Loving Myself Every Day

Paper 4

Grace Horner

News and Feature Writing: Paper 4

December 7, 2010

New relationships are supposed to be fun and exciting. Two years ago, those were the feelings I was having about a budding romance. We laughed a lot, had a lot in common, and enjoyed each other’s company. He was smart, funny, charming, and kind. It seemed like things were finally going to go my way when it came to finding love.

My parents didn’t like him. They thought he was too old for me and that he was manipulating me with promises of helping me get into the television broadcasting industry. His family didn’t like me either. Even though they’d never met me, they thought it was appropriate to tell him how wrong I was for him. We started fighting about our families and their lack of support for us – not as a couple, but as individuals. My family eventually decided not to pay for school as long as we stayed together.

That’s when he decided to co-sign for me to get a loan to stay in school. That was not where the control issues had started, but that was definitely where they got worse. It started with something small, not to talk to my ex-boyfriend. If I did, he would be gone. Eventually though, it morphed into not talking to any of my ex-boyfriends, which morphed into not being friends with or talking to any other men, unless he approved of it. I was not allowed to have certain girl friends either. For example, my roommate was a single girl, so he did not want me spending any time at my apartment because there may be other men there. And if I wanted to go out for a girl’s night, I was probably going out to meet men, so that was another “no.”

“Once you are alienated, sort of on an island, they know they’ve got you all to themselves,” says Dr. Raul Sanchez, a doctor I see about my new issues.  “It’s a control tactic so that you think he’s all you’ve got.”

He had turned into such a baby. He cried every time something happened that he did not like. The littlest fight spiraled out of control. No matter how hard I tried to keep us on one issue, he pulled in everything else that was going wrong in his life. The issue didn’t matter, he always found some way to make it my fault. A very common one was that his mom was mad at him because I was taking up all his time and he didn’t have enough time to talk to her.

And he could yell and yell and yell at me. It seemed like he never got tired of it. But the second I yelled back, he told me to stop yelling or he’d call the police. So I’d stop. While I was talking to him though, he’d yell over the top of me, setting me off into yelling back. This cycle would go on until I was finally so exhausted and in tears that I didn’t even bother trying to talk, I just yelled. Then, of course, he called the police. Thank goodness they never saw any reason to take either of us to jail, though some nights I wished they take him so I could sleep in peace. But his job meant they’d never do that. They only threatened to take me in.

I should have gotten out.

I’ll never forget the first time he hit me. I picked him up from work, and he’d had a bad day. He took it out on me by yelling at me about my parents taking away my car when they cut off my money for school. I asked him repeatedly to please stop yelling. When he didn’t, I slammed on the brakes. I had checked all the mirrors, so I knew no one was going to rear-end us. He turned and it seemed like slow motion. He started pummeling my right side – my face, my neck, my arms, my ribs. I was too stunned to react. No one had ever hit me before. The only thing I could do was cry. I had bruises up and down the next day.

The beatings got more and more regular. Even after he moved away, it would be my weekend to visit and it would start as soon as I got there. It always went the same way. He’d pick a fight as soon as he got off work. We’d yell and then say we were making up. We’d go to bed and I’d fall asleep, but he never could. It’d be 4:00 in the morning before he woke me up though, usually by yelling at me to get out. I’d wake up, start crying, and asking what was wrong – begging him to let me stay. Sometimes he’d throw things at me, once it was my cell phone; another time it was a suitcase full of my things. Afterwards, he always slept like a baby. I laid awake wanting to set his hair on fire.

There were so many threats too. He’d say we were breaking up. When I moved in with him, he threatened to have me evicted. It was always so final. So midway through the summer, I moved out.  A week later, I had crawled back – believing that things would change. They never did.

Two months later, it was back to the same things. Our last fight was over something so small: food. We were both broke and he didn’t have any food to eat. Had I had the money, I would have ordered him a pizza, like he’d done for me. But of course, it spiraled into other things, like always. It ended with him saying that if there wasn’t a pizza at his front door before he went to work, he wouldn’t make the trip during his weekend to visit.

 Of course, like a fool, the next morning I sent a pizza. He called saying that it wasn’t enough, that we were breaking up and he wasn’t coming to visit. I said, “Fine,” and hung up. I haven’t spoken to him since. That Sunday, my dad and I went and got my things out of my old car. He started trying to call that night. He called and sent text messages about 100 times over the next three days. He sent flowers as if to say, “look how good things can be.” I donated them to a nursing home. He stopped trying a few days later.

Sometimes I feel incredibly sad. I lost someone that I loved so very much. I miss the good times we had because we did have them. I wish we had stayed the way we were at the beginning. But I also feel incredibly free. Sure, my ego and self-esteem have suffered, and I’m not the same happy-go-lucky girl I was two years ago.

But I’m free.

“Abusive relationships are a cycle,” Sanchez says.  “You are twice as likely to get into an abusive relationship than you were before.  But it’s a good thing you’re out.  Relationships like that usually get more violent, a lot of times it becomes so much so that it’s fatal for one or both of the people involved.”

I can go out with who I want, talk to who I want, and see my family whenever I want.

I may be rebuilding my life, and becoming reacquainted with myself, but I’m alive to do it.

Healthcare Reform Broadcast

Healthcare Reform Broadcast

Literature Review 2

Strip joints, titty bars, and peep shows all have a negative connotation.  Sleazy, uneducated women dance while half naked (or completely naked) for dirty old men.  The place itself is dirty, dark, and seedy.  It’s not a pleasant idea, so why do women continue to strip and why do men continue to pay to see them strip.

Enter Elisabeth Eaves.  She used to be one of those nude women in Seattle, Washington.  The name of her particular peep show? The Lusty Lady.  And the men came…in every sense of the word.  She danced as Leila, and for customers she bent over, twisted, kicked her legs, and feigned arousal from theirs.

But like many of the dancers, Eaves left the Double-L to pursue other goals. She moved to New York and went to graduate school at Columbia, to earn a masters’ in international affairs. She worked as a journalist and reported for Reuters in London and in Jerusalem. She didn’t talk much about her past to others, many of them got the wrong idea when she did.  But dancing haunted her.  Why had she danced naked in front of strange men?  she wondered.  Was it wrong?  How did it affect her psyche?  Her relationships with men and with society?

So she returned to Seattle in search of answers, this time stripping at other clubs with the intent to write about her experience.  If she could write about it, she could understand it.  Her book, “Bare: On Women, Dancing, Sex, and Power”, tends to reveal only more questions and few answers.  But it sheds some light on the life of a peep-show dancer.

Many times in the book, Eaves wonders what would motivate her to strip.  After all, people presume that women who are sexual are uneducated, downtrodden, abused, or any combination of the three.  Eaves was none of those and she found the stereotypes irritating.

Stripping also offered Eaves a flexible work schedule. It was an interesting job that paid well (the top pay at the Double-L in 2001 was $27 an hour.)  But Eaves also found the work attractive for another reason. It fed her obsession with stripping.

As a child, Eaves says she had a “deep distaste for clothing.” During her teenage years, she rebelled against her parents’ ban on tight shirts and short skirts. And as a sorority member at the University of Washington, she was confused by the constant warnings to “be aware of your reputation.”  Why should girls be so confined while boys were given sexual license?

Eaves noted in her book that she believed that women who strip didn’t have to follow those rules.  They were free.

After graduating from college with her first degree, Eaves noticed a Lusty Lady employment ad and – wanting no regrets at age 80 – decided to check it out.  So she decided to visit the peep show, stepping into one of the dark booths, dropping coins in the slot, and watching as a screen lifted to reveal a long-haired woman wearing nothing but white patent-leather boots.  Eaves says she was at once “mesmerized” and filled with something akin to desire not for the other woman, but to be her.  Soon after, Eaves was on the other side of the window, dancing before a wall of mirrors on a red velvet rug.

In a sense, Eaves didn’t really become a stripper, because the dancers at the peep show are always nude.  That is, unless you happen to count wigs, false eyelashes, platform shoes, boas and other accents. In the book, the dancer’s nakedness adds levity, with Eaves describing how they politely laid a piece of paper towel on the dressing-room couch before sitting down. Or how they introduced themselves to each other with compliments such as, “You have beautiful breasts.”

Equally fun is Eaves’ discussion of the dancers’ stage names, which are always pseudonyms so that the customers can’t trace them. Girl-next-door names are popular: Jenny, Heather. Food and jewel names are too: Crystal, Ruby, Cherry.

By choosing Leila, Eaves joined the ranks of Lily, Lulu, Delilah. “The two l’s made the person saying the name flick the tongue up and down in a licking motion,” she writes.

But the book’s picture of peepdom is not all rosy. Once the novelty of being nude wears off, the work was repetitive.  Working in the private booth where men on one side of the glass direct women’s actions on the other side through a sound system (“You are a naughty school girl, and you’re late for class!”) was also unsettling to her.

And it can be disgusting. “The architecture of the stage was such that we literally looked down on (the men) and they looked up at us,” Eaves writes. “We also held a sort of moral high ground, in the sense that we could explain our presence here, however ingeniously, in terms of earning a living. They, on the other hand, were ducking into cubicles where they paid money to watch girls fake arousal.”

The work fed Eaves’ cynicism about met in general, even harming her relationship.

After arriving back in Seattle to do more research, Eaves chose to work in other clubs, doing lap dances and working bachelor parties.  But in a space of a few months, her attitude had become more negative.

But the book shows that stripping isn’t as exploitive as one would think.  The women choose to take part in the profession.  However, it reinforces the idea that women can be bought.  Every Betty, Zoe, and Kim have their appearance, behavior, and sexuality for sale.

Paper 3 Final

Almost fifteen percent of couples, who marry, meet in college.  That may not seem like a lot, but when you consider the fact that only 62 percent of people get married, that is a little under a quarter.  But dating in college can be very difficult. 

Kate Nelson, a senior, just got out of a 5-year long relationship and is now dating again.  She said that it’s been fun though.  “I’ve actually gotten to know some guys that I probably wouldn’t have even talked to before,” Kate said.  “And I’ve become pretty good friends with some of them.”

In some ways, though staying in a relationship would have been easier.  ”When I was in a relationship, I knew where I was going to be after college,” Kate said.  “I had a house to move into, where I wouldn’t have to pay rent, and I would have had a little longer to find a job. “ 

That change has been something of a challenge for Kate.  “It’s tough because I’m doing everything on my own,” she added.  “I don’t have the comfort I used to have.”

The change into a single girl is also challenging.  Kate had a couple of dating horror stories to share.  “One guy I met at the radio station and we hung out like two times,” Kate said with a quiet giggle.  “He must have thought I was really into him because he started planning our future together.  It was kind of creepy.”

Chris Stutzriem, a college football player, also commented on dating during college.  He cited maturity as a big difference between dating in high school and dating in college. He had one serious relationship during his college years; an 8-month long relationship while he was attending the University of Wyoming.  “There is just way less time to date in college,” he said.  “There isn’t enough down time.” 

Chris also commented on his style of dating.  “I don’t really go looking for dates, if we meet wherever and hit it off then maybe go somewhere from there.”

There are also different levels of dating.  If a couple says they’re talking, that means they are just getting to know each other.  They may have just met or exchanged phone numbers.  The next step up is seeing each other.  Which means exactly what it sounds like, a couple may be going out on dates and spending time together, but not exclusively.  They could be seeing other people too.  If the couple decides to become exclusive, they are in a relationship; boyfriend and girlfriend.

One couple at Morningside College consists of Kathleen and Andrew.  They met through a friend almost seven months ago.  “The most difficult part about dating in college,” Kathleen says, “is balancing classes, work, and homework, and time with him. “

Time management hasn’t been their only challenge.  Kathleen says their biggest obstacle is her independence.  “I’m a very independent person and I’m not used to having to sharing my life with someone else.”

But they get through it.  Kathleen said that the best way to overcome their obstacle is communications.  “And having him tell me that he’s there for me and I don’t have to do everything on my own,” she adds.

Regardless of your relationship status, dating in college is hard.  It’s not just about what you wear or where you go on the date; some personalities just don’t mesh.  The point is, there is someone out there for everyone, you just have to kiss a few frogs first.

Friday 12/3

This guy is apparently responsible for over 1/3 of the spam you’ve received.

Read the full story here.

Sure spam is annoying.  Yes it CAN spread viruses to your computer.  But is it really worth arresting someone over?  This story is very relevant to everyone with an e-mail account.  But this story is not worth the time at all. I don’t think anyone would read this unless they were really really REALLY sick of getting spam e-mails.

Weekly News post

Amish fireplaces were reviewed on MSNBC this week.  Aparrently, these things are a total rip off, but make a ton of false promises.

Read the full story here.

Stories like these are important for consumers to read.  Especially in an economic crisis like the one we are in.  Essentially, this article can save you $300 dollars.  That doesn’t seem like much, but it is when we’re in a recession.

The view from under an umbrella

An old superstition says it’s bad luck to open an umbrella inside, but to look underneath something, that’s exactly what I did.

Muted sunshine filters through the colored fabric of the panels casting colorful shade on someone’s face.  Or, if it’s raining, you can see the outline of rain drops through the nylon fabric. Those drops create gray dots that are a few shades darker than the color of the umbrella.  The underside of an umbrella is a system of wires that help the apparatus to fold open or shut.  One thick, square shaped piece of metal runs along the fabric itself.  The cylindrical part that connects to the far end of the square shaped piping is thinner, and connects to the circular piece that slides up and down the handle.

Healthcare Reform Rough Draft

As students get ready to graduate from college, questions about the future can become quite stressful.  President Obama has already had great success with college-aged groups, but he has found more support with the passing of healthcare reform.  Its given students who are graduating from college one less thing to worry about: buying health insurance.

The most appealing part of the healthcare bill – for college students, at least – is that it allows a student to stay on their parents’ company-provided health insurance until they are 26-years of age. 

[Quote from college student about the helpfulness of the new law]

This provision of the bill was included for a few reasons.

First off, the number of college students with health insurance will increase drastically.  Even though the current 67% who are covered are a vast majority, the new law will cause it to increase.  More parents will have health insurance than before and they will be more able to cover their students medical needs.

Also, students will now be able to take time off without losing coverage.  Before healthcare reform, students were only covered when enrolled full time and even then, just until graduation.  Now that the new age limit is 26-years-old, students will be able to take a year off to work or travel, and then still have time after graduation to enjoy their parent’s insurance coverage.  Students can now work at a more comfortable pace and maybe pay their own way through college.

Finally, the overall health of all students will improve.  When students don’t have health insurance, they tend to ignore symptoms and infect others.  Sometimes, they avoid taking the full course of antibiotics, saving the rest for the next time they are ill.  Mental health issues and sexually transmitted disease may go untreated, affecting more students than imaginable.  These things can affect the entire campus.  Issues like these may be less likely with proper health care.

[Quote from student health department]

Students may also find it appealing that the healthcare reform is bundled with a new law that will make student loans easier to apply for by taking the middle man out of the process.  For more information, students can talk to their financial aid office.

No matter which way a student’s political views sway, the benefits of both of these bills is undeniable.  Obama care is taking the majority of the debt out of student loans and the stress out of college graduation.

News Review

The governor of Florida is thinking of pardoning The Doors’ lead singer, Jim Morrison, after he was convicted of indecent exposure in 1969.

Read the full story here.

I liked how this story was written. The structure made a lot of sense to me.  I liked the order in which the facts were presented.  Also, this story is kind of relevant.  The writer talked about the governor has one last shot to pass something like this.  Due to the recent election, the governor is out of office in December.  Lastly, why is this such an issue now though?  Who cares if Jim Morrison never gets acquited? It’d be nice if the governor was thinking about more important issues.

Mean Girls

During the first half of high school, Madeline Horner had it all.  She was a volleyball player for the Heelan Crusaders, her grades were never lower than an A, and she had looks like a model.

Madeline, or Maddy, as her friends call her, had started her high school career at Heelan to be near her older sister, Olivia.  But after Olivia graduated, Maddy had a choice.

“I had dealt with some mean girls my freshman year.  It wasn’t nearly as bad my sophomore year,” says Maddy, “but I missed my best friends.”

Those best friends, Julie, Brook, and Sam had been with Maddy since 2nd grade.  They called themselves “the fab four”.  But Maddy was easily considered the most fabulous.  Her parents were still married, she didn’t struggle with school or weight, and she wasn’t having sex with her boyfriend.  She was the wholesome sweetheart of their group.

So, Maddy made the transfer back to South Sioux City High School for her junior and senior years.

The girls friendship, though, changed after a winter basketball game.  One of the girls has forgotten her bloomers for under her uniform and an opposing team Mom saw her showing her underwear to one of the basketball players.  The mom knew Maddy’s mom and – thinking it was Maddy showing off her bloomers – thought it pertinent to give Claudia a call.

“I knew it couldn’t be Maddy.  My friend was saying that the girl and boy were kissing.  Maddy didn’t even have a boyfriend,” said Claudia Horner.

Claudia called the girls’ coach, knowing which girl it was after a talk with Maddy.  The coach, called the girl into her office and said that “Claudia Horner had called.”  That’s when the trouble started.

“Girls I had never said two words to were updating their Facebook statuses and saying no one liked me,” says Maddy.  “It really hurt, I’d been best friends with these girls.”

Maddy contemplated graduating early to escape.  But she decided she didn’t want to miss her senior volleyball season.  The girls are no longer friends, but Maddy says the tormenting has stopped.  She’s finishing up her senior year and looking at colleges.  She got a 32 on the ACT, so the possibilities are wide open.

“I got a free application from Harvard,” Maddy says, laughing.  “I just don’t think I could be that far away from my family.”

Maddy hopes to attend the University of Minnesota next fall and pursue a degree in architecture.