Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Square Dance.

The title is a song that you'd never recognize. But relevant at this particular point in time (I think blogging makes everything relevant in the mind of the writer).

Ok, so, most people reflect back on the halcyon (vocab word from high school) days of their youth to remember a simpler place in time. No worries. No cares, no bills. I desired to do just that. On my first stop through traveled time, I successfully picked the virtual lock on the old blog that I kept from 2002-2006 only to discover that I have always been a long-winded, high stress, overly analytical individual. Dag! And while that may seem, on the surface, completely depressing, I take pride in knowing that my outlook on life has always been peppered with a little introspection. Or, well, alot. Since then, I feel like, in some regards, I have been square dancing through life. Not the kind that you dreaded in middle school gym, but rather the metaphoric kind, moving in steady pace and sequential step through life, staying inside the box. I've managed to do some sort of two step shuffle in time, interchanging the promise of my future with the apprehension that my past has taught me. This weekend, however, myself and a few of my friends, stepped outside the box and treked down to New Orleans for the annual Jazz Festival, which, by most standards is a very grownup thing to do. ME? A grownup? Sure. But really, the idea of New Orleans violates almost everything inside of my square of occupancy. While I was down there though, I had an interview for a job as a community organizer. Yay! I'd like to think of job interviews as your past and present hanging in the balance to decide your future. Almost like a Q & A session to recount the significance of your time on earth.

Anyway, going to Jazz fest, interviewing for a job, walking around the city, supporting Fair trade shops, thinking about where I would live when/if I moved there......despite the feeling of falling in love with NOLA, I couldn't fight the feeling that I was falling in love with the future. THE FUTURE, folks. It's amazing the type of clarity one can retain from a city with open container laws. Haha. Now, I've always loved the future, but we have always been in a time honored love-hate relationship, trying to remain in step, shuffling forward and backward. I suppose the future is currently taking the lead. For a few moments, a weekend rather, the music stopped and the two of fear and hope step timed out. I saw NOLA as somewhere I could make apart of my future. New tune. New dance. It was refreshing. But as some wise person once said, and people have repeated at nauseua, to understand/ appreciate where you going, you must know where you have been. Flashing back to roughly 3 years ago here's what I was talking about....

April 20,2006
I've just been informed that I am no lo
nger allowed to be human

Instead I must be:

*Leadership to all whom I lead
*Punctuality in all that I attend
*Fairness in all that I decide
*Kind to all who I encoun
*Excellence in every task that I complete
*Wise in every word that I speak
*Professional in every setting
that I enter
*Fashionista-like in every outfit that I wear.

In short, I must be PERFECTION in STILLETOS. Honestly.

Alright, here's the time that I contextualize the tangent. So in case you haven't already heard, I was recently elected Student Body President at UNCG for the upcoming year. Yay!! But apparently somewhere in the oath I took on Tuesday, or maybe even before, I traded my will and subsequent imperfection for an enormous social microscope through which my life is to be viewed at all times by all people. And I can't but struggle with the question of whether or not this is a good or bad thing. I can't but wonder about the process through which our lives are called to excellence. If there were never people closely observing our lives who expected nothing but the best from us, how far would we really go? And I'm not downing those of us who are self-motivated, but it seems like when we measure ourselves from the outside, there appears a greater urgency to be excellent.

Campus Harvest

Maybe I'm just a bit realistic or jaded, but I've come to believe that there is a maximum amount of wonderful that one event, person, or object can contain. I learned during the weekend of Campus Harvest, that this definition only applies to things outside of God. Campus Harvest gets better every year. Each year, I am even more excited about what God's is doing in my generation.

Other than the discovery that my hair once contained more chemicals that your local chemical plant, I'd bet that nothing about this entry surprised you. I've always belabored the present, strangling the future because I'm afraid to have it go on without me. But one think reading back through old blog entries taught me was that I have been and probably always will be the person that I am. Like I said before, it's a relief. It means that no matter what the future holds, no matter how hard the new dance of life is to learn, there is no really no reason to fear the future....everything that is special and wonderfully unique about us will remain as it is. NOLA or not, the things that define me, the things that are essential will always be with me. Scenery is a dependent variable. Status is a dependent variable. And that's fine, because I will always be independent. Sure, the future will always seem a bit scary, that which is new or unknown will always play a cord whose sound is unfamiliar. But, the future will only add to our playlist, a new song, a new dance. We'll be forced to sing along. But wait. In the event that we decide to hit shuffle and remember all of the things that make us who we are, the oldies, but goodies will certainly still be there, looping in the key of life.

Alright, enough with the extended metaphor. Here's some sobering and exciting political news!

Some things, however, are changing....and certainly for the better. A two step in the right direction.... Here is a pleasant look into the future of the 2010 elections and a fillibuster proof senate.:-) (See Below)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Little Racial Profiling Never Hurt Anyone.....right?

Avid web surfing this week has enlightened me to a number of things. One of them is the ever delicate art of racial profiling and how to properly and comically uphold racial stereotypes! Yay. Gosh, what would we do without the internet. Of course a number of us do a good job to the perpetuate them in our lives and friend circles. Some of us even live them out in our daily lives. But one public (web) display has done quite a good job to both capture and illustrate these stereotypes in all their race-defining glory. Yes, folks, I'm talking about the ever popular lists "Stuff White People Like," Stuff Black People Like, "Stuff Educated Black People Like (because I guess that there's a difference in both people and interests), Stuff Ethnic People Like, etc. I've been reading through different forms of these lists since Dec and read through most recently yesterday. The lists are quite funny, some items, quite scathing. The following things that white people like are strikingly pertinent to my life and made me realize that I am a lot more "white" that I thought!

Taking a Year Off (click for full explanation)

Scarves!! ( I Swear that I only wear them as a color coordinated accessory)- Click for full explanation

Arts Degrees (Proof that your local arts degree holder is one of the most important, well-read and overly analytical people in your community:-)

Or that my sister lives for Trader Joe's (guilt by association?)

Most black people who grew up in communities dominated by white people could probably identify with many of the things on the list. Black folks who didn't, well, wouldn't. We really should have our own list. Maybe I'll start it: Stuff Black People Who Grew Up the Burbs. Though I'm sure, if I searched hard enough, I'd find it. Harsh folks would call us, black folks inhabiting white areas, Oreos (this word has haunted and annoyed me since middle school). The creators of this list would call us self and culturally aware individuals who will someday bridge the gap between races. I suppose that some white people, reading a list about Black folks could have these same earth shattering revelations in addition to a good laugh. Though I'll say that I've met many white people who, in fact, disprove their whiteness according to this list.
Well, in attempts to remain fair and balanced...not the Fox News kind...I couldn't pass up the opportunity to delve into the many things into things that "Black people Like" (allegedly)

Revolution (I think my fist stays raised in my sleep)

Finding Out that a Criminal is NOT BLACK (The collective sigh is almost palpable)

Sure. It's all in good fun. I'm sure that the creators of such websites are culturally aware individuals who enjoy a diverse circle of friends and exist somewhere in "cultural ambiguity" land. But do these websites and lists present any danger to social and cultural progressivism (if there is such a thing)? I mean really? Do they simply provide us with a good laugh when assessing cultural difference or do they further serve to ostracize folks who do not fit these stereotypes? Is this the type of "conversation" that we should be having about race relations, or is it the reason that we can't get pass the problems that we have now. For you, none of this maybe an issue, your cultural sensitivity levels may be at an all time high. But for those of us who get our culture from the internet and TV, we must be careful what we feed ourselves.

The Stuff that We Should Really Be Worried About

But really, I think that it says alot about us that we are able to poke a little fun at culture and stereotypes. There some sort of cultural reconciliation that underlies all of this humor. But enough with this cultural sensitivity bit. You'll ruin my Friday night topics of conversation with my equally culturally aware friends. In fact, I think I'll pepper this enlightened moment with a foray into racial profiling: I think that I'll submit an entry: "Stuff White People Like: Mac Books." :-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

At the End of the Day, a little bit goes a long way....

A little virtue. A little patience. A little love. A little bit of respect. A little bailout...That's probably a t-shirt or something. A little less jealously. A little less recklessness. A little less war. This is what we can all hope for. Sometimes, a little less of one brings about the little bit of the others. Whatever the case, this week, it's been all about the 'little bit."

Recently, I've been absolutely committed to taking it one day at a time. Even the bible says not to worry about tomorrow, because it will, in fact, worry about itself. In reality, today and tomorrow are only a "little bit" of the rest of your life. My place of employment challenges this notion almost constantly. TODAY seems like the biggest thing that has ever happened to you. TOMORROW? Even bigger. It's hard to keep things in perspective and tuck today and tomorrow into the neat little confines of 24 hours. Lacking this perspective makes life the most overwhelming concept ever. But in a world, in a society, where gaining an inch is the new mile, "a little bit"may be all that we get......for now. But is that so bad? I know that everyone wants the world to change completely and radically, but how overwhelming would that change be if it were suddenly dumped in our laps. Heck, electing a black president was radical for most. And yet that " radical change" was made of every "little bit" that volunteers and field organizers and supporters gave to the process. Every community organizer that I know would follow me on this one, but to further illustrate the point I'll introduce you to Rose Musegass.

Rose Musegas was an 83 year-old Belgian woman who lived in Harrisonville, MO. She volunteered for the Obama campaign under the direction of my co-worker, Zach Werkowitch. This is a woman whose life witnessed the defeat of the Germans and the Republicans!! :-) Whose life is a better testament to the advancement of society? I write about Rose not just because she was a rockstar or because she always told me that I had a "cute touche" every time that I saw her, but because she is recently deceased. But she died in a changed world. A world altered by the little bit that she gave to the movement for change. The phone calls that she made, the doors that she knocked on.... The following convo between Zach and Rose during a campaign phonebank embodies the spirit of the woman that she was.

Zach: Rose, you've been here for hours, you look tired. I can take you home if you want.

Rose: Are you kidding? There are only two weeks left! We must keep going strong! This is how we defeated the Germans!

That was Rose...the woman whose little bit multiplied itself in memory and will always remain in the hearts of two organizers from Cass Co, MO. Rest in Peace Rose. :-)

Right now, I'm on a little bit of vacay. Let me tell you. It'll go a long way to ease the weariness of my working woman soul. :-) Gives me a little bit of time to remain still and reflect on life. A little bit of time to reconnect with old friends. Does a lot to sustain me in the immense ocean of future plans, grad school apps and resume building. But honestly.The essence of the little bit is that it turns into a lot. A little bit of peace and quiet yields a great deal of perspective. But not until we learn to appreciate it, and steward it! A Little bit of justice, for instance, grows only when people are helping it along. Humans are stewards of the earth, but more importantly, stewards of virtue. Therefore, we have not because we steward not. Soooooo. The STANDard here: We reap what we sow. And every amazing thing that we unearth in this world is a building block for something even more amazing and awe-inspiring. I'm sure that you've heard me say it before.

This is not a swan song for complacency, just some encouragement to drive the road of "little bits" until you reach your destination, because you may just find a "a little bit" about yourself, a "little bit" about others and a whole lot about your world.