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Story Time: Hood Mentality

It’s been a long time since I lived in the hood. Even when I lived in the hood, it wasn’t theG.Ma's House kind of hood that I had to look around and feel some kind of way about. I lived in an area of Brooklyn with mostly Caribbean home owners. They took pride in what was theirs; swept the sidewalks in front of their stoops, picked up litter and trash, made sure the block was clean after the garbage truck passed. The area I went to school in on the other hand was a different story. The common theme–the mentality–was “no one cares.” It’s the hood. It’s supposed to be dirty. People occasionally complained about how infrequently the garbage was collected or how the so-called street sweepers only wished the dirt around, but they never seemed to care enough to not drop trash on the ground in the first place.

I wish this was going to be one of those simple pieces where I point my finger at an issue, give a brief history lesson, and provide a clean solution. Unfortunately, this is one of those times where the issue goes so much deeper than simply “clean it up.” There’s something about the hood mentality that makes everything about being from the hood the kind of struggle that even hood people don’t really understand. It’s goes Aristotle and Kant deep. It’s knowing that the hood is set up to keep people down, thinking you’re beating the system because you’re “living well” in the hood, then seeing how people live outside the hood and having one of those #awkwardmomentwhen. It’s trying to describe how deep it is only to find that Words Don’t Do It Justice. Let’s see if I can put this into perspective.

ChevronI stopped for gas at a Chevron the other night. I knew I was in the hood, and as such I was appropriately cautious and carefully observed my surroundings. I was with friends, one of whom is an equally–if not more so–hood smart young man. He pumped the gas, I surveilled. There was a woman begging at the door to the convenience store and one or two other gas station patrons. What was I most bothered by? That all but 2 pumps were fully functional. It’s the hood. There are supposed to be poor people, drug addicts, and cantankerous arguing patrons. What I don’t accept is that a multi million dollar corporation would allow it’s gas pumps to remain in disrepair or be left empty for more than a few hours. East Point, GA is no less worthy of services than Buckhead. Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to treat their patrons differently just because of a zip code. I’ll go deeper.

When I mentioned that I was irritated, my friend assumed that it was because of the Homeless at Chevronbeggar by the door asking him for change repeatedly. I don’t think I explained then, but I’m not generally bothered by people begging. A closed mouth won’t get fed, whether what the body needs is a meal, a roof, or their favorite chemical alterant. I’d rather her be begging than out stealing or hurting herself for what she needs. I don’t know what circumstances lead her–or any other person–to that position, but it probably wasn’t part of their life’s plan. I have a hard time believing that anyone grows up striving to be homeless, a drug addict, or mentally ill. It happens, but I highly doubt that it was planned. I also wasn’t bothered by being in the hood. I come from a hood that probably isn’t very different from the hoods of Georgia, or any other hood for that matter. When I did explain that I was upset about the state of the gas station, his first reaction was to remind me that the hood mentality dictates that the people who live there don’t consider themselves to be worthy of “nice things.”

So here’s the thing: it’s hard to believe that you’re deserving of things like a fully functioning gas station when everything in the social construct tells you that because you didn’t get the good job you were told you’d get after college or after serving in whichever branch of the Armed Forces… because the job you did get barely pays enough to keep a roof over your head which also means your income is low and thus a you’re in a low tax bracket. Less tax contribution–by means of property taxes, not income–means less service (i.e. road maintenance, garbage collection, public school funding, etc.) The lesser services means the hood children don’t have access to the same standard of education that other children in more affluent neighborhoods do; larger class sizes taught by underpaid, stressed out, inattentive teachers… and even if the children get into college, the cycle often continues. But wait! There’s more. What happens to the kids who don’t make it into college? What happens to a child who has one or two working parents who are too busy trying to make ends meet and keep the utilities on? What happens to the kids who basically have to raise themselves because the adults in their lives are absent? What happens to the kid who only gets attention when they act out? What happens to the kid who gets convinced that his life isn’t valuable? What happens?

No one cares.

Do More. Require Better.

Happy 4/20! Yay Chemical Dependency

Happy 4/20!!! Let’s talk about drugs. It’s kind of hard for me to really talk about drugs from a fully informed point of view because I’ve never used them… not the illegal kinds anyway. So with that in mind, let’s put all the drugs in the same category: chemical alterants.D n' A We’ll define them as compounds or substances used to cause a change of state. By this definition, I hope you’ll understand that I mean to include liquor, antibiotics, and everything else we have become accustomed to using for good and bad purposes.

I want to be clear that I’m one of those crazy people that believe that all chemical alterants should be legal. There will be those who decide to try stuff, and they’ll probably be the same people who’d try them even now while they’re illegal. I think they should be taxed and used to generate productive revenue, as opposed to being used to criminalize people who are often participating in the economy the only way this system allows them to excel in. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: the so-called “War on Drugs” has done more damage to this countries than allowing natural selection take its course ever could have. And since I’ve already told you all about how wonderful legalizing chemical alterants would be for the nation, I want to talk about the kinds of drugs I wish we would start moderating.

US of PharmaWhy is it that GMO foods don’t have to be labeled? Shouldn’t I get to decide if I want to eat chicken that has been injected and tampered with? Shouldn’t I get to decide if I want to eat apples that have been modified to be less attractive to insects? Why do corporations get to decide that I’m not intelligent enough to make my own decisions about what I eat and most important to them, what I spend my money on? I was having a conversation with a friend many months ago about how people would feel differently about GMO foods if they had a better grasp of science, how chemicals work, and how many of them actually occur in nature. My response: “Arsenic occurs naturally… as does lactose. I prefer to limit my intake of both.” Of course I said more, but this is the result of that conversation:
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So if you listened to my mini rant/argument against GMOs, you’ll understand that I think our use of chemical alterants are diminishing our ability to evolve in a positive direction. Imagine how many more people would have died from polio if we hadn’t come up with the vaccine. Add to that the fact that  it has been argued that people are now being born immune to polio. How much longer would it have taken for us to evolve into polio immunity? How about the flu: how many different strains of the flu have there been? Is it just me or do they seem to be getting more resilient? Why do people still bother getting flu shots when there’s supposedly “no way” to tell if it’ll actually work against whichever flu virus is being spread this week, month, year? How many people run out and get an antibiotic every time they get sick and find themselves sick again after a few weeks of “getting over” a cold?

We’ve become a chemically dependent lot. Not just on pills that have loose bowels, cerebral hemorrhage, and death as side-effects, but on the antibiotics they put intoModified Corn our vegetables without telling us, the hormones they feed cows before they grind them into hamburger meat, and the high fructose corn syrup they think should be included in everything. Why would anyone want to take an antidepressant that will cause suicidal thoughts? Counterproductive much? People seem content believing that all they have to do is “say no to drugs” to stay chemically safe, but have become completely complacent about medicating their ADHD afflicted children into oblivious zombies. Jailing people for marijuana possession has become big business, meanwhile Wal-Mart has its own liquor store… but more people have died at the hands of drunk people and from alcohol poisoning than I’ve ever heard of dying from smoking a joint.

No War on DrugsI’m not the only one who sees it. There are meme’s all over the internet about the disparities. I’m just saying that on this 4/20, we should make sure they know that we’re paying attention. Well, we should actually start paying attention. Not just to the legalization of weed, but to the decriminalization of marijuana selling AND to the release of the people who have been imprisoned for possession and intent to sell/distribute. We should be paying attention to their willingness to medicate us into compliant obedience.

We should care that there are more medications that mask symptoms out there than there are cures for what plagues us. These things are important. Its not just about being a liberal animal loving tree hugger. This one is about wanting to make sure that we’re fighting for the right things for the right reasons. There’s a reason why they added the word “medical” on to marijuana. I’ve heard it described as medical grade marijuana as a selling point. Is it really stronger? Do they add extra stuff to it to make it safer? Or is it just so they can continue criminalizing all the street corner pharmacists? Why aren’t we more concerned about doctors who’d rather write a prescription than actually treat a patient; like really listen then properly diagnose and possibly cure whatever is ailing their patient? Why aren’t we criminalizing Pfizer, Norco, or Purdue for manufacturing, marketing, and selling chemical alterants that are addictive and actually cause death? Why do they get to pay a fine and keep doing business as usual? I’m sure some of you are out there looking at your pill bottles and medicine cabinets; feeling like you need to take another puff to save you from the anxiety attack that the thought of your favorite pill’s not being available to you will cause. Last time I checked marijuana grows everywhere. You can drink it, smoke it, put it in some brownie mix and bake it… I read somewhere that there are weed gummies. People have told me that they focus better with marijuana in their system. I can honestly say I’d rather give a kid with ADHD some gummies than a chemical cocktail that dulls their shine, their senses, and their creativity, and has the potential of delayed growth, sleep problems, and tics among other things… but that’s just me.

We don’t have to be chemical dependents. Our fruits, vegetables, meats and grains were good without chemical alteration. It has been argued that GMO foods could help end starvation in places where they have issues accessing food. If that’s want they’re striving for, why are the corporations Flicked jointhoarding the seeds? Why aren’t they letting starving nations with fertile farm land grow the food themselves? They gave some of the food away for free? Was that when people started getting sick and dropping dead of “unknown” causes? It’s like my mother says; “Piss on my head and tell me it’s raining.” Believe what you want folks, but *takes drag from imaginary joint* I’m not buying it. Don’t get me wrong, I have benefited from pharmaceuticals throughout my life. On the other hand, I have to acknowledge that there are some things that we shouldn’t be chemically altering. And until someone starts a company that can be trusted to put #AllLives ahead of profits, I’m going to keep shaking my fist and raising my voice on behalf of my personal interests…

… because #DoMoreRequireBetter

The Letter Series: Religious Bullies, Keep Your Jesus.

Let me start by saying that I do not claim any particular religious faith as my own, nor to I particularly approve of any organized religion. I wouldn’t consider myself to be an atheist, as even that requires an acceptance of theism that I am not willing to participate in. I don’t have anything against folks who have accepted a deity or follow a specific religious doctrine, Like Jesus Bull Shitit simply isn’t for me. Now that we have that out of the way, you’ll understand a little better why I’m particularly annoyed by folks who are religious insisting that scrolling passed a picture of Jesus will guarantee my seat in hell, or that clicking “Like” on a post will bring blessings unfathomable.

People, the last time I checked, Blessings, come from God, not clicks. Your daring me to scroll isn’t helping to improve my perspective as far as your religion is concerned. Neither is your challenging my love for Jesus. Guess what: while I think that if he existed he was a good man, I don’t accept him or any other man as my “Lord and Savior.” I don’t think my dressing a certain way will please or displease Allah, because if he’s as omnipotent as you want me to believe, he even sees me naked in the shower. There’s nothing about me, my thoughts, my feelings, and most importantly my beliefs that he doesn’t know without me having to anything. Thus, if he is omnipotent, I can scroll passed with Jesus as my savior, or click as a blaspheming sinner and be fine either way. That click, comment, or share isn’t about Jesus, it’s about you; its about making you and others like you feel better about your faith.

Dear Religious Bullies,

Here’s a thought: if your faith was as strong as you want people on social media to believe it is, you wouldn’t need support from social media… the same way I think God doesn’t need our support… wait, let me explain.

I believe that if the Gods (yes, all of them) do exist, their power waxes and wanes with the strength of the faith of their believers. So of course, if I am being honest, God doesn’t require our support, God requires believers. I imagine it’s like they’re all singing that song…

They need us to need them… because Gods forbid we find our way through this life… andTo Hell with Them apparently through social media without them. Gods forbid we learn to have faith in ourselves and each other. I grew up hearing “Si Dios quiere” from my elders at the end of almost every sentence. “I’ll see you tomorrow… if God allows.” “If God allows, you’ll have a good day.” God doesn’t like ugly. As if an omniscient being really sits around plotting, planning, and paying attention to our petty human Facebook posts. Or who we’re friends with. Or who we share our beds with. Or who we sell flowers to… who’s bathroom we use. There are people starving, wars being fought, and you religious types think using your twisted understanding of a book written by men to treat God’s other children with scorn. But I guess you only have to follow the teachings you like right? “Love thy neighbor” came with a footnote that explained all the times you didn’t have to love thy neighbor. Somewhere in The Book it says “If you don’t click Like and share, you’ll go to hell.”

You’re all bullies. You need to take the time to learn the teachings of your so-called Savior. Maybe then I’ll take your religions seriously… because you followers, you make me laugh with your feigned piety. Keep your Jesus. I think the “real” one would take issue with his name being used in vain… or something along those lines. In short

Do More. Require Better.

Indignantly defiant,

Reign

Fear: A Great Motivator

Fear. False Evidence Appearing Real. I’m afraid for the future. I’m afraid of the kinds of changes we’re going through. I’m afraid I’m never going to get Shadow obedience trained. I’m afraid that the Zombie Apocalypse is going to be a real thing and that too many stupid people will survive because all the smart people are going about their lives unwilling to consider the possibilities. I’m afraid I’ll never achieve this “together” level that I’m supposed to be getting life. I’m afraid that I’ll never be satisfied. I’m afraid of being afraid.

The bombings in Brussels yesterday changed the color of this piece. See, the thing about Media Loves Isisterrorists and terrorism is that it’s primary purpose is to strike fear into the hearts of men. So as afraid as I am of so many things, when these attacks happen, my defiant nature kicks in and instead of staying afraid, I want to prove to those people that their antics didn’t work on me. I want to take a train blindfolded with my headphones on and sit right next to a suspicious bag. I want to fly out to Afghanistan with all of my femininity and girldom wearing a tank top, form fitting jeans, and flip flops, rent a car and drive through residential areas blasting old Beatles, Michael Jackson, and whichever local revolutionary underground rapper they’d want to silence. I want to tell the TSA and the NSA and the alphabet soup of agencies to find new jobs because their services are no longer needed and we won’t be letting acts of terrorism direct how we live our lives and treat our people. Much like how my negative experiences with racists hasn’t made me hate white people, I refuse to let these extremists scare me out of living. The only fear I have now is of being fearful… and zombies… because F*ck zombies.

I feel like the suggestions of adding security checks before people even get to the airport plays right into their agenda… Whoever “they” really are. I remember the scenes in Swordfish with John Travolta’s character explaining how  perpetrating acts of Fear... and Spidersterrorism is important ad necessary to the world… or at least maintaining the American way of life. He justifies killing tens, hundreds and thousands of children in the name of maintaining the American status quo. The objective is to keep people afraid to keep us in line. Fear: a Great motivator. Have you ever heard someone say “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” but then they turn around and freak out over a spider? That’s what is being done to us. Drumpf is out there pointing at imaginary spiders. The terrorists are out there breeding wolf spiders, sending them to highly populated areas, and detonating their egg sacks and dispersing thousands of tiny spiders like miniature eight-legged fear bombs. They spread all kinds of fear for all kinds of reasons and we give in to it. They do it to keep us in line, they do it to keep us distracted, they do it to get us to let them do things to us that we’d otherwise revolt for. They’ve been doing it for centuries. The Romans did it with public executions. Slave owners did it to their “white” slaves. Bush did it with his infamous, imaginary “weapons of mass destruction”… and we the people fall for it every time. We the people ignore the voices of reason in our heads and give into the proverbial spiders. Every. Time.

Supposedly, the worst thing that could happen is death. Last time I checked, all of the religious sects Underdoghave happy places to go for the good people and unpleasant places to go for the bad ones. Well, if they’re right, and I’m considered good, what do we have to worry about? If I’m considered bad, with all there is to be afraid of here, going to any version of hell would be just like being here, so what are we afraid of? And if I’m right, and heaven and hell are created here on earth, then death might just be a welcomed release from all the damn stress, anxiety, and of course: fear. Further, to put the icing on the proverbial cake, death is the great equalizer; it will happen to all of us eventually… so get scared for wha?

I’m choosing to ignore my fear in favor of hope. Bravery is being afraid and choosing to act anyway. Let’s be brave. Let’s #feeltheBern. Let’s protect the future by doing what we need to do today to protect it. Let’s vote so the fear mongers of the world don’t get to lead us into another unnecessary war here or abroad. Let’s stand together again in favor of continuing to effect the change we believed in when we voted for Obama. Send me links and ideas to get Shadow to o back to being the obedient little pup-panion that’s I’ve come to depend on. Let’s pay attention to all of the possibilities… Let’s not allow ourselves to become like zombies; mindlessly dragging ourselves around giving in to our baser instincts and our penchant for instant gratification. I know that if we can do these things, we’ll all have a better chance at achieving that “together” thing that we have all claimed to be working towards and that even if I am never satisfied, I might at least be able to get close.

…oh, and let’s Do More & Require Better.

Change…as inevitable as flow of time.

 

Enjoy a little music to get you in the right mindset for this post. I know it helped me write it. Mostly because as I often do, I knew this was coming, but was working to prevent it. But let’s get to the heart of the matter shall we?

 

Things Change

cropped-wordsdontdoit2-1.jpg

When you look at your various relationships in life you can usually see a point where things between you an a person shift. They change. Not always for the worse. Not always in unmanageable ways. Your high school friends, college friends, and co-worker friends are often times entirely different. And as you take the hard look back, you know you aren’t the same. Part of that is adolescents’ brains haven’t fully developed into what they will be yet so you have not quite all you, transitional you, and of course complete you. Still though, the ones who stuck around are aware of your changes as well as their own, and are okay with it. Close friends, the ones we walk through our darkest moments with, participate in the give and take of change willingly. And in the end we do the same for them.

In our romantic relationships the same is not always able to be said. If the American divorce stats can be any sort of barometer for the success rate of romantic relationships you have about as good a chance of change being too much for you and your partner as you do it being a lifelong success. And that’s not a bad thing. Because change on the face of it, cannot be a bad thing. It is all about what kind of change is coming. I relearned this lesson back in January at the end of a relationship that was early in the process. So early I’m comfortable saying that it was no one’s fault, but our own collective fault for not noticing it earlier. I say earlier but I really only mean about a month. 2 months, that’s all we pulled off before it was over. Because we weren’t in the places to make it work. 10 years ago, at 23(at the time) I wouldn’t have made the decisions I made as fast. I would have been unhappy and resentful but still dating her. Now, I’ve changed fast enough to just cut it off before we both are over invested.

Change is helpful

10488866_2118314119637_1701766145_nWhen we think about change in the negative, we often judge first. I think often times because we want everything in life to be positive. But that isn’t reality. And it isn’t helpful. Sometimes negative change is more helpful than positive change. How? Think on this. If a friend of yours you notice is drinking way too often, maybe starting to abuse a prescription, or getting too into party drugs and risky activities. You treat it as the problem it is and try to help your friend. That outward change though, is often the expression of a much more internal issue. And as someone who’s helped someone deal with a substance abuse problem, I can tell you that was the hardest part was helping him confront the underlying issue. But that never would have happened if we didn’t see the change that was happening for what it was, a need for help.

Negative changes can also be helpful in a more direct way. Some of the people who are around you are not good for you. Whether that is outright open hostility, or just negative comments behind your back, they are holding you back from who you can be. It isn’t even a selfish act, some people just don’t realize what they are doing effects you as it does. So they need to be gotten away from. And you can realize that as you see their negative change grow. Maybe you keep them around based on who they were. Maybe you don’t agree with the new them, but believe in the old them. If you can bear it talk to them first, but otherwise get out of the crosshairs.

Everyone changes

Just a reminder where we started.

Just a reminder where we started.

Sure everyone changes, you know that. But sometimes it is hard to notice that we are the change that is negative, or the change that needs to be gotten away from. That is all a part of the process of growing. In the modern world we may be losing something from that. What do I mean? Look at the pressure for young people in general (13 to 25) to keep their lives online as much as offline. If you were born in 1990, You have spent every year you could properly encapsulate ideas with social media platforms. Where your life online is just as important as offline. And that has consequences. You don’t lose touch anymore, you basically can’t without actually choosing to. I had the great pleasure recently of reconnecting with someone I hadn’t talked to since I was in elementary school. Let me back up. I ran into a extremely different version of me’s elementary school buddy. Brief words exchanged before we had to get on to what we were doing, but still an old friend none the less. That was followed by facebook friending, following each other on twitter, and stuff like that. Things we never knew were going to happen way back when.

But for most who knew college Matt, much less, high school, middle school, and elementary Matt, they’ve passed out into the ether. That used to be fine with all of us. You carried one or two friends from your old neighborhood into adulthood but most friends came from elsewhere. It was a free pass on the last part of change. The change that happens when you realize you have to stop being around certain people and let the link fade away. Now more than before, that is something that we have to constantly keep stock in. Something that is the genesis of buzz feed articles and memes about getting rid of racist friends or ones who don’t share your political beliefs. But even that change, is good in small doses only. You need people who challenge you, not antagonize you.

I make a point of talking about having ardent atheists, anarchists, communists, socialists, libertarians, tea partiers, democrats, republicans, Jews, Mormons(shoutout to Brett Peterson), and others in my list of friends. Having people of many different ethnic classifications, and certainly the most divisive, people of different musical tastes as friends. The ones I still consider friends are that because they are different, they challenge me, but they aren’t disrespectful or antagonistic towards me. Me as most of them know, is a complex subject. Challenging me as THE Ruthless Wonder, is not the same as me personally. If we disagree, often it is more to do with me here than me they have a drink or catch a flick with. And everyone is fine with that. In your life you need to think about the same. Are the people who are around you challenging you? Because that helps you grow and become better. Or are they antagonizing you? Because that isn’t okay, it doesn’t help you, and friends even in disagreement should help each other change. I leave you to your evaluation.

Finally,

placeholderAnd as you know change comes to things you love. Like US! You know I only give you a taste normally, but we’re going to be giving you a bit more info that usual.

Weekends Don’t Do It Justice writer Reason has and will be on break for very important school related stuff for a while. But while she’s out, I’ve been working on things. And by the time she gets back, her serial stories will be the crown jewel of the new Weekends Don’t Do It Justice Site which is easy to find at www.wkndlife.com

The launch was delayed most due to some internal things that were taking a while. Over there you’ll find music, movie, literary, TV, webseries, and other reviews, as well as some gaming related material material. The casual to our hardcore, I’m really excited about what is coming there. Give us about a week or so and we’ll be up and running over there.

There is more coming, more changes, more evolution, more growth, but as always Words Don’t Do It Justice!

THE Ruthless Wonder

Story Time: Handling Depression, A Personal Note

Some of the first movies I remember watching as a child were Lord of the Flies, The Power of One, Sarafina… and my least favorite of all, Roots. Add to that the Women of Brewster place and The Color Purple, and you might think you have an idea about the direction I’m going with this, but I assure you, you’re probably way off. I’ve been programmed, and for the most part, the programming has worked. I believe in fighting for the greater good and doing for others for the sole purpose of doing the right thing. Unfortunately, my programming has come at a great price; all I can ever see are battles that need fighting, suffering, pain, strife, and all the unpleasantness that this world has to offer. My programming set the framework for depression. In spite of my beliefs and unimaginable capacity for caring, hope, and faith that things can get better, I just don’t actually see it. For me, the world is a sad, scary, painful place to be. In short: I have an uncharacteristically negative outlook for someone who believes so much in the greater good.

Wanna know something you probably won’t believe? When I lived alone, I only watched the evening news on Mondays so I could see the 5-day forecast. Otherwise, it was either entertainment or studying… whichever project would fill my time, build my skills, and lift my spirits. The thought was: There’s only ever bad news.

The day I started writing this–November 21st, 2014–I snapped at my mother. I knew I hurt her, but I just couldn’t let her say anything else. I was just so far from being in a frame of mind where I could parse or compartmentalize information. See, she was about to tell me about yet another serial killer; one more piece of bad news to take root in my mind and add to the already fertile breeding ground for more sadness. I was beyond tired of it, and I really couldn’t take much more. My depression had me in a choke hold. It was as if my mental garden had been overrun with negativity plants choking out the positive ones. All of the nutrients and fuel that could have been used to fertilize whichever remaining positive fruit-bearing plants was going to the negative ones. I’m stuck in a battle with myself; between my true nature, and the nature of my mind.

The worst part of this is that I’m not the only one who has these kinds of thoughts and feelings. While some people might think “at least you aren’t alone.” I wish I was. I wish I was the only one on the planet feeling this way because it would at least mean that other people were happy… or at least not the kind of unhappy that I am. It would mean that there would be one less battle that needed fighting, one fewer group of people that needed defending… one less thing for me to watch other people suffer through. I think that last part is the had part for everyone to deal with.

In the last year and change, I’ve acknowledged my depression publicly and taken steps toward mental health. This process has required discussions with people who have been supportive and understanding, and many more who in fairness might have thought they were being helpful, but in fact were really not.  They did the silver lining thing…

The Power of Empathy! Everyone should watch this and take note 🙂 It’s not so much about sympathizing with people and making them feel better with things or with stories to please their ego. It’s about getting to the core of things with people. Connecting with them, feeling what they are feeling, relating to them and bringing no judgement into the situation at all. Next time you are the ear that listens, provide words that don’t fulfill an ego/mind story and see how much of a difference it makes for the other person. 🙂

Posted by Collective Evolution on Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Something I found to be particularly difficult on my worst days: I couldn’t think of my having survived another day as a good thing. So when she said “Everyone doesn’t have it easy… At least you aren’t homeless or sick” I couldn’t help but wish for sickness to suddenly take over my body and take me off this plane, hopefully in such a way that my family could profit from my demise. In the middle of a conversation I was fantasizing about my own death. The possibility of dying gave me hope. I highly doubt this was anyone who was there for that conversation’s intent, but it became the reason I wouldn’t give up… because giving up would mean not being put in any situations to get a gainful kind of sick or have any unfortunate accidents that would allow my death to accomplish what I couldn’t in life. Because: silver lining.

So what’s this really all about? Its about understanding that depression is a lot of things with a lot of causes and can’t necessarily be Anxiety Realitysolved with a positive thought and a hug. If you’re in a position to help someone who is depressed, the best thing you can do is listen and acknowledge their struggle. Especially if you have experience with depression in your own life, your success story might help, but it might also not. Your frustration with not being able to “fix” your friend pales in comparison to how the  depression is making them feel. If a depressed person trusts you with their struggle, their feelings, their anxiety, their fears, their willingness to end it all, then you have been trusted with that person’s life and how you treat them and everything they have trusted you with is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ve been given a great power, and thus a great responsibility. If you aren’t up to the task, then be honest: say that you don’t know what to say, that you wish there was something you could do to help…. say nothing at all and just be there.  You never really know how deep in the darkness a person is, or what that person would be willing to do to solve the problem for themselves. Acknowledge and validate their feelings. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, the feelings are real to them. They don’t need another voice echoing the insecurities already ricocheting off the walls of their mind. I know I’ve never forgotten the hurtful things that were said to me, and I’ve struggled to let go of the hurtful things I imagined. Depression makes reality hard to deal with.

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Do More. Require Better.

Decorum Deficiency Disorder: F*ck Humility

February was a good month, and it’s looking like March is going to be good too. Yes, this is me tooting my own horn… because f*ck humility. Yesterday (which is today for me) Facebook remembered that March 8th is international woman’s day, and that the whole of March is Women’s History Month. Today being the socially acceptable day to talk about this sort of thing, I’m preempting a piece that I’ve already postponed for a month in favor of Blackness, love, relationships, and “race stuff” in favor of  Yep; it was a good month and I’m riding the wave.

They make songs about how much more attractive a girl can be when she doesn’t act like she knows she attractive. It seems to be a widely known fact that humility is a desirable trait in a woman. People talk about humility like it’s a virtue worth practicing. Humble people are nice to be around because they don’t make you feel like less than you are, other than guilty for not seeming as humble as they are. Let’s take a deeper look…

Humility defined

Humble:
adjective, humbler, humblest.
1. not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.
2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.
3. low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home.
4. courteously respectful: In my humble opinion you are Humble definitionwrong
5. low in height, level, etc.; small in size: a humble member of the galaxy.
verb (used with object), humbled, humbling.
6. to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase.
7. to destroy the independence, power, or will of.
8. to make meek

When I look at the definition of humility, it’s no wonder that I’ve ever understood why any sane person would consider humility a good characteristic to emulate. You mean to tell me that even when someone is clearly drenched in awesomeness, they’re supposed to act like they aren’t? And to what end? As if anyone every really likes watching someone acting like they’re less awesome than they are. Here’s an example: Have you ever talked to someone who you think has it all (great life, family, career, finances, home, things, etc.) and hear them talking shit about their life as if you didn’t just see them tip the valet with a 50 dollar bill. Sure, they’re being humble… but their humility seems more like an insult than an equalizer.

You know what they call a confident Woman? A bitch. You know what they call a confident man? A leader. As far as I can tell the idea of humility is one of those things that has only truly served rich men. Disclaimer: I’m not saying that there aren’t any difficulties that come with not being humble or that all seemingly confident men…. you know what, fuck this disclaimer shit too. If you don’t know that there are levels and layers to this and that I’m primarily addressing one aspect of it here because this would end up being a 5 hour dissertation on life and how much it sucks… then stop reading and go back to watching kitten videos on YouTube; This is not meant for you.

Certificate of HumilityAnyway, it seems to me that back when they were writing the so-called holy books, they decided that the best way to keep people in line; to keep people in their places was to convince them that vows of poverty and acts of humility were among the highest forms of piety. In doing so, they could demand levels of obedience and unquestioned subservience that they probably couldn’t have gotten otherwise. Further, they depicted women as inherently unclean and thus even more susceptible to sin and temptation of the flesh, they suggested even stricter penalties and even higher standards piety. Of course I could say that this is all just a theory, but unfortunately, history supports my thesis.

Since our expectations of people, and–for the purpose of this piece–women in particular, hasn’t evolved to fit the construct of modern society, we’re left with a relatively useless standard of humility that mostly serves as another way to diminish women’s willingness to require things like equal rights, respect, and higher pay. We might make better students, we might work harder and be better team players, but having been programmed to be humble, we’re less likely to demand things like raises or interfere when men are making decisions that are counterproductive or inefficient.

So fuck humility. I say claim your awesomeness. I remember back when I was getting my real estate license. I took the class and the test with a then romantic interest. He didn’t think studying or reviewing notes was a valuable use of his time. I remember how angry he got with me when he didn’t pass. Not with the test, not the instructors, but with me. I didn’t even get to celebrate my success because it might further damage his fragile ego. Almost 10 years later and I still kick myself over it. I should have celebrated. I should have focused on my success instead of trying to make him feel better about his failure. It didn’t stop him from resenting me. It didn’t make him appreciate my effort or make him try harder to succeed. Ego stroking doesn’t accomplish anything other than inflating egos that should be left to their own devices. If the only way for one person to feel good about themselves is for you “to lower [yourself] in condition, importance, or dignity” then that isn’t someone you should keep in your life. Your goal should be to surround yourself with people who encourage you to Do More & Require Better… and then celebrate your successes. Fuck Humility.