Sad

I’m having a very hard time not being completely consumed by the misery on this planet. Sometimes I’ll eat something with cheese in it and that’ll make me feel better. But then I go to work and I layout pages and read news articles and even if I completely avoided the internet I’ll still see it. The evil. It’s everywhere.

Today I had to set up two separate payment plans for a medical bill for a barely thirty minute ER visit. The doctor saw me for a whole two minutes to basically tell me I wasn’t going to die, and that was the end of it. No meds, no scans, no nothing. And I still owe over 1200. WITH health insurance. And that makes me think of people who are actually sick, who depend on meds to basically stay sane and/or alive. And how they probably have to struggle through a job they hate to pay for meds that they can barely afford, just to be a tiny less miserable in an otherwise completely miserable world.

What about people who are not fortunate like me? I have wonderful friends and family who, even if everything fell apart for me financially, I could depend on. I’m not alone in this world. But some people are alone. And so all they have is junk food, or alcohol, or drugs. That’s the only thing tethering them to some kind of reality or some kind of goodness.

God makes sense then. An eternal heaven where you only experience light and love and peace? What a wonderful thing to believe. But then there are people who say they believe that, who say God exists, but use their belief as a weapon to get people in line. They use it to justify evil acts. Where’s the hope then? I’m starting to feel like there is none. That maybe we’re all alone down here and all we have are glimpses of peace, pockets of love, corners of light.

I know this is quite dark. But, hearing audio of children being separated from their parents will do that to a person. Things are heavy. And my faith in a higher power that will save us from this is pretty weak right now.

But I know there’s goodness. And that sometimes it wins. We’ve seen it happen. Humans may be masters of destruction, but we’re also great facilitators of peace and goodness. So I try to think of that when the bad news machine that is the internet overwhelms me. I think of everyone who makes me laugh, everyone who speaks up when they see something wrong, and I think, it really isn’t all bad. Good is there, and it’s in a lot of us. And maybe it’s up there too, in the universe somewhere. A god, a being, watching and hoping we work it out. Who knows, I can’t say for sure.

I hope you’re good to people. And I hope that when you make a mistake, you admit it. I hope you apologize when you hurt someone. That’s really all we have, the hope of good. Otherwise we really are totally lost.

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Free Think Thought For Free Thinkers … Free.

WHEW.

I am mentally exhausted. This is going to sound really dramatic, but a lot happened on Twitter today that stimulated my brain to the point of wishing I could quit the internet all together but also finding it so beyond fascinating that I can’t imagine life without it. There’s ups and downs to having immediate access to literally millions of opinions all at once. If you allow it to, it can challenge and evolve your thoughts in a positive way. But it’s the internet so most people ain’t doin that.

What happened you ask? Let me catch you up!

Kanye West, a famous African-American rap arteeeest took to the popular social media platform Twitter dot com to voice his appreciation for Donald J. Trump, our inadequate, definitely racist President. I’m trying to think of a succinct way to explain why this is disappointing but it’s a dissertation worth of reasons. Kanye’s wife, famous-for-being-attractive Kim Kardashian defended her husband (also on Twitter dot com) by saying that he is entitled to his own thoughts and opinions and that he is a free thinker. (Which …. UGH. Okay fine, you are freely thinking that you are freely fine with being bros with a freely racist, sexist man. Awesome. I can freely say you’re dumb.)

Maybe you’re reading this and you’re thinking, who are these people and why would I care? Well. Here’s a tiny reason you should care OVERALL. The alt-right will take any ammunition they can to push their hateful agenda forward. Anything. And if that means that a prominent black figure is going to endorse their favorite person (Donald Trump) then they’re jumping on board. This is harmful because once again, racism is being down played as simply a “difference of opinion.” (i.e., this oddly sympathetic, humanizing profile the NYT wrote about a white nationalist…) Sure, Kanye West will turn off his computer tonight and lie down with his partner in narcissism, and they will stare into each others eyes until they see their own reflections. And they’ll say, ‘boy, we sure caused a –” and their conversation will be interrupted by their butler bringing in their food and they’ll forget today happened. They’ll forget the internet is mad at them. Kanye’s music will continue to make him money, Kim’s … assets will continue to rake in more assets.

But somewhere in the hills of hillbilly town are whispers. Somewhere on a campus full of racist kids who love to listen to rap but call their fellow students niggers … there are people who are emboldened in their hatred. Because HEY, if a brown guy with money thinks we’re fine, that everyone is ‘entitled to their opinion’, we can’t be all bad, right?

Nobody (I hope) is looking to Kanye as some beacon of wisdom to guide them through this rough, moral plane. That doesn’t mean what he says doesn’t matter. Because he’s very famous. Which automatically means, whether he uses it responsibly or not, he has a lot of influence. And words matter. If we’re not attempting to expel hurtful ignorance at every opportunity, then what are we doing? We can say ‘well c’mon it’s this guy nobody listens to this guy.’ No, somebody listens. Someone is always listening. And that thing that someone said can either lead another someone to positive or negative action. That matters. What else do we have on this planet except the duty to protect each other? Life on Earth is a miserable little puzzle, the least we could do is brighten it when we can. But that means constantly combating the dark, even if it’s coming from a filthy rich idiot with too much time on his hands and an internet connection.

Anyway. I had a long winded response to everything that happened but I needed to get it out somewhere and I realize that nobody cares because kids are dying in places I can’t name and people can’t make ends meet and who cares about any of this. But … we can care about lots of things over a vast number of topics, right?

Have a lovely evening folks.

Be Happy or Don’t, But Definitely Watch Black Panther

I have not blogged in a million years, wow. Hello. I have nothing new to say so this is really just gonna be a marathon of nonsense and I hope your brain is ready to digest it.

1. Working two jobs? For the birds. Don’t do it. Life’s too short. Unless you’re so desperately strapped for cash that you have no choice because your 3, raggedy haired children are staring up at you from their cardboard beds. Then, you know… do what you gotta do.

2. Trump, and all his supporters and enablers, suuuuck. That’s stating the obvious but it doesn’t hurt to really drive that point home. Democracy isn’t perfect but it’s all we have and it’s under attack. Vote, even if that’s all you do, vote. Maybe you don’t have time for rallies, marches, volunteering or the PLETHORA of ways to be politically active these days. But sign up and register to vote. I hear people say it doesn’t matter, and it is their privilege to say that because a lot of Trump’s policies are reserved for the very poor and/or marginalized communities. Your rights might not be under attack, but someone else’s are. We’re not just voting for our own interests (at least shouldn’t be) but for the good of the communities we are a part of.

3. BLACK PANTHEEEER. I’ve seen it 3 times. Planning on a 4th. It’s a spectacle and it made me proud of my brown skin. That’s really it. It’s a great movie and I wanted to document my deep affection for it and it’s non-slavery, non-oppressed portrayal of black people. Whoop!

4. I had an .. experience (that I definitely won’t share on this public forum) about a month ago that taught me a valuable lesson. Some of us are meant to be single. Not ALONE, but single. See because I’m not alone, not really. I have many people in my life that I love dearly and I know that they will let me spoil their children and force those children to love me and those kids will visit me if I make it to old age. I’m unsure what childhood trauma has led me to the place I am now but I’m beginning to think there is no one for Janelle, and for some reason that doesn’t completely devastate me? There’s this permeating idea within our human culture that the ULTIMATE reward in human existence is finding romantic love. It’s a part of everything we do. Almost all our songs are about it, our books, our movies our TV shows. Preachers in pulpits get stars in their eyes talking about what a treasure marriage is. Talk shows dedicated to love lost. Reality shows dedicated to people finding it. With a sense of pride they will say that they’ve put their whole life on hold to find someone to share their success with. Because the mantra goes, what is life if you don’t have someone to share it with? My answer. It’s still life. And YOU can damn sure enjoy it by yourself. Or with your friends or your family. I’m sure I’ll take all of this back when some chocolate (caramel? White chocolate? I don’t discriminate) man strides into my space with a good joke BUT FOR NOW I’m gooood. As long as I got coffee ice cream and chipotle, I am blessed.

Has this gone on too long? Maybe. I always have a lot to say my brain doesn’t turn off. Hey! Don’t forget, nobody, not a single SOLITARY soul can tell you how to live your life. There is no blueprint. Take advice, but follow your gut. Unless your gut is telling you to blow up a building or shoot your neighbor because his dog keeps pooping on your lawn. Do not follow that instinct. Leave that alone. Follow the good things, like ‘I wanna open an Etsy store and sell thimbles carved from my kids baby teeth” or “I wanna swim the English Channel” or “I wanna be a chef that only cooks purple food.” Whats the worst that can happen? Failure? That’s not the worst thing. The worst thing is getting to 80 and seeing the landfill of all your hopes and dreams decaying in front of you because you were too afraid to try. And honestly that’s not even the worst thing because eventually you’ll exhale for the last time and everything you believed or thought or dreamed or said or imagined becomes an infinite black hole and you cease. Forever.

So, ya know, do whatever you want, what do I know. Be happy! Or don’t. Ya know? It’s your world.

Mostly Nonsense, Also Coco

Being human is a wonder. But with all that we are, much of what we’ve done to each other is unspeakable. You would think that with the things we’ve invented, discovered and become, we’d be better. We’d learn to do better. But even as we dismantle the Earth with our greed, making our buildings bigger, our walls higher and our lives “better”, we make the same dumb mistakes over and over .. and over and over again. How can we, these sentient bags of flesh who have managed to build civilizations from dust, keep falling for the same things? Why do we keep living and dying in the same ways? Why are we stuck in this repetitive cycle, desperate for perfection and still tripping on our own feet?

Some of us believe it’s the sin in us. After the fall of the first man and woman, we haven’t been able to recover. We can’t dig ourselves out of our own patterns of behavior because we cannot save ourselves. We need a Saviour. I believe that, I believe in God. But that doesn’t make our deeply flawed humanity any harder to understand or accept. What about people who don’t believe that? The ones who believe we evolved or appeared or whatever other ways we’ve created to explain our existence. How do they deal with all they see? How do they explain our failures? Do they just accept that there will always be good and bad in the world, that we’ll always live and die but somehow the human race will just continue on until we’ve ravaged the Earth irreversibly? Then what? The sun swallows us whole and we are no more?

What a waste of time it is to be evil. To hurt people. We have this one life. Whether you believe in an afterlife or you believe this is all we’ll ever get, this existence as it is now is our only chance at this. And to squander it hurting people unapologetically? To never grow or learn or adapt or change your opinions because you’ve been bred in hate and refuse to rise above it? This whole Trump presidency has made my soul ache. Sometimes it’s funny, seeing a bumbling old man embarrass himself. But most of the time, it isn’t that funny. Because while Trump himself can be ignored, the hatred he’s unearthed that never really went away? That can’t be ignored. That’s right there in our faces, everyday. It’s a daily reminder that some people are just evil, that their whole lives have been built on their own gratification, and that the suffering of others is inconsequential.

Anyway. Sorry if this is rambling and depressing. I just wish things were better, that we could do better. On a much happier note, I saw the movie Coco today and I HIGHLY recommend you go see it. You don’t need to have kids to (I clearly do not). But also take your kids (if you have them). It’s a visually stunning movie, with a really beautiful story. I do not cry publicly under any circumstance, but I cried real human tears during this movie, more than once.

I hope if you’re troubled or busy or sad or depressed, you can snatch a few moments of peace this weekend or this week or this month. I hope the Christmas season (even with its corporatization) sparks some kind of joy in you. I’m sure my existential crisis didn’t help! But either way, happy thoughts my solitary reader!

Existential Ramblings

Everyone is just pretending to be interesting, right?

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve pretended to care about how good food was at a specific restaurant. Or how many times I’ve said “oh yeah, I gotta check that out” to someone’s recommendation for the best food truck. To be honest, I forget the name of the place the moment the last syllable of the word passes through their lips. Because for the most part, food tastes the same. Sure, there are some places that have better (insert whatever), and there’s a couple of places I’d recommend people try if they’re in a specific area. Actually there’s probably only one place because I’m a creature of habit and trying new and interesting foods isn’t that exciting to me. I know what I like dagnabit! (Thumps cane against the floor, complains about aching bones).

That’s like, a thing now. To act like this place has the best toasted spider legs I’ve EVER had and if you don’t go there at the end of this sentence, are you really living?! I went on this Tinder date once and this guy’s jaw practically dislocated when I told him A) I don’t eat meat and B) I’ve never had green fried tomatoes. He told me he doesn’t believe we should live our lives with any limitations. I told him to jump off a cliff and see how free he feels (I didn’t say that but I wanted to). He then insisted that I order green fried tomatoes, which I did, and I pretended to like because he was staring at me like if I didn’t say they were the next best thing to taking breath, his mom would die. Honestly, they tasted like deep fried boogers but, whatever. He also took me to this breakfast place that he swore by, that he ate at almost religiously. They’re very hip and they serve their food on, I dunno, brown parchment paper or something. Anyway, the waffle was fine, it tasted like all the other waffles I’ve had. He said because I don’t eat meat, I was lacking the true experience of the place. So, I guess I’ll die having never done that and my life meant nothing. (Hey, guy, if you ever read this for some reason, you’re really cool and I hope you don’t take offense. Hugs. Kisses)

Don’t get me wrong, food is delicious or … you know what why am I still pretending?! Food is FINE. It’s, it’s fine! I love Chipotle, and yeah, I also pretend like the worst thing a person can say to me is that they don’t like Chipotle. I’m very dramatic and hyperbolic in that way sometimes. But in reality, it doesn’t matter what restaurant is cool or hip or fun to eat at or serves the best drinks, because you know what happens to that cooooool food? Your body turns it into fuel and then excretes the useless bits as a brown loaf from a hole in the back of you. And if you think about it that way it’s really not that interesting.

Our flesh vessels will soon rot, and our souls will return from whence they came. And when the earth has reused our corpses to heal itself, the best taco you’ve ever had won’t matter. So eat and be merry, annoy people like me with your (most likely fake) obsession with instagrams of kale salads and snapchats of the live concert you went to (which was probably great for you but is just blurs of bodies and noise to your viewers). Believe in something, or don’t, love someone or don’t, sing in the shower or don’t, read books or don’t. Because nothing matters and everything matters and it’s 2 pm and I haven’t eaten yet.

🙂

Take A Knee

I’ll just say it.

If you have a problem with football players (or really anyone) taking a knee in protest to the current state of our country, you’re the one with the problem. The idea that you cannot love your country while also critiquing it is absurd. The idea that any serviceman/woman put on a uniform and risked their lives so that people can pay homage to a collection of stars and stripes is absurd. In an ideal world, the logic would track.

When you vow to marry someone and sign a legal, binding contract to join your lives together, do you suddenly agree with everything your spouse does? Do you allow them to act in a way that badly represents you, the couple, because you love them? Not likely. Do you agree with everything your friends say or do? If they act up and embarrass themselves, would you not reprimand them or try to help them improve for the better? Probably. You can love and rebuke simultaneously. Human beings have complex enough thought processes to be able to do this. But it seems as tho people believe that blind patriotism is the only way to show loyalty to a country you love.

A lot of people are choosing not to speak during this time, they don’t want to “get political”. This nonsense that we’re experiencing in this country is past the point of political. There are white nationalist rallies happening in America. Racists have been emboldened, believing that their President supports their ideologies. And he has not given them a reason to believe otherwise. People are dying over racial tensions. THESE THINGS ARE STILL HAPPENING IN AMERICA. When I walk around my neighborhood, I actually have to entertain the thought that someone with a gun would drive by and shoot me because of the color of my skin. That happened. In TWENTY SEVENTEEN.

Sure, racists, as a whole, are frowned upon. Most people would agree that hey, it’s all good we’re all equal. But we can’t just assume those things. We have to correct them at every opportunity.

Maybe we’re all screwed. Maybe North Korea or whoever else hates us is gonna destroy us all next week and none of this would’ve mattered. But while we still live our lives, how we choose to combat the evil around us matters. Pray if you pray, but actions matter. Words you say matter. Don’t be afraid to speak up and “get political” if you hear people say things that are problematic. Don’t trivialize the pain of people of color simply because you don’t see it. I feel like I’ve blogged a million times about racism but I’ll say all of this a million more times. I can’t do a whole lot, I’m not in a place of power, but I can reach out to the people who read this and implore them to consider a perspective outside of their own.

Protesting might seem trivial to you, but it matters. Because what are you living for if you’re not willing to stand behind something that you believe in? I’m a Christian, but a lot of Christians I know stay silent. I’ve heard black pastors say they’re “not on the black bandwagon” and maybe if black people would obey “governing authority they wouldn’t get shot.” I’m sorry, but the God I believe in wouldn’t have me submit to an abusive authority that hurts its poor and seeks to leave them in the dust to make themselves richer.

ANYWAY. I just felt like I needed to say something about everything that’s happening. Maybe you’re living a regular life and not even aware of the divisiveness of our current social climate. Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you think I’m wrong. But … I’m saying my piece.

PEACE.

I’ve Lost Track of My Sanity

There’s. So. Much. 

There’s so much and I don’t know where to start or if I should even start because I’ve said ALL of this already on this blog at some time or another. But if the internet outlives me I don’t want to have never written about this time in history. I want to say as much as there is to say because words matter and you never know who is listening. 

The events of Charlottesville are still shocking. And I guess I’m not shocked, but I’m shocked. I’m shocked in that way where you expected something, but there was a tiny, undetectable hope in you that maybe it wouldn’t happen. It’s sad, so sad that I have this weird urge to laugh. It’s so ignorant to believe that anyone is superior to anyone, especially based on something as trivial as the color of your skin, or the plot of land on which you were born. Humans are really an amazing thing, a marvelous thing. Our potential is so profound. And yet we keep tripping over ourselves over the most inane things. How are we so. stupid?

How have people not figured out the simple formula of equality? I mean, I guess I can’t talk. I continue to consume sugar on a regular basis despite knowing and hearing scientific proof that processed sugar should not cross the human lips. But I’m a bag of flesh and bones, muscles and blood and like the rest of my Earth companions, I glitch.

But I tell you, racism is a glitch that there doesn’t seem to be a fix for. However, for every piece of news I hear about how a lot of white people would like to have “their” country back, I get some good news. Like texts from my friends (shout out to Lindsay) who are aggressively intelligent, compassionate people who are taking on ignorance in their corners. I get that some people are frustrated, it seems that oppressed people have so many demands? (Sarcasm). Like, should I not compliment that black girls hair? Is it okay to wear this hijab despite the fact that I am not muslim or even muslim adjacent? Can I cornrow my hair, or is that considered appropriation? AH! HELP!

Start with this. When you hear or see someone spreading hate, even on a micro level, say something. Research things, talk to those who are willing to teach. Don’t be afraid to mess up as long as you are willing to allow yourself to be corrected. Nobody knows everything. But the best of us put our egos aside to accept that fact, and to grow.

Donald Trump is still President because white privilege is a real thing I don’t care what you think. NO person of color would’ve been allowed to go on like this for this long. Obama wore a tan suit, ate spicy mustard on his hot dog and Republicans were ready to throw him to the wolves. Now? Donald Trump basically endorses white supremacy and they hang their hands saying, “gee golly wow, well that’s not okay.” Then they go about their business of dismantling democracy.

I could go on, and on and on but I won’t. Christians, do better. We have to do better. Because Republicans and people who call themselves followers of Jesus are spreading a message of hate and that’s what we’re associated with. The audacity of any of us to think that we can judge anyone, to think that we know everything, to assume that we’ve got God figured out. WOW. Anyway, like I said I have so many words inside me, but I don’t want to write a novel.

SO. Yeah. Say something. Because this involves all of us. This isn’t just my problem or their problem. It’s all of us. Don’t be silent, because your silence is very, very loud.