New Direction

When I first set up this blog page it was freshman year and I had no idea what I was doing. I thought I was going to use it for the class I made it for and then we had to set up a sub domain, so now it just is what it is. However, I don’t think something like my domain should go to waste and just sit there. A lot last year and now the beginning of this year has had me focusing on my faith and my walk with God and I think this site would be a good place to place my thoughts on this journey to rediscovering God and discovering myself because I have never taken the time to do that. With that being said, I think it would be important to tell you a little about the journey in my life with God.

I grew up with Christianity in my life. My mom was a Christian and her mother as well. We dabbled in the Baptist realm of Christianity but decided it wasn’t exactly the road for us and we landed in non-denominational. I was baptized when I was young and spent many summers in Baptist summer camps and even a year in a Baptist school. Middle school was really rough for me, I was bullied a lot and stopped trying to follow my faith like I should have been. This traveled into high school where the teasing still continued(what can I say, I like cake). I rediscovered a little of the faith and “lived” by it in high school. I was happy in high school, I had friends and a place to belong. I know now that it wasn’t the place I needed to be, but I was happy. The reality of life really hit when I started college. I didn’t get into the school I wanted and picked somewhere I secretly loathed. I wanted to be away from home and on my own, but I see now why God put me where he did. I lost him almost completely. I was mad and angry. All of my friends were leaving and I felt alone. This was the point where I found a couple of things. One was my puppy, I mentioned her in my last intro blog, she brings more joy(and hatred) into my life than I could have ever thought. The second was my church. My brother and mom were introduced to Lifepoint by family friends. Just the thought of having to get up early on a Sunday at this point in my life was completely unappealing. The decision to go one Sunday changed the entire the course of my life.

Now I’m sitting here in class, writing this, when I should be learning about Petrarchism. I am really excited to see how I develop and how often I keep up with this(I forget about things a lot). I hope to learn a lot about my self and maybe help someone else along the way.

The best Superbowl ad?

This year’s edition of Superbowl advertisements featured some fantastic adds from Alexa losing her voice to the Doritos advertisement.  Critics have declared the Alexa advertisement as the unofficial winner of Superbowl LII advertising.  I personally enjoyed the NFL ad featuring the NY Giants.  However, in an unofficial poll by my class, the overwhelming winner was the “This is a Tide adl”.  It may just be the demographic (18 – 21 year olds) but they identified with the main character from Stranger Things and found the parody to illicit hilarity.  See for yourself.

Social censorship and repression

The introduction of Michel Foucault’s book The History of Sexuality suggests there may be a connection between legislative repression of sexual behavior and increased criminal behavior. Foucault, who’s writing in the 1980s, is reflecting on the repression of sexual expression that was normalized before the movement for sexual liberation in the 1960s. He argues that there was a time when people were unapologetically open in their discussions about sex, so open that it was normal for children to be present during these conversations (Foucault, 4). Once social liberty was suppressed, and discussions about sex became taboo, people needed a place to go to full express themselves. This was when brothels and prostitution became cultural staples. Foucault says this is because repressing sex is like repressing a language (6). When a person is told that the way they express themselves is against the law, it’s not surprising that those people will seek illegal avenues for expression.

It is easy to see how this argument could be applied to current discussion on censorship and social issues. In depth surveillance of personal information and legislation restricting people of certain sexual orientations are two contemporary issues that come to mind. The difference here is that most people marginalized in these cases aren’t seeking illegal avenues comparable to the use of brothels or participation in prostitution. However, people are still going to live their lives and express themselves the way they wish regardless of the illegality of their actions.

Foucault brings up the issue that, in both the 16th century and the present, the practices of repression are so ingrained into our society that they become hard to undo. This is the issue we face now. Old arguments that weren’t justified to begin with have been repeated for so many years that they start to make sense (or at least cause doubt) for a demographic that didn’t previously agree. Hope is not lost, however, because just as some people reverted to old, misguided ways of thinking, others have broadened their world view and accepted new ways of thinking – something I’m not sure Foucault truly believed would be a reality.

The “original position” may be the best way to think about contemporary politics

Rawls’ concept of “original position” requires people to shed all their biases in order to have a completely clear view of an issue. He calls this clear view a persons “veil of ignorance.”
In reality, human beings can’t take an original position on anything because each of us has a set of biases, whether we’re aware of them or not. The concept is interesting because it poses a challenge that, for people who are actively involved in politics, could be enlightening.

Technology allows us to tailor each and every digital experience to align with the way we think. We get suggestions for videos that we’ll like, we see ads for products we’ve already considered buying, and we are pushed news articles we already agree with. The ladder is the scariest and most dangerous example. If you ever take an Intro to Political Science course or even a high school American government class, the first thing they should teach you is to diversify your news intake. That was a lot easier in the days when newspapers were the most popular source for news and before the age of the 24-hour news cycle, but it can still be done. The worst thing we can do is allow our predispositions, especially on issues we know very little about, to be catered to.

Rawls presents an interesting way to, partly, combat this problem. Challenge yourself to form an unbiased position on an issue you find important. A topic of debate that I think would particularly benefit from those who are passionate about it participating in the Rawls exercise is the conversation about racism and free speech. Rawls would suggest that in order to think from the original position you must forget your own race, economic standing, gender, political affiliation, everything. You have to pretend like you don’t know any of that information about yourself. Once you’re in that mindset, then you decide what your position is. Rawls’ argument is that nobody would ever agree that Group A is allowed to harass and direct hate speech at Group B if they don’t know what group they belong to.

It may seem like a tedious exercise, and in some ways it is, but really it’s an exercise in empathy and perspective.

Getting Rid of Blackheads

For years, I’ve struggled with blackheads on my nose. I never really took care of it either because I wasn’t a very so they just kept getting worse at the years by. Eventually, I decided that enough was enough and I finally made the choice to do something about it.

The first (and only) thing that I use were nose strips. I used the one from Bioré and they worked pretty well the first few times I used it. Eventually, after a while they weren’t as effective anymore because they mainly focus on the most visible blackheads on your nose, not the ones that are still deep under the skin. However, they are fairly easy to use and I still use it from to time to time, just not by itself. There are directions written on the box but basically, all you have to do is put the nose strip on your nose or the area with blackheads and leave it on for about 15 minutes.

So, nose strips are great investments but not enough by itself – especially if you’ve had blackheads for years. In order to completely get rid of all of your blackheads, here are a few more things that you can add on to your skincare routine:

  1. Understanding Blackheads: Have you ever heard of the saying “understand the problem before finding the answer”? That is crucial. Blackheads are small dark and black bumps that appear on your skin due to your hair follicles being clogged by dead skin cells and oils. They start out as white when the bump is still closed and turns black when exposed to air. So now that you understand what blackheads are, let’s get down to business.
  2. Salicylic Acid Gel: Salicylic acid is an oil soluble meaning, it can penetrate into the pores of your skin and that is exactly what you need. Your blackheads are basically just acnes and salicylic acid helps fight pimples and its family. It can be found in over-the-counter acne treatment products like: Clinique, Proactive, Philosophy, Neutrogena, and Paula’s Choice. Salicylic acid can also be used for acne treatment, dandruff, and to remove corns, calluses, and warts.
    1. **Tip: use a leave-on product rather than a cleanser or soap. Keeping the product longer on your skin will allow the ingredient to fully activate.
    2. **Tip: might not be the best product if you have dry skin.
  3. Enzymatic Exfoliator: Enzyme exfoliation is a type of chemical exfoliation that breaks down the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together. This can also be found in a few over-the counter products such as: Dermalogica, Mario Badescu, and Raya. Look of other masks that contain papaya, pineapple extract, charcoal or clay – those will help wash away the surface skin cells. Enzymatic exfoliation can also be used for breakouts, clogged pores, dull skin, and hyperpigmentation. Use this at least twice a week.
  4. Retinol Cream: Retinoid is also a great treatment for blackheads. In addition, they are often used for wrinkles, aging, and acnes. If you have moderate to severe acnes that usually doesn’t get better with treatment, this might be great two in one cream for you.
  5. Moisturize: The most important thing is to keep your face moisturized and hydrated. Whatever method you are using to get rid of blackheads, it will strip away oils from the skin which causes skin dryness. Find the right balance of hydration for your skin. Salicylic acid causes your skin to dry up really fast so keep that in mind. Don’t forget to wash your face in the morning and at night and use a non-comedogenic moisturizer – products that are oil-free and lightweight. Aveeno, CeraVe, and Philosophy all have noncomedogenic moisturizers. They are usually written on the label so keep an eye out for that.
    1. **Tip: Some comedogenic ingredients to look out for: cocoa butter, pigments & dyes (red in particular), coal tar, and isopropyl myristate.