I’ll Stand by You

weareone_logo

As a female, I have seen my share of discrimination. I have dealt with sexual harassment. I have fought hard to be seen for me and not for what stereotypes follow me. However, though I have had my struggles, as a white person, I also know that my struggles are nothing in comparison to the struggles that many of my friends (and others) have faced and are still facing.

I saw an article yesterday about “White Feminism,” and how it is hurting the cause simply because white women are not lifting up those around them who are not white. At first, I felt defensive because it’s not all of us who are failing to do that, but then I realized that I can’t be offended because it is happening.

There are times that my privilege (both being white and being straight) blinds me from fully understanding the struggles of others. But, I will say that for those of you who do not have the luxury of my privilege, I will and I am fighting for you always.

As a feminist, I will always fight for equality… among genders, races, religions/non-religion, sexual orientation, etc. I will always fight for what is right… and not because it’s my opinion, but because it is truly right.

Though the “White Feminism” thing disturbed me, what disturbs me most is that there are people in this world who are facing much worse. There are still people in this country that are constantly fighting to just get the same basic rights that we already have… fighting for their lives… fighting to just be seen as human.

The fighting is everywhere, and most easily seen on social media. When I see an article or story where people are pointing out the injustices of the world, the comments inevitably follow it are enough to make anyone shake their heads. The name-calling, swearing, and bullying are nothing more than high school-level idiocy.

“Snowflakes” is a term that people are using to describe those that are easily triggered or offended, and it is used quite a bit towards Liberals or anyone liberally minded. Here’s the thing: expressing an opinion that all people should have the same rights is not being triggered… it’s actually one of the core values of being an American.

One of the things that makes this nation so great is that we’re not simply one type of person. We’re a melting pot of cultures, religions, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, etc. Just because “White Straight People” may be the majority does not mean that the country is meant to solely benefit them.

There is no “War on Christianity.” Christians are not being persecuted simply because the world is asking you to be a good person and accept that people are not going to be the same as you. You were forced to bake a cake for a gay couple? Oh.my.God. At least 7 Transgender women have already been murdered this year, and 27 transgender people were murdered last year—most of them were POC. And you want to throw a fit about not being told “Merry Christmas,” red Starbucks cups, and baking a cake? You want to complain about being thought to be privileged?

The thing is, people are dying. People are being murdered, and we watch, horrified, from our couches. Then, we flip to Netflix to catch up on our latest binge. We do that because we can. We can escape the horrors of the world because they are not really affecting us.

What kind of person is able to look at pictures of children starving, screaming, and crying in a warzone and still be able to say “Don’t let them come here!”? The kind of person that can lock their doors at night and feel safe.

We can roll our eyes at protestors and scoff at “Black Lives Matter” because, I mean, really All Lives Matter, right? Do they?

Your words are saying one thing but your actions are saying something else entirely. You see, the world we live in is clearly showing us that not all lives matter, only those that the majority deem worthy to be cared about.

Just last week, two Indian men were shot in Kansas by a man yelling “Get out of my country!” One of these men died… not because he had done anything wrong, but because the color of his skin and his accent showed him as different.

Earlier this week, Ciara McElveen was stabbed to death in New Orleans. She worked on health care outreach for the homeless. She was also a black Transgender woman. She was the second black transgender woman to be murdered in New Orleans in three days (Chyna Gibson was the other), and the 7th of the year in this country.

There have been 100 bomb threats to Jewish centers… this year. Why? Anti-Semitism

There have been 4 Mosques that have been set on fire this year. Why? Islamophobia

These are true, real threats to people’s lives, and these barely scratch the surface of what some people are facing in the United States (and the world) right now. LGBT, POC, and many others are facing daily threats to their lives.

Their worries are not about people not wishing them a happy day or what color cup they are carrying their latte in. They are more worried about hiding the target on their back. They are worried about walking down the street. They are worried about going to their place of worship. They are worried about kissing the one they love in public. They are worried about staying alive.

These are real fears. This is real persecution. The fact that you can roll your eyes at violence and rant on Facebook about coffee cups is your privilege showing. We are white and straight. This does not mean that we have to be blind to the struggle and persecution of others.

Just because the world is changing does not mean that Christianity is under attack or that white people are going to be enslaved. It means that we need to step to the side and lift people up to our level. We need to make room on the podium for all religions, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, etc. We have been up here alone for far too long.

To conclude, I say to all those out there who are afraid and are truly facing daily discrimination, I may not face what you face or fully understand the struggles you go through, but I will always be by your side. I will help you carry the weight if you need me to. I will fight the battles alongside you. You are not and will never be alone.

I’m going to let you finish, but first…

So, I always do my best to avoid most political discussions, especially  on the internet. It’s a rabbit hole that doesn’t lead to any sort of wonderland.

I take pride in being open-minded, and I do my best to, at least, hear out other opinions… even if they are not the same as my own.

I think more political discussions should be thought of as that. Don’t start trashing the other person because they don’t agree with you. If we all agreed, then there would be no need for politics. It’s the nature of the beast.

Over the past week or so, I have been bombarded with various posts about Paris, refugees, and war. What is happening all over the world (to various countries) is absolutely terrible. I cannot even begin to fathom what some of the people are going through. My heart aches for each unnecessary death.

Seeing this destruction, these horrible events unfolding, makes me want to help the countries and the people.

Unfortunately, many of the posts about the world’s situation have not been so kind. (I say world because even a bombing/shooting in any country can affect us all… if you don’t believe that.. just ask Gavrilo Princip.. ya know if he was alive.. Google will suffice)

My faith in humanity is wavering.

One good thing has come from these posts. I have seen a push in discussions about veterans and the homeless. I’m not sure if people just realized they existed, or if they don’t realize that helping people within our country and helping refugees aren’t mutually exclusive.

In many cases, the posts about shutting out refugees have come from the same people who have typed #alllivesmatter. I’m not sure if they’ve simply forgotten that or if they actually just meant #imabutthurtwhiteperson.

All lives do matter, and we have always been the country to stand up and say that. This is not the time to back down.

I know there is fear in the world… in our country, but for most Americans, we cannot even begin to imagine what these people face on a daily basis. A true war has not been waged in our country in over a hundred years.

We may live in fear, but these people, these refugees, live in terror.

If we turn our backs on them, we are letting the terrorists win. We are saying that we are afraid of them.

We talk big, but when push comes to shove, will we back it up?

As American, I have been taught about amazing things that this country has achieved, but there’s the other side of history… of our country. Those sides are the moments that we try to sweep under a rug and pretend they didn’t exist.

Japanese internment camps. Bay of Pigs. Trail of Tears. Vietnam. Slavery.

One thing that these all have in common is that they are all in the past. We’re all human; we’re going to make mistakes.

Let’s not make a mistake now.

Let’s not be bigots or close-minded. Let’s not hate an entire race of people simply because of the extremists within them (would you want people to judge white people based on the KKK? Germans on the Nazis? Russians on Putin? Christians on Westboro Baptist Church)

Let’s remember that we are all human. That even if someone bullies  and scares us that we can still be great. We can face our fears.

We stand in front of a flag that we take to mean freedom and justice. We wave our colors and say that we’re proud to be American. Let’s not let that fall to the wayside.

Let’s show the world why we’re great. We don’t back down to threats.

Instead, we stand up for what’s right. We help those in need. We are good.

We are a country of various religions, ethnicities, and races. Though our culture is constantly changing, we will always be the United States of America.

Let’s make that mean something again.

 

Memory Clutter

Intoxicated by Memories and Feelings

I’ve been going through my stuff recently and getting rid of unnecessary items that I have collected over the years.

As I was doing this the other day, I came across a torn slip of paper. To an outsider, this paper would be trash, but simply by looking at this tiny slip of paper, I was transported back to the place that it ended up in my possession. It was a vivid memory–full of laughter and enjoyment, but it also brought me sorrow because I don’t have those moments anymore.

This is why I find it difficult to throw away even the simplest of items because, even if it means nothing to anyone else, it means something to me. It’s a frozen piece of time from a moment long ago.. or possibly not so long ago.

My mom has always been the type to throw away everything. She hates clutter. To be honest, I hate clutter, but I always find it difficult to let go of these seemingly insignificant material items.

It’s not like I don’t have the memories. I could go back to them anytime I’d like, but being able to touch, see, smell, hear something that was there the moment the memory was created helps me feel more connected. It’s like hearing a song that you used to love as a childhood and immediately remembering every word to the song the moment you hear the tune and sheer joy washes over you.

Smiling like a goofball, I stared at this little piece of paper for about five minutes before I realized that I needed to let it go.

By investing in my past, I am holding back my future. So, I crumpled this little sheet of paper up and sent it packing with all the other clutter-causing agents.

I think it’s important to remember your past and to cherish the memories you have, but material items shouldn’t control you.

Now that I’m trying to move out of the country, I’m trying to weigh what is really important against what I simply keep to remember. More often than not, the trash can wins the day.

I will always cherish the memories I have, but I need to let go of the material aspect of them. Plus, pictures are mainly digital now… and digital doesn’t count as clutter. 🙂

 

Barefoot in the Kitchen

When baking, Follow instructions. When cooking, go by your own taste

When I was younger, we always knew it was dinnertime when the smoke alarm went off. This is not to say that my mother was a bad cook.. she was just forgetful about the breads and baked goods for dinner.

We all sat down at a dinner table and ate together, swapping stories about our days and thoughts. My mom brought us all together with a simple meal that she cooked.

When I was old enough to be trusted with the stove, I tried to replicate my mom’s ability to throw a dinner together. It didn’t go well. I remember one time, when my parents at work, I actually caught a towel on fire while cooking. Luckily, my mom’s magazines were close-by, so I was able to quickly put it out.

Needless to say, I was not a good cook. My biggest accomplishment as a teenager was cooking Ramen noodles properly.

Once I was in high school, I decided I’d like to learn again. I mean, in a few years there was a chance of me living alone and then what? Ramen noodles every day?

My mom was patient with me, and slowly, I began cooking things that didn’t resemble the mush that they give prisoners in movies.

Now, years later, I’ve found that I excel at difficult recipes. It’s quite odd though because I still struggle at cooking simple items like grilled cheese sandwiches and Kraft Mac and Cheese.

I’ve come to love cooking and baking; it’s like being in science class and mixing ingredients to get the best possible results. When experimenting, I usually use my sense of smell to determine spices and herbs to use.. or in baking, the right amount of sugar and flour.

Me topping off my chocolate cheesecake

Me topping off my chocolate cheesecake

More than cooking and baking, I love having people over to enjoy the foods with me. For some unknown reason, there’s something great about cooking for hours and then having several people gush over how amazing you are. I don’t know what it is, but it’s nice. 🙂

But seriously, if you “suck” at cooking or feel like it’s a pain, find something that makes it interesting. Find a favorite recipe or something new that you’ve always wanted to try. The key is to keep practicing.

There are times when my food is “just okay” or something I simply toss after a couple bites, but overall, it feels good to finish cooking a good meal and sitting down at the table to eat. It brings me back to the days I lived with my family… and just for good measure, every now and then I burn something to set off the smoke alarm. Totally on purpose.. I promise.