Capstone Journal 4: The Finale

Ah yes, the day has come. It is showcase day!

I have feared this day for a little bit as my perfectionist personality has led me to constantly obsess over editing my project. It has even gotten so excessive that my roommates have emerged from their rooms at the wee hours of the night to make sure I’m not still up editing on wix. Lol, this really makes me sound cool.

The good news is that the more time I have spent digging deeper into the overall meaning and purpose of my project, the more satisfied and relieved I am to see something important emerge. Last time I wrote to all of you hoodlums, I expressed my concern for making something that didn’t matter. Luckily, my lovely friends, your kind comments and words of encouragement urged me to stop being dramatic and realize that what I have created does have meaning. although niche in its focus on gymnastics and body image, the overarching theme of judgment and physicality judgment to assume personality is pretty real and prevalent. And regardless of whether or not people will see it and agree with me, the mere fact of getting the word out and acknowledging the elephant in the room is a start.

Something else I struggled with regarding this project was the “so what” of it all. Initially, I thought this project needed to be some end all be all that solved physical judgment. I know you’re laughing because I am too. If I could solve that, I should definitely not be doing a project and should be discussing this with some scientist somewhere. But, I guess the “so what” of this project became more of a public service announcement rather than a solution. We all know judgment is there, we just let it simmer in our minds. My hope is that this project creates some form of open discussion about judgment and how we can work toward removing some type of physical judgment within our lives. The subjectivity of gymnastics and Tinder may not be fixable, but the general judgment we create every day is something we can control and start minimizing. And that is the point of my project. Awareness. Honesty.

Thank you for going on this journey of creating something meaningful with me and for sticking by my side (even though you were kind of forced to by the syllabus of this class). Here’s to the end of a crazy semester and to a fabulous showcase this afternoon!

Capstone Journal: Am I even creating something worthwhile?

My biggest issue throughout this whole capstone process has been the worth the project has both to me and to others. As I have progressed in writing and designing, I have become excited and slightly obsessed with every minor detail pertaining to my project. But now that I have more, I look at it and I wonder if it’s even something, well, good.

I guess its hard to classify something as good or not when there is no model for exactly how it is supposed to look. Simply put, it’s so subjective it kind of hurts. But despite whether or not people enjoy my color palette choice or the placement of my paragraphs, is the content even going to help anyone, or even me? Obviously I’m writing something I care enough about that I have chosen to spend a disgusting amount of time focusing on it. So for me, yeah there has to be some kind of benefit to spending all of this time on these ideas. But what about others?

I am most definitely not the only female athlete, or woman in general, who struggles with body image and self worth within sports and fields of life. Body image and the way women are looked at by men and other women is pretty dense in itself as a topic. But in knowing so much about it through my own personal struggles and pains, I felt that writing about body image and snarky comments you hear a dumbass say to your best friend while out at the bar in comparison to what a bitchy judge deducts off of a gymnastics routine was relevant and actually unique. The ten point scale of attraction and just general value sucks. We judge food out of a ten, people on Tinder, that hot guy in the coffee shop, trips, sometimes exams, situations, and even accuracy (I make a three point shot 1 out of 10 times. I am a 1 in basketball). And most of the time, there isn’t a specific perfect situation for any of these things because it is, don’t say it Liv, subjective. But gymnastics shouldn’t be subjective because there are skills being done that have specific expectations, but it really just is so subjective. So hopefully someone reads my website and realizes that maybe we do make numerical judgments a lot and maybe we should start to realize that numerical judgments of people is just not it. We can’t change gymnastics judging (or can we, muahahaha), but we can change how we judge others just by the awareness of using less numerical ratings.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

Challenge Journal #2

I am definitely struggling a lot with the “worth” of my project.

I know this project isn’t meant to solve world hunger or do anything physically altering to the naked eye, but I can’t imagine doing a whole project and there being no purpose or value that could come from it for anyone reading. My mind takes me to numerous places of judgment I could feel from this project; maybe not completing it to the best of my ability, or up to the expectations my peers may have. This all comes full circle in a sense of irony as my project is really looking at judgment.

I want to compare the judging that occurs in a gymnastics meet to the judgment we as people experience every day. Although not every time you meet someone, see something, or experience something, you give it a rating out of a 10 (although, many do this when describing romantic partners), we do subconsciously judge every aspect of our lives. In my attempt to create meaning and purpose to this project, I wish to apply how gymnastics judges view the world to how people in our every day lives view and look at others and scenarios. To do so, I want to make sure to cover how sound, sight, and likeness of a person is judged in gymnastics and apply those similar theories and ideas to the real world. For example, how attraction alters who gets hired for a job and who doesn’t, or personal judgment of someone based off of the music choice in their car. In comparing the minds of gymnastics judges and what they look for to, well, “judge”, I will apply these similar experiences to that of the day to day lives of all of us and how we judge people and our lives. Hopefully, with my knowledge of such a niche environment like gymnastics, I can extract meaning and ideas from this world and apply them to a larger scale in a way that shares my knowledge and adds a fun compare and contrast experiment. I guess we will see how it goes…

Capstone Challenge Journal #1 Can the Known be Unknown?

I’ve grown up in a world where body image is essentially dinner table conversation. The constant awareness of how I look, what I put in my body, and how I look in relation to others has been something I have struggled with for a long time. This is the physical side of it, however. The mental and internal side of body image is where my interest and desire to know more emerges. I have personally struggled with some aspects of the mental side of understanding body image, but this has been particularly personal. I want to know more. Why is something so physically rooted in nature also something mental and internal? I have only taken a few psychology classes, but have never taken a class that delves into why we see ourselves and others in specific lights and why we make assumptions and judgments in our mind when we may verbalize other opinions.

A big aspect of my interest in this project is the subconscious. In a time where we promote love of all body types, all races, all genders and pure diversity, are we truly, 100% on board for full appreciation of all people? In all honesty, there have been numerous times in my life where I have seen a heavier set woman as a model or in a music video and have thought, “wow, this is great! They are using a woman who is more realistic to viewers.” I always leave these scenarios wondering why it is so unique and “great” that a woman who doesn’t weigh an unhealthy 95 pounds is promoted in media and sexual instances. I want to understand how the mind creates assumptions, decisions, thoughts, and subconscious judgment even in a time where we promote love of all people.

Gateway Declassified Writing Survival Guide

As scary as a course on constant writing and human interaction sounds, I have never had more fun in a class in college than I did in the writing 220 gateway course. Judge me, I know it sounds so cliche.

My biggest piece of advice is to take this class in general. Even if it scares you, seems daunting, or isn’t even necessarily a minor you are 100% sure about completing, just do it. It’s worth it.

Once you make the decision to enroll in the course, in my opinion, you’ve done the hardest part. Putting yourself into a place of potential discomfort and vulnerability, you’ve taken a step closer to receiving the maximum benefits from this course.

Ever seen Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide? Here is my version of that, but for the minor in writing.

Tip #1: Talk to your fellow gateway coursers daily and get to know them. T

he class becomes the most beneficial when everyone is willing to say stuff like, “yeah, I honestly think you can do better” or “please write a blog about this because your voice is so awesome to not keep using” (s/o Adrian…please write more you crack me up). Genuine criticism from people who believe you can do better is everything any new writer needs. Honesty, respect, and true collaboration is what makes this class awesome.

Credit: giphy

Tip #34 (the TV show goes in weird orders with tips so I’m going to as well):

Meet with your instructor. We had T as our gateway course leader and I found that meeting with her to go over nitpicky details and just to chat about writing as a whole was so beneficial. Make appointments, stop by, go in with pals, etc. Writers should all bond together.

Tip #29: Talk in class.

That sounds so stupid to say, but raise your hand if you’ve taken a class where you sit in silence, praying you and the teacher don’t make eye contact, which guarantees you speak? This class works if everyone talks. You get to know each other’s voices and personalities simply from speaking up and getting your voice out there. (If this is any inclination, one day in class, we heard Steve Carell was on campus one day and as a group, we chose to divide and conquer to find him and snag a stalker pic. This goes with tip #34, get to know your teacher so they’ll be cool with you going to stalk a celeb and, going off of tip #1, get to know your pals so you can all do it together. One of my favorite memories at Michigan).

Tip #50: Write, write, and write some more.

We have writer’s notebooks to use at the beginning of class, or for certain activities, but don’t just use it for that. Write what you see in the world, who you meet, why you’re happy, what your recent obsession is and why. Just write it down if it intrigues you. One day, you’ll thank yourself for jotting it down.

Phew, 50 tips…that’s a lot. But seriously, challenge yourself to try out this class, even if the only thing you get out of it is a new community of writing buddies. I love mine, and can’t wait to keep in touch with them.

To T Hetzel Gateway Course 220 Tue/Thurs 10-11:30– I love you guys. Thanks for making this semester the best it could possibly be!

Credit: Giphy

Win the Day, every day

My very close friend’s father passed away from Pancreatic cancer when I was a freshman in college. He had been battling with exhaustion and odd flashes of weakness that led him and his family to believe that something was not right. When diagnosed, he was told he had six months to live. Well, he lived for 13 months.

Every day, he and his family would sit in the stuffy hotel room at Stanford University where he received his chemo treatments and they would record three great things that happened each day. He called it “winning the day”. Some days, the big win was sitting up enough to eat his breakfast, other days it was progress with the treatment. But despite this, he lived his life every single day with no regrets. And boy was it admirable.

My family has taken on this motto in our lives ever since he and his family introduced it to us a few years ago. In our family group chat each night, we all send our win for the day. Today, mine was that I got a job I wanted! My brother’s was that he bought his plane ticket to come home. Everyone has a different win

So, I challenge each of you to find your win each and every day. Life is truly a blessing and every day matters. Share your win with your friends, family, neighbors, anyone! I promise it makes even the little things so worth it.

Today, my win was getting the job I wanted, but yesterday, it was that I got out of bed with a smile on my face and attacked my day. What’s your win?

I’m emotional, okay?

People always piss me off when they say that writing is “easy” or that its a cop out. Tell that to J.K. Rowling my dude. Or better yet, stop texting. That’s writing, moron.

Okay sorry, I’m heated. But emotion always fuels some of my best work so I’m rolling with it.

I, along with many others, have found solace in countless aspects of my life simply because of my ability to express myself through writing. I write to blow off steam when yelling into my pillow isn’t enough. You may write to get an A, but I write to calm myself. Your neighbor may write to apply to law school; your sister writes to get likes on her Instagram picture. Your professor writes to express why your paper that you procrastinated on until the night before sucks. We all write, whether you like it or not.

Here is my manifesto, announcement, what have you, about writing. I used some fun visuals in the manifesto because I thought it looked pretty. Like, subscribe, comment below, lol.


Experimenting with experiments to create an experimentation experiment

Thats a whole lot of experiments…don’t stress, its only three actual experiments. But, it doesn’t have to be!

These experiments challenged me to experiment not only with ideas, but with language, structure, and making choices. Everything that goes into these writing investigations is an experiment.

To sum these little guys up in an image, picture this: You know when you get this immense bust of motivation to clean your room, or bleach the whole house, or redecorate the living room, but then midway through, you realize you’re just too tired and don’t want to finish the mess you’ve just created? That is what these experiments felt like. You get this fabulous idea, crank out a little and then just do not want to finish it at the moment. You’d be lying if you said you have never experienced this feeling before…

This course has challenged me to try new things that are definitely out of my comfort zone; learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable. But thats writing, right? Trying new things, trial and error, what have you.

The Grand Finale

My final project will be a final version of my experiment one, which was the idea of doing a commercial. The commercial includes the beloved Satan and a lonesome man trying to sell Satan pepper jack cheese at a kiosk in a grocery store. I have always loved working in iMovie and experimenting with different formats, so I think working on making a commercial could be both fun and challenging.

In order to accomplish this large goal of mine, there are a few things I have to get cracking on!

  • First and foremost, I need to finalize my commercial script so I can begin sharing this with the actors (two of my friends) who will play Satan and the salesperson. The casting process was rather vigorous, but I know my two chosen actors will bring their all.
  • This may be a seemingly minor step, but ultimately pretty big in the scheme of things. I need to figure out what the heck Satan is going to wear/ look like in order to correctly convey the image of Satan grocery shopping. Just some quick ideas on how to do this include red clothing, potentially working with special effects to add flames around my actor, maybe using a voice to emphasize fear in the actor’s voice. If anyone has any ideas, toss them in the comments.
  • Location is crucial to this project. I would like to shoot in the dairy/cheese aisle of a grocery store, preferably Meijer or Kroger. Shooting directly in a grocery store creates more of a commercial mood, as well as adding humor through physically seeing Satan grocery shop.
  • Also, I must make sure I film extra footage, in case I need to play around with editing more! Quantity is important!

However, every experimenter must have some concerns or it would be too easy. I am definitely concerned that my vision for this project is so specific that it won’t end up coming out the way I want it to. That will be the biggest thing for me to overcome through this project. I have to keep my mind open to change and new ideas. Another concern I have is that this entire idea is out of my comfort zone. I’ve never done something like this before, so the unknown can be fearful. It scares me but excites me. Challenges are always fun, and I am definitely up for one.

I am really excited to get started with turning this project into my vision. Cannot wait to see what it turns out looking like!

Image Credit

Present Tense: Me as a Writer

Writing has this preconceived stereotype that it needs to be extremely literary and include numerous fancy words (shoutout Thesaurus). Growing up, I always attacked a writing assignment with the intent of making it sound like some British scribe in the 1920s. Yet, on my writing journey, I’ve found that writing has no rules or boundaries. So, in looking at myself as a writer right here in March of 2018, I would say I am a very visual writer who writes as she speaks. When I write, my mind immediately goes to descriptive words. I love to write about what I see, feel, hear, tase, etc. I also write just as I speak. Most of my writing wears a very distinct voice “coat” (if you will) that gives away my writing identity. I know I could never anonymously publish something as everyone would know it was me. But even despite this, I feel I’ve personally grown as a writer. My articulation, even since entering the gateway, has improved tremendously. I also feel that my ability to take risks with writing has become less of a fearful task and more exciting. That was most certainly not the case a few years ago. Why this is the case, I cannot answer. But what I do know is that my writing journey has just begun. Where I will end up in a few years will probably be rather different than right now. And that, I guess, is the fun aspect of writing. My current articulate, descriptive, personalized writing may change soon, and I cannot wait to see how and if it does.