Friday, October 31

Halloween: A Rant

I'm told that today is a holiday.

But everyone is still going to school and work and everything, so I say lies.

My family has never celebrated Halloween, and to be honest, despite it being a holiday primarily centered around candy and sweet things, it certainly leaves sort of a bad taste in my mouth.

(Ho, I'm so clever. Forsooth.)

So yeah, I don't like Halloween.

And as usually goes with my blog posts, this started with a thought.

"Wow, Halloween is really stupid."

Then it became a snarky Facebook status.

Then I thought, "Wow, Halloween is so stupid that I could probably write a whole blog post about why I don't like it."

And here we are, friends.

One of the things I think is really weird about Halloween is the fact that our neighbors who ignore us all year suddenly think it's okay to come knocking on our door asking for candy. In what universe does it make any sense that I am randomly going to give you my precious Snickers bars and peanut butter cups? I wasn't gonna give them to you yesterday, I'm not going to give them to you tomorrow, and I sure as anything am NOT going to give them to you today.

Another thing that I don't like about Halloween is the fact that adults and parents can be absolutely psychotic. Some parents seem to try to vicariously relive their childhood Halloween memories through their children by forcing their children to dress up and dragging them from house to house collecting sugary loot like Viking plunderers. 

This is pretty much the most accurate depiction of Halloween night I've ever seen.

On sort of a side note, I've never been a parent but it's been my observation that it's very difficult to force kids to do things they don't really want to do.

For example, that totally cute pumpkin costume for your little one?

Bitter reality
And can you blame the poor kid? That pumpkin's face clearly says, "I'm currently absorbing your soul."

Something else I don't like about Halloween is the fact that I saw one witch in the Publix bakery this morning and then I saw another one hanging out by the orange juice. I am not okay with that.

But the thing that really sealed the deal for me on not liking Halloween is how we have to do Halloween night in our house.

The first wave of trick-or-treaters usually comes right around sunset. A lot of times we go out to dinner or something to avoid them, but by the time it's dark outside, if you look out the window the streets are packed so full you can't drive through. Kids are swarming the houses like cockroaches. Plus, some people actually come to our neighborhood especially for trick-or-treating, which personally I think is cheating. If your neighborhood isn't good enough for you, that's your fault for not taking into account the trick-or-treatability before you moved there.
From each according to how bogus they think Halloween is, to each according to how well they planned ahead for Halloween. 

In other words, if I didn't hate Halloween and I was giving out treats, fully-committed Napoleon Dynamite who knows the entire dance is getting a whole bag of peanut butter cups, while five-minute sheet-ghost over here is getting celery sticks.

We turn off all our lights and put a heavy blanket over our front door. And that's pretty much how we spend Halloween night, barricaded in our home while strangers loot and plunder our village.

In conclusion, I strongly dislike Halloween and I think it should go away.

However, I must admit that there is one thing I like about this ridiculous holiday.

Day-after-Halloween candy clearance - in other words, the day that Meredith blows all her money on peanut butter cups and gallons of milk, cocoons herself in fuzzy blankets, and watches Jane Austen movies all day.

Now there's a holiday I can really get into.

Tuesday, October 14

A Lily Among Thorns

I know it's totally unusual that I manage two blog posts in two days (or even two months for that matter), but let's not talk about that. Let's just enjoy the illusion that Meredith has gotten her act together as long as we can, okay?


I'm here to talk to you guys about love.

And since I'm a young teenager who has never been in a serious relationship, obviously I know what I'm talking about.

I did some extensive research (and by "extensive research" I mean "I Googled this") and the definition for love I found is "an intense feeling of deep affection."

Let's just say I wasn't exactly satisfied with that definition.

So I delved even deeper into my intensive research. I Googled "true love." Underneath an entry about a movie from the late eighties, I found a poetic entry in the Urban Dictionary. It's quite long (after all, love is a complicated thing to define, evidently), but here are a few excerpts. (And here is the full article - warning: barf bags may be necessary)

Love is the feeling you get when all you have to do is think of her and it brings a smile to your face and a yourning to your heart. Love is not being able to think about nething but her.

Love is an overwelming feeling of pure bliss when the 2 of u kiss. Love is wanting to hold her in ur arms till the end of time.

Love is telling her u want to spend the rest of your life with her. Love is wanting to marry her even tho ya'll haven't been dating that long.


I don't know what a "yourning" is, but boy do I want to bring one to someone's heart. And I definitely want a guy to think about "nething" but me.

Way to go, Romeo.

Now I hate to not give someone's work a fair evaluation just because their grammar and spelling was magnificently incorrect.

(But guys, don't ever underestimate the power of a good vocabulary and skilled handling of the English language.)

But this person's attempt at defining love, along with many others, doesn't quite capture the entire idea.

Most people never get past thinking that love is about what you feel.

And don't get me wrong, love certainly is very much about those nice romantic feelings.

I read some in Song of Solomon to research for this post (don't tell my mom), and I'm not going to lie - I kind of felt like I was reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

So according to the Bible, love does and should make you feel warm fuzzies.


Love is so much more special and beautiful than all those feelings.

As nice as it is to feel love, feelings are only temporary. And to quote that cheesy song, I want a love that will last.

Based off of the Bible, I can conclude that the thing we're getting wrong about love is...well, pretty much everything.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)

When I read those verses, I can't help but think about my friends who are so "in love" with whoever they may currently be interested in. They gush about how much they love that person, but when I compare their relationship to the Biblical standard, their "love" simply doesn't hold up.

To be completely open, honest, and teenage girlish, I absolutely cannot wait to fall in love, get married, and raise a family with whoever God has for me. Thinking about it makes my heart so very glad.

But I want more than a shallow love based only on feelings. I don't want to have a relationship that makes people shake their heads and speculate about how long it will last. I've seen so many romances gone bad because there is no substance, and when the feelings went away, suddenly there just wasn't any love left.

I don't want my love to be cheap and shallow. I want people to see that there is something different with me.

I want to be a lily among the thorns.

Monday, October 13


This is sort of a special installment in the "Meredith Talks About Social Media" series.

Those of you who know me personally know that my interaction with other members of humankind is a constant struggle between sassymouth Meredith and sensible, kind Meredith. This is a struggle magnified in person because those interactions happen in real time. It's important to me that I maintain a good Christian testimony and that I am gracious to others. Consequently, I generally avoid voicing my opinions in person because I have a very good chance of slipping from intelligent debate into senseless and immature argumentation.

Since I am somewhat lacking in the controlling-myself-verbally-around-others department, I choose to voice my opinions here.

(And that's where I'm probably going to lose most of you...)

If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you're a person.

If you're a person, then there's a good chance that you're a social media user.

And if you're a social media user, then there's a good chance that somewhere along the way in your wonderful social media journey, you've fallen prey to something like this:

"Thousands of YOUR skin cells are dying every day. Little did you know that every time you scratch your arm, you KILL poor, helpless skin cells. STOP SCRATCHING AND SAVE YOUR SKIN. #SaveOurSkin #StopScratching #WorthItToItch #Hashtag #Selfie #Awareness"

Yes, this is an exaggeratedly shallow hypothetical awareness post. I didn't want to step on any toes.

I wouldn't be surprised to find out there's a toe-stepping awareness kick going on somewhere and I would hate to step on their toes because they might hashtag me to death.

I digress...

If you have seen something like my ludicrous skin cell salvation example, then you have experienced the most recently developed ways to support a cause: social media activism.

I am an almost-embarrassingly regular user of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In my experience with these sites, I have observed a lot of shallowness, narcissism, and - the good homeschooler in me cringes to say the "S" word - downright stupidity.

Generally, I don't mind that much, because hey - people are just dumb sometimes. But in the case of social media "activism," I find myself more and more irritated with every new awareness trend.

I feel like now would be an excellent time to clarify something: I acknowledge that social media can be a very effective way to raise awareness for legitimate, serious issues, and I have no problem with that.

Here are the problems I do have with social media activism when it is abused or misused.

Raising awareness is excellent. However, the vast majority of social media activists seem to be okay with just raising awareness. The point of raising awareness for a cause is to help get support for the cause. Don't commit to just awareness - awareness without support is useless.

"Oh yeah, I saw someone's post about that" is much different from "Oh yeah, that person got physically involved with that/donated money/did whatever it is people do when they support a cause." One of those two courses of action is going to show that you're legitimately committed and that you really think it's worth people's time. I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count.

Right. The people who get involved are going to leave more of an impact.

Social media is a very powerful way to communicate with others and get a message out. It is becoming increasingly more common that social media activism trends go viral. A good principle to keep in mind when entering the world of social media activism is that with great power comes great responsibility. (And NO I am not quoting Spider-Man's Uncle Ben - it's Voltaire, dearie.) Make sure you know what you're plugging. Think about the possible outcomes (and consequences). If you passionately (and publicly) support an "awesome" cause that later turns out to have been not so great, it will reflect badly on you and you are going to look very foolish.

Honestly, we could avoid a lot of problems if people would just think about things a little more.

My biggest issue with social media activism is the fact that because many of its participants are uninformed and not really dedicated to the cause that they so vehemently defend on social media, were you to bring it up in a real conversation, it is unlikely the person would be a very convincing activist. Your social media "life" should not be a completely separate entity from your real life. The two are intertwined, like a cool twisty pretzel.

While this concept applies to every aspect of social media use, it should be especially true in something that you are supposedly defending and trying to raise awareness for.

Guys. Keep it real. We as individuals are very small and we like to feel...well, not small. Being a part of something bigger is fulfilling and makes us feel powerful. But don't be fooled.

When you see this:

My knee-jerk reaction would be to recommend #DONOTPARTICIPATE (probably because I think like a grumpy old person)

However, you are probably a better person than I am.

So if you just can't resist, proceed with caution. Don't support something on social media that you don't really care about any time other than the five minutes it takes to do an Instagram post. And if you honestly care about something, do your research and find out how you can really get involved. 

Challenge yourself to do more than hashtag your way to feeling like you've helped.