Songs To Dedicate To That Person For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Love is in the air. It’s the time when everyone rushes to get their crush, boy/girlfriend, significant other, fiancé, husband/wife a gift to show them how much they mean to them. However, if you’re short on money there is a way to show them how much you mean to them, making a playlist of songs that you can dedicate to them. If you’re a fan of Hip-Hop you’ll love this list of songs.  Continue reading “Songs To Dedicate To That Person For Valentine’s Day”

Troye Sivan Releases An Apologetic Lullaby – The Good Side

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A week ago I posted an article on Troye Sivan’s first single, My My My! from his upcoming Sophomore album.  Today, Troye released another new song  (co-written by Leland, Bram Inscore, Allie X, and Ariel Rechtshaid   ) and this time, it hurts in the most bittersweet way.

The new single, The Good Side, shows the most tender side of Troye that we have been able to see throughout his music career so far. The acoustic song plays out the apologetic side of growing out of a relationship, and falling in love with someone new. Serving us a much more organic production and honest intimacy within the lyrics, it’s almost impossible to not fall into your feelings while listening to this one. 

Troye offers up a lullaby of an apology to his ex-boyfriend with lines such as, Found arms to fall right into, I know how it looked, it wasn’t the plan, and some day I hope that you’ll understand that I sympathize, and I recognize, and baby, I apologize that I got the good side, the good side of things,” and the most heart-wrenching part, “I’m sure we’ll meet in the spring and catch up on everything, I’ll say I’m proud of all that you’ve done ,you taught me the ropes, and you taught me to love.

This gentle syrupy song was a side of Troye that I was not expecting to hear, but I am so here for it. With the whimsical acoustic guitar chords and the soft vocals, The Good Side, is reinvigorating to breakup anthems everywhere. While most breakup songs stand bitter and angsty, this one reaches for closure, growth, and healing.   

Again I say, I will always be inspired and awed by Troye’s talent. I can’t wait to sob all night with The Good Side on repeat. 

You can watch Troye perform his new singles live this Saturday on SNL.

 

My name is Tara and I put out articles for UIC Radio every Thursday. I’m a communication and professional writing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. If you want to keep up with my saucy life you can follow me here:

twitter –  https://twitter.com/tarabolar

instagram – https://www.instagram.com/tarabolar/

spotify-  https://open.spotify.com/user/taraanoellee

Looking For New Music?

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in the midst of procrastinating to study for finals, i put some playlists together on spotify.

i highkey have a bomb taste in music, so if you’re looking for something new, or something to fit a certain mood, check these playlists out:

(i PROMISE these are good)

1.)

for nights out with the girls / pregaming / promiscuous and saucy moods

2.)

f*ck boy rap, but like, good f*ck boy rap

Continue reading “Looking For New Music?”

I Should Really Talk About This Radio Show I’ve Had For Like Two Weeks

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Photo courtesy of The Telegraph

This may surprise some of you, but these blogs aren’t my only means of dispensing garbage throughout the campus.

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen my long dormant Twitter suddenly reawaken with weirdly incoherent and rambling tweets about something called “The Longplay”. Well don’t worry folks, those aren’t the ramblings of a madman; they’re poor attempts at plugs for my now three week old radio show “The Longplay”.

“But Jonah,” you say, your wide, infantile eyes locked with mine; “your blog is bad enough, so why on earth would I use the finite amount of precious seconds I am allowed in this life to subject my ears to whatever dribble may come cascading out of the airwaves?”

First of all, thank you.

Second, let me talk about the show a bit here, and then you can decide if you want to commit or not. Does that sound fair?

Continue reading “I Should Really Talk About This Radio Show I’ve Had For Like Two Weeks”

Note To Self

“this is an open diary. this gives my insides a voice through visuals and poetry; this is me spilled out on paper.”

Typically on this blog you’ll find album reviews and updates on everything new in the music scene, but for right now I would like to do something different and talk about a book.

Books and albums are pretty similar. They’re both a form of art, they both tell stories, and they both can be used as a mental crutch.

I’ve recently finished reading the new book, Note To Self, written by Connor Franta. Connor Franta is a YouTuber, New York Times bestselling author, entrepreneur, and a LGBTQ+ philanthropist. This is Connor’s sophomore book following his memoir, A Work In Progress.

Note To Self is a collections of poems, memories, thoughts, and essays that come from a deep and vulnerable place. Connor Franta allows readers to see the world from his perceptive as he opens up about love, heartbreak, and dealing with mental illness. Note To Self gives us an interior look into Connor’s life that cannot be seen online.

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This book is real. A lot of these pages I read with a heavy heart and truly could empathize with Connor. I found myself reading a line and thinking, ouch, that really hits close to home.”

But then there were the pages that left me feeling hopeful and inspired. They were reminders that I’m not alone with my feelings, and to always keep an open heart and an open mind.

Connor Franta wrote this book for himself (hence the title) as a way to reflect on his past few years. Through this self-reflection, Connor has opened a gateway for readers to come in and find their own meanings and to find comfort. Through the highs and the lows, this book made me feel something; it was something I could relate to and something I could find a sense of ease in.

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I highly recommend everyone picks up a copy of this book. It’s a great read, and it offers a little something for everyone. You can buy a copy of Note To Self Here.

I also had the pleasure to meet Connor Franta at the Chicago stop of his book signing. I will also be attending the Note To Self Tour in Milwaukee, which includes visuals from the book created by Connor, and a Q&A and discussion session. You can buy tickets for the tour Here.

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Going Through Gay Puberty in a Conservative Community

This is the first installment of a multi-part series detailing my experiences during the initial realization of my sexuality at twelve years old and the subsequent struggles I endured because of it. Capturing these moments is a difficult and extremely emotional process for me. I hope at least some of you will read along and find something worthwhile. – Trev


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Part I: Sitting on the Edge of Heaven

Self discovery can be a tremendously beautiful and illuminating experience. It is a time when a young person chisels the brilliantly unique sculpture that is their identity, sharing characteristics with many others yet somehow amalgamating into one that is wholly its own. I remember the initial joy I felt: pure, unreserved. An abundance of internal confetti rained down as all the various parts of my self united for a toast over a grand celebration of realized soul. Recognizing a personal talent, experiencing a first kiss, discovering a taste in music or a sense of fashion; there are few processes on this Earth as manifestly beautiful and natural as this. Left to its default, this time can contain some of the most glorious experiences in a person’s life. For some, this is exactly the case. For others, such as myself, the party gets busted. This is more in the sense of a malicious raid conducted by abusers of authority rather than justice being brought upon some obstreperous breakers of law. It didn’t start out awful, however.

My development began like anyone else’s. Eighth grade was the year I discovered a significant amount of myself, especially the sexual components, while the previous three were mainly focused on basic survival. Middle school was a mostly dark and treacherous tunnel of an experience, but eighth grade would emerge as the beaming light at the end of it. It’s not that I was brutally shoved into lockers or stricken with abject poverty. Materially and externally, I recognize that I’ve lived a relatively fortunate life. My assaults have been almost exclusively emotional in nature. These, of course, range from the minor to the more substantial. For an example of the former, when it came time for the rather inclusive fifth grade Christmas play, yours truly was honored with the role of the most corpulent character in all the land: Santa Claus.

Getting stuck with the part of Crisco Kringle can be attributed to my being quite portly in those days. Upon receiving the role, I was distinctly told by my teacher that we would place, “… a pillow or something,” under the tawdry, red outfit when the time came, because of course I hadn’t been typecast for being the plumpest pupil in the room. Needless to say, come showtime, it became quite clear that my designation was based on fitting the costume more than the role. After getting dressed I asked about the proposed padding only to be met with a terse, “I think we’ll be okay.” Yep. So this festive Humpty Dumpty rolled his jolly, fat ass onto that stage and gave it his all, sans pillow or dignity. It’s worth noting that I don’t have much red in my wardrobe to this very day, as if the mere sight of it irritates me, like some kind of bulimic bull. This is still far less direct than the time my seventh grade history teacher recommended I try out for shot put because I was, ‘nice and stout,’ (to this day I get triggered when perusing selections of beer) followed by derisive chuckling by both he and my supposed “best friend” at the time. Both at home and within those halls, these sorts of minor aggressions would be consistent but trivial compared to the larger tribulations to come.

General body dysmorphia aside, by eighth grade I had started eating better and moving more. Turns out self-hatred can be somewhat of a motivator, at least temporarily. Point is, I was feelin’ myself. I had an unprecedented level of confidence and comfort towards school, in part because that prepubescent, transitional phase where kids are desperate to prove their maturity and value against increased competition had simmered down. People had on the whole chilled the f*ck out, at least until next year, when we’d once again be launched into the bottom of a feral, hormonal wilderness. It was at this time I also started to recognize my attraction to other boys. In the earliest stages, before feelings left the unnoticed, background hum of subconscious and entered the frontal realm of labels and suppositions, these feelings granted me nothing short of unadulterated bliss. Crushes developed, boners boned as my overly naive mind navigated itself through exciting, new territory. All of this culminated into a moment where I was taking care of the placement of teachers’ mail per my duties as an ‘office assistant.’ (This willingness to please and assist authority would come to plague my development more than anything else.) Staring into a name tag-covered wall of schlocky, wooden cubes, my internal monologue reached it’s breaking point. Just say it. Admit it to yourself. Aloud, alone, I resigned and whispered, “I’m gay.”

In this instant I actually smiled. There was no feeling of wickedness or vice. Once the word had materialized, however, it was a short amount of time before indoctrinated judgement cast its dark, unloving shadow. My party got busted. The scratching sound of needle being abruptly ripped from vinyl pierced through the room as men in uniform despotically kicked down my doors of self, barking and breaking as the joy was replaced with fear and the celebrating turned to living nightmare. Such is often the experience of being gay in rural America. Much like the figurative festivity, the risk of continued disruption is usually mitigated by relocation, ideally to places that honor the separation of foliage and fashion. I tabled the problem at hand for the time being.

Over the following weeks and months I endured internal warfare. Images of the scaly, smelly flesh of demons that had been taught to my obsessive compulsive mind since I was six flooded my spirit. Shrieks of anguished and aflame dis-obeyers served as the soundtrack to what was supposed to be a formative and wonderful period of my life. The invisible crusade raged on until, one night, I decided to call upon the One I had been taught to in times like this. I knew what I was feeling was wrong, but I didn’t actually feel wrong. I also knew that I loved God very, very much, and I wanted all of his love in return. So, amidst the backdrop of another unnervingly still, Midwestern night, feeling as small as I ever had, I seated my twelve year old self on the edge of my bed. With desperation and incertitude, I held my clammy, adolescent hands together and spoke to him, aloud, “God, if there is any way, any way at all for you to love me the way I am, please do. Please, show me that you do.” There was no response. I remained confused and alone, waiting for God to love me. Waiting for permission to love myself.


Trev Richards is host of the weekly talk program Trev on UIC Radio; Live, Wednesdays 8:30 – 10:30 PM Central Time. Follow/listen on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, iTunes and SoundCloud

You Should Be Loving Someone

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It has been one week since the presidential election, and the country is still grieving. From the large number of protests that have broken out around the world this past week, it should be pretty evident that we are scared of what the future may hold.

Both Trump and his VP Pence can be seen as a threat to minorities, women, and the entire LGBTQ+ community. I’m sure by now we have all heard the hateful and disrespectful things the two future representatives of our country have said.

From saying, “Mexicans are lazy,” to the discrimination against Muslims, and to Pence’s terrifying support of conversation therapy, there is a lot of hate being distributed. But the thing that scares me the most, is that there are fellow Americans out there who are supporting and fueling this hate.

Donald Trump Addresses GOP Lincoln Day Event In Michigan

Since Trump’s victory, the number of hate crimes have already increased. This is heartbreaking.

On Monday, November 14th 2016, I was front row at the The 1975’s concert. The moment of the night that really struck a chord in me, was when the band performed their song, Loving Someone.

The song was dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community with pride flags out and rainbow lighting for the set. Lead singer, Matty Healy, introduced the song with a speech.

 He said: “Let me tell you that I know America, we know America, and the America we know is a young America. It’s a young America, it’s a liberal America, it’s a compassionate America, it’s a socially responsible America. It’s an America that doesn’t react to fear with anger, and doesn’t react to anger with fear, especially. It’s also a black America, it’s a Muslim America, and it’s a gay America.”

The performance was beautiful and powerful, and I think we all can agree with Matty when he says we should not react to this fear with anger, but as it says in their song, we all “should be loving someone.”

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It is so easy for us to give into anger in times like this, and while yes, we do have every right to be angry, love is what we really need. Love will overcome fear and hate. Love will unite us and bring us together. As long as we are all kind and compassionate to one another, we will make it through.

Love Trump’s Hate.

You are not alone right now. Many of us are afraid, but if we all stick together with love and patience, we will win this fight. We will not give into the fear, we will not give into the hate, and we will not be divided.

To quote a line from The 1975’s song, Loving Someone:  “We’re all human, we’re just like you.”

How My Current Relationship Changed My Outlook on Love

I would always roll my eyes when others claimed my relationships were in the “honeymoon phase.” Who are they to reduce the meaningful connection and deep emotions I felt for my significant other to something so fleeting?

I have a had deep disdain for these terms for the entirety of my dating life. The very existence of these concepts perpetuates the thought that, at some point, you and your significant other will start to love each other less.

Weren’t terms like “puppy love” just doubting generalizations made by older generations to discredit the idea that teens and young adults could have love for each other?

Well, while the majority of people who would say these things to me were a generation or two older than me, I have had a handful of people, who I had been dating at the time, state the our relationship was transitioning out of the “honeymoon phase.”

However, there is a difference between how these two groups manipulate these phrases. While older generations use them to describe how the love-drunken goggles we wear in the initiating stages of a relationship are shed as time progresses, younger generations use them as excuses for why they eventually cease putting forth effort as a relationship stagnates.

Does a relationship naturally stagnate after a certain point? Or do relationships stagnate as a result of either party, or both, putting forth less effort?

There is no way to give a definitive answer—for all relationships are unique and possess many differing variables and outliers—but, as a hyper-attendant, love-dovey significant other, I was never able to wrap my head around the reasoning of my peers.

If you love someone, truly, why would you ever pass up an opportunity to express how important they are to you?

Sure, after some times passes, both parties will get comfortable, so there’s less pressure all around. Shaving regularly? Meh. Eating with perfect manners? Not required. Putting on makeup everyday? No thanks.  Professing your feelings for the other person? What for? “We’re already dating/engaged/married/etc.”

Maybe you’ve lost the urge to shout your devotion to this person from the rooftops, but does that mean the “spark” is fading? Is it fair to say the relationship has left the “honeymoon phase?”

Yesterday night, as my boyfriend and I sat in my living room, painstakingly collaborating on my horrendous statistics homework for four hours, both frustrated, moody, exhausted, and agitated, the realization dawned on me: My relationship has left the honeymoon phase.

We’ve traded our weekend road-trips and spontaneous food adventures for nights spent indoors, scheduled around long homework sessions with half hour dinner breaks, followed by rewarding ourselves with a bit of Netflix only to pass out from exhaustion ten minutes into the movie.

Between my boyfriend’s career, his graduate courses, caring for a new puppy, and me, being enrolled in the second half of my junior year at UIC—which entails ridiculously time-demanding course work as a Communications major, English minor (i.e. a horrendous amount of reading)—our once central focus on our interpersonal relationship has been brushed to the side.

The “honeymoon phase” is over, but it does not hold the implications I believed it would.

Though our lives are hectic, and we have not had a full day alone together, I do not love him any less. The “spark” has not faded. Neither of us are trying any less than before.

But nothing is the same.

I once believed such a day would never come if you were with the right person, but the key difference between leaving the “honeymoon phase” with the wrong person versus with the right person, lies in the outcome.

When this happens with the wrong person, resentment usually settles in. You’ll question why she’s not complimenting you as much, why he’s distant, why she’s moody, etc. You’ll fixate on all the negative aspects of change and, eventually, you’ll part ways.

When this happens with the right person, you’ll (typically) be too busy to notice. Once you take a moment and the realization hits you, you’ll reflect on the time that has passed. Though so much has changed, maybe some things in such ways with which you are not entirely content, you’re still thankful.

You’ll focus on the positives: how he’ll work for eight hours then spend his down time taking over puppy monitoring just so you can have a half-hour to yourself or the way she rubs your shoulders after you’ve had a long day even though she’s exhausted too.

Your lives may be changing in terrifying, seemingly impossible, ways but you appreciate the fact that you’re facing it together.

Adversity changes all relationships, but when it strengthens your bond instead of causing it to fall apart, that is the true definition of leaving the “honeymoon phase.”

You won’t love less; you’ll love unconsciously. Differently, but naturally.

X,

Katerina

 

 

 

 

 

Intercultural Relationships: Why I Will Always Date Outside of My Culture

Okay, I’ll say it. Your parents have probably been lying to you.

No, I’m not talking about the Santa-isn’t-real betrayal or that “drinking coffee stunts your growth” myth they probably fed you as a child.

I’m talking about the lies they might have pressured you with about dating, relationships, and marriage, specifically emphasizing the importance of ending up with someone from your same culture.

These ideals are particularly indicative of households where both parents are from the same culture, socialize primarily within that culture, and, in some cases, are born or raised in the country where the culture originates or is fairly prominent.

As the only daughter of two super traditional Greek parents (one a native Greek, the other non-native),  this has been my life for the past twenty years.

Just like Toula Portokalos (played by Nia Vardalos) from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, my parents have been nudging me to marry a Greek guy. Since day one, my old-fashioned, Greek immigrant dad has warned me to keep away from all of the Ian Miller types out there by labeling anyone who isn’t Greek a “xeno” (ksEH-no), a word that originates from the Greek word xenos (ξένος in Greek lettering) meaning “stranger” or “foreigner”.

Despite their efforts, I have never dated a Greek guy, nor will I ever.

Greek men are typically strong-willed, boisterous, stubborn, and a bit narcissistic. They’re also charming, romantic, and spontaneous. I realized I couldn’t date/marry a Greek man because I basically just described myself (kidding, kind of).

All jokes aside, the real reason why is because I love xenos: I love talking to them, befriending them, and sometimes (gasp) dating them. Learning about different cultures has always fascinated me, and in the same respect, people seem to be enchanted by me when I talk about my Greek heritage.

We are so accustomed to our own cultures that what may seem normal to us could be a completely new concept or practice to someone else! This statement is especially applicable to holidays.

My family and I jokingly refer to yesterday as “American Easter” to differentiate between Western/Catholic Easter and our Eastern/Orthodox Christian Easter, which typically fall on different days due to the Catholic and Orthodox churches following different calendars (this year they are a month apart).

Yesterday,  I experienced my first full-fledged American Easter with my boyfriend and his family and, needless to say, I was pretty excited to learn how he and his family celebrates, but when I arrived, I felt kind of shy and uncomfortable.

When you’re accustomed to family gatherings entailing a house full of extremely noisy, bantering Greeks, a relaxed Easter gathering is a bit of a shock. I was completely unaware that it was possible for a family to enjoy each other’s company and converse using their “indoor voices” — a notion I have only heard of in theory. It was enjoyable, and my ear drums enjoyed being able to relax.

My discomfort dispelled just in time for me to be exposed to new food, hooray! Though I was missing the roasted lamb, dolmades (rolled grape leaves stuffed with rice and spices), and feta cheese, I discovered the joys of baked corn.

I know how silly this must seem, but it was completely foreign to me! The dish looked strange; it was like a fluffy corn soufflé with blackened, crispy edges. My eyes informed me it was burnt so I should skip it, but my nose was telling me to take ten scoops of the mystery dish. Relationships are all about compromise, so I took only two scoops.

One bite in, and I was hooked. The outer layer was crunchy, almost bread-like, and the inside was creamy and sweet, having been baked in an oven amplified the natural sweetness of the corn. I was overjoyed and couldn’t stop raving about it all day.

I wasn’t even missing lamb at this point. I was just so pleased to enjoy the day with my boyfriend, try new things, and experience his family’s version of Easter.

When the day had ended, I realized two things.

Obviously, I learned that I should have initially listened to my nose and I now desperately need that baked corn recipe.

More importantly, as we all know, holidays are about getting together with the people you care about and enjoying each others company. It doesn’t matter if they’re loud or soft-spoken, or if they serve dolmades or baked corn (though I’ll probably put a word in with my family about it). We might celebrate differently, but we come together for the same reason.

All corniness (I’m so sorry) aside, I’m pretty sure I aced American Easter. We’ll see how my boyfriend handles his first Greek Easter (affectionately nicknamed “Greeaster” by my cousins and I) on May 1st.

Between all the commotion and my grandma lovingly insisting we should have seconds and thirds, something tells me he might have a tougher go at it than I did.

Until next week!

X,

Katerina

 

 

 

 

Why Being an Ambivert Can Be Exhausting

I used to think I was good at making friends.

I’ve always excelled in social settings of all sizes. I loved striking up conversations with strangers (sorry, mom and dad) and getting to know their quirks, their thoughts, their individual stories.

I lived for that conversational high — that feeling of, “Wow, this human is new to me and we have so much to discuss! I could talk to them for hours about…um…everything!” I took great joy in sharing my passions and ideas with others almost as much as I enjoyed hearing them talk about their own.

I loved big gatherings. I felt energized by the buzz of a lively room filled with mingling masses whose colorful banter bounced across the walls of the space it occupied.

But over the past few years, I’ve started to shut down sporadically.

Oftentimes, I feel overwhelmed at parties. Oftentimes, there’s this bizarre pressure — primarily self-inflicted but also a product of the social environment — to have a “good time.” Oftentimes, groups of more than 8-9 people depress me.

I stress the adverb “oftentimes” because aside from the fact that this happens more frequently than I would like, this isn’t limited to just parties. It applies to being in class, at work, or even in casual setting, like a coffee shop.

I start thinking too much: “How can I convince these people to listen to my words? Or that I’m more interesting than their phones? Is that even possible? Just look at me.”

And the worst part? I can never anticipate it.

I could be surrounded by people and be having a spectacular time, and then without any notice, I lose myself. My brain just shuts off, and my smile tapers  — like someone abruptly changed the channel.

“I want to be alone,” I say to myself. “No, I need to be alone and now.”

 I love being around people, but it’s torturous to me most of the time. It’s just not fair.

This is the life of a socially-anxious ambivert.

An ambivert is simply a person who is neither an introvert nor an extrovert. Though introversion and extroversion are typically presented as mutually exclusive traits, they really aren’t. More people are likely to fall under the category of ambiversion than we would expect.

Ambiversion is not a bad thing, but it can be when coupled with mental health problems.

Though I have been struggling these past few years, this semester in particular has been testing my mental strength: moving to Chicago, having to rely on/get the hang of public transportation (still pending), starting a new job, adjusting to the academic pace of a university (versus a community college), and leaving all of my loved ones back home.

I lost all of the constants in my day-to-day life, and most of the days I’ve spent at UIC thus far have been exhausting, but I’m still fighting.

My goal today was to spread awareness about mental health. There’s a good chance there are people in your life who are experiencing similar issues every day, so let’s all be kind.

If you have been able to relate to any of this, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that you’ve been struggling, but I’m so proud of you for fighting every day.

You’re so much stronger than you know, and you’re more capable than words can describe.

X,
Katerina