Hold this Close to Feel My Love

the author's grandpa and grandma who are featured in the story shown sitting on a couch

January is a snowy month with numerous power outages sweeping across the city of Colfax.  The month also signifies the beginning of the Spring semester at Sierra College and my entire being overflowing with excitement and a hint of dread.  It’s been months since I’ve gone to school, having taken a break due to the ongoing pandemic, and want to reunite with the person I fell in love with.

Even before class started, my mind raced with ideas I wanted to write about: romance, video games. I even had a working title, Digital Love.

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The Void

Black rock cliff by stormy sea

A hole
Black as the void
Bottomless as the night sky
Center of a man
Ripped out, left to die

A raging sea
Eroding the land
That makes the existence, of this weary man
As edges crumble, and walls fall away
He trudges ever onward, to face another day

An endless cycle
Stand up and lay down
Trying endlessly not to fall to the ground
Not to break, not to crack, not to scream or stamp
Trudging onward, ever onward
And resisting, always resisting, that void so black

Tiring to do, a job so bleak
Looking outwards and inwards, seeing nothing
Not even a peek
Of break, of rest, of shelter so sought
Nothing but a raging sea, a turmoil of endless thought

From the Author

“I wrote this poem from my own experiences with depression, especially in the last half decade or so. When you are struggling with this formless thing it really can consume you, warping the way you see things or experience them. I tried to put these feelings into words by describing the way it felt, and the images I would see when I thought about myself. 

Every person experiences depression differently, but I do hope this poem helps you understand a bit more about the experience of living through it the way I did. I hope it helps you verbalize your experience. 

For too long there has been an unspoken stigma about these things, and the only way to break the silence is to normalize talking about it- and asking for help when you need it.”

Editor’s Note

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, you can text the Crisis Line. Sierra College also has mental health resources available to students that include a list of local resources. And the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) offers information to support self-advocacy and educate the public.

Written by Malcolm McDougal | Photo by Milo McDowell, Unsplash

Malcolm McDougal is a Computer Science major at Sierra College working towards an Associate’s Degree as well as a transfer to later achieve his Bachelor’s. He hopes to go into a field involving programming, one thought being game development.

Do You Know What It’s Like?

A car that’s not that far away,
It’s just another sunny day,
Music in both ears and a spring in step
A walk that’s made with happy pep

Smile bright,
Step light,
No threat in sight,
No thought of flight,

A headline here,
A story there,
Reports made in fear,
Now we beware

A car that feels so far away,
Headlines, protests, every campaign,
The story of a friend made prey,
Of daily walks that end in pain

Smile bright turned smile tight, 
Oh so polite, 
Bodies close, feeling small,
Til even thin smile isn’t there at all

One state’s risks we learn and know, 
From numbers in past years gone by,
Of one hundred thousand hopes to grow,
Three hundred voices will yearly cry

Look left, look right,
Ears free of any distraction,
Metal keys gripped tight,
Can we call it overreaction?

Attempts made, attacks started,
hear the news, gone cold-hearted
Smiles bright, still under twenty-five,
Tomorrow’s report has now gone live,

Cases in the news today,
Yesterday, yesteryear, 
Three hundred yearly truths laid bare,
These next truths could be anywhere

Growing pressure on our smallest choices,
A question asked by many voices,
An experience on the weekly radar,
“Do you know what it feels like to hurry in the dark to your car?”

Smile bright a year before,
Smiling tight forever more,
Keys in hand and music off,
Headlines made that music stop

 

Written and Photographed by Olivia Walters

Olivia Walters is a Psychology major at Sierra College with a curiosity in Journalism. She hails from Georgetown. In fall 2022, she plans to pursue her major in forensic Psychology at Sacramento State University. Her interest areas include creative writing, studying astronomy, and music.

Opinion: Sierra Girls Really are all that Hot

When looking back on the events, it’s easy to be caught up in the controversy. In 2003, Sierra College’s student newspaper, The Outlook, accepted an op-ed titled “One Person’s View: Sierra Girls Aren’t Really All That Hot.” With statements like “I find the majority [of women at Sierra] to be stuck up, bitchy, and self-centered.” The op-ed unsurprisingly earned negative responses from students writing to the editor, national media, and even the California National Organization for Women.

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Forever Faithful, Semper Fidelis

Three soldiers in a US Marine's photo for "Platoon 1034"

Growing up, my absolute favorite brand of toys to play with were G.I. Joes; as innocent as the idea of a toy may be, the constant exposure for my imagination sparked something that led to my decision to enlist in The Marine Corps. They exemplified traits I wanted- things my childhood heroes had. I figured maybe I could try on the uniform and see how it fits. 

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Yes I Am

lock on fence with 'sos' reference that also appears as 's loves s' because a heart-shape stands in for 'o'

Words were screamed across the room
A man was beaten, battered, and tried
Everything comes to a halt
It all comes down to this; who lied?

I watch from the safety of my own home
Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard,
The trial that is being seen across the world

The comfortability and safety of my own life
Sits in the back of mind, rarely coming out to play
For others, their safety is dangling off a tightrope,
A finger away from falling into the depths

One in four women
One in nine men
10 million suffer
10 million too much

After a marriage full of hate, fear, and humiliation
Witnesses are brought to tell the truth as
Everything comes to a halt
It all comes down to this; who lied? 

Interruption, objection, hearsay
Years of being silent,
Depp is silenced once again
But now is the time to tell his story

Seeing toxicity since childhood left him bruised
The shadows of trauma followed him to his adulthood,
He didn’t have a voice then, but he has one now
In horror I listen to the audio clip playing at the end of testimony

“Tell them Johnny Depp, I, Johnny Depp, a man, 
I’m a victim too of domestic violence”
What did he say?
“Yes I am.”

 

Written by Jessica Mananquil | Photo by Georgy Rudakov, Unsplash

Jessica Mananquil is a Journalism major at Sierra College. She plans on transferring to San Francisco State University to pursue her interest in news and feature writing for fall 2022.

Unthawed Nightmare

Strolling home from work, careless and free
Headed home to make my bed, clean sheets off the line,
What a shame to do at bedtime.

Entering my home, I notice no one, I see, I hear nothing
Suddenly attacked, impaled throughout my body
In and out, with such malice.
Forcibly violated, and left cold as ice.
Floating in a pool of my lineage as it drained from my veins.

Taken from me my spirit, stolen; my spirit.
What gave you the right to me?
Robbing me of my safety, my life, my future?
Who told you it was ok to play God and decide when?
When my last breath was taken, my last moments with family.

42 years I lay frozen, forever a 20 year old with the world at my feet.
Shattered in a moment of impulse.
42 years until my family would rejoice, “I feel like I can go on with my life now.”

The terror, pain and heartache frozen with me
Unthawed as handcuffs squeeze your wrists.
My soul set free, my nightmare unthawed.

 

Written by Vontress Ortega | Photo by Manjari, Pexels

Vontress Ortega smiling with long black hair and legs crossed
Vontress Ortega is a Journalism major at Sierra College and published author. She plans to transfer to Sacramento State University and continue in the major in fall 2022.

The Period of Change

empty laundry basket on bathroom floor with paper sign in it, 'if you need one, take one, if you have one, give one'

College students spend thousands of dollars on tuition, living expenses, food, gas, etc. but have little room for anything else. What if you had to choose between period products and groceries? This situation occurs more than people may think. A new study found that 14.2% of college students experienced this problem known as Period Poverty in the past year.

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Bends and Banks: Communities, Water, and the American River

Bends and Banks: Communities, Water, and the American River, is a set of five stories produced by a team of journalist fellows in Spring, 2022. The team includes four student journalists: Madalyn Wright, Vontress Ortega, Katelyn Vengersammy, and Aviana Loveall. They were all awarded through the California Humanities “Emerging Journalist” Fellowship with the Journalism program at Sierra College.

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