Dear America (Not Just One Color of You)


Dear America,

As long as we continue to define our perception of people by their color, there will be racism.

The thing that bothers me is our never-ending need to stuff individuals into categories. As long as the news, our politicians, our children, our brains continue to put color, race, sexual orientation, or religion as our defining title, then we as a nation will continue to struggle.

There are few times that we need to label an individual, and in day to day conversations, I don’t understand the need to specify that a “white girl” sat next to me on the bus or a “black man” waited on our table. Why must a “gay man” be defined as your best friend or a “latino woman” as your neighbor. When you stop clarifying you stop noticing.

And I’ve had people tell me how offensive it is that I no longer go out of my way to notice the color of their skin because they use it to self-identify, but I don’t see it that way. I don’t need to describe my neighbor as a “white male about 45” because I am not putting up a lost persons ad. I can tell you about him, my neighbor is a nice guy, he loves to laugh. He drives a Harley. He smiles with his whole face. If you asked, I can tell you his ethnicity and religion, but I don’t think of these things as his defining quality.

Now, as for current events, I wasn’t there. I can’t tell you if that “white cop” shot that “black guy” because he was black or if it was in self-defense.

I can’t tell you if destroying Baltimore is the right thing to do, because I am not the person who decides what is right or wrong. (If you were wondering, if I lived there I would certainly not be participating because I believe causing injury and damage only creates a mob mentality that the rest of the nation will not take seriously.)

But I’m really tired of listening to the news and being told that a black man was killed by a white cop today. I want to hear when deaths and terrible things happen in my community (and good things! I want to hear good things!), but I don’t think that the color of their skin should be the reason they make the news. Why are some of the reports of police officers killing white people not making the news? The newspapers are more concerned with the color of their skin than the fact that someone lost their life.

So, what I see as the challenge for ALL American is: see a person as a person before you try to categorize them in your mind.
Why are you noticing when a white person walks through a predominantly black neighborhood? Why does it matter if a Muslim owns the gas station down the road? Why do we need to check an ethnicity or a race on our standardized testing, on our taxes, on our job applications? Why can’t we stop comparing categories? Because when you stop continually having them pointed out, you stop noticing.

I don’t notice these things first anymore. Which is why it has been so hard for me to believe there was still racism in today’s society, I had stopped noticing race a while ago, I see us under one umbrella: American.

United we should stand, because we all share one thing in common: we are humans.

Update: As I reread my post, I realize that I didn’t address the fact that I think history, culture, and heritage are interesting and important, but I really don’t feel they define us. They may play a role in developing us, but they are not a definition. 

The Wisdom of Jim


Firstly, let me admit, I don’t actually know who Jim Halpert is. I discovered this quote on Pinterest, The Land of Discovering Everything. And it stuck in my mind because things have been getting serious with my boyfriend of not quite a year. (Holy cow that is coming up soon.. I probably need to go find him a gift!!) But things keep getting serious, and in between these moments of pure I-Never-Want-to-Leave-Your-Arms-Happiness there are niggling doubts that keep appearing.

Let me share them with you, because perhaps by expressing them in writing I can learn to, as Jim suggests, forget about the logic and fear and doubt, and let go. Take the jump…

Niggling Doubt #1: I can share any real information with him. I can tell him anything about my day, and the future, and the past, but if I try to spark a creative topic, something that cannot be easily applicable to his life, he tunes me out. He just stares at me like I’m speaking a foreign language. And to his very man-logical self, I sure am speaking a foreign language. This is something that I am struggling with adjusting to. All of my best friends and I have these long fanciful conversations. My roommate and I in college would chat about these crazy ideas after we turned out the lights before our dreams overtook us. I cherish these conversations, as they are the way my brain processes everything. As I drift off to sleep, fanciful ideas and concepts are my only thoughts. My father does not think this way, but my mother does. So clearly that relationship can work… But it’s hard to think of him as my best friend when he won’t/can’t have the conversations my best friends and I have always had.

Niggling Doubt #2: Does he have to be my best friend? Can’t he just be ONE of my friends? Can’t he just be my boy + friend?

Niggling Doubt #3: I am very messy. This irritates him constantly. He says he can live with it and that I’m getting better, but is that fair to him?

Niggling Doubt #4: Back to #1, we’ve never had a strong conversation about faith, either. I have been with him to church, he’s even recently suggested God sent me to him… but without a God conversation, is our relationship really built on His ground?

Niggling Doubt #5: I have to bribe and pull teeth and beat him in to submission to get him to watch a movie I’ve picked out. And 99 times out of 100 he still doesn’t make it through it because “they’re not interesting”

Niggling Doubt #6:  We have overlapping music tastes, but if I pick the music it is bad and not anything good.

Niggling Doubt #7: I keep feeling as though I do a lot of things to irritate him, but because I sometimes have an overly explosive/semi-dramatic way of handling things he can’t express them. I fear I’ve ruined our open communications by being childish. But clearly he’s still in for the long-haul, as he’s stuck around.

Niggling Doubt #8: We’re too much alike sometimes. We both struggle with not getting our way, which sounds so childish when I say it like that. I want to be the person that drops it, because I know it won’t matter in the long-run, but then I just feel like I’m being run over, so I have to dig my heels in exceptionally.

Niggling Doubt #9: The fact that I have 8 other doubts.

According to Jim, I should take a big breath and forget about logic and reason, forget the fear that these matter too much.

But I struggle sometimes with forgetting fear..

Any words of advice? Things you’ve found in your relationships? Things you know are a problem, and things you know that when I’m 40 I’ll laugh at worrying at?

Self Confidence


Do I take things personally because I lack confidence
Or is the self something that knows
Every little barb
I am not good enough
Every jab
I need to do more
Every angry word

How can I fix something
That is constantly ripped down

When I crucify myself
It is too far
Too hard on myself

I start to believe
Then you say what I’ve thought
Out loud
Matter of fact
Like I should already know

How do I get better
When I just keep feeling worse?

The Power of Stupid Conversations


I don’t know about you, but when I try to think about what it is that my friends and I sit and talk about all day long, I can’t really come up with a list. It’s not usually intellectual, that’s not to say we don’t have smart things to say about whatever we’re talking about, but we don’t sit down and discuss the thematic variations of Shakespeare, or the interesting reaction between Sodium and water in Chlorine gas. We talk about stupid things, Scrubs, Better Off Ted, the weird books we’ve read, the bad movies we’ve watched, the weird new games we’ve tried, it leads to hours and hours of conversation because each one leads to another story and another.

I feel so lost when I lose my stupid conversations, it makes me feel like I’ve lost all my fun, like I’ve lost my creative and interesting parts.

This really has come around because it has been months since I’ve seen my best friends, and I miss being able to talk for hours about nothing. My life has become in a rut, and I miss my stupidity.

The Last Relationship Advice You’ll Need


I have always been the kind of person who seeks advice. Advice about EVERYTHING because I want to hear the affirmation that I am doing the correct thing. And relationship advice was the one I sought the most, for the first 21.5 years of my life I asked advice about every single thing I would say, every action a crush might make, and I would attempt to read into every text, every motion, every smile.

Let me tell you something I’ve learned this last half of a year, something I wish I’d *really* understood. In my opinion, some of the best and last relationship advice you’ll ever need:

If you need advice that is not the right person.

Now I’m not saying this is true about every scenario, I recently took a poll of my male friends and brothers trying to find the BEST first Christmas present for my current boyfriend. But if you need advice and find yourself spending more time analyzing and discussing your significant other or crush than you do actually talking to your significant other or crush, you are not in a good place. The relationship I’ve recently found has worked so well because we have this, sometimes weird, ability to discuss ANYTHING.

No, this is not infallible, I, in particular, have quite a few unnecessary walls, but that’s a post for another day.

My point is that if you can’t talk about your relationship with the person who is actually in the relationship with you, you will not be satisfied.

Babies in your 20s


Recently it has occurred to me how much life changes during your 20s. Today I’m going to address the situation of having babies.

Not too long ago, pregnant was that terrifying ‘P’ word uttered by my high school peers that were participating in activities I felt we were too young to be doing. At the age of 22 my peers have a very split view of pregnancy: about half are fully prepared and attempting for it (or have already successfully had their babes), and the other half still find it a terrifying word that has repercussions they know their lives are not ready for.

This entire thought has occurred recently because of the news of many of my friends/facebook acquaintances. Many of them are becoming pregnant, and a disappointingly high number of them are experiencing miscarriages. It is an awful thing for them to go through, and I, still being at the “Oh God, please don’t let me get pregnant right now” phase, can’t fathom or help them deal with. Condolences are just not enough to losing a baby you so dearly wanted and had already fallen in love with.

I guess I just can’t get over how big a difference five years’ time makes. Five years ago, as children, some would have prayed for this news (as sad as that is) and would have found being pregnant the end of the world. Now, the miscarriage is the end of the world, and pregnancy is the blessing. It is a weird and uncomfortable thought, because the latter is what I would consider the ‘right’ way of thinking (even though I still fall under the “Oh please don’t let me be pregnant” category.

I guess that is the big difference between being an “adult” and being a child.

I guess I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, but I am keeping my friends in my thoughts and prayers. And it’s given me more to think about, and will probably influence the way I raise my [far, far in the future] children. It’s disturbing, now that I’m an “adult” the way my peers thought back in the day. I hope other children don’t think and feel that way, now that I’ve seen the devastation and heartache that comes with the loss of something so desperately loved. How can you wish that away as a child?

A Little Giant’s Tantrum


Here’s a small kid’s story that just came to me today. (Like seriously, I was walking around chanting it) when it hit me that I needed to write it down and have one of my awesomely artistic friends look into illustrating it.

He beats the hill
And stomps the ground
A giant’s tantrum looming

The earth will shake
The ground will quake
The little giant fuming

His mother frowns
And looks around
Worried someone is watching

She asks him nice
To be polite
He just continues screaming

She taps her foot
And shakes her head
Her temper is a rising

He throws himself
Upon the ground
Not seeing what is brewing

Her face turns red
Her lips get thin
Another giant seething

Two giants rant
Two giants rail
The hill begins a moving

They’re both too mad
They’re both too loud
They don’t notice it shaking

Rocks sliding down
Trees on the ground
Two giants keep a squalling

The hill topples
Two giants fall
Mother and son are weeping

Let this be a
Lesson to you
When your mother is scolding

A tantrum can
Take down a hill
Or a couple giant things

Just think about
Little ‘ol you
And what a tantrum might bring