Privilege and Guilt

Privilege and Guilt

I have been embarrassed by my whiteness, my richness, my entitlement. Embarrassed, ashamed, repentant. Inside I was apologetic, not wanting anyone to think that I believed that I am better than another. Sometimes I wonder if I’m trying too hard to prove something. But who am I trying to prove this to? And why?

Check out this video:

We have no control over our birth. Where we are born, the family we are born into, the color of our skin, and the status of our household is decided for us. The religion of our culture is usually the one that we adopt. And yet we claim these things with such pride and place our hand over our hearts, pledging allegiance as if we chose them.

Kids do not create the circumstances they are born into.  Never apologize for who you are, unless who you are is an asshole.
Privilege is what most parents want for their children.  It’s what most people want for themselves.
The problem is not privilege, and the goal is not equality of outcome.
The goal is simple recognition that a lot of people are running the race of life with rocks in their pockets and combat boots on their feet. They are being forced to start a half mile back, and with bad maps.  – Don’t Feel Guilty About Privilege

terriermandotcom.blogspot.com/2015/07/dont-feel-guilty-about-privilege.html

We may not be able to change another’s current privilege, but we can change the future generation. It’s not necessary for me to apologize anymore. I don’t have to hang my head. Really. I don’t know why I ever thought that I should.

The Borders and Two Flags

Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue sk...
Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue skies and the sun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week we filled the sky with waving flags, but it isn’t until next week that my country celebrates its independence from British rule. This week had its own colors and controversies, as many have noticed.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it once again. As a child, I’d walk naively, without the knowledge of borders, not understanding the concept of North side and West side. It’s only as adults that we learn where we supposedly belong or don’t belong. I’d walk inside and outside with a large mirror in my arms, facing upwards so I could only see the ceiling. I liked the openness, the uncluttered feeling. There are moments that I still feel the wild child inside of me stir. She gets restless and wants to run and be free, hating the constraints of the 9 to 5, the should of the day-to-day life. Living in this society means coming to terms with the borders and the rules placed by civilization, but it doesn’t mean being completely tamed. We are never meant to be slaves.

I believe human conventions, pre-conceived notions, religion and the world’s cacophony do not stifle creativity, neither should they. Rather they serve as breaking ground manifestations of the limitless parlay of ideas floating the grand mass called ‘space.’- CL Ngwe-Nwi  A Multi-faceted Creative from her About me page

Life is untamable. Life is wild. Unpredictable. There are no permanent borders. No true boundaries. We try so hard to put up fences. To keep out the bad guys. To grasp on to what we love. But it’s not possible. Somewhere in there is righteous reasoning, but if we aren’t careful, we become like the zealots who kill everything good. We kill instead of healing. There’s a line that get’s crossed, and it has nothing to do with a flag or a country. It has no heritage involved. There are no lasting borders, only love and hate. No flag representing a heritage of shame should fly. Put it in a museum with the other items of shame. But let’s not wave our dirty laundry on the top of a flag pole for all the world to see. Please, America. Let’s have some modesty.

I stumbled upon this ladies writing this week and found her post intriguing. Check her out if you can. http://www.quietrev.com/portraits/gina-stroud/

And I’ll Say It Again, In All Humility

And I’ll Say It Again, In All Humility

Here is an updated version of an earlier post

In All Humility and Arrogance, I Say….

SEPTEMBER 6, 2009

Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

I used to be foolish and believe what people told me. I do hope I have grown past that by now. Other’s have said that they could look people in the eye and tell what type of person someone is. I don’t have that gift I guess. All I see are blue or green and if they have cataracts. For me, that is like looking under the hood of my car. I can stare all day at the oil dipstick and the battery cable, but I can’t tell a darn thing about the vehicle and why it won’t start.

Show Me

My way goes back to SHOW me who you are. Yes, people can fake it, but not for long. Something of who the real person is will leak out. I had an incident happen this week that reminded me of this. I was having a conversation with someone, and they had said something but meant another, like “I went to Paris” when they meant to say “I went to France.” I was no big deal, but she was shocked, believing she SAID what she had THOUGHT because obviously her brain doesn’t get her words mixed up. At that moment, I received a very clear picture of that person. Here is a person who never faults herself. It’s not so much that she doesn’t think she is capable of error, more that she couldn’t see it.

Do you know the time when you got that car, maybe the blue one because not too many people had a blue car and especially not the brand that you had? Then suddenly you see blue cars everywhere. You COULDN’T see them before, but now they are everywhere. In that way, SHE couldn’t SEE that she could make an error and didn’t take it into consideration. In her thinking, we heard her wrong. Hmmm, all 5 of us. Blindspots.

Arrogance and Humility

In my eyes, this is the difference between arrogance and humility. The arrogant cannot see the flaws in their judgement. Their opinion is correct because their opinion is all they see. To contrast, there are those with humility. And to that extreme there are the self-abasing humble people who need to see themselves as well as others. These are the ones who have been long considered low on self-esteem and self-conscious. Psychologist have been telling them they have a flaw, and God knows that they are aware of this, and they cringe. They want to hide. They see their flaws and are very aware that of the errors of their ways.

It’s time for some moderation. It is good be kind to others but remember the arrogant ones will never see you except to use you as an example or an icon to prove their “rightness.” You had best move out of their way and shut your doors. The arrogant won’t read this, so I’m not talking to them because they know more than me anyway. So to the humble I say, be good to yourself today. Show yourself some love and lock your doors.

My Salute to the Restless

My Salute to the Restless

Should we discuss IQ? It seems to be a sensitive subject to some. A while back, during a casual chat on social media, I got into a discussion about intelligence. Bad move on my part. No cookies for me! A teacher mentioned that she noticed her lower IQ’d students sat quietly and didn’t run around crazily like the higher IQ students. Exit Janet from the scene.

Sitting still is not a quality that I either encourage or discourage. Sitting still is not the goal. It has its moments. To do it for me, yes. I learn and listen in silence. In stillness, I can go inside and find the truth I need. It gives the moment to think about what I want to do for the day, to plan, to daydream, to think even about where something went wrong in the past. Where did I get off track? What did I really want? Can I fix it? Should I fix it?

I never was a popular kid in class. 

– Nathan Myhrvold

At some point, I have to end these Facebook debates because Facebook is not the place, and hijacking a friend’s post to make a point is just plain rude. I can grandstand and soapbox here, on my blog, all day long. And if it bores anyone they can move on. It’s fair that way.

I raise my glass to the restless ones. To those that can’t sit still. What keeps them going? Money? Guts? Audacity? What keeps you going? Here are a few of my favorites, but there are so many more inspiring people, restless people. Please leave yours in the comments. I’d love to hear who you think should be honored.

31 Most Inspiring Women – Women Who Changed the World

Quite honestly I’d love for someone to stroke my ego all day and listen to me spout my poetry or listen to me boast. If I was never booed or hissed or disagreed with, I might think I was the most brilliant orator in the world. As I have mentioned in an earlier post, Living With Brothers, if all the people in the audience were mothers, we would never come to the truth of ourselves. The real world teaches us that our breath stinks sometimes and that we have to speak up to be heard. We also learn that if we want something desperately enough then we might have to elbow our way to the front. No one in their right mind is going to pay you for something they can get free.

Make the Most of Life – Click Here  

Lost, Forgotten, Ignored? Does anyone care?

lost toyNo one wants to feel like the lost toy. Forgotten. We hate to be misunderstood. It hurts.

I called my doctor’s office this week. My neck was in a muscle spasm and my head was hurting. I’d actually left home from work early on Monday. So I called them in desperation. Could they help? The nurse called me back promptly, stating she’d get with the doctor then let me know. I waited. Monday evening I checked my phone. Tuesday morning, I took my time getting ready for work, dreading going in since I was still in pain, but I was still thinking the doctor’s office might call any minute. I checked my phone around noon and there was still no call. I don’t like being ignored. I’m not easily forgotten. Wednesday came, then Thursday, and finally Friday morning, which was when I spoke with the nurse. After all the waiting, I wondered if my doctor really reviewed my chart when she only upped my dosage of the same medication I’d already been taking.

There are misunderstandings.

Sometimes we don’t hear the full sentence. We often aren’t fully listening to the person talking, we just think we are. We hear the words, but we hear them with our perceptions. I’ve talked about this before in other posts. For more on this read, Flavors and Perspectives. I do this so much it embarrasses me. Note to self: Practice mindfulness. Recently I had an epiphany. When I was growing up, girls were becoming more independent, going to college and getting jobs. It was the beginning of the age of the working girl.

I graduated from high school in the early 80’s without any of these big plans. I’d had odd jobs. I wasn’t lazy and I never refused work if it was offered. What I had lacked was transportation. I don’t want to be down on my parents because everyone has their faults, as well as their charms. My parents are the steady type. They are there for you when you’re in need. You need new tires or your air conditioner is broken, they are the people who will help. There was always food on the table and a bed to sleep in. But I knew where I stood all of my life when it came time asking for the extra things. And I knew what those extra items consisted of. I didn’t ask to attend extra curricular activities in school.  I didn’t do band or sports. I rode the bus home from school. I did my homework. I colored in the lines. No nonsense. No useless activities. Why? Have you ever been on a highway that has the bumps on the side for when you veered off the road? It’s like being pulled feet first down a flight of stairs. That’s what it felt like asking for more.

I didn’t realize until recently that I’d been guilty of not only misreading my parents’ values, but also of ignoring their values. Maybe I never saw them at all. At that time, they had disregarded my requests for a car. Ignored. Said No. However you wish to phrase it. When I asked to work, which I did temporarily, it was received with a lot of complaining on my parents part. Remember the bumps on the side of the road? The job lasted for a few months until I got tired of hearing the complaining. For years I’d thought of myself as lazy after high school. I should have went to college, I kept thinking. But how could I have went to college, since I didn’t have a car? I should have gotten a job. Small towns. No transportation. Guilt. Shame. Misunderstanding. The circle of life.

My brother had mentioned my parents’ different values to me a few years before and I had forgotten until recently. Dad is old-fashioned. Women don’t need educated. Men do. Men work. Women stay at home and raise children. There wasn’t a reason for me to go to college or have a car. I knew that I wasn’t lazy. I had just misunderstood. It’s just taken me a bit longer to get where I wanted to be. My generation, the edge of change, often misunderstood our parents. Just as they

often misunderstood us and our need for independence and leaving their ways behind.

Strange abandoned house

I was watching some new videos on YouTube and found an entire channel devoted to urban exploration with abandoned houses. I’ve included one of the most interesting ones below. It’s short and quaint. WWI era house and supposedly left undisturbed. Check it out for yourself.

Urban Explorers can be found under the YouTube channel Seeker Stories

A Book is a Book is a Book, Even if it’s an Audible

art by suzanne gibbs

I find myself in this same position a lot. It’s the one I found myself in when I was in religion. I dislike it when people take words and interpretations so literal. I think they do it just to win their argument, not so much that they feel they are right. But even so, it builds the fire under my already overused soapbox.

For instance, when has a book been read? When my eyes have skimmed across the page, word by word, page after page, until I’ve finished the entire copy? Seems obvious. I counted up the books I read last year and totaled out at around 54 or so, including audible books. There lies the contention. Some would say that audible books don’t count as books that are “read.” Some, but not me. As I told a coworker that has a small child, there’s no rule that says how the words should be assimilated into consciousness, just that they get there. If I were blind, I would be using my fingers and braille script to read. Would that be cheating? I’m certainly not using my eyes.

And while we’re on the subject of twisting our sensory perceptions, there’s a guy who is colorblind and sees only in gray scale. His name is Neil Harbisson and he did something very unique about his disability.

Artist Neil Harbisson was born completely color blind, but these days a device attached to his head turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world in grayscale, Harbisson can hear a symphony of color — and yes, even listen to faces and paintings.

go to site: Ted.com/Neil_Habisson

Science has now learned that the smell of coffee is what gives us it’s flavor. It’s really not our tongues after all. The whole theory of the taste buds, you know the ones, sweet, salty, sour, bitter, etc, that theory has been debunked. The Tongue Map. And the tasting of wine? The Trouble With Tasting Wine They believe that the flavors come from all the accumulated flavors you have built up. Of course they may learn something new later on, but that’s what I heard recently. Another source: Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat. It’s also available on Audible.

Another Soap box jump

When I hear people like former Mayor Giuliani saying stuff about “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country,” I want to slap someone. Firstly, because I know that Mayor Giuliani wasn’t raised anything like I was, so I can’t even begin to relate to him. Secondly, Everyone expresses love for people and country differently, not to mention that I don’t need the President’s love. How should one express love for country? Is there a protocol for such expression. Three god bless America’s and Five baseball game ticket stubs? Maybe I don’t love my country enough? Show me how. I drink iced tea in the summer and hot coffee in the winter. The vodka on Friday night does look a bit suspicious though. Maybe I should be more careful. It’s a point to ponder, but I’m still counting my audible books as being “read.”

Don’t Be Foolish. Don’t Be Stupid (Satire)

It’s foolish to work hard at something and not get paid much. If you get paid squat, you know everyone else is looking down at you. They despise you and make fun of you. If you work hard at something, like campaigning for public office and fail, you need to hide. You know everyone will call you a fool. You failed. How stupid of you to think you could win.

Abandon your project as soon as you notice it’s not going to work. It’s a stupid idea anyway. Don’t even wait that long. And if anyone doubts your abilities, bluster. Tell them you knew all along that the task was stupid, and that you usually finish what you start, unless they’re stupid. And more advice for the future, check often to make sure your future projects are worth finishing. You must always know where you’re going and what you’re doing. Never wander around aimlessly.

Don’t be foolish. Don’t be stupid.

Fools are ignorant. Stupid. Laughed at. Fools don’t deserve good things. I’m a fool. I’m a fool when I try and I’m a fool for waiting and not trying. A fool is never admired and doesn’t get the good seat. Well, sometimes he does, maybe. We all get a turn and even I have but I forget. Maybe I’ll just be a fool and not worry about it, then I’ll realize that we all are fools.  Because it doesn’t matter.

There’s no such thing as a fool, just people.

The Odd One

Luna Lovegood

My favorite characters are usually the odd ones. Just a bit off beat. They’re likely not the girl to be invited to the party, but not because they’re hated, or ugly, more likely because they were wandering in the forest, gathering mushrooms or rare moth larvae. Let me introduce you to Auri, from Patrick Rothfuss’s series – The Kingkiller Chronicles and Luna Lovegood, from J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter series.

Auri – The Kingkiller Chronicles

Auri was a young genius whose spark burned too brightly to function in what most of us call reality. Instead, she created her own reality in the tunnels under the university. Her days are spent making order of the abandoned areas in that hidden world. Her one friend is a current student, Kvothe.

Auri hopped down from the chimney and skipped over to where I stood, her hair streaming behind her. “Hello Kvothe.” She took a half-step back. “You reek.”

I smiled my best smile of the day. “Hello Auri,” I said. “You smell like a pretty young girl.”

“I do,” she agreed happily.

She stepped sideways a little, then forward again, moving lightly on the balls of her bare feet. “What did you bring me?” she asked.

“What did you bring me?” I countered.

She grinned. “I have an apple that thinks it is a pear,” she said, holding it up. “And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce.”

“It’s a clever lettuce then.”

“Hardly,” she said with a delicate snort. “Why would anything clever think it was a lettuce?”

“Even if it is a lettuce?” I asked.

“Especially then,” she said. “Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too.” She shook her head sadly, her hair following the motion as if she were underwater.

Luna Lovegood – Harry Potter series

At first, you dismiss Luna, especially when she’s talking about mysterious things that go bump in the night that steal shoes. But, she also knows things that no one else seems to know. Besides, just listening to her talk is enchanting enough for me, whether she speaks by book or by movie.

The girl gave off an aura of distinct dottiness. Perhaps it was the fact that she had stuck her wand behind her left ear for safekeeping, or that she had chosen to wear a necklace of Butterbeer caps, or that she was reading a magazine upside down. – From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“Mistletoe,” said Luna dreamily, pointing at a large clump of white berries placed almost over Harry’s head. He jumped out from under it. “Good thinking,” said Luna very seriously. “It’s often infested with nargles.”

Harry Potter: [sees that Luna is barefoot] Aren’t your feet cold?

Luna Lovegood: A bit. But all my shoes have mysteriously disappeared. I suspect the Nargles are behind it. – from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

The Thing You Didn’t Say

The Thing You Didn’t Say

I have a proneness towards being involved. I’ll just state that up front, so you’ll know exactly where I stand when you read the second paragraph. It comes from being raised in a small town, in a small community church. Everyone helps. Everyone brings a covered dish for the meal and everyone helps clean the kitchen. With that knowledge in mind, I can ask a few questions.

When you’re sitting quietly beside someone and they’re talking about a topic you’re familiar with, when do you feel comfortable jumping in? When the topic is spoken to you directly? When you’re well informed? When you know the person who is talking? Never? Always? What you know and what is appropriate to talk about has always been difficult to me. I was raised to find the answers. If I have questions, I search in the library, in books,  ask teachers, read magazines, ask experts, or wherever I thought I could get knowledge. And since I grew up in a small church, I was put in leadership at a young age, so this put me in a mindset of being a know it all. Not with young children so much, but with my peers. I didn’t want that, so I was always bounding between giving an answer or staying quiet. This is the thing many women never talk about, having to stay quiet for fear of being ridiculed. By my own natural inclination, I want to help. I want to expose the truth. I want to tell all the information that might be helpful. Usually leaving people stunned and overwhelmed. Overexposed.

It’s difficult to carry on a conversation about topics that are mentally stimulating with people in everyday life. My brother and I have discussed this before. It takes an effort to find your own kind. And this is probably for everybody. There are sports bars for people who like sports, but most of society is a mixture weirdness and snobbery, myself included. What if you like beer and the opera?

Men are trying balance their Alpha maleness with their supportive softer side. Have you heard about The Red Pill controversy? Anti-feminism? It’s tough. It’s even tougher because women aren’t completely sure what they want. We have groups who are altogether sex goddesses. They believe women are pure estrogen and need to do nothing more than to wag their, whatever, to get their way. Fine. And maybe that’s all true. But some of us have a brain and are curious. I like to explore and think. We have geeks supporting brain juice. Pop culture promoting a sex-pumped Barbie image. Then there are the Vegans.

This is just to show how far away we are not from solving the role of women or even of men,

Kim Kardashian doesn’t realize she’s the butt of an old racial joke

On the flip side – those of you saying that Kim Kardashian needs to put on some clothes simply because she is a mother also need to sip a big champagne glass of “Girl, Bye!” Because this antiquated idea that mothers are not allowed to celebrate their sexuality is ridiculous and naive. How exactly do you think women become mothers? Immaculate conception? I’ve never been a fan of policing other women’s bodies, and I’m not about to start now. Ya’ll can have that. – The Grio

Somewhere in all of these types, we forgot to just be who we are. We have brains. We have bodies. Some of us like to drive and some like to coast. Pick your flavor and enjoy. It all works together my friend and you can’t ignore any of it or you have dysfunctions. I think the over sized derriere is a symptom of the dysfunction trying to find balance, but it’s just my guess. And truthfully, even if I had a backside curved like Kim’s, it would probably still be sitting on the couch on Saturday night.

I can’t miss mentioning this, Rosetta Scientist, Matt Taylor, wore sexist shirt – Business Insider,

All of humanity made history today by landing a spacecraft on a comet.

Unfortunately, many of the women following that development — and a few men, too — were made to feel pretty unwelcome in the space exploration sphere when one of the people leading the mission decided to show up to talk about it wearing a shirt covered in dozens of half-naked women.

There’s never a lack of stuff to talk about. I think the wisdom is knowing when to speak and when to not speak. What to wear and when to not wear it. And maybe even how much to show and at what times? I don’t always know. I try to err on the side of not speaking to compensate for my overzealous mouth.

Expectations vs Reality

Expectations vs Reality

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Expectations are just that, expectations. They aren’t promises or guarantees. We assume we know how life will go. I have heard that women tend towards forecasting in relationships more so than men. We meet a man, and in our mind we’ve got our house picked out along with the names of the two adorable children we will have. When the relationship crashes, we wonder what went wrong. Maybe nothing went wrong. It could be that it wasn’t as perfect as we’d thought. It’s difficult to process the difference between our imaginary relationship or imaginary job versus the one that really exists. We need to be careful to pay attention to what really is happening around us, then we approach life face to face.  Where were you looking when the roof caved in? Did you notice the first drops of rain? Or the buckets on the floor to catch the dripping roof leak? Maybe you were were visualizing life in another town.

So what are we to do? I love to redecorate my house in my mind and our imagination has its purpose. How would we ever make any progress, whether scientific or mathematically? Visualization gives us our map of how it could be. We need to remember where we are right now.

Avoiding magical thinking

But while your intent is pure and your goal is to create magic, the most common mistake is to believe that the marketplace will agree with your good intent and support you. More specifically, that media intermediaries will clearly, loudly and accurately tell your story, that this story will be heard by an eager and interested public and that the public will take action (three strikes).

Or, more tempting, that ten people will tell ten people to the eighth power, leading to truly exponential growth (some day). Because right now, you’ve told ten people and they have told no one…

Only count on things that have happened before, a funnel you can buy and time you can afford to invest. Anything more than that is a nice bonus. – Seth’s blog