We’re the Generation That’s Supposed to Change Everything

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“Stop wasting your time.”

“Why don’t you just ignore that stuff?”

“If it doesn’t affect you why does it matter?”

“Worry about yourself.”

“That only applies to a small group of people.”

I often hear and see these exact statements WAY too often when dealing with problems within equality gaps as well as hate crimes. Of course, most of you might not see this as a problem, because after all, if it doesn’t affect you directly, why SHOULD it matter?

Here’s the thing… I think we’re all pretty familiar with the amount of hate crimes that occur every day in this world. Quite frankly, we’re all so quick to talk about how “horrible” and “crazy” this world is because of it. Why don’t things ever get better? The answer is all too simple: WE haven’t gotten better.

From generations back, hate crimes have always occurred and some groups of humans have always been persecuted because of their differences, this is nothing new. So, let’s take a look at why this is so. For starters, racist/sexist/homophobic (or any form of bigotry) has been passed down for generations. So now, somehow, it’s 2018 and we’re still pushing these watered down habits down each other’s throats, just like we’ve always done. This being said, here is your answer as to why it has been decades and we’re still dealing with these exact same hate crimes and equality gaps.

Moving forward, it’s quite important to understand that this HAS to be the generation to change these problems. As previously mentioned, I think we are all aware there are many problems arising in the world today, and we are all also really good at complaining about it. But what’s anybody doing about it? Nothing. Things need to get better, and if you haven’t realized, what we’re doing right now clearly is not working or we wouldn’t be ever so desperately trying to battle equality gaps like we are. And no, this is not about equality gaps exclusively within the workforce, this is about being able to live a life without being persecuted for being queer, gay, black, white, transgender, male, female, etc.

So here I am.

I will dedicate every breath I have to standing up for equal rights among ALL humans, regardless of gender, race, sexual preferences, or any preferences for the fact of that matter. No human deserves to be HATED for any of these things. Pay attention to that key word. I’m also often dealt the Christian card a lot. My answer to that, AS A CHRISTIAN MYSELF is, don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you. I know we’re all taught from a young age that no sin is greater than another as well as the idea that “only God can judge us.” That being said, without going into full bible study mode, I feel it’s safe to say that it’s no longer an excuse to use your religion as a reason to hate somebody.

What’s next on the list?

“It doesn’t affect me, so I’m not worried about it.”

Does it have to take something bad happening to you, or someone you love, to make you finally stand up for something? What if it’s your sibling? A significant other? Your child? Would you care then? If I were saying I’m an activist today solely because I’ve had to live through hate firsthand, I would be lying. Sure, I’ve had to witness firsthand hate for being the way I am, but that’s not why I do this. I do this so the generations to follow don’t have to keep growing up in this cookie-cutter, defective lifestyle that many people have had to face, in more intense degrees than I could ever imagine.

My goal today, is to encourage you to stand up for SOMETHING. Stand up for EVERYTHING. We can’t influence the world to be better if we “don’t care” or if we do nothing. We’ve seen, for years now, how badly enabling hate has influenced our world. My job today isn’t to tell anyone there’s a problem. We all know undoubtedly that there’s a problem. The solution is simple:

Are you willing to think for yourself, or are you going to keep living under these bigoted standards that were passed down to you?

Are you willing to stop the hate, before it reaches someone you love?

Are you willing to accept and/or love another human, despite how vastly different they are from you?

There is no grey area here. It’s black or it’s white. You are not an ally, nor are you apart of the solution, if you choose to enable negative habits like previously mentioned. Hate has solved nothing for us. It’s been long enough.

It’s time to do something different. It’s easy to do what “we were taught to do,” but knowing what we know now… Are you willing to be courageous? People desperately need you. Stand up for yourself, but stand up for them too.

An Open Letter to Mississippi State Football

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I think for a long time, most people wander from place to place and often think, “What am I placed on this Earth to do?” And, as imperfect humans, sometimes we wait our whole lives to find that moment where we know without a shadow of doubt that “this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.” In our darkest moments we doubt it more than ever; but this isn’t about those moments.

This is about the moment an entire football family played for something far bigger than anything imagined before. This is about the moment Kylin Hill ran the “No One Fights Alone” flag proudly across the field in a stadium full of captivated eyes. This is about the moment thousands of “No One Fights Alone” signs were held up high all across Davis Wade Stadium. This is about the moment the world, or at least what felt like the whole world, finally stopped to create an environment so full with love and support for each other and for our Guardian Angel that only God himself could have possibly created it. I’m not even sure where to begin when expressing my gratitude.

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To Mississippi State Football,

Your act of selflessness of using an already electrifying stage to honor our girl, Alex Wilcox, and creating something so indescribable, will remain in our hearts forever. As if being under the Davis Wade lights on any given Saturday night wasn’t already the greatest of experiences, sharing the spotlight with Alex last night has moved mountains for ovarian cancer awareness and allowed for THAT moment. The moment where an entire family, including people from all races and religions, could unite and feel every emotion known to mankind and support each other right through it. The moment where everyone became apart of something much bigger and much better than any second of aching pain and remarkable happiness we’ve ever felt. The moment our heavy hearts were lifted with faith, love, and family. I’ve never felt a love so strong. I say all the time that Alex was the “once in a lifetime” type of person; and what y’all created last night was a “once in a lifetime” experience. For whatever reason, God handpicked our sweet girl to leave a legacy at THIS University and because of you all, it will reach far more people than anyone could have ever imagined. All we could ever ask for in this life is love and positivity, and you all allowed Alex’s love for life and unwavering positivity to reach an even broader community than it already has. In a vulnerable moment like this, your love and support is appreciated far more than I could ever express. Thank you for uniting a family with a love that runs so deep, it could stop time and lift our heavy hearts, and let our girl do what God intended for her to do… Leave a legacy at Mississippi State that will spark a new way to live life in everyone.

To the entire Mississippi State Family,

Everyone in that stadium who got to experience just a sliver of how special our Alex is, was meant to be there for a reason. I hope every single person in that stadium last night walks away with a light heart, filled with infectious positivity, and the knowledge that this is the greatest family to be a part of. Lastly, I hope you all remember the greatest piece of advice you could ever receive in this life.

“Keep fighting and keep pushing every single day. Whether it’s cancer or some kind of disease, don’t let anything slow you down and just have a great life that you plan to have. Don’t let anything stop you from that.” –Alex Wilcox

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Thank you all and Hail State Forever,

Candace Denis

 

 

Thank You for Ruining the Old Me… But I Like the New Me Better Anyways

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Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin this time. I guess I’m supposed to say things like, “I hate you,” and “I hope your life sucks without me.” But let’s get one thing straight… If that’s the type of blog you were expecting then stop reading right now because I’m not the same weak, defensive little girl you claimed I was, or made me feel like I was, back then.

Thank you to every single person I loved who ended up breaking me into tiny bits and pieces. Thank you to every single person who had horrible, heart wrenching, things to say about me whether that was behind my back or for show on your big, bad Twitter feed. Thank you to every single girl who made fun of me for my stature and told me I was too “manly.” Thank you to every single boy who didn’t respect me or my body the way you were supposed to. Thank you to every person who whispered about how trashy I am when I’m out in public. Thank you to the girls who isolate me because I’m “different.” Thank you to all the people that make fun of me because I don’t like the same cookie-cutter things that EVERYONE else on this planet claims to like. Thank you to every person who chose to participate in any of these things because you were too scared to be different and stick up for me. This list could genuinely go on forever, just like a lot of these things still do, however the only difference now is that I learned and got better.

I got knocked off my big girl pedestal for the first time when I was 16 years old. I cannot express the amount of pain this brought me given that the ringleaders of the whole ordeal were people that I was extremely close to at some point prior to the situation. I was in a position where I wasn’t even able to defend myself, and to this day I’m still so grateful for the ONE person that did stick up for me. Hazel, if you’re reading this, I love you, and thank you for being so fearless for me. This is for y’all who suffer from cyberbullying. What seems like something so small and irrelevant can really turn out to be a giant domino effect, and this was the first domino for me. At 16 years old, I was supposed to explain to my parents why these people had such nasty things to say about me, when I didn’t even know why they were saying them myself. At 16 years old, I was supposed to listen to everyone say “boys will be boys” knowing that it’s just an excuse people say to justify why boys do and say nasty things to girls without reason. Like I said, this is just the type of thing that lead to a domino effect of boys, and even girls, disrespecting my body and assuming all the wrong things about me. This haunted me for so long and I let it eat me up inside. But I’m 20 years old now and I just want to thank you all. You taught me that my body is nobody else’s business. You taught me that people are going to assume what they want regardless of how I look or how I dress, so why not go all out? Sure I still believe in modesty, but if people are going to think and say what they want anyways, modesty isn’t what’s going to protect you from hurtful words. Being confident in who and what you are is what protects you from that, because if you’re happy with yourself, then what people say won’t effect you. Lastly, thank you for making me who I am because I’ve never been more proud of the skin I’m in than I am right now. With that all being said, these same “thank you for teaching me ____” could easily go to every mean girl who put me down for looking the way I do, every parent telling their kid (just loud enough to where I can hear it) that they’ll kill them if they ever let themselves look like me, every person who isolates me because I’m so vastly “different.” Every single one of you all have not only played a piece in breaking me, but also played a piece in helping me find myself and putting the real me back together. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I’m not going to sit here and act like these things don’t happen to me anymore. Boys will still “be boys” (whatever the heck that is supposed to mean), girls will still put me down for being and looking the way I am, and everyone is always going to talk. And if you’re wondering how I get through it, I let it all empower me. Not because I think “people are just jealous of me,” but because regardless I’m just happy to be here, the way I am right now. And when I meet the right people, they really do appreciate me. Am I aware not everyone has the same heart as me? Absolutely. Do I regret anything that’s happened to me? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I cannot say I was this happy with who I am prior to anything that’s happened to me, negative or positive. Opening up to this extent, once again, puts me in a vulnerable position, but I hope with all my being that this reaches the people it’s supposed to. If you’re out there wondering if you should wear that risqué shirt, if you’re wondering if you should wear the black lipstick, if you’re wondering if someone appreciates your differences, this is for you. Wear the shirt, wear the crazy makeup, make yourself known. If you think there’s no one out there that genuinely appreciates your differences, know that I do, and know that everything that’s meant to happen to you will happen to you. Make others uncomfortable with how comfortable you are with yourself. Fall in love with yourself BECAUSE of all the reasons people told you not to. Once again, thank you to everyone who let this happen for me. I pray more for y’all than I do for myself. And for those of you who are going through this, things get better for you the second you decide to be good enough for yourself. If you were waiting on a sign, this is it. Don’t waste a second of your life with resentment for those who made things difficult for you. You can never move forward with a heavy heart. There’s a new you ready to bloom and it’s exactly who you’re supposed to be.

 

With all the love in the world,

Candy

Getting Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

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Hey everyone! Before I begin, I cannot thank all my family and friends enough for supporting my writings and my art thus far. I used to write for myself, but now I often find myself writing for you all. Pouring my experiences into poetry (and now blogs) does indeed put me in a very vulnerable position, but I hope with all my being that it remotely touches at least one soul in a way that some of my favorite authors, and even friends, have done for me.

Today, 8/13/18, a good friend and I engaged in a conversation on several different controversial topics. Although we HIGHLY disagreed on nearly everything, I really enjoyed being able to speak about things that mattered to me to that extent and I got a huge hit to begin transitioning from writing strictly poetry, to writing blogs. As an SEC softball player, I feel like I should be using my platform to reach out to as many people as possible, whether it be to educate or to heal. That being said, I see so many negative things happening in this world today, and even personally I’ve had a lot of things go wrong for me. The topics I will be blogging about are things that are incredibly important to me or are experiences that I’ve been through that ultimately molded me into the person I am right now. I understand this is a vast category of things that I could be covering and I have decided to keep you all wondering on what these things might be. I want everything to be unexpected, to be a surprise. Because that’s what life is. There is never a way to truly prepare for anything in this life because there’s never a way of predicting what is meant to happen for you. We can guess and we can assume, and maybe sometimes we’re right. But it’s sort of like hinting at wanting that one super awesome toy for Christmas and then not getting it in the end. Maybe it wasn’t affordable. Maybe it was out of stock. Maybe it’ll be the last gift you unwrap and maybe you didn’t get it at all. So now you get the point, these things will be a surprise. Maybe you’re gonna come across a blog that was meant for you at that exact time. That’s also a goal of mine with these things. Lastly, it is well known among those who know me that I’m real good at making things uncomfortable. Whether it’s the way I dress, the things I talk about, the things I’m interested in. E v e r y t h i n g. Guess why? Life is uncomfortable.

So this is the tea for today yall. Get ready for surprises. Get ready to be uncomfortable. Cause if it’s not me making you feel this way then I promise it’s going to be something or someone else that does.

So much love to everyone taking the time to invest in this,

Candy