Beauty- what is it?

Is beauty really just what people see? Are we defined solely on the way we look? I read the book Autobiography a Face by Lucy Grealy. She was tormented and teased by her peers. She never felt as if anyone ever allowed her to be herself. She was always just her face, a face that had cancer, a face with deformity. This book brought in so many of the social issues of today’s world it was perfect. She is so self centered, she barely talks at all about her family. She is bullied by every student around her, in her mind. She is driven to surgery after surgery in this quest for beauty. She never begins to feel as if any part of her is enough to make her pretty. If someone had been a friend. If someone had looked deeper then her appearance, they would have known she was a normal child. This book was heart breaking to read knowing that the author was driven to addiction and suicide at a very young age. It should be at least a thought for people, think about what you say, the way you look at people. It has a bigger effect than you may think. Hoping to have a normal life, she went through surgery after surgery to find this self that wasn’t her. This book is a must read for anyone dealing with the issues of beauty. Remember that things can always be worse. There is always something beautiful about everyone.

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Do theses social issues have other roots?

Twenty-three percent of girls between the ages of 10 and 14 are dieting according to a 2001 study done by the Canadian Medical Journal, found here  It is no new news to anyone that teenage girls, and women in general have issues with their self perceptions. What about men and teenage boys though? I wanted to research college students and their self-perceptions and if they had any correlation to the support their parents gave them. Remember that old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? I think that words are what hurt us the most. Words cut deep into our minds and hearts; one sentence can have effects for years to come. Words can be our greatest pick up or the thing to tear us down. Words don’t always have to be spoken either, the note you write in class about someone that accidentally gets found or the conversation online that no one else was supposed to see, these words are just as hurtful. As it is often said, the pen is mightier than the sword. The girls in the study above have no idea the harm they are causing their body and all because someone used their words as a weapon.

I combined definitions  of self confidence from many different sources including: (, Webster’s Dictionary ( and the Oxford English Dictionary ( I then looked into whether certain types of parenting styles had an effect on the child’s self confidence level, in the psychology study published in Personality and Individual Difference,,  the importance of different parenting styles is found because having only one can cause self confidence issues and lead to self handicapping behaviors. These really helped me start to think of where I wanted to take my research. I looked for research on the effects of conditional praise and found that this is very detrimental to the students self confidence. The article was published in the Journal of Adolescence,,Children should be loved no matter what, and praised even if they aren’t the best. This research is really where I began to look into my own research from. Do college students still feel the effects of this after they leave the house or do things begin to get better?

My research looks into the college life style and how the students feel about how their parents support their majors, life goals, and decisions. I want to know how the students feel they supported. The vast majority the students I sampled had support from their parents yet still had self-confidence issues. These students saw themselves as “not good enough” or “always trying to live up to standards they couldn’t achieve” Another grouping that I saw in my research was that students that never had support from their parents had very low self-esteem “not being enough” or “not being prepared” “not feeling worth anything.” There were two other groups that I saw in my data but they were much less frequent then the first two. This was the third most common scenario; the students had supportive parents and were very self-confident. These students felt “able to finish” what they had started, “secure in who I am”. The final and least common group was those that had little parental support but were still self-confident. These students felt like they couldn’t live up to the standards of the parents anyways, so they were going to be themselves. My research is flawed and is not nearly a large enough sample of the population to transfer and make an accurate assessment. I only had 11 males take the survey out of my 57 participants. If I had a more even number I would be able to negate the gender differences that happen between the two. I feel like making an assumption about all males or the majority or males would/ could be very off.

What if people are just scared to do anything other then sit on the couch? What if they are just scared to fail?

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A voice from the sky

Along the lines of my last post, I wanted to give you guys a glimpse into what the minds of some of our former military men do today. How they feel on some of the social issues of today’s society. I interview a former Marine named Fred Daniels. These are his words on the matters of what the media and government call “matters of National Security”. I interview him because I wanted to see how pilots were reacting to the new security measures in airports and whether they felt any safer, considering they have a lot more at stake than most of us do on a daily basis at work.

McAulay: I don’t want to take too much of your time, so I am going to just get right into this. Can you tell me a little bit about what 9/11 made you feel as a pilot? As a Marine?

Daniels: As a marine, I wanted to re-enlist at first. I wanted to take down the people that had attacked the place my home; it was a direct insult to me. I was offended and angry. I still am. As a pilot, it was nerve racking. I had never really thought about the fact that someone would try and use my plane as a weapon against my own people. It was hard to deal with, if they were bigger than me, there would be no way to stop them.

McAulay: Did you have any fears of any kind of terrorism before 9/11?

Daniels: No, I mean commercial airplanes were just that. Commercial. I didn’t believe people would purposely kill innocent citizens. I guess that’s why war is such an ugly occurrence. That is what they were doing, declaring war on the United States.

McAulay: Do you have fears of that now?

Daniels: Umm, not really. I don’t feel like anyone is going to try and do the same thing again. I feel like most people that are true terrorists, to the extent that the people that attacked us on 9/11 we, will think of something new. They will want to give the same effect that the first attack did. Right now they are just too busy fighting a war to plan elaborate attacks on a country across an ocean.

McAulay: The new security procedures, to the public seem a little bit extreme. Body scans, strip searches, and absolutely no care in the world for who it’s done too. Do you feel the same?

Daniels: I feel like there is a limit to where it needs to be taken. We need to be careful. We need to be watching for things but I have seen a single mother with triplets have to be searched while her 3 year old watches the babies, just because her ticket was marked. Nothing was in her bag, nothing else was going on. There needs to be some digression allowed. If something comes up, by all means take them aside, make them go through everything but if everything is clear we need to not make people miserable.

McAulay: Do you carry a weapon in the cockpit with you?

Daniels: Yes, only the last few years though. It has to be attached to my side in my holster at all times.

McAulay: Do most pilots?

Daniels: No, it takes a lot of training, and yearly qualifying. I just do because I have my family to come home to and I don’t want to take any chances. If someone comes through my door, they are dead on the spot. No issues.

McAulay: Do you feel safer with the extra security?

Daniels: No, I don’t think anyone can go back to feeling the way we did before. It’s like getting security after your home is broken into. It doesn’t replace the things you miss. Do I feel safe? Yes, but not any safe then the pre- 9 /11 era.

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Backpacking but more

Backpacking has been such a huge part of my life since I could walk it’s almost impossible for most people to understand.  Disappearing for 3 weeks at a time with no electronics, no communication, nothing but what you can carry on your back, most people only dream of that kind of freedom. I live it. There was a time when I was scared to death that I was going to lose my sister when we were backpacking. I was about fifteen and we were crossing a river that was much fuller and rushing much harder then it ever had been before. We had traveled this lush, green tail many times before but it had felt different the entire trip. The trail and the tripped seemed to be telling us to turn back.  As we started to cross the river,  I saw her pole slip in the water behind me and I heard the chilling scream, and the sound of her bone snapping. The thud as she hit the water. Then it went quite. I finished crossing. I dropped my pack and helped my littlest sister finish crossing.  I began to asses the situation. I realized that my dad and older sister were not going to be able to move. There was no way of carrying her out between the three of us. Then came the terrifying  moment of realization it was 20 miles out was the nearest Ranger Station, and I was going to have to hike with my little sister alone, no adults to watch me or sit with my sister as my Dad hiked with her.  I knew what I had to do. After talking with my dad and knowing hiking alone was not a wise decision my youngest sister and I started out with water and food. We carried as little as possible. We wanted to be quick darkness was going to be our biggest fear the entire day. We pushed on and on. Fighting the heat, exhaustion and obstacles of the trail. Watching carefully and making sure no mistakes were made. Erin, my older sister was in pain and error now could mean the loss of her limb and possibly even worse. I could feel the wind start to change as the sun continued to sink lower in the sky. We had to pick up the pace or we would never make it back before sun down and I couldn’t leave then there all night. I could see Mackenzie begin to fatigue past the point she was used to; she had never hiked this much in one day. I looked at my watch. One five-minute break. A snack. Water. I could spare that time if it meant I could get her moving again. We stopped on a set of rocks in a nice clearing of the trees. The rocks were large and warm. We began to hydrate and refuel our bodies. I looked at the map and saw that we had covered about seventy-five percent of the distance to the ranger station. I was happy. I knew sundown was at 6:37 that day and it would probably take and hour to get the rescue helicopter up there and get her lifted out. It would take us about another 2.5 hours at the pace we had been keeping, even with the fatigue. I also knew finally had looked at my watch. 2:09 pm. A flood a relief. We were gonna make it. As long as Erin was making it okay with Dad. While this may not seem to be an appropriate story here, it is often like the ones we face every day. We make decision every day that change our lives and the lives of others. These can be as little as a line on a Facebook, blog, or a twitter account. One of the social issues that I have become most concerned with is the lack of Patriotism and lack of support for our troops. It this job is not one that is easy and while they may chose to do it, they do not chose what wars to fight. We should be supporting our troops as a unit in all cases, even if we don’t agree with what they are fighting for. Congress is the people to blame for war, not the troops. Our troops are feeling very neglected and when they come home very aliented from the people they just risked their lives for. Without our troops bravery, we might not have the option to post those things on our blogs.

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From my bookshelf to yours

I once read a book called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot brought up many of the healthcare issues of the time. It also brought up many other social issues that are still very prevalent in today’s society. There are issues of race, tissue ownership, stem cell research and many others. The thing that I think that irks me the most in this book is the race issues. I understand that it was the time but these people weren’t even asked for consent when there bodies were being examined and samples being taken. That is a violation of privacy, trust, and human rights. Going into a healthcare field as my profession I can’t even imagine that. The entire scientific aspect of stem cell research is very difficult for me. I am not exactly sure where I stand on the issue. I have done research but so much of it is so biased that it is hard to make an educated opinion for myself. The potential for this research to do so much good in the medical community is so amazing but I don’t believe that cloning would be right. Where would our sense of individuality be? Stem cell research just raises to many questions we have never had to deal with in the past. There is also another aspecel of this book that I loved. It may not always be a social issue but it is important to me and many people in the America today. The idea of family and the small town. I love the idea that somethings are more imporant than science, that sometimes people need to be thought about. Doing the right thing is important, but if it hurts other people is it really the right thing? The aspect of family and small town security that no one has to worry that people are going to be giving information without the consent or the knowledge of the family. Henriettas family had already been betrayed in so many ways, building trust was such an essential piece in the puzzle of doing this research. This book was so much of what is important to so many people and so many social issues, it seemed like a perfect fit to be on this blog. The issues may be old, the time frame maybe a different time but I think that makes it better. It shows us that we are not the first generation to ever deal with these problems, we won’t be the last. These issues and more will become a part of everyone’s lives. There are issues that there are a million other social issues that could be brought up but these are the most prevalent.

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Knowing the sides

The social issues brought about in the last few years will not be going away. As the Healthcare Reform Bill was passed by President Obama’s administration and Congress it will be. There are many different opinions on this but here is a video that seems to give some of the most important facts about Obama’s Healthcare initiative as it goes into effect in the next few years. Stay informed, the Supreme Court will be ruling on whether it is constitutional or not soon.




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The beginning of my journey.

Remember that letter you got from your top choice college the one that said “Dear Linda K. McAulay: We are pleased to inform you that we have accepted your application to Chapman University for the Fall of 2010” That’s where I am today, hoping to eventually change the way people are treated in the health care world. We have all heard the big huge issues revolving around the healthcare industry, insurance companies, doctors, and now the government’s involvement with President Obama’s Healthcare Initiative signed into law on March 23, 2010. My story is why everything needs to change.

I am here today because of the day that changed my life, for better and for worse. The fateful day I broke my foot in 18 places, in a rundown city in Mexico. There were no options for treatment. There was no way deal with the pain.  I writhed in pain for years as my doctors and insurance company ignored my pleas for help. The first time I felt any relief from agonizing pain was over two years after the accident. I was in Tecate, Mexico, about 75 miles or an hour’s drive from San Diego, CA,  on a mission’s trip with my church, when a boulder over 300 pounds was dropped my foot by a few of the guys in the group. We were only on our second day into the trip; I begged to go back across the border to a hospital. I was bruised and swollen; I knew something was very wrong. Leaders refused to find me ice to even relieve some of the pain or to let me borrow a cell phone to call my parents. The pain by the end of the trip was so excruciating that every time we hit a bump, as we drove in the buses down the unpaved, impoverished streets of Mexico, it shot through my leg like a searing hot nail into my foot.  The entire drive felt like someone was pounding on my foot with a sludge hammer.

My parents immediately took me to the ER where they did X-Rays and told me the “swelling and bruising was blurring the image and nothing was conclusive” and they were sure that “there is some very deep bone bruising.” They put me in a walking boot gave me some pain killers and crutches and said go see your doctor in 6 weeks.  We saw my doctor who cleared me to play sports without any kind of additional imaging. I was back on the soccer field that night. Doctors told me pain was normal but if I could deal with it, I was allowed to play. I powered through the season, but the entire time I knew something was very wrong.

As I went back to the doctor they began to actually listen to the “girl who seemed to have just been crying out for attention again.” I had broken more bones in the last 3 years than most people could claim to in 3 life times.  It felt like a life time before someone actually ordered more testing. I finally had another MRI. The results showed a broken foot, in multiple places. Great, I had just probably ruined my future as an athlete.  I had much bigger problems to worry about now.

My first problem, the specialist my doctor wanted me to see, wasn’t covered by my insurance so we had to find another. We searched for weeks before finding one she deemed competent enough to deal with the situation. When I went to see him, he was an issue from the minute I walked in the door his assumption was that I had an eating disorder, I was crying out for attention, I was just looking for more pain meds, and there was nothing really wrong with me. We battled with this doctor for three months attempting to have him listen. After realizing there was nothing I could do to change his opinion, we found another new doctor. This doctor at least started to listen to me, his diagnosis was wrong but he tried to help, he was so set on not being wrong though that even when his treatments weren’t working he couldn’t change.

You need to remember that doctors aren’t gods. Doctors aren’t always right. Insurance companies need to be fought. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for body, your health, and your wellness. Find an advocate because sometimes you’re too tired to fight for yourself. Learn from my story. Don’t let this happen to you. The health care world is one that is confusing, complicated, and often corrupt.  Doctors are looking to only get paid, insurance companies are not willing to help, and no one is willing to fight for those who need it. The answers are not found here. The answers are not found in government. The answers are found in those people, that have a heart, that have a true desire to be helping people. The redesign of healthcare needs to come from within, From patients suggestions, to doctors practices, to large corporations. People with ethics, morals and values, the bottom line should not be the biggest issue. Patient care should be.

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