Why ‘Privilege’ Bothers You

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If you’ve never had to raise your voice an octave to sound less abrasive, if you’ve never had to overact your movements when in a store or when leaving a store empty-handed to show to whomever is watching you that you’ve done nothing wrong, you probably can’t relate.

If you feel offended, confused, or annoyed when you hear the words ‘white privilege’, if you’re tired of the conversation and would like to just stop hearing about it, you’re probably the privileged. The people who get the option to not think about race, are the majority. Minorities don’t have the luxury of tuning it out and turning it off, because they live it every day.

I read a story about a lady who sat in a classroom of her multiethnic peers and while discussing race and privilege, she said that she didn’t think about race when she didn’t want to and she didn’t understand why other people don’t just do the same or stop talking about it. Her professor simply said to her, “that’s exactly the point. THAT is privilege.” The lady started crying and for the first time she realized that part of her privilege is that she gets to not think about race or anything involving race when she wanted to and could choose not to when she didn’t.

For the umpteenth time, the privilege discussion, white privilege isn’t about blame. The conversation or topic doesn’t exist to make people who didn’t get to choose their ethnicity or skin color feel bad. It’s simply a matter of making those people aware that two people, both born in America, are entitled to the same unalienable rights, but that they have different freedoms.

Fortunately, we live in a time right now where things are better than they were for our grandparents. We also live in an age where we can begin and continue conversations with people all around the world who are different from us. We can begin to break down barriers by simply reading an informative blog post, and we can be catalysts for change. Being a minority is a full-time job on top of everyday living, that only minorities understand. The privilege conversation shouldn’t bother you, the need for the conversation should bother you. Heighten your awareness to the injustices and listen. It’s not an attack on who you are, it’s an attack on a system and society that functions on an uneven playing field.

Same rights, different freedoms.

Why You’re Ugly

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I used to work with a guy who thought he was the absolute best thing to ever walk the earth. The dude had a hard time understanding why not every woman who came in contact with him didn’t fall at his feet. To me, he wasn’t all that attractive to begin with, but once you got to know him, it didn’t take long to figure out why exactly he didn’t garner the female attention he thought he deserved. He was ugly. He didn’t look ugly, he was ugly.

His internal beauty, his attitude, and demeanor made him ugly.

He was a prick to say the least, so any ounce of cuteness or attractiveness he had going for him dissolved when he spoke or when you observed his actions.

Beauty is always about more than looks. The things people consider when they determine whether or not someone is beautiful are things that we had nothing to do with. None of us had any say in our eye color, nose size, height, nothing. So the things you can control, the things that you say and do, those are what make you ugly.

Your internal beauty far outshines any combination of facial features that others may deem beautiful.

#CoinTracker16

COINTRACKER16Track your coins!

In case you didn’t know, ‘coins’ is slang for all money, not just the metal coin. “My money’s funny” and “My coins aren’t right” are just ways of saying you can’t afford it. So this is your end of quarter reminder to be hyper-aware of how and on what you spend your money. Track your coins, whether you’re using cash or debit, and no matter how much or how little of it you have. Keep track of what you’re spending your money on and how much of it you’re spending instead of saving it.

By now you know an adult who has spent more than they saved, gotten themselves into debt, or avoids phone calls because they know it’s someone calling looking for money they are owed. Hopefully, you aren’t that adult. I learned my credit card lesson and about debt the hard way when I was mailed my first card right after high school. It took me years to recover from being so financially illiterate and not knowing how to handle money and the truths about credit cards. I don’t want that for you.

I know that money is one of those subjects that schools are just now starting to teach about in depth and I’m glad about that. But I also know that there are a lot of things that many of you dorks don’t know and I want you to avoid learning them the hard way. So here’s a #protip from me:

ALWAYS SAVE FIRST (even if it’s just $1, save before you spend). Pay your bills, buy necessities and a few wants, give some away to people or organizations in need, and save everything that’s left. Get hype about seeing the number in your bank account increase instead of being hype about what you can buy.

A #protip from financial advisor Dave Ramsey that I wish I’d of known sooner:

“Staying away from debt means you’re finding other ways to pay for stuff and saying no to what you can’t afford. As a result, your wealth will grow through saving and investing.” “Over time, growing your wealth and eliminating your debt will mean you have a lot of money and not a lot of bills… it’s a lot better to have a high bank account balance than a high credit score!”

#cointracker16 = track your coins starting this year. Track your spending, cash, debit, gift cards, etc., no matter how much or how little money you have.

Bad Days- Permissible & Avoidable

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Every now and then we fall apart. One day,  without notice, life and everything that comes with it, is just more than we can take. You’ve had that kind of day, one where you don’t want to get out of bed, or you get out but then you go right back to bed, you call out of work, you skip class or school altogether, or you go but you aren’t actually present.

Bad days are allowed, but some of them are also avoidable.

See, WE’VE designed these lives. We don’t live under the rules or restrictions that those generations before us did, and while things aren’t perfect, we have far more choice and freedom than they ever did. So our lives today are a reflection of our choices, priorities, and desires. We put standards in place and pressures on ourselves and then we get overwhelmed with trying to maintain them all.

Unless you’re Ke$ha, or the 1-5% of the population who have strict contracts with record labels or studios requiring you to produce, and to do so by a certain time, you don’t owe anyone anything. I mean yes, you have responsibilities and commitments, but those aren’t usually what lead to the stresses that lead to bad days. Those are the priorities, the things we must do, it’s all the extras, it’s when we add all the little tasks, activities, and self-imposed demands around them that we feel stretched thin. If the life you’ve created for yourself is the one in which you now feel overwhelmed keeping up with, I have great news. You can change it.

You can make changes to your life or you can continue to be worn down & worn out.

If you give the world only your highlights, paint on a smile and nod, if you stretch yourself thin trying to be everything to everyone or to live up to the expectations of others, don’t be surprised when you burn out. And don’t be surprised when people don’t call, ask, or care when you need them during the lowlights or ‘bad’ days. Don’t be shocked that they continue to pile things onto your plate and don’t be offended if they don’t seem to appreciate all you do. If you teach people how to treat you, then that’s your fault.

If your goal is to let people know that you, like them, are human, that you too have bad days, and that every now and then you get overwhelmed, then you’ve gotta decide on a different life for yourself and you gotta show them, balance. Offer all the highlights, the fun, honest, and true, and every so often, show them the truth and reality of the down times and tough days.
“Tough times don’t last, tough people do. ” –Robert Schuller

Good People

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.29.14 AMWhere have all the good people gone?
Nowhere.
You may not see them, and you may not hear from them, but just know that they’re working. I still believe in good people, I am one and I know plenty of them. But, if your idea of people is based solely on what is filtered to you through the news, papers, and social media, it’s understandable that you might begin to develop the attitude that most people are ‘bad’. Which, what is a bad person? A bad person = a good person who chooses to do ‘bad’ things. 
Did you know that there are people who don’t participate in social media, who don’t post any of the good work they do and who have never and will never be on the news or in a magazine or newspaper? Some people don’t want or seek attention and others wouldn’t mind it, especially to support a cause. But by now we’ve all learned that drama, bad news and bad people sell more than good news and good people.
Fear is more profitable than hope.
For every real and manufactured dramatic celebrity event you hear about, there are 10 people quietly living their lives and making positive change in the world.
There are people who care for others, people who get paid to solve problems and cure diseases, and who venture into areas others won’t in an effort to spread love, peace, and hope or to build schools, wells, and provide medicines. There are also people who do all of the above listed, for absolutely free. People whose passion is helping and whose lives are in service of others. I believe in volunteers, people who donate their time and/or money, good samaritans, and random acts of kindness because every hour of every day they are being performed.
In 2012 I wrote a blog post with this same title, Good People and the very next day the mass shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado occurred, which resulted in 12 deaths and 70 injured people. I was tempted to take the post down, but then I thought, wouldn’t that add to the message or solidify the misconception that most people are bad? I still feel the same way 4 years later…
In spite of and despite terrible acts, good people are everywhere.
The good people are you and me. The people who are fundamentally good and who choose to do good deeds instead of hurtful, mean, spiteful, and evil acts. We are the good people, the people who help our friends and strangers, who donate our time and money, who encourage and inspire others, and who, daily make the decision to raise our personal standards, work hard, and confirm that the good people haven’t gone anywhere. Here we are, positively impacting the world and all who inhabit it.

Women Can’t?

womenThe walls of my childhood bedroom were covered with posters of people I admired. The majority of those posters were of women- Gabrielle Reece, Nancy Kerrigan, FlowJo, Steffi Graf, Mariah Carey. I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandmom, great-grandmother, mom, and aunt. I had female teachers in school, Sunday school, dance school, and female lacrosse coaches. My pediatrician was a woman, my dentist was a woman, and my eye doctor is a woman. At one point I had a female pastor, a female mail carrier, a female bus driver, a female hairdresser, and a female boss. I was related to and mentored by a female doctor, lawyer, professor, computer engineer, banker, social worker, teacher, and author.

How was I supposed to know that there were things women “couldn’t do”? I’d never seen one who couldn’t.

I didn’t even know that was a question or a topic of discussion, let alone that it was a movement, a fight for equality, a glass ceiling. I had no clue! The women in my world made it look so easy. Not only that, but they never talked about injustice or inequality, at least not to me, they just did the work, and they certainly never complained about it. I mean, my first item of clothing that I remember was a shiny red and yellow Wonder Woman undershirt. Wonder Woman!

She wasn’t called, Not Qualified Woman, she was WONDER WOMAN.

Now, years later and well aware, I’ve seen the attitude and posture of men who believe in a man’s job and a woman’s job and who don’t think both should have equal rights. I’ve witnessed firsthand a male manager be downright rude about an employee who was new mother and who needed to pump breast milk during her shift (even though she clocked out to do so) and didn’t understand why her doing it in the public bathroom wasn’t good enough for her.

I’m so grateful that my most malleable years were not lived with those ideas, beliefs, and truths in mind. I am so very grateful for every woman in my life and for their influence. I feel like a bit of a fraud to stand amongst them because they did all the hard work. I’ve yet to knowingly face a battle or man that challenged my worth or ability because of my sex, but statistically, it’s happened.

The glass ceiling still exists, there is still an ‘unseen, yet breakable, barrier, that keeps one [women] from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of qualifications’. But how lucky you are to be growing up in a world where women are both CEO’s and stay-at-home moms. Where barriers are not just being broken down, but the building of such is halted from the start. You live in a time where inequality still exists, but where you have a platform and ability to freely speak up and advocate.

Women’s Rights Are Not Just About Women.

At the very least, guys, think of how you’d want the woman you love the most to be treated. What opportunities you’d want to be available to your daughter and/or how you’d want someone to treat or pay your wife or mother. This fight is about human rights, about the equal and fair treatment for all. Lend your voice, use your platform, and exercise whatever power you have to close the inequality gap.

A month ago, along with the rest of the modern world, I lamely ‘participated’ in International Women’s Day by tweeting a few ‘girl power’ tweets. But I wanted to do that day and the women in my life more justice by sharing my experience and formally saying thank you. I hope that your life is filled with many of the same strong female examples and that you work to be one also.

When Life Gets You Down (ft. Casey Neistat)

I was discussing my family tree with my grandmother the other day. She was telling me stories of relatives I’ve never met, jobs they had, and who their kids are. At the end of the conversation she said, “I’m just so proud of everyone.” She said that her father was a sharecropper and right now her son was in London, her niece was a judge, and everyone was doing so well. She was overjoyed at how quickly things had changed and she encouraged me that anything was possible with hard work and opportunity. Her words reminded me that I have the freedom to create whatever life I want, and I needed to hear that because it inspired me to keep at it.
Randomly, the next day I had the thought, <em>I love my name</em>. My name suits me perfectly, its brevity and ability to stand alone, are who I am. A few hours later I decide to watch a Casey Neistat video after not having watched them in a while. I didn’t realize the video had become background noise until I heard him say my name. He was answering a question sent in by a girl named Lia (sp?) and hearing my name made me pay attention even more. I listened to his answer and I was even more inspired.
Just like everyone else, there are times when life ‘gets me down’. But actually, it’s not life that gets me down, it’s my choice or thoughts and/or actions that get me down. When it happens, one of the quickest ways for me to change my focus and to feel better is to remember that just a short time ago, people worked long, hard days in tough conditions and for little or no pay. I am the byproduct of hardworking people who prayed that those who came after them would have their rights, an easier life, and could create the lives they wanted.
We’re all entitled to bad days, and we all have the power to get back up when life gets us down. Don’t allow down days to be your new normal.