Brag a Little

Everybody has bad qualities and good ones. We can either choose to embrace them, usually the good, or ignore them, the bad. However, sometimes the bad ones, like selfishness or arrogance, take main stage and we focus solely on how to fix them. And while we are scrambling to find ways to amend our flaws, people completely forget the good characteristics we all have. Sometimes people have to set aside some time to reflect on good qualities that make us proud of ourselves; and that is perfectly fine. Personally, I have big accomplishments and things in my personality that make me proud. For example, in the beginning of 2012, I decided to give up soda and see how long I could last. It may not seem that huge, but considering how much soda I used to drink, it was a big deal; and to this day I have not have one soda since that January almost 2 years ago. That accomplishment makes me extremely proud of myself, and last may I drastically cut back on everything except water, which is also a giant accomplishment for me because I really love tea and coffee and other drinks. That is probably the accomplishment that makes me very happy with myself (besides the generic things for teenagers, like academic grades, drivers test, jobs etc.)

In my personality, I suppose there are a few characteristics that stand out as being good qualities. First, the trait that all my others kind of stem from is my maturity. For being a teenager, I feel like it would be common for a maturity level to match the standard 17-18 year old. However, I have come to realize, and others have told me, I am far more mature than some of my peers, and even those older than me. With that maturity, I have learned to accept things that cannot be changed; which is a giant accomplishment for me. By nature I am extremely stubborn, but I have learned to just accept things that I cannot change and not to dwell on it. Besides personal life, in school this characteristic helps a lot when it comes to my grades. I have learned to look past the numbers and realize in 5 years it most likely won’t matter, so there is no reason to completely panic over it. Yes, I do study and still care a lot about my grades, but I know what my maximum stress level is and try not to pass it because of worry. Also with my maturity, I have learned not to say things just to say them. I try not to say things to just make people mad or to impress someone, but because I honestly believe something; which is a big quality for a teenager, considering how hard everyone tries to fit in by saying and going with the crowd. I suppose I could add other qualities to list that make me proud, but I realize most of them stem from my maturity, so that would have to be the one that stands out the most.


Not just 1, but 3

My family history and origin is filled with many ethnicities, but whose isn’t? When someone first meets me, they automatically assume I’m Mexican, which I am, but I also have other races mixed in. My last name, Ortega is distantly Hispanic; but more accurately, Mexican. On my father’s side, my grandfather -the Ortega side- has a large number of people, most of whom still live in Mexico. My grandpa has 5 other siblings, then they all have kids and so on. This side is purely Mexican, if someone were to trace it back far enough, then most likely ‘Ortega’ probably originated in Spain. On my Dad’s Mom side, they are Spanish; her maiden name is Guzman. My grandma’s grandfather made the trip from Spain to Mexico over a hundred years ago. She has 12 other brothers and sisters, and she is the youngest. All but one other live in Mexico in a smaller town towards the east coast. My dad’s parents are the ones who first traveled to the U.S. back in the 70’s. Because, combined my dad has 17 aunts and uncles and tons of cousins and he is one of seven siblings, the Ortega family is stretched out across North America, and have distant relatives all over.

As I mentioned before, though I may look entirely Mexican, I have other races mixed in. My mom’s side is much smaller than my dad’s, she’s an only child and her parents don’t have as many siblings as my dad’s. My grandpa, who is a Rosas, has 5 other siblings. His mom’s side- Hinojosa- was from Mexico, my great-grandmas’ grandpa came to America during the Mexican Revolution of 1810 to escape the war. They settled along the border, and my grandpas’ dad side has always lived in Texas; from the time when Mexico had settled the Texas territory to present. On the other hand, my mom’s mother’s side- the Brockman’s- traveled to the U.S. from Germany 100’s of year ago. My great- grandparents lives in Oklahoma, and own over 300 acres of land. My great-grandpa inherited that land from his grandparents who were apart of the Oklahoma land race of 1893. Basically it was a giant race, where people could go and stake out, then claim, chunks of land. His wife, my great-grandmother’s side –the London’s- came from Europe in the 1800’s. So this side of my family, albeit smaller than my dad’s, is still quite large and spread out across the U.S.

However, with so many people, we have mostly fallen out of contact with the distant side. So although I am aware of the generalized history of my entire family, which is long, it’s hard to pinpoint exact members of my Mexican, Spanish, and German family.

Powerful Simplisty

‘Thinking Out Loud’

Preformed by Ed Sheeran

Written by Amy Wadge and Ed Sheeran

When your legs don’t work like they used to before

And I can’t sweep you off of your feet

Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love

Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks

And darling I will be loving you ’til we’re 70

And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23

And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways

Maybe just the touch of a hand

Oh me I fall in love with you every single day

And I just wanna tell you I am

So honey now

Take me into your loving arms

Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars

Place your head on my beating heart

I’m thinking out loud

Maybe we found love right where we are

When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades

And the crowds don’t remember my name

When my hands don’t play the strings the same way, mm

I know you will still love me the same

‘Cause honey your soul can never grow old, it’s evergreen

Baby your smile’s forever in my mind and memory

I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways

Maybe it’s all part of a plan

I just keep on making the same mistakes

Hoping that you’ll understand

But baby now

Take me into your loving arms

Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars

Place your head on my beating heart

I’m thinking out loud

That maybe we found love right where we are, oh

(Ah la la, la la la, la la la, la la la la)

So baby now

Take me into your loving arms

Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars

Oh darling, place your head on my beating heart

I’m thinking out loud

That maybe we found love right where we are

Oh maybe we found love right where we are

And we found love right where we are

‘Thinking out Loud’ was written and performed by Ed Sheeran and was released over the summer. This song is very powerful once you really pay attention to the lyrics. To some, songs hold meaning, but usually not very many songs, because of the time we live in. Most songs played on the radio contain very little meaning, but as long as it has a catchy tune, and a decent chorus, it sells. Now, there are songs that have out there that are meaningful, and artist who pour their soul into their music, but sadly, that love of music is dying. So when someone writes, then preforms their own lyrics, it means something in today’s world. Prime example, Ed Sheeran, who wrote and released his album ‘X’ over the summer; every song is on it is really good. Each song contains meaning and really speaks to the listener; but his song ‘Thinking out Loud’ is one of best.

This song seems pretty generic; a guy falls in love with a girl, and wants to express it. However, simple as it is, the thoughts behind the song are beautiful. Basically, the entire song is about growing old, and still have the same love as they did in the beginning. He asks her about him not being able to ‘sweep [her] off of her feet’ or when his ‘memory fades’ and if she will still love him. He says no matter what he will always love her, and still fall for her. Also, how they make mistakes, but still love each other and will never stop. The song may be simple on the outside, but once someone really listens, rather than just hear, they will understand the meaning. Everything he mentions in his song, ‘him just thinking out loud’, who doesn’t want that? To grow old, yet still have the same love as before. It would seem that most people would want everything he describes, like even if someone made mistakes to still love them. Then the melody itself is slow and soft, something anyone can get lost in. Sheeran’s song embodies sweet, slow, yet powerful music. Some may say this song is generic and not very intricate, however sometimes the simplest things have the most meaning.

You can find it here:

Novel Life Lessons

In English class, students have the opportunity to read many diverse, complex novels. These novels deal with many different situations, ranging from wealth to governments to emotional situations. Having high school students read novels that contain these concepts may seem over the top. However, being in high school, and a teenager, we each have to deal with different things that may seem too ‘adult’. Some parents may wish to withhold some of this information, claiming teenagers are too young to be exposed to it, but frankly in life these situations pop up, no matter how much a parent tries to protect their child. The parents of students who attend Highland Park ISD have caused the school board to suspend certain novels, claiming their 10th graders are not mature enough to handle these situations. Although some parents may feel that way, teenagers should be exposed to these topics, especially because it would be in a controlled environment with a teacher present.

In life people are exposed to touché subjects constantly. Whether it be on TV, school, or just being around the general public. And no matter how much a parent may try, they cannot protect their children from everything. Even if somehow they manage to, that child will eventually turn into an adult, and then there is nothing the parents can do. Although it may come from good intentions, it is naïve to assume a parent can protect their child from everything. In the case of the Highland Park ISD, banning novels because they have ‘mature’ content is ridiculous. Students should be exposed to topics involving adult language, or sexual situations, like rape, since those topics were not written about because the author was bored, but because those topics all play a part in the novels theme, and because those things happen in real life. With growing up comes the realization that life is not perfect, nor will it ever be, but learning that in a classroom from an award-winning novel is a much better option than having something like that just thrown on a person. And these novels don’t center around those scenes, but about what the characters can gain and then grow from. For example, in 10th grade many people read 1984, written by George Orwell, and while that novel does contain graphic situations, that is not what it is about. 1984, one of my personal favorites from school, is a remarkable novel, that delves into many different topics, including freedom, reality, and truth. It expands the way people think, and helps them become more aware of the world around them, and without a bit of adultness, the reader may not fully comprehend what Orwell is trying to say. Banning books because the parents think it may be too graphic is naïve because the parent cannot protect the child forever, and it would be better for them to learn about things that happen in life in a classroom with a teacher, rather than TV or somewhere else.

Other Thoughts

So I had the opportunity to look at some other blogs and the writers thoughts. They’re all interesting and insightful; you should definitely check them out! Here’s the links: