_____Updated November 26, 2016———–
SO 2016 is really the worst…..due to president-elect Trump and a group of his followers. We have had neo-nazi support from alt-right goons. KKK support for the cheeto. All of which he hasn’t fully disconnected from….because he’s an extreme narcissist that takes any attention he can get. (But he gets mad at the theater kids, see below)
He is hiring a staff that will not be resisted by a republican controlled congress, and they are all climate-deniers, torture supporters, creationist ass hats. There beliefs aren’t even the problem, it’s that time and again they have and they will continue to remove funding and support from programs that have actually brought me a lot of comfort the last few years.
The president threw a fit over the cast of Hamilton addressing his VP, because they asked REAL questions. (This only made me love the musical more, which may be one of a few GOOD things about this year, was my introduction to its magic).
Then let’s talk about the disaster with the DAPL and the horrors that is Standing Rock. Which isn’t a new protest mind you, we’ve been shitting on Native Americans since at least 1492 and here we are….people with power…mostly white men with money and power, stomping on and ignoring people that are poor and often marginalized. They often don’t even have a voice in these matters and their protest is actually a chance to demand some attention to their struggle. However, the way that protesters have been treated through this whole event is nothing short of a human rights violation. One protester lost her arm!
Not to mention the Cheeto has his thumb in every fucking pie, because he’s a business man, and as “in the game” as any white man with power can be. This includes the stock companies that are investing in the building of DAPL. Which means he has financial assets attached to this, and he also has said time and again he’s about oil and fossil fuels and fuck anybody that gets in the way.
Where else do I go? All the things Trump has said even in the last two years is horrifying. And media (even good media) is trying to just keep up, which also fuels the former reality-star and his actions. It’s what he wanted all along…. he never wanted to help people or run a country. He just wants the attention and the fame. He won at that. But that means the rest of us, us working class people, and our children, and everyone that is not a man in their 70s and white and a millionaire.
Media is trying to normalize what is quickly reflecting every fascist movement in modern history.
Watch this if you don’t understand:
Because when we pander to fears, when we use hateful language, when we make false promises just to gain power, when we don’t value even the people that work for us….we end up with monsters like Trump and that is the most horrifying.
I go back and forth on wanting the year to end and not because 21 days in the Cheeto actually gains power. Even since he got elected the stories of attacks, statements, graffiti and hate-crimes has been a constant onslaught.
Personally, I have not had a good year.
Many people have had a shitty year.
I’m not alone but for all of us having a shitty time things suck. REALLY suck.
I have had to quit 2 jobs for reasons beyond my control and that were, at times, frankly absurd.
One of my closest friends lost her HOME- a house she had bought 48 hours before- to the flooding in Baton Rouge. Then her boyfriend ended things. Then her dog got sick. Then her car crapped out….she’s having a blast. (The car is better now)
My year sucks for several reasons. Jobs that don’t pay well. Jobs that aren’t working well. Managers that don’t communicate. Struggling with depression. Struggling with student loans. Struggling with missing my grandma (she died last year but I still hurt). I’ve been picking up the slack where other people fail, step out, or flake out….I don’t want to go into detail. But my stress is at a level I haven’t experienced in 5 years, when over 10 people I knew died due to everything from old age, car accidents and suicide. One always hopes things get better and for five years it did…now….I feel totally cast out to sea.
But we stay hopeful. Because we are beings that stay hopeful. We try and we fight and we pray and cry and hope…we hope so much. Because I honestly don’t know if any of us would stay living if we didn’t have that mechanism. Being we’re intelligent beings, we understand more than is probably good for our emotional well-being. And if you are in the Western world you probably don’t know how to deal, except by hope, a beer and some choice prayers to the universe.
And we have to remember this: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history/2016/07/is_2016_the_worst_year_in_history.html
and that others have survived worst….
Yet we still feel bruised, and scared, and depressed. The fact I already struggle with anxiety, PTSD and depression adds to trauma that anyone would have. So it’s a fun journey.
I suppose we’ll all figure it out eventually.
Also, can I say it really sucks to have a bunch of people you greatly admire dying.
You get it.
So we mourn our losses and carry on…hopefully to a planet we can live in and a country we can live with. (It may take 4 years)
You know how in school we’re told to stand up for what’s right, even if we’re standing alone?
My parents encouraged this. Which I am profusely grateful. Even if my right is their wrong and vice a versa.
As someone that always took this as 100% the way to live my life, this means I don’t always make friends or peace with those around me. I often tangle with people in my family and people I grew up with. It means that many teary and angry conversations have been had with people I legitimately love, but that I cannot agree with their beliefs.
After the election on Tuesday I removed a lot of these people from my immediate connections. It was a long time coming, but I just couldn’t continue to be confronted with the following:
and the list goes on.
I didn’t unfriend these people because they had a different argument or a different feeling, it’s because they continued to perpetuate inaccuracies and make excuses for hate speech and bigotry. They did this without fact-checking or without reading or without thinking what it means to any one of these groups of people that have been oppressed, abused and mistreated for these identities.
The did not care to research that racism is based on a system of oppression and that there is no such thing as reversed racism. Or that sexism is very well alive and can be proved over and over again. They kept themselves in a bubble that ignored reality, that ignored the tears and pain of those being abused as a result of our systemic problems in this country. It’s not the vote for the talking head, it’s the willful ignorance and hatred that they endorsed and support.
I CAN’T have this in my life, I refuse, and I refuse to make excuses for people that endorse this behavior. I refuse to make excuses so I can stay friendly with people that view me and so many of the people I love and admire as second class citizens.
So here I am, standing for what is right, and I will stand alone if I have to.
I am standing for what is right, which is basic human rights for all people. Which is giving people safety and sanctuary when they have been brutalized. It is standing against continued rape culture and the perpetuation that women or men “make it up” when they’re assaulted. It is standing up against a system that favors jailing minorities over whites that commit the same crime. It’s standing against anti-drug policies that favor abusing and oppressing minorities. It’s making sure women have access and rights to all the things male counterparts have. It’s making sure people of color, LGBTQ, differently-abled and anyone else that has been the victim of oppression is given the right and opportunity to succeed.
I refuse to write off people that haven’t had the opportunities of others. I refuse to view a group of people with hate (including Trump-ites). I refuse to believe any nationality or ethnic group is different, or more prone to, or less than human. I REFUSE. And I refuse to acknowledge others’ hatred as an accurate or even real argument.
I don’t care if one time someone from some group was mean once, or said something once. That’s not a representation of everyone from that group and their behavior sucks, but when you have lived a life treated as less than, sometimes you lash out, sometimes the anger from years of mistreatment boils over. And one becomes mad as hell and has just had enough. I think we have all been there for some reason. We cannot acknowledge one negative action as an example of how everyone behaves. You know this to be true. One kid in the class eats glue, not everyone in kindergarten does.
However, I will listen to REAL arguments and I will listen to real complaints. I will listen to real feelings about being left behind and underrepresented. Because, hey, I feel that way too. However, I also know that the layers to these problems are not from minorities and they are not from immigrants, they are not from foreign governments and they are not from any group that can be scapegoated. If you want to learn with me, then let me know. I’m happy to talk, I’m happy to show you. I’m happy to learn.
I’m happy to take suggestions, ideas and encouragement, but only if they have a standing in reality. I will not, and cannot take your bigotry or your privilege as an argument. Do you understand?
So today I turn my back on hatred and oppression. I don’t turn my back on people, but I will not see their hateful actions on my Facebook or twitter. It’s not a willful ignorance or wanting to shut these people out, but I refuse to be on social media terms with people that post these statement as if they were just a cute cat photo.
It may make no difference in the long run, but you know this poem:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
I am speaking for those that can’t speak up and maybe someone will speak for me or not, but I am speaking for others now. You should too.
I’ve been down a lot over the last few years.
Let’s make it the last decade or so.
Things have been crazy, things have been hard, things have made me cry and scream and fight.
Blood, sweat and tears means way more to me now than ever before.
Because everything I have done has had some serious pieces of me poured into it. Bled into it.
I don’t take my work lightly, I put as much effort into it as I can. It’s not always perfect, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care or that I didn’t try. Sometimes this doesn’t translate into an end product that everyone likes. Sometimes, people don’t give a shit.
When this is the case, we often feel down, malcontent, anxious and even miserable. Yet if I have learned from anything, the down, turns back up. The down is also a chance to turn things around and make something of significance to your own life!
Take the pain and frustration of a failure, or heartbreak or being frightened to tears, to find something about yourself.
Maybe it’s a chance to learn something new to make the “failure” better in the future. Perhaps it’s not even changing your work, but demanding respect and care from who you work for. Maybe it’s even realizing “bad” work atmospheres as they become visible and learning to get out when you can. Sometimes it’s learning how to make trustworthy friends and that you’re worth more than people treat you like.
Or maybe it’s time to learn a new language or a skill so you can market yourself, maybe just brush up on a set area. Learn a craft for your free time. Read a book you’ve not had time for.
The upside to falling down is that it can also shock your mind into realizing problems around you. When I was forced to resign from a second job in six months, I realized so clearly what I had felt in my gut. They were going with a company to do marketing and they were downsizing everywhere! It wasn’t me, it was the company making serious changes.Of which, I had ignored for weeks while I saw co-workers leave or conveniently retire. I ignored overheard phone calls, and being ghosted by my boss. Now I KNOW what to look for….and I know it wasn’t personal when several other people were also thrown under the bus.
I also have a much better understanding that just because somewhere looks like a good place to be on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s actually a candy center….often it’s toxic sludge.
So I urge you, if you are down, deep down, deep in the trenches….fight…fight for yourself and the ability to be better. Fight your way out and up and onward and I leave you with this song as a measure of hope.
There are a ton of videos and blogs on this subject. But welcome to my take on the situation. I have only found a few things to be true when travelling and the rest to be crap.
I don’t put necklaces through straws so they don’t get tangled, because I only take one set of jewelry with me so I lessen the risk of losing something (or having it stolen). I don’t take much shampoo in little bottles because it’s far more logical to “buy it when you get there” and in small quantities.
Perhaps this sounds a little rugged and I know we have favorite hair products, BUT the reality is that one exploded bottle of shampoo or lotion in your suitcase can make a mess that’s way worse to deal with than messy hair. And unless you are going somewhere where you know they won’t sell cosmetics, then just buy something when you get there. You often can find better products in places like Europe, that will work better in the water/sun/humidity in that location.
For instance, a pharmacist in Rome noted how pasty I was, and insisted I buy some SPF50. “Blanca, blanca, come here” she told me and shoved the bottle in my hand with some tampons. This was the best sunscreen I have ever used and I wish I could find it here in the states! It didn’t cause me to break out, it was light and it worked to keep “blanca” from being “rosso”.
For some people religion is how they center their lives. By believing in the lore and moral laws of a set belief, they structure their world around believing in texts and stories. I grew up in this world. My family was very religious.
But somewhere, around the age of 12 I started to question things.
Then, I started to think all religions were kind of the same.
Then, I was sent to christian camp that same summer and I started to feel like all of it was completely manufactured and fragmented and twisted in order to manipulate the masses.
I remember sitting in one of the church services in the middle of the week and feeling completely alone as everyone around me started balling over a sermon that was given. Everyone was crying because of Jesus’s sacrifice…his life…for others.
I believe Jesus’s sacrifice is also a good story on giving up things for others. It’s moving. But I didn’t feel like crying. Not in front of 100 teens being manipulated by adults with their own ego trips and megalomania.
These same people tried to tell everyone that Catholics weren’t true christians.
These same people tried to say that if you watched R-rated movies Jesus would be upset with you.
The camp counselors, teens, mocked and made fun of us younger kids if we were awkward or didn’t want to do a game. I was meant to lick another girl in the face.
This whole thing made me feel suicidal.
Christian camp made me sink into a dark place that I have never fully recovered from.
Because that it was then that I realized I didn’t fit in with these masses. I was not like everyone else. I had questions and deviant feelings. I had opinions and disagreements.
Not only that but the “friends” I went to camp with began to bail on me because I didn’t “participate” or “care” enough when I didn’t cry over Jesus.
So I was left alone a lot. People I had known since I was 3 bailed on me because I didn’t conform.
As painful as it was, and as much as I was told “Jesus is watching” over things or actions others viewed as not “Christian” enough, that was when I found a part of me.
I found that I was different than these groups, and that made me stand out against mob mentality. I realized that religion wasn’t to be found in church for me. So I must seek elsewhere.
Before this time I had been learning to sew with my mother and grandmother. I made dresses and a skirt that won a blue ribbon at the state fair. I tried embroidery. I escaped into writing poetry and stories. I had been doing these things for a few years when Camp IANA in Divide, Colorado but the final nail in my religion coffin.
There was my chance to find a new religion. One where I create. One with needles, thread, fabric, paint, buttons, patterns, clay, glass and anything I could get my hands on.
This turned into a love of art history.
That turned into a love of design and storytelling and media.
Photography was my safe place.
I played some music and sang too.
I did theatre and wrote essays on my favorite books and made elaborate history projects.
I found my calling in creating. Though it may not be everyone’s path or faith, it’s mine and it is very important and personal and life-altering.
This is not to say there is anything wrong with belief in a defined religion, I’m just taking a different and agnostic path.
I was always an emotional child. Meaning the simplest things could put me in tears. A dead rabbit on the side of the road. Getting in trouble at school. Getting in trouble at home. Having someone raise their voice at me. Having someone tell me saying something wasn’t appropriate.
I was also anxious and always nervous about doing things wrong. Even as an adult if I get a less than above satisfactory grade or feedback I dwell on it for days if not weeks.
THIS is not a healthy way to deal with the bumps and miscomings of life. Even though I hold myself to an insane standard, that doesn’t mean that I should or that it’s right or even logical.
It’s really unhealthy.
Like screws up your body and makes you exhausted and miserable half the time.
You live in dread and fear and it’s hard to feel like you can be yourself without being criticized, shot down or unloveable.
Granted I also have Post Traumatic Stress from a few childhood incidents, which doesn’t help anything. However, I know my anxious tendencies are not uncommon for my generation and my colleagues.
The problem lies so much in how our culture influences our understanding of how the world works and our place in it. I remember always hearing the narrative that if I worked hard and got good grades and looked perfect and determined, along with praying to god for help, that everything would be okay. My parents raised me in various protestant churches in Teller County Colorado and finally settled at the Methodist Church in Woodland Park when I was in high school. However, with this doctrine of do good and you’ll get your wishes granted. Pray hard enough and it will work out. I found myself feeling like this praying to something wasn’t working for me. Not to belittle anyone’s beliefs, but my self found it hard to want to pray to something I didn’t know if it existed or not and then have it grant my wishes. I didn’t find the comfort there that others did. I did my research on other religions and also found it hard to believe. So I bought into the cult of hard work= great successes.
We’re really in love with this story in the United States. So many of our books and movies and cultural followings surround this idea. So I also bought into it. It has also been called the American Dream, and it’s so far entrenched in our culture that it’s hard to escape the narrative that we’re given our whole lives.
In High School I was informed time and time again that a college degree was a ticket to wealth and well-being. It was a ticket to getting what I wanted. For me that was getting out of loving below the poverty line and into the middle or even upper class (if I worked hard enough) . It meant being able to buy a home, and a car, and pay for my kids to go to summer camp. It meant having a few luxuries, such as trips to Europe and Asia. It meant getting to live a full life. One that I always dreamed of.
I did have one teacher that flat out asked us how much we really thought the American Dream made sense for all of us or for everyone. We all agreed it seemed far-fetched. But we all silently believed we would have our slice of the pie.
Fast forward 8-years and here we are. I’m 25, I have a BA in both Journalism and History. I have my MA in International Journalism and I’m only making a little more than my mother did 10 years ago cleaning hotel rooms or working as an assistant librarian (my mom only has a high school education, which was earned through home-schooling).
I bought into the cult of hard work=success. It also came with almost six-digits in debt that I have to figure out. All of this while the cost of living in the town I’m in has almost doubled in the last 10 years. While the wage I made in high school at an Ihop is not that much less than my current earnings. I work three jobs to get by. I have my own company as one, and do communications for a local teahouse and non-profit. I love the work I do. It’s all in the field I studied in (communications/Journalism) yet it’s not the way I was brought up to believe it would be.
I believed with my MA I could get that dream journalism job of 40k+ a year, not a massive sum, but combined with my Fiance’s income, we would be alright. We could manage.
The money quantifies the struggle, but the emotional reality is what is hardest. To 15 year old me, I’m failing. Even though it’s systemic as much as it is me. When you apply to 150 jobs and only get 3 interviews, it’s pretty crushing. I have done good work, but somehow I am not breaking through to the journalism field, so I’m nestling in PR and Communications. For good organizations this is rewarding. For the future and potential other customers, it brings up ethical concerns.
Perhaps my point is that I wish someone had told me, and all the other people feeling crushed and beat up: “Nothing is promised.” Literally nothing. You might be the smartest person in your school, or city, but unless you sort of luck out, or have support behind you that makes the right connections, it’s very hard to break free into the life you want.
I’m not giving up hope, I’m just reality checking myself in that this existence is very inconsistent and scattered. Sometimes life will lift you up and up and sometimes life will knock your knees out from under you. Adulting is hard, and none of us survive this thing called life.
So, my recommendation is: make good art, create good work, DO work hard on what brings you joy and knowledge. But enjoy all the little magical things that are around you. My family, Fiance and his daughter, along with my cat, are my bread and butter for my soul. Even with my education and all the things I vigilantly try and learn, that stupid fuzzy creature, the love of my life, and his silly, beautiful daughter are the best things about this existence.
And don’t forget, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to take risks to try and find your bliss.
I read an article by NPR that discussed the moral and ethical concerns around having a child in the age of climate change. Read it if you haven’t already.
I have been having these same concerns since I was about 13 and took a child development course in middle school, which meant that I had to bring home a fake screaming baby monster…. Which had the effect of making me really consider the child commitment. A good shock factor for protection, but it also opened the door to talking with adults in my life on the moral qualms on what it meant to be a parent in an over-taxed and mistreated planet.
A dear family friend made sure to inform my sisters and I of our choices. That we had them, first and foremost, and that our choices had an impact on others around us. My family is big and classic examples of midwestern protestants that have babies and their babies have babies all before 30. Therefore the pressure was always on us, and the real expectation pressed on us, to have children in our 20’s and pass on the family traits.
My sister’s and I have always hesitated at this idea. Instead we all want our own time and opportunities to travel, get degrees, and make sure we’re better prepared for children. Then there becomes my climate anxiety on what exactly it means for children in the future.
My fiance has a daughter that is 9, and I think very often how much she will be left with in the future. I think of the recent flooding in Louisiana and how it DIRECTLY was influenced from climate change. It was also personal in that one of my best friend’s had her entire home submerged in water. She now has to figure out what can be saved or has to be destroyed. Yet the headache doesn’t end there, because future predictions and melting ice caps mean that many areas will be underwater, soon and permanently. Including many part of recently flooded Louisiana, parts of Florida, New York etc. Learn more here.
src=”http://www.climatecentral.org/wgts/human-caused-flooding/index.html?utm_source=Robinson%20Creative%20Enterprises&utm_medium=embed&utm_campaign=2016HumanCausedFlIt’s not just the ocean rising, but it is the weather that comes with rising temperatures, melting ice caps, cold and hot water hitting together and more.
It’s all around not great news, and YES we are taking a few good, and feel good steps by countries signing contracts and reducing their output. However, the reality is that our children and grandchildren are going to have a lot of issues to sort out.
In Colorado we may not have the ocean to worry about, but rising temperatures in the summer pose risks to human wellbeing, crops, livestock and water supply. By 2050 they’re expecting summers in Colorado to be significantly higher than they were previously. Meaning we can expect a lot more 100 degree+ days. That also causes issues to snowpack in areas that typically have snow reserves later into spring and summer will then run off earlier, which can disrupt natural growth patterns and farming.
Precipitation is harder to determine, but Colorado has had many droughts over the years and with various parts of the state growing dramatically in population, and there being more need for natural resources, it could be the perfect storm for a difficult life.
So here is the kicker. With current estimates on life expectancy, it’s likely I’ll live to be around 80. Or until about 2071. If I’m 32 when I have kids, they’ll be 10 in 2043 and maybe will have kids within a decade of that. If projections are where they expect, for a 2050 estimate of hot, dry, and scary changes their 30s, and possibly their life with those repercussions are frightening.
That’s if things DON’T get worse than they’re expecting. Which, so far, isn’t looking promising. Yet many, myself included, want to be hopeful that times will be ok. While many scientists point out that it’s all too little and far too late. Therefore it haunts me to think that we may just be running out of time to be here and any children I bring into the world will have to fight much harder just to survive.
Terrible images flash into my mind of Mad Max, The Road, and the Book of Eli; desert landscapes, little hope, and near starvation. It’s an abysmal and depressing idea, that may be closer to reality than science-fiction.
Finally, I will leave you with that trailer for This Changes Everything and have you mill about that even though the United States could face terrible strife, it is nothing compared to the horrors that poor countries will have to face and the untold millions that will suffer as a result of our selfishness and lack of care.
No one can know for the future but maybe, just maybe, we could take this all more seriously and make choices, vote, support and demand action to make the hit a little less.
I was listening to NPR on Sunday, and not that that’s surprising because of all the media I listen to NPR is the most common. Anyway, they were discussing the media bubble that is creating difficulties for NPR to make money and the conflicts of podcasts etc. Which is really interesting and something for another day.
They did say something else that I think may be even more important than that of the money/journalism bubble or at least equally important. They were discussing how NPR and for instance, All Things Considered, was established in the 1970s to promote intelligence and knowledge across the country. To cover minorities and give voice to the voiceless kind of story. Which I would say they do make real attempts at doing and which is a real reason I try to listen a couple of times a week. Yay *applause*
But then the conversation took a turn to what is the reality of our culture and where real money in the media lies.
Let’s start here, TLC, The History Channel and the Discovery Channel and its subsidiaries were made, in ways, to replicate PBS-style stations. Where there was documentary type learning shows, that depicted and told stories around the world. This is the type of stuff I ate up day after day as a kid. The stuff I loved! Some of it was sappy and a little fluffy like “A Baby Story” or “An Adoption Tale” but other shows that talked about gender-identity and mental conditions or strange medical conditions were fascinating to me. I feel they gave me a more compassionate and thorough understanding to the world. Yet as culture changed and reality TV became more profitable and popular those stations changed to telling those stories.
In the last 10 years we have had Honey Boo-Boo and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (an admitted guilty pleasure) and Ice Road Truckers. All of which lack much of the substance of previous shows and station goals. My fiance jokingly calls TLC “The Loser Channel” but I honestly don’t know if that’s too far from the truth. Some of the shows really inspire me to care for people I don’t understand with more compassion, like my 600lb Life, while others leave me buying up stereotypes and inconsiderately dismissing other groups, such as 19 kids and Counting and it’s HUGE sex scandal mess that broke last year.
Ok all of that aside my point is that TV often reflects society like a mirror, and the unfortunate side is that most people embrace this gum-ball machine mess of television of a quarter in and sticky crap that rots your brain out.
What’s most upsetting is that while these shows are consumed and even loved, other REAL programming with great information on radio, TV or other gets bumped out. News even gets mushed up to be click-bait and full of thorough and honest information. Just this week I got into a conversation on Charlie Chaplin on Vice and had the author block me for calling her out on cherry-picking history.
Anyway, that aside I am BEGGING all of you to get out and learn. Something like only 78% of Americans read a book a year. And the number steadily increases for more than 5, 10 etc. There is research to indicate that this next generation will be less educated than any previous, a turnaround from the past. And it’s not just reading that’s important but the ability to think, analyze and understand what is happening around someone.
It’s not even just things that come from a good education but information that can be assessed through alternative means and through independent learning. This means pick-up a book, read a magazine that’s not fluff, have your kids watch a documentary on animals with you. Discuss the universe, have a lunch date with friends and talk about making the world a better place etc. etc. Jump into the fun of learning and take someone with you. You don’t have to make learning your only activity, but make it one that is also a part of your life.
My family, with all its crazy, constantly pushed for learning, and that is something that I will always push for others.
Anyone want to borrow a book?
Rebecca Lee Robinson