silver spoon

 I am not rich and I am not poor.  (The silver bars on the left are not mine.)  I am blessed.  Those silver bars on the left allowed me to visit my sister last month after a business trip.

I’ve been watching the Occupy Wall Street protests with interest for the last month or so.  Watching, because one of the blessings I have is a job.  And also I live in Podunk, population 3 people who would be into OWS and 30,000 who would just go on about their day and call the OWSers dirty hippies.  (I know, I know – excuses, excuses, right? but seriously.  Podunk is GOP-land.)

My idiot friend believes that the OWSers are arbitrary in their anger against the 1%, considering that even the 99% here in the US still have more than 90% of the rest of the world.  I believe that argument is a derail of the flavor: “stuff is worse other places, so you should be happy you’re not there, and fix those things first before you complain about here.”

Meanwhile, a website called slaveryfootprint.org can tell you how much slave labor contributes to your normal daily life.  Take a quiz and find out “how many slaves work for you” (my # is 46).  Except there’s no tangible way to free them.  Apparently, you can download an app on your phone and then email companies that use slave labor to express your displeasure.  There’s really no easy answer on this one.  There is so much that we use here that at some point had human rights violations attached, it’s quite difficult to handle untainted material.

So even though it was a derail, my idiot friend has a bit of a point.  OWS isn’t wrong.  But we need a parallel, global OWS.  The haves are continually putting their humanity above that of the have-nots.  I do this myself.  How many times does my lazy behind not do something for someone/some group simply because I don’t want to get off my keister?  or come up off a couple dollars, a bit of time, and some elbow grease?

I’ll admit that because of my privilege, my favorite way to help out is to just throw money at a cause.  It’s something I can do with minimal effort, and it generally does make a difference.  Sometimes I find it to be the more sensible response, as the economy of my flight to some poverty stricken area for a week versus me donating the price of that plane ticket.  This is why I disagree with short mission trips to the Global South.  Sure, folks get a glimpse into life somewhere else, but they don’t get much done, and they spend a gajillion dollars to end up building a hut, when that money could’ve built a whole hospital, and given people jobs.

Anyway, the plight of others doesn’t eliminate the current situation in our own country: a growing dichotomy between the ruling 1% and the working 99%.  If you start looking at charts and graphs about when the disparity really took off, they all point to the early 80s – and Reagan.  And yet, we currently have GOP candidates who revere Reagan, but are actually much further to the right than he was.

I’d like to be a little more clear on what I can do to stop contributing to what I do not want to support, without losing my job.  I hope that’s the next phase.  Because what are you going to do with a bunch of guilty people?  Other than desensitize them to it so they can enjoy Thanksgiving whole-heartedly.

Because compared to some, I really was born with a silver spoon in my mouth.  And I should do what I can for those who have no spoons.

 

 

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a new chapter: the world is upside down

It’s been 8 months since I’ve written here.  Partly because life got more complicated.  Well.  Mostly because life got more complicated.

Back in September I mentioned a bit about the changes at my job.  Even before that, I’d mentioned my boss.  Looking back on it now, it’s very clear that she was abusing me – verbally/emotionally.  Not just me, but me more than other people.  When I first started there, I thought that she was great.  Then I found that she was sometime-y, alternating sweet and mean.  But it seemed to be with everyone.  Time went by, and it seemed like I was getting a lot of hits, but I figured that I just wasn’t seeing other people get the short end of the stick.  It wasn’t until my work-buddy said something to me because he noticed that I was particularly getting picked on that I realized how bad it had gotten.  As I am wont to do, I internalized quite a bit, multiplying my white hair, contemplating quitting and complaining to my family on the worst of days.  When my work-buddy left, greatly influenced by her general suckiness, I became focused on finishing a particular project and getting out of dodge.

A few months later, things started moving quickly, we were interviewing candidates to take over for my work-buddy and settled on one.  The day she started, my boss tendered her resignation.  I was shocked – blindsided, really – and a little sad…weird, I know.  The woman my boss had been grooming had always said that she’d leave if the boss left, but I wasn’t sure if she really would or not.  And in the interim, she took over.  A week after my boss’s last day, the new girl and another coworker quit.  They were gone the following week.  But a week later, the guy wanted to come back.    My company balked at that, and it wasn’t clear if they would let him return.  I took on quite a bit of additional responsibility as the more senior woman and I handled the work previously handled by ourselves + 3 other people.  It was a difficult time, but when things are that dire, you just do what you can do.  No one is really expecting you to be able to do 3-4 people’s jobs.  At least not at my job.  Two weeks later, my last compatriot gave her two weeks notice.  That’s when I thought I would become a babbling idiot.  I took a short vaca to get away from it all (because I actually had to use the time) and came back to a pure unknown. Continue reading

in need of a flux capacitor

Sometimes I wonder if this is what my life is going to be like.  You know – for the foreseeable future?  Lately it’s been like I’m watching everyone move on, and I’m still here.  In the same place.  Doing the same thing.

I wouldn’t say I’m not happy – just that I expected more.  And it’s much more clear to me now that ‘more’ is something I’ll have to go out and get myself.  Being not-so-easily motivated makes that difficult.  But I can see this is the time for change, for better or worse, I suppose.  Even an old friend that I’ve always kinda counted on to be reliably safe&boring, tho still somewhat unpredictable [reconcile that], has decided to exercise his unpredictable side this year.

With my work-buddy gone, and the shutdown of what was once the major part of my department at work, I guess I can see the handwriting on the wall.  Leaving is complicated and tiresome and risky and scary – all things I’d much rather avoid.  Which is what I usually do, to my own detriment.  Here’s hoping that I can grab ahold of my own “change [I] can believe in”.

historical moments in the shy life [series intro]

Last night I couldn’t get to sleep because…oh yeah – a moth got into my house, made it’s way into my bedroom, and wouldn’t stop fluttering against the wall.  I have a thing about smooshing bugs – I hate doing it.  The gushy-ick makes me gag and shudder and I just plain hate it.  So I either shoo/cajole them out of the house/car or spray them with odorless Raid until they stop moving.

So my plan of attack?  Moths like light, right?  So I turned off the fan and light in the bedroom and turned on the hallway light and the guest bath light.  Once I’d gotten the moth into the hallway, I closed my door, turned off the hallway light, and left the guest bath light on.

A smart moth would’ve taken the hint.

This was a dumb moth.

It decided to crawl back under my bedroom door.

The dumb moth is dead.

Obviously, I couldn’t go to sleep with a moth beating itself against the wall and me thinking about the possibility of it landing on me while I slept [things moving around in my house while I’m asleep freak me out – this is one of many reason why I cannot foresee myself ever having a pet…besides fish].  So while I put my moth-light trick into effect, I was thinking about things…

Like my life.  And my blog.  And then, I suppose one thing led to another, as I stood next to the guest bathroom door in my pjs, holding my can of odorless Raid, and squinting because I’d already taken my contacts out.  I thought – hey – I should do a series on pivotal moments in my life.  I mean – it’s my blog – wouldn’t that be so amazingly interesting?

shy moments

I know I’m thrilled.

dancing on the tightrope

The tears are here.

I spent the last two years in thought, in anger, in fear, in prayer, in despair, in faith – with occasional glimmers of hope.  When the nomination was won, I wasn’t all that happy, cuz my girl didn’t win.  I wasn’t surprised – I wasn’t despondent – but I wasn’t crazed, like a lot of people were.

As time went by, I became more convinced that Obama would win.  I had lingering doubts, but I was pretty sure by the time November 4th came around.  I couldn’t help getting swept up in some of the Obamania – like the Yes We Can video, and the pictures from all over the world, of people who wanted Obama to be our next president.  I’d felt ambivalent about Barack for awhile – when I noticed that once the smoke cleared after his inspiring speeches, I never actually had any substance to hold on to.

His first speech that I watched – in 2004 – was incredible to me.  I thought, “Wow!  Who is heHe should totally run!”  That speech was truly inspirational, and gave me hope for the Party.  When he announced his candidacy, I thought – well, hey, that’s great – he’ll get a chance to learn the ropes.  I wasn’t thinking that he had a chance to win.  I wasn’t thinking that I wanted him to.  Part of me did – just for the historicity of it – but mostly, no.

I voted Green.  Because I wanted to.  I stood in the booth, choosing between two black candidates for the office of President (!), and even then, I wavered.  But I did what I’d already resolved to do, go with my heart and vote Green.  Living where I do, I had no illusion that we might end up a blue state.  Certainly not Green.  But I did my part to be heard – to be counted.  And I watched as the votes were tallied by poll estimates.

I hoped.

I stayed up incredibly late, considering I had to go to work the next day, and watched as history was made.  I saw other people cry, but I didn’t.  I was happy that McCain didn’t win.  I was happy that the Obamas would be moving into the White House.  I saw the handwriting on the wall – a friend of mine stated that the only positive thing about the election results was that they proved that racism is over in America.  This, on a grander scale, was what I’d been afraid of.

Nationwide, there has been an uptick in proclamations of a ‘post-racial era’ having been ushered in by our newly elected President.  Today, I watched Oprah speaking with Demi and Ashton about their part in the political process.  They (the Moore’s) have put together a video of famous people taking Obama’s pledge – Demi directed.  In the video, there’s a guy (I don’t know his name) who says that he pledges to think of himself as an ‘American’ and not an ‘African-American’.

Oprah said she loves that.

I don’t.

That’s when I started thinking about this whole thing.  This whole new era that has most certainly been ushered in by the historic events that will continue to take place through this presidency.  It’s a tightrope.

I’ve been afraid to hope, because

  • Promises from politicians haven’t ever meant much
  • Backlash is brutal
  • I wanna at least hold on to the progress that we’ve made up to this point
  • I know that this is gonna be hard. real hard.

So I kept being pragmatic.  At the price of sometimes being labeled a naysayer, or raining on parades.  But it’s true – this is NO time for complacency.

But at the end of Oprah today, David Foster, Will.I.Am, Faith Hill, Seal, Bono, and Mary J. Blige sang a new song.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Download and Watch America’s Song“, posted with vodpod

And I cried.

It is a tightrope that we’re on.  Hope is a thread.  It’s fragile.  It must be guarded.  It must be cultivated.  It requires something of you.  Of us.  If we’re all gonna be out here on the line together, we have a responsibility to keep our neighbor’s standing.  It affects us all.

Tonight, though?  I’m dancing on that tightrope.  In step with the rest of you.  Through the tears – I’m dancing.  May God keep us together.

Something New

After much thought, I’ve decided to join the many, and throw myself [my ideas – and everything else] at the mercy of the blogosphere. So here I am, unsure of how all this is going to work, but just a little bit excited to begin.

This year brings me to my [gasp!] 30th birthday, and the firm realization that I’m not a kid anymore. Not that I’m supremely irresponsible – but I do still refer to folks as ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ [although I frequently alternate ‘guys’ for ‘boys’, there seems to not be a similarly informal handle for ‘women’, which is actually somewhat annoying to me]. But yeah, with a mortgage, job, car, and all the other trappings of adulthood, it’s finally starting to sink in.

Meanwhile, it promises to be a momentous year for quite a few other reasons – not least of which is the presidential race and subsequent election. Then there’re my plans to visit Rome, take violin lessons, seriously consider whether I’ll remain in my current location [Podunk, Bible Belt, USA] or relocate. I’m considering what direction I’d like the next decade of my life to take, and for me, there’s a good deal of fear involved. [I’ve tended to live my life according to this philos: “better a live chicken, than a dead duck”]

I’ve not yet decided whether I’d like to focus on one specific topic, maintain a stream-of-consciousness style commentary on my life as it intersects with the rest of the world, or whether I want to take on a few partners in the development of this small corner of the web-community as it now exists.

So there’s a lot yet to be worked out – but I’m going for it. The writer’s strike [a la WGA] has afforded me the opportunity to reprioritize. And read more. And write more, hopefully. [and watch more movies, and take violin lessons, and sleep more]

Say goodbye to the inaugural post, then, and hello to –me–   my-grin1