On self-expression and what is not self-expression.
Dear White People,
If I could just have a couple minutes of your time, I would appreciate it. I know you’re busy. The thing is, I need a favor. And it’s a big one. I hate that I have to ask for this, I really do. I just don’t have a choice. The reality is that we can’t do this on our own.
Black people are afraid. We’re hurt. We’re angry. Imagine waking up almost every day and seeing that someone who looks like you was shot and killed by the police. They were waiting by their stalled car. Eating chicken in their back yard. Sitting in their car, reading a book. You do those things too, right? Wouldn’t you be scared, upset, and angry too? Knowing that simply walking down the street could end your life. Driving to and from work. Waiting for a bus. Never knowing if this quick trip to the grocery store will be the last time you see your family. Would you even want to let your kids out of the house? Your son or daughter could be killed walking through their own neighborhood. Coming home from a friend’s. Coming home from school. Isn’t that a paralyzing thought?
That’s just a glimpse into the life of millions of Americans. As if being black in America weren’t difficult enough. It’s harder to get a job if you have a “black-sounding” name. Blacks get worse treatment by banks, all other things being equal. Unequal treatment when trying to buy a car.
But now the people who are sworn to uphold the laws and protect us have turned. They’re killing us. Every day.
Our pleas fall on deaf ears. Protesting isn’t successful. If we take to the streets, we’re told we’re being disruptive and that it’s not going to help our cause. Peaceful protests like kneeling during the national anthem are met with the disregard.
We’re lost. We don’t know what else we can do. Short of no longer having melanin-rich skin, there’s nothing left.
We’ve been fighting this battle for so many years. We’re tired. We’re confused. We’ve tried everything.
So we need your help. We need you to see the injustice and talk to your friends about it. Put yourselves in our shoes.
Imagine the terror.
Imagine the grief.
Imagine the sorrow.
Imagine the helplessness.
We want the same things you do. We want to live happy, meaningful, and productive lives. We want our kids to grow up and be good people. We want opportunities for success. We want everyone to have those things.
But right now, we can’t. We can’t help anyone, because we can’t help ourselves. Working inside the system doesn’t work. Working outside the system doesn’t work.
As powerfully moving as Martin Luther King, Jr. was, as much as black Americans understood what he was saying because they lived it, it wasn’t until white people got involved that any changes came about. Despite the change in laws, many things are still the same. The power structure hasn’t changed. Black people still have to beg to get anywhere.
I am willing to beg for help. It is so horrifying to wake up and learn that another life has been lost needlessly. It is draining. It is demoralizing.
Please help us.
I know that I would help you if the situation were reversed. After all, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to working with you to bring about a more just America.
Every now and then I go through phases where I see how much money I’ve spent or I look at the stuff around me and think, “Good God, I am a colossal fuck-up.”
I spent a few months in the homeland and spent a ton of money. So much is so readily available there that isn’t where I spend most of my year. Craft stores tend to be my downfall. I love walking through them and seeing all the possibilities. I even used some of it this summer! I made THINGS!
When it comes time to pay my taxes though, I see how much I spent instead of saving to pay my taxes. I panic a little when this happens. I *know* I should save the tax money. I generally don’t think about how much it’s really going to be. (This is one of the pitfalls of being self-employed.)
I chastise myself after the fact about how wasteful I am. I’m not sure why I do it since it’s not like I didn’t know what I was doing at the time and it certainly doesn’t change the situation. I just end up feeling bad about myself. It’s like bingeing on junk food – feels good at the time, pay for it later.
I’m about to venture into a new business that requires the largest up-front investment I’ve ever made. It’s exciting – really exciting. However, I am basically going to have to become a completely different person when it comes to money. I want to pay myself back for the initial investment as well as continue investing in the business. This will leave me almost no room for the junk food-style bingeing I like to do.
I don’t want to be a junk food binger anymore, whether it’s food or money. I learned recently that I don’t usually feel so good when I do either, so why continue to do it? You know you’ve hit a new point in your life when you not only feel the after-effects, but you feel it WHILE you’re doing it.
My goal now is to look at everything I buy and think – Do I really need this? Need is obviously a relative term. Compared to people all over the world, my answer for most things would be a resounding “no.” No, you don’t *need* a smartphone to survive. That’s not a realistic way for me to look at things.
I had a discussion with a friend the other day about some clothes we were looking at buying. She clarified some as “must-have” versus “cute, but would be okay not having.” Pretty much all purchases fall into those two categories, but I add a third one “why am I looking at this?” I can’t tell you how many things I’ve gone home with and I later look back and think, “Was I under the influence when I bought that?” Sadly, that’s almost never the case. Just monumental lapses in judgment.
We all have things that lift our spirits. We can’t always explain why they do, but that doesn’t matter. If it’s something that will bring joy to my life *and* I will use it, I’m okay with that purchase. I saw a Star Wars Furbacca at Target the other day. It took a surprising amount of willpower to resist buying it. As a teenager I owned a Furby because I *had* to have one. The poor thing mostly sat on a shelf, staring at me from its horribly large eyes. I never talked to it or got it to speak anything other than Furbish.
Despite knowing that I might never actually play with it, I desperately wanted this Chewbacca to come home with me. Had it been cheaper (I thought it was $70, apparently it’s *only* $50), I may have bought it anyway. I’m a big fan of the loyal Chewbacca. But do I really need him as a Furby? No. Am I still tempted? Yes.
Mr. Lyndsy and I have a terrible habit of wasting food. We buy fruits, veggies, and meat, and then get too lazy to cook them. They turn into science experiments in the fridge and we go out to eat. Eventually one of us gets disgusted by what’s happening in our science lab of a refrigerator and we clean it out. We vow to never let it get that bad again. Until the next time, anyway.
Once I modified my diet, it happened a bit less. Going out to eat became an unpleasant experience as my stomach reacted violently to what I ate. Since I was spending more time in the fridge to find foods that wouldn’t upset me, less stayed in there longer.
We both know that eating the fruits and veggies we have at home is better than going out to eat. I like knowing exactly what I’m eating. I don’t have the luxury of eating whatever I fancy. I am beyond tired of feeling sick all the time. I finally hit THAT point. The one where I’m actually willing to do the right things.
Before I buy anything, I will be asking myself, “Do I really need that? How does this fit into my larger plan?” If the answer is that I don’t need it or it derails my larger plan – whether it’s being healthy emotionally, physically, or financially, I won’t buy it.
Sounds simple, but I know what a struggle this will be for me. I decided that my goal for this year was to be healthy. I meant it physically, but now I can see that I was really missing the mark. To achieve health in any of the big areas, I need to work at it in all three.
Yikes. Wish me luck, and also tell me – what are your best strategies for health, whether it’s emotionally, physical, or financial?
I’m not too much of a conspiracy theorist. Really, I can only think of one that I buy into. You can ask me about it if you want to.
I just read an article about how the Dallas Morning Star is endorsing Hillary Clinton, not just telling people not to vote for Trump.
Trump’s background is questionable at best when its comes to political leanings. He’s been an independent, a Democrat, and a Republican. For a long time I thought that his candidacy was a joke. That he was just in it for the publicity. Or something like that.
At some point it occurred to me that maybe he was actually in it to help Clinton. The DNC was happy to use its power to help her get the nomination. That’s very clear now. (Yes, I’ve heard the argument that Sanders wasn’t really a Democrat so why should they help him? That’s a whole other post.)
If the DNC was willing to do it, why not Trump too? He’s either a delusional megalomaniac hellbent on world domination or a prop for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. (Okay, there could be other things, but I’m having fun with these two.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to Hillary Clinton being POTUS. She’s brilliant, strategic, and tough. (Notice I didn’t say “she’s a woman.”) She would make an excellent Commander-in-Chief.
And maybe it’s not a bad thing to use whatever tools she has available. We all know how women don’t have the same advantages men do in the United States. Even women with money. Perhaps this is the only way. I don’t like it, but let’s face it, it’s all corrupt. Until we all start working together to bring better candidates to the market, we’re going to be slaves to the bullshit system we have now.
I recently decided that I do not want to have kids. I resent that I had to make that choice.
You may be wondering, “If she resents it, why did she make that choice?”
My 35th birthday is in a couple of weeks. The statistics about pregnancy after that age are readily available and definitely not positive.
But that’s not why I don’t want to do it.
Mr. Lyndsy has pretty great genes. He’s 35 and in good health. He broke a vertebra in his back and an old ankle injury gets him sometimes, but he spends his days in activities with kids who are twelve years old and does pretty well. He still plays sports. His father is in his 60s and still VERY active. He’s smart. He’s funny.
I’m smart. I’m funny. But that’s where the good stuff ends.
I was born with a bad back, or so said the neurosurgeon who fused my spine. Even now I still have back issues, just located in a different place. I have chronic pain in my foot from the nerve damage and tendon transfer.
I have Hashimoto’s which causes my body to ebb and flow through periods of almost manic energy and then into a state of fatigue. I’m lucky to have an endocrinologist now who was willing to treat it with medication, but it took going through three doctors before him.
Even with the Hashimoto’s treated, I have to contend with fibromyalgia. Random flares of body pain and bouts of fatigue so oppressive I don’t want to get out of bed. When you do finally get out of bed to do something, brain fog kicks in and you can’t remember why you up in the first place.
Of course, that’s not the only reason I don’t want to get out of bed some days. Depression and anxiety also like to jump into the fray, further knocking me down. The commercials that say depression has a physical component aren’t kidding. The body aches and fatigue are on top of feeling like your soul has done a round with Mike Tyson.
Diabetes can be a result of lifestyle choices. But sometimes, when your body is under attack from a bunch of other shit, diabetes gets you anyway.
For shits and giggles my kidneys leak protein. They aren’t supposed to. We do not yet know why it happens.
Perhaps my favorite is that I seem to be allergic to the sun. Prolonged sun exposure (as little as 30 minutes) results in a butterfly rash across my face and bumps down my arms and into my hands.
I have walked on the edge of the ultimate blackness. Been in that place where dying seemed like a much better idea than living. I managed to walk away from the desire, but my kid may not be so lucky. And it hurts because I know that all of my love wouldn’t be able to save him or her from that edge.
I don’t want that for my kid.
I had 15 doctor appointments in one month. I had blood draws for probably 40 lab tests. I spent a lot of time going to and from the hospital for those appointments. I have spent 9 nights in the hospital. The place where you’re supposed to get healthy, but health is impossible when you can’t sleep because someone is coming in every hour or so to make sure you’re okay.
I don’t want that for my kid.
There’s a long ass list of foods I don’t eat anymore because they upset my stomach. I can’t eat some of my favorite treats, unless I’m willing to risk an explosion of diarrhea at the worst possible time.
I don’t want that for my kid.
Standing, walking, and sitting cause pain. Running is out of the question. Sports don’t happen. Theme parks require sunscreen and a hat, and even then my face feels like it’s on fire and my arms look like something out of a sci-fi movie.
I don’t want that for my kid.
So I won’t have one.
I feel like I’m making the choice any good parent would make.
That doesn’t mean I like it.
I resent the hell out of it.
But it’s the choice I have to make. For my kid.
Person 1: Man, I hope the President and governors do something for the people in the Northeast who are getting pounded by those snowstorms.
Person 2: I don’t want my tax money going to help any of them.
Person 1: What? Why?
Person 2: Snow isn’t real.
Person 1: Um, excuse me?
Person 2: It’s all a government conspiracy to take my tax money and use it on those stupid Northeasterners. Like they don’t already get all the money.
Person 1: What do you mean it’s a conspiracy?
Person 2: Are you thick? Snow. Isn’t. Real.
Person 1: Yes, it is.
Person 2: I’ve never seen it.
Person 1: You’ve never seen snow?
Person 2: Nope. Born and raised in South Florida. Snow doesn’t exist.
Person 1: You’ve seen it on the TV and in movies.
Person 2: Like I said, government conspiracy. And, excellent sci-fi stuff.
Person 1: (points to himself) I have seen snow.
Person 2: No, you just think you have. It was an elaborate ruse.
Person 1: No. I lived in the Midwest. I’ve played in it. Made snowmen.
Person 2: Nope. I don’t believe it.
Person 1: (grabs a passerby) Is snow real?
Passerby: (looks around for a hidden camera) Are you serious?
Person 1: Yes.
Passerby: Yes, of course snow is real. (runs away)
Person 1: See, I told you. Snow is real.
Person 2: None of my friends have ever seen it.
Person 1: But other people have.
Person 2: But I haven’t. And my friends haven’t either. So it’s not real.
Person 1: (shakes head and walks away)
Sounds ridiculous, right? What’s really ridiculous though, is that this is basically the discussion I’ve had with people after Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand during the national anthem to protest the conditions of black Americans. All you have to do is substitute in “injustice against blacks” where I mention “snow.”
People (mostly white) keep insisting that blacks aren’t having problems. They’ve never seen it happen, so it isn’t happening. They work with black people, so black people can obviously get jobs. They have black friends who agree with them that the Black Lives Matter movement is overblown.
I have yet to figure out why people cannot admit there is a race problem in the United States. What is the harm in admitting there is a problem?
Is it an ego thing? A need to feel superior?
Or perhaps it’s economics? The (erroneous) belief that there isn’t enough for everyone to have a good share?
Of course, I fail to see how anyone could derive ego satisfaction for achieving more under these circumstances. It’s like being excited about winning a race when you never told your opponent when the race would be. Sure, you won. But who did you really beat?
There IS a race problem in the United States. People can continue to deny it, but that only means that some day, perhaps not a day far in the future, it will all blow up. We will have to face it. And, because we tried to sweep it under the rug for so long, it will be bigger, messier, and much harder to eradicate than if we’d just dealt with it properly in the first place.
I clicked through a link on Facebook and found a site called Zen Habits. The challenge for September is to stop procrastinating. The goal is to spend 5 minutes every day, doing just one thing. No switching tasks. No stopping to check social media. Just focus on the one thing.
I’m going to try this. I need to go through my things, unclutter, decide what I really need and what I don’t.
I will even be able to use this unprocrastination to focus on writing and other creative projects as well. I don’t know when the last time was that I did just one thing for five minutes. I think it’s going to confuse my brain quite a bit.
It seems like multitasking has become a way of life. I’m torn on whether it’s a good thing or not. I feel more productive, but am I really? I have read articles that argue whether it’s really possible to multitask. And, if we are multitasking, is the quality of what we’re doing suffering?
I’m looking forward to doing this. Are you going to give it a try?
Alright, I’m kidding about that I’m not Polly Positive. However, I realized something strange about myself as I was trying to fall asleep (unsuccessfully, I might add). My view on living positively has changed a lot over the years. Let me explain how I even went down this rabbit hole of thought.
I follow someone on Facebook who is a product designer. She posted that she’s been terminated from her independent consultant position due to a conversation she had that she thought was private. At first that struck me as horrible since she was really quite successful at what she did. Apparently someone in the group conversation snitched on her.
That got me thinking about where I could end up myself if people linked my worlds together. If someone found my little corner of the internet here or some of my other projects – could I end up in trouble?
So I thought about it. I panicked, wondering whether I should quit everything except the job that brings me the most income. I didn’t like that idea since it is like the death of creativity and I need, and I mean NEED, a creative outlet.
I have long held the belief that you shouldn’t talk about someone behind their back unless you’re willing to say it to their face. For some reason, that never translated beyond the context of people and interpersonal relationships. It never occurred to me that it would have any applicability anywhere else in my life.
That, my friends, was completely incorrect.
When I started this blog back in 2006 (OH MY GOD IT’S BEEN 10 YEARS!) it was a place for me to be angry and to vent about things. I was in a completely different place in my life then – I spent the majority of my day around people who were stressed past any point they’d been stressed before. The pressure on everyone to perform was enormous. After a while that wears you down. You don’t have the energy to filter through the emotions and we just sort of fell on the easiest one to find at the time – anger, frustration, and irritation.
What I didn’t realize at the time is that staying mired in the muck of bad feelings just made it harder to get away from them. We fed on each other’s stress and negativity. It seemed like it validated our existence.
Since then I have learned that positivity, looking for joy in all of life, and finding meaning in what you’re handed (even if it seems like a heaping pile of cow dung) actually bring longer-lasting and healthier results. I can probably only see this way now that I am taking medications to help me stave off severe depression.
I don’t want to post or produce content that only serves to bring us down. I want to be a force for happiness and good. I don’t want to rant about problems without first having tried to come up with a solution, even part of one. There are so many serious issues that we need to talk about. That we need to come together and work on. I don’t have time to waste on negativity, griping, and bringing other people down.
There’s more than enough success out there that we can all enjoy it. Why focus on anything but trying to find a way for all of us to succeed? Anything we can do for one of us enhances life for all of us. THAT is my focus now. THAT is what I want for all of us.
I’ve been wondering why posting here hasn’t been like it used to be. It makes sense though since I am not who I used to be and this blog is just an extension of me. I may not always be a ray of sunshine, and I still love my clouds, but now I focus on the fact that the rain clouds bring water which brings growth.
Wow, I have not been here for a while. I haven’t figured out what that says about what’s going on in my life right now. Either I’m busy and haven’t had time (seems not quite right) or I’m avoiding something (also doesn’t seem quite right).
I have been super busy lately. Being in a place where you’re surrounded by people you know and can access things like fun shopping and the gym easily means less time staring at walls. I’ve been hitting the gym 4-5 times per week which has been so good for my body. I feel strength I haven’t had in a long time. I’ve developed muscles in places I didn’t know you could have them. Shoulders have muscles? What?
Probably the best part about it has been the discipline I’ve exercised. I’ve talked before about how I struggled with discipline. I just cannot get myself to develop good habits. I do fine for a while and then the wheels fall off. My gym activities have been helped by the fact that I have a gym buddy. She’s using my guest pass to go to the gym, so I feel like I should show up so she can go. She comes because she knows I’ll be there so she can go. It’s working out well enough now that I think I’ll be able to continue it on my own.
I need to work on developing better habits in the rest of my life. It’s almost 2:15am as I write this and I’m still awake because I totally failed at taking most of my meds on time today. Got the pill I take when I get up and… that’s it. When I don’t take my meds on time, things are not good. I feel joint pain. I don’t sleep. I have to get better.
I also know that there are other areas of my life (read: flossing, sorry J), that I’m terrible about too. It’s largely things that would make me healthier. The bad stuff is so much easier to do because we can accomplish it by doing nothing.
When I started thinking about what I could do to make myself be a better about healthy habits, I was thinking from the point of a reward system. How could I reward myself for doing the shit I’m supposed to be doing anyway. But now that I’m writing this, I’m irritated at myself.
For the things that are good for me, I should do them because I know that doing them will make me healthier. Health should be its own reward at this point in my life. The other part of the problem is how I would reward myself. Cake and other goodies that I would normally consider aren’t things I should be eating now anyway. Also, I generally buy what I want when I want it (perhaps this is something I should be working on as well…) so there’s no saving up good behavior credits for a special something.
So, I have to suck it up and face the fact that sometimes in life, I just need to do something because it’s the best thing for me to do. I can’t expect to get a reward every time I do something I *should* be doing for myself. Chris Rock has a skit about it – I won’t mention where it comes from here, but if you’ve heard it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. He’s talking about people want recognition for things they should just be doing like, “I ain’t never been to jail!” Response, ” What you want? A cookie? You ain’t supposed to go to jail…”
I am a very visual person so I am going to track and monitor how well I stay on track with the things I should be doing. The plan is to have a calendar that I hang up where I can easily see it as a reminder. For this month, I’m focusing on three things and will give myself one star/sticker per day for each of the following:
- Take all of my meds ON TIME
- Brush my teeth twice/day, floss, mouthwash
- Meditate for at least 5 minutes
I already screwed up today, but since I just came up with this plan, I’m going to give myself a “N/A” for September 1.
What kinds of things do you feel like you could be better about? What do you think keeps you from doing what you feel you should?