Friday Reflections

1.) Watch this prank on David Beckham to brighten up your day. It's hilarious!

2.) Issa Rae is STUNNING in this cover pictures. But she is also an incredibly brilliant person, so check out the cover story as well.

3.) This girl found out her boyfriend cheated the same week he found out he has cancer. So now she is staying with him out of guilt even though she is pissed as hell and no longer love him. And oh the moron's family knew he was cheating and now they are thanking God she stayed cos God knows the other girl would not have. Either y'all out there are the kindest people ever or the most foolish. I can't figure it out which.

4.) Read this poignant true life story of the woman who is friends with the daughter of her mom's killer. It's quite an intriguing story

5.) Last night's Grey's Anatomy is being tagged as one of the best and most emotional of the show's 15 year history. That's true. It had be bawling. It was such a beautifully written episode about sexual assault.

6.) I was still thinking about last night's Grey's so I went to their FB page. Only to see women in the comments sharing their (sexual assault) stories, and strangers (all women) on the internet standing together & offering hope and comfort to one another. I hate and love this world.

7) Success is a lifestyle not a destination.

8.) Grey's producers on the scene from last night that took our breath away

9.) I have been thinking a lot about how women are conditioned to prioritize their romantic relationships above every other relationship (parents, friends, siblings etc.).

10.) It's why you see girls forgive their male romantic partners for the worst betrayal, but "cancel" their (girl) friends for trivial things.

Book of the Month: Strangers in their Own Land

I will be honest, I was skeptical about this book. I will tell you why. I am sick of think pieces examining America's right and middle America and all the likes, trying to figure out what makes them tick. Blah bla blah. No one cares. They are not that special, I always thought. And poverty is not exclusive to people of a certain ideology or to people in a particular geographical location. Black people are poor too. People on the East Coast are suffering too. People on the left feel left out too. Non-Trump supporters have issues to gripe with as well. So no, no one cares why you voted Trump or frankly why you voted for anyone for that matter. You voted. Okay, and? That doesn't make you special But this book...this book was something. A good something. I actually loved it. I should start by saying, while Hochschild is a renowned academic, she tries her best to not fill the book with academic jargon. It's a book that anyone can read and enjoy. I had a hard time putting the book down from the moment I picked it up.

So yes indeed, the book explains the worldview and emotional underpinning of right wing America and supporters of the Tea Part movement and Donald Trump in Louisiana, the Deep South. Now, she began the research for this book way before the 2016 elections. She was immersed in the community around Lake Charles, Louisiana and centers the book around five (?) people. But instead of just talking about a whole bunch of policies, Hochschild, like most great academics, knew to focus on one major issue: environmental politics. Despite the high concentration of petrochemical plants, the high levels of pollution that was LITERALLY killing people in this community, why were they so vehemently against environmental regulation and voting against their own interests. We come to find out a LOT about people living in this community. Hochschild argues it's because these people hold true certain cultural values that motivate them to oppose environmental regulation. I, on the other hand, see it as people believe what they want to long as it confirms their bias. Most people do not care for facts and for evidence. Interestingly, the ongoing Jussie Smollet fiasco case confirms this reasoning.

Basically, the Tea Party supporters are angry about the changing face of America that values immigrants, women, blacks, and other racial minorities, who they view as "cutting the line" to achieve the American dream. So ahem in anger, they are voting against their interests. Basically what my people describe as, o n bínú orí ó fi fìlà déèdí. We come to find this out because of the "deep story" of each interviewee which the author uncovers. The deep story is how the conservatives feel about themselves. And she tells us this so that we can both know where they are coming from and show why we need empathy to heal the political divide in the country. The key thing to take away from this book is that no matter our differences we should reach across the line, remove our "empathy walls" and seek to understand people who think differently from us. We need to get out of our bubbles and echo chambers and understand other people to see the humanity in them. Ultimately, this is NEVER a terrible idea.

Before signing off on this post, some things stood out to me in the book that I will share, as I do for most books of the month. The most salient thing in this book is the influence of big oil and pollution: their animals were literally dropping dead. One of the main subjects, every single member of his family had been diagnosed with cancer. This is not an hyperbole: every single one of them had one or two forms of cancer. But they are still so adamant that federal regulation or accepting any form of government help is a stain on them. Yet the party they support favor giving big tax breaks to the same organizations that are responsible for deaths, loss of jobs, and destruction. Even when the evidence were laid in front of them, they chose to twist it.

Across the country, red states are poorer and have more teen mothers, more divorce, worse health, more obesity, more trauma-related deaths, more low-weight babies, and lower school enrollment. On average, people in red states die five years earlier than people in blue states."

A bulk of them kept denigrating people on welfare and insinuating that those on welfare were lazy pieces of trash etc. Yet one of her main subjects randomly hinted that one time while working at one of the plants, he got injured and had to go on disability for a while. Pray tell, what was used to finance that? Some of the richest people in this country benefit significantly from the government. Stockholders in these petrochemicals are not spending their dollars in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Nah, they bought their mansions and pools in Connecticut, California etc.

I also noticed how most of them would not shut up about God. I have found that people tend to use God as a crutch to do the most heinous things. And when it comes down to it, some still idolize country over God. They think their belief in God gives them the audacity to hate others, to lack empathy, or to hurl unkind words at people, as far as they end whatever they say with "God".

"I am going to believe what I believe even if you do give me scientific evidence."

They all kept insisting they were not victims or they were not "poor mes". They are proud to endure the loss of their homes and communities, their drinking water, and even their jobs, but the one thing they were not was victim. But...they are quite literally the textbook meaning of victim.

The amount of fact checking she had to do at the end of the book also tells you everything you need to know. When you do read the book, please read the afterword. Sorry for this lengthy essay on what was an intellectually invigorating book. I hope you read the book because I know you will at the very least find it interesting. And the best possible case scenario is that henceforth, we all bring down our empathy walls, listen to others, and bridge the divide.



Re The Complain Challenge

Hayyy, I'm back like I never left to report on the complain challenge I created for myself. How did it go? Well, it was hard. It wasn't impossible but it was hard. And I really don't think it meant that I stopped complaining entirely or that I will stop complaining entirely. It just means that I am more aware of my complaining, if that makes any sense. To be fair, since the amount of times I complained reduced, one might say the challenge did work. But I still complained. Each time though, I was mostly able to quickly revert to gratitude of some kind or focus on someone else's problems by helping them come up with solutions and/or praying for them. That's a very helpful strategy by the way: shifting the focus away from yourself to others. When life throws you lemons, you can try to think about your friend or family or I don't know, just try to be there for others. Honestly, life is not always about you and your problems. It always helps to just think about others; it helps you put things in perspective. I am definitely not referring to any one person. It's all of us haha.

I want to reiterate that complaining is not inherently bad. Complaining is cathartic. Sometimes it even helps you figure out the problem. David in the bible was a complainer. Man, was that man whiny, lmao. But, to be fair, if anyone needed to complain, it was David. He went through HELL. However, look at it this way: he was a man after God's heart. But reading the book of Psalms reveals his myriad of emotions: sometimes he was deliriously happy, thanking God for being so awesome, for being so great. Other times, he was alone, depressed, and worried. And some other time, he was basically scared; REALLY scared. Job complained: I mean, he did have tons of reasons to lol. Moses complained. And not only did Moses complain, he let his complain affect his actions. Moses is not a very good example because his complaining actually cost him a LOT. Sometimes, I still think the whole Moses thing was unfair, but that's between God and me :-). 

So yeah complaining is not a fruit of the spirit. I say this to say, our emotions don't scare God at all. If at all, he needs to hear it. Don't let this make you feel awful for complaining. But try to be more aware of your emotions. Or at least, that's my plan. Make sure your complaining is not doubting the essence of who God is; that your complaining is not faithless. That even in the midst of your complaining, you know, UGH I hate this inconvenience, but I also know God is good and capable. So tell it to God like it is, but rest assured, at his core he is compassionate.



Friday Reflections

1.) Don't find a job, find a mission. This was brilliant.

2.) "Who are you really?" Find out more about the puzzle of personality here. This was very intriguing and it sorta confirmed that err...I am a textbook introvert but...that's not all I'm about. There is more to me than my introversion.

3.) How to have a good conversation.

4.) Read this chilling story about how a Game of Thrones' star suffered two life-threatening brain aneurysms in the early years of the show. Now, as a Grey's fans, I already knew aneurysms are never good, but to read about her scary recovery...whew. Happy she is well.

5.) Watch Chelsea Fagan pop off on a bunch of useless things tagged "healthy" that people waste their money on. If you have ever taken any of those detox teas, close your eyes in shame, and then listen to the first four minutes (at the very least) of this video.

6.) Fighting the scourge of "30 under 30" and other such ridiculous lists. You have to map out what success means to YOU and only YOU, not the world's version of success.

7.) I brought all of myself this week to all the important [work] places I had to be: blonde locs, teal nail polish...I was unapologetically me, and I'm still so proud of it. I first thought about making myself shrink and conforming since I do not like attention on me, but my mom and sister told me to do what I want not what I think others want. So I did the hair I wanted. And boy do I love it?

8.) One thing I really told myself, or felt like God impressed upon me through his word, this year was to "do it afraid". And that's precisely what I have been doing. Despite being really afraid and scared, I have approached most difficult, anxiety-inducing situations with confidence, a humble confidence, if you will. Doing it anyway.

9.) I have NOT forgotten about an update to the complaining challenge. I will get to it, this week was just a lot for so many reasons.

Friday Reflections

1.) You DO NOT have to monetize your hobbies or turn them into side hustles. Sometimes hobbies should be left as that: hobbies.

2.) The secret to cultivating adult friendships. MANY millennials I know all complain about how one of the many traps of adulthood is the increasing difficulty in making friends as we get older. It's very true but as the post in this link shows, there is an easy way to solving this problem.

3.) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. An enigma. The woman at the center of the latest Right wing and Republican obsession. Buhahaha. Still, she doesn't consider herself a superhero or a villain; she's just a person trying.

4.) Stop picking up random African children and posting them on Instagram. I'm looking at you, Ellen. The world needs fewer  white saviors.

5.) Read about Olivia Jade, one of the teenagers at the heart of the college bribing scandal, and tell me that does not make you want to puke. Man, rich people are something. Whew.

6.) And make no mistake, I was not in the least bit surprised about all of it. Nope.

7.) Like I said on Twitter, the worst part of this nonsense is that POC have to literally work twice as hard (this is NOT a metaphor, for real, for real we do) to prove we didn't get in because of the color of our skin; to show that we earned our spots, and they STILL express disbelief at our excellence.

8.) For all my fit fam, here are seven portion-size mistakes you are probably making. I'm so into eating healthy and exercise that I feel like I should talk more about it on this blog but somehow I don't. I will try to henceforth.

9.) What women mean when they say, "men are trash" or "men are scum".

10.) Happy birthday to my daddy!!! I can say that most of my love for book, reading, writing, learning, curiosity, and social justice comes from my dad. And I am incredibly proud to call him my father.

Much Ado About Complaining: The Complain Challenge

Ennui. Haha. That's what I feel right now. I honestly don't know how I am able to blog. Okay moving on. Many moons ago, I did an anger challenge, where I went an entire week (or month?) without getting angry. I even came back with my results. I want to do something similar but not about anger. This time around, I want to do a complaining challenge. At first, I thought about doing it for an entire month, but that's a tall order. So I will do it for a week: I plan on going an entire week without complaining. The thing is, there is sooo much to complain about. Life can be pretty challenging. People are even more challenging. And sometimes things just don't go your way. So I find myself complaining a lot about these things, but I am  getting to a place where my own whiny ramblings are irritating me. I have therefore, decided to chill. I want to see how long I can go without complaining about one thing or another. I promise you, this was not inspired by anybody or anything. I literally woke up one day two weeks ago and decided to do this.

This will be hard. Maybe even harder than the anger challenge. Instead of complaining, I will express gratitude towards God for something he has done for me. This will take conscious and very intentional willpower to adjust my brain. And yes, it sounds cliche to exchange complains for gratitude. But it works. I will fix what I can and just ignore what I have no control over. Simple. The truth is for most things, there is just no way we have any control over these things. Not to mention, apart from a few people who have everything going on for them, most people are having such a hard time with work and life. Navigating the challenges of work and life is freaking hard. But enough. For one week. One whole week, I want to be free. 

Let me be clear, by itself complaining is not completely terrible. In fact, we sometimes need to rant and it can be cathartic. The thing with seeing things so black and white is, for someone like me, the complete opposite is nonchalance but we will see. I say we will see, because I am not exactly sure I want to be nonchalant about my life. Don't get it twisted, life is hard out here. Forget all the pretty pictures on Instagram, well formulated words on Twitter, or What's App stories; people are going through hell. So honestly, if you find yourself complaining a lot, it's okay. Don't feel too bad.

I know this is is very unlike what people talk about or post about, but this is real life. People are too busy dealing with real life to pay you any mind, and that's fine. People tell you to suck it up or to smile through the pain or whatever cliches people post on their feeds. However, cliches became cliches for a reason. So maybe you might need to listen to people who ask you not to complain once in a while. Or maybe not. I will try this and per usual, come back with results and tell you how it went. I will try to post feedback in exactly a week from today. So help me God.



International Women's Day 2019

Instead of Friday Reflections, today will be a full blown post. I was going to do the regular Friday Reflections but I realized I have done an International Women's Day post for the past four years and I am not about to break my streak. Nope. Plus I will always have something to say on a day for phenomenal people. Okay? Okay. First, see the International Women's Day posts for 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. A lot of things I said in those posts and will say in today's posts, I have said variants of elsewhere on this blog and frankly in real life too.  The point being, don't just talk, DO!

Google Doodle, March 8, 2019

As my old posts will show, I always celebrate International Women's Day. But I now worry a lot about romanticizing what it means to be a woman in this world. I will do you one better, we now romanticize what it means to be a woman of color in this world. Even for a relatively privileged woman like me, being a [black] woman is not the easiest thing in the world. You have to worry about what to say, when to say, your hair, your skin, YOU. Am I too much? Am I making them uncomfortable? Have I said too much? Is my hair too big? Is she being racist or am I just making a big deal of it? And these are first world problems. When you go down several notches to the feminization of poverty, to rape, to sexual harassment, to domestic violence, to servitude (because some of you aren't wives, you're servants. Yeah, I said it), you realize the current state is not very bright.

So if you are not actively supporting and empowering the women in your life (romantic partners, friends, sisters, subordinates, coworkers etc.) but you are on social media posting shit. Screw you. And erm, do better.

Happy International Women's Day to all the phenomenal and hardworking women in my life. I love you ladies! The best part is, you know this. Or at least, I hope you do.

In some interesting coincidence, IWD is a day after my birthday. This year's birthday was awesome. It was truly, truly great. Apart from spending time with my amazing family, I also realized I have outgrown several pettiness. Before, I would be angry at the friends who didn't call me or didn't at least try to get me gifts or whatever. This year, I didn't care about all that trash Lol. What I remember is my friend E waking me up with a video call, and since she is very hilarious, I can honestly say I woke up with the kind of bellyaching laughter I love. What I remember is laughing and celebrating with my family all day. I remember the hour long phone call with my S. I remember the lovely note my friend, R wrote in the card she gave me a whole week before my birthday. I remember messages from my other friends. And I remember missed calls from other friends and family. Nothing else matters. And this kind of growth really, truly surprises me because before now no one was as petty as me. I guess that's growth? Or not? Who cares? Right now, I'm worried I won't remember which initial belongs to whom when I read this post in ten years. Oops. But I also don't want to write their names. Poor things. They didn't ask for a big-mouthed, blogger friend and that's all they got. So no full names here.

More seriously, this new chapter, I am hoping for daring faith and a shift in perspective. When Moses sent those twelve spies to the promised land. Ten of them came back with daunting reports filled with fear. "There is no way we can conquer those folks. They are bloody giants." Of the remaining two, Caleb said, "erm nope. We should go now to take that land, for we can certainly do it." I want to be Caleb. This is not some faux optimism. This is believing in the capabilities of God. This is understanding the inherent nature and core character of God. This is faith

So to daring faith, love, and bellyaching laughter.



Friday Reflections

1.) Follow the blog on Instagram! I'm hoping that will encourage me to post more. Also you'll get to see pretty salad pictures like this:

2.) I never put pictures in Friday Reflections, soooo you're welcome haha. I'm kidding

3.) Jussie Smollet. Jussie Smollet. Jussie FREAKING Smollet. Where I'm from, when your name is called three times, that's basically, enough said. I mean, where do I even begin? The insanity of it all.

4.) You and I know God didn't tell you that person was your husband/wife. Neither did God tell you to wear a purple shirt today. Stop lying, and worse, stop putting words in God's mouth. Joseph Solomon agrees.

5.) Seventy women ages 5-75 tell us the scariest moments of their lives

6.) "I've been in this business almost 40 years and Sandra Oh brought something very special to every scene." James Pickens says of his former costar, in this brilliant interview of the cast of Grey's Anatomy as they celebrate being the longest running medical drama on a primetime network, beating ER.

7.) I truly think there will never be a character and actress as phenomenal as Cristina Yang and Sandra oh, respectively, on TV. Never.

8.) Only six countries in the world give women and men equal legal work rights. America is not one of those. Man, we have a long way to go.

9.) It's March, people! Happy new month, folks.