Crawling To Pay Day

There comes a time at the end of every paycheck when I start to wonder … ‘What’s it all for?’

How can America sustain itself on its current way of life? Borrowing to pay back to borrow to pay back to borrow?

For example : I just used my credit card to purchase an ink cartridge for my printer (which I rarely use) so I could print out a form to mail to the IRS to say that I am too poor to pay a fee for an installment payment plan I signed up for because I’m too poor to pay back the taxes I owe all at once.

Why? This capitalistic society only benefits a small group of people, and yet the wheel keeps turning, crushing the poor under it’s weight. I’m blessed enough to have a job that helps me pay for my bare necessities, but not much else. I owe, and owe, and owe some more. To what end? At the rate I’m paying back my student loans, I’ll be debt free just as my sad and hollow bones lay on my death bed and my raisin lungs take their final breath.

I know this is something that everyone deals with. Even people are I perceive to be wealthy are just making it enough to maintain. We’re all one disease or lay-off from selling all our stuff and taking up prime overpass real estate. At least I have parents I can count on if everything folds for me (right.. guys..?).

Alright, that’s enough of these sad musings. I just need payday to get here so I don’t quite feel like I’m drowning. Post pay day is always the best because you give everyone what you owe them, and then you treat yourself to a convenience store ice cream sandwich to celebrate another week you staved off homelessness.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Kendall Jenner Don’t Drink No Pepsi

 

I want to throw my thoughts into the penny fountain regarding this whole Kendall Jenner Pepsi thing.

I’ve seen a lot of the ‘why they mad it’s an ad ya’ll need to relax it’s not that serious there are children dying in (insert country here) but ya’ll mad about Pepsi.’

People don’t seem to understand, or don’t seem to want to understand how much media drives a narrative. Those pictures we see from Syria and other war torn countries, those videos of people bleeding and dying in the streets? That’s media telling us their story. We’re not there, we don’t know, and so we are being told. If the only news or images or commercials we saw coming out of Syria was kids playing jump rope and handing law enforcement beverages, we would assume all is chill in Syria.

So when a big corporation like Pepsi puts out an ad with a popular model handing a white cop a beverage with a winning smile, having a good chuckle at a protest, that’s telling a story. A story that just isn’t true. Because for the most part, people aren’t having chuckles at protests. They’re there because they’re angry and they are trying to make change happen.

And yes, we know, not at all cops are racists murderers. But, right now, the truth is that many white cops have gotten away with murdering black men. And people seem to keep wanting to give cops the benefit of the doubt, instead of addressing the corruption and demanding change. So when a big corporation puts out a message basically saying ‘Ay come on, cops ain’t that bad, give ’em a drink, you’ll see’ then that becomes the narrative. And sure, it’s just Pepsi today. But if we go back to the media telling us what the truth is, we collectively start to ignore reality. Someone who doesn’t experience police violence, who lives in a suburb full of smiles, they see that commercial, they see the news, they see whatever narrative the media is spreading and that’s the reality being projected.

If we let one thing slip through, one company continue to use their money and power to promote their own agenda, we take steps back. And does anybody really think that Pepsi cares about protests or BLM or women’s rights or anything that people are currently speaking out against? Naw. They like that Kardashian money. They know Kendall is popular with their target audience who consumes their carbonated sugar poison. So, they tried to cash in on the current state of unrest in this country, while also trying to cash in on the popularity of a TV personality. They threw in some people of color, some happy music, a few laughs, and shoved it down our collective throats thinking we’d just take it because it’s got pretty people and soda in it. WELP. Jokes on you Pepsi because people are awake, and they’re not. happy.

AND ANOTHER THING. Let people be mad at what they want to be mad at! I, personally, did not feel the same level of internet rage as many did, but I got where they were coming from. People can be upset with any number of things covering a vast array of topics. That’s the MAGIC of the human brain! Just because you think something is trivial and dumb doesn’t give you the right to call someone stupid for being upset with it. Your anger at violence against children doesn’t make you a deeper or better person than someone who is upset with the lack of diversity in fashion. You don’t have to care about the same things to show support to another human being. Or, just don’t say anything. Nobody cares that you don’t care. This is not your conversation, so move along and find one you do care about.

You know what that’s like? When there’s a sports game on, and someone in the room doesn’t understand or watch sports. And all they say is sarcastic remarks about how much they don’t watch sports, or make purposefully false statements about what is happening. (i.e., ‘Touchdown!” when they know full well it’s a soccer game). I used to be that person, and now I find those people ridiculous. Like, we get it you read books and listen to NPR and you are so ABOVE something as trite as sports. Go to another room. It’s okay that this is not your thing.

Anyway. Those are my thoughts. I’m 28 now guys, so I’m very mature, I’m very adult. I even owe the government money for the first time in my life so, you know, watch out. I’m very serious now.

Note: While I do defend the rage machine that is the internet in this instance, I also believe we should take a step back from it occasionally and enjoy a moment of gratefulness, calm and joy.

My President is Black, The Sky is Blue

 

I remember when I was first made aware that someone named Barack Obama, a black man, was running for President. I wasn’t old enough to vote yet, (though I was by the time he won) and I knew next to nothing about politics (still don’t, but probably a smidge more). But what I did know with certainty was that there was no way a black guy was going to be President. In fact I was pretty certain that Hillary was going to win the primary because I mean, she’s Hillary, people love her right? (Poor Hill. She’s taken some major L’s in the last 10 years).

Welp, as anyone alive knows, I was dead wrong.

From the moment Obama won, to right now, people have had a problem with him, and have in some way tried to undermine how important his election was. I remember an article being published in my university’s newspaper the very next day about why it shouldn’t matter that we have a black person as president, because “color doesn’t matter”. SIGH. Today I just read something where someone said ‘Isn’t Obama’s mom white? Why does skin color matter.’ SIGH.

I’m glad I was wrong. I’m glad I got to vote for Barack Hussein Obama in two elections. I’m not sure how many chances I’ll have to be part of major historic milestones in this country, and so to have the opportunity to say I did is pretty cool.

No one knows what’s going to happen in the next four years, but most people can say with some certainty it won’t be good. We have someone as President who doesn’t seem to actually understand the magnitude of his role as a leader and will probably be delegating a bulk of his tasks to people who have agendas that do not look out for the wellbeing of a lot of people. People are worried, as they have every right to be.

But for TODAY do something awesome and be merry because you’re president is still black, and still an overall cool dude.

Unless you’re a Trump supporter and you’re excited, and in that case I don’t know how you can live with yourself. 🙂

Probably Don’t Read This: Ramblings of a Traveler

I’m at the airport and got hoodwinked into paying for 24 hour access to wifi. I’ve been here for about 3 hours and I still have two hours before my flight leaves so maybe it wasn’t a complete waste of money. But it seems to me that making people pay for internet access in the airport and also charging them $15 for water is criminal. But, Donald Trump is going to be the President of the United States and apparently Russia helped to manipulate our election results so I mean… paying for wifi in the airport ain’t that far fetched.

Have you ever considered how weird it is to be alive? How strange sentience is? We’re just tissue and muscle and blood and other.. stuff, and yet we feel and experience things that seem to be the be all end all of our existence. And we feel them so strongly that we forget how ridiculous it is to exist in the first place. Pain feels so real.. but all it is is nerves and biological reactions. Happiness can make you feel like you’ll never die. But death is always right there. We are alive.. and yet within moments everything we remember, everything we feel, everything we’ve experienced can be gone. And once you are gone, the you that was here is gone forever. Even if you go to heaven, or whatever other after life you may believe in, or not believe in, whatever happens to you after you stop existing here, that is the last time that version of you will ever exist.

What am I talking about? I think they put something in these Whataburger fries I just ate. I’ve been living in Texas for about 8 months now and I just had Whataburger for the first time. There’s really no reason for me to go to Whataburger, and some might say that I didn’t really experience Whataburger, not really, since the only thing I can have there are their fries, or some kind of pastry. And what people really rave about is their burgers, which I will never have. But their fry game is weak, I gotta say. If you’re going to eat fries just go to McDonalds. Don’t fight the inevitable. I haven’t eaten at every place that serves fries, but so far in my 27 years, no place has come close to the factory made deliciousness of the hot out of the oil pan McDonalds fry.

Okay that’s enough. Have a good weekend guys. The world is falling into madness, Donald Trump is electing every corrupt Caucasian million/billionaire he can find into his cabinet, children and innocent men and women are being shot in the streets in war torn countries. If you’re blessed enough to have something enjoyable to do this weekend, if you’ve still got the luxury of Netflix, or close proximity to good food and friends, enjoy it. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

 

Forgive Me For This (Very Long) Stream of Consciousness

One week (almost) post-election and I think maybe I have gathered my jumbled thoughts into a few coherent ones.

I know the last thing anybody wants to read or hear about is stupid politics. It’s over, let’s move on. They say. Welp, I, a black person, can’t quite ‘move on’.. not yet.

I cried for several hours on November the 9th. The night before, my stomach was in knots, but I also had to work so I didn’t have time to process what was happening. Then I got home after 10 hours of non-stop election coverage, CNN on all the TVs at work, people around me either in stunned silence or laughing it off because they would get to continue to live their lives in bliss. Who cares who wins, they’re both bad! They said.

I got home, I was too tired to care, but I also couldn’t sleep. My nerves felt like they did right before I had to give a speech in school, or before I started a new job. Every thought I could possibly imagine to think raced through my head, but finally I fell asleep. For two hours. Then I woke up again, and never fell back asleep. Instead I just cried, a whole bunch. And I honestly couldn’t think of why I was crying necessarily. I was just.. so.. so sad.

It’s not Donald Trump. He’s not great, for obvious reasons. But he’s also so self-involved that I’m not even sure he knows what just happened. His sole interest (it would seem) is his own happiness and success. That’s a pretty unfortunate trait to have in a President. But, the sense of loss I felt, how defeated I felt, that wasn’t because of Donald Trump. That came from feeling that maybe, America would never accept us. That in places around the country, there are still those who, if given the opportunity, would put us back in chains.

Race shouldn’t be this complicated. It’s not complicated. We are all one people, with varying shades, but the same material makes up our bones and our blood. But somewhere in our timeline as humans, someone changed that. And now, we are still suffering the consequences of it. I’ve been called a nigger, I’ve been told I look like a monkey, I’ve been told I said something “the wrong way” or did something “the wrong way.” I’ve been told I’m not black enough or that I talk white. I’ve been accused of stealing by people I’d never met, but assumed I was problematic because I’m brown skinned. I’ve seen the subtle ways in which people’s body language and tone changes when they address me, compared to how they address a white person.

I’ve tried to ignore it. I don’t like being angry, anger is exhausting. And I’m still (trying) not to dwell in negative attitudes. But I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to say anymore. I know a lot of really wonderful, kind white people. I know some who are loud advocates for change, who acknowledge their privilege and call people out when needed. To them I say, what a relief. Thank you. Because I’ve tried, and the response is often ‘haha, stop playing the race card.’ A shrug. A ‘let it go.’ Sometimes people even listen. But not everyone gets it. How bad it feels, even these microaggressions. How much worse it feels that still, in 2016, the KKK exists. They are allowed to exist. And yet, Black Lives Matter is called a hate group. I’ve seen Facebook comments, tweets, from people I know or from people who know people I know that make me feel like people of color will never truly be heard. We’ll have our allies, but at the end of the day, America just shrugs.

I know the Christian in me says “God will take care of it.” But I feel like that’s a cop out, a way to create a barrier between myself and being passionate about something that might be out of my control. The part of me that worries, the part of me that is angry at the racism and indifference, that part of me wants to yell and be mad. I’m trying to find a happy medium. I’m trying to be less cynical. But I feel like there are no answers, because the people who could change everything won’t. And the people who are indifferent will continue to be indifferent.

This was crazy long. I don’t even know if I’m going to publish this. I’ve just talked in circles, I have no good closer for this. My faith gives me peace, despite still feeling utterly hopeless. If God is not your thing, then that probably sounds ridiculous to you. But my belief in God is the only thing that has stopped me from completely falling into a pitt of despair.

This is all very complicated, very hard to summarize. I wish we could all listen to each other, have a pow wow and sort this out amongst ourselves. There are poor people, poor white people, who feel marginalized and left behind who voted for Trump. He sold them a lie, a beautiful lie that sounded like maybe someone was going to give them a leg up. And he’s probably going to let them down. They’re not hateful people, some of them probably don’t have a prejudice bone in their body. Which is why I hate to blanket the blame for America’s mess on “white people” as a whole. But at the same time, it’s hard to imagine what respectable person could still support someone who said and did so many hurtful things. NOTHING is fair.

I hope I’ve conveyed my utter confusion and sadness. Talk to someone. Ask each other questions. Don’t make assumptions. Communicate. Brighten the corner where you are. Who knows what changes we will or won’t see in the future. But, even if it feels fruitless, never tire of doing good. Convey your frustrations, feel what you feel. Humanity is a fumbling mess, we never get anything right, we mess up everything we touch. But you know what the beauty of it is? The good ones never stop trying to make it right.

I Need To Get This Out

I’ve never lived in an area where a serial killer has been on the loose. I imagine it’s a very tense time, where everyone is on edge, locking their doors, hoping for the best and suspecting every shifty eyed stranger of being him.

Well, if you’ve also never experienced such tension or fear, you’re in luck because right now, in 2016, these anxieties are in full effect.

The rampant (recorded) violence by police has struck again, and this time, much closer to home than I’m comfortable with. My dad and brother live in Tulsa, OK, the latest location of a string of legal homicides by “law enforcement.”

The fact that I have to be worried about the lives of my brother and father is a given. We all fear losing a loved one. But the idea that they could be taken from me by those being paid to protect and serve, while they were doing nothing illegal? While standing still, with their hands raised in surrender? Killed because of the color of their skin? That’s upsetting.

Maybe I’m being dramatic? Maybe I shouldn’t worry? I’m sure every single family who has received the news that their loved one was murdered by a cop thought the same. thing. Car trouble. CAR TROUBLE. Routine traffic stops. THESE are the things black men have been murdered for. They weren’t running from a shootout with their pockets full of drugs. They weren’t fleeing a crime scene. They were living their lives like the rest of us. They just happened to be black at the same time. And that is infuriating.

And YES, gang violence takes a lot of our black men. YES there is a lot of crime within the black community. That’s NOT. THE. POINT. The point is that white police officers, licensed to carry weapons and required to serve and protect our communities are MURDERING these men unjustly and getting. away. with. it. They are not being punished by the laws that this ‘great’ country set in place for those who BREAK THE LAW. That’s the point of this. There are legions of issues within our own separate communities, but that isn’t the point. If someone said to you, ‘hey lets go out for pizza’ and you said ‘but I also like tacos, mac and cheese and chinese food.’ You would’ve MISSED THE POINT of their question. We know you freakin like tacos. But for tonight, DO YOU WANT PIZZA?

Now, some may say ‘well what’s his face was selling cigarettes’ and ‘whats his name was being belligerent’ and whatever other excuses you’d like to come up with for why cops should be allowed to just pop someone that spooks them. There was a news story recently about a college kid who murdered and partially ate two older people that were casually chilling in their garage. Guess what? He’s still alive and our justice system is now handling him. Guy who killed and injured all those poor people in the Boston marathon? Jail. White kid who sat in a black church for a bible study and then promptly murdered those in attendance? Yeah, he’s getting his day in court.

So why weren’t these black men who were supposedly breaking the law given the chance to see a judge for their petty crimes? If such a crime was being committed? Because black lives don’t matter.

“But I’m a white person and I’m not racist. I don’t see color.” Well good for you. Great. Happy you don’t have racial prejudices weighing down your conscious. But can you do us all a favor and see some color? Can you see that there is a serious problem in this country and that electing a black president didn’t magically end racism? Your silence, your refusal to address this in your conversation with your friends, that’s part of the problem. IGNORING it is the problem. Because that’s what America has done. And that isn’t working.

Black people do not have the power to change any of this, because we’ve never had power. I know that not all white people are evil racists. That isn’t the point. The point is that unless white people start talking to each other, opening up about their conscious and unconscious biases, about systemic racism and about how this country still hasn’t purged itself of the sickness that is racism, we will still have cops with guns in their hands and hatred in their hearts. We’ll still have presidential candidates who can OPENLY say (with no repercussions) that African-Americans should vote for him because we are jobless and our communities are in shambles so ‘what do we have to lose.’ We will continue to be broken. If those in power don’t look inward and acknowledge their wrongs and right those wrongs, nothing will change.

All black people have right now is our anger. All we have are our protests, our riots, our chants, our grief. Saying to a black person that “all lives matter” is doing what’s always been done to us. Taking our voice away, telling us that we don’t matter and our fears and concerns don’t matter. We want to be respected.

I don’t know if there’s anything I can do but rant on the internet, share my thoughts with friends and sit down for the national anthem. Pray? Hope for the best? I don’t know. I just wish more people cared, that more people spoke up, that there was an open dialogue that could make America work towards the idyllic land of the free that we wish we were, but are certainly not.

It’s About Time I Wrote SOMETHING

Hello comrades.

I’ve become very bad at this blogging thing, which proves to me I probably couldn’t make a career of this. I don’t know how people do it.

If I never hear the name “Donald Trump” again, it’ll be too soon. It’s not really funny anymore (and maybe it never was?). At this point, I am exhausted with all things involving Trump. I’ve stopped being surprised that many at Fox News continue to make excuses for his inexcusable behavior. He is a narcissist, he is a prime example of what growing up wealthy and unencumbered by conscious or compassion will do to a person. If a majority of America decides in November that Donald Trump is who they want for president, then that’s who they deserve. My life is in God’s hands. (And also I’ve heard many good points being made that local/state elections are far more important and not enough people are involved in those. So maybe we should try that out?)

The Olympics! Every four years we get to see what the human body is capable of when it is denied all the happiness that garbage bags full of empty calories can bring. It’s been exciting to watch Michael Phelps and… the rest of.. them, achieve their dreams. Michael Phelps is only 31, and he’s cemented his place in history. I can only hope that I’ve at least landed on a solid career choice by the time I’m 31.

For anyone who wants to know what’s going on in my life, the answer is absolutely nothing! Still working, still trying to find out what it is that I’m really meant to do. Still trying to figure out how small talk works. Trying to accept the person I am, but still find ways to improve and become a better version of that. Figuring out my faith on my own, getting used to the idea of having a church home that isn’t connected with my family. All in all, being 27 and figuring out what an “adult” is. I feel like I’ve been invited to the grownup party, but I’m still staring at my invitation, deciding whether I should RSVP or not. Like, at what point do you feel, okay, here it is. I brought a casserole to the adulting barbeque. I have arrived. Is it having a baby? Getting married? Switching cable providers?

I had to figure out some stuff with my health insurance the other day, I took my car for an oil change, I scheduled and went to an eye appointment and purchased new glasses. I am as independent as any “adult” can be. Maybe there is no golden ticket that levels you up into “feeling” like a full fledged adult. Maybe that’s all it is is a feeling that comes and goes. A pastor I knew once told me that having it ‘figured out’ is a lie. He said he knew someone in their 40s whose parents were still trying to run their lives and control their decisions. There’s no magical island where you just feel like all is right with the world and you have reached IT. That was comforting but also really, really depressing, because I was hoping to get to that island someday. But I guess that’s the whole human experience. A wave of highs and lows, some days you are crushing it, and other days it’s crushing you. We fall into our beds, we reset, and hope the next day is better.

Alright, I’ve rambled on long enough. Till next time!