Dear Wonderful Soul,
One of the necessary ingredients to killing each seed of suicide (that the Grim Reaper continuously and covertly plants within select hearts via a lullaby), is to force yourself to think ahead. Strive to experience any possible future of your termination of your precious life through the being of at least one loved one to experience their unceasing excruciation which would be akin to never again exhaling but consciousness ever living.
Guilt and his army may pursue you due to your suicidal desires so initiate their escape from you by wielding this truth: you are not at fault for the temptations which arrive. Though the battle may be recurring, your blade will remain true.
Remember to think ahead on how your absence would affect those who love you, as you construct a foolproof fortress against Death whenever he arrives with his tailored seeds and peculiar croon.
This method will assist one in subduing full fledged suicidal impulses as well so crawl past the unbidden desires of your self-murder which detonated into your fantasies; though it will feel impossible by that point, persevere because it will be achievable.
- Written by C.A. Nicholas
- Photograph by mskathrynne and enhanced by C.A. Nicholas.
Breath fled from him. The rapid exodus of his exhale brought forth the paint that his heart could no longer paint within the lines. Their fists continued to hail upon his frame as they propelled their steel-toed boots into the places their hands could not reach. They left him half-dead, with their thunderous echoes of "wetback" and "freeloader," swirling like oil and water within his head.
Ash gray gravel unearthed red rivers from his palms as he crawled towards the highway. He pleaded against the Grim Reaper, not for his sake, but for his mother, wife, and toddler who awaited his return.
A man clothed in 13 stripes and 50 stars pulled over when he saw the dying man upon the roadside. Gratitude warmed the man's soul as the rescuer approached with phone in hand. Yet that hope converted to a tightening apprehension as the self-proclaimed patriot kept his phone at bay. The unaware flag desecrater displayed a flawless smile as he asked if the man was legally an American. The dying man gave lying assurances which pleaded outside Suspicion's fortress; the wall which encircled fear. Unsure of whom to call, the ambulance or border patrol, the anchor baby of European ancestors chose a compromise. He pocketed his phone as he left the man at death's door. Never mind that the injured man worked harder than the co-workers who beat him and looted him when they found out that his citizenship wasn't approved.
A prosperity preacher saw the dying man and passed by with nary a deceleration; a sticker plastered upon his bumper proclaimed "God helps those who help themselves."
A night, naked of light, overtook the man's consciousness ever so briefly.
When he awoke, he saw a woman's hand tenderly placed upon his heart. Her display of compassion began to heal his soul as he looked skyward, and saw the woman's face, encircled by a hijab of snowy white. Her eyes were closed as she was in the midst of a prayer. A dove flew overhead, an anomaly in that night. When the woman opened her eyes she told him an ambulance was on the way and that everything would be paid for.
When the rabbi finished his story, he asked, "Now, who would you say was a neighbor to the man who was left for dead?"
The congressman with a lower case 't' pinned upon his lapel hung his head in shame as he replied, "the woman."
Jesus, also known as The Way, the Truth, and the Life, replied with compassion. "Then go and do as she would do."
- Written by C.A. Nicholas.
**Based on the Expanded Bible (EXB) version of Luke 10:25-37.**
(Alternate Cover Photo)
The following is inspired by a true story.
Charlie: "I'm off to see the neighbor, my wonderful neighbor across the way."
Charlie, clad in an emo outfit, daintily skips across the street with a package balanced upon his left palm. He expertly swerves around speeding cars as drivers honk and wave their greetings; all roll down their windows and bid him a good afternoon while some even high-five him...all without slowing down of course.
Just as Charlie reaches the opposite street, a grown White man with a white sheet over him (there are no eyeholes in the sheet but there are earholes of course) materializes at the end of the block and he beckons him over.
Fortunately the sheet doesn't have a pointed hood. Unfortunately for the belated trick-or-treater, Charlie would like to be on his way just the same. So Charlie points to his package and shouts with a smile...
Charlie: "I'm on a special errand."
Ghost Man: ...
So Charlie goes on his way, right up to the front door of his neighbor who lives across the way. He huffs and he puffs and he doesn't blow the neighbor's house down. He's merely attempting to catch his breath. When he's breathing like a gentleman again, he smooths his naturally black hair (which he's dyed ebony) and politely hammers on the door.
As he waits for a response, he peeks over to the front of the block and his heart calmly convulses as the Ghost Man is still standing there...watching him....waiting for him to finish...sharpening his butter knife...humming the Barney theme song (wait, no; thank goodness that humming is coming from a Parrot crossing an empty road), getting ready to...
Neighbor: "Hey Charlie, thank you so much for delivering this. Will you please thank your Mom for making this chocolate cake for me?"
Charlie glances at the fake ghost and sees him preoccupied with slicing a bagel who is fighting to remain whole.
Bagel: "Eat me as I am!"
Neighbor: "Hey Charlie, is everything okay?"
Charlie grins as he says...
Charlie: "Not at all! Have a good day!"
Charlie thrusts the dessert into his neighbor's hands as he gallops to the other end of the block. He's about to make his way around but he suddenly realizes what a pickle he is in.
Charlie: "The Ghost Man is bound to have won his bagel battle by now so he must be keeping a keen eye out, wondering where I've gone and impatiently waiting for my return. How awkward it will be when he plainly sees me walking back to my house but from the opposite side of the block. What will I say? 'No Mr. Ghost Man', I wasn't avoiding you...I was avoiding you with force.'
Yeah, real swell Charlie. I think I'll return to the rear of this block and continue ahead on that street, hidden from view. Next, I'll turn towards my house when I'll be but an unidentifiable speck in that fake ghost's eyes. Then, I'll go through the back roads until I end up in the alleyway behind my back garden. Finally, I'll climb that fence and enter my home that way."
Kid Girl who Had Been Listening to Charlie's Monologue since it Would be Pointless if there Wasn't an Audience: "Epilogue...your sad self sits in the rear of a police car because the neighbors called the cops about a burglary."
Kid Girl: "Scrambling over the fence sure won't look suspicious. Anyways, who's to say that you won't rob your own home? You're crazy enough, with your monologuing and all."
Charlie mumbles to himself as he distractedly turns the corner and walks towards his front door. Ghost Man confusedly scratches his head as he takes a bite from his sliced bagel.
Kid Girl walks alongside Charlie as he is still too far away to be heard by Ghost Man. Kid Girl hopes that Charlie's next monologue is brief so that she can get on with her life already.
Charlie: "I'm not afraid of him you know. It's just that I'm uncomfortable of conversations..."
Kid Girl: "You don't say."
Charlie: "I didn't finish talking."
Kid Girl: "You did but you decided to make an unnecessary sequel. Please have mercy on my life and your ears; do stop talking."
Charlie stops walking.
Kid Girl: "Have mercy on my soul!"
Charlie: "I was going to say that I'm uncomfortable with having conversations with him. He's not a bad individual...he's a friendly ghost and all...not at all violent. It's just that he often asks for money and only for alcohol, of which he has a problem with. Well, at least he's honest."
Kid Girl: "A drinking problem with alcohol? Ah, no matter how hard he tries, the poor soul can't bring the bottle to his lips?"
Charlie: "You know what I mean."
Kid Girl: "Yes, I do. Did you have to write me so sarcastically!? My name is Clara by the way, not 'Kid Girl'".
Charlie and Clara resume walking.
Charlie: "Also, on the first day we crossed paths he..."
Clara:"...obliviously exhaled fumes in your face and took swigs from his vodka bottle as he told you to never do drugs. He named the illicit ones but not the socially accepted one which he was consuming. I know the account. I'm from your head after all. Anyways, I'm getting tired of this play.
Ah, finally, Ghost Man is in earshot. Goodbye!"
Clara teleports herself way out of there.
Charlie and Ghost Man embarrassingly stare at one another. Well, I think Ghost Man is but I can't see his eyes clearly.
Charlie tentatively waves and Ghost Man does the same. Charlie slumps his head and quickly walks to his front door.
- Written by Charlie Avinash Nicholas.
- Photo by 6689062
A Warm Welcome: Here Are My Essays Which Assisted My Acceptance into the Communications Graduate Program
Immigration Reform Outreach
Written by Charlie Avinash Nicholas
Published on 12 July 2018
(Updated on 3 September 2018)
America is a human rights violator. It is not my intention to declare every individual within this multicultural nation a destroyer of human rights nor do I discount the freedoms which this union affords to many individuals. However, it is undeniable that this nation is an abuser of immigrants who seek refuge yet there is a change coming from me (a newly minted activist) and policy warriors whom I have joined. I have learned about how to effectively combat America’s inhumane immigration system from reputable associations such as the non-profit organization called American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), non-profit legal groups named The Florence Immigration and Refugee Rights Project (TFIRRP), and the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), as well as a non-profit alliance by the name of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC). I have been a force of nature on behalf of immigrants by striving to raise money for the aforementioned organizations, contacting government leaders to transform the immigration system into a humane one, and helping undocumented immigrants receive legal assistance.
One of the ways in which I’m engaging in my civic duty for immigrants is by appealingly seeking donations for their legal representation. I began my endeavor before I stepped foot into the Communication, Democracy, & Civic Engagement class. I’ve been an avid reader of the news since the political campaigns for 2016 in America swung into force (that year would be the first time that I could vote in an open-seat general election after all) so I was well aware about President Trump’s heinous actions such as vehemently lying about Muslims in New Jersey cheering during 9/11, demonizing undocumented Latinx immigrants (initially, he specifically talked about people from Mexico), and his rhetoric on the campaign trail where he proposed the issuance of tags for all Muslims in America (to track them). Yet when one of his numerous fascistic speeches led to a government action, I latched on to courage as I decided to do more than just speak out against Trump’s rhetoric. The horrifying deed which sparked passion within me is the Trump-endorsed zero-tolerance policy.
Six days before the first day of my Capstone class, I composed, performed, and published a piano song on Bandcamp to support the Latinx undocumented immigrants who were tortured by the American government. Fleeing to the Land of the Free/Babes and Parents Divided by Lady Liberty/Uncle Sam Drugs the Kiddies, as displayed by the title, is a composition whose themes are threefold. The Fleeing to the Land of the Free portion of the single details the journey of socio-economically disenfranchised Latinx individuals into America, Babes and Parents Divided by Lady Liberty shines a light on this nation’s enforcement of ripping undocumented immigrant children from their parents’ arms, and Uncle Sam Drugs the Kiddies unveils the practice of immigration officials drugging children in an effort to calm them down (to shut them up from crying), after their separation. My piece does not contain words but it mirrors the emotions that undocumented immigrants experienced during these experiences (imperfectly so since I realize that I can only imagine the trauma that our siblings in humanity have faced) as well as the perspective of many Americans on the crisis. The 6:40 minute song alternates between uncertain, yet hopeful, and anxious in the first portion. I composed that section of the song in such a manner in order to represent the hope of immigrants making the perilous journey to America as well as their uncertainty on whether they will be able to make it to the border. Near the middle, the composition initiates a triumphant hope in the listener to portray what many may feel and fantasize upon making it close to and arriving in what is supposed to be a welcoming land of freedom. As the single approaches the finale, the triumphant notes transition into sinister ones to highlight the separation of families. In the final stretches of the song, a surreal atmosphere is exuded to bring attention to the absurd reality of America doing something fascistic (ripping families apart and forcing drugs into kids), as well as to shine a spotlight on the trance-like effects on the underdeveloped childrens’ minds and bodies as a result of being drugged. My song concludes with unsettling sounds to drive home the horror of it all.
I decided to donate all of my potential proceeds from my single to TCRP to directly help the organization in providing legal help to Latinx immigrants and refugees who arrive in Texas from below the nation’s southern border. I promoted my piece by posting the downloadable link, along with a description of why I am donating all of my prospective proceeds to TCRP, once on Instagram and twice on Facebook and Twitter.
My coursework in my Capstone class inspired me into continuing to use my talents to fight for undocumented immigrants so I constructed another piano single on July 3. In determining the result of a lack of sales for my prior piece, I realized that it was a bit avant-garde because, though no section was off-key, some parts were discordant. That is why I decided to make my next piece more palatable without sacrificing the horror of what it would represent. The theme of Fleeing to the Sanctuary & Fantasizing About that Famed Dream was simplified and refined from the previous single to represent a refugee hoping to arrive and thrive in a sanctuary. After I composed my single, I realized that I desired an accompanying piece which could truly represent the experiences of the Latinx refugee community and I was thrilled to find one that is legally provided to everyone for free via a Creative Commons license. The title of that short piece is Xicoci, and it was composed by Gasper Fernandez and performed by Capella Ducis with the Quercus Quartet. The song is a lullaby in Nathuatl, which is the language of the Nahuas community who live in Mexico and El Salvador. I used this dreamlike piece as the intro to my song (I gave due credit which I would have done anyway, even if it weren’t the sole requirement for me to include it in my composition) and I was amazed that it accompanied my song beautifully. Unfortunately, I didn’t look closely enough at the type of Creative Commons license that Xicoci fell under until 43 days after I had published Fleeing to the Sanctuary & Fantasizing About that Famed Dream. I had made the false assumption that all Creative Commons licenses are synonymous with Public Domain.
Xicoci is licensed with a Creative Commons Non-Commerical License which means that anyone can listen to the entire song and share it as much as one pleases yet one cannot make a profit off of their song nor album if it includes any part of Xicoci. I discovered this when I looked upon my single, Fleeing to the Sanctuary & Fantasizing About that Famed Dream on August 15. When I realized my oversight, I replaced Xicoci with Monastery Sounds by an artist who goes by PlatypusVA. That song is licensed by an Attribution Creative Commons License, which means that anyone can legally make a profit from the songs as long as I give due credit (which I’ve made a habit of doing even when no attribution is required). Fortunately Monastery Sounds fit my piano composition nicely as well.
The majority of my piano solo creates, while sustaining, an explosion of hope in the listener since I played with jubilation and yearning as I empathized with the families who race from the slaughter, as well as the corruption, of their governments into the arms of one who is supposed to protect refugees. To the best of my ability, I imagined their hopes and expectations of the promised land, a place of sanctuary and a place to thrive (the American Dream which is supposed to be available to all); I poured those feelings into my composition. The notes which provide exultation when played at a fast tempo instill a sense of loss when they are played at a decreased speed so I dramatically slowed my piano solo at the conclusion. I did this to portray the shattered dreams of the refugees who arrived here only to be subjected to Trump’s zero-tolerance policy.
I edited Monastery Sounds to make it sound haunting while still remaining recognizable, as well as sonically agreeable, and I placed this version of the song at the end of my solo. I included a warped version of this holy chant in order to portray the perversion of America’s treatment of the innocent. I included a clip of a child crying (the clip is legally free for commercial use via an Attribution license), to enhance that message as well as to represent the cries of the children who are separated from their parents.
I promoted my single by posting it twice on Facebook, as well as once on Instagram and Twitter. I am grateful that my promotion, minimal though it was, resulted in someone paying $20 for my single. Since BandCamp takes 15% of each profit and PayPal charges $0.30 for each transaction, I was left with $15.80 (Bandcamp & McDunnigan). I paid this amount to TFIRRP via their donation page. However, those payments took place in July which was when Xicoci was still embedded within Fleeing to the Sanctuary & Fantasizing About that Famed Dream. Therefore, I contacted klankbeeld, the distributor of the song (the person whom I downloaded the piece from) to ask him how I could donate $20 to him after I learned of my mistake. I have yet to hear back from the gentleman.
I created yet another single on the night of July 19 yet this one did not focus on immigration. Rather, it focused on Trump’s visit with Putin in Helsinki, Finland. However, I still decided to continue my work by making a dedication to donate all of my potential proceeds to an undocumented immigrant and refugee advocacy organization by the acronym of FLIC. I unfortunately have yet to make a profit on this single yet it’s no wonder why I haven’t since I only posted the song once on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Yet I knew that using my music to create awareness and raise money are merely two ways of fighting for the downtrodden so
I set out to broaden my outreach.
I went down another avenue of outreach by contacting our potential and current local government leaders to treat undocumented immigrants and refugees of the Latinx community as human beings instead of beasts. My first step into this arena occurred when I committed to contacting the candidates for Florida Attorney General by way of Twitter. I noticed that the potential Attorney Generals, Ryan Torrens and Sean Shaw, were active on that social media site so believed it would be a great way to connect with them. Around the middle of the night on July 3, shortly after I finished constructing Fleeing to the Sanctuary & Fantasizing About that Famed Dream, I asked them whether they had any plans to punish the inhumane ICE agency for their crimes. I received an answer from each of them on that day. Mr. Torrens promised to hold the agency accountable and he heavily implied that he would sue them like 18 of the nation’s Attorney Generals did (or current Attorney General, Pam Bondi, was not amongst them). Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw replied that he would join the other Attorney Generals in the nation by suing ICE. Since their tweets are public record (even deleted tweets are easily accessible, courtesy of ProPublica), it will be easy for everyone to hold them accountable. I was grateful for their rapid responses yet I realized that I could do further outreach by contacting the U.S. Senator who serves the Sunshine State.
On July 24, I called U.S. Senator Bill Nelson to dismantle ICE (I practically gave up on any possible redemption of the agency as the news revealed ICE’s continued abuses). Well, I meant to call him on that day but I ended up calling my Representative’s number. I went to the ALCU’s website and took the opportunity of using their automated re-direct call system.
I looked at the system earlier that month and it advertised that it would re-direct one’s calls to one’s U.S. Senator yet when I went to the system on July 24, I noticed it advertised that it would re-direct one’s call to the correct Congress member. I was a bit confused yet I put my phone number and address in the system, expecting, due to a possible error when the organization updated the page, that it would still redirect me to the Senator. The automated operator called me and put me through Alcee L. Hastings, the Representative of District 20 (the district that I live in). I still hoped that I could talk to him about abolishing ICE but I wasn’t able to connect with him even after repeated calls (to be fair, I did make my calls well into the night).
Undeterred of making contact with the Senator, I searched his number up and decided to call his office in Washington, D.C. since ICE is not merely a force in Florida but the nation as well. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to connect with him (I called after hours according to the receptionist’s recording), so I decided to compose and send a digital letter to him.
In my email, I asked the Senator how he was doing and I gave him encouragement (I did this to dissolve any cold impersonal divide between us) before I did my best to persuade him into abolishing ICE (he is against the agency’s abuses yet he has not publicly offered an opinion on whether he thinks it should be dismantled). I offered a step towards dissolving the agency by stating the ACLU’s wishes to end the flow of taxpayer dollars to the organization. I proposed that those dollars could be used for great purposes such as sending more funds to public schools, conservation efforts, or infrastructure. I proposed that the money could alternately be used to fund orphanages, domestic abuse shelters, or homeless shelters. I composed a similar letter to Congressman Hastings on the same day and, unlike Senator Nelson, he replied to my message (he courteously stated his opposition to the abolishment of ICE yet he eloquently assured me that he stood against ICE’s deeds in separating families).
We live in a world that has an increasing digital presence yet there is nothing as pure as connecting with others face-to-face so I was thankful that my Capstone class mandated an opportunity to personally work with a service-learning partner.
On July 9, I emailed the Communications Manager of FLIC, an organization which provides assistance to Latinx undocumented immigrants and refugees, to see if they needed any help with outreach. I told her that my friends (Alana Harris and Penelope Henriquez) would be available to help. On July 10, Elizabeth Fernandez (the Communications Manager), forwarded my message to Julio Calderon who is the events coordinator of the organization. Julio and I corresponded via text and email to finalize an outreach meeting for July 19, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm, at the El Senor es mi Roca Church at 2723 NW 17th ave, Miami.
My Dad drove my friends and I down to the place and we hit a metaphorical roadblock when I turned the handle of the church to find it locked. We tried going next door to see if FLIC was organizing there but it was a prison agency. Another roadblock tripped us when we tried another adjacent door after we exited the prison agency and though I don’t recall what that agency was, they stated that they didn’t know anyone by the name of Julio (by this point, we were so nervous that we forgot the name of FLIC so we didn’t mention it). After we rushed out of there in embarrassment, I texted the Events Coordinator to discover where he was. He apologized and stated that he would be in our meeting spot as soon as he could (he was stuck in the notorious traffic of Miami). By then, we ascertained that the Church was just a landmark to meet at and I had mistakenly assumed that the meeting would take place inside the church building. The lack of clear communication between Julio and I during the prior days had contributed to my friends’ and I’s initial confusion.
When Julio arrived, he handed us flyers to distribute. The flyers advertised an immigration legal screening clinic which would take place at El Senor es mi Roca Church that was set for July 28. The event would provide lawyers who would help undocumented immigrants to become legal if they were eligible. The price of the event for any interested individuals was a non-entity since it was free. The Events Coordinator noted that we were in a community of many undocumented Latinx immigrants so our outreach was vital there and he reminded us to not imply that any individual whom we were speaking with was undocumented since it could come off as an attack even though he knew that none of us would mean it in such a way. Instead, we were to strategically help the disadvantaged by asking if they knew anyone who was undocumented whom this clinic may benefit.
Julio sent Penelope, Alana, and my Dad to distribute the flyers at the nearest El Presidente Supermarket while he and I went around a neighborhood to do the same work. It was difficult for me to distribute the papers since I am incredibly shy (I sometimes freeze up when talking to people whom I introduce myself to) but I thought of how important that outreach was so I did my best to talk to individuals. Julio was more outgoing so he took the lead of our two person group as he encouraged me via his actions. We ended up at a sister El Presidente Supermarket and we stayed there for a while to do our outreach.
I experienced the importance of Julio’s recommendation that we have at least one Spanish speaker in our two groups since many in the community solely spoke Spanish. One of the individuals whom I talked to patiently listened to me as I stumbled a couple of times while explaining the value of the immigration legal screening clinic. Realizing that he was beaming at me yet seeming to be uncertain of what I was saying, I kindly asked him if he spoke English and he responded with a shake of his head. I felt bad since not speaking English is a disadvantage in this country and it hurt to know that so many Latinx immigrants here are discriminated against because they haven’t yet mastered the complex language. Yet I also felt humbled since he took the time to try to understand me despite the language barrier between us. Julio came over and explained the flyer to that gentleman in Spanish and I was grateful for Julio’s idea of having a Spanish speaker in each of our companies (Penelope speaks Spanish so the synonymous assembly was not at a disadvantage).
Unfortunately, a security officer didn’t take too kindly to Julio and I giving out pamphlets on the grounds of the supermarket (he wasn’t aggressive or explicitly rude but he was stern and I could tell that he was displeased). He told Julio that he didn’t think the manager of the store would like our presence there so he asked us to speak to him. Julio went up the chain of command to get in touch with the manager and when the gentleman finally arrived, he warmly smiled as he made it known that he had nothing against us but he didn’t believe that we could legally distribute flyers for the clinic on the premises. In essence, he said that he didn’t want any trouble but please take care. So Julio and I left as the guard calmly asked what the manager’s position on our actions was and when he was answered, he replied “I told you so.”
Around 5:00pm, Julio and I decided to meet up with a volunteer, by the name of Sam, who was finally able to help us out (he had a prior engagement at 4:00pm). We reached out to the others (my Dad, Alana, and Penelope), at the park across the Church. We split up as we went to all corners of the park handing out flyers to anyone who was interested. As we went around, Sam told me that he felt awkward about asking people if they knew anyone who was undocumented. I realized that I had this feeling since I set out on my work that day. We discussed it and we discovered that if someone knew a loved one who was undocumented (whether a romantic partner, family member, or friend) our question may be akin to asking if they were willing to give that person up if immigration agents had gone around trying to mislead people into revealing people who are without legal documentation. This hypothesis seemed to be verified when he and I noticed that many of the people whom he asked whether they knew anyone who was undocumented and needed help appeared nervous. Yet as soon as he mentioned that there was going to be a free immigration legal screening clinic at the Church across the street (a safe place), they appeared eager to take the flyers. Perhaps it would have been better if, after introducing ourselves, we immediately stated that there would be a free immigration legal screening clinic at the Church and it’s open to anyone who is interested. I believe that would have been a better way to encourage those without documentation into going to the event as well as to inspire activists and potential change agents (even those with American citizenship) into attending the event.
Around 6:00pm, we decided to call it a day since everyone (perhaps except for Sam since he met with us at a later time), were exhausted from the heat. We posed for a photo to put it on record that we were a team for change. Before we bid adieu, we discussed how having a Spanish speaker in each of our groups was advantageous in getting our message out and how we could have reframed our question when we invited the community members to the free legal clinic.
I’m impressed at how much I was able to do on behalf of the community yet I know that I can do more. I can create more songs, contact more potential and current government leaders, as well as engage in more outreach programs. I can also improve on my current practices by posting my songs on social media more, contacting current and possible politicians more, and being brave enough to be more outgoing when I engage with others during a community project. I also need to write myself notes since I can be forgetful since I wanted to share a photo of the free immigration legal screening clinic flyer on social media sites to boost awareness but my plan went unfulfilled. Though there is much work that still needs to be accomplished, the completion of positive transformation which awaits in the future will soon crash into the present and that reality will be maintained by reminding ourselves of the harsh realities of our nation’s past xenophobic behavior. That’s why I look forward to continue my work in the community on behalf of the downtrodden.
My Application Statement
Written by Charlie Avinash Nicholas
Published on 14 September 2018
I yearn to join the Masters of Arts with the Communications Studies program (MA in Communications). As an undergraduate within the field of General Communications Studies, I was bequeathed the intelligence to be more socially conscious, analyze and explain perspectives even if they didn’t subscribe to my beliefs, and to engage in constructive discourse in a respectful manner without changing my views in order to be merely a people pleaser. My Bachelor’s degree in the field is a badge which symbolizes that I am a better individual by successfully completing the undergraduate journey. Yet I do not desire for my hard strived for degree to be the end of my journey. Thus, I pine to enter (and complete) the Masters program because I want to refine the wisdom which I have gained, further my knowledge within the field, and acquire a greater ability to put that education into the practical world.
Before I can become a better citizen, I must fine-tune the knowledge which was bequeathed to me within my field and a journey towards completing an MA in Communications would be the ideal step for me to take. One way in which I would accomplish this task would be to sign up for the Rhetorical Criticism course, besides applying for the required knowledge polishing Introduction to Graduate Studies in Communication course. The introductory class would provide a foundation, which would connect to my undergraduate knowledge, for my journey of improvement by broadly enhancing my intelligence in human communication while the course in Rhetorical Criticism would form the cornerstone to the planned expansion of said headquarters by providing the materials to bridge those theories to applied communication. The latter class would grant me the ability to not only study the weaknesses and strengths of Contemporary Rhetoric (a course which I studied in my undergraduate course) but it would accord unto me the responsibility of constructively critiquing my classmates’ rhetoric as they do the same to mine. These techniques are invaluable to everyday human interactions, yet strikingly so when I consider it likely that I will interact with more individuals of more diverse educational and cultural backgrounds, such as when I bring my case for a pay raise to a living wage if my or others’ salaries are stagnant and low; I would also effectively advocate to shatter the chains of institutional racism for my coworkers who are ethnically in the minority, as well as understanding where people who don’t share my views are coming from, without entertaining assumptions that they are greedy or racist. Participating in an Argumentation and Debate class as an undergraduate gave me some of the skills to accomplish this endeavor, especially since I took up a position that I didn’t agree with, yet Rhetorical Criticism will heighten that technique through more technical analysis and a greater practical to everyday life practice.
Another phenomenal way in which the MA in Communications program would assist me in becoming an optimal citizen is through its optional course named Intercultural Communication Theory. I would be able to better understand how my family in humanity from non-American cultures generally communicate (just one basic nonverbal example of this would be how Americans give a thumbs up to signify that something is good while that same gesture merely means that one is representing the number five in Japan and it is a crude symbol in parts of West Africa) and by accomplishing that, I would have a greater ability to not appear insensitive. I yearn to serve as many people from every culture so I would fill my elective slots with as many intercultural communication courses as possible.
I will ever be grateful for the knowledge which my undergraduate course imparted unto me because my path to my Bachelor’s Degree in Communication compelled me to be more outgoing, which is vital to adequately presenting my ideas, and it handed me the tools to be more eloquent while it assisted me to be more empathic with people whose perspectives differ from mine yet I still have much to learn; the MA in Communications program is truly essential to enhancing my abilities to be more proficient in those areas. I have a passionate aspiration to serve as many individuals from the entire spectrum of cultures by working for an airline or for an airport after I complete my life as a college student and to do optimal good to people no matter who they are, where they come from, or where they plan on carrying out their lives. I hope that I will have the fortune of being accepted into the MA in Communications program and I pledge to strive for excellence in the curriculum if I am granted the honor of being accepted.
Works Cited for Immigration Reform Outreach
“Call Congress: Cut DHS’s Massive Budget.” American Civil Liberties Union, 2018.
dobroide. “Cordoba.” Freesound, 21 Feb. 2011.
Hastings, Alcee. “Re:Immigration.” Received by Charlie Nicholas, 3 Aug. 2018.
klankbeeld. “Xicochi.” Freesound, 1 Jun. 2013.
PlatypusVA. “Monastery Sounds” Freesound, 27 Aug. 2017.
McDunnigan, Micah. “What Percentage Does PayPal Take Out?” Chron, 2018.
Nicholas, C.A. “A Dying Democracy.” Bandcamp, 19 Jul. 2018.
Nicholas, C.A. “Fleeing to the Sanctuary & Fantasizing About that Famed Dream.” Bandcamp, 3 Jul. 2018.
Nicholas, C.A. “Fleeing to the Land of the Free/Babes and Parents Divided by Lady Liberty/
Uncle Sam Drugs the Kiddies.” Bandcamp, 22 Jul. 2018.
Nicholas, C.A. “Sales/Downloads.” Bandcamp, 2 Aug. 2018.
Nicholas, Charlie. “Re:Immigration.” Received by Bill Nelson, 24 Jul. 2018.
Nicholas, Charlie. “Re:Volunteer.” Received by Elizabeth Fernandez, 9 Jul. 2018.
Nicholas, Charlie. “Re:Volunteer.” Received by Julio Calderon, 9 Jul. 2018.
Nicholas, Charlie. “Re:Volunteer.” Received by Julio Calderon, 10 Jul. 2018.
Nicholas, Charlie. “Re:Volunteer.” Received by Julio Calderon, 11 Jul. 2018.
Nicholas, Charlie. “Re:Volunteer.” Received by Julio Calderon, 12 Jul. 2018.
Nicholas, Charlie. “Re:Volunteer.” Received by Julio Calderon, 10 Jul. 2018.
“Politwoops.” The Sunlight Foundation, 2018.
“Pricing.” Bandcamp, 2018.
@C_A_Nicholas. “Do you have any plans about ICE’s brutal detention camps in the state if you become Attorney General @RyanforFLAG? Aren’t those compounds a violation of human rights?” Twitter. 3 Jul. 2018, 12:10 am.
@C_A_Nicholas. “Mr. @SShawFL, if you win the Attorney General position, what will you do about ICE’s barbaric detention centers within the state?” Twitter. 3 Jul. 2018, 12:17 am.
@RyanforFlag. “I certainly do. I will be among the leaders holding the #Trump administration accountable for their actions in case like this. 18 other AGs filed suit, as is typical, #PamBondi was not among them.” Twitter. 3 Jul. 2018.
@ SShawFL. “Join other AGs around the country and sue.” Twitter. 3 Jul. 2018.
How do suicidal impulses assault the minds of humans who do not want to die? Do you wonder about this? Does it truly seem possible that people with suicidal desires don't ever truly ache for death? Well, allow me to explain to the best of my ability:
Suicidal impulses invade the mentalities of individuals who yearn to escape from the despondency and agony that they are drowning in. Those urges can arrive gradually and subtly like diluted poison unceasingly dripping into one's brain, or all at once and with full force like a hammer being beaten into one's skull. What those urges do, on a subconscious level, is trick people into believing that suicide will bring them into a conscious state of peace...more or less a type of Nirvana. Suicidal souls also feel like a burden so they believe that their death will set their loved ones free. Yes, suicidal impulses are completely illogical but they are no less powerful in force especially since these seem logical during the Grim Reaper's hypnosis.
Now, allow me to emphasize the universal truth that suicidal urges are nearly impossible to resist and anyone who tells you otherwise is either ignorant or they have deluded themselves.
Yet let me also assure you that suicidal urges are always possible for anyone to overcome.
Some of the best defences that one can use against suicidal urges are: frequently reminding one's self that one never truly wants to die, vigilantly acknowledging that there are people who would be traumatized if one were to commit suicide, and actively crippling surprise by reminding oneself that one will always be capable of receiving suicidal urges again.
- Written by C.A. Nicholas
Ps, though I am an empathic writer, I can't speak for everyone who struggles with suicidal desires. I am also not a licensed psychologist or a certified psychiatrist. So please consult one if you experience suicidal impulses. Be sure to seek out at least one friend or family member as well but only someone who you absolutely trust.
You're crawling in the desert, your throat cracked as the hardpan ground. Occasionally dismembered shade flows over you yet the quick comfort which it brings belongs not to the clouds but winged beasts who yearn to satiate their withered guts with the meat from your corpse. As you inch forward, you pray that the end to this wasteland which you see, wavering miles away, is not an illusion from the arid atmosphere.
Many talk about overcoming Hardship's domination yet not what it's like to triumph only to be trampled by the oppressor's taloned feet so allow my insight to inspire your voice and let the rhythm of my speech to be the musical score to your experience.
Those who attain victory after each fall can grow weary from what feels like battling a rapidly evolving virus; a storm which eventually collides like a tidal wave upon those lulls of contentment; An immortal hurricane that taunts individuals as it periodically brings them into its center of tranquility...only to slam its wall of ferocity upon them again. This experience is so exhausting that some are tempted to allow the Grim Reaper to carry them towards a freshly dug grave. So some become careful not to stray too far into the light again because it's a more horrifying experience to suddenly slip and plummet from such a great height than to remain in the canyon. Yet strife can still dig a chasm underneath the feet of those who refuse to climb. So it's best to hope anyways. You see, hope isn't an enemy but surrendering is.
You may be surprised that emotional excruciation, in itself, is not a villainous entity either. It is destructive to those who indulge and refuse to fight (or don't have the support system to fight), the negative thoughts which arrive. Yet there's proof that pain can be a source for creativity, empathy, and inspiration as well, just as joy can. So those who are despondent need to hope despite their turmoil and they need to be able to always communicate honestly with those whom they love and trust.
We all have battles to face everyday. Those who give in to their judgemental ways will look down on those who don't seem to accomplish as much as them. Yet, if the actively self-righteous were to look within the souls of those whom they ridicule, then they'd see that many of them are victors who are fighting the best ways that they can; with all the energy that they have. So, let's not compare ourselves to others. Though our outward accomplishments may seem less than what we did before, miniscule or even non-existent, they are truly equally exceptional; as long as we try our best. There is no such thing as a life without pain but everyday is worth living.
- Written by C.A. Nicholas.
- Top photo by Foundry.
- Bottom photo by 52Hertz.
- Photos enhanced by C.A. Nicholas.
When I glanced upon the first issue's first few electronic pages, I wondered: Will Sweet Tooth taste of blandness? You see, I worried that this completed series about an antlered boy was one of peculiarity for eccentricity's sake despite the marvelous art that masquerades as one of simplicity. Yet I scolded my nascent assessment of the story of a deer child...only to be utterly disappointed...that I almost dismissed this series! To my delightful surprise, I discovered that Sweet Tooth is one of my favorite stories, graphic novel or otherwise.
It isn't a perfect series since there are a couple sequences where an unnamed narrator takes over and the execution of this creative decision lends a feeling of being sped along. Yet the plot and characters are so enrapturing that the wonderful experience cannot be dampened by those two shorthanded segments.
Anyways, this thematically rich series indeed proposes answers to the driving mystery of how Gus ended up with antlers (which is but one aspect of the enigma) before it leans heavily into a multi-layered yet easily ascertainable mythology and mind-blowingly unique solution without cutting off other possibilities. Yet more importantly, Sweet Tooth is an achingly beautiful human narrative which fleshes out almost every featured character while organically bringing them to the same prominence as the initially sole protagonist. This series is one which embraces the necessity of hope and perseverance yet melancholy, tragedy, and fear are not shortchanged, which prevents it from being superficially inspirational.
I entreat you to read Sweet Tooth as soon as you are able.
- Reviewed by C.A. Nicholas.
Ps, this series is available as trade paperbacks as well.
A Bonus Recommendation: I Hate Fairyland.
This is a wonderfully cathartic black comedy series which lampoons children's fairytale tropes including cutesy aspects and saccharine happily ever afters. There's a definitive ending of sorts to the 20 issue comic book series as well so that's another plus (it can be quite tiring trying to keep up with neverending series after all).
My letter is to anyone who has love & chronic depression/anxiety:
Dear reader, I'd like to reassure you of how superheroically strong you are.
You endure an emotional pain so torturous that it is physically felt as society shames you. You fight to surface to a reality of unconditional acceptance, from an ocean of doubt which seems as if it is the truth. You put on a smile when you can, to mask your turmoil, and to bring a joy to others because you don't want anyone to feel a flame of the hell within you. Yet you also try to teach empathy to those who chase eternal euphoria, by getting them to feel and understand the pain of others.
You know that everyone is equal in their worth and the inherent value of all people is perfect. Yet you never give yourself enough credit.
- Love, C.A. Nicholas.
- Photograph by Engin_Akyurt.
- Photo enhanced by C.A. Nicholas.
Sever the tethers between yourself and those who poison your self-esteem. Still love them yet don't socialize with the vampires who gain sustenance from your well-being for their unquenchable affliction. It's nigh on impossible to believe that the loved ones who prey on the kind will fail to mend their shattered empathy; even if they've trashed their promises and regurgitate apologies, both for the thousandth time. They are snakes who charm hypnotists, whistling their charms to reverse your run from them. You will be reeled in by the abusers who claim victimhood unless you keep your face away, your hands pressed upon your ears, and flee. The nurturers that you see them as only exist in the fantasies which they've grown by the rains of despondency, the light of your compassion, the soil of your hope, and their seeds of fraudulent salvation.
- Written by C.A. Nicholas.
- Art provided by Prawny.
Sometimes it takes me a while to register that which is spoken to me.
The latest instance transpired this afternoon at my place of occupation:
[Tuesday, circa 1:00 PM; Location = A neighborhood cafè.]
(Squeak! Squeak! Kerplash! Charlie is washing the dishes as if he were a parent and they his children's mouths who recently brought forth a marathon of particularly salty words).
(Charlie's Boss/Chef walks away from his delectable creations in progress and utters the following as he passes him by...
Chef/Boss: "You're the best!"
(Charlie fumbles out a response in his bashfulness as he etches a small yet luminous smile upon himself).
Charlie: "Thank you."
(Charlie notices that the chef/boss's stroll is continuing towards the basil. Charlie's mind corrects what his ears received. Too late, he realizes that Chef/Boss really said...)
Chef/Boss: "I need basil."
[This reminds Charlie of another time about two weeks ago.]
[Location: Same place. Chef/Boss is in the kitchen and Charlie is in the dining room with a customer.]
Customer: Does Chef/Boss still have his dog?
(Unfortunately, Charlie heard "Da, la, ne, la?")
Charlie: "I'm sorry. What did you say?"
(Charlie waits, hoping that his brain will decipher what it has garbled. Thankfully, a coherent sentence forms. He's still not fully certain what Customer asked, and he has to fill in a couple gaps, yet he doesn't want to embarrass himself by asking the person to repeat themself again.
The phrase Charlie is pretty sure Customer asked is: Is it [my food] still on its way?)
Charlie: "Yes! We just had to find the cheese. Don't worry, Chef/Boss found it! It's on the way."
(As Fate would have it, Charlie's brain rendered the Customer's inquiry to completion a second or two after he finished speaking.
Charlie's effort to save face is to be silent and act like his response to the question was absolutely normal.)
- Written by C.A. Nicholas
- Photo by Pexels
Author's Note: My boss does compliment my work frequently.