Jan. 24, 2016 – Digging Out and Counting My Blessings

Well, it has happened. Winter Storm Jonas has come and gone, leaving over a foot of snow in my location. I know other people can measure their snow in feet, and also, along the coasts, are dealing with storm surges and beach erosion, which translates into flooded streets, like this New Jersey town (shot from yesterday).

Ice forms as the winter storm mixed with high tide causes flooding on Beach Avenue on January 23, 2016 in Cape May New Jersey.

So, since I am dealing with smaller amounts of problems, I have decided to count my blessings. While it might seem glib to say “count your blessings,” I think I need to remind myself of the good things I have, while praying and calling for action to give those blessings to those who do not have them. I’ll start from the beginning:

1) A safe, warm place to hunker down in – I live in a small apartment in Nicholasville, Kentucky. There are homeless wandering the streets of my town right now who have no place to go. It is currently 24 degrees Fahrenheit, AKA -3 Celsius. As I have said before, there is more than a foot of snow on the ground, and only those with backhoes or shovels can remove it. Please, pray for the homeless, especially the ones in your town.

2) Food to eat – There are children who only eat at school when the church does not give them food to eat. I have also seen a lunch program in my neighborhood over the summer, indicating possible hunger there. Please make sure our most vulnerable can find enough to eat.

3) Warm clothes – Yes, I have seen the “People of Walmart” pictures…but what if that is all they have? It’s a possibility.

4) A car to dig out – Some people have to walk in the snow. My mother and I had to do it for three years.

5) Electricity – Thousands are without this in the blizzard zones, and power linemen were unable to restore electricity to them due to the strength of the storm. There are at least 25 deaths attributed to this storm, and it’s most likely electricity.

6) A pet and mother that love me – Many people are alone in this world. I need to consider this blessing more. I have other family that loves me, too.

So, is it really so stupid and pathetic to consider what is good in your life when things seem to be going bad, especially when you consider that others do not have these blessings, and want to take action to give out these blessings?

Advertisements

Validity

I don’t know about you, but I used to measure my worth by the way people reacted to me. I had to please everyone, so everyone would like me. The biggest trap in this was that the worth and validity of an individual was measured by how many people liked them. The trouble with that? How do I get all of the people to love me all of the time? That, my friends, is impossible. I can’t even get members of my family to like or love me. That is for another day, but the problem is, what if you can’t get everybody to read your blog, hear your song, or accept what you have to give them? Does that make you less of a person? Many people might not want to hear the things you have to say, but by all means, say them. They need to be said. Someone out there is listening, I kid you not. I did not think so up until last night. Maybe I had to read another post to tell me, but nobody told me that I was valid simply because I existed. (That’s all you need to do to be valid.) Nobody told me these things. I hope you understand this discovery I am passing on.

 

Beauty as Whiteness: From a White Girl’s Perspective

I had a vision last night: of a high fashion show with models of color standing with the models of white as friends. Many dark skin models standing together with light-skinned models. African features, Asian features, Hispanic features, all standing as one. I mean, look at this picture:

dove-real-beauty-campaign

But the current system of beauty will not let that happen. As it currently stands, whiteness is beauty, while other races’s features are ugly. I am going to use racism as a starting point to show the flaws of the beauty dictatorship.

My eyes were opened by an article in Everyday Feminism about how whiteness is still the measure of beauty in our age, and it got me thinking: Why does this racist attitude persist? I mean, look at Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, and Frieda Pinto! To equate beauty with whiteness is to leave those beauties out in the cold. There are so many more examples of dark-skinned people that it drives me nuts when I hear about people trying to look white. And it still exists: take a look at this ad for skin brightener/whitener:

SkinLightenerAd

There are women who use this sort of thing all around the world. Jessica Simpson’s beauty miniseries even tracked the story of someone who ruined her skin from these skin brighteners. It appalls me that people are

It goes even further from there. I once came through a shop where the owners were Hispanic, and all I saw in the dolls were blondes. They looked nothing like the beautiful women who I noticed were Hispanic – even though they come in all colors and sizes – and it bugged me. It bugged me because it had gotten to a point where the Hispanics were exercising racism upon themselves – that they were hating themselves and making themselves less in their own eyes. The message is clear: only love yourself if you are white.

It even bothers me that people of color are lightened in advertising even to this day. Yes, I have seen this, too. Take a look at this redesign for Disney Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. On the left is Jasmine in the movie, and on the right is Jasmine in the movie, and on the right is how Jasmine looks in the Disney Princesses merchandise:

JasmineWhitening

Don’t think that real people are left out of this. Take a look at Beyonce’s L’Oreal ad:

beyonce-loreal

I wonder if Tiana from the Princess and the Frog gets similar treatment? It sickens me to no end that anyone is left out of acceptance for who they are. This is especially true for those with darker skin – also, it is true with those who undergo surgery to look beautiful.

I’m not leaving out the Asian eyelid surgery girls. The fact that they undergo surgery to look more “beautiful,” which I have established, means more white, is outrageous. I mean, you could die or go blind on the table! I first heard of this on the Oprah show, when Lisa Ling talked about it as a normal thing among Asian girls. As I said before, the message from the beauty industry is: you are ugly.

As a white woman, maybe I’m supposed to find this all flattering, but I don’t. This troubles me, as a matter of fact. It redefines beauty as reflecting those in power, and I cannot see myself as an evil emperor, especially since I am locked out of the beauty dictatorship by way of size.

The truth is, I find that all people are beautiful, even the ones who are dark skinned, who have Asian eyelids, who have curly hair, and who have bigger sizes. The beauty dictatorship is terrible, and it must be overthrown, to make way for a beauty democracy.

Seesaw Living Hurts Us All

Pro-black is not anti-white. Pro-white is not anti-black. Pro-woman is not anti-man. Pro-disability is not anti-abled. Why do I have to explain these things to people? All I ever want is to make our society equal. Trouble is, most people do not see the potential of a society which counts everyone as equal, and really judges people by the content of their character. They only see a society which caters to Western European powers – in other words, how much do you have in common with Prince William of England, or with Donald Trump? To add on to this, those who have a lot in common with Prince William or Donald Trump are paranoid of other people who want a level playing ground, because they think life is a seesaw-that one person has to be down in order for another to be up. This kind of thinking is wrong, and inaccurate. Sure, the Western European, Able-Bodied Man has an advantage by his power, but it does not have to come at the expense of those who are not them. Due to my Christianity, I believe this type of societal oppression is quite sinful, because we all came from the same family. We are all related-we can all produce children from each others’ races, for example. Everyone should have an equal chance to prove themselves – I was raised to believe this.

In current society, there is a complicated web of classes and statuses, which can make one’s head spin, but certain things can raise your status to the next level:

1) Money

2) A penis at birth

3) Light skin and Western European features

4) Full use of all your body

5) Heterosexuality

6) Western European Religion

7) Western European Ethnicity

8) Neurotypical Function (Not Autistic, for example)

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Now, I know there are controversial mentions above. The point of those is, even if you morally disagree with a person’s choices, that does not lock them out of love and respect. If you’re Christian, for example, Jesus Christ said “Love your enemies.” There is no excuse for not treating a person with love and respect.

Now, back to the seesaw mind. Using the above statuses reduces life to an Us and They dynamic, where in order for Us to be up, They must be down. As you can see, if They move up, it will bring Us down. The trouble is, when you are pro-Us, you are anti-They. For example, pro-black is assumed to be anti-white. Pro-woman becomes anti-man. In this Us and Them dynamic, no one can be equal, and no one can get ahead without harming another. But I believe there is a better way.

Humanity, I believe, should not be divided and put on a seesaw. Humanity works best when everyone can advance everyone, so that no one gets left behind. Besides, do you think you can handle the paranoia that comes with the Us and Them dynamic? I have not seen a single human being live well when divided away from other human beings. People crave companionship, and if all the people you can get it from are somehow unacceptable, you will be one lonely person. I hope this opens your eyes a little, as my eyes continue to open to the false notion of the seesaw dynamic.