Apples for Oranges

It is a strange paradox how the world treats us as if we don’t matter or exist, while simultaneously immersing themselves in our culture. We are some of the best people. We love the hardest, bring a cool swagger to everything we do, are inclusive yet coquettish, aloof and hard to read—passionate, longsuffering, loyal—all of those things. Still, I wonder; what are we going to DO with all of this anger.

Anger and passion

Oh, the Humanity

…seems to be missing from us lately, and some of us have become so cruel in our “I don’t give a fuck about anybody else but me and my people” mentality. I take pride in my identity; I find causes that I believe in and fight passionately for them in ways that I feel I can contribute. All the while, I try to remember that if I want what matters to me to matter to others at the very least I should continue to show respect for the lives of others. There is so much chaos going on in this world, every event and social issue cannot possibly relate back to my cause. At a certain point I have to examine whether I am comparing apples to oranges because of misguided emotion and bitterness.

There was fear in my heart just days ago, watching the news and the accounts of the terrorism in France. Terrorism is the kind of godlessness that makes you collapse to your knees and pray for the release that is the end of the world. Who wants to continue to live this way in suffering while bearing witness to the suffering of others? My Facebook page is a sea of red, white and blue in vertical lines—it is also an ocean of information that I simply did not know.

Apparently this past April, there was a similar terrorist attack at a college campus in Kenya. That familiar sinking feeling burrowed itself deeper in the pit of my stomach—why am I just now hearing about THIS attack? Why was there no Facebook flag app for THIS? I knew the reason—hence the feeling of dread in my belly. Fact: the lives of the ones with brown faces do not matter to the general public as much. The media does not find our plight interesting. The loss of lives in “savage country” is inevitable and deemed not newsworthy. We are the last page of your newspaper, a buried link on your social media timeline– we are an afterthought. The sheer outrageousness of this boils inside of me and it takes a whole hell of a lot of compassion to rise just above it in order overcome those feelings of resentment and bitterness. Who am I really mad at? And when the fire in my belly is extinguished, do I allow the ashes to cool into a pile of apathy? Perhaps cruelty? In our efforts to spotlight that we are people that do matter in this world, are we negating the value of other lives lost as a result of senseless violence…of other lives lost period?

When White People Speak

…they are immediately shut down and told to have several seats. For people who speak out of their asses, intent on trolling and spewing ignorance I am all for this. However, not every white or non-black person is wrong, or hateful or racist. Not every NON-BLACK cause is ANTI-black. Caring about the hundreds of people killed in a brutal terrorist attack does not mean that you do not care about the social and racial issues happening on your home soil. By that same token, changing a Facebook profile picture from one flag versus the other does not mean that one tragedy trumps the other. How much you care shows in your actions, in your charity and how you choose to advocate. Facebook profile shaming is frivolous and petty. We have to be better about not focusing on the negativity we see in the loyalty and passion of others and focusing on our personal goals we are trying to accomplish. No matter what cause you stand for it is not to be compared to that of another. I want to make sure that I can handle the load of apples that I carry without worrying about how the weight compares to your oranges.

Nickie vs. MileyPersonally, I wish we could continue to focus on educating those who are ignorant and fighting alongside those who are in the know. The media will report whatever’s sexy—they will report American politics, movie news, the Kardashians—but it doesn’t mean that the general public has to care about these things. Just because we can’t control the media does not mean we have to be controlled by it. This anger, this frustration and attitude can definitely be channeled toward something more positive that will ultimately help us to better communicate our point of views and bring about changes to the way society thinks. We don’t have to be bullies! When confrontation occurs, I don’t want to turn it into a keeping it real session. When our necks start twisting and the word bitch starts flying around our whole argument becomes lost. We don’t have to play in the field with those who choose to play dirty and we can choose how we channel our negative reactions.

Who is this “we” I speak of? Me and you. The world is hurting, and it’s ok to admit that it’s not just black people. In our efforts to influence the world and serve as voices for our various causes we mustn’t lose sight of our humanity. We are not the only ones who feel pain, and we might be surprised to find that it is those who suffer alongside us who can turn out to be our biggest allies.

STFU

Crazy Face

The face I make when I am struggling to hold my tongue

I am finding that the older I get the more time I spend just looking at people with a blank face and no response– or just smiling and nodding. I have become increasingly picky about how I choose to use my time and energy. For example, if you are an ill-mannered co-worker assigned to work with me on a temporary project and it’s highly likely that I will never have to work with you again I’m not going to waste precious energy in an effort to confront your bad manners or to try to resolve how to work with each other. I’m going to keep silent, complete the job and throw up deuces when our time together is over.

Work

I find that this works just fine in most situations

I actually had a similar situation like this play out on a recent business trip except I didn’t quite leave things at a peaceful goodbye. I left with an attitude and was rude and abrupt–and I immediately felt awful about it. Unfortunately, it also seems the older I get the less of a kick I get out of telling people off and fighting ridiculous battles of will with people who hardly know me. I struggle less with guilt by making the decision to mind my tongue and keep it moving.

The Problem with Putting People in Their Place

… is that every once in a while you have to renew it. If you hang around people it is only a matter of time before a faux pas is made and boundaries are crossed. Whoops!

If I find myself dealing with repeat behavior too often, it becomes clear to me that there is no more bud left to be nipped. This person obviously can’t cease and desist on their behaviors so instead of yet another “come to Jesus” talk about boundaries it’s easier to just say nothing and disassociate. The anonymity of technology allows people to be so bold these days, as well as vocal about who is being cut off and why, etc. Listen, I have no interest in a long text/communication with you if it’s going to do nothing to edify you or our situation. If you’re bossy, controlling and hard -headed by nature then I’m not going to bother talking to your bossy controlling hard headed ass because you’re stubborn and not likely to change anyway. I’m simply going to fall back and STFU.

Whoa

Trying to tell people off via Facebook or text?– you’re just going to get this response. Why waste the energy?

Loudmouth people will somehow try to convince you that practicing STFU is a bad thing. They think it’s somehow passive and weak—however speaking as a former loudmouth (and still transitioning out of this) it actually feels more refreshing and validating to reject potential battles and continue on with life in peace. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone and I save a lot of time by not feeling obligated to do so. Also, when you’re a loudmouth people try to use you as their mouthpiece for when they don’t have the courage to speak up for themselves. I care about my children, my relationship, family, homelessness, poverty, injustice and racism—I am happy to speak up about those issues but I won’t be the mouthpiece for an issue that only marginally grinds my gears. This is life, it’s nearly impossible to be comfortable and happy with everything so you learn to adapt and adjust. I think that is a main idea that a lot of people haven’t seemed to grasp yet. We are a world filled with billions of people all trying to adjust everyone around us to accommodate our needs. Sometimes you don’t get what you want—especially out of other flawed individuals—so MOVE THE FUCK ON! Everyone doesn’t deserve an explanation.

When I made the decision to leave my first husband it wasn’t an easy decision but it was a definite one. I had laid down the law of expectations and those expectations were not being met. While I was in it I was fighting, I was accepting, forgiving, tolerating and trying to make it work but once it was done…well, it was done. I didn’t feel the need to explain why I was leaving; I made the cause and effect clear. If certain behavior continues, I will leave. The behavior continued and I left with no further need for discussion. Talking is EXHAUSTING and sometimes the most difficult way to interpret a situation. I learn so much more about people by ignoring their words, shutting up and observing actions instead. There is power in the closed mouth and I only wish I had known this about 10 years ago! I’ve wasted so much time telling people off, explaining to them who I am and “what they’re NOT gonna do”; when I could have just not said anything and let the chips fall where they may.

It’s Ok Not to Care

idgaf

You do care– or else you would not have said anything or posted this at all!

I sat home one day, mouth agape as I watched Ellen DeGeneres burst into tears on my television screen. (Anyone who really knows me knows that I love Ellen, she’s awesome, corny and you can’t tell me she’s not an angel sent from heaven to teach us to be kind and dance and be goofy to one another). As it turns out, she was bawling over the plight of some homeless dogs or something. I don’t really remember, to me it was kind of stupid and I don’t care that much about animals.  I see those sappy Sarah McLachlan commercials and I feel nothing, and when these issues pop up on my social media feeds I don’t comment or like because I don’t care.

Especially when it comes to Facebook, my timeline reads like CNN on steroids—reporting stories of missing children, weather alerts, social injustices, videotaped violence, prisoners on the run etc etc. Seriously, I can’t possibly keep up and I’m not sure I would know how to without my brain exploding. I observe everything that’s posted but I don’t dare comment on everything because that’s how you end up looking like an ignorant fool. Yes, I’m talking to you accidentally racist people.

Listen, DO NOT hashtag #AllLivesMatter on any social media—of course ALL lives matter but it’s not ALL people getting their asses beat by the police for trivial and/or alleged crimes every day. For every movement there does not have to be a counter movement—shutting the fuck up is ALWAYS an option. You have the space to talk about whatever you please on your social media but nowadays people not only lack empathy and sensitivity but they get into the habit of spouting their opinions as if they are fact. If you do not feel moved by any particular hot topic or subject matter it is completely acceptable and respectable to stay quiet about it in general. A few weeks ago, the biggest controversy was that the world was paying attention to Caitlyn Jenner as a distraction from the real news issues at hand. Well, not really… if you personally care more about race issues, politics or your grandmother’s 90th birthday it’s perfectly acceptable to stay in your lane on those things. You don’t HAVE to talk about or acknowledge Caitlyn (or any Kardashian thereof) at all! One of my main gripes with social media is the social pressure to speak up and speak out but a lot of the same people sounding off are also deleting commentary they dislike or disagree with. That’s not really how this works…

Bottom line: not every battle is yours to fight. People seem so combative these days, wielding their personal opinions like swords and are so quick to stab you with their advice or good intentions. In some situations, people end up having more respect for you if you don’t say anything at all. This strategy may not apply in every single situation, but I do think it would be good for folks to remember shutting your piehole is always an option and perfecting the art of when to be silent and when to speak is probably one of the most valuable weapons any of us could ever carry in our arsenals.*

Wisdom

Or the ones who truly DON’T care

*Of course this whole blog is made up of my opinion on the subject matter and one could argue that by writing this I am not practicing the art of STFU…

I Hate People/ Why I Stopped Following Rihanna on Instagram

The truth of the matter is that I hate people. I probably shouldn’t say that—and there really is no way to say that without sounding like a douchebag but I really and truly do. The world is in competition with you whether you like it, or even notice it or not. Driving on the highway every morning is not me commuting to get to work—it is a race with everyone on the freaking Interstate—and it doesn’t seem to matter that we are all going to separate locations.

Perhaps the thing I hate most about people is that I am just like them. I am a people, too. I take the same amount of selfies, I care too much about what others think, I suck up to the boss, I laugh at things that more mean than they are funny, I am judgy, I lie, cheat and steal. Barf—I’m just really not feeling myself these days…or ANYONE for that matter (except maybe the boyfriend because he provides me with sexy time).

Love Yourself

Anyway, the absolute worst enemy to the  low self-esteem, self-hate, phoniness  movement that exists in the millennial world today is: social media. People want you to admire, to be envious, to hate, love, CARE—all of that—and usually I am ok but I can’t help but to find myself caught in a downward spiral of depression about it sometimes. Her abs, his shoes, their relationship, their car, house, dog, cat, hair, job STOP!!!!!! As an empath I find myself desperately wanting to be happy for others and their lives and accomplishments but deep down I’m just like, “Shut. the fuck up.” Do we really have to brag about EVERYTHING? It’s to the point where so many people are always boasting about SOMEthing it makes me only want to share my small wins and moments of happiness with a small and very select group of friends. Happiness is not happiness anymore—it is a competition. Keeping your strategies to yourself is  by far, the best way to “win”.

I’m sick of writing this, though so…to make up for this ramble; here’s a post from a couple of years ago about some other shit I don’t like…

wpid-Screenshot_2013-12-29-14-29-23.png

 

Look at her– absolutely gorgeous, right? She wears awesome clothes, has a great body and seems super self-assured: FOLLOW.

I made the decision to follow Rihanna on Instagram because of the reasons listed above. I know she’s a celebrity but something about her seems a little trashy and believable so in my book, kinda cool. However, day after day of scrolling down my timeline and seeing various super fun pics with hashtags like “look at you, now look at us” and “my, insert whatever it is here, is better than yours” just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I hate that we are at the point in this world where we can’t even pretend to have humility! If I had a body like hers I would post a half naked pic of myself on IG every single day– but I would not hashtag it with #sexygirl or #youcanthavethis. With all due respect, shut the fuck up!

It is her instagram and she certainly has the right to put whatever she wants on it, but I don’t understand why looking at YOUR page has to be a humiliating experience for ME. Yes, you are rich and gorgeous. Oh cool, look at all the free stuff big name fashion designers have given you. What’s that? Oh, a pic of your grandpa AND for whatever reason he’s better than my grandpa. Oook, my grandpa is not alive so you win that contest by default but when did it become a competition? Can’t I just see you enjoying your shit without comparing it to mine…we are completely different people!

And now, of course, I see my friends doing it and I can’t scroll my IG or Facebook page without making the (-_-) face. I am happy that you are happy and have a lot of stuff. I do not want your fiancé, your new shoes. Ok your daughter is prettier than mine, you have longer hair, your cousin is the best cousin– GOOD FOR YOU!!! I think I’m going to start instagramming my past due utility bills: #poorerthanyou #mycreditscorelowerthanyours. Sighhh, yet another thing in society I really don’t get. The minute I do get it, I’m sure a light will go off in my brain (that is no doubt smarter than yours) and I will decide to “follow” Rihanna again.

Until then,  UNFOLLOW!