The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Zodiac Sign, Shmodiac Sign

I have never quite understood the obsession with zodiac signs. I will meet people and within the first five minutes, they ask me “What is your sign?” I respond “Leo” and they make this “Oh” face. Apparently people aren’t too crazy about Leos. I think it is because Leos are known for being self-centered, stubborn, and vain. Maybe that is why I am not crazy about signs? Because I have lived life as the discriminated Leo. If that is the case, prepare for an incredibly biased article. Even so, I find it hard to believe that zodiac signs can attribute all these qualities to someone just because of the position of the planets around us when we were born. I guess it is kind of like religion, people believe what they want to believe to feel some kind of fulfillment. Whether what they believe is true or not, doesn’t really matter, because people will believe in what they want. 

My question is: Why do people believe or want to believe in zodiac signs? 

It is too easy to accept the qualities attributed to our signs because they are so ridiculously vague. “Virgos like to be the leader of the pack, but sometimes they don’t,” “Libras like to be the center of attention, yet they can also be introverts,” “Sometimes Scorpios have good days, sometimes Scorpios have bad days,” Blah, blah, blah. I am sorry, but am I the only one that finds these comical? I can’t read these descriptions without laughing to myself, but for some people, all their answers in life lie in those descriptions.  

22-year-old senior at Loyola Marymount University, Karina Nazarian, expresses a similar response to mine. “I think people like to hold on to the good aspects of their sign and hope they are true,” Karina shares as she looks worriedly over at her roommate, Victoria Ohanian, in fear of offending her. Victoria roles her eyes and laughs, clearly she is not offended, “I like reading about zodiac signs for entertainment, but I don’t take them seriously. I think people read them in whatever direction they want.” 

I agree, I find that people count on zodiac signs to better understand themselves. It is comforting to rely on some outside source to explain your actions and personality traits. Some people justify their break ups because their signs “just didn’t match up,” or feel like they didn’t get a job because the company was looking for a Taurus. Darn.

When looking for answers for yourself, it is so much easier find them in zodiac signs. Reading over the descriptions I have come across, I think to myself “Oh yeah, I have felt like that before.” or “Yeah, that is totally me.” Sometimes reading things you can relate to is a reassuring feeling that others think, feel and act like you. 

So yes, there was  a time in my life when I was trying to relate to my Leo-ness. That being said, I remember talking to an acquaintance about an argument I had with a friend and she asked me what sign I was. After responding, she looked at me and with the straightest face and with the most matter-of-fact tone said, “Oh well it is because you are a Leo. You are stubborn.” I cringed, fought the urge to laugh and say “No, I am stubborn because I am stubborn. Is that so hard to believe?”

It is instances like these where I am turned off by the strong influence of zodiac signs. Rather than offer advice, this girl felt the only explanation necessary was that I was a Leo and that should explain the rest. This example is a bit extreme and to be perfectly honest, that girl was a bit of a nut case, but  I was still bothered. 

It is not that I think zodiac signs are bad, but when they dictate one’s perception of other people, they can be detrimental for new relationships. When someone asks me what sign I am within the first five minutes of meeting, it is safe to assume they are making presumptions about me based off of what they read online. Zodiac signs act as another barrier alongside ethnicity, clothing, etc., used to make judgments on people while undermining their individuality before really getting to know them. 

So my one piece of advise for all zodiac sign enthusiasts: Get to know the person before you get to know their sign. 

Want to learn more about zodiac signs? Click Here

Alexandria Rousset 

Say No To Excuses

"Excuses are like assholes, Taylor, everybody got one."

Sgt. O’Neill, also known as John C. McGinley, said in the popular 80s film Platoon. I couldn’t agree more with this and to be perfectly honest I have gotten to a point in my life where excuses don’t cut it anymore. I have heard them all and believe me I have told a fair share myself. I was pretty darn good at them too. But they get old and one day it hits you: 

Excuses are empty statements. They are explanations that attempt to justify a shortcoming. As much as you believe your excuse, at the end of the day, it is just an excuse. Here is the problem with excuses. After a while, you start to believe your own excuses, then you are left in a position in which you feel helpless because you “believe” that all your problems derive from these external factors. You claim and honestly feel like you can’t achieve success because “the world is against you.”  When in reality, you have all the power to change the direction of your life, you just have to learn to accept this power and take advantage of it.  

Let me throw a little cliche your way: You can do anything you set your mind to. Bet you never heard that one before huh? The reason successful people are successful is because they don’t make excuses, they make moves. They don’t put themselves in situations where they would have to explain a fault because they are too busy doing what they said they were going to do in the first place. 

I challenge you to stop excusing yourself for things you “shoulda woulda coulda” done. Don’t waste your breath and other people’s time. Starting today, no more excuses.

Here are some common excuses you should stop using starting today:

Lets be honest. You weren’t late because of traffic or lack of parking because we all know (especially in Los Angeles), if there is somewhere important you need to be, you will take those factors into consideration and give yourself ample time for arrival. If you have an important meeting that you do not want to be late to, make sure to leave twice as early so that you will find parking and arrive in a timely manner. You are not Moses and traffic is not the Red Sea, it will not part in your favor.The sooner you realize that the world is not on your side, the better you will be.  

Another common one is using your professors as an excuse for poor grades. I am graduating college in May and have definitely had a fair share of professors ranging from absolutely terrible to positively inspiring. Every time I enter a class I understand that there are completely different expectations from professor to professor. Your professors are not going to adjust to your preferences; therefore, you must adjust to your surroundings. Take the time to understand the syllabus, work load, and responsibilities in order to get the grade you want. Study extra hard, participate excessively, and go to office hours. As bad as your professor is, I doubt he/she would have a job, if he/she failed every student in the class. So, be one of the few students that gets the decent grade. 

When you blame external factors for your problems, you create a crutch that is detrimental to your success. Stop blaming your parents, your teachers, your friends, your lack of money and admit to yourself when you have failed. I am as prideful as they come so I understand the difficulty with admitting to failure. When I am pulling all-nighters trying to finish a paper due at 8 am, it is easy to blame my teacher for assigning too much homework, or work for keeping me too long, but that won’t get my paper done.There are so problems (sickness, natural disasters, accidents) we can’t control, why not take control of what we can? 

Having trouble saying NO to excuses? Read articles for more inspiration: 

Alexandria Rousset 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Addictions, Habits and Everything in Between

It is difficult to draw the line between a good addiction, a bad addiction, a good habit, and a bad habit. In fact, I would argue it is even impossible to draw this line between the four because that would mean everyone would have to agree on one definition for each. Addictions and habits are subjective, until they become destructive.

What do I mean by this? I mean that it is up to the person to determine whether they have an addiction or habit, unless of course it is blatantly obvious to the public that the person is unable to make the decision themselves for physical or psychological reasons. For example, one may not think they are addicted to working out, but if their body looks others wise (too skinny, fatigued, frail), then their health will speak for itself. Or if a person does not think they are addicted to their significant other, but their social and work life have drastically plummeted, those results would also speak for themselves.

Nadine Elise Jenson is a 21-year-old Senior English major from Camarillo, Calif., at Loyola Marymount University. While reading and writing has always been a passion for Jenson, her primary infatuation in life is ballet. With 13 years of experience and a drive that grows by the day, Jenson hopes to join a prestigious dance company in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, or New York when she graduates.

What does a schedule of a full time student pursuing ballet look like? Hell. On top of her eight classes (yes, eight), Jenson drives to a Russian ballet school around 45 minutes away from campus every day between classes. Every day. Its location is none other than the infuriatingly hectic area of Wilshire and La Brea in Los Angeles. Over the weekend’s one would think Jenson takes the time to do as the majority of college students do, “chill out,” but on the contrary, she spends ten hours more at the dance studio.

In Jenson’s case, her good habit is what has caused her bad habit, which further proves my hypothesis of this huge amount of gray area when it comes to good addictions, bad addictions, good habits, and bad habits. Jenson’s good habit is going to dance every day, even when she is stressed out of her mind, because she knows it will be worth it in the long run. However, Jenson also admits that her bad habits come from always going to dance and not knowing her limits.

“I let myself get anxious. I need to not to beat myself up when I can’t go to ballet,” Jenson’s blue eyes scan the desk as she shakes her head in agreement with her statement. She continues, “It is really unhealthy and unrealistic. My ballet school puts that kind of pressure on me. Finding the balance and having the dignity to not feel like crap is difficult. I just can’t hate myself and my life because someone makes me feel guilty.”

While this might sound like Jenson has an addiction to attending dance and pleasing both dance teachers and English professors, I would argue that she is not addicted. What is addicted really mean anyway? According to, addiction means “the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.”            

As I previously stated, it is hard to judge whether someone is addicted to something or not, or whether their habit is a good one or not. The definition above clarifies a bit for us, but the variables are vague and subjective to each person.

I am not a doctor, nor do I have the authority to diagnose anything on anyone; however, I can state with confidence that Jenson is not addicted (in the negative sense, which the definition itself implies that it is always negative to be addicted to something) to ballet. Why? Because she has recognized how attending ballet has affected her life and clearly stated that she needs and is going to take time to balance ballet and school; therefore, she is aware of the consequences of both her good and bad habit.

Addictions and habits are tricky. My best advice when it comes to this topic is if you are questioning your stance on a relationship with a possible bad addiction or habit, ask yourself: Am I dependent on this “thing” (person, behavior, substance) to go about my daily life? What happens to me if I don’t have this “thing?” What can I do to create a healthier, less dependent relationship with this “thing?” Be honest with yourself with these responses because you have the best judgment of  how outer “things” affect you physically and psychologically. 

Alexandria Rousset