Sunday, April 3, 2016


There’s a feeling of sadness when you look at something and know it’s time has come and gone. I sat in my car after a visit to the hospital to see my grandfather and cried. There is something relaxing about crying, the way sadness and anger have an escape route and contentment has an entrance, even if for a little bit.
                As I walked back to my apartment, I saw a dandelion tilted over. Its petals allowing gravity to take over, pulling them toward the ground, where they would eventually call home. The stigma was a darker color than usual. A bug landed on it for a split second before it realized that the flower no longer had pollen.
                When I was a child, I was taught that when a flower died, it was right to throw it away. Looking at the dandelion, I knew it wasn’t true. Dandelions live for a couple of days before they disperse their seeds. For a flower, that’s almost a lifetime.

                Like a human, a flower lives a lifetime. Tears rolling down my face, I watched the flower, knowing that, just like my grandfather, time was moving in slow motion toward the finish line. For a second, I cried for the flower. I cried for my grandfather. And then I knew. Sadness was universal, whether it was over a dying dandelion or a dying family member.     

Monday, February 29, 2016

299x Class

From the start, when I applied to Ball State University, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in Publishing. So much so, that I intend to apply to the New York Arts Program to intern at a publishing house. However, it means that I don’t get the opportunity to take English 489, which is the Broken Plate. I don’t get to experience editing and publishing the Ball State Literary Magazine. As if by magic, 299x fell in my lap. Getting the chance to interview writers and review books has been my dream since I was able to hold a book.
I interned for the Midwest Writer’s Workshop last as a social media tutor and it was the best part of my summer. I learned so much, not only by helping writers and aspiring writers, but being around agents from the publishing world and understanding everything they go through to find the right. It taught me something that I couldn’t just learn from the internet. Not only that, but I got to help people learn how to make a website or blog, properly use social media, and answer any questions they had. I felt like I was doing my part, and that was the best feeling.

For this class though, I get the chance to go beyond just my social media tutor world and be a part of something bigger. I believe this class would help me when I venture to New York for the New York Arts Program. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

More than Them: A New Song

More than Them
I'm broken, do you hear me?
I'm blinded, 'cause you are everything I see.
I'm dancin' alone, I'm praying,
That your heart will just turn around,

And as I walk up to your door,
My head turns to face the floor,
'Cause I can't look you in the eyes and say,
I heard him promise you forever
But forever’s come and gone
Baby he would say whatever
It takes to keep you blind
To the truth between the lines

When he opens his arms and holds you close tonight,
It just won't feel right,
'Cause I can love you more than this, yeah,
When he lays you down,
I might just die inside,
It just don't feel right,
Oh I will love you more than this
I won't say the words, then take them back
Don't give loneliness a chance
Baby listen to me when I say
I will love you more than that

If I'm louder, would you see me?
Would you lay down
In my arms and rescue me?
'Cause we are the same
You save me,
When you leave it's gone again.
And then I see you on the street,
In his arms, I get weak,
My body fails, I'm on my knees
Baby you deserve much better
What's the use in holding on
Don't you see it's now or never
Cause I just can't be friends
Baby knowing in the end

When he opens his arms and holds you close tonight,
It just won't feel right,
'Cause I can love you more than this, yeah,
When he lays you down,
I might just die inside,
It just don't feel right,
Oh I will love you more than this
I won't say the words, then take them back
Don't give loneliness a chance
Baby listen to me when I say
I will love you more than that

Yeah, I've never had the words to say,
But now I'm askin' you to stay
For a little while inside my arms,
And as you close your eyes tonight,
I pray that you will see the light,
That's shining from the stars above.

There's not a day that passes by
I don't wonder why we haven't tried
It's not too late to change your mind
So take my hand, don't say goodbye

When he opens his arms and holds you close tonight,
It just won't feel right,
'Cause I can love you more than this,

'Cause I can love you more than this, yeah

When he lays you down,
I might just die inside,
It just don't feel right,
Oh I will love you more than this
I won't say the words, then take them back
Don't give loneliness a chance
Baby listen to me when I say
I will love you more than that
When he opens his arms and holds you close tonight,
It just won't feel right,
'Cause I can love you more than this, yeah
When he lays you down,
I might just die inside (oh, yeah),
It just don't feel right,
'Cause I can love you more than this,
Can love you more than this

(Lyrics from Backstreet Boys "More than That" and One Direction's "More than This")

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Boyband vs Boyband

            In 1994, Lou Pearlman, a big business man, put five guys together for the first boyband since The New Kids on the Block. Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, Kevin Richardson, AJ McLean, and Howie Dorough became The Backstreet Boys and took the world by storm. A little over 16 years later, Simon Cowell, a judge on the X Factor UK, put five guys together to form the first boyband on the British television show. Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson became One Direction.
            Almost two decades apart, the Backstreet Boys and One Direction have quite a bit of overlap in the way that their music sounds and how they came up with ideas for music videos, even to how the band is set up with certain people and where they got their start. It’s easier to understand once it’s broken down.
            Let’s start off with their music:
1.)    Backstreet Boys’ What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful) & One Directions’ What Makes You Beautiful
\     One Direction’s first single, “What Makes You Beautiful” sounds a lot like a song that was on Backstreet Boys’ “Black & Blue” album.

2.)    Backstreet Boys’ More than That  & One Directions’ More than This.
\     Both are slow songs, wishing that the “girl” could see that the boy could love and take care of her more than the guy she is with. Basically the difference is two letters…. is/it.

3.)    Backstreet Boys’ It’s Gotta be You & One Directions’ Gotta Be You
\      While the songs are different tempos, the names tell all.

4.)    Backstreet Boys’ Madeline & One Directions’ Diana
\      Both song titles with female names, but both songs released in 2013 have to do with bullying and depression.

Next, let’s look at their music videos:

1.)    Backstreet Boys’ I’ll Never Break Your Heart & One Directions’ Gotta Be You
\     Cold weather, fires, playing around with girls in lovely winter wear….

2.)    Backstreet Boys’ Anywhere With You & One Directions’ What Makes You Beautiful
\     Both videos, while over 15 years apart, show the guys playing around on the beach, being flirty with girls. Very popular with the boy bands, but it gets weirder.

3.)    Backstreet Boys’ Inconsolable & One Directions’ You & I
\     Deck/bridge at a beach.

4.)    Backstreet Boys’ As Long As You Love Me & One Directions’ You & I
\     They merge into another member of the band. It’s obvious One Direction didn’t come up with the idea one their own.

Now, let’s look at the band members:
1.)    Harry Styles (One Direction) and Nick Carter (Backstreet Boys)
\     Both more desired in the US than their other band mates. “Heart throbs,” if you will.

2.)    Niall Horan (One Direction) and Brian Littrell (Backstreet Boys)
\     Both blonde and have a sense of humour that is difficult to understand. They’re both more in the background when it comes to publicity.

3.)    Liam Payne (One Direction) and Howie Dorough (Backstreet Boys)
\     Both are in the background when it comes to the songs. They can both hit high notes that males shouldn’t be able to hit.

4.)    Zayn Malik (One Direction) and AJ McLean (Backstreet Boys)
\     Both are known as the “mysterious” ones with tattoos and piercings. Two people couldn’t be more alike.

5.)    Louis Tomlinson (One Direction) and Kevin Richardson (Backstreet Boys)
\     Both are the oldest of the groups and the funniest in their own, sarcastic ways.

           As you can see, there is quite a bit of overlap when it comes to the Backstreet Boys and One Direction. Not only has some of their music sounded a like or music videos were similar, but both boybands got their start in England. When the Backstreet Boys got their start, no one in America cared about another boyband, but in England, people did. One Direction, being British and competing on a British television show, got their start in England as well. Both bands infected America with their music and then that turned into the entire world.

The Backstreet Boys and One Direction are by far the BIGGEST boybands in the WORLD.

All images and information from:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

YouTube, Twitter, and One Direction: Life Savers

I was bullied.
          It was 2010, and I was just starting to get the hang of being a high schooler. Having red hair made me stand out more than I already did. What they said, what they thought was funny bounced around in my head. The girls, blonde and brunette, were gathered around by the bathroom located in the main hallway, laughing and having a good ole time. Being vulnerable and self-conscious, I fixed my hair, pushing my newly cut bangs out of my face, straightened my gray “I’m Not Short, I’m Fun Sized” shirt, and put on the best fake smile I could muster up. I pushed my way through the crowd, that’s when I heard the names for the first time.
          “Fire crotch!”
          “Tampon head!”
          “Is it natural?”
          “Or did you do stuff for men to get the money to get that color?” The taunts were relentless.
          One day, I walked in the kitchen as my mother was hiding an envelope in the pile of bills, letters, notes, and cards that sat on our kitchen counter. “What is that?” I asked her.
          “Oh, it’s nothing Caroline. Grammy and Grampy just sent me something.” She said.      
          I waited until my mother went upstairs and then opened the envelope. Newspaper clippings came fluttering out and on to the granite countertop. In big, bold letters, the headline read “DIABETES AND YOUTH.” In the margin of the article, my grandfather wrote “Show this to Caroline.”
          I didn’t think I could reach a lower point in my life. The girls at school thought I was a whore and my own grandparents thought I was fat. Not knowing how to react, I did something I never thought I would have done in a million years.
          Walking into my underwater themed bathroom, with the dark blue walls, I felt like I was drowning. My breathing grew heavy as I closed the door quietly. I searched every drawer in the bathroom, looking for the relief I needed. Once I found my brother’s extra razor blade, I let out the breath I didn’t know I was holding in. 
          Placing the blade on my wrist, I knew it would bring up too many questions if my parents or siblings found out. Pushing my capris down to my kneecaps, I had the perfect view of someplace no one would see. I placed the cold piece on my left thigh and drug it across the skin.
          There was blood, there was pain, but there was no relief.
          I thought that maybe if I did it one more time, there would be more of an affect. I drug the blade once more across my thigh, but nothing happened. I stopped the bleeding and went back to my room, not knowing what was to come months later.
          It was July of 2010 when One Direction was put as a band on the British version of the television show The X Factor. Being an American, and living in Indiana, I wasn’t able to actually watch the show. That was, until I used Twitter to tweet out my love of Prince William and England. Using the hashtag “#British,” I followed the trend which led me to a Twitter page dedicated to One Direction. My interest was sparked and I clicked on the first link that I saw (
          May of 2012, my brother, while at Wabash College, got a girl pregnant. She hated my family. She threw eggs and Chinese food at our cars, would call non-stop at crazy hours of the day, and sent me death threats. It got to the point where my brother didn’t feel safe and moved to Ohio without telling anyone, leaving my family, and me, to deal with the backlash. The name calling started again, worse, and I didn’t have anyone to turn to. Except for One Direction. Their music transported me to a happier place, a place where I wasn’t labelled for the color of my hair, my weight, or my looks.
          To this day, five years later, they are still my saviors. No matter where I am or what I’m doing, they’re with me. Not just in my heart, or sappy stuff like that, but physical items: a phone case, bracelets, t-shirt, and so on. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t have to listen to their music to make me happy, just one look and a smile is plastered on my face for the rest of the day.
          Five guys, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson, became my best friends, the ones I trusted with the outcome of my life. The way I feel about them makes me believe that nothing could bring me down like I was before. I’m afraid to think about what might have happened to me if I never created a Twitter profile or tweeted about my love of the Royal Family. I think about it often, however, but when I do, the only thing I remember are the five faces that saved me from the hole I was falling into.    

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Text Message

                My freshman year of college was the first time since high school that I was bullied.
                I was placed on the eighth floor of what I considered, at the time, the worst dormitory to be placed in. I had two neighbors: one to my left and across the hall. Instantly, I made a friend with my neighbor across the hall. Vicki was confident and fearless, everything I thought I wanted to be. She always talked about all the guy friends she had back home, rubbing it in my face that she could talk to guys, when my face goes up in flames when a guy is mentioned. She was everything I wanted to be . . . or so I thought.
                It got to the point in our friendship that I trusted her. It was late September when I told her about the guy I liked. He attended BSU, and I had learned about him through Facebook. At this same time, she went off, making new friends and integrating them into our little circle. Let’s just say, I didn’t like one of her new friends that stuck around. Why, you ask? Because my Vicki changed when the other Tina was around, ditching me to go take selfies with her in the bathroom, while I waited by myself in a crowded place. But all that fails in comparison to what she did to me later in the month.
                His name was Tommy. He had gorgeous blue eyes that made me feel like I was on a beach. His smile was the definition of perfection. And I was infatuated with him. Vicki knew. Tina knew. And they used it against me. One night, while we were all enjoying dinner, Vicki and Tina went to the bathroom. 15 minutes later, they came trotting back with smiles on their faces. “We gave Tommy your number.” Vicki told me. “Yeah, he said he would text you after his basketball game.” Tina smiled. I felt sick to my stomach. I feel sick to my stomach as I write this. I didn’t think anything of it. They were my friends after all, right? WRONG.
                9:00 p.m. rolled around and I got a text. My stomach dropped. I had been hoping that he would forget and not text me. I didn’t know what to do or say, so I gave Vicki my phone. “You need to flirt, Caroline!” She told me, but ended up doing the flirting for me. Text after text, flirt after flirt, I started to get the feeling that it wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. I walked over to Vicki’s dorm, “Hey, I don’t feel right about this. Something’s not right. It’s probably a bet or something.” I shut the door and turned around only to hear Tina yell “Caroline, wait!” I walked back over and I knew I was right.
                “Before you get mad, listen to me.” Vicki said.
                “What?” I asked.
                “It’s not really Tommy texting you. We gave your number to my friend Logan, and he’s the one that’s been texting you.” Tina laughed.

                The rest of the night was a blur. Vicki and Tina came over to apologize, not quite understanding why I was so upset. Vicki was actually mad at me for being upset with her. HA. I cried myself to sleep that night, wondering what I could have possibly done to deserve such terrible treatment from two people I thought were my friends. I couldn't get their laughing at me out of my mind. It was torture. After that, I saw Tommy everywhere. Even after it was over, it wasn't over. 

               Please don't allow yourself, or a friend, to go through something like this. If you know of someone being bullied, tell someone. Don't be a bystander. Thank you. 

**names were changed to protect identities**

Sunday, August 2, 2015

One Direction in Indianapolis

            After five longs years of waiting for something magical to happen in Indianapolis, Friday, July, 31st, 2015, all my dreams came true. My four favorite boys in the world, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson, finally made their appearance in my city, and boy did they leave an impression.
            I got to Lucas Oil Stadium around 4:30 pm, and immediately got in line at the gates. People were scattered everywhere, waiting in line at the gates, waiting in line at the merchandise tent, and, the very lucky fans that got floor seats, waiting in line to get a wrist band. The gates opened at 4:45 pm, but no entry was allowed.  I was lucky enough to stand in line at gate 3, where the guard started the crowd singing that took place up until we were allowed entry at 5:30. The crowd busted into songs by the artist we were all there to see: One Direction. “Steal My Girl,” “No Control,” “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Midnight Memories,” “Stockholm Syndrome,” and “Best Song Ever” were the songs we belted out. The workers truly got a kick out of it.
            5:30 pm, the crowd went crazy, pushing and running to get inside of the stadium. When I was finally inside (which didn’t take long. I was one of the first ones in), I made a beeline for the merchandise table, where I purchased two concert t-shirts, and dropped $80. I immediately made my way towards my seat, stopping to get a bottle of water and changing into one of my new shirts. Section 343 was no floor seats, but I was able to see the whole stage and the big screens. They were the perfect seats.
            Two hours. I waited two hours, impatiently, might I add, just for Icona Pop to make their appearance. I will not lie, I wasn’t thrilled to hear that they were the openers, but they sure as hell brought it. I don’t think anyone else would have gotten the crowd as hyped as they did. The two girls killed every song they performed, as well as thanking the boys, and praising us on being the best fans. They were done by 7:45 pm, leaving the whole stadium of 60,000 screaming fans in suspense.
            For an hour. AN HOUR, we waited. But the boys made up for that hour once the Introduction Video started playing. My heart was pounding; butterflies erupted in my stomach as the suspense grew. I was finally going to see my favorite boys, and I couldn’t have been happier. The video had ended and the beginning of “Clouds” started. Fireworks went off.  Niall was the first one out, his red guitar strapped around his body, with the boys right behind him. They talked, they gushed out about how amazing the fans are, they thanked everyone, and they went on and on about their new single “Drag Me Down.”
            After singing hit after hit and stealing every single person’s heart, they decided to give Indianapolis a little surprise. Louis went on, talking about “Drag Me Down,” only to make the crowd speechless by saying “so here it is.” Only seventeen hours after they released the song, the entire stadium sang the song back, beautifully. After the song was over, the fans screamed and cheered for minutes after they were finished. The look on their faces, the smiles, the happy faces, was well-worth the sore throat and no voice the next morning. Niall even gushed, “Hear that boys? I think they like it.”
            The rest of the concert consisted of things being thrown on stage, Harry making fun of a Colts football player for being so tall and making the crowd moan, Liam, with the help of Louis, dressing up in Batman pajama’s, Louis pouring water and Powerade all over Liam, and Niall being sassy towards people throwing things at him on stage.  
            The concert ended with a BANG, with “Best Song Ever,” and more fireworks. The boys walked around the stage waving good-bye, blowing kisses, and repeating how much they loved everyone. That was probably the worst part of the concert. I had waited so long for the opportunity to see my favorite boys. The feeling of seeing them walk off stage was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever endured.  But looking back to two days ago, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. Everywhere the boys go, they bring sunshine and happiness, leaving the fans happy and appreciative. I don’t think I could have picked better role models.

            Thank you, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Harry Styles for making July 31st, 2015, the best night of my life. I will be forever grateful.