought of that pixelated frog waving at me from his little screen and saying those three words in his low-tech voice used to make my skin crawl. Once I developed the fear, I remember refusing to go anywhere near that toy, making sure I would never hear that oh-so-horrible phrase from it again.

Just about everyone has experienced a time in which they absolutely dread an upcoming event in their lives. Whether it be a major exam one needs to take, a speech one needs to deliver, or in my case, a “scary toy” saying something in a way that didn’t sit well with four-year-old me, many are petrified by the thought of something terrible happening, at the idea that one’s whole world will come crashing down should things go even slightly wrong. As such, our fears of the unknown are often irrational, as was especially the case with the letter toy, which I knew couldn’t hurt me, yet still had a panic attack if I were to hear it turn on, bolting out of the room with my ears covered tightly and trembling in utter terror while hiding in a safer space.

This particularly became an issue around the time my younger sister, seven years my junior, was about a year-and-a-half old. That’s right, I was afraid of a baby toy when I was eight!  Anyways, my parents gave the toy to my little sister as a hand-me-down in order for her to start learning the alphabet early. Obviously, I just wouldn’t have that, so I hid the thing in a deep, dark corner of our basement, where I hoped no one would ever find it. Deep down, however, I knew that it was only a matter of time before someone found it, and I would have to face my fear. Regardless, it definitely makes sense as to why I did what I did; delaying the inevitable is a common “knee-jerk reaction” amongst individuals forced to deal with an anxiety-inducing situation. It is seen when one procrastinates on studying for their midterm until the night before, when they let their classmates present their speeches before they do their’s, or when one tries to avoid hearing three simple words from a machine.

The thing is, however, what typically happens when a person puts something off until later? They end up regretting that decision. For example, because I kept running away from my fear, however silly it may have been, I didn’t actually end up overcoming it until I was eleven. Yes, ELEVEN! As one may expect at this point, my twin sister eventually found the toy’s hiding spot, and made sure I overcame my fear; by “made sure”, I mean she pinned me down against the floor in front of the toy, leaving it on and forcing me to hear it say those dreaded words. I recall struggling and screaming for help while she did this, and for the first time in years, I heard that 8-bit frog say “goodbye for now!” My initial reaction: “That was it? THAT’s what I was afraid of?!” I remember hugging my sister afterwards, thanking her for “torturing” me. It’s funny, I had spent so much time under anxiety for that moment, yet in a matter of seconds, the toy had lost all fear, and I remember wishing I had faced it sooner, much like, say, someone who bombed a test due to putting off studying.

I see this sort of phenomenon quite often, in which one worries intensely about an upcoming event, possibly avoiding anything having to do with it as a defense mechanism. However, once said occurrence has passed, regardless of how well it went overall, one thing many individuals often notice is that the event itself was not as bad as they had dreaded it would be, feeling as if a longstanding, giant weight on their shoulders has abruptly vanished into thin air. As one of my high school teachers once told me, “anticipation is always worse than realization”. Given past experiences, these words really resonated with me on a personal level, and I truly hope the same can be said for others. In most cases, excessive worrying about a situation before it actually happens is unproductive. It not only blows things way out of proportion, but I’ve also found it to actually ENCOURAGE procrastination on the matter, which in turn, will only make matters worse.

While I’m certainly not saying that one should be too laid back and not worry about anything, what I do wish to convey is that, if anything, most worrying should be done after the fact, when they have actually experienced the situation in reality, as opposed to in their minds. If a person learns to believe in themselves, take things in the moment, and not let doubt cloud their judgement, then I am certain that they can not only face their fears, but take great chances that will lead to exceptional outcomes!

 

January 25

RCL #2.1: “This I Believe” Rough Draft

As a young boy, I had my quirks, to put it lightly. While I was not a bad kid by any means, I was certainly rather offbeat; I said unusual things, had weird interests, and was afraid of stuff that no one else was. What was one of my odd phobias, you ask? An educational LeapFrog toy; yes, I know! For whatever reason, likely stemming from an early childhood nightmare I may have had, I was terrified of the toy when it shut off automatically and said “goodbye for now!” The mere thought of that pixelated frog waving at me from his little screen and saying that in his low-tech voice used to make my skin crawl. I vividly remember having panic attacks and bolting out of the room with my ears covered if the toy was turned on near me.

Years later, my twin sister found the toy after I had successfully kept it hidden in our basement for so long, and helped me overcome my fear; by “helped”, however, I mean she pinned me against the floor in front of the toy and made me watch it say those dreaded three words. I recall struggling and screaming for help while she did this, terrified to receive my “torture”.  For the first time in what seemed like forever, I heard the frog say “goodbye for now!” The moment after this happened, however, I realized that it was nowhere near as bad as I anticipated, and I remember actually hugging my sister afterwards, thanking her for “helping” me.

Whether it be a major exam one needs to take, a speech one needs to deliver, or in my case, a “scary toy”, just about everyone has experienced a time in which they nervously anticipate an upcoming event they are a part of, horrified at the supposed idea that their whole world will come crashing down should it go even slightly wrong. However, once it has passed, regardless of how well it went overall, one thing many individuals often notice is that the event itself was not as bad as they had dreaded it would be. As one of my teachers from high school once said, “anticipation is always worse than realization”.

Since my own unique personal experience, I have tried my best to live my life along the lines of that teacher’s quote.  True, the future is scary, and the fear of failure will always exist, but I believe that the key to overcoming fear of the unknown lies not in fixating on how to tackle the upcoming event itself, but rather taking things step-by-step, one day at a time in order to work towards conquering the longer-term fear.

CONCLUSION???

January 18

Civic Issues #1: My Proposed Topic

Freedom of speech. It is said to be guaranteed to all Americans, written in the First Amendment of our nation’s Bill of Rights. At first glance, one may believe that since it is an amendment in the U.S. Constitution, everyone should be free to say what they want, expressing their beliefs without consequences. However, as with many things, the reality regarding our beloved right is not as black-and-white as it initially appears. Surely, unlike many countries, an American will not be arrested for publicly denouncing their president, but incidents still exist in which a citizen will be punished for an action deemed as heinous by some, but an expression of free speech by others.

Image result for 1st amendment

The idea for this as my “Civic Issues” topic actually came from a fairly recent event. For those who are internet-savvy, you probably know of the scandal revolving around YouTube star Logan Paul’s extremely controversial video, in which he joked around in Japan’s infamous “suicide forest”. The kicker: he even showed a dead, hanging body in his vlog, still laughing as he saw it! As a result, Logan was forced to remove the video, and took a break from posting. He was also fired from a YouTube-exclusive series. While I personally agree that Logan Paul crossed the line in what he did, and as such, consequences were to be expected, another part of me could not help but ponder the boundary between what should be considered free speech and what “going too far, and warranting of punishment” should mean.

Image result for logan paul controversy

In a recent English RCL lecture, my classmates and I were discussing ideas on what topic to do our Civic Issues blogs on, and one student brought up the modern-day debate regarding free speech on university campuses. This intrigued me, as I have heard several stories of college professors being pressured to issue “trigger warnings” on lectures of controversial subject matter, the implementation of “safe spaces” for women, LGBT youth, and minorities, as well as students protesting right-wing guest speakers. This is when I ultimately decided on my blog topic: the supposed “boundaries” of free speech.

Image result for safe space cartoon

This is not a pre-listed topic on my professor’s course website, but rather my own choice. However, if I had to place it in one of his four sub-categories of civic issues, I would not put it in “Education”, but instead “Identities and Rights”, as the free speech debate extends far beyond college campuses, into many other aspects of civic life. In the workforce, for example, similar to how Logan Paul got in trouble for his activities on YouTube, firms have fired employees for inappropriate use of social media. The question: should the employer be allowed to fire someone for something they likely posted outside of the workplace, even though the U.S. Bill of Rights says that employee is entitled to that right?

Related image

I am very much looking forward to exploring this question in detail on this blog, alongside other similar issues, including (but not limited to) arrests at protests, unwarranted government wiretapping, and “zero tolerance” policies enforced in public schools. I also hope to provider readers with my own personal insights on said topics. See you all soon!