Juxtaposed by Tiffany

You’ve searched and you’ve found Short Shorts. This month we are exploring the talent of Seven Magazine’s own Tiffany. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, you have heard correctly. You may have read her numerous reviews on her blog TiffanyLovesBooks, but never before has a table turned as fast as today! Without further ado **enter drumroll** we proudly present Juxtaposed… SN:Please remember to tell us what you think AND submissions are ALWAYS welcomed. Check out our Contact Us page for additional information. Now, sit back and relax and enjoy Juxtaposed.

“Don’t stop. Keep running. Don’t stop. Keep running.” It has become my mantra. I have repeated these words so many times they have lost their meaning. I’m not sure what I’m really saying anymore. What were once words I used to keep me focused and motivated have become a meaningless mumbled jumble. I’m not even sure why I’m still attempting to repeat these words anymore. They have become so scrambled in my mind that they have simply become a sad effort to concentrate on anything but the pain.

I’m still running. My breath rushes in and out of my mouth and the stitch in my side make every step, every breath painful. I see everything around me as if it’s someone else running in my body. It doesn’t seem real. Just this morning I was doing normal things and joking with my friends, how can I be fighting for my life now? It’s like I’m having an out of body experience. I am surrounded by nature. All these barren trees fill me with foreboding.  Every time my foot hits the debris covered ground I imagine a big neon arrow pointing down on my location. I try to run softly, to not step on twigs and fallen branches. This slows me down too much. I hear them catching up. I give up on that attempt.

“Don’t stop. Keep running. Don’t stop. Keep running.” I’m tired. My heartbeat is pounding in my head. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. I need to find a place to hide. A place where I can catch my breath. I start to look around. I wonder what a good hiding place would be. Will I be able to get to it fast enough with my pursuers on my heels? My energy is waning and lifting my eyes from the ground feels like a bad idea. I need to watch my step and I don’t know that I can look around and run at the same time. This ground is too unstable. I can’t keep this up. I’m exhausted and my body hurts everywhere.

“Please let me find a safe place to hide.” I throw this silent prayer into the air. I don’t know who I pray to. A god, the universe, the bird staring at me perched on that tree. I glue my eyes to the floor, I don’t want to fall. If I do, I don’t think I’ll be able to stand again. “Please help me find a safe place to hide.” This time I say it out loud. Huffed through ragged breaths and barely above a whisper. I hope now that it was said out loud my prayer will be heard.

“Don’t stop. Keep running. Don’t stop. Keep running.” My legs are starting to buckle beneath me. I’m going to be caught. I just know it. There is no where for me to hide in these barren woods. There is also no one here to save me. No deity I believe in, no god to save me from my fate. I idly wonder what my obituary would say. “Here lies John. He wasn’t fast enough.” I can’t breathe. I feel it stuck in my throat. I try to cough, I need to dislodge it. It’s another sound that jumps out of my mouth. The force of it scares me. This laughter I hear bubbling from my throat sounds inhuman. I can’t stop it- it’s making it harder for me to breathe. I’m terrified. Tears are rolling down my cheeks.

I know I’m dead. There is no way I can escape. My hysterics start to die down as my mind tries to accept it’s fate. Would I have done anything differently? Would my death be noble? To die for what I believed in? I spoke up when no one else would. Will my story be told? Will I be remembered as a hero or a cautionary tale?

“Don’t stop. Keep running. Don’t stop. Keep running.” I’m starting to feel light headed. Is there something wrong with the oxygen here? I feel no relief when I breathe. My heartbeat is tattooing itself into my skull. Is there any hope of me coming out of this alive? The possibility fills me with hope. I take my eyes from the ground and attempt to look around me. My foot hits a rock and I find myself sprawled out on the floor. Tears fill my eyes as all hope escapes me. As if the gods are trying to seal my fate, a hand wraps around my ankle. And pulls.

A scream born of fear is ripped from my throat. I don’t know what to do. I scream at them to let me go. I threaten to kill them when I get my hands on them. I beg them to release me, I swear won’t go to the police. My throat is dry, my voice is hoarse and I’m still being dragged across the forest floor. I don’t know what they’ll do with me and my imagination offers no relief. I beg them to let me walk. The rocks and branches on the ground are hurting me so bad. The front of my body is starting to numb. I ask them again to let me walk. I apologize for the words that got me in this situation. I tell them that if they let me live, I won’t say things like that anymore. They laugh at me. Please, I beg, just let me walk. You guys have me, I can’t escape. Please just let me walk. The guy pulling my ankles grunts and drops my legs.

“Don’t stop. Keep running. Don’t stop. Keep running.” I know what I said to be true, I have no hope of escaping but I have to try. I would have hated myself for not trying. I run with all the strength left in my body. It takes them a few seconds to react. I look back and they are not pursuing me. I feel a spark of hope come to life in my gut. Maybe I can survive this. I look back a second time already a few feet away, one’s holding a gun aimed at me. My heart drops, my blood runs cold. I try to think fast. I don’t want to stop running but I don’t see what choice I have. I dive to the forest floor to avoid the bullet that’s left his gun.

Adrenaline is pumping through my veins. I try to stand up, my legs aren’t cooperating. I hear them approaching. I work even harder to get me legs below me. I know that if I can just stand up I’ll be able to get away. I hear their laughter and look up. They are standing a few feet back, amusement in their eyes and laughter poring from their mouths. I don’t get it. Is this some form of torture? Like in those dreams where you are trying to run and are giving it your all but seem to be moving in place. As one of the men cruel laughter seems to be getting louder I look up. He’s walking towards me. He points to my back and snorts with laughter. I don’t get it. Giving up on my attempt to stand I reach one hand around to my back and touch the spot he’s pointing to. My fingers come back from my spine with blood on them. Realization dawns on me. I’ve been shot.

I’m not sure if I’ll survive this. If they let me live I know I won’t come out of this the same. Staring at the blood staining my fingers I wonder if it was worth it. Would I do it again, knowing that this would be the outcome?  I never realized the power of words. How they have the power to motivate or condemn. My actions, my words have brought me here. I hear a gun being cocked above me. I know now that my death is eminent. People constantly die fighting for our country, fighting for our freedom. I know I’m no hero but I am at least dying for what I believe in. I take comfort in that. I’m not dying for nothing. Free speech is something worth fighting for. This battle for freedom won’t stop. Although I may not keep running, my message has been heard. Peace envelopes me as the gun shot reverberates in the air around us.

© 2013 Seven Magazine

A Scribe’s 10 Commandments

The title of ‘Scribe is an Adjective’ was created with the idea that for some, writing is a need. It is what we do and who we are. It was intended to be a category dedicated to honoring those writers who have changed our lives and taken writing to new levels. However, this issue we will be deviating from our normal broadcast. We know that those authors to whom we dedicated an entire section to, those who write for the love of the art, aren’t that different from you or I. From the most mediocre to the most established writer, we are still writers and form a part of this community.

We at Seven feel that to remain a respected community we must all set some rules and adhere to them. We must set a standard. Not only to avoid these faux pas that are being seen way too often, but to also help make you a more respectable writer. This is for everyone but especially for those that seem to have misplaced their moral compass. We hope that someday writers of all backgrounds and aspirations find themselves on the same moral ground. We feel that all writers should have a common ground, a mutual understanding and an underlined foundation. Did I lose anyone there? I speak of a writers code. One that goes beyond courtesy and should be acknowledged by all. We at Seven have gone back to the times of King James to effectively lay out A Scribe’s Ten Commandments.

10. Hone thy craft
Make time for writing. – This follows the lines of the idea that practice makes perfect. Everyday take out time to write. Make it a time that you can afford on a daily basis. Even fifteen minutes if that all you could spare. But use that time wisely and write to your hearts content. If writers block becomes an issue, then write of the frustrations of writers block- but write.

image9. Thou shalt write passionately to better thine craft
No matter where you draw your inspiration, the best writing comes from the heart. So write with passion, with emotion, with your soul and your heart. When you give yourself over to your writing and emotionally invest in it, not only will it be that much more special but it’ll also be more likely to truly reach one of your readers.

8. Thy pen shalt not cease to touch thy paper
After all scribe is an adjective. Never give up on your dreams. Write to your hearts content and never use the fear of rejection as a scapegoat to give up on your writing dreams.

7. Thou shalt ask for permission to use other’s works
Not only should this be done as a courtesy but not doing this can also result in copyright infringement. This includes audio, art and writing. Be respectful of others creative ideas and respect their work as you hope for yours to be respected.

6. Thou shalt give thy credit wherest it be due
Give credit where it is due. There are often many things that motivate us. Nature, music, others… When we draw inspirations from others, we should give them credit for it. This is truly a from of respect.

image5. Thou shalt respect the art of writing
It’s not always easy to be nice when voicing our opinions on novels that took up hours of our life and are a waste of the paper they were printed on. While this could easily be me asking you to not vandalize these books or use them as kindling that is not what I am referring to. Um… But please do refrain from doing those things. 🙂 Respect all creative styles and outlets of an artists despite your differences in taste or opinions.

4. Thou shalt not limit thy self
Lets say that there have been over a billion books written since the beginning of the written word. Let me also say that what makes the difference between one novel and the next is the writer. So when you have an idea to write, don’t not do it because you think it is too common or too crazy. Unleash your crazy and own up to your interpretations and creativity. Because you are unique your novel shall reflect that and your voice will make it original.

3. Thou shalt hate not
Despite what can be said about writers, we make an awesomely creative and unique community. Oftentimes competitive but a community nonetheless. As we are all in this together, be supportive. Congratulate other artist on their work and accomplishments rather than throw shade.

2. Thou shalt know thy craft
The same way that an artist can go to a museum and appreciate the art of others, a writer should be capable of reading the works of others. No, beyond that. A true writer should love reading as reading and writing go hand in hand. I am a firm believer that to be a great writer, one must read the work of others and appreciate the good and the bad. Know your craft. I also believe that reading will make you a better writer. Therefore a writer should never stop being a reader.

1. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors art
In a world where you are not always brimming with ideas, it is a rather easy thing to see the awesomeness of someone else’s work and to want something like it under your name. Well, as it easy as it may be, it doesn’t at all make it OK. Plagiarism is a very serious offense that not only takes away your credibility, but also is an injustice to the original author. I ask that no matter how much you enjoy, love or admire someone else’s work, you do not reproduce it without giving the original author credit for it and asking for their permission to re-post/distribute/etc.

Speaking of which, I recently found a bloggers account of the 5 sure fire ways to avoid being plagiarized: Five Step Method to Ensure Non Plagiarism Real Good by Kat Kennedy over at CuddleBuggery Book Blog. Truly great advice with laughs guaranteed. This includes trying to emulate the uniqueness that was Shakespeare, ways to make your work unappealing to plagiarist, how to ensure you have plagiarist free followers and a sure fire way to keep your ideas from being stolen. A must read.

We all have different reasons for writing, yet I believe there should be a common code for writers of all motivations and aspirations. Please heed the rules set forth to not only be a respectable writer, but to also be a positive member and contribution to the writing community.

© 2013 Seven Magazine

How do you feel about torches?

I was raised in a Christian household and my mother was a firm believer of turning the other cheek. Yes, quite literally. As in “But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39 ESV) Being bullied at school and having my mother advise me to not fight back and simply pray on it was no easy feat. Being bullied, at all, does something to a person. It changes them and not necessarily in a good way.

There was a time where parents would send their children to school completely at ease, believing in their safety. Lets say that instead of being in a safe haven, the child was being heavily bullied at school. This child became increasingly withdrawn and was continuously sporting a shiner. As the parents search high and low to find the best solution to protect their child in school; they are at ease when the child is home. After all, they are far away from said bully.

Well hypothetical situations like the one depicted here are a thing of the past. Not because bullying has ceased to exist but because the rise of technology has helped evolve the art of bullying. Bullying no longer stops at the playground or at the end of a school day. As defined by the government “Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.” Technology has provided a whole new playground for bullies that offers an opportunity to harass with less accountability, more anonymity and its all from the comfort of home.

Although statistics state the the most common victims of cyberbullying are children from the ages of 9-14, the truth is no one is safe from it. Someone, who wishes to remain anonymous, and has experienced cyberbullying said, “Cyberbullying is a problem that is a lot bigger than anyone can imagine. I feel it’s necessary to take appropriate steps to combat this issue before it gets out of hand. My advice to anyone who is being harrassed or threatened by someone is to immediately report the incident to the proper authorities. Next, they should seek support from loved ones or attend counseling to help deal with the damaging side affects.  There are a large array of resources and support groups available on the web for both adults and children. The most important step is to talk about it. No one should ever feel like they have to deal with this issue alone.

Although I completely agree with Anonymous’ words, it is in this advice that we find our crux. Because not all states have laws against cyberbullying, it’s not always an easy issue to resolve. However, there are exceptions. If bullying ever reaches these following levels, they are considered criminal and should be reported to the authorities. Threats of violence, child pornography, sending sexually explicit messages or photos, Taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy and/or stalking and hate crimes. While most states do have legislation in place against bullying, not many include cyberbullying.

Although a study released at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition in October 2012 shows that “cyberbullying is rarely the only reason teens commit suicide. Most suicide cases also involve real-world bullying as well as depression.”  Yet, suicide is one of the leading cause of death for those, ages 10 to 24 and both traditional bullying and cyberbullying increase the possibility of suicide and suicide attempts.

While every state with the exception of Montana has some form of bullying law only 16 of those states include cyberbullying. If you are not in a state that includes cyberbully legislation what can you do? There are many websites that give very sound advice as to what can be done to help. Such as Safeclicks and stopbullying. However, I think we should take it a bit further. An anti-cyberbullying law was proposed to the federal government and is sitting in some dark secluded corner collecting dust because it has not been able to generate enough backing. H.R. 1966 (111th): Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act named after Megan Meier a girl who commit suicide because of cyberbullying.

We often think that we, as one person, can hardly do anything to make a change. Unlike the story of David and Goliath, I’m not asking you to cast any stones. Truth be told, that has already been done. Plenty of stones have been cast into the waters of this terrible form of harassment. However, we must continue the fight and pick up the torch. Linda T. Sanchez a Californian congresswoman has already set things in motion by submitting this proposal to congress, now, about the torch mentioned, you must do your part. Let us reach out to our senate, these people we voted into office and have a responsibility to us, their voters. Lets ask that they support this bill and see to it that the law is passed. We can all prevent the repetition of tragic cases like that of Megan Meier.

Are you on board and wondering what you can do to help? Well first, go to the government website and find your senators. Senators make themselves available to their constituents and have varying forms of communication available. And as easily as you can call and state your concerns, you can also copy and paste this message in the text of an email:

Dear Senator [Insert Last Name]:

As a constituent concerned about the lack of cyberbullying legislation on a federal level, I urge you to back the H.R. 1966 (111th): Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act presented to congress by California’s Linda Sanchez.

Cyberbullying is an epidemic that destroys lives and rarely sees punishment. Cyberbullying can be very damaging. With the nature of the Internet, once things are circulated they may never disappear. Cyberbullying can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide. It is an increasingly dangerous issue that needs to be addressed. With the federal government passing this bill, not only would this form of harassment become a taboo but it would also become punishable by law.

Many bullies don’t see what they do as cyberbullying and are likely to view it as a joke. However, ruining lives is never a laughing matter. I ask that you please help in protecting our community. In protecting our children, siblings, friends and neighbors.

You have the power to speak for me, for our community and to make a difference. I once again urge you to support H.R. 1966 (111th): Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act. It is of the upmost importance that our lives be protected by our government and ask that you represent my voice, that of your constituent, in the face of your peers.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

© 2013 Seven Magazine

Anyone Can Write

As a writer today, there are many options for putting your work out there. Technology has made it possible for books to reach the eyes of millions with a click of a button. With forums like Wattpad and blogs, writers can easily share their words with the world. However, for a writer that not only wants to share the craft but also make a living from it, what are the options? We are no longer living in times where the traditional route is the only feasible one. Today’s writers have options. When it comes to publishing with the intent to make money, there are two options: traditional or self publishing.

Being that neither of these routes is a walk in the park and each being polar opposites from one another, how do you decide which route is best for you? The most important thing is to be informed. What is the difference between traditional and self publishing? If you decide to go with the traditional route, you might meet a bit of rejection. As many of you know, it takes quite a bit to draw the eye of a publisher. For example, you might need an amazing query letter, a lot of patience and possibly an agent. At the end of the day, the big factor is finding a publisher that is a good match for you. One who understands your visions and ultimate goals and what the heck, sending a nice advance your way would definitely help. The publisher will take your novel, edit it, ensure it has a great cover, build up a bit of buzz over it, then market and distribute it. As for self publishing, the only help you get is the one you pay for. You write your novel. You edit it. You design the cover. You publish it. You market it. Where self publishing is involved, every aspect of your novel being successful begins and ends with you.

If self publishing is so much work for the author, why has it become so popular? This is actually an easy question to answer. Although self publishing is an awful amount of work, it truly has many positives. Sometimes when a publisher is involved, the editing can be gruesome and extensive. After all, publishers are looking for novels that are easy to market and are sure will sell. So much so that in order to ensure commercial success many novels are butchered from what the author envisioned to what the publisher deems acceptable. While this is not always the case, Self publishing allows you to always have complete creative control.

Money and how it differentiates between the two publishing methods is a little more complex, at least on the publishing side. There is a very good article written by a blogger that dives into the subject of money from both aspects. To read about it in detail and visit Wrightspeak click here. Basically, the article states that while publishing houses tend to give their authors a very small percentage of earned income and the book royalties, because the books usually reach a broader audience, these authors still make a decent amount. On average a published author makes more than an indie writer. However, an indie author will see nearly every penny spent on the purchased novel. While this truth might differ based on the format of the book, the fact stays that self publisher authors get a bigger piece of the pie.

So when you write your novel and are assured it is a master piece. It is quite simply ready for the printing press as far as you are concerned. A writer seeking to go through traditional publishers will get their amazing query letter, stamp their envelopes and send them out to dozens of publishers. Lets say, you hear back from one who is interested in picking up your book. A this point, saying you are thrilled is an understatement. You wrote this novel with the hopes of sharing your ideas, imagination and passion with others. After all, your heart and soul has been weaved into every word on that page and you could not be more excited to share it with others. Well, overly excited and impatient writer, you will have to calm your horses and learn the virtue of patience. From the time that the query letter leaves your hands to the time the book hits the stands, years have most likely passed. Most publishers seek perfection, and they will polish your novel until it’s gloss is iridescent. Self publishing, however, is great on time. You can go from polishing your novels to having it available for readers within days. That is the beauty of ebooks and websites like Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and Lulu.

Photo Credit: © 2010 Dave Coverly

Comics used in this article were borrowed from here and here.

© 2013 Seven Magazine

Scribe is An Adjective

Scribe Is An Adjective is our acknowledgement that for some writing is not a pastime- it is who we are. We will be highlighting authors (past and present) who make a difference in literature. Writers who inspire, challenge and captivate us with their words. This issue we will be looking into two successful and accomplished Irish authors.

imageC.S. Lewis, to me, is an author of children’s novels and the man who brought us the brilliant and timeless world of Narnia. But I recently found that he is a man of three hats. During his life he played three different very successful roles: literary scholar, author and writer and broadcaster of Christian apologies. But who was Lewis and how did he come to be this successful multidimensional man?

C.S. Lewis or Clive Staples Lewis was born 1898 in Belfast, Ireland. He nicknamed himself Jacksie at the age of three when his dog died and he took up it’s name. He spent his life with that nickname which was eventually left at Jack. His mother died of cancer when Lewis was only ten years old. After her death he and his brother were sent abroad to continue their studies in England. He struggled to adjust in England but came to rather enjoy himself though he never stopped missing Ireland.

As a teenager, Lewis declared himself an atheist although he was raised with Christian beliefs. He also learned to love poetry, including the works of Virgil, Homer and Yeats. He considered becoming a poet until his first published works Spirits in Bondage and Dymer flopped. He was then
convinced he could never become an accomplished poet.

In 1916 Lewis was accepted at Oxford University. However, he took time off from his studies to volunteer in the British Army in WWI. He fought in the trenches of France where he was injured on the front line by a British shell that fell short of its target. He lived the rest of his life with shrapnel in his chest. When the war ended in 1918, Lewis returned to Oxford where in 1925 he graduated with first-class honors in Greek and Latin Literature, Philosophy and Ancient History, and English Literature.

He was elected to join the faculty at Oxford as an English Professor. Lewis continued to be a non believer with various fazes until his 30’s when he converted to Christianity. His first major work, The Pilgrim’s Regress, was based on his own spiritual journey to Christianity. Between 1931 and 1962 he published a total of 34 books but wrote over 60 during his lifetime. His writing won him acclaim in his ‘three separate vocations’. In 1963 he died of renal failure yet his death was barely publicized due to President John F. Kennedy and Aldous Huxley dying on the same day.

It has been said “that those who may have known of Lewis in any single role may not have known that he performed in the other two.” This was very much the case for me. What role did you come to know C.S. Lewis for?

Oscar Wilde

His name is Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde. I know him as Oscar Wilde. There was a time in my life where I was tired of what the New York Bestseller’s list had to offer and decided to revisit THE CLASSICS. That was the moment that I discovered that classic literature is NOT boring. Once I came across The Picture of Dorian Gray, I became fascinated with Oscar’s sarcasm and complex sense of humor. He entered my life and changed the way that I saw literature and changed my style of writing. Oscar_WildeI always wrote in the sense of what if. For example, what if a lady walks into this bank and her water breaks. Baby is coming. People are calling 911. Etc..etc. I never truly made a connection with any of my characters and just wrote. I never truly fathomed the idea that each time the words hit the paper and flow out of  your mind, your heart is actually bleeding. Art imitates life and his life was a Wilde ride.

Up until his first and only novel, Oscar Wilde was the Seth MacFarlane of the playwright world. He was an eclectic story teller with a hint of raunchiness and well educated in art of writing. He always felt the need to go the extra mile and see how much he could actually get away with. He was well known, respected and honorably paid for his wonder works.

However, this extra mile was also his downfall. Since art imitates life, Oscar went ahead and let his heart speak in his only novel. This was the drop of water that flooded the dam. Oscar was prosecuted for … get this …. being gay. Keep in mind that the time was 1891. However, upon reading the novel that destroyed his credibility and ultimately became his demise; the book is not blatantly gay. There are subtle hints here and there, but nothing like Fifty Shades of Grey (For the record, I haven’t read this book…only heard of it). Yet, the story ended his career and left him destitute with no family and no friends. Not even his lover stuck around!

If you are searching for a timeless piece of writing, amazing prose and tons of intellectual laughter, pick up The Picture of Dorian Gray. You will not regret it. Also read up on his plays and poetry…a simple Google search will do (I love that Google.) I leave you now with a quote from Oscar Wilde’s only novel…

“The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray, and the advantage of Science is that it is not emotional.”

© 2013 Seven Magazine

Genesis

The campaign for change has to start somewhere. Genesis is our somewhere. Every month we will be making you aware of worthy causes and pointing you in the right direction to help make a difference.

imageI’m sure that we have all, at some point been lectured about the environment. Some form of it at least: fossil fuels, pollution, ozone layer depletion, etc. What we are doing wrong and how we can go about correcting these wrongs. Even the government is trying to motivate us to do our part- like tax write offs for those that invest in fuel efficient products and make their home more Eco friendly. But at the end of the day, does one man, his actions and attempts at going green- are they enough to change our fate?

Let me tell you about Billy. He lives a normal life and does small things that help the environment. He recycles, uses compact fluorescent light bulbs, turns off lights as he leaves the room and unplugs appliances when he’s not using them. Billy is a real stickler for rules and never even goes over 60 miles per hour while driving. Instead of 70 mph or better that everyone else seems to be doing on the highway and saves him 4 miles per gallon. He tries to reduce his water consumption by turning off the water while brushing his teeth and fixing any leaks as soon as possible.

Billy is doing things that in truth are simple and don’t take much time to do. Yet with this simple tasks he is really making a difference and doing his part for the environment. Do you see? It doesn’t take a lot to go green. It only takes a little knowledge and the want to help out and make a difference. Because at the end of the day, no one man can undo the damage that has been done by billions of people over countless years. We must all do our part. Billy is a great example of the things we can all do to help the environment. But there is much, much more that can be done, things that will even save you money in the long run.

imageMaking compost is another way to reduce waste and is also a great natural fertilizer. Use phosphate-free laundry and dish soaps, use washable rags- not paper towels while cleaning, use re-usable containers to store foods, save your hangers and return them to the cleaners, take unwanted, re-usable items to a charitable organization or thrift shop. The thing is, that the list to do your part for planet Earth, is pretty endless. For a pretty long list of ways to help click here.

For one reason or the other most of us don’t do anything to change the fate of our planet and that of our future. And this is the problem. What exactly are you waiting for? It doesn’t take much effort or time to be Eco friendly. It’s actually quite easy. Like Ghandi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” and get to it.

© 2013 Seven Magazine

How Much Is Your Love Worth?

The campaign for change has to start somewhere. Genesis is our somewhere. Every month we will be making you aware of worthy causes and pointing you in the right direction to help make a difference.

On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day.[1]

“Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors through the use of power and control tactics used by one person over another in an intimate relationship. Partners may be dating, married or not married; separated; heterosexual, gay, lesbian, living together or not living together. Such abusive behaviors can include pushing, shoving, slapping, throwing objects; choking, isolating you from your loved ones; being called names and threatening to hurt you. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, crossing all boundaries of culture, age, race, sex, education, and socioeconomic status. No one deserves to be abused, no matter what the circumstances.” [2]

I believe there are many common misconceptions about domestic abuse. The most popular are that people tend to think that only women are on the receiving end of abuse or that abuse is only a physical thing. Well neither of these ideas are correct. With this article I hope to educate, motivate and encourage people to make an effort to end domestic abuse.

Society, since the beginning of time, has always made men to be the dominants; the rulers of the universe. To this day they are even worth more than a woman (they make more in the workforce). Yet times have been changing in this past century and with the strives for equality and women empowerment many things have changed. This day in age, women and men are on the most even playing field ever. Women are out there along with men fighting wars, they are CEO’s and are even in their own right rulers of the universe. While some things seem to improve, it seems that some things just don’t change. Women are still constantly on the receiving end of abusive attacks but that’s not all times have changed, is it? Nowadays, men are also known to be victims of abuse.

When abuse is usually depicted on film and in literature they tend to tackle the most violent of abuses: physical and sexual abuse. Yes these tend to be the most violent ones that leave physical and psychological scars. However, all forms of abuse leave scars. They change you. So if you are not being raped, molested or beaten how do you know it is abuse? Is there any surefire way to know if you are in an abusive relationship?

      1. If no doesn’t mean no. No matter who it is or what the situation may be- no

always

    means NO.
    2. Do you guys hit each other? If you do it playfully- stop. One day it’ll get out of hand and it’ll no longer be funny to you. And if it is already violent in any way then yes that is coined as domestic violence and is in term not a healthy relationship.
    3. Verbal abuse and mental abuse can pretty much go hand in hand. They are pretty similar to physical abuse except that the abuser does not use their fists. Are you being screamed at? Belittled? Made to feel worthless? Losing sight of yourself? Is your self-confidence hanging in the balance or already a long forgotten memory? This form of abuse is the hardest to pinpoint because it is the one that only leaves emotional scars and no one will know unless you say something.
      4. Is there a sense of extreme control in the relationship? What I mean by that is that either you or your partner always have a need to be in control and exert such control in nearly every aspect of your partners life. Where they go, who they go out with, who they talk to…?

“Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors through the use of power and control tactics used by one person over another in an intimate relationship.”[3]

    5. Does your partner try to keep you isolated from your family and friends? This is one that comes to be a pretty big deal and surefire way to know. For whatever the reason, if you want your friends and family around and your partner attempts to keep you apart no matter what the excuse- you should be worried. Isolation is a pretty big way to keep the abused from leaving. Afterall, who will you run to?

Everyone is entitled to a healthy relationship. Everyone deserves to be loved. But how much of yourself are you willing to throw away for “love”? Love is an emotion that is meant to give more than it takes. In a healthy relationship, when love takes, it’s only what you are willing to give. If you find yourself in a situation where this is not the case, your better off moving on. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Cliché I know. But it’s true. The type of “love” you are being shown is no love at all. It is a leech. It will take from you til you think that you can’t give anymore. Then it will continue to take from you until there is nothing left to take.

These type of people are abusers and I like to put these abusers into two categories. There are those that see how great you are and are scared of you leaving so they abuse and brain wash you in the attempt of ensuring you stay. The other group has had life throw them enough curve balls and they don’t know how to deal with it and tend to lash out. The second doesn’t sound so bad right? It might make you a little more sympathetic to the abuser, but abuse is abuse no matter what the cause is. No matter how much you love them and hope that they will change, wishful thinking isn’t enough to turn the tables.

Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.[4]

20130207-105607.jpgAre you within that number? In knowing that someone you love is being abused what can you do to help? In truth, there isn’t much you can do. This person is in the relationship and it is their choice to put up with it. Nothing you do will make them leave. If you are too aggressive the abused will most likely push you away. Not that this is an official decree, but in my opinion, the best you can do is to offer them moral support. In the I-want-you-to-know-that-no-matter-what-you-can-count-on-me way. No matter what’s going on with your life or what decisions you make, I’ll always be here for you. Make sure you follow through with it. Be there for them. You need to become the epitome of love: Understanding, acceptance, caring, patient, honest and non judgemental. People in abusive relationships often believe that even with the abuse that what they have going on is love. I believe it helps that if in your own way you remind them of that what love really is (in a very platonic way of course). We all need support. Show them a way out. Give them that option.

You are being abused. Now what?

As judgmental as people may be, leaving isn’t necessarily the easiest or safest thing to do- without a plan. “Women who leave their abuser are at higher risk (75% greater risk) of being killed than those who stay.”[5] What does this mean for the abused? If you are in a physically abusive relationship, death is just a hit too hard in the next beating. There is always the risk of death. But that doesn’t make it ok and my advice will always be the same: get out. There are organizations all around the world that provide help to families being affected by domestic abuse. One website that provides the invaluable resource of listing such agencies all around the world is HotPeachPages. Seek help. Call a hotline. Even if it’s just to hear what they suggest. Lean on your friends and loved ones and don’t lose hope.

To find out more check out this links:
Domestic Violence 101
Safe Horizon

And if you are in a charitable mood or looking for a tax write off, donate money to these centers that help families affected by abuse get back on their feet:
Laurel House
Safe Horizon
Break The Cycle

 

© 2013 Seven Magazine