Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dont Forget to Always Remember

I sent my little sister to college a few weeks ago. Quite an emotional experience for all who were involved. Standing on the curb by her apartment I gave her the standard big sister speech. I thought of all the things that she would encounter. All of the people who would try to persuade her. The collegiate moments that would shape the rest of her life. I couldn't help but be overcome with anxiety and the feeling that there were numerous things I had forgotten to tell her. And what would she do without those golden nuggets of advice?!?!? Undergrad, as I discovered, is a jungle of indecision and free-will. You test your limits, you find your boundaries...thankfully.

So, barring all of my inhibitions and shamelessly promoting my overbearing, big sister tendencies; I decided to write her a letter...well, a list really. Of things that I know, knew and wish (like Hell) I'd known about college. Here's goes...

(1) Go to to the gym and eat healthy once in a while. Your child bearing years, and more importantly, your 20's will thank you.

(2) College is not a digression from every ounce, of common sense that you ever had, but rather a progression toward adulthood. Treat it as such.

(3) Not every boy that you meet is your boyfriend, or your soulmate, or the love of your life. Some will just be your best friend, your comic relief, you protective big brother. Learn the difference between them.

(4) Take some 8 o'clock classes your last semester of school. Waking up for your job in the real world, will be much less of a shock.

(5) PARTY!! moderation. No one likes a party animal.

(6) STUDY. Your college grades DO MATTER.

(7) It's ok not to drink in college. Plus, you are not even 21! Pace your self.

(8) Try new music! I know they say that hip-hop is dead, but it's probably still on every station that you listen to. Find some banjo music, some opera, latin music, etc. Make a playlist, mix CD or something that reminds you of all the music you loved in college. So then, we you get your first job (and if it's boring) you can rock out at your desk and dream of yesteryear.

(9) DO NOT wear sweats or pajama pants to class everyday. You have clothes, wear them.

(10) TAKE pictures. They will tell the stories that you cannot.

(11) Call yo Mama. She still knows best. Plus, she will call you 2X as much if you don't call her.

(12)Vote. Because your sister taught you well.

(13) Get in at least one heated conversation per week with someone over a serious topic for which you will never find an answer. Religion, politics, global warming. Pick one. It helps to stretch your brain and entertain diverse opinions. That's what college is all about.

(14)Live. No really, LIVE. You will only be an undergraduate college student ONCE. Because once you get that diploma, the real world will expect more of you than your college professors and friends ever did. Grad school, by the way, is nothing like undergrad. P.S- I haven't been to grad school yet, so that's mere speculation.

(15) When you finish college, GROW UP. It would be really unfortunate to waste your 20's trying to figure out things you should already know. :-/ Still, never loose your sense of child-like adventure.

(16) NEVER EVER forget who you are and do not compromise your integrity. Try new things, sure, but remain rooted in the things that make you uniquely Shambree. Even as the world changes around you, don't be afraid to stand apart. If, somehow, you forget who you are, call your sisters, we'll remind you :-)

(17) Be a true, honest and loyal friend. You don't have to be the most popular person, but there should be at least a hand full of people who can count on you, and vice versa.

(18) Your diploma is not the end, it's just the beginning....:-)

Take these things to heart each day, not as commandments but rather as suggestions. From someone who has been there and done that. (0r at least thought about it ;-)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Doctor, Doctor, Gimme the News....."

"Ive got a bad a case of....." Oh wait, I think that's probably a pre-existing condition...

Let me start by saying that recent violence at Healthcare meetings don't surprise me at all. Ever since, I don't know, the American Revolution, people have been one political move away from having an Angela Bassett, Waiting to Exhale (burning the BMW) meets Madea chainsawing a living room full of furniture (Diary of Mad Black Woman) moment. Actually, it's a little refreshing to see people getting a little bit (well...very) rowdy over things that actually MATTER in this country. So at least instead of people throwing a fit over Mike Vick or the Real Housewives of Atlanta, we can take to the streets, and porches, and buses and water coolers and talk about why people can work 2 jobs and not be able to go to the doctor. Real talk.

And while being a black woman in the south who eats fried chicken and watermelon (you know that's all we eat ;-) at least bi-monthly renders me a walking health hazard, the real problem lies in the way that we view underprivileged folks in our society as not only economic burdens but also as social lepors. The numerous complaints made by the average town hall meeting attendee (as reported by the "liberal" media- if they were really that liberal, I'm sure we wouldn't seeing as much coverage of the town mob meetings and subsequent backlash against the president's plan) can be summed up as this " I don't wanna be paying for poor folks and illegals Mr. Obama. Before you know it we'll be Russia!"(Not only is this person probably on medicaid (government sponsored program), I'm sure Russia would be embarrassed by this comparison considering the current state of affairs). Huh? Ignorance strikes again! As we resort to irrational, often violent measures to stop the "socialization" of healthcare; the fight is truly making us look like a 3rd world country than anything. It's really about the condition of our hearts than anything. Not the physical condition but rather the moral condition. We're more worried about the bureaucracy of healthcare than administering healthcare. Some uninsured man just died of heart failure while some snobby college student from Colorado was challenging Obama to an Oxford style debate. Some wealthy (insured) family is pissed that they'll have to pay into a system where their undocumented nanny could get a checkup ( GASP! We don't even report her in our taxes!). Talk about congestive HEART failure. More like a failure to see the POINT in reform and townhalls!

It's true we won't get it all right in one fell swoop, but doing nothing, is just as ineffective as screaming at the top of your lungs at your congressman in the local community center having little or no correct information to support your tirade.

As Paul Begala explains (in the most logical thing I've read regarding healthcare lately) (Click the link); getting there (100% satisfaction) is not the point entirely, moving from where we are (much lower level of satisfaction) IS. But then, out of the ashes of weeks of back and forth comes. this EPIC DISAPPOINTMENT. Sadly, even with the radical change that America has pursued in electing the first lack president, we may end up living in an incrementalist hell hole until re-election comes around (Don't believe me? Don't know what an incrementalist hell is? Read for yourself (Story from Five Thirty-Eight). For now, it seems, that we are in the middle, wedged between Popularity and Progress. ( Click the link .) Promises and Politics. (Click the Link).Which we choose will say as much about as the journey that we have taken thus far. You already know where my vote is cast....

HEALTHCARE!! You mad?? I mean, REALLY, REALLY pissed? Good. You should be. :-)


Uninsured blogger.

**Fine print: Jonae Wartel does not endorse nor encourage excessive, ignorant, violent rabble rousing at Town Hall meetings but whole heartedly supports the people's right to righteously protest in an informed, productive manner. Except for cases in which the latter does not work. In this event, she supports a modified form of the former. Pre existing conditions still apply in all 50 states, at least for now :-) **

Saturday, August 8, 2009

23 is the NEW 40

Before, you think to yourself, "Oh, she's got the title backward." Follow me for just a minute. You always hear on the pop-culture/self-absorbed older women circuit, "Girl, 40 is the new 20!!". But lets take it back just a few years. Did you ever play dress up when you were a kid? It's silly, I know, but the concept is quite a metaphor for this day and age. As we witness the proverbial changing of the guards in our music, culture and politics (from dudes like Paul McCartney and Ronald Regan to dudes like Barack Obama and young "rapppers" whose songs are accompanied by ridiculous dances), I'd like to take an opportunity to remind you (as if some self-righteous politico/activist wearing box rimmed glasses and a Barack Obama t-shirt hasn't already)..." We are the future, and the future is NOW!" 23 year olds are running companies, launching magazines and clothing lines, even organizing communities and winning elections. Stuff we normally reserve for people TWICE that age. As quoted in the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, "we are never too young or too old to become what where supposed to be." 23 being the new 40 doesn't just mean that young people are playing dress up trying to be older, or getting Botox or buying luxury SUV's or shopping at Talbots (Eeeew!). It signifies that young people, while constantly doubted and discounted, are rising to the challenge like never before. Converse is the new business loafer, and the mohawk is the new Jason Priestly (you'd have to know a little something about haircuts to get that one). It's not like the world is being turned on its head though. We've just realized that age is not necessarily equivalent to skill or talent but CAN BE indicative of experience. According to Aaliyah, it was just a number. Yup, young folks. Coming to a high-level position and a corner office near you:-) It all reminds me of the reason why I started this blog, The STANDard It sprung out of and was inspired by every extraordinary young person that I've ever met. Good friends and brief acquaintaces. Current world changes in their respective corners of the earth. People for whom age is not a variable or ingredient in changing the world. Folks who were tired of what was being said about their generation. I applaud them.

There's yet another spin on the title. At 23 years old (Happy Belated Birthday to me), I have the tremendous honor and blessing of working on the Stacy Evans for GA House District 40 race as campaign manager. Yay! I am so excited about the opportunity to work with such a great candidate in state that I love and call home. I'm excited to be working with finance, field, PR and much more.

So, for those of you desiring silly insights in to my personal life, I've started this new thing recently. I began doning a giant pair of square rimmed glasses. One catch, they're lensless. Kinda Kanye West meets Thurgood Marshall. I actually got them when seeing Ice-Age 3D with my summer camp kids and in efforts to make them REALLY SERIOUS, popped out the 3D lenses. While they are way oversized, Ive been told on numerous occasions that I could "pull them off" and that I "look astute" (whatever that means). I like them because they are my sarcastic jab at adulthood and school of people who sit around and think all day; my rebuttal to the idea that glasses actually make you look smarter. But really, it's just the attempt to gain just a little footing in the world of "I made it!" adults all while building a bridge between them, and those of us who are trying our damnest to get there.

Eye Wear from the serious minds of our Time (If you know how I feel about Kanye West, you know I'm only half serious):

Kids, respect your elders. Elders, respect your kids. Either way, word to your mother. :-)