The Winter Soldier (short n’ spoiler free)


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(I’m keeping this short since the movie just came out.) I saw Captain America The Winter Soldier Friday evening with my sister and we both really loved it! During a scene, Kayla randomly leaned over to me and whispered, “This the best movie ever!” That pretty much summed up my feelings too.

It was awesome seeing Steve Rogers front and center again. It was his movie The First Avenger that brought The Avengers into my sights in the first place. I fell in love with his heart, character and nobility. I take a moment now to say thank you to Marvel for the amount of energy and thoughtfulness that has been put into translating this character onto the screen without making him seem preachy or over in-your-face-patriotic or trying to make him more liberal. They’ve done right by him and that makes me extremely happy.

What makes this movie so great is that Steve shares this movie with SHIELD. Natasha Romanoff was amazing in this movie; she and Steve make such a great team. I really liked seeing more of her and I’m glad she got to share the spotlight. We also got to see a lot more of Nick Fury during the first half; it was very exciting seeing him in action rather than just directing people around. :D As to the rest of the movie, there was tons of fantastic action, intimate emotional moments, excellent introduction to The Falcon and some good twists throughout the plot!

Other than a few technical things that bothered me (two action scenes were little hard to follow because of the cinematography) I have practically no complaints about the movie! I highly highly recommend getting to a theater as soon as earthly possible to see this if you haven’t yet!

~Jamie

These Are My Heroines.


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Here it is, at last. This post has been coming for a long time–I mean that literally; I wrote pieces of this seven months ago in February– I’ve just not had the guts to finally finish writing it until now. And before I can talk about certain characters, I need to get some things off my heart and on the table. It has taken a lot of rewriting to get this to the way I wanted, so I hope it’s all clear.

While I understand the importance of knowing Biblical gender roles in real life, I do love a good female superhero or agent in films or tv shows any day–I’ve not kept that a secret either; most of you know that about me already. Having lacked a lot of decent female roles models in my own life, I’ve loved finding heroines I can look up to, ones who’ve been able to give me help by setting examples that I can observe and learn from. Women like Princess Leia and the Black Widow are important to me for such reasons.

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However, I have felt judged for liking strong female characters by fellow Christian teens and kids, starting back when I was sixteen. I have had friends, personal friends whom I’ve known for years, frown and question my sister and I when they learned we liked characters like Princess Leia and Natasha aka Black Widow, often giving their own unthoughtful opinion whether we asked to hear it or not. I’ve heard things said along the lines of ‘Leia’s a feminist because she wasn’t submissive to Han in the first movie and she’s engaged in the political world and she’s sassy’. And in regards to Natasha, ‘no woman could ever fight a man and win, she’s not realistic at all; she’s a warrior woman, she needs to learn her place at home’.

Statements like these scared me into silence because I didn’t want to get into debates that I didn’t want to participate in. Even if we don’t see certain friends anymore, it’s hard to ignore that overall opinion because a lot of Christian kids feel the same way and talk about it in their own web circles. And that’s fine, because that is their business. They can and should be able to like and dislike who they please.

However, what I’m tired of is feeling bad or “less Christian” for liking the characters they categorize as ‘umbilical’ ‘unrealistic’ and ‘not good’.

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I will say right here and now: there is no perfect character, in books or in movies or TV shows. Everyone, including Leia and Natasha, have downfalls. The root of the real problem that I’ve faced boils down to this; fellow Christians are exercising their right to speak but neglecting the need to be gracious of other’s opinions and convictions. You should be able to believe, like and dislike what you will but it needs to be balanced with grace. But I can’t wait for everyone to understand that before I can feel ‘safe’ to share what I personally like.

So. This post is me letting go of hurt feelings from the past and standing up for what I like, because I can. I can no longer let other people’s opinions dictate what I say or feel out of fear of being judged. I’ve learned that how other people feel is their business and I shouldn’t have let it hurt me the way it did, even though it wasn’t right that they couldn’t have been more respectful of how I felt. However, other people will also have to learn that I dang well like Black Widow and the fact that I thought she complimented The Avengers beautifully. I don’t want to be scared of admitting that or anything else anymore.

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There are reasons why I admire and look up to these strong women in particular, even for all the crap I’ve gotten for liking them. This is not a list of me trying to clear these fictional women of accusations my friends have given them. It is instead the reasons why they are still my heroines after all these years. I’m going to start my recovery by not being ashamed of them anymore.

Let me introduce you to the four women who always stand out to me to the most time and time again, who’ve showed examples of courage, and that’s it’s okay to cry when you need to and that you can still get up to fight back at things that are trying to hurt you.

Princess Liea from the Star Wars franchise.

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Oh, the pretty Princess Leia, she was my first introduction to cinema’s tough women! She had strength to withstand torture to protect her people, she could hold her own ground and think on her feet in the middle of life and death situations, she knew when to not throw her trust immediately on two men she didn’t know. She’s a capable leader in a time of need; she could help her father and then take his place in command when she had to. She can hold her own verbally. She can hold her own with a weapons. She wasn’t rendered into a puddle of uselessness when she was separated from her man and instead helped rescue her friends first and then him later on. I could go on and on about Princess Leia. But overall, she’s absolutely amazing. She deserves the iconic role in history that she has and I think more girls could stand to look up to her.

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Natasha Romanoff from Iron Man 2 and The Avengers.

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Oh, Natasha Romanoff; how I’ve been saddened seeing so many people say, “The Avengers would have been perfect if she hadn’t been there.” I wish more people could appreciate the good qualities in her, like, her intense loyalty to people who’ve helped her in the past, her clear head on and off the job, her ability to keep most of her emotions separate from her job, too. Her willingness to go beyond her skill set as a spy to be a soldier when the world most desperately needed her to be. Her fighting skills that can get her out of harms way even when it appears she’s in over her head. Her strong will that helps her be able to get up and move on after traumatic experiences even though it shook her up a bit–something I wish I was better at. These are things that made me really love the Black Widow and I can’t wait to see her in Captain America’s sequel!

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Sarah Conner from The Terminator and Terminator Two: Judgement Day.

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I really really like Sarah Conner and the development her character took between those two movies. She wasn’t always a tough gal, which is what makes her character so good. What I like about Sarah is that she thinks and prepares for the future. She faced the truth instead of running from it. When she became unhappy with what she thought was her future, she decided to do something about it. Even though she was mentally exhausted and hurting, she pushed through obstacles to achieve her goals. She learned to work systems to her advantage. She was self-sacrificing and good mother. In many ways, I really identify with her because I’ve gone through emotionally traumatic experiences myself (I have never had my life threatened by an actual Terminator but I think most emotional trauma is a lot like that anyway.) I’ve had to make a choice too, if I was going be fearful of what my future might hold or if I’m going to instead learn to grab it by the neck and say, “You’re not crushing me, not today.”  And Sarah really set an example of a women able to do just that.

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Myka Bering from Warehouse 13.

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Where to start? Myka is a great character in a fun show but she showed an example of being hurt but dealing with it and letting go. She’s also incredibly smart, can stand on her own but also accept help from her partner when she needs help. She steps out of her comfort zone when she has too, she learned to roll with the punches when things don’t go her way. She can both think of others but also of herself in what she personally needs, which is a great balance. She sets high standards for herself which sometimes isn’t always great but is better then setting no standard at all. Myka is that the feminine “tom boy”, she knows and likes that she’s a women but she doesn’t hide that fact that she grew up different from other girls. She’s different which in so many ways makes her so relate-able.

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Yes, I’m focusing on only four women. There are lots of heroines out there, like Catwoman from The Dark Knight Rises or Kate Becket from Castle, and they are strong women too. But Catwoman felt under-developed, and she and her high heels irked me through most of the movie, which made me sad because I wanted to like her.  And Kate Becket is a good character but she’s also not a personal role model to me either because she hasn’t been able to let go of things in her past and move on to become a more healthier person.

However, I also understand that heroines and their stories are very different; if all heroes or heroines where healthy mentally, physically or emotionally, you’d loose a lot of what makes their story so good. And it gets even better if we get to see them work through their problems. So even if they aren’t my personal heroines, I should still be able enjoy what they give to their movie or TV show, even if I wouldn’t view their choices in life as something I would want to follow. :)

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In summary, I think it’s important to be a strong woman; emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. You never know when life is going to throw a lightening bolt into your face. But besides that, it’s important to have good role models of strong women in your life to watch, whether they are real or fictional. Seeing good examples of strength is important.

Princess Leia showed me that it’s okay to independent from guys until you know the ones around you are trustworthy. Black Widow showed me that if you have a clear head and a strong will, you can do almost anything, even save the world from monsters. Sarah Conner showed me that it’s possible to get back up after traumatic experiences and be more strong then when you were first knocked over. Myka Bering showed me that it’s okay if you’re different from others and that you can work through your past to let go of things that have hurt so you can move on.

These are my heroines. Maybe one day, I will be able to be as heroic as they are.

~Jamie

To Be Treated All Grown Up


*I ramble so much; I made a short story almost too long but it all just flowed out, so yeah. 

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I cut my hair last night. On my own, in the bathroom at about 11:56 PM, without talking to anyone about it first.

*rewind noise* Let’s take a step backwards now.

I growing up. And my mom rocks because she’s helped me really see that. And since things have gotten tough and I hit eighteen and have gone through some self discovery, she’s been really cool about actually letting me grow up. And, with the whole divorce thing going on, I will be getting no child support because, well, to the state, I’m a legal adult. I don’t count as a child anymore. And besides that my parents for the past couple years have been saying, “yes, Jamie, we see you as an adult.”

However my mom has actually begun to stand behind her words and has begun letting me make more of decisions on my own. Not that I don’t like running things by her–not at all. She’s just letting me make my own choices instead of making them for me like when I was little.  “You are old enough to decide your own standards now.”

Here’s an example: she loved the music of Sweeney Todd but she didn’t like all the gory violence that sadly came with it. But she didn’t give me a bunch of crap for watching the movie, she actually said, “You are old enough to decide what you will put up with, with violence in the movies.” Not that I liked all that gore, I actually closed my eyes to a lot of it. But it was awesome not having her stand at the top of the stairs with her arms folded asking, “What are you watching? I would never watch that, turn that off now.” Instead, she appreciated the music and gave me room to have my own convictions. And that really rocks to be trusted like that.

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Now, like I’ve been mentioning here on my blog, I’ve talked several times to my mom that I was thinking about chopping off a lot of my hair. I myself wasn’t exactly sure why I wanted to do this, until I happened to read somewhere that women usually like to cut off their hair after a very traumatic experience and then that all made sense. Nearing a long end of a exhaustive three year ordeal, it was no wonder I was wanting to chop my hair off to my chin and dye it all red and black (don’t worry, it’s actually not that short and I’m not going to dye my hair; that’s just what I felt like doing.) So, with this obviously psychological thought running through my head, I mentioned it to my mom on several occasions; I like getting my mom’s approval on my ideas!

While she didn’t seem too keen on cutting my hair really really short, she didn’t ever say, “I’d rather you not have your hair cut that short” or anything like that. She was actually overall very supportive about my thoughts.

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But last night. Everyone was upstairs in their rooms. I was far far away (it feels like) in my room, feeling icky and I decided to take a shower. And I happened to think while getting the water warm, Wow, hey, after I condition my hair, I’ll be able to brush through it and I could cut it tonight! I wouldn’t have to wait anymore! In case none of you have noticed, I’m a spontanous person. I like to jump right into things. So here I was at about 11:30 climbing in the shower thinking: I should just cut my hair tonight. But for about five minutes I had this inward battle.

Shouldn’t I ask mom first? What will she think in the morning when I emerge from my room with my hair no longer reaching my middle back but instead just going past my collar bone? Aww, she knows I’ve been wanting to cut it, it shouldn’t matter. Oh, maybe I should talk to her first– but she’s already gone to bed. Should I just take another shower tomorrow after I talk to her about it tomorrow and do it then? Nawww, that’s no fun, if I don’t do it tonight I won’t want to do it tomorrow!

And then I realized something, a reason why inwardly I was fighting myself so hard against cutting my hair. And it was a rule that my parents had laid out when I was very young. NEVER CUT YOUR HAIR WITH SCISSORS. Who else was told that as a kid? And here I was, feeling a little guilty for thinking about picking up a pair of scissors and snip-snip-snipping.  Because what would mom say?

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And that’s where I learned this lesson, and where my mom’s graciousness really kicked in. It struck me liking lighting: I’m grown up now. If I want to cut my hair tonight, then I can cut my hair tonight. I’m not a child anymore, I’m a big girl, and I even know what I’m doing! YEAH, I’M CUTTING MY HAIR TONIGHT, WHOO, THIS IS AWESOME!

And I did know what I was doing! I got the tangles out of my curls, leaned over so I was staring at my knees, brushed my hair straight down towards the ground and tied it up right on the top of my head, and I pulled the pony tail in front of my eyes. And I cut it. And it came out in beautiful layers just like I wanted it to.

And guess what; I don’t feel guilty about it. I am excited and a little apprehensive to see my mom’s face when I walk out of my room. But I know that she will support me; because she already has.

And that’s how my mom rocks and that’s how I felt like a giddy grown up last night.

Life lesson learned: growing up means making your own decisions. Sure, you still want to have council from your parents and you don’t want to be foolish, but when it’s time to make the jump into adulthood, you should come out with flying colors if you’ve already been treated that way. I’m thankful my mom has shown that she can start to let go and that she has confidence in me. Because you know what? I now have more confidence in myself.

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Thanks Mom!

PS. My hair really is swell, I don’t have pictures of it yet, though. I’ll see how I like it and if I just can’t help it, maybe I will cut it down to Natasha length!

~Jamie

Holding Back


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I’m not really sure how to begin this post. It comes from deep inside and somethings are hard to share, for the exact same reasons I’m about to write about. Please bear with me as I try to explain the problem I’ve faced for years.

I fall short  to myself everyday, because I hold back. I hold back all sorts of things because I’m afraid of being hurt.

Some of you know me personally; if you’re lucky enough, you might have had the chance to see me come out of my mature, dignified shell that I wear when I’m out in public and let loose my silly bubble-brained sarcastic self, my real self. I don’t show this real self of minf in public that often; depending on who’s around, what’s going on and my mood from the last twelve hours.

I should be like my best friend and be my real self all the time, no matter where I’m at, what I’m doing; no matter what story I’m writing, or what person I’m talking to… no matter what.

But I’m afraid.

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It’s not a silly fear. It’s happened to me before and that’s why I’m so cautious.

I’m afraid of being hurt. I’m afraid of what people will say, or think or react to the real, weird, awkward, silly me. I’m afraid of writing certain things, speaking different things, afraid of being myself on the center stage of life.

We live in a judgmental world, but the world I live in seems extra tight because my family’s circles run in different Reformed Christian circles. And don’t get me wrong, I love the Reformed faith, and I believe in it with all my heart. It’s just that… other people’s standards always seem so high. How can you be yourself when it looks like you’re thinking “unbiblically” or “wordly” from other people’s point of view.  Black Widow and Princess Leia are feminists, you shouldn’t like them! You listen to more then just hymns and classical music; don’t you know all pop music is bad? Ect, ect…. Do you see the problem? Not all my reformed friends are like this, I don’t even see the people who have often ‘attacked’ me like this anymore but it’s still left a mark behind to hide who I really am and what I really like and what I really think.

It’s hard to come out and be real when you’re afraid of looking like the typical back-sliding Christian teenager hitting adult hood when nothing could be further from the truth.

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It’s just hard to be yourself anywhere, right? It’s hard to live up to the things you like and enjoy and not let other people bully you into something else just because it doesn’t reach their standards. It’s hard being real around others because I’m afraid they won’t like me anymore if they find out I’m awkward, scatter-brained and clumsy.  I’m afraid to be real.

I hold back from showing my real feelings to people as well. Because I’m afraid of loosing them. I’m afraid of being vulnerable to people because that often and almost always means pain in the future. I’m afraid of growing attached to people because sooner or later I will loose them and in a sense I will loose a part of myself. There are people in my life whom I know I should open up more too, whom I should show just how much they really do mean to me.  But I don’t. I wear different masks with different people, masks of indifference. Sometimes I attempt to say how much I appreciate or how much I do care but it is poorly communicated

But I have to stop being afraid.

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I have to stop being worried about being judged by others and I have to stop being afraid of pain because I will always feel pain in the end. I have to tell people just how much they mean to me even if it might seem awkward. I have give my honest opinions and stop trying to please everyone.

I have to be a real person, a flawed person because that’s who I am. I have to stop trying to be the perfect model girl because no one can reach that point of perfection because perfect girls aren’t real and real girls aren’t perfect.

No, I shouldn’t just live with my flaws, I have to be constantly renewed; I have to learn from my mistakes and move on and not live in sin. But I can’t live trying to be something that I’m not.

This is what I want to work on in 2013, this is a resolution-like post, this is what I’ve been trying to say.

This year, I need to learn to be me. All the time. No matter who is watching and no matter who is judging and no matter what other think. I need to stop hiding my real feelings, I need to tell people how much I appreciate them, I need give love more. I need to stop being afraid, I need to stop buckling under…

I need to stop holding back.

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Yep, that’s me and that’s my voice


If you’ve ever wanted to hear my voice…. or just see me in a video, now is your chance.

My sister has been working on a video that we made a month or so ago and she’s finally posted it in two parts on You Tube for a limited time for her friends to see. If you’ve not seen them yet, you’ll want to go watch them now by clicking the links below.

We were trying to make an interview, but it’s really not an interview. It’s… Kayla asking random questions (or saying she can’t think of any good questions) and me sitting in front of the camera looking like a derp and trying to answer all the odd questions that she does ask.

Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGauYGTryyo

Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o96LZFtXtE

If you guys watch it, leave a comment and let me know! :D

Oh, there are a few shout outs to a few of the followers that popped into my head at the moment. (Savanna and Fallon, I know you’re mentioned more than once in both parts!)

I now am going into hiding. *grin*

~Jamie