On being white and uncomfortable…

It is time for me to speak my truth to my privilege… I am a middle aged, upper middle class white woman and white privilege is all I have ever or will ever know. Just a few of my realities… I will never know what it feels like to get on an elevator and have other people exit immediately due to discomfort over being alone with me – we might in fact strike up a conversation about our shared journey or destinations. I will never know what it feels like to have people change sides of the street just because I’m walking on the sidewalk – people always smile and frequently say hi, even if I don’t know them, especially if they look like me. I will never know what it feels like to have any fear of a law enforcement officer when they stop me for an infraction or if they stop to render aid during my rare mechanical breakdowns – in fact if it’s an infraction I will likely end up with a warning (many times, even for things that were very serious) and if it’s a breakdown they’re only going to offer me help. To be clear, in neither set of circumstances at no time will I be referred to as “the suspect” and I will be treated with the utmost in respect and kindness. I will never know what it feels like to be followed around due to suspicion at any of the multiple luxury stores I walked into this week at Mall of Millenia in Orlando – the only reason I will be followed is because they want to sell me All. Of. The. Things.  And lastly, if I were in my vehicle, even if I were armed, if an unrelated police activity happened right beside me, law enforcement would ask me politely to move away or even escort me to safety to ensure that nothing happened to me since I was not their target. I never am. Because I am a middle aged, upper middle class white woman. This is my world.

The only one I’ve ever lived in.

But that doesn’t mean I am stupid enough to think that everyone lives here with me. America is a great country for me… but to be clear it is not a great country for everyone else who isn’t like me. And it is especially cruel to its black and brown citizens, and it has been since the very founding of this country. That is reality. It may make you uncomfortable to deal with that reality, but that doesn’t change it.

There are two Americas.

Now here’s the real truth… if I had to live in the other one, where none of my reality has ever existed even for people who share my socio-economic reality, even for only a day, I might be uncomfortable enough to burn some shit down. I might take to the streets. I might try to make some folks like me damned uncomfortable. Because I would not settle for less than what I have now. I don’t have to. And I wouldn’t. So why do we tell them to sit down? Why do we say that they are wrong in how they say no? Maybe their way is the only way to wake us up. Charlotte is a shout to #WAKEUP #whitepeople. This is our America too. Deal with it.

#nameitchangeit

“I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?…It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

All photos taken by Jonathan Brashear. You can see more in his Facebook album here.

On finding my place…

finding-my-place
Scrolling Facebook at 3:30 this AM… yes, really, there are people who do that… I’m one of them… and frankly I’m shocked that I’m alone out there.

So. Disappointing.

Anyway, while scrolling, as my day began, imagine my surprise when I read this.  This one little picture, created by someone who has never even heard my name nor has any interest in doing, has very succinctly summed up the last 7 years of my life.  Seven years, rolled into seventeen small words, and they say everything.

Mind. Blown.

To be clear, virtually everyone around me thought I was crazy.  Most thought I was throwing away a carefully built career  for something that was just a fad.  Something that I knew very little about in the beginning.  Something that wasn’t even a real job when I first started considering it as my path.  Haven’t you people learned yet that I love proving you wrong?

Love. It.

And yes, I know I’m only one day in and I know that things can dramatically change in a second, but an entire day surrounded by people who are creative, throwing creative stuff into the air, talking through how everything is connected, and figuring out those connections in a visual and verbal fashion, drawing pictures of them, was so much fun.  So. Much. Fun. Indeed.  And this AM I woke up early, ready to work.  Because it doesn’t feel like work to me.  It feels like play.  It feels like home.  It feels like it’s way past due for me to be this excited to learn more, to see where I fit in, to use the skills I’ve spent all this time building.  To get off the bench and contribute.

I’m. In.

Thanks are owed.  To everyone who didn’t laugh out loud at me.  Who didn’t derisively snort at my ideas and aspirations.  Who didn’t say “but why?” more than once or twice.  Thanks for believing in me… even if you thought I was crazy… and for reading and commenting and sharing and helping me be a part of this world.  With every single like, share, comment, and interaction you all helped get me to this day.  And I’m here.

Day. Two.

I’m ready.  To seize this day, and the next, and the next, and the next… and make them all my own.  Even though I know I’m so new, even though I have so much to learn…  I’m ready.

So. Ready.

To go make magic.  Magical magic.  As I smile broadly.  And say yes.

Go!

And yep… right on cue… here comes the sun…

Another day, a new mood, and a better feeling me.  Head back in the game, moving forward, momentum is a good thing.  Got my run on again… first time in two weeks… and it felt cleansing… like I was running from some sort of darkness and I finally beat it.  Left it behind.

And that kids is a very good thing.

But today I wonder why I let those dark shadows get in the way sometimes.  What purpose does focusing on the negative and bad in my life actually serve?  Is it my way of reminding myself at the end of the plunge that I’ve got much more in my bowl than outside of it?  Is it my way of refocusing and regrouping?  Or is it just me being me, dual personalities and all.  The mirror image that lives inside – good and bad, happy and sad, sublime and ridiculous.  That’s all me… and more… and I never am sure who’s going to be up when I start the day.  So I roll with what I’ve got and I move forward.

Except for when I don’t.

Today I am not sick anymore.  Today I am better.  Today I am me.  And I’ll be me tomorrow too.  And the day after, and the day after that, and… well, you get the point.  I’m always me.

And sometimes I’m glad about that… but sometimes I am not.

Today I am.

Really.

For this not being much of a week (see trip to Asheville on Friday, multiple Rosh Hashanah services, and the 600mi car ride to get home in time for school on Tuesday) it’s certainly been “interesting”.  And, no, it’s certainly not the “working 40+ hours/going to school full-time/trying to kill myself with no sleep” kind of full that I’ve previously been attempting  it’s still offered up a few personal obstacles that I’ve had to jump and dodge.

And while we’re on that topic, yes, despite the whole “not working” thing, guess who’s still getting up at 4 or 5am?  Er, yeah, that would be me.  Still not sleeping all the way through the night.

Yay.

Anyway, there’s so much swirling about in my mind… I know, shocking?!… that I just decided to do a Friday Mind Dump instead of a real post.  You know, because sometimes I care enough not to write a billion words on just one topic?  Yeah, that’s it.  Or, it could be that I’m lazy.  That too.  But regardless the reason, here’s the undifferentiated list of things that are wandering my mind today…

  • Forget all that crap about Midol being PMS’s worst enemy… it’s a bunch of bull.  All that stuff ever did for me was a little pain relief and a caffeine twitch that I didn’t get from a cup of decent coffee.  Last night, purely by accident I might add, I may have cured PMS forever.  The prescription?  Oh, just eat two Candy Corn Oreos, wash them down with half a glass of Pepsi Next, and total relief is in sight!  What?  You don’t know about Candy Corn Oreos?  Ehrmagerd!  This is only the best new food I’ve found this year.  Which is proof indeed that I’ve def. lost my foodie street cred.  But seriously, who has time for being uppity when it feels like there’s someone inside your lower back systematically taking apart your spine with an ice pick?  Yeah, that.  That’s exactly how it feels.  But now I’ve got this whole tasty bag of Oreos all to myself and I’m going to be fine.  Trust me. Just fine.
  •   Apparently I am still passing all of my classes this semester, so far, despite the debacle that was the beginning of the semester and the time management system from Hell.  Actually, despite all that doomsaying, I’ve still got A’s and B’s.  Not that this surprises anyone.  But I actually said the words “I frankly don’t care if they’re all D’s, that’s still passing and that’s all I care about now” this week.  And then I woke up from that nightmare and immediately went into convulsions at the idea of a D.  Okay, yes, I’m a bit obsessive.  I’ll own that one.  But I just really hate getting bad grades.  No, let me fix that, I hate feeling like a failure.  That’s my real issue.  And because I’ll do anything to avoid those feelings I’m up at all bizarre hours working on things that aren’t going to matter at all in less than three months.  Perhaps after all this is over I should consider a class in Balance?  Because apparently that doesn’t mean a cookie in each hand, damn the luck.  Oh, and speaking of cookies, did I mention the Candy Corn Oreos?  Yeah, right, go get some now.  You won’t be sorry.
  • I simply cannot put into words my disappointment at not being in line somewhere this morning, waiting for my new iPhone.  No, I cannot.  I’m simply twitching for one.  Muttering things that sound sort of like “…the precious… must have the precious…” as I roam the internetz this morning looking at tech pron and pictures taken by people I know (cough, cough, Chandler you suck, cough) who are doing exactly that.  Dammit! Wants!  Now!  And yes, I know I could just have another cookie, because it’s totally the same… especially those tasty Candy Corn Oreos!  Trust me on those babies, oh and bring me another one while I check out this wide-angle picture of those stylish sleek corners and amazing upgraded features.  Arrrrggghhhhh!
  • Why for the love of Mary and all of the Angels would I have one Professor insisting that I learn how to create a Statement of Cash Flows from scratch and memorize virtually every ratio known to man and at the same time have another that wants me to figure out how to write those same ratios in Excel because “nobody does this stuff by hand anymore”.  Yeah, both teach at the same school, although one likely learned her Accounting in classes that were stocked with that fine accounting tool – The Abacus.  No, I’m not being ageist, but there is suspicion that she might have been around to add up the loss of Dinosaur lifeforms after the meteor took them out.   Dear College that is preparing me for the world – everything has a shelf life.  Her’s is long past.  You have an Accounting and Finance Professor who is proudly bragging that she operates her financial life completely off the grid and only goes online because teaching her classes forces her to do so? Er, yeah, you might want to consider upgrading that area of the program.  Unless there’s a huge untapped demand for manual bookkeeping around here that I’m not aware of.  And if so, well, trust me, you’ve created their workforce for centuries.  Meanwhile there’s this new thing – STEM – it’s apparently pretty big these days in the Edumacation circles.  Hey? Why don’t we consider pulling this Accounting piece up there in it?  Oh hell, now I’m stressed out again and I need another cookie.  Hey! Have I told you guys about the Candy Corn Oreos?  Oh, yeah, right, well they’re the bombdiggity… Imma go get one now. BRB.
  • So, anyway, that whole politics thing I’m wailing and gnashing about? Just took a turn for the odd.  Spray Tan for a candidate who’s doing his damnedest to be the whitest guy in America so he can fit in with those funny little brown people?  Seriously?  Romney Rallys (and I call them that in the loosest interpretation – if those folks rally too much they’ll break a hip!) are whiter than a bowl of Cream of Wheat, and damned near as homogenized.  Tampa’s Strippers are complaining that they didn’t make as much as they expected during the RNC and it’s his “Base” that’s the reason for that.  These are people who had to get their Rascals back to the hotel for a full charge for the next day.  I’ll bet the buffets in Tampa damned near went broke though… especially the ones with an Early Bird.  Yeah, white, old, and still bitching about the good old days when colored people knew their place – that’s today’s Republican Party.  Relevancy?  Not for much longer.  Thank Jeebus.  Yeah, it gets me riled.  Can you tell?  I may need another cookie.  And speaking of which, have you seen these?

candy-corn-oreos

  • So, yesterday I did exactly what this whole “not working and going to school” thing was supposed to allow me to do.  I studied.  All day.  Yes, all day.  Shut up about the Facebooking, that’s when I was on a break.  And today I’m doing that again. The studying part that is, and possibly the Facebook breaks.  Well, okay, it’s highly likely that there will be Facebook breaks, and the Twitters.  What I can see so far is that it’s very nice to be able to do this.  Nice to have all the time in the world for the important stuff in my life.  But I can also tell you that I am feeling much guilt for leaving a good-paying job to stay at home and be our household’s version of the 47%.  Yes, guilt, that time-wasting exercise in absurdity that I indulge in with much frequency.     I think I learned it from my Mom.  Thanks.  What an inheritance.  Well, that and my love for a good cup of coffee.  There’s that lesson she taught me as well.  Not a total fail.  But anyway, yes, now that I have time, I hope I can manage it better and get things in order around here.  Because truthfully we’re a mess.  And that’s another source of guilt.  Damn.  Time for a cookie… I think a Candy Corn Oreo would be perfect to assuage some of this dreck.  Want one?  This guilt is bad about transference… you could end up with it next.
  • I’ve finally found my Single Cup Coffee Brewer, I think.  Starbucks (cue Alleluia chorus) recently introduced their version, which comes with the ability to brew foamy milk so I can make a real Mocha.  I knew this gadget was coming out “just in time for the holidays” (not my quote, what the cute young man at my “go-to” Starbucks told me when he gave me the inside scoop) but never did I think it would be this spectacular.  So, yeah, it’s on the Fa-la-la-list for me.  With a star, or two.  And with all that introduction, behold I present to you the Starbucks Verismo System:

verismo

And with all that blathering, I think my mind it is dumped.  Oh, wait, there’s also this whole “gangnam style” thing that’s puzzling the shite out of me right now, as well as a billionty-eleven other things running around in my head that I can’t even totally articulate, but these are the big rocks.  Well, no, they’re not actually, they’re just the ones that tumbled out first.  Lucky you.  Enjoy your Friday!  Try a Candy Corn Oreo today – they have them at Target!  Limited edition, so you can feel all uppity and everything.

Caution! Construction Zone – (Wo)man at work

So, yeah, the renovations continue… this is where OCD is a serious problem kids. Make notes. But I do think I’m getting closer to happy with the new bloggity look. If you can’t see or find the new additions, the short list is that I’ve installed new, cute share buttons under the posts (see, they hide from you, isn’t that cute?) and I’ve rewritten the “About” page, reorganized the sidebar, and added social networking links so you can find me all over the danged place. Just so you know, I’m not entirely happy with the buttons, which brings me to my first rant…

You Graphics people really need to add Pinterest and Foursquare to the cute icon sets, just sayin’

There, got that out of my system, moving on!

Anyway, my next thing is to find the right header image that best portrays the chaos that our house thrives on. Something normal, but not. I’m looking, I’ll find it eventually, and then I’ll be happy with the updates, maybe. But in the meantime there’s that splash of color up there. It works. So, gimme’ feedback peeps… does it work? Is it friendly? Modernized? Easy to read? What else do I need?

Operators are standing by!

Who me? Are you talking to me? Are you sure?

Yeah, er, no, probably not.

And what that’s all about is the latest comment someone I don’t know made on one of my posts last week.  Someone kind.  Someone clearly confused.  Someone named Lloyd.  Who said this…

This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.

Er, yeah.  Thanks?  I guess that’s the right response, right after “SRSLYWTF” that is.  Followed by “bless your heart”, because clearly he’s cray-cray.

Um hmmm, you know it.

But thank you Lloyd for your vote of confidence in my incredibly suspect skills on here.  I try.  It’s mostly coherent.  But I’m by no means the best.  Clearly my Statcounter numbers show that picture.

Clearly.

I was asked last week where I get the post ideas from.  And I think it concerned them when I replied “it’s all just swirling around in my head”.  Which means that Harold, my Mom, the dogs, the rats, Gandhi, and Harry Ashkenazi were all sharing that particular space for a few days.  Along with school, work, and life with Bob… which I chose not to include in my braindump.  Perhaps I’m the one who’s cray cray?

Perhaps.

All I know is that what happens on here is not magic.  It’s not planned.  It’s just what I feel like saying.  Whenever I feel like it needs to be said.  So I say it.  in 5000 words or less, and then it’s gone.

Like vomiting… with my fingers… in words.

You’re welcome.  Yet another visual you’ll not soon get rid of.  For free.  Take two, they’re small.

But thank you Lloyd for your kind words, and thank all of you four who read this thing… my Mom would be so proud that someone else is doing her job.  I’m nearly sure you’re not expanding your mind with this.  But it is marginally better than Faux News.  At least I’m honest… so there’s that.  But thanks for coming back.  It’s gratifying to see you all in the readership numbers.  Nobody likes to think they’re howling in the wilderness, with no one to hear them.  Well, no one other than Little Dog.  She frequently howls in the backyard.  Of course our backyard isn’t exactly what I’d call the wilderness, and Little Dog isn’t going to be mistaken for a Rhodes Scholar.  Not this week anyway, since she’s still got that annoying habit of recycling everybody’s poop into her own personal buffet.

Bless her heart.

And there’s another of those freebie mental pictures I give away like candy… again, you’re welcome.  Pro tip:  if she tries to kiss you –  JUST SAY NO.  Again, you’re welcome.

Anyway, thanks Lloyd, and thanks to all four of you regulars around here.  And thank you and good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are… which shows my love for inane and obscure trivia.  You are my village.  I am your idiot.  Are we all lucky or what?

Yeah, what.  That’s my vote.  Well, that and Lloyd.  I vote for him too.

Thanks.

Day 2 – it continues…

Yes, in the interest of accountability, I’m blogging again, second day in a row… I know, shocking!  Been years since that happened.  All I guess I can add is…

Hide yo kids, hide yo wife… it’s the endtimes!

Oh, and under the heading of two days in a row, I walked again, this time at lunch.  A sunny midday stroll through downtown “The City Beautiful”, and indeed it was.  Low humidity, lots of sun, nice breeze… this is as good as it gets here in the FLA.  Everything after this?  Downhill.  But this weather?  This is why we’re so happy to have a 33803 zip code.

Yay us!

But anyway, according to Dominatrix Barbie in my iPhone, I walked 1.42 miles in 19 min. or for those of you doing the math – a 13.3 min mile, in silly peeptoe espadrille flats.  Yeah… silly shoes for power walking FTW!  Seriously rethinking those $100 Asics now… perhaps money not well-spent?

Hmmmmmm?

So, shoe questions aside, feel good about moving forward a second day.  Think continuity is important.  And, besides, the four of you who are reading this might be disappointed if I quit so soon.  I won’t quit.  The first day was the hardest.  But I lived through it.  And I was able to get out of bed this AM and walk and all that.  So I think I can do this.

I think I can.

Thinking, it’s half the battle, no?

Yes… yes it is…