Community

I wanted to post a blog today about something uplifting. Was going to post my weekly Spotify playlist. But, honestly, I can’t even listen to it right now. I woke up and did my usual routine, went to my internship. I couldn’t move on to do any work because my mind is so racked with thoughts about the lives that were taken Wednesday night.

It’s hard to think of what to write about, but I don’t know how to cope and make sense of things without putting it in words. And it’s not going to make sense, it never will, because terrorism and racism and hate do not make sense.

These 9 innocent lives were taken in a church, where you should be safe and you should feel sheltered. And they were taken because of a spineless, terrifying reason.

We live in a world where hate is on our doorsteps everyday. We can’t walk out of our front doors without seeing it on our streets or in our headlines. We can’t feel safe to let our children be alone. We can’t feel safe now, even in our houses of religion. And yes, we. We all are afraid. We all are mourning. We all need to be a community, because we all need this to end.

This isn’t politics. This isn’t black and white and Asian and Middle Eastern nor is it Christians vs Muslims vs Judaism. This is forgetting the media, this is forgetting the asinine explanations. This is forgetting that there’s anyone who may think to detract that we are a country made up of all different individuals. I hope that this is finally the last straw. I’m sick of the black community living in fear. I’m sick of any American not feeling like they belong, or they’re unsafe. I’m seriously so tired of all of this and I’m really tired of not doing anything about it.

I know I’m tired of seeing our people gunned down. I know I’m sick of hearing these reports what seems weekly. 9 lives. 9 people. 9 families affected. 9 groups of friends. 9 careers. 9 partners. 9 of everything that you take for granted in your life, they will no longer ever see. Their families will no longer feel safe. Their community will no longer be light hearted, joyous. Their church will never feel the same.

It’s sad that it’s not what we hear in the media. We hear race, we hear divide, we hear possible petitions for the killer. We don’t hear – What happened was just wrong, with no explanations. What happened is something we need to end. What happened should bring us to silence. What happened should make you go home to your family, grieve with them for your fellow Americans’ lives, and then hold them and be thankful for them. The black community is afraid, and it shouldn’t ever be that way. No community should feel threatened. No lives should be considered on a weighted scale.

What happened at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church should not spend a week in the news and disappear but rather be held and remembered everyday, a lesson in the long road we have to teach future generations that we are all equal. We are all a community. And we do all stand together.

I read posts on social media yesterday that hurt, that I felt detracted from the victims and their families. The words focused on dividing all of our communities, which I understand will happen in times of great distress and sadness. But, I can’t stand by that and feel okay. The community of Charleston needs all of the love it can – and what race it comes from is not going to matter. We need to be the ones to ban together if we want this hate to end. It’s not going to be one community. It’s going to be all of us.

A lot of men and women fought too hard for this to regress. I just feel like that needs to be remembered.

My thoughts and prayers are with Reverend Pickney’s, 41, family and the congregation. For Tywanza Sanders, 26. For Cynthia Hurd, 54. For Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45. For Reverend Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49. For Susie Jackson, 87. For Ethel Lance, 70. For Reverend Daniel Simmons Senior, 74. For Myra Thompson, 59. And with the survivors, who are brave beyond compare.

Speak up against and about this.

 

x.

Advertisements

Media, Deception, and James Franco

(Originally posted April 4th, 2014)
Have we all had a minute to read up on this James Franco moment yet?
If you haven’t, let me fill you in.
James Franco, (beloved, attractive, actor/scholar), was seen on social media program Instagram attempting to lure a 17 year old Scottish girl to meet with him.
Franco, 36, was apparently approached by this young woman outside of his Broadway show Of Mice and Men.
Wow, what a significant play.
What a significantly creepy move that after such a powerful story of love, selfishness, and making a right or wrong choice, Franco asks the young girl to tag him in a photo that she wants to post on Instagram … where he later contacts her.
Before I am strung up by the million Franco groupies of the world, let me speak a little further.
Franco starred in a film where he plays a high school soccer coach and father that has an inappropriate affair with an underage girl. The film is called Palo Alto and very importantly centers in on how easy it is for those that are closest to your family may very well be the ones who could take advantage of them, too. More about this in a minute. But before I continue, this movie has Val Kilmer in it……. didn’t we leave him behind in the ’80s? No?
Many media outlets have been reporting about the incident, two days after the illicit messages were supposedly sent, in an almost defense mannerism. James Franco could not POSSIBLY have sent those messages! James Franco is a COLLEGE EDUCATED actor! James Franco must have been set UP! James Franco must have been doing this TO PROMOTE HIS NEW FILM WHERE HE IS A SEXUAL PREDATOR NOT THAT HE REALLY IS ONE!
Ok.
Let me explain what does not necessarily need to be explained:
The minute the media would rather defend a celebrity than to question them for something as serious as potential child sexual predatory behavior, we have failed as a media influenced society by allowing this to go on.
Do I think personally that James Franco is guilty of being a sexual predator? That’s neither here nor there. Do I think that this should be checked into? Yes. Do I think this was a stunt to promote a movie that was actually released in August of 2013? …. How does that make sense.
If we as a society would rather defend a celebrity for this behavior, especially without providing all the facts like when the actual movie was released, and in turn condemn a young woman, or man, for speaking up – we need to reevaluate.
If this was a film promotion, it was not done in order to spark a fury around making sure James Franco is safe –
It was done to see if there was fury and outrage over someone we, as beloved consumers of Franco’s movies, trusted who violated the simple promise to never, ever abuse your power and take advantage of someone young, naieve, and possibly easily swayed.
New York age of consent may be 17 but we all know how inappropriate a 36 year old and a 17 year old is. And if you want to argue that …. please, please refrain.
And if this was a stunt put on by Franco, I think maybe it could teach us a thing or two about what we deem important as a society.
Franco is a VERY well educated man. He is a poet, he is a teacher, he directs. He’s someone well known, he is very savvy with social media. He is not afraid to speak his mind. And while these are all admirable traits that make us stop and reconsider how someone could do this and make us begin to dismiss these allegations, will we do the same the next time we hear about this is our own personal towns? Will we dismiss the claims from the young because this is an adult that is well trusted? Will we dismiss pictures and text messages and private chats because there’s just no way they would take advantage of a 17 year old that we know?
If anything, Franco has shown us the slippery slope. Much like his performance in Of Mice and Men… if we let things slide, we allow our “Lenny” to continue to move forward, until it’s too late. Except our Lenny knows what he’s doing, he’s cunning, he’s trusted, and even though you might hate to believe it, he might be James Franco.
Social Media for ya.

x.

Body Quo?

(Originally posted April 17th, 2013)
Why don’t we like to work out?
I ask myself this almost daily when I’m getting ready in the morning and realize that I’m, uh, not as in shape as I was a year or so ago. But then the day wears on and I’m exhausted when I get home and I try so hard to convince myself that even a ten minute workout is better than watching Mad Men, but then there I am again on the couch with my ice cream.

We buy Cosmopolitan at my apartment. The cover always has some girl on it who’s the ‘right size’ and then there’s always a little section in it about loving your body and whatever, who cares, we all know we skip over that part. But, then I think about it. We really should start loving our bodies. No, this isn’t one of those blog posts where I tell young women “Hey! No, you look good! You inhale that over processed food and you love yourself for it!”. I’m not that kind of person, and I’m not going to say that.
What I am trying to say is how weird it is that we would rather watch Dove commercials that tell us to love ourselves than to go out and do something that might actually make us feel like we could love ourselves. I know that when I finally get up and go work out, I feel like I could smile for days. The endorphins (yes, they exist) that rush through your body after a work out feel better than Luke Bryan asking you out. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but it’s pretty close if you close your eyes…
I don’t want to upset anyone out there with this post. You all really are beautiful. Really. But I looked at myself today and thought well, maybe I should work out, for summer, you know. I hit the yoga mat in my living room and did a couple exercises then got up and came to the computer. I started thinking, that felt really good, I should’ve done that for longer. Weird.
It’s not about being skinny. I don’t WANT to be skinny. I like what I have going on. It’s about being healthy. And to be honest, the food we eat, the food I eat, as a college student is not helping us out. You wanna know why you’re tired after walking from your apartment or dorm to the class that you cut through a building to get to that’s not even 10 minutes away? Because the oreos and Noodles and Co you decided to eat as a midnight snack last night has decided to slow down not only your metabolism, but also YOU. Pretty scary.
So, I’ll ask again, why don’t we like to work out? So many people do it and look at where they are. They’re happy, they look good, they’re probably not going to die at 60. The more I look, the more I like it.
Think of it kind of like that first party in college. Uh, this is weird and uncomfortable and I’m not sure why everyone’s so sweaty. But then you realized how much you LOVE college parties and you do them all the time now!
Anyway, let’s workout. Let’s like it and let’s like ourselves for getting out there and doing it. I think that’s what Cosmo says anyway…
x.

Steady

(Originally posted April 10th, 2013)

Steady is the only word I can think to use to get me through these next couple weeks. Steady classes, steady studying, steady work. Steady ME. (Is that possible?)
Steady is kind of a crazy word. Let’s see:

1steady

adjective \ˈste-dē\

steadi·ersteadi·est

Definition of STEADY

1
a : direct or sure in movement : unfaltering <a steady hand> b : firm in position : fixed <held the pole steady> c : keeping nearly upright in a seaway <a steady ship>
2
: showing little variation or fluctuation : stable, uniform <a steady breeze> <steady prices>
3
a : not easily disturbed or upset <steady nerves> b (1) : constant in feeling, principle, purpose, or attachment <steady friends> (2) : dependable c : not given to dissipation : sober
Laughing a little at the keeping ‘nearly’ upright in a seaway. Nearly upright seems to be how these next couple of weeks are going to go, but I’m perfectly okay with that as long as my head stays above water.
When this semester is finally over, I’m heading out of Spartan Nation and heading down to the coast to finally attend the college and live in the place that I’ve known and loved for my whole life. I’m kind of excited.
This whole thing now has me wondering why it took me so long to finally do this. Why didn’t I just listen to myself and head down right after high school? Why did I stay for two years? Why why why why why, and the only answer is, I was scared.
It’s funny, though, to think that. Scared? Of what? Honestly, scared of a campus full of all new people. Scared of leaving my family, my little brothers. Scared of leaving my friends. Scared that maybe I’ll get there and I’ll hate it. But I think what I was most scared of was that, strangely enough, I might love it.
I might love the small campus with the well known history. I might love to be back where people say “y’all” and they have manners. I might love to know that I can drive a few hours and see my family. I think I was scared that by loving it, I wouldn’t have anything to miss.
But isn’t that what I should strive for? I don’t want to have to miss anything. I’m tired of missing. Missing the beach, missing out on the school, missing the boys’ baseball games, missing my grandparents, missing the food, missing my aunts uncles cousins, my parents.
I think that what needs to be steady in this life is going for what we want. Steadily learning that to put things off is a shame to ourselves, and to back out of things because we’re afraid of the newness should be considered embarrassing, because why live this life if we’re not going to do it to our image of perfection?
Now listen, I don’t care if you like this or not, but I had a lot of help from God in making my decision. I prayed and prayed and knelt and prayed some more about what I was doing – was it right? Would I be happy? Would I be making others happy or would I be hurting them? Ultimately, would I be doing what He thought best?
Well, I believe I found my answer. My parents moved to the coast, granting me with in state residency. A friend, whom I haven’t spoken to since our high school graduation, out of the blue asked me if I knew of anywhere to live for the next school year. I did, it was me. The school that I want so badly to attend will take my transfer with the acceptance of transcripts, and they genuinely want students to be a part of their community. Now I don’t want to assume, but if that didn’t tell me that all was okay, I don’t know what would.
But I feel like I’m ready for this journey. I’m ready for the steady part to be over so that I can become myself again – carefree, excited and adventurous.
The other day I was telling someone about when I was younger and the things my good friend and I would get in to. We were wild children and I look at myself sometimes and wonder where I went, where the child with so many dreams took off to. Now I know where she is and what she would want. She wouldn’t like this ‘steady’ and she sure wouldn’t like my fear.
Maybe that’s the little boost we need when we’re considering if we want to go after something we’ve wanted for so long. What would I have wanted when life didn’t want anything back from me? What would I have pictured for myself when I had everything before me?
For me, it’s a long road with houses on 10 foot high stilts, the feel of suffocating heat and a beach at the end of the willow lined walk.
x.