If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

At this point.. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I understand the anger and frustration on both sides but at this point anything negative things you say has already been said. Write a letter, tear it up. Type and note a delete it if that is what you have to do to work through your feelings. This might be mine…

I am heartbroken. Not because my candidate did not win but because I’ve lost hope. I’ve spend the past decade trying to connect people here and abroad. To get them to see we have more values and concerns in common than we do different. I’ve spent my time rejecting negativity, always trying to understand where someone comes from and why they believe the things they believe.

For the past two days I’ve spoken with 80 students in my 4 different classes and fielded questions about our political system and explaining to them why their countrymen feel so differently. In my intro to business fashion class we talked about trade deals, how in order to gain more profits jobs went overseas. In my retailing class we talked about unskilled labor and the effects low income jobs have on families and communities. And in my Trend Analysis class we talked about generational wealth and how we give power to the rich by buying their products. We discuss endlessly about the cheap goods that come into this country and how easy it is to manipulate customers into consuming more. I’m always trying to plant the seeds for them to create their own businesses which will create products and jobs that are good for humankind.

During my classes I prop them up with hope. Its all going to be ok. You live in a part of the country that has jobs, education, disposable income, and endless opportunities to coalesce. But at some point the cracks of despair start to shown through. Why bother? Whats the point? Why am I wasting my breath? My bubble of positivity is broken. My am I spending my time trying to educate others that the items they buy will not bring them happiness? Why am I asking others to pick a cause and care deeply for it? I am a single women, with an education whom can do whatever she pleases. I should say fuck this and go stare into the water in Jamaica. I should go meditate in India. I should go buy a house in the suburbs and have some children that will love me unconditionally. I should stop welcoming others to share their problems with me but well just take care of me.

I judge my parents and their friends for bowing down to consumerism in the 80’s. So full of optimism and joy in the 70’s I did not understand why they gave it up to have children, jobs, and a mortgage in the suburbs. I’m starting to get it now. I may be the most powerful woman the world has ever seen, I control my reproduction, I choose my career, I’m influential within my community, and I have no master. I am confident, self assured, and do not place much value on what any man or woman thinks of me. I am my own person. With that freedom comes a sense of responsibility to help others, to take on their struggle and strain. That is why at this time I feel such pain and sadness. I want to bring people together, I want to create positive environments where we are learning and growing from each other but even my most positive friends have gone dark and ugly.

I blame facebook. Once upon a time your community, unconsciously most of the time, would set forth social norms and behaviors that would acceptable. Now each one of us has a voice, a platform to spew as much hatred without a second thought. There is no way to shun this person into conformity. If you do not like what someone has to say you can unfollow them or give them a frowny face. A conversation is impossible since a complex thought or subject has to be boiled down to just a few sentences.

So what next? I honestly want to drive down to those middle states and visit a church. I want to talk with some white women, who have not been to college, and are single mothers. I want to ask that old grandpa what it was like when the old Rubber Made factory was still in town. I want to understand their struggle and their strain. I want to give them hope that we have more in common than we do different.

Advertisements

Racism is the symptom, Not the disease.

Half of my news feed on FB is black lives matter and the other half is all lives matter. The BLM comes from my “new friends,” ones I met while traveling or living in NYC as an adult. The ALM friends are “old friends,” those I grew up with in my very white town in New Jersey. One foot in each places I see the hurt from both places. Not just the hurt from the recent events but the drug abuse, lack of educational options, and general lack of opportunities that have been going on for years.

Once the shooting in Dallas took place I immediately thought this isn’t a race thing.. this is a mental health and gun thing. I was surprised to see nothing on face book pointed to mental health. Simultaneously the militarization of the police department has been seldom spoken about. Who are these two men who took police officers lives? Military men who have no place in American society. They were trained experts in killing and brought back to a country with little mental health support and a gun loving culture. Men that once received great respect but are now lost in a culture that promotes independence and resilience; not care, support, and love.

I support Black Lives Matter because as an ambiguously brown woman who has lived in countries that has no 911, I feel safe calling the police and anticipate a positive interaction when they arrive. However, if I were black the series of events that take place after calling the police is significantly varied and negative. As an American we ALL have the right to feel safe, and protected from the police. Its a terrifying thought that the 2nd amendment was created for the general population to be able to fight against the military if a situation arose where a significant group felt their rights, safety,  and freedom were being challenged. Is this not exactly what is happening to our citizens of colors? Shouldn’t the second amendment supports be happy? Obviously not but doesn’t this turn the gun rights debate on its head?

My meager two cents… The police department is an independent body, not run or controlled by any government body. No general oversight of these 18,000 police departments across the U.S., some offer non bias training and some are run by extremely racist citizens. What I believe needs to happen moving forward.. Put down your banners, stop fighting your fellow powerless neighbor on whether black lives or all lives matter and find out when your local government meets. Go to the meetings. Go to your police department and find out the names and backgrounds to your local police officers. What is the culture? How do you want it to change? What social services does your community offer to veterans? Who are your veterans? What mental health services does your community offer? Join groups that advocate for more services. We’ve yelled, and cried enough. Now is the time to sit down with your neighbor, opponent, or foe and make a list of problems, make a list of possible solutions, make a list of the key players and start DOING the work and enough COMPLAINING about all the problems.

This was written fast… and deserves so much more time, stats, research, and love but had been rolling around my mind and needed to be put to text.

Dear Diary…

Dear Diary,

This the first day of the rest of my life. ha ha – Wait, wait… lets rewind. I can not start a post like that. I’m no longer 5 1/2 but more like 5 1/2 squared. Moving on…

Today is the FIRST day of my 2 month long summer break. I’ve got a long list of goals waiting to be crossed off. As I start off on this journey I wanted to take a moment and speak about motivation, perseverance, and STRUGGLE. How do you achieve these things when there is no person, other than yourself, pushing you to do so? How do you stay on track but more importantly feel good while following that track?

Motivation

I’ve never lacked motivation. I believe there are two types of people those who can’t relax until their list of chores are done and those who can’t tackle those chores unless they have first relaxed. I am the former. In order to accomplish those chores first you need A LIST. On the train think of the first 3-5 things you are going to do once you want in the door. It might be pee, hug fam, and drink some water but have some sort of game plan and anticipate the vibe that you are walking into. Each morning I wake up, open up a google doc that I have had since Jan. 2013. I add the date and list out anything I want to get done. There is no organizing, numbering, or delegating. Just randomness that needs to get done in the next day, week, month, or year. Next, I do the HARD TASKS first. Get those out the way. Lastly, I CROSS THEM OUT when finished.

A&A Notes

Perseverance

Now you may be thinking… You are insane, you write a to do list everyday. Take a look at the dates… I think there is a bit of a gap there no? Life is a marathon, not a sprint. I do wake up most days ready to live life to the fullest but by noon… I’m pretty useless. I know the times I work best and I make the most of them. I also stop a smell the roses… a lot! Feeling guilty about not doing the work  is worst than simply ditching the work. Give yourself permission to slack off, at least you feel in control. Do an activity that isn’t directly helping you achieve your goals but nourishing your soul in another way. I may have to great 50 papers but I’m going to take the lunch break to walk around the park to clear my mind. I will not be sitting watching Youtube videos thinking just one more and I’ll grade a paper. Any action is better than in action.

Struggle

The struggle is real… Its hard to comment on struggle now a days. So many have internal struggle that is hard to identify, others struggle with outside oppression. Our commonality.. EVERYONE STRUGGLES. Don’t ever think your problems are worst than others. You are doing yourself no service by being a victim in your own mind. Many people will say to surround yourself by positive people who lift you up and yes that is true. I also find great motivation by surrounding myself by those who have people. People I can help if only by listening. Listening to them puts my life in perspective and shows me so often the struggles I have are not struggles at all but just unrealized opportunities. With FOMO, and YOLO we can not simply surround ourselves by those who are “better” than us but surround ourselves by a well balanced group of people who share, love, and support at different levels and at different times.

Thats all she wrote.. Back to striking items off my list!

DUCES!

Goal: To Study Werk.

Why do we work? How do we work? How do we want to work? What do we consider good work or bad work? If we no longer has to “work” what new type of work would we pick up. This summer as I refuse traditional work, I set my sights on redefining how to live a sustainable,IMG_20160525_140238 meaningful life with no boss. Stay tuned as the journey has just begun.

 

The Status of Men Part I

My focus, like many other women’s, has been to promote the economic empowerment and build confidence for women. The stats on women who are subjugated to violence in its many forms, the in ability to receive equal compensation for work, and the lack of powerful, meaningful roles in government and big business are endless. We look to women for solutions to these problems. The solutions usually include work hard at being confident, work harder on becoming economically independent, and work harder still at putting any and all emotions aside in order to be taken seriously.

I seldom come into contact with men. It has been this way for most of my adult life. I work in the fashion industry, I went to school at what is almost an all girls school, The Fashion Institute of Technology, and I started a company which employs 99% women. I date men. I used to do it a lot but when I realized any drama in my life usually came from men, I put the brakes on.

I did what society told me to do. I built my confidence by continuing my education. I am now a professor trying to help other young women build theirs. I have been economically independent as an adult, for the most part… Shout out to Mom and Dad for giving me the occasional cash injection and moral support to jump up a rung or two on that ladder of life. Lastly, I’m passionate but not emotional. I’m calculated but not heartless. And most importantly I’m empathetic and not disassociated with the thoughts, feelings, and needs of others. I have found success not just in business and academia but also in the realization that accomplishing goals does not make you happy, finding new goals to become excited about makes me happy.

I’ve always been confused, perplexed by men. My studying of feminism and love over the past year has led me closer to understanding the struggles, constrains, and oppression men face in American society. From when I was born I was told I could be anything I wanted to be. I played sports, I got dirty, I set things on fire, I dissected nature, I played dress up, I loved makeup, I thought I was a princess who was going to be president. Most boys from age 5 are quiet quickly shoved into a box and told what is masculine and what they have to do or not do to be a “big boy”. Boys, for the most part, can not put on a dress and dance to madonna but not a problem if I put on a shiny glove and pretend to be Michael Jackson. Simultaneously men are compared to girls. If they can not be obedient, loyal, passive, and submissive like girls, especially in school, they are now marked as being disruptive, problem children or worst ADHD and given drugs in order to fall in line.

Each year of their life new pressures are put on boys to fit into that box. No crying, no emotions unless its anger, don’t share your feelings, stand tall and fight back, and lastly, most harmfully, women are weak. Most of the time this is not women are weak so you need to protect them but women are weak and you have the power. The best documentary I have seen lately on the typical male experience is The Mask You Live In. I’d LOVE to hear any opinions from this movie.

Finally society is not just talking about what women should do to avoid men’s wrath. The desire for soft skills instead of hard skills in the work place, collaboration not competition, and how improvement in working conditions and workers rights are the only way to retain loyal employees. So much more analysis and research must be conducted in order catch boys and men up to this new environment of communication, collaboration and empathy. As always women have to continue to be patient and understanding, I’m talking to myself mostly on that thought. Stay tuned for part 2.