Message From Another Walk of Life – Omar Lopez

Hello everyone!,

I am back with another “Message from Another Walk of Life” segment to share!

This time I interviewed Omar Lopez who is assistant principle of Instruction at KIPP Austin Public School.

I personally found this interview so inspiring. I feel like teachers are essential and that a good teacher can completely change your life. Take my sister for example. One amazing music teacher in high school inspired her to become one herself and now she is making positive impact in more children’s lives.

If you haven’t seen the video please go see it! You can click here  or you can see it below

As mentioned in the video if you are in Texas or know someone who is in Texas and can help the school you can reach out to them by going on their website contact page here.

I don’t have much more to say for this post. I think the video pretty much sums it up and shows the power of a good educator or teacher. I also think it is important to mention the amount of work that goes into lesson prep and teaching. Like Omar said a teacher had many hats and drawing from my experience as camp coordinator and my sisters stories I know that someone who is passionate will go above and beyond to make sure the children are happy and learn. There is so many stories and examples of this where for example teachers buy supplies with their own money ( like my grandfather did as a teacher himself, when he used to buy lunches for kids who didn’t have any) and I think after talking to Omar it just reminded me  how much of an impact we can make on those around us each and every day.

So to close this post I will show you the two bonus answers that Omar kindly answered for me.

1) What gives you hope for the future of children who might struggle at school and/or the future of education as a tool for empowerment?

In this country there is a huge gap in our education system. Students in low income communities tend to not have the same opportunities as other students who come from high income families. My mission is to empower our students by giving them the tools to become a productive member in our society so that one day they can come back to their neighborhoods and help us close the opportunity gap.

2) Where there any experiences or events in your life that lead you to wanting to have your current job?

When I went to college, I went with the mentality that I needed to graduate with a degree that will allow me to find a job in which I could make a lot of money. As I joined the Penn State Dance Marathon, in which they raise money to support families that have children who have cancer, I realized that my passion was helping families and children. That’s when I learned about Teach for America and discovered that I could continue helping families after I graduated from College. Now my passion is in education and helping close the achievement gap in this country.

So that’s it for today! Until next time, be part of a Powered Crowd and create some positive change!

Message from Another Walk of Life – Interviewing Atomic Stitch

Do you remember when I posted about the new segment I am starting on here and my Youtube Channel? If not you can check it out here .

I just had my first interview not too long ago and I am so excited to share some extra thoughts about it on here!

Firstly go check out the interview below or keep reading and check it out later.

So in this first ever segment of Message From Another Walk of Life I talked to a young 10 year old boy named Noah.

Noah decided to start a project to fund raise money for one of the charity races he does with his mom this project evolved into Atomic Stitch which makes coffee sleeves and donates the proceeds to charity, more specifically the soup kitchen.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting, drink and indoor

I learned about this on a sewing group on Facebook which I am part of to find supplies for a product which will be announced very soon! Noah’s mother was looking for some scrap fabric that no one wanted so Noah could make more coffee sleeves and they would be environmentally friendly as well because they would reuse fabric that would otherwise be thrown away.

Noah’s product is very nice. (see picture below) and he has already made over 150$ for charity! I mean when looking at the majority of people I think that is more than most people give to charity in a couple months maybe even in a year for some.

I asked Noah about the process of making these coffee sleeves and it seems he does all the sewing with a little help from his Mom. I think this is a great partnership, Noah seems to have a big part in the direction of Atomic Stitch and the fabrication of the coffee sleeves but the Mom seems to be the driving force of the promotion and everything related to helping sell them. Theres nothing wrong with this of course, in fact I think it’s a great thing! A mother showing her son how to be part of a Powered Crowd for positive change and helping him learn how to grow an initiative what can be better?

Overall it was a great interview. I loved how Noah was with all his achievements in Atomic Stitch is just a regular kid who loves video games as he told me. The only difference is that Noah saw something he found unfair like people not having food and decided to take action on it.

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I think this is a lesson we can all learn from. If we see something we think is wrong or unfair let’s take action and make steps towards changing them. It doesn’t need to be a whole project like Atomic Stitch or Powered Crowd because even small steps in the right directions are successes. Like I always say if we all do something to make the world a better place the world would be a completely different place!

That’s it for today. If you want to go check out Atomic Stitch here is their Facebook page where you can look and order their coffee sleeves. https://www.facebook.com/stitchatomic/

Until next time think of Noah’s example and start making some steps big or small to make some positive change in issues that are close to you or that you care about.

Finding your purpose

I have spent countless hours and days fretting over what I wanted to do with my life, what was my purpose? How could I find a job or pursuit that makes me feel happy and accomplished.

The problem was the more I thought about this question the less things were clear and the more anxious I got. So I put it aside and went to work on what I knew I could do. For example, I knew I could do this blog, I knew I could work slowly but surely on building Powered Crowd so that’s what I focused on.

I think when you are struggling with feeling fulfilled and finding what you are meant to do the best thing to do is as I said focus on what you are able to achieve and work on today. The rest will come.

Now I fast forward to about a week ago. I woke up feeling very low, I was sad and I didn’t know why, I didn’t know where to go next and so as most people my age in North America I went online to look through social media.

As I was scrolling through Facebook I came upon one of those sponsored videos which I usually avoid.

But that morning I decided to watch it. Here is the video if you want to check it out.

Priceless Gifts

The most special gifts

Posted by Daily Viral Stories on Friday, May 4, 2018

As I watched the video I felt my emotions rise and I was also teary eyed, is this because the video was amazing? Not really, I mean it’s a good video but I have seen similar ones on countless occasions. I think I just watched it at the right time and as continued watching I had that aha moment. This is what I want to do I thought.

Now what was this big revelation? It was in fact pretty simple. I want to make people happy. 6 words that made the metaphorical clouds part on my sucky morning and my countless hours of struggling to find out what I wanted to do part.

I now had this goal for my business for life, for everyday. Happiness can be small like finding a nickel on the ground or big like helping someone who is struggling through something hard but I think we all deserve to be happy and I want to help bring a bit of joy into people’s life whenever I can. To me that is fulfilling.

Where will I go from now that I have found my current purpose? I will continue growing this Powered Crowd so we can all spread that positive change and happiness and I will make a larger effort to brighten someones day everyday.

Some of the things I mentioned might seem self evident to you or it might have thought you something. I think this whole experience for me has thought me that there are some things you can’t force and just have to be patient about.

I know that I and many people I know try to force things to happen, we can all be impatient but some of the most beautiful and rewarding things just take patience and perseverance. You can’t force a flower to grow all you can do is water it everyday and wait to see beautiful things happen.

On that note go and spread some happiness that could very well grow into something amazing and be part of a Powered Crowd for Positive change!

Guest Post – The Art of Saying No

Hello everyone,

Today I have a guest post! I am all about showing different perspectives. So here is a it more about the guest blogger:

Deeksha Tripathi is a blogger from India. She is a teacher, mom of a toddler and owner of wonderfulwomen.in where she writes motivational posts and inspirational stories of real women who have made a difference to the world.

I always like knowing more about the story behind certain ideas and opinions so I asked Deeksha if she could let me know why this subject was important to her. Here is what she said:

I firmly believe there’s strong need for every woman to learn and in fact master the art of saying No as they are often least concerned with their own care being busy in fulfilling everyone’s wish as if they are a fairy having a magic wand!! So I advocate art of learning No for all beautiful women so that they can manage some time and personal space for themselves.

And with that thought let’s jump into to Deeksha’s post:

LEARN THE ART OF SAYING NO

In today’s world everyone knows the importance of ‘Art of Saying No’. We all have lots of commitments to fulfil in very little time we have. Men have their own challenges in life which they handle according to their own capabilities. As far as women are concerned the challenges in their life are even greater. Women are expected to be ‘Super Women’ literally! They have to take care of everyone around them. They have to excel in all the roles of their life be it a homemaker, a responsible mother, a loving wife, a caring daughter-in-law, or a successful career woman! In such a scenario learning ‘Art of Saying No’ becomes more necessary for all the lovely ladies so that they can have less stress and be more productive! So here are some tips for you to learn Art Of  Saying ‘No’!

Set Your Priorities

In any given day, a woman has to carry out many important tasks like getting kids ready for the school, helping hubby to leave for office timely, giving medicine to the elderly, or going herself for work. After all this if someone asks you for your help you should first see whether you want to spend that precious little time with your kids and hubby or you can really devote it to do something which can be easily done by someone else! If you ask me, I’m surely going to give my little time to my loved ones by gently saying No to others.

Realize the value of your time

Ladies, you have just 24 hours everyday! You have oodles of responsibilities on your shoulders. So, you have to admit the fact that your time is extremely valuable and you can not just ignore it! Better sometimes you simply say “ Dude I can NOT do this right now..May be I do it sometime later..”  In this way you can manage your time efficiently.

Develop Habit of Saying No

Initially, when you start Saying No to people, they may take it lightly and try to persuade you to say Yes for any given thing for example to accompany someone to market. But, when you have other commitments for the day you have to be strong and say No directly. You have to make it a habit to say whenever and wherever you aren’t comfortable.

Don’t feel Sorry

Generally people feel and say sorry whenever they have to say No to someone. This isn’t right. Why say sorry for not being able to do something which is beyond your commitments and time? Simply say “I can not do this because it is beyond my boundaries”.

Don’t try to be ‘Good’

Being gentle and polite is good as long as it doesn’t affect you adversely. If people start taking advantage of it, it’s high time you realize it and take measures to guard your time or money whatever they want to extract from you. You have stop acting good and firmly refuse any request that will only hurt you by wasting your time and money.

I know it’s important to care for others but isn’t self care equally important? If we are not happy, we can not make others happy. If are not able to enjoy ourselves we can not make those around us cheerful and relaxed. So, in short the key to a balanced and happy life is giving priority to ourselves and learning Art of Saying No is it’s top most requirement!

——————————————

And that’s it for this great guest post. What did you think of Deeksha’s view on saying no?

Do you think saying no politely is important if you want to create positive change? I know, I agree that when something is harmful or can effect you negatively it is ok to say “No”. But I also know that it has to be done in a kind way. 🙂

So until next time be part of a Powered Crowd for positive change!

Garbage, Pollution, Climate Change, Oh My!

Our world is a precious thing, not only because it is currently the only planet we have that supports human life but because it has been our home for millennia’s. This planet has kept out ancestors and our ancestors ancestors alive. Yet today in the modern world we are taking such bad care of our planet that the planet is literally sick, there is climate change, a rise in natural disasters and a bunch of other things which is a serious concern if we want this planet to life for millennia’s to come.

Image taken here:https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/earth-from-space-15-amazing-things-in-15-years/

On April 22nd is was earth day. A day where we are supposed to thank mother earth and remember that we have a duty to take care of it. For earth day I made sure to do my part for positive change. I went for a walk to pick up some trash, told everyone I knew about it and made a plan to make less waste in the year to come.

The week before earth day I did an experiment. I collected all the garbage I produced in one week to see how much waste I made. The results where really interesting and you can go see my experience here.

The main thing I realized is that the way everyone is producing waste today is not sustainable. There is way too much waste made everyday and many people don’t even realize it. So here are some facts on waste:

So now, I think you can see how we as human beings need to change out habits and how much waste packaging is used.

Here are some easy tips to start lowering your waste:

  • Turn off the lights and air conditioning/heating when you are not at home or using it.

  • Stop using plastic straws. (Use reusable straws, there is even some out of metal!)

  • Use reusable makeup pads. (there are some like this one https://www.amazon.ca/Reusable-makeup-remover-face-cleansing/dp/B072FMN8YM which can be thrown in the washing machine and reused. They are also very cute!)

  • Recycle, Reuse, Reduce

  • Buy in bulk with your own containers

  • use reusable bags and stop using plastic bags

  • Use reusable wrapping paper!

  • And so much more!

Image taken from pinterest

I could add so many things to the list of facts or the list of ways to reduce waste but some main ideas are here. I encourage everyone to go and do some research of your own. Find out what your country is doing to reduce waste, how much waste does your community produce? These are all things that are important to know in order to start making some positive change for out environment.

Do you have any tips on how to reduce waste? Any cool fact to share or cool organizations? Let me know in the comments or on my social media! With the #poweredcrowd

I will also be doing a week without waste very soon! Go and subscribe to my Youtube Channel so you don’t miss it!

Until next time go and lower your waste and be part of a powered crowd for positive change!

High expectations

High expectations can be both a blessing and a curse. Last weekend was my Birthday, I turned 22 and it should have been an amazing day but instead I finished the day with this sad feeling tugging at my chest.

I hated this feeling and it took me a while to pin point it. After a while I figured out what it was that caused this sadness. It’s my goals and my expectations of myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I want to create a successful business I want to create successful Youtube channel and excel at social media, I want to write and publish a book, I want to be fit. With all this I also want to be happy in life.

I have all these goals and I want so badly to do well at all of them but I turned 22 and I wasn’t were I wanted to be yet. I felt like I hadn’t succeeded at any of my goals, made any progress. Of course this is nonsense. I accomplished a lot in my 21st year but that didn’t stop that feeling.

The day after my birthday I was in an awful slump. I didn’t know where I was going I felt depressed and I didn’t know what to do.

Image result for balance

Image taken here: https://www.lifewire.com/balance-design-principle-3470048

So I took things back a step. I wrote down every single thing I accomplished in my 21st year and then I wrote everything I want to accomplish in my 22nd year. Next I wrote what I could do yo accomplish those goals and what was in my control.

Let me elaborate that last point. Making YouTube content each week, staying up to date on content, writing each day, taking care of my health is all in my control. My number of followers or subscribers is not in my control even though it is a big part in being successful in this day and age. T

The way I see it all you can control is yourself. I also believe that if you put enough work into something good things will come. These two thoughts are essential. I know many people have high expectation for themselves and like I started off with this can be good, it can drive you to be successful at your goals but you can let these expectations overwhelm you, you can let these expectations overcome you an paralyze you or render you depressed.

These are some thoughts I have to remind myself and so I thought I would share them in case you needed a reminder as well!

Being an agent of change starts with being in a healthy mindset. So take those big ideas for positive change and organize them in a way that they will do good to others but not at the sacrifice of your own well being. Let’s be a Powered Crowd together and help each other out.

Ottawa Book Battle 2018!

What is Ottawa Book Battle?

Ottawa Book Battle is not to be missed! Ottawa Authors will submit their books to the challenge, 5 books will be ultimately chosen, each by one of our five local judges. On the day of the event, the books will be put to the test and after each round one book will be eliminated. However, you will not be a mere spectator. With the power of technology, it’s your vote that will decide which book will be crowned the victor of Ottawa Book Battle 2018!

Things to know:

  • The event will be held at the Main library’s auditorium, 120 Metcalfe Ottawa, ON K1P 5M2
  • The event is organized by Powered Crowd. All inquiries must be sent to info@poweredcrowd.com with the subject line “Ottawa Book Battle – Question”
  • To buy a ticket go here

    • Please bring the ticket with you to the event! You will not be allowed in without it!
  • For the full event experience, please bring a device that can connect to the internet.
  • There will be an intermission and some snacks available.
  • If you are a fan of the Authors who are chosen, you can bring a copy of their book to be signed in the second half of the event,during the Q&A section.
  • Stay up to date by putting your RSVP on the Facebook event page!


Schedule:

TO BE UPDATED

This page will be updated with new information as it become available! Keep checking in!

The force of positive motivation

Last week a very important event took place. It was seen on a lot of media and the message this event broadcasted was clear. We want change!

The event I am talking about is the “March of our lives” event which took place around the USA and if I am correct in some other countries as well. While I knew this event was being planned I didn’t stay up to date with it’s progress and seeing the pictures now that it happened is pretty incredible. It’s an amazing demonstration of how positive motivation can have a large impact.

Let me go into a bit more details on what I mean. Was the event that happened that motivated this march good? Of course not, it was a terrible shooting that is something those students will never forget but, now that it happened these students are using positive motivation towards creating some change. They are working on a drive not only to try and stop another event like this from happening again but to create a better tomorrow where there is some better gun control.

I love this example of positive motivation. It shows how age is not a factor when trying to create positive change. Anyone can do it with enough drive and motivation, everyone can have an impact if they commit to it.

I was watching an interview with some of these students on the Ellen Degeneres show and they said something that stuck. Ellen asked them “were you always activists?” and they answered something along the lines of “I still don’t think I see myself as an activist, all I knew is that I didn’t want something like this to happen again.”

And that is a key message in positive motivation. It’s not about having that activist image and the publicity it’s about helping others and creating some positive change that’s needed in the world.

So to wrap up this post I will put some image from the “March for our Lives” and I hope this will inspire whoever is reading this to start creating some positive change it can be as small as helping someone pick up something that they dropped or you can start working towards contributing to a movement like the “March for our Lives” movement. Either way, do something everyday that helps others.

Image result for march for our lives

Image taken here:http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/where-march-for-our-lives-protests-are-happening-across-canada/

Image result for march for our lives

Image taken here: https://ftw.usatoday.com/2018/03/march-for-our-lives-twitter-reacts-dwyane-wade-steve-kerr

Image result for march for our lives

Image taken here:https://hellogiggles.com/news/how-to-support-march-for-our-lives/

Image result for march for our lives

Image taken here: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/signs-march-lives-article-1.3894046

 

My Top 3 Tips on How to Relieve Anxiety

Mental health has been a reoccurring theme on this blog but not without reason. If you want to be part of a powered crowd for positive change it needs to start with you. You can’t create the change you want to see in the world without taking care of yourself. Another reason this topic is brought up so much is that mental health is a problem that needs to have some positive change made to. There is so many people who suffer in silence or who struggle with the stigma associated with mental health that need that person to help them through it or to be there voice.

So here is my beginner tips that have worked for me to relieve anxiety. Hopefully it can help you dear reader or help you help someone else who is struggling.

#1 – Meditation

This has been something that I have done on and off but it helps so much! I have learned that there are different types of meditation. There is the sitting on the floor with your legs crossed and humming, there is meditation apps and classes, there is yoga and so much more! If you are like me and are having a tough time jumping into meditation I would suggest just starting with taking some time in your day to close your eyes and let all those pestering thoughts fade away for a bit before resuming your life. Just that can have such a positive effect. If you want to go a step further there is a type of meditation called mindfulness which you should check out!

Check out some apps for mindfulness here.

Image result for meditation

Image from YogaJournal.com

#2 – Organization

Now this might be a weird one to some but I now that when it comes to my anxiety having some order in what I need to get done and my timelines does so much good! What I usually do is very tied to the quote which goes like this “How do you eat and Elephant? One bite at a time”. This quote resonates with me so much because if I look at everything I needed to get done as a whole I will start to get really anxious. My to do list and goals seem like a mountain that I am not sure I will ever cross. So what I have been doing recently is separating everything I need to do in chunks. First I write a master to do list and goal list. Then I separate by due date, after that I cut the project or whatever I need to get done into how many days I have left to it(say for an assignment or a blog post I want to get up). Doing things this way everyday I have a variety or bite sized tasks to do that will eventually lead me to succeed in my finishing the task or being one step closer to my future goal!

Image result for planner

Image taken from here: https://creativemarket.com/NhungDvove/421816-Weekly-planner-daily-planner

#3 A self care routine

Anxiety can be a weird thing. It can make you paralyzed and not able to do anything. This is why I think a self care routine is essential. Make that time to have time for yourself. You might be crazy busy but having those breaks and that routine every week or everyday that puts your self care first is essential to get things done and keep that anxiety down.

A self care routine like mindfulness can be anything from doing a favorite hobby to making your own at home spa or even just taking some time to journal. Just take that time to do what makes you feel good and happy.

Image result for self care gif

Image taken from here: https://www.hercampus.com/school/winthrop/selfcare

So there are my top three tips for how to relieve anxiety. I have so many more but these are the ones that have been helping me the most lately. I might do another one of these posts soon to share some more of my favorite tips and tricks when it comes to helping manage anxiety. Let me know below if you have any tips to share. I will make sure to include some of my favorites the next time I do a post like this!

Until next be part of a Powered crowd for positive change. Help does around you who need help and create some positive change in your life as well!

Web comics, mental health and self representation

Title : Eliza and her Monsters

Author : Francesca Zappia

Pages : 385

Publisher : Greenwillow Books

Published on : May 30, 2017

Synopsis :

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.


Review

Eliza and her Monsters was a very interesting novel that talks about mental health and being an artist and creator.

To be completely honest, I had high expectations for this book. I saw so many people on Booktube (AKA, the corner of Youtube dedicated to books) who loved the book and some people, of whom I really trust their opinion, said it was one of their all time favorite YA (young adult) books. (see video below starting at 7:10)

I checked the review on Goodreads (link here) as I debated about reading this book since it’s not my typical genre and the ratings were 4.29 on 5 stars. This was pretty much the deciding factor that I indeed wanted to read Eliza and her Monsters and pick it up. However,  with school and a mile long TBR (To Be Read) pile, this book sat on my shelf for a little while.

Fast forward to recently, when I found the opportunity to use the book in a University class project. I naturally jumped at the chance and got to reading.

The thing is, even with those great reviews I didn’t really like the book. For the first 3/4, the book just kind of fell flat for me. I wasn’t invested in the plot or characters and the book was really slow. I had to forced myself to read it. However, the last 100 pages were worlds better than the rest of the book. There was some beautiful prose, nice imagery, a more in depth analysis of certain issues, such as mental health, and I found myself enjoying the book.

The bad:

  • The comic pages in the book were disjointed with no continuity.
    • I would have like a snippet of the story instead of pages that were everywhere and didn’t follow the last comic pages.
  • Slow
  • Not invested in the characters
  • The plot wasn’t engaging
  • Not enough backstory for the characters (excluding Wallace)
    • Characters were a bit too two-dimensional for me

The good:

  • Realistic demonstration of mental health,  the life of a web content creator, and Fandom life
  • Overall good messages on following your path, mental health, family, love
  • Beautiful illustrations
  • I liked how they included the pages formatted as a “Chat room”

Example of Image from the book. ***Image belong to the book Eliza and her Monsters.

In the end I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars . I feel like without those last 100 page I wouldn’t have liked the book at all. If someone knew more about the web comic world they might have enjoyed it more. I also think that this book might be suited for a younger audience. However, Eliza and her Monsters brings up some things that can make the reader think, which I liked. Some of these things were geared into personal life, such as like the path you want to take in life.  Some other things were more broad like mental health. I think many aspects of this book could be a good starring point for interesting discussions, which is exactly what I will be looking at in the next section of this post!

FUN FACT: The author of Eliza and her Monsters is an artist! Go check out her Deviant Art page here.


Discussion

Now having read this book I want to make a more of an in depth analysis of the subject matter. As the title of this post suggests, I will talk about web comics, our self representation in media, and how media can effect mental health.

Web comics:

So let’s start with Web Comics! I am not a reader of web comics. I knew they existed but I never thought about them in the way they are portrayed in Eliza and Her Monsters, where Eliza posts a chapter of her web comic “Monstrous Sea” every week. The amount of work and discipline that must take to get that work done on time is impressive.

Fan art from of the fictional comic in Monstrous sea
*** All credit to the creator

So as a newbie to this world of web comics, I was intrigued after reading Eliza and her Monsters so I did what most people would do, I used the power of Google.

The first thing I found is an article by BuzzFeed (Link here) that shows a wide variety of comics in many different styles. But I was trying to find something that connected a bit more to the book, so I kept searching and found this site called Hiveworks, (Link here) which has many different creators and pages posted every week, like Eliza does in the book with her comic Monstrous Sea.

FUN FACT: Did you know that the author of Eliza and her Monsters is making a “Monstrous Sea” (the fictional comic Eliza is making in the book) into possibly a real novel? Go check out the two first chapters here.

Having been a bit more educated on the subject, I then looked back on a class reading from my digital media class. One article by Daniel Goodbrey called “Digital Comics New Tools and Tropes” mentioned how comics have drastically changed with the use of technology. Now, not only can comics be in a regular format with panels but also be larger, have animations, etc. Eliza’s comic in the book seemed to be a normal comic but what made it so in tuned with the digital age, and so different from regular comics, is the fact that she makes the comic at home and publishes it every week. Then there is the fact that the whole platform for her comic Monstrous Sea is so interactive. It has forums, fan art sections, merchandise, chat rooms, and more, which can all be found in one place. When you think about it, this dramatic change from regular paper comics is really cool and can really made a community out of a comic, as again shown in Eliza and her Monsters in many different ways. In other words, digital media enhances the whole idea of fandom when it comes to comics.

FUN FACT: Did you know that the author actually created a real website for the fictional comic Eliza is making in the book? Go check it out here.

Self representation:

Another really interesting discussion point that can be seen in Eliza and her Monsters is the aspect of self representation. In an article from my class by Douglas Eyman, he mentioned the idea of digital rhetoric, which is basically how people communicate. Eliza and her Monsters, shows this in how some of the best friends are online. There are even parts of the book written like a group chat, instant message, or text.

Like Eliza texting in class because she is more comfortable online than talking in person ***All credit for this image belongs to the creator

Digital rhetoric is also seen in the Monstrous Sea website since everyone speaks through these forums. As discussed in the book, people sometimes have a completely different life through these discussions, which is really interesting. In fact, the whole book is about Eliza and her changing perspective of herself as two different people, Lady Constellation (her online persona) and Eliza Merk, to just being herself.

Learning to be ourselves all the time is something to work on.
***All credit for the image belongs to the creator

So then comes the question of how people represent themselves on social media. I think most people are like Eliza in the sense that they have a different personality online. Probably not to the point of Eliza’s online personality of Lady Constellation, but in the way we want other people to see us in our online worlds.

An example of two different people online and at home. ***All credit for image belongs to the creator

I bet you didn’t see this coming, but there was an article in class that  talked about this as well! One was by Nancy Thuman, which showed the large evolution we see in history of how people choose to represent themselves. The other one was by Jill Rettberg, which talked about the visual, written, and quantitative versions of self representation. One thing I thought was really interesting in that article by Rettberg was how he showed how selfie and self representation has evolved and how people show themselves differently depending on what platform they use. In a sense, we create ourselves how we want to be seen on social media and not many people can see through that veil we put in front of us unless they know you in real life. A good example of this is seen in Eliza and her Monsters where Lady Constellation (Eliza’s online persona) starts off by being both anonymous and the complete opposite of Eliza’s personality. When her online identity is revealed, it completely affects her personal life, which brings me to my next point.

FUN FACT: Did you know that the author of Eliza and Her Monsters, Francesca Zappia, has a degree in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics? More cool facts here.

Self representation and Mental Health

A last thing I wanted to mention was social media and Mental Health. In the book, Eliza’s online identity is revealed to the world and she spirals into deep depression and anxiety. I think that this theme in the book  is really important to mention, how the pressure we put on ourselves to produce content online or in other aspects of our life can have negative effects. More specifically, in social media it can feel like there are so many people depending on you and what you post. It is important to sometimes take a break from the online world. Ask for help if you need it. It’s not really discussed in the book but, as a last note, if you are struggling with mental health don’t be ashamed, get help. Talk about what you are struggling with to people you trust.

Need help? Online resources for Mental Health in Canada here.


All right,  after all that, I would love to hear your thoughts! Did you like Eliza and her Monsters? What did you think of the ideas I discussed? Have any web comics to recommend? Let me know in the comments or on my social media, which can be found here.

Until next time, be part of a Powered Crowd. Look at the world around you and create some positive change. Utilize the power of social media and your online content and help those around you who are struggling with mental health. Remember YOU are amazing.

Sources used:

Eyman, Douglas. Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice. Digital Humanities. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2015. https://login.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/login? url=https://muse.jhu.edu/books/9780472121137/.

Goodbrey, Daniel Merlin. “Digital comics – new tools and tropes.” Studies in Comics 4, no. 1 (2013): 185–197. https://doi.org/10.1386/stic.4.1.185_1.

Rettberg, Jill Walker. Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves. Palgrave Pivot. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2014. https://login.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/login?url=http://link.springer.com/10.1057/9781137476661.

Thumim, Nancy. Self-Representation and Digital Culture. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York: Palgrave Macmillan UK, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. https://login.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/login? url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137265135.

“Understanding Comics (The Invisible Art) By Scott McCloud.Pdf.” Accessed March 24, 2018. http://www.jessethompsonart.com/artpage/Pre_C_drawing_Video_files/Understanding %20Comics%20(The%20Invisible%20Art)%20By%20Scott%20McCloud.pdf.

“Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | Goodreads.” Accessed March 24, 2018. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31931941-eliza-and-her-monsters.

“FAQ.” Accessed March 24, 2018. http://www.francescazappia.com/p/faq.html.

“MONSTROUS SEA.” Accessed March 24, 2018. http://www.monstroussea.com/?og=1.

“Monstrous Sea [Teaser] – Francesca Zappia – Wattpad.” Accessed March 24, 2018. https://www.wattpad.com/story/115593723-monstrous-sea-teaser.

Tang, Kevin. “42 Web Comics You Need To Read.” BuzzFeed. Accessed March 24, 2018. https://www.buzzfeed.com/kevintang/42-web-comics-you-need-to-read.

Francesca Zappia “ChessieZappia on DeviantArt.” DeviantArt. Accessed March 24, 2018. https://chessiezappia.deviantart.com.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GtIu1c33IU&t=670s