Growing Up White

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Yes I’m black. To some though, I wasn’t. To some, I wasn’t good enough. No real explanation. Just blanket statements.

Some people spend part of their lives shaping themselves to commit to an already planned out existence. But each step was like a needle to the arm: you didn’t die, but you felt it and you remember what happens the next time you encounter it.

Here’s just one of many stories that left a bad taste in my mouth. The culprits may not have realized, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.Print

Growing up black in a white neighborhood in itself is interesting, but it made traveling outside of it confusing. I already knew that people were called colors that they were in fact not, but outside of the suburbs there were also levels to this said color.

While playing outside on the streets of Ilion Avenue, my siblings and I were always told we talked white. I would see my sister’s eyes bulge like their death was gaining pressure. She hated it more than I did.

I never understood why telling us we talked liked a color and that talking that way should be shameful. But hey, most of them barely left the burrow and always asked to play with my Skip-it so who’s ashamed now?

As we got older Printand more color escaped the depths of a government controlled cycle where only a few were okay with their outcome, the criticizing began to change a little. The preteens have now lived life and could tell me a few things. And now were telling me I wasn’t black enough.

First, I sounded white (ew, I guess is what was supposed to say). Now, for some reason, I wasn’t black enough. Almost like a secret timeline they kept track of for final judgement. Sad, I had no clue I was being tested.

Again, wasn’t sure how I was really supposed to take that. I know how I did take it and have a journal for a year in high school to prove it. But here I was, black, sounding white, not being black enough.

Skip ahead to adulthood. After years and years of being told  I sounded like the wrong color, and my color was not enough to be a part of the color group, I was now beiPrintng told the color I was supposed to be and sound like was no longer the latest tea.

That tasted like shit.

A long monologue about love, and many of us got the cliff notes: “You’re too loud, angry, and independent.”

I don’t care who you love, just don’t beat down someone else to justify it.

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The Irrelevance of Modern Politics

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As the presidential campaign begins creeping out the dark corner, many of us are excited to see the jumble of idiots trying to convince us that their rich background can understand what the middle class and lower class is actually going through. But it should be funny. The big problem with any political campaign is that the drive to go into politics revolves around…guess it! MONEY! Not current overwhelming conditions. Money has been the foundation of political power for generations and those who don’t have the money or the right networking affiliations, but has the drive, knowledge, and passion for the progress of America, usually never stands the chance. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at it from a few angles.

Money Drives Professional Gain Like I described in a previous blog post, money is a huge part in campaigning for yourself or a mission. If you don’t believe that, ask yourselves why millions of people and businesses pay into marketing profusely. It’s why you will always see multiple types of marketing positions available. When you have an endless amount of money to pour into a campaign, you can focus less on fundraising and more on being one step ahead. More than likely, you will have access to highly qualified campaign managers, better financial assistance, better potential fundraisers, etc. While this may not be the case 100% of the time, let’s come together and realize that money gives a good push in the direction you want. Try moving to your dream destination with no money. Try buying your favorite car with no money. Try raising a family with no money. Try advertising your skills to millions with no money. (except for the irrelevant people who desire is to exploit). Money has a huge control on most decisions. Denial is why the middle class in tipping towards the lower class. Many lower and middle class citizens who have a passion for forward thinking and change for the positive couldn’t even dream about the money that pours into standard political campaigns let alone receive anything close to what the 1% does and because broke=dumb in this country, people rarely decide to choose what the broke person is trying to explain because, money.

Money Provides Reason Do you really think middle class Marcy could raise anywhere close to the politicians we come to love (on opposite day)? Most politicians will never understand the current condition of the middle and lower class. This is a sad admittance, however, we are in an era and in a generation of adult from broken homes, volatile situations, deprived school systems, extremely ignorant held beliefs passed down. Reasons for change but no money to prove validity. We are also a generation of adults who are more opened minded and willing to change coupled with experience dealing with the lives of middle and lower class people. Add being one of the most financially repressed American generation relative brings us to 2015 confirming that what we have been told over the years has been a lie. As for the high class, why change if there’s always gain? Doesn’t their money prove that?

Money Provides a Stable Flatline (ignorance sometimes included) Having the born-in wealthy control the current conditions is like having a general manager from a retail store invited to become a head coach in the NBA. Yes you may have some management experience and your work attendance is perfect, but do you really understand the concept and the situation? Most Americans are not born into easy opportunities and must experience much in order to evolve. Our political power should reflect as such. When it comes to change, relative to the American spectrum, few are open to big ones. There’s a reason why the phrase “he’s set in his ways” will never go away. There’s much less persuasion when you have more information available. But when these current politicians take what they’ve learned many wealthy, uneventful years ago and announce them, you tend to forget that we are supposed to be the country of forward thinking and future planning. When you sift through the internet babble, you will find many people who actually want and are willing to help change the direction of this country and have good reason to. Unfortunately, many of them are broke (hint). Meanwhile those with financial stability can say the most ignorant of things and have people justify their words.

Want to Play a Game?

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Money Drives Influence – But Not Always The Answer Let’s talk a little about climate change. I am not a scientist and I will not claim that I know it all (or much) when it comes to that subject. I know that the scientists who accept the change in climate are arguing whether or not the changes occurring are natural or man-made. But if you listen to politicians, they already have the answer and instead of finding a solution, they continue to argue who’s right. Meanwhile, there’s a drought in California, floods in Texas, melting ice in Antarctica, but we have to get down to the nitty gritty: Who’s winning the debate. During their political campaign, I can guarantee the redundancy speeches of the current issues going on with this country with climate change being a button to push. It’s a wonderful argument to debate. But the current political process will not address the solutions, rather point why their opponent bi-proxy shouldn’t be president. And we’ll listen not because they are providing solutions, but because we will be reminded over and over again who they are through the marketing techniques they spent thousands upon thousands…upon thousands to shove in our face. We’ll listen to our favorite media organizations backing the politicians because they help pay their salary. We’ll ignore those who are speaking solutions into the world because…well we probably didn’t hear them because MONEY GIVES YOU A LOUD ENOUGH VOICE TO BE HEARD! Now if the rich used their superpowers for good then I wouldn’t be writing this. Could you imagine if Superman was secretly Bizarro?

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Offensive? Maybe. But Lets Confirm Before We Whine.

I watch TV a lot (thanks Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime). It’s my background noise while I’m at my computer doing everything I possibly could do to advance my career…and borderline obsess over social media observing. I suck at keeping up with the latest shows, so I usually have oldie but goodies playing while I work.

Fortunately, as an adult, I get to re-watch certain shows as if I only saw a trailer the first time. As an adult, I get to understand the smart remarks and lingo that cleared my head the first time and wow, actors got away with saying a lot of offensives things. And it is hilarious.

Things I’m sure today, you’d cry about. Thank goodness social media is only in its infancy and we haven’t always been bombarded with its presence. Movies and TV shows would have never been able to start their paths to being two of the most common things in America.

Back to my point. Throughout history (at least close to my history), people have poked fun and insulted someone in some way. Mocking Native Americans, Blacks, Spanish, Irish, Italians, blondes, fat people, nerds, the list is endless. Sometimes a joke can be just that…a joke. Sometimes something can just be entertainment and not the assumption that a result in one entertaining scenario goes across the board of specific groups. Today however, the thought of not being able to make someone laugh is frightening.

It seems the new trend is to take everything to the extreme. No longer can we say something funny and expect the very least to just stare silently. Today, we have to worry about internet backlash. Everything gets taken out of context and next thing we know, feeds are becoming virtually critical of what the entire world is doing. How many of us has already read something about a group being offended and think ‘Damn, I do that too! I guess I offend them.’

This is way too often for a lot of people.

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Yes, people thread that line where you question whether you should laugh or punch a wall. This is not the blog for that scenario, however, if all you’re going to shame and name-call something trivial as a joke, know that you’re negatively judged and criticized profusely by many. It’s silly and insanely pointless.

I have to stress the fact that people can’t see the difference between a joke to help people burn calories and something that is said or done with an undertone of prejudice is insulting as a human. So much time has been wasted these couple of years getting offended just because it gives you something to comment about. The irony is this would be a perfect time in life to take a look at ourselves and JUST. LAUGH.

This is coming from a short, fat, black woman from Jersey who hasn’t had a stable job since 2012. The internet should be one big offense to me!

And if you can’t laugh at yourself, take a trip to TV land and get your mind blown…maybe another thing to get offended about.

I know it’s hard but here’s how I make it without taking everything I see so personally.

  1. Ask yourself: Are they trying to offend, or are they just trying to make me laugh?

It actually should be quite easy to figure out if you pay attention and not just use a paragraph as a word jumble.

And if you’re truly offended, try making a difference. Even if it seems small.

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How I Met My Mother

It wasn’t that long ago, I met my mother. So at that point she was very new to me. Everything I had wondered finally became apparent as she stood before me.ma2

To be clear, my mother has been in my life, all my life. But the mother I knew was the disciplinarian, the one who always had to be right. The one who always was able to ground. I was the standard kid, always wondering mommy could never understand me among the barrage of children she always had around. And I could never understand why it was so hard to get me everything I wanted, anytime I wanted…and the bones I kept breaking cost a lot.

familyI went into my teens thinking the same way. I couldn’t wait to be an adult and swore my mother didn’t appreciate the point in her life she was at. She had the ability to do what she wanted! And yet she made it a point to always interfere with my life. This time only trying to tell me what to do. What did she know? Her life was easy. She was an adult that could make decisions for herself.

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This feeling followed me, as it does many teens.

Until I made it through my 20’s. It was at the end I met my mother.

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I have no kids and my 20’s were anything but easy. It made me wonder how someone could do it with kids hovered around them?

 I enjoy being around people but love the fact that if I wanted space, I could easily close the door and tell everyone to leave me alone…I remember as a kid having to sleep on the floor next to my mother because the twins had already got comfortable on the couch she was sleeping on. And forget about sleeping in on Saturday. Too many kids needed her.

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College was successful, but not without its challenges. I struggled but managed to graduate in a timely manner…My mother always talked about school and how she couldn’t wait to go back and finish. And with a bunch of kids, you bet she tried. But I also remember my mother having to halt her future a few times to put her kids in front of what she wanted. Because what she desired the most was for her kids to be successful. At 40 and after multiple times putting her family before herself, she did it.

Success all around!

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Flashback to 18. I was finally an adult and could do whatever I wanted. No longer would my mother hold the fact that I was a child over my head. I could do what I want. And I showed her that I could.

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Bad move on my part. And when it was time for me to realize it and ask for help (in the form of tears), she embraced me and welcomed me back home without blinking. I was no longer a child, but I was still HER CHILD. No complaints, no ‘you should have’, just love and encouragement. It was that kind of support that got me through college. She also did this while raising my youngest sister.

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But I still didn’t realize it then.

During their 20’s, most people begin to really realize what it means to be an adult. Sick is no longer an excuse and the world will move forward without you. Life does not turn out the way you expect but instead of pouting, you must accept it and move on…I could go on forever, but we’re all adults.

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Being an adult reintroduced me to a mother I really never knew. A mother who would sacrifice, her time, space, sanity, money, love, life, and her worth to make sure her children had every advantage they could to get as far as they can. She did it so gracefully, I never even noticed. Even as adults, she is ready with open arms to help each and every one of the children on her long list…whenever we are in need and there are 5 of us, not including those she helped support throughout the years.

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She does this while working. She does this with lack of sleep. She does it sick. She does it while sad. She does this while dealing with her personal problems. She does this without making her children think they are a burden.

And she does this because she wants nothing but the best and brightest future for us. She continues to do it everyday.

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There are a few things I could argue, but relative to the mother she was, is, and will be, I’d just sound like an ungrateful little bitch.

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I may never know what it feels like to completely put what I thought was my future on hold to secure someone else’s, but I do know when someone does it right.

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I see a lot of great mothers out there, but always know in my eyes, I have one of the highest standards in my head. I have every right. As crazy as my siblings and I are, and though some of us once began to steer towards the path of stupidity, there is nothing you can say that would shed darkness on my mother’s children. We wouldn’t be who we are without her.

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So for those  who think it’s OK to ignore your children, make them feel terrible when they make a mistake, ignore signs of problems, act like doing a little extra is too much for you (children know), choosing other relationships over ones with your children, or feel that just because you did the minimum to raise your children you’re the greatest mom around, I have another word in my head…come look for it.

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How Not To Waste A Good Debate

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If you can’t attempt to empathize with the other person’s argument, the debate will be over before it evens starts. It will be pointless. But today, the argument will continue. Empathy does not mean agreement. 

EVERYONE IS ARGUING!

Of course we are. There’s 7 billion people across this glorious speck in the universe. We’re not going to agree. Shit, with all the slanted news, the odds are stacked completely against us…unless you’re like most people and have a personal jet to travel and observe for yourself.

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Now that you’ve accepted that, together we can understand how to argue an opinion without being an asshole or an idiot. While the debate can be intense, there are only a few simple steps to follow to make sure you leave the debate satisfied you made your point and you’ve thought critically of what your opponent had to say (yes that is important too).

  1. Have An Argument– You don’t know how many times I’ve read an opinion so far-fetched, it was obvious a 747 could clear the space between the person’s head and the moral of the story.
  1. Do Some Research It’s not necessary to spend endless hours outlining studies. But basing your argument on one story that you just happen to scroll pass and agreed with the headline is possibly the laziest thing a person could do…and we’re either sitting at a computer just clicking, or sitting somewhere more comfortable just swiping. Confirm a few things before typing. Make sure the current event isn’t tied to decades of things you didn’t consider…or common sense. I say this knowing if you take my advice, I’m sacrificing some of my online humor.
  1. Accept When A Point Has Been Proven Wrong  It becomes funny when you keep insisting the trickle-down effect worked.
  1. Respond To The Argument  Not what you think will distract people from your dwindling points.
  1. If You Are Going To Use Sarcasm, Be Good At It  Nothing is more satisfying than getting a sarcastic response that you can tear into pieces in 3 three sentences…You know what? Ignore this, I’m not sacrificing my hobby.
  1. Be An Adult  The world will never completely agree with each other so don’t end the debate making the opponent feel like you ran and cried into the arms of your confidant. Even if the argument becomes intense with emotions writhing, do your best to calm the situation and actually consider their side before ending the debate. Doing that will allow you to confirm how thoughtless your opponent was after you calmed down leaving you less likely feel like maybe you missed something. Your opponent will have had no choice but to at least consider your side since you did your research on both the specifics and the broad range of the issue. Your opponent’s choice whether to use critical thinking skills is why society is crying.

Politicians, Catch Up. People, React.

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Yes, we know. For decades you had the ability to make decisions without the media so far up your ass, they knew you had colon cancer before you got the results. For decades it was your word against someone else’s and of course someone America chose to represent would never lie to achieve what they want.

For decades, the ability to keep to yourself when it came to making decisions was standard and the majority of us didn’t care enough to do in-depth research on the politicians who affect our future. A few were silly enough to make the front page, but I guarantee many politicians would need to secure a designated driver when entering a game of ‘I Never’ with middle class citizens.

But not anymore.

We’ve finally placed society in a position that puts many politicians in a unfamiliar light and we all should pat ourselves on the back.

So why aren’t we?

Ah I know. While the media continues to easily shove inaccurate, one-sided stories with relevant facts buried in the sensation, we continue to believe that because it speaks to what we trust, it must be accurate, and if not, we’ll figure out a way to right the mistake by twisting the truth to correlate. Because our side can’t be wrong. Our side must succeed no matter how silly the response was.

It’s so apparent, politicians are blatantly spitting in our face every chance they get and we won’t react because reacting may hurt our side’s chance of winning (winning what, I’m not sure yet. We’re all losers right now). If that’s not bad enough, some of the politicians have the media outright backing them in their pursuit to power and feel that it would have no affect on their ethics as journalists (think about that the next time you share an article or video).

Here’s a quick example.

Chris Christie admitted that if he were elected president, he would strike down on states who have legalized marijuana. He doesn’t believe it should be legalized (but felt compelled to push sports gambling and maintaining Atlantic City gambling casinos, enabling an addiction many people can do a six degrees of separation from). He openly admits that back-tracking would be one of his priorities.

We’ve seen the financial success that the legalization of marijuana has done for the recent legalized states. We’ve seen statistics that say New Jersey has one of the highest move out rates. We see the tax revenue it brings in the recent legalized states, so much so that money is needed to be given back. We’ve seen endless money spent on prisons in New Jersey, while people still get high anyway. Violent crime has decreased since the legalization of pot in Colorado. A drunk cop from New Jersey crashes and kills people.

Not to mention the new studies coming out contradicting everything we were told to believe.

How he thought he had any right to speak of it is beyond me. But that’s not the point.

Now, the response from the people were genuinely hilarious as most couldn’t believe that Christi thought he would be elected as he has his state citizens running for a new beginning. But the fact that a politician thought so highly of himself and so low of the people should tell us something.

We are not really paying attention. Haven’t been for years. We believe exactly what we are told by the people who have chosen their salary over the truth. Not their truth. THE TRUTH. Great example of the trickle-down affect. Are we liking the results? We see it, but our reaction is not enough to thwart the actions of the people who were elected to speak for us. Some have tried to react. Those not powerful enough have to hide. Some of us don’t know how to do something. Some think they can’t. Some just don’t care. Which category are you?

LOST

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Its been said that the explanation of what happens during a seizure is difficult to speak of and I couldn’t  agree more. Severe ones you forget most of it, but the moderate ones can linger inside a head like a dream you HAVE to remember. While I can’t say exactly what happens, I can definitely try to  give a description.

Picture This

It’s a normal adult day. You wake up already with things to do. Nothing drastic, just normal personal and work-related tasks. Don’t forget the daydreaming thoughts you have in between. On the way to work, you feel the thought of forgetfulness pecking. You can’t figure out what it is, but the feeling is just lingering in the back of your mind.

The day is set. You know exactly what needs to be done and how it will happen. Confidence is your best friend.

But that feeling of forgetfulness is still massaging the back of the head. Refusing to let it get to you, you keep pushing through your day allowing your personal thoughts to cycle through as you progress.

Then It Happens.

Now in this part, you need to picture your brain as a your ‘mini you.’ A separate entity that controls itself and important parts of you.

We’ll call ‘mini you’ ‘Change’ for the time being.

Change sees everything you do, hears everything you do, does everything you do…most of the time. Without Change, while you will still be able to function, you will not function properly as Change controls a good amount of your mobility and processes.

Change has now decided she now wants to get to the bottom of that forgetful feeling. She decides to head back without alerting and goes as fast that she can, hoping to get back before you realize she is gone.

Unfortunately, as Change speeds to the back of your head, it sends all your thoughts into a spinning disarray and it isn’t until she turns around does she realize the chaos she caused. Thoughts, ability to complete basic functions, and fear are now swirling around the inside of your head and in the distance, Change sees physical you stuttering through normal processes, stumbling to gather thoughts, unaware that the thoughts are now out of control.

As Change begins her path back to the front your head to reconnect, pushing pass the thoughts speeding around her, she is able to peek through the swirls to see physical you confused, scared, and lost. Change feels that as well as the spinning begins to take its toll on her balance. She now becomes a part of your chaos equation as you are caught between focusing on what you are physically doing, what Change is visually seeing, and what you are mentally feeling. One of the visuals is physical you struggling to be normal again.

You’re lost. Change is lost searching for you, and all you want to do is zero in on SOMETHING.

But everything is still spinning and Change still has a distance to go.