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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Global Perspective

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” 

― Shannon L. Alder

In America, life gives you lemons. In other countries, life will give you famine, a sea filled with blood due to incessant war, and little to no access to health care. Submerging myself in world news, I’ve come to realize that my quality of life is overwhelmingly better than most people in the world. This enlightenment has given that cliche quote “it could be worse” new profound meaning. Shit could really be worse.

The social and economic injustices in America can cause us to forget that America and its shortcomings is the lesser of many evils. The United States provides us with an abundance of life's necessities and trivial desires. Living in America, most have access to resources that other inhabitants die for. Running water, shelter from the heat, shelter from the cold, plumbing, free education, and public transportation are luxuries easily taken for granted. Although some people in America may be subjected to harsh living conditions, those harsh conditions are nothing when compared on a global scale.

While listening to BBC World Service, I’ve heard the cries of refugees fleeing Syria that witnessed their family members drown during their attempts to enter Europe illegally crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Syrians have lost their homes, their jobs, their communities, and their rest. Worst of all, they face a high probability of losing their lives as causalities of war... causalities of unfortunate circumstances. All to escape turmoil they did not provoke: A war that has killed many innocent civilians. If and when they make it to Europe, or whatever country that they believe possesses a second chance at a normal life, their misfortune isn’t comforted. Starting a new life with nothing in a country where the government is ambivalent regarding your refuge there, does not provide much ease.

If we could compare the prayers of Americans and the prayers of those confined in Syria, we would see that the two countries worship two very different Gods. Not in name, but in attitude. Those that live in America may act as if life is an entitlement of sorts and evil is something that only lurks in the dark: prayers for job promotions and material possessions. But in  Eritrea, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Uganda and Iraq, evil lurks relentlessly day and night: their prayers are for food, refuge and timely revenge. 

American adults would be utterly traumatized waking to piles of rotting dead bodies stacked one on top of the other outside of their makeshift tents. While children in these war ridden countries play a few feet away from decapitated heads. Whatever pain I feel is triumphed by the pain of those suffering unremittingly around the world. For those searching for their family member's remains in the rubble of bombed buildings, life is hell on earth. I don’t know pain. The devastating circumstances in my life can’t even scratch the surface of what my brothers and sisters experience around the world. 

They say that you should expect causalities in war, and I’ve also come to expect Americans to bask in their ignorant bliss, as I used to. Not knowing the blood shed that is happening around the world, around the clock. My perspective on life has changed significantly. And I ask myself, "Who am I to complain?"

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Great Wall

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.”

― Shannon L. Alder 

My manager was telling my team and I that his daughter is super feisty. He talked about how his daughter fights back whenever he or his wife tries to discipline her. And then he looks at me and says “She reminds me a lot of you”.  I guess that is a good thing... that I remind him of his daughter.. even if it's only because I am feisty. 

I am a lot of things. And who I am, has been some wonderful combination of genetics and my environment. I can be hard to handle. Hard to read. Hard to deal with. But most of it is what I pretend to be. There is so much more that comes with behavior... a back story that others often know nothing about. The reason why I am the way I am and why I respond the way I respond. I am sure you have a story too. We all do. 

Oh yes, I am a feisty one. I think it’s from me growing up a bit isolated and not really understanding social norms. Not to mention I was relentlessly bullied as a child in elementary and middle school. I had no friends in elementary until 4th grade. My older sister tormented me at home. I truly felt worthless and alone. What was the point of living a life where you were constantly being bullied? I was broken and my mother couldn't even see it. So, now, when I am interacting with motherfuckers on a daily basis, my childhood is the only thing I can think of as to why I am so defensive now. 

Sometimes, it isn't as simple as 1, 2, 3. Sometimes we look at people and we think we know what makes them tick. What drives them. What keeps them going. We see someone respond a certain way and we think we have an idea as to why. But we really don't. Unless we live in that persons brain, we really have no idea why he or she may react or behave the way he/she does. And that is the point I want to get across... I know this sounds cliché but I honestly feel like I am misunderstood, I know many of us are.

 I’m enigmatic, for sure. I can tell why I am hard to decipher. But I really don’t mean any harm. I have my own internal shit that I battle on a daily basis. I have my own demons dancing in my brain. Every day I am trying not to jump off the 13th floor.

There are times, when I want to be excited. I want to be happy. But something inside me stops me from smiling. Something inside of me tells me to not get so excited because I don’t want to get hurt. Because I didn’t want to look stupid at the end. It makes absolutely no sense at all. But that inner voice wins most of the time. This holiday season my grandmother came to stay with me for a month. During that month, I probably hugged her twice. I wanted to hug her, but something told me not to. So I just told myself that I would hug her before she left. And the day she got on her flight, I didn’t get a chance to hug her. Now, I am thinking “what if that was my last chance to hug my grandmother?” Why didn’t I just fucking hug her while she was at my house? Why was it hard for me to show affection to my own grandmother? What was I afraid of?

You see… this is shit that goes on in my brain. When I have friends or family visit me I try not to get excited because I don’t want to go from a very emotional high to an emotional low. I start thinking about shit that is irrelevant. Like, what if we argue on this trip? What if this person gets mad at me? So I try to numb myself before it happens. I get stressed easily and then I shut down. If only you could live inside my mind for a day. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

What you see on the outside, usually is different from what is going on internally. While I am an emotional person and very expressive about my emotions, there are some things that shut me down and it’s hard for me to step out of that. Yes, I am feisty. But most of the time it’s just me trying to protect myself. I constant have my guard up and I don’t know why, exactly. I am working on it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why am I single?

To all my single ladies...

Have you ever asked yourself “Why am I single?”

This Valentine’s Day I had a little soiree at my place for all my single friends. And as we sat around watching a movie, I looked around the room and asked myself “Why are we single?” I have a great group of friends and I think every one of them brings something to the table. All of my friends are different. All of them have their great qualities and their setbacks, like every women. But what is it about us that has kept us with no ring on the finger?

Recently, I was reading a blog where the writer attempted to address why so many successful [more so black] women are single. I know people often say that it’s because successful woman intimidate men. While that could be the case, I doubt that the “intimidation” factor is the sole reason why so many successful woman are single. The blogger suggested that successful women aren’t single because men are intimated by them, but rather, these woman must have some issues that they are unaware of.

Hmmm… some issues that we are unaware of? What could this be? So I started asking myself, what do I think is keeping me single? While I do consider the fact that it could just be that I haven’t met the right person for me. You know, bad timing. I haven’t been at the right places at the right time. But what about women that are single in their late 40’s and 50’s that have never been married? Is it all just ‘bad timing’?

I’ve read articles that say that women need to be more open. For me, that is a check in the box. I will date any creed and any color, as long as I felt a connection. But are other women doing the same? Do you have a long list of “what you want in a man?” What race he should be? What religion? What height? What profession? Hey... These things are important! But realistically, how long can this list be while still having eligible bachelors that qualify?

I believe everyone should have a standard. But some woman have standards that are way too high and quite superficial. For instance, I met a young lady that said she wouldn't date anyone under 6 ft. I was a bit stunned by that. Why the height requirement? What if the guy was 5’11 but absolutely amazing? Nope… she said that she wouldn't budge! I have my own deal-breakers… one that is probably as shallow as the 6 ft. rule. But I think we all have our preferences… we just have to try to remain realistic.

So, I’ve recently looked in the mirror and asked myself. What do I think I can change about myself to help me with potentially meeting someone? What do I think is in my control that I can change to help me in the love department? So, this may sound shallow, but the answer came to me in the gym while lusting for this hottie working out. I looked at him and I said to myself “My God! Why have thy forsaken me!” This guy was gorgeous. And I watched him put in the work day after day in the gym. He makes that investment in himself. He puts that time and attention aside for himself... to be fit... to be healthy and it made me admire him. It made me want to do the same for myself.

So, since then, I have been putting more effort in me. People can look at you can tell if you love yourself. If you exude self-confidence. Self-love. Self-happiness. And I am trying to be all encompassing. I believe that maybe this is an element that may have been there before, but now I am letting it cultivate.

As aforementioned, SINGLE-ISM could all be due to timing. However, there are certain things that is in our control. And when we realize that things aren't necessarily going the way we've initially planned, we may have to reanalyze the situation and ask some questions. What can I do to change/improve my certain situation/chances?