Another year has passed. I am 29. One last year before I complete another decade. My third one. About to enter a decade that really communicates “Adult”. My first 9th year of my first decade I was in third grade. I was at Northdale Elementary (rest in peace, sweet little school) in Mrs.May class. We went to England for three weeks that year. I had bangs, and shoulder length hair. I was one of the shortest in the class. I had friends, but none that I really connected with. Megan was my best friend. My worries consisted of getting in trouble for not cleaning our toys, and whether or not I was included in the “clique” at school.
19, the ninth year of my second decade, I was in a transitional weird time. Looking back, it was probably my most unbalanced year. I presume my thyroid problem started around then because I remember after I got highlights, chunks of hair fell out. I thought it was because of the highlights. I was very emotional/depressed. I was dating Colin, and planning my year away at Mt. Olive. I left my family, London Ontario, my best friends, and boyfriend to go to Mt. Olive. I didn’t know anyone, and had a very hard time adjusting. Culture shock hit me hard, and missing home and the familiar. Academically and athletically, I had an amazing year. But the year was full of sadness, and low self worth.
29, this year. I have Josh, my man for life. We have a toddler Jack, a house, cars, and plans for the future. We are saving for our next house and thinking about ways to improve our house. I am the most balanced I have ever been. I have discipline and am more focused that I have ever been. My faults and weaknesses are still very present, but much less so. I have worked hard at personal growth. I still have a long way to go.
I want to:
1. Learn how to cope/deal with people with very different views that I personally find backwards/racist/ignorance/lacking any type of compassion
2. Not care what people think of me as much, and be more open about being agnostic. I still feel like people judge me because of this. It hurts me that people think because I am not a Christian, I lack morals. I wish I didn’t care as much.
3. Be more willing/strong to take risks. I stay at my job because it’s a consistent paycheck, I have benefits, vacation and sick time, and is somewhat fulfilling. I do feel like I can do more, though. There’s something inside me that is not willing to just settle with the comfort, but I am too scared to take on anything different.
4. Eat more vegetables and consume less sugar. I have made HUGE improvements with food but still a long way to go.
5. Improve correspondence with friends. I suck at this. Life is so busy, and that really isn’t a good excuse. I’ve always been bad at this. I need to write monthly letters maybe, and send them to my friends from home whom I used to be so close with, and share everything with. I miss that. It’s something very hard to find. And as we all get older, the more differences we all have with one another (in general), so those sweet, innocent childhood friendships are like no other.
6. Continue to work hard at my relationship with Josh. Just as individuals grow with work, relationships either grow or falter. You need to work together. We work best as a team, and communication is crucial. Not only communication, but how we communicate. We are both there to help each other grow. We have helped each other out a lot. And we do a pretty good job being parents to Jack (who by the way is not an easy toddler). Josh can be a jerk sometimes, and I am occasionally not the nicest. But we have come leaps and bounds on how we problem solve and communicate. I can’t wait for us to spend the next decade in our thirties and achieving many of our goals together. I love him so much.
I think it’s important to be honest with yourself, and create goals.
I am very happy and very lucky to lead this life. We are very fortunate in many ways. I need to be more grateful. I often get consumed in my own life and forget there are millions of others who never have the opportunities I have. I don’t think it’s fair to thank a God for that. I am not more worthy than anyone. I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think much of life is fair, and what happens to one person is really luck of genetics, who their parents were, where they live, and their experiences. I don’t think it’s fair to think that God put you in your situation (which in my case is better than 90% of the world) because he wanted it that way. I am humble and sad that the world isn’t more balanced. I think it’s cruel, and unfair, and am quite angry about it.
I believe in investing in the treatment rather than preparing and focusing on the punishment.
I believe in separation from Church and State.
I believe in Science, and knowledge.
I believe in renewable energy
I believe in transparency
I believe that corporations should not dictate our laws
I believe in unions
I believe in creating a working wage that can let someone live without needing government assistance.
I believe in finding the cause to poverty
I believe in investing in education
I believe that music, art, and physical education are very important to a child’s education
I believe in real affordable health care- not what some private for profit insurance company states (HELLO FIRST PAYER, you there?!)
I don’t believe in suing for every little thing
I am angry that the money taken out of my check each month funds weapons and wars, and organized murder
I am happy my tax money goes to people who can’t afford rent, or food.
I believe in preventable health care which begins with food, and exercise.
I believe in walking or biking to work (I miss those days)
I believe in mental health treatment, in a hospital but mostly in the community.
I believe in VERY strict gun laws. The stats in this country are just shocking, but more shocking is the lack of urgency and the apathy surrounding gun violence.
I believe in questioning tradition.
Needless to say, I think I live in the wrong country and definitely State. But I hope for progress. And I have a hard time with people stuck in the past, or unwilling to think for themselves. But they will always exist, and I shouldn’t even stress about it. Just focus on myself and what I can do.
This is a long blog, but I have felt the need to get all these thoughts out. I have been neglecting on my writing. I love writing, and should do it more. I relate to this Radiohead song more than ever. At times, I feel like this because it is exhausting caring so much about the state of things, and the lack of progress, and the sadness and violence, and turning on the news to find there were 5 murders last night in surrounding counties. This sums up my blog, very well. Thanks if you read this whole rant.
"A heart that’s full up like a landfill
A job that slowly kills you
Bruises that won’t heal
You look so tired and unhappy
Bring down the government
They don’t, they don’t speak for us
I’ll take a quiet life
A handshake of carbon monoxide
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
No alarms and no surprises
This is my final fit, my final bellyache with
No alarms and no surprises”
This is what racism looks like.
Racism is the utter lack of compassion it takes to see a mother grieving for a boy and afraid for her own sons, and think, “Wow, that would be really easy to tweak in Photoshop to make her look stupid. Wouldn’t that be funny?”
Racism is dehumanizing. Racism robs this woman of her individuality, her humanity, and her gender. “And ain’t I a woman?” This mother ain’t a woman to “The Patriot Nation.” She’s an object to be ridiculed for mistakes she never made; mistakes, in fact, that someone intentionally added to a photo of her for the purpose of mocking her grief and fear.
Racism is someone in front of his computer whose face twists into the same mask of disgust we see in grainy old black and white films of the KKK burning schoolhouses and churches, and instead of a racial slur spilling from his curled-back lips, he sneers, “Sheeple,” or “Socialists,” or “Obamanation,” and he clicks “like” and “share” on this photo because there’s no little switch in his brain to say: “Is this right to do to a human being?” No. The filter turns off when his hate is triggered by this image. And the really scary thing is, that missing filter means he’s also missing the ability to honestly ask himself, “Am I responding this way because of this woman’s race?”
This is also what courage looks like, over there on the left.
Courage is a woman who knows damn good and well that there are people in the world who will use and abuse anything she does in the public eye to slander her, her community, and the sons on whose behalf she’s protesting.
Courage is a woman with her head held high holding a protest sign of her own making in front of a news camera. She is old enough to have three sons. Surely, she has experienced racism before. Surely, she was raised to “never ever forget [she] was born on parole,” and surely she knows that speaking for her sons means taking risks with her own image, her own safety, and her own reputation.
The cost of courage in nonviolent protest has changed. Those who march peacefully may no longer risk firehoses and police dogs’ bites (though they do risk being attacked with chemical weapons), but they now risk digital slander as impossible to remove from the Internet as unflattering photos of Beyonce.
One acute injury, one arrest, or a lifetime of being “the stupid woman with the misspelled sign” online when you KNOW damn well you can spell “sons” (and so can all of your sons, for that matter)? Dog bite, or teenage niece who gets on Facebook for the first time calling to ask why auntie doesn’t know how to spell?
I think I’d take the dog bite, personally.
Showing my work: The racist photoshopped image was found on Facebook. Use of FotoForensics validated my assumption (based on jpeg artifacts) it had been resaved repeatedly. A Google reverse image search using the photoshopped image revealed the original. I used SnagIt to create the side by side comparison here. To his credit, the friend who first shared the fake version retracted it and declared it “despicable” after being shown the original photo.
I obviously do not own the original, but I grant any and all permission to use the above comparison image for purposes related to rescuing this anonymous woman’s reputation from racist attempts to depict her in unflattering and false ways via sharing of a “meme” anywhere, in perpetuity. As an additional sidenote, if anyone knows the woman depicted, please give her a hug from me.
COMPUTER VOICE: You have a collect call from—
KRAMER: Hey, buddy, don’t say no!
JERRY: I accept.
KRAMER: I went down to Madeline’s. I told her, “You gotta move, or it’s over.”
JERRY: Well, what happened?
KRAMER: I think it’s over. We had a big fight, she threw me out, I started walkin’, and now I’m lost downtown! I don’t have any money. I don’t recognize anybody. I miss home,and I don’t even know how to get there.
JERRY: What’s around you?
KRAMER: I’m lookin’ at Ray’s Pizza. You know where that is?
JERRY: Is it Famous Ray’s?
KRAMER: No. It’s Original Ray’s.
JERRY: Famous Original Ray’s?
KRAMER: It’s just Original, Jerry!
JERRY: Well, what street are you on?
KRAMER: Hey, I’m on first and first. How can the same street intersect with itself? I must be at the nexus of the universe.
JERRY: Just wait there. I’ll pick you up, and, Kramer, stay alive no matter what occurs, I will find you!
(via The Maid)