Im writing an english paper about how there needs to be more education targeted at LGBTQIA+ people in sex ed.
  • Peer Review Partner:*reading my essay*
  • Me:..So..do you see anything I need to improve on?
  • Partner:Well...Im not like sure its ok to use the..uh..word...*points to my use of Queer*
  • Me:Oh! Well you see sometimes its just easier to use that word instead of going into every different sexuality and gender identity. I wanted to be inclusive of everyone and nowadays Queer is generally more accepted between people in the community to mean that you are of one of the many alternate gender identities or sexualities.
  • Partner:...ok
  • Me:Yeah and I mean of you look at my first paragraph I say that I'm part of the community.
  • Partner:????
  • Me:Uh, yeah I'm bisexual and genderqueer.
  • Partner:You're a lesbian?? But I've seen you with your boyfriend??
  • Me:Uhh..yes I have a male partner. I'm bisexual and that means that I swing both ways.
  • Partner:...I heard that some of those people date boys and girls AT THE SAME TIME like who does that...
  • Me:I would assume polyamorous people, who prefer having many partners.
  • Partner:...
  • Me:yep well toodles
  • In my head:Oh good lord this is the exact reason why we need better education about alternate sexualities and gender identities and what they mean.
  • Conclusion:My review partner was not a bad person, she just didn't know anything except what she had "heard" about people. We need to start educating kids about this shit so that when they are all grown they are not completely confused or scared.
I'm more than a bird. I'm more than a plane. I'm more than some pretty face beside a train. And it's not easy to be me.

While some will write about their parents or past teachers, I was influenced the most just this past year by my best friend, Erik. In the fall of 2010, he joined thousands of other high school graduates to embark on their studies at the University of Michigan. After only 2 months of being a college freshman, Erik was diagnosed with Lymphoma. What at first only seemed like a small bump in the road, later turned into something more drastic. Doctors explained that because of his age, he will manage much better. However, 2 days before Christmas this past year, he was taken into the hospital, where he would spend over a whole week of his break. Although in extreme pain, Erik still managed a small smile as I walked through the doors of room 312. He also mustered up the energy to tell me not to worry and that he’d be fine, and of course he was right. I am happy to state that my best friend, with his fight and determination, is now cancer free and back at U of M. These 2 things, a merely 6 months ago seemed impossible. With his persistence and annoyingly upbeat attitude, he pulled through and his illness no longer defines him. So I speak of the unspoken, because it was Erik’s cancer that showed me hope. It gave me courage to do what I have done. It also provided me that annoyingly positive outlook in life and with my new adventure. I now know that in no matter what I do, as long as I approach it with the same fight and determination, I will also be fine. 

It's great to be a Filipino. (:

Picture yourself in a hut made of bamboo—this is your home. You work hard every day, earning money to improve your state of life. Suddenly, it was reported that a typhoon was coming. The news said it was going to rain hard, in turn, would certainly cause floods. You were then advised to prepare for the coming destruction that the wind and rain would be bringing. The next morning, there was no sunlight. It was just dark and it kept raining. Winds kept bashing the trees. Not long, the door of your house got broken and water filled in. The level of the flood inside your house was constantly rising and all the things you owned kept getting washed away. You were then resigned to stay up on your roof with your family. How will you handle this situation? What will you do? Would you cry and feel hopeless? Or would you be optimistic enough to smile and think positive?

To answer this, this value needs to be evaluated at a certain extent. The response to this situation should be a habit that has been practiced for a very long period of time. It should be something that is not dead yet—meaning this is still done by majority of the people in that nation. This should also be a characteristic exclusive to one culture and is uncommon to others. This value would be best thought of if it were a technique in order for the people involved to act accordingly and properly to the most desperate of situation. Lastly, the response for this kind of situation should be something that is very effective to maintain sanity over these grim events.

Filipinos are known for certain qualities that no other foreign culture would possess. Some of the Filipino Values, as many would call it, includes being hospitable, respectful, and helpful. Although these are the most famous, there is another attribute that makes Filipinos unique. This optimism that the Philippine culture has is a great adaptive mechanism to make things seem a bit easier to circumstances that are in truth, very difficult to handle. In my example in the first paragraph, it is indeed important to understand that different people would have diverse reactions to certain grim situations. Some people would just cry out of desperation and blame anything they could see. Other cultures would just kill themselves and feel unworthy of any life. One thing is certain though; Filipinos are good at encountering hard experiences in their day-to-day journey. They have this great ability to still afford a smile even after bad situations.

In some events such as having your house almost submerged under water, it would be wise for a person to be calm and stay that way while doing necessary measures to survive. It would be even called practical because we are only able to discern well if we are on our best behavior. Many psychologists say that laughing is the best medicine and this helps specially in situations you can’t control. Optimism heals us and makes us feel better. Thus, smiling and looking at things in a brighter perspective is indeed, an excellent way for us to cope on these kinds of circumstances. It would help us to pick the fallen pieces and to stand back up—it would even feel easier.

Honestly, it may be healthy to spend tears for someone or something for quite some time but would it be good for you to just act vulnerable when all is not going your way? Crying in the corner won’t help. Being depressed would make you feel even more at loss. It would actually affect your whole day. This will so much as make you feel more unfortunate and unproductive. Philippine citizens have already encountered numerous painful experiences that they, as it turns out, had gotten used to it. The Filipinos’ response to these problems makes a lot of the foreigners who visit the Philippines shocked. To see smiling faces on the news while on a boat on the way to get relief goods is an event that is very unlikely in their country. For them, it is unusual to see people grinning and making jokes despite the fact that they are having a hard time with their individual situations. But this is something Filipinos have been practicing for so many years that is truly phenomenal.

The negative side of this practice is that Filipinos, considering that the many of the citizens have the tendency to make everything look silly, could also be known as people who wouldn’t take certain matters seriously. But taking everything seriously is not a good way to adapt to the most grave and depressive issues. It wouldn’t help you to cope with your environment. Laughing and cheering each other up is a better way to take life’s inflicted pain from your chest. These sad moments would seem lighter if your optimism overcomes pessimism.

Many people who live in Metro Manila or other cities inside the Philippines are experiencing extreme poverty. Even in this situation, a lot of them could still smile. Truthfully, sulking due to your bad situation is not a good way to handle things. You won’t be able to improve your life if you are too caught up in self-pity. Laughing actually represents sanity in the midst of adversity. It shows that they still have control over their surroundings. This is what Filipinos do in miserable times—a very admiring ability that I hope would not get lost in history. Cracking jokes and giggling despite all your problems is indeed a very unique trait that Filipinos are surely proud of.