Big Time, Baby!

Posted: June 21, 2016 in Humor
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Recently, we won a few dollars on lottery tickets. I, like so many others, now have codes to get free tickets because Ticketmaster ripped us off for years, and in another settlement, Apple and Amazon settled a lawsuit which “gifts” me money to spend on books. Books!! I squealed loudest when I found out I could get more books!

All of this leads me to believe that I’ve now been properly trained and practiced in the art of the squeal and of happiness that comes with unexpected money (regardless of how much I paid to “earn” said money; don’t burst my bubble). Therefore, I await my next big lottery ticket windfall. I’m ready, y’all! I’m now worthy.😉

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Silent Americans have an impact. If you’re not voting because your candidate is not on the ballot, you are still making a statement and this statement has an impact and consequences.

Of course I hope everyone who can vote, votes. I’m openly biased against the likely Republican party’s nominee and I’m okay in my soul with this. Hence my plea.

Abstaining from the process, no matter the reason, has an impact on the outcome. If you aren’t thrilled about the options, take a minute to think about how we got here. Once you have that answer, ask, “How can I work towards changing what I don’t like?”. This simple question is useful in so many areas of our lives so don’t limit yourself to using it only for politics. Let’s use voices, actions and ballots to make a difference and not become the laughing stock of the world with a mad man at the helm. Focus on making your life  better – whatever that picture of contentment looks like to you.

Oh, and if you still want to abstain, just a reminder from the ACLU about your voting rights and how at one time in the past, some had none. If you’re a woman voting for Trump, don’t forget how fragile your candidate’s ego is, and that you have your very own woman card…

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License to Live

Posted: April 25, 2016 in Awake, Wonderful Humans
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You know what and who you are. Often, the world makes you someone else or makes you want to be someone different – someone unlike who you are. What’s your truth? What’s your story? Which box are you in? Who put you in that box? (paraphrased from Geena Rocero’s TED Talk)

 I used to think that my family was special, wonderful, and loving – even though, not openly. For example, I didn’t like to be touched, or hugged as a kid. I still cringe a bit when people stand too close to me, but that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is that not everyone is as fortunate to have a life like Geena’s, a family as loving as Geena’s, and most importantly, self-love.

Do you? Do you create the type of environment that is loving and nurturing?

What’s your “License to Live”?

Take a listen to the beautiful Ted Talk by @GeenaRocero: https://www.ted.com/speakers/geena_rocero

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White Male (WM): “There are more important things in the world and we’re worried about our graphics not being representative enough of all?”

Me: “It’s important to see everyone reflected in our endeavors so no one is left out. Let’s make the people a different color and not have all of the men in the imag shown as the boss because we have several female leaders in this organization. Maybe let’s just use another image altogether instead of people?”

WM: “Yeah, more important things in the world like the Freddie Gray trial, and people dying than caring if we’re universally liked or not, but yeah this is important.”

While I agree that there are many important things in the world to worry about and to remedy, and that they should be addressed, I can’t help but think about how seemingly small details create issues where those who not represented, not heard, not included, rage against the machine and those in positions of authority.

When you do not see anyone in positions of aithority who looks like you or sounds like you, or when you’re in a community that feels neglected and worse, when your community is recognized, but only it’s only for negative aspects, it can be disheartening. It also leads many to feel as if no matter how far they get or how hard they try, the system is against them.

Take for example, your church or your school system. These are life-altering and life-shaping organizations. When your teachers, principals, priests, pastors and other religious leaders do not reflect you as a human or those similar to you – from the physical appearance, to the way you speak, laugh, live, etc. – will you feel included or neglected? Will you truly believe that by being yourself, looking, speaking, laughing, and living as yourself, you will be accepted and able to step onto that path to becoming a successful member of society and the world as a whole?

Of couse many have thrived in environments where they are neglected because they are determined and they fought hard to beat the odds. However, when you feel welcomed, cherished and appreciated for who you are, that’s immeasurable, not to mention, makes life a little more pleasant. When you see others like you who may have had similar experiences, you may believe that if that person can do it, so can you. See, it’s all about creating stronger and healthier humans.

Don’t believe me? Ask minorities how they felt to see the first Black President of the United States elected and sworn in to office. 

P.S. Of course, not everyone who looks like, and sounds like us, are for us. But those turncoats, haters and Uncle Ruckuses will be discussed in a separate post. This post is about being seen, being represented and knowing that we all have a shot at greatness.

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“What is love?” is the hardest and easiest question to answer. Everyone seems to have an opinion on it, be in it, have felt it, search constantly for it, fall out of it, and so more more. Oh, and if you think I’m about to add my answer to this question here, let me be clear – I am not.

I just wanted to share that while I think I know what love is, how it feels when in it and when out of it, I know what makes me feel loved and what makes me love others, and it’s usually seemingly little things like:

– The person I love making me coffee or being awesome and sharing or making me a meal just because they know I’ll enjoy it (or in the case of coffee, I may consider killing someone without it).

– Spending a day together where the activity levels range from doing nothing to binge watching a series to attacking every mundane adulting thing like grocery shopping and laundry. Why? Because I was able to spend it with the person I care about. Oh, and clean clothes and sheets smell great! (By the way, do you know there are people who love, love, love, doing laundry, like addicted, to doing their laundry? I didn’t…but of all the addictions to have, I think this may be the most beneficial to have).

– The dog being happy to see me. If you don’t understand this one, sorry, (not sorry) we can’t be friends. 

So here’s to a day and a week of you all feeling loved, loving others, and great smelling sheets!

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When you’re the happiest semi sad person around, it can get weird. Mostly in your head. But if it’s weird there, then I’m sure it’ll get weird in other areas too. What is this “semi sad happy”?

It’s when you’re happy, have a lot going for you, but still feel sad about something or someone. I guess that happens to most people and it’s normal? For example, if you’re having a good time with friends but missing someone, or if you’re seemingly contentedly doing something you usually enjoy, like maybe reading a book, enjoying rays of sunshine, sitting by a body of water, playing with a fur baby or an actual baby but wish someone else were there with you, this is semi sad but happy. Also, I say, “semi”, because you’re not full blown sad amd down and out, just not completely happy or fully at peace.

Either way, it feels odd being the happiest semi sad person. Or maybe it’s just a reaction to a mind itch. Like, does the person I miss, miss me too? Does the person I wish were here, want to be here? Our minds never let us rest but I’m thinking it’s because we don’t allow our minds to do just that – rest. Resting, relaxation, and self evaluation may help. So umtil I get the answers, I’ll just sit and stir thoughts into my dark, brooding mind and reflect. The mind itch needs to be scratched.

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Check out my photos and a short video that illustrates Baltimore’s Light City: Ramsey Row. All rights Reserved

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The city of Baltimore has long has its share of ups and downs, of pain, loss, and sorrow. It has also had its share of fun, happiness and love. Like any decent sized city, it also has its share of unjust practices, inhumane humans, killers, and snakes and those who want nothing more than to see the city burn for their own gain. But enough about those in positions of power and politicians! Kidding…but only a little. Honestly, it’s one of the cities in which I’ve chosen to live and I have come to enjoy it, in spite of flaws. I’ve lived in cities with easier access to public transportation (an east coast cities known for its harbor and missing “r” in many words and then the other for its melting pot) and both places were fine and fun. Sure, they also came with life lessons such as how to survive as an immigrant in a different country, how to live in a big city, who to trust and who to run away from, etc. I’ve also worked for several years in an adjoining city as well as in the step sister of one of the above referenced cities, and while it’s great to have access to very good restaurants and clubs, and great spaces for art, I don’t want to have to rely on a rail system that is in dire need of repairs, a city in which “what do you do?” is the number one question, and honestly, I want my city and state to have rights and a system slightly less corrupt that isn’t run by real life Sopranos types.

What I realized about Baltimore over the years, is that you can still have a bit of a small town feel where you know some of your neighbors but still have access to good art, to great restaurants, to fun bars, etc. Live here long enough and if you don’t get to know everyone who inhabit the same spaces or at least recognize the “Norms” (a Cheers TV show reference for those who are wondering about Norms).

It feels like there’s a shift in diversity in the city and while I still will not go to certain places in MD because they openly advertise that they do not like brown people, there isn’t a place in the city that I feel is off limits. Are there neighborhoods that are less desirable in terms of a high crime rate than others? Of course there are. Will I visit some of the less than desirable neighborhoods without people who are familiar with them? Of course I will not. This is common sense. The same way I wouldn’t visit certain neighborhoods in Hell’s Kitchen and Brooklyn back in the day, or Bromley or Jackson Square as a kid, or certain section in Southeast DC just fifteen years ago even though it was a short ride away. Common sense. That, and an understanding that some of the people in these places would view me just as suspiciously as those who display confederate flags in Rising Sun and in Essex, Maryland.

Look, I know that this and many cities have a long way to go in terms of political leadership, acceptance from the older citizens who haven’t traveled more than fifteen miles outside of their comfort zones to learn that not everyone is black or white or straight of church-going and that as a group, there are some who are hell bent on hating and making this town a hell hole. However, idiots like these exist everywhere, even in the lovely West Coast towns that I’ve visited in which most of the people are genuinely nice, polite and giving. I also say that while the friendliness factor isn’t very high, in fact it’s very low compared to the West Coast, it is also not as repressive, full of fake smiles and cute phrases that insult you as they’re being sweetly whispered into your ear, and it’s definitely not as harsh as those who will threaten your life with a tire iron for taking an extra inch of parking space on what they consider “their” street. However, do these cities and towns have people who are full of love, light and happiness and have residents who would welcome you? Of course they do!

I hope the shifting dynamics such as influx of newer residents for jobs and the friendliness factor continues to improve and honestly, I hope those who insist on focusing only on what’s wrong without lending a hand to make things better, move. You are not a tree. You are not a rock. Move to a place you love so that you can enjoy life, become friendlier, become a person who makes things better. Why? I want you to be happy and I don’t want you miserabling (yes, my word) my city up.  Look, I’m not giving only a rose-colored glasses account. Many of us know about the recent and decades old injustices, race-related systemic oppression and all of the media touted and firsthand oral reports of hardship. This isn’t to say these things and accounts aren’t real. They are. But so are the good vibes of love, happiness, and excitement about living in a place that you can call home, one in which you can find a job that allows you to earn a decent wage so that you can explore the world or at least, provide decent meals for your loved ones, one in which you can go to a bar and still afford a drink (not a PBR or Natty Boh for $7 and up!). A town that allows you to hop a train and visit a huge array of cities with great restaurants, art and theatres if you want that big(ger) city feel!

Oh, and if you don’t like it, fight to make it better. Elections are coming up. You know what to do and what you need. Don’t focus on what will go wrong, as something always will. Focus on what’s going well and what we can do to make it better. Love you all!

Oh, and to those who think I am all starry eyed and lacking the ability to see this city’s downsides, I say that sure, the video and my description is not representative of all of Baltimore. Sure, the Inner Harbor, Harbor East, Roland Park and other neighborhoods receive preferential treatment in the city, Hampden is slowly moving up but I still have issues in places off 36th St., but I still attend the Hampden Festival and like this Baltimore Light City, I think it’s nice to have events that are family-friendly and free of charge that showcases art with a conscience as many of the art highlight in several forms, the inequalities due to race, drug use, how the people who were born and raised in the city are treated, etc. Oh, and while the energy giant who charges exorbitant fees (Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.)  is sponsoring this, I figure since I have to pay their fees anyway to have  a little thing called electricity, I figure they should be a darned sponsor and give something back, even if it is a tax write off for them. So there! Happy now that I can share some of the bad too?😉

Aside  —  Posted: March 31, 2016 in Awake, baltimore, Indie Ventures You Should Know About
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