Tag Archives: life

Dear white girls….

 

A facebook page, a tumblr, a poem, countless headlines and memes.

Apparently people have a lot to say to white girls.

Now before anyone loses their shit, I do agree that there is racism in society today. And maybe more common that that, there are the hidden biases that, however unintentional, have negative effects on those who are not white. I try to recognize and be grateful for the fact that I don’t know what that is like.

But, (you knew there had to be a ‘but’) I disagree with two articles I read today that reeled you in with this or a similar headline. Both were about the cultural appropriation happening at Coachella. Now, I still struggle to understand where things go from being fashion or flattery by imitation to a mockery. As a kid, I was a gymnast. And when I competed, I wore cornrow-style braids in my hair. I didn’t do it because I wanted to be black. I didn’t do it because black girls did it. I did it because it was one of the only ways to keep my hair in place on my head through four hours of flipping, jumping, tumbling, and rolling around on mats and floors. Was that inappropriate of me?

But that wasn’t my biggest beef. No, what bothered me more was the arguments against Native American headdresses. The first article I read said that they were a sign of power that only chiefs deserved to wear. You know what else used to be reserved for royalty? Crowns. Tiaras. The color purple. Things that anyone can wear now. But a tiara from the dollar store holds no meaning. Even an expensive one means nothing on the head of girl at prom or turning 16. And the same thing goes for the feathered head pieces that festival-goers were wearing. Yes, they are honorable and noble when worn by the men who earned them. But these are not those and they do not mean the same thing.

Now the second article got me even more confused. A Native American girl was horrified at her decision to post a selfie of herself in her grandfather’s headdress on facebook after hearing a stat on how Native American women are more likely to be sexually assaulted. She could not believe that she had contributed to this epidemic through her sexualization of traditional Native American dress.

Hang on now. The sexualization of Native American women is what’s leading to the rise of their sexual assault? Now tell me that the same people who are upset about the cultural appropriation are not also the ones who tout that they have a right to dress, talk, act however they want and not be raped. Women in skimpy “Native American” costumes are responsible? Hell no. Rapists are responsible for rape. Plain and simple.

You can’t have it both ways, ladies. You can’t fight for equality and say that women deserve as much as men and then turn around and call a woman disrespectful for wearing a traditionally male garment. You can’t say that rapists are the only ones responsible for sexual assault, not their victims, but then also think that posting a picture of a pretty girl in a headdress contributes to the problem.

Let’s stop tearing each other apart for conflicting reasons, ladies! And if you have a problem with someone, talk to them about it. Don’t write a letter blaming everyone who’s not like you.

 

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“Friends”

Here are some stats for you:

In the last 2 years, I’ve visited 7 friends in different places, traveling over 4000 miles altogether. None of them have come to visit me.

I’ve invited a dozen people to hang out at my place. 4 have showed up.

I’ve made plans with at least 6 people who have then bailed on those plans at the last minute.

 

I’ve been a damn good friend in my lifetime. Friend has surgery? I’ll make a surprise house visit (with a 6 hour round trip drive) to cheer her up. Graduation party on the same day that I get back from a semester in Europe? I’ll put off sleep and being home for the first time in 5 months to make that pit stop. No, I’m not a perfect person. But I am very forgiving, perhaps to a fault, and therein lies my downfall.

See, I have horrible anxiety when it comes to making everyone happy. That combined with a great love for my friends meant that I was a fantastic friend. I would be there nearly every time at the drop of a hat. I don’t always give expensive gifts, but a heartfelt one you can expect, even if it’s just the homemade dessert that you love best. And if bad things happened, I was sympathetic. And silly me, I didn’t realize that people were starting to take advantage of that. I’m the one who travels everywhere, so surely it’s no big deal for me to travel to see people where they live instead of them coming to see me. Works great for both of us! You have to work or spend time with your girlfriend or go to a party while I’m there? That’s cool. I get it. You’re busy. I’m only a grad student who works multiple jobs and gave up a weekend of getting shit done to spend time with you.

The worst part is that I keep hoping and expecting. Next time, I tell myself. They’ll pull through. They’ll make plans. They’ll text first. Because they’re my friends. And that’s what friends do.

No. That’s what I do.

Okay maybe I’ll clarify. That’s what I do for people I consider my friends, people I care about. So maybe that’s where the snag is. Maybe it’s that these people don’t feel the same way about me. Because they would do more if they cared about me. Right?

I was afraid before to lose my friends. I was so caught up in trying to keep them that I didn’t even notice that they were already gone. See, they’ll still come to me when they need something. They’ll still want to be a part of all the good times in my life, especially if they get to make an appearance as ~good friend~. Yeah, I’m looking at you, wedding. But the days when I need them most, they’ll be a void. Hell, most of the times I need someone to talk to these days are because I’ve been let down by a “friend” yet again.

But they know that the next time they need advice or someone to laugh with or are just lonely, I’ll come through for them. Because I’m such a good friend to them.

Now, I’m afraid to make friends, to be a friend. I’m afraid of the disappointment I’ll face. I put on my armor and I brace for impact. But they keep hitting me in the exact same spots and now my shield is weak. I didn’t come here for a battle.

To my friends, those people that I have loved and treasured, and still do:

My heart is battered and broken. You once lifted it so high, but that only made the fall worse. I try so hard to hide it, but you already know that I will keep offering it to you, over and over. So I ask one last favor from you. Surely you can give me that.

Leave me be.

Don’t keep taking what you can’t give back. You’re not worthy of my friendship anymore. And unless you intend to change, don’t accept the heart from my outstretched hands any more. It can’t take this anymore. You’re a better friend to me by admitting that you’re not one than pretending.

I’m not afraid of not having friends anymore. I’m afraid of the black hole of self-loathing and doubt that my friends will send me into.

 

 

 

 

Kumbaya and other things

I promised myself that I wasn’t going to get involved in politics on social media, but no one reads this anyway, so what the hell.

I believe in the right to protest the government. It’s a free country. But, like everything else in this world, there’s a right and wrong way to go about it.

Wrong: Hateful rants on Facebook.

Right: Talking to your government representatives about your concerns. (Hint: that’s why they’re there. To REPRESENT you.)

Right: Voting in your municipal elections so that your local representatives might be people who care about what you have to say.

Wrong: Rejecting people who think differently than you.

Wrong: Arguments.

Right: Conversation.

You will never convince anyone to think differently by posting a meme or an article or a paragraph-long status. People who agree with you will like it. People who don’t will get mad at you. And in the end people are upset and nothing has changed.

Don’t be idiots. If you want to better yourself, listen to someone who is on the opposite side. Don’t listen to tell them why they’re wrong. Listen to hear them. Understand why they think what they do. You don’t have to agree. Build some freaking empathy and say sure, I see where you’re coming from, even if that’s not how I see it. If they invite you to, share your side. Don’t throw it in their face. Don’t insult them. Just tell them why it means something to you.

And just like that — conversation. And you can still be friends! Super.

There’s a meme out there that I love. Jesus (don’t start with the religion thing. It’s a good message no matter what you believe spiritually) says to a crowd “love one another”. Now there are various versions in which the crowd asks “what if they’re….gay, black, immigrants, etc?”  His response: “Did I stutter?” I think we should include “What if they have different political leanings than me?” Did. I. Stutter? Love one another. Period.

For those of you who can’t get behind something Jesus said, let’s instead follow the example of Jackie Moon: Everybody love everybody. And if we can’t even figure out how to be as good as Will Ferrell, we’re in real trouble.

Love you all.

 

Books and covers: Being judgemental

Judgemental. It’s a word I’ve heard thrown around a lot among friends and acquaintances. But what does it mean? I once told a friend that everyone judges other people. That it’s a natural thing that we do automatically all the time. She laughed at me. I’m the worst when it comes to expressing my thoughts as speech, so it certainly didn’t come across right. But I think lost in there was a good point. Here’s a hopefully more coherent explanation of what I meant to say then.
We’re always told not to judge a book by it’s cover. Yet everyone does it. I mean, what else are we supposed to go by? There are so many books out there for us to choose from. The only way to really know what a book is like is to read it. But we can’t possibly read each one. We have to narrow the field first. So we choose books that look like they fit our interests. But can we really call that judging?
It’s similar with people. When we see people for the first time, we automatically form an opinion. Yes, this opinion is based on surface characteristics, like a book cover. The cover may not necessarily reflect what is inside the book, but unfortunately in life, we can’t read every book in depth. So we pick and choose the people we want to get to know. I don’t think this is a problem. I don’t think it’s wrong to look at someone and think ‘he looks tired’ or even ‘I don’t like her haircut’. We’re entitled to our own opinions. The problem is when we start to make assumptions about the plot just from the picture on the front of the novel. It’s not okay to say ‘he’s probably tired because he partied all night. He’s going nowhere in life’ or ‘that’s a haircut only a lesbian would wear’. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that you never know what someone is dealing with. I’ve had a few people confide in me the struggles that they have experienced and continue to experience everyday. These experiences shape their life decisions. I’ve heard people say this about a guy who doesn’t drink. They say he’s a party pooper, that he is ‘judgemental’ (there’s that word again)towards those who do drink, even though he’s never said a bad word about them. I found out after years of knowing him that he chooses not to drink because both of his parents are recovering alcoholics. His decision to not drink is an amazing act of courage. But people who haven’t read the whole book are writing bad reviews based on the cover. That, I believe, is being judgemental.
And it goes both ways. I’ve heard people being called judgemental because they’re goody two shoes or because they’re rule breakers. I’m not saying I’m innocent. I know that far too often, I’ve made assumptions and formed opinions based on false assumptions. But to be an expert, you have to read the whole book. It’s not always easy. People will hand you copies of their story with entire chapters. So don’t speak badly until you’ve got the full story. And never judge a book by it’s cover.

I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairytale

Once upon a time, I wanted a fairy tale ending. I wanted a prince. My knight in shining armor was supposed to rush in on his valiant white steed to rescue me and we would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. So I waited. And I waited. But all this time searching the horizon, waiting for my one true love to appear gave me time to think. As I sat in my tower, alone with my thoughts, something dawned on me.

 

I don’t want a prince.

 

But really. I don’t want someone to sweep me off my feet and carry me away. I hate not having control. I don’t care if it’s Channing Tatum who picks me up, I’m probably going to kick and scream until he puts me down. I don’t want to be the poor girl who some guy turned into a princess. I want to be on equal ground. I don’t want a prince, I want a sidekick. He shouldn’t have to help me out of trouble, he should be right there getting into trouble with me. I am not a pretty face. I have Mulan’s strength, Ariel’s voice, Tiana’s dedication, Aurora’s dreams, and Elsa’s independence. I deserve more than a prince who will take care of me. I deserve a best friend who will love me.

 

So I won’t sit around waiting for love any more. I escape my tower and venture out into life. If I’m lucky, I will run into love along the way. And if not, maybe I will just find myself.