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Archive for March 2012

Relearning Behavior

“…life had begun to go so fast that accepting would take the place of knowing and believing”

I ran across this quote this morning while reading Light in August by William Faulkner. It made me think, why do people, more often than not, lose their fighting spirits as they age??

During my undergrad years, it seems like organizers could get a majority of our campus to protest nearly anything deemed unjust. We protested so much, we had a running joke that we’d have a protest against death and after that, we’d protest a protest. What happened to all of these people who stood up against any and everything that didn’t seem fair??

According to Faulkner, life happened to them. But I can’t accept that. I believe fear happened.

Much of adult life is about security. We have responsibilities – people and things in our lives that make us feel accomplished and therefore secure. We’re scared to do anything that may compromise the well-being of these responsibilities. As a result, we go to the extreme of not standing up for ourselves. I feel this is learned behavior.

I had a recent experience on my job where I was demanding to be respected as a professional. A human resources representative who is probably about twice my age tried to talk me down because of the waves it would cause my highly-visible office. I got the, “Just have faith and let God take care of it, Baby” argument. Me and God have a pretty good relationship and I trust Him to handle it, but I don’t think He wants me to sit idly by and do nothing but wait. Nothing would ever get accomplished if everybody did this. I ignored the fear that was trying to be instilled in me and kept on my path. So far, everything has worked out in my favor.

As with anything else, I think it’s about balance. There are ways to stand up for what you know and believe to be right without crossing into territory that may be hazardous or into territory that forces you to accept the unacceptable. Let’s relearn behavior and teach it to the youth. Let's stop populating this cycle of fear, it's not good for anything but holding us back.
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Is It Only Entertainment??

I was recently having a discussion with a co-worker about how entertainment constantly bombards us with information that is at best not of much value and at worst – and most likely scenario – counterproductive to any worthwhile pursuit.

People do strange things to feel whole when their spirit is lacking and unfortunately it’s being broadcast via reality TV and mainstream music. And a majority of our culture is hollowing their own spirits trying to emulate what they perceive to be just a lifestyle.

My co-worker argued that in fighting for freedom of speech, this is part of what America was fighting for.

I would argue that what is running rampant in our culture and posing as freedom of speech is anything but. It’s an illusion achieved by portraying people saying and doing any and everything. After all, we can’t accuse information of being regulated if they let that be broadcast, right??


Freedom of speech was intended to deregulate information share in hopes of educating the masses to assist in informed decision making. Pushing an abundance of mentally corrosive material is working against this goal by bombarding us with misinformation about the realities of life.

The information we need is out there, but it’s not made as accessible as the negativity to which we’re constantly subjected.

We’re too quick to think we got what we were fighting for and become complacent and easily manipulated. In truth, the fight for freedom of information and ourselves continues. We need to take the free speak we do have and make better use of it.
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Originally posted on Tumblr September 24, 2011:

To some it may appear as though I’m sitting around waiting for the sky to open up. My friends respect it, but few actually get it. And me, I absolutely must have it. My quiet time.

I’ve always needed it, but never put much thought into why until recently. I’m not as quick on my feet or as witty as some of my more outgoing friends, so it’s my time to process the day’s events.
To reflect on my interactions with my environment and the people I came in contact with. To think about my words and actions, if they were appropriate and if or how I would react differently in the future.

See, I act on what I feel a lot of the time. Sometimes my emotions are right and sometimes they’re wrong, but I’d never know that unless I examine them. Sometimes I try to fight a feeling, but despite my best efforts, I keep ending up where I should have begun.

My quiet time gives me the chance to think about the purpose of my path and learn just a little bit more about myself.

One day, when I’m no longer needed, I’m going to get to the root of it all. Retire to my home on the Bayou - just me, my music, books, a pen, some paper and my solitude.
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The Collective "We"

After recently spending time studying Rastafari, one of the many things that struck a chord with me is the need to be alert like the Lion.  This for the purpose of guarding my energy against negativity in any of its forms.
I'm daily confronted with situations, people and environments that I know are not for me, but I'm also faced with many more that are seemingly harmless.  For instance, work.  Being in the Public Affairs field has been a mixed bag; I enjoy my career, but it does involve me crafting messaging on behalf of my organization.  As a result, I often find myself using the collective "we" even outside of work.  This is disturbing because when people become part of a unit, they lose individuality  - free think.  I don't ever want to lose this ability.
My inner Lioness stays woke, guarding against the effects of the collective "we" because the day I stop learning is the day I want to die.   
"Let me out, let me out/I'm an angry Lion" - Iron Bars by Stephen Marley
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Don't Pee On My Head and Call It Rain

Originally published on Tumblr on October24, 2011.
I try to keep my energy positive, but occasionally I have to have a bitch session to rebel against being played like a fool.
Today, my gripe is the Giant grocery card that gives me a discount at Shell gas stations.
This evening, I actually got excited that I received a $0.20/gallon discount, bringing my normally priced gas from $3.39/gallon to $3.19.
That is, I got excited until I started thinking. Twenty cents is a big difference. Like, if there was a station in the neighborhood that was $0.20 cheaper than the others off top, people would be lined up down the street to get to it.
This brought me to the lies the American people have been told, for at least the past decade, about what affects fuel prices: natural disasters, war, yada, yada, yada.
All that is still in play right?? I may be mistaken, but I think Turkey just had an earthquake, Ghadaffi just got taken out and we still have deployed troops. If these affect gas prices, they couldn’t create any give, right?? So, why now am I able to get a discount??
I think the answer may have something to do with the fact that I’m having to pay obscene amounts of money for groceries. Apparently, the price of food had to go up to offset the rising fuel costs transporting companies have to pay to deliver food to the stores.
Bear with me because although it seems straight forward that the American people have been getting raped by big oil companies at least since the George W. era, I’ve never run the numbers to see just how ridiculous this all is.
So basically I’m paying for the tractor trailers’ gas and my food just to save less than $3 when I fill my own car up?? Nothing can convince me we’re not living in a consumer-be-damned society.
I attempted to Google what kind of gas Giant tractor trailers use to transport our food, but the only thing that popped up was info about the gas rewards program. Big surprise. If I had to guess, my money would be on Shell holding that contract too.
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Things That Make My Soul Cry: Schoolyard Games

Originally published on Tumblr November 4, 2011:

I fell asleep this morning and found myself caught in the cylindrical web America has spun; for one brief moment, joining the military made sense to me. And then I woke up.

I was really surprised at myself because this unfortunate event happened right after I heard that Republicans blocked the Rebuild America Jobs Act. Apparently, avoiding a slight – 0.7 percent – tax increase for the wealthiest Americans, less than 1 percent of the population, is more beneficial than creating hundreds of thousands of jobs for everyday joes.

Like really, things are ridiculous. Recently, I was looking at a federal government position that required a PhD, but was set at GS-11, meaning starting pay is a little over 50K. I don’t have a PhD, but I was offended on two levels: 1) the lack of regard this agency gave to the amount of student loans an individual accrues to obtain a PhD (and definitely can’t afford to repay on a GS-11 salary) 2) the fact that our market is to the point where people need to have a PhD to even start to think about living comfortably.

…that our market is to the point where I would think about joining the military.

This thought stemmed from a conversation I was having with my co-workers yesterday. One, who we’ll refer to as TG, is military, the other, who we’ll refer to as D, is a civilian and is also in the market for a new job. TG stated that D should be able to find a job in no time in this area. Maybe TG was just being nice, but I also think it may have come from military being unaware of how frustrating civilian job searches can be.

At this point, I started envying the fact that although some may apply for jobs within their branch, for the most part, military are assigned tours of duty and don’t have to search for jobs. In any case, there’s guaranteed pay for service regardless of tour.

Then I thought about the flip side – falling into the trap of letting a job market that’s designed to be less than stellar, convince me to fight a war that’s not mine. A war that’s occurred because someone finally stood up to the wealthy, American bully and decided they weren’t going to line our 1 percent’s pockets with its lunch money any longer.

Our elected officials are financially taken care of and think nothing of utilizing a high school mentality when confronting these issues. They show no remorse at giving a utilitarian approach no consideration, even when nobody would be negatively impacted (meaning 0.7 percent increase of taxes won’t break a millionaire), for the simple fact that it would support a rival clique… my bad, rival party. Unfortunately, this simple-minded allowance comes at the expense of the majority and often manipulates us into getting sucked further into their childish games.

I wish I could offer a solution, but all I can say is, stay woke, my friends.
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Soapbox Days: Same Shyt Different Toilet

This article gave me a headache, but please read it if you get the chance:

Two years after BP oil spill, executive compensation still flowing

I've been harping about the injustice of oil prices for years now. At first my gripe was simply that as a full-time graduate student working as a waitress, I could barely afford to commute to school and work. As a working adult, gas prices are still putting a strain on me (mainly because the price of everything has drastically increased and it's blamed on the price of fuel), but it's so much bigger than that. Now, to add to the fact that I'm pissed off about being robbed blind, I'm also pissed that my intelligence is being insulted.

Just last week I read an article promoting the idea that fuel prices are rising because of what's going on in the Middle East. This reasoning is nothing new and frankly I'm tired of hearing it. Especially when every year I have to read articles about how large the oil companies' margin of profit is. And now, how BP's CEO Bob Dudley's pay package of $6.8 million in salary, annual bonus awards, stock grants and options is small in comparison to the packages other oil companies' CEOs receive. And how Tony Hayward, BP's CEO in 2010 during the infamous Gulf Coast Oil Spill, was paid out $1.1 million last month and $194,973 the year after the spill.

And the only thing BP has to say when questioned why these guys are still making the big bucks after exhibiting poor performance is, they're trying to offer competitive pay??

“We recognize a concern by government, and society at large, of excess in this area, but cannot ignore the reality of a global competitive market for top executive talent,” Antony Burgmans, a BP director and chairman of the remuneration committee, wrote in the company’s annual report. “We respect investors’ expectation for pay to be strongly tied to performance while also wanting to ensure that executives receive fair reward for their achievements.”

If BP wants its executives to be fairly compensated based on their achievements, it should really be collecting money from them. The Gulf Coast Oil Spill was a major, somebody give me a word for "opposite of achievement," and everybody seems like they've forgotten about the smaller, spills BP has had since then - more anti-achievements.

I'm sorry, but if members of middle-class America demonstrated this level of performance, they probably wouldn't keep their jobs. They certainly wouldn't be paid more just to ensure everybody's salary is competetive. But not only is the middle class living by a different set of standards, it is also being hit left and right for money to fatten the pockets of just about everybody who runs with the oil clique. And on top of it all, it's constantly being lied to.

Okay, I have to get off this soapbox and go take something for my head...

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Things that Make My Soul Sad: Lack of Self Love

During my hiatus from Blogger, I was on Tumblr, but that forum didn’t work well for my purposes. Because I’d like to compile my online writing in one spot, I’m going to republish some of those pieces here. I originally published this one on November 10, 2011:

Ladies, we need to talk about hair because a lot of you are driving yourselves insane over it. And men, I’m inviting you to the conversation because some of you are a major contributing factor to the loss of sanity.

I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by men who stay in their lane as far as the topic of my hair goes - they’ll talk about it if I bring it up, tell me it looks nice if it does and if it doesn’t, they say nothing. This is as it should be.

But, I’ve also had a few men who mistakenly think they’re in my circle and can comment on my hair. From these few run ins, I understand why women who allow this sort of energy around them are confused. (A very solid argument can be made that women who are pressured to react based on another’s issues with self image need to change their thinking, but I’ll leave that for another discussion.)

I wore my hair natural for much of my 20s until I decided I wanted a bob and relaxed it. I found the variation of men’s interactions with me to be, well, confused. When I would wear my hair relaxed, I’d have men come up and thank me for not having weave, very few men would approach me when my hair was natural and when I’d wear a headwrap, I’d have men come up and ask me if my hair was long. To me, this says some men are more willing to approach a woman based on fantasy than truth - we’re brown and we have our own texture of hair that most likely is not straight and/or long.

It’s still beautiful though. It’s said hair is a woman’s crowning beauty, there’s nothing in there about what texture the hair has to be. Until more people start accepting that, including our own people, women are going to keep relaxing their hair until it all breaks off or gluing/sewing/weaving somebody else’s hair in their head until all their own hair breaks off or wearing wigs and neglecting their own hair until it breaks off…sensing a theme here?? This makes as much sense as shaving your eyebrows off and creating new ones with eyebrow pencil.

I’m not advocating wearing your hair natural or relaxed or braided or whatever. All I’m saying is appreciate what you have and make your style decisions based on style, not somebody else’s perception of beauty.
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Things That Make My Soul Sad: Superficiality

This weekend I learned there's two things a majority of people should not do - have smartphones and later down the line, have children.

Let me explain the correlation. I was sitting in a bar this weekend and got into a conversation with a seemingly intelligent man. He did seem overly eager to settle down, but because we had similar interests, I agreed to exchange information.

And now I'm depressed.

We exchanged approximately four text messages before he replied to my text asking how he was doing with an unsolicited photo of himself in a pool. The photo's caption stated he was fine and that he was sitting at home writing. I'm still trying to figure out what the photo had to do with what I asked him and with what he was actually doing at the time he sent the reply.

More importantly, I'm trying to figure out why he would think it's acceptable to send it. Call me old fashioned but I thought photos were reserved for people you have a connection with or at least someone who requested one, not just the person you met in a bar the nyte before. Has our culture become so superficial the attractiveness of a potential mate now outweighs all?

This encounter was almost discouraging enough to make me start batting for the other team. But then I thought, for him to do that and think nothing of it means there's a large group of women who also think this is okay and are probably even responding in turn.

And to make it all worse, these people get together, procreate and teach their children these whack ideals. Seems the only hope to ending this cycle is for evolution to kick in and eliminate all the pretty, but clueless people.
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