Tag Archives: Perspective

Congratulations, But We’re Not There Yet

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of progressive changes here in America. While some show us just how far we’ve come, others let us know just how far we still need to go.  I was reading the latest piece here on The Kinfolk Kollective (brilliant writer btw, check her out) about Viola Davis and nonsense (read bullshit) that ensued.

While I did not watch the awards, I saw the immediate spreading the joyous news of Viola Davis’ well deserved win on social media.  I think she’s an incredibly talented actor and I was very happy that she received her due in this well earned recognition.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for 'How to Get Away with Murder' onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Later I saw her speech, along with the very short and spread out list of other firsts and I was saddened to realize how little progress we’ve made in this area. To be honest, since I’m not a fan of the awards shows or their history I had no idea until this moment how far behind we were in this arena.

I remember seeing Halle Berry’s acceptance speech in my younger years thinking “cool, we’re there” and being completely oblivious to the fact that we are so far from it in this vein. Viola really hit the nail on the head when she pointed out you can’t win awards for parts not written. It’s a simple problem with a seemingly simple solution.  Right?

But of course no one can have their 15 seconds forget 15 minutes, in the sun before critics and assholes feel the need to tear people down with their own Ignorance.  This phenomenon was never more apparent than when a Tweet by an unnamed white actress (only because I refuse to offer any publicity with her name attached) who felt that Viola should have allowed someone else to write her speech for her. Are you kidding me?

So here we finally have the first African-American woman in this country to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama, and this person felt, either out of jealousy of the win or personal discomfort because it didn’t align with her life of privilege, that it should have been censored or desensitized for those who prefer to speak out of their asses because their heads are buried deeply in the sand.

If I can offer a brief but meaningful segue  – One of my favorite movies is A Time to Kill starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and the ever powerful Samuel L. Jackson. The 1996 movie is based on the book of the same name by John Grisham, and is a story told from the defence attorney’s perspective as he digs deep to defend his client (Samuel L. Jackson) accused of murder after killing the men who repeatedly and brutally assaulted his young daughter.  McConaughey’s closing speech as Southern defense attorney Jake Brigance is one that will stop your heart and give you the deepest understanding of racial divide that you never saw coming. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to watch it here.

After you regain your composure, feel free to join in the singing “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the Broadway musical Avenue Q and be sure to invite and include almost everyone you’ve ever known to join you in the chorus. There’s no shame in realizing that down deep you have some racially disparaging leanings at your core.  Of course you couldn’t.  You didn’t realized that you’ve been groomed this way from birth and while you may wash away some of it, there’s a couple of places you didn’t know were even there.

American society historically has been very racist and it didn’t stop with the end of the Civil War. In fact, slavery didn’t even end with the war. If you’re not familiar with Juneteenth look it up.  Don’t be surprised if you’re not familiar with it. It’s an event that is not taught in schools.  Why?  I don’t know.

I didn’t learn about the racially motivated Internment Camps to restrict the freedoms of Japanese-Americans during World War II either.  We learned a fraction of the relocation and atrocities committed against Native Americans by white settlers and Americans, too grievous a list to reference here.  Then again until the casinos opened, most folks thought that Native Americans were more historical figures than living peoples.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I guess that’s what that actress was hoping for with her tweets.

American History books would have us believe that this country was settled in harmony with only a few gunfights, a really cool railroad, the creation of the pony express and some really funny clothes and mustaches, then a few battles as part of the Civil War and once the war was over, we all continued living together happily until the 1950’s when we became a society divided again (for some unknown reason that nobody remembers I’m sure…) leading to Rosa Parks being the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement with the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Every generation does a little bit better, but we have to strive for it to keep progressing as parents, as industry, as a society, as a country.  Dr King said it best in his historic I Have A Dream speech “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.  While I have always been moved by, believed in and agreed with that sentiment, we need to remember it just as much now as on that historic day in August 1963 on the the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

I am constantly judged by those who see me as a caucasian woman, when the reality is that I am a genderfluid individual who only racially identifies as human, formerly married to an Afro-Cuban man for 10 years (which was illegal within my own lifetime btw) and is someone who has family and friends in every color of the rainbow and every position along the gender spectrum.   That’s not to say I’m not free of prejudice, not even close.  What it means that race and gender are not my identity nor is it my sole scope of experience for viewing the world around me; and as I recognize these flaws within myself, that awareness allows me to target it for removal like radiation directed toward cancer cells.. but only if I choose to do so.

Hate is a cancer of the human soul and prejudice is only one of its symptoms.  As we’ve seen in the past year racially motivated crime at an all-time visibility.  Understand that because of our changes in technology, these injustices are more visible than ever before, and with it comes the demand for accountability and change.

Please recognize that these are far from the only injustices that are occurring.  Young vets coming back are dealing with having to fight not only for their earned benefits but the continuing the fight they’d thought they’d left being as it haunts them constantly, creating an unprecedented veteran suicide reaching record numbers that this country has never seen before.

Transgendered individuals, both adult and youths are assaulted and murdered daily, make up a majority of the homeless population as backs are turned on them at every turn and maintain a suicide rate of over 40%.  These two things in particular you don’t see on mainstream news because they don’t feed the fires of racial tensions and controversy, instead they breed empathy and compassion.  That doesn’t sell advertising.

The honest truth of the matter is that it’s going to take many more generations of Americans to water down and weed out experiences known as daily reality for many, many people in this nation both past and present, but it takes work, and a lot of it.  There is no room for complacency, the old adage is true “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.

We as a nation and a society need to be proactive in repairing the current wounds and old scars of injustice for ALL of our citizens, not just the majority and the underserved need to be sought out.  Trust needs to be built, that’s the hardest part, and the nightly news makes sure to work against that because that’s how they get viewers and sell advertising.

So please look to the disparity around you and know that you can be the catalyst for change.  Compassion and empathy can make the difference in whether someone continues living or chooses dying.  Never forget that Rosa Parks wasn’t some visionary radical, she was a woman tired from a long day at work whose feet hurt.  Even the smallest pebbles can create the biggest ripples, you can be a superhero, all you have to do is use your powers for good.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

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Perspective is Everything

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Today my truck blew a tire while Bestie (my friend and roommate) was driving it.  It was a front tire, which on these sprawling country back roads could have been a recipe for disaster.  She didn’t lose control and was not hurt.

When she called her boss to say she would be late, he came to change the tire for her only to find out that my spare was damaged. While she was waiting a gentleman stopped to help.   Even though she and her boss had to get to work, the gentleman offered to go get a tire and put it on the truck while she was at work, letting her know she could pay him back when we have the money!

The gentleman was a local pastor and he had given her his business card, she in turn gave him her work number.  He called her later when the task was completed, apologizing because he could only get a new tire and it was (only) $50!

In the meantime, Handy Husband’s car blew a belt.  Because he had the money I gave him to pick up pizza, he had enough on him to purchase what he needed to make the necessary repairs.   So he and the co-worker he gives a ride weren’t stuck an hour away.

It was a really great day when you think about it…  How’s your day going?

 

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

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Did You Know You’re A Mentor?

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Most of us do what we do with something in mind.  Whether we’re trying to get from point A to point B, to forge a new path or to accomplish something to make your heart a little brighter we have a path in mind, we accept and recognize the interactions along the way.  Almost like watching a slot car in a track, we see the distance, we see the bumps in the track and we see where we hit the walls… but what if those are people.  We recognize our view of the interaction with other people, but we have no way of measuring or understanding their impact of our interaction… now, five minutes from now or five years from now.

Other than the standard comments or complaints, we don’t get much feedback in this life… especially in the long term.   Feedback on previous interactions can make a whole new focus in your life.  Imagine writing a note to someone only to find out they’ve held on to it for 15 years.  Envision the discussion with your child about an event in their childhood where you were having an issue due to your own childhood traumas only to find out that your child thought you were mad at them.  Or the friend or sibling that quotes you and tells you how it changed how they viewed things in their life.

Our personal perspectives of events shape us.  Something small to you can be a pivotal moment for someone else.  Finding out how it shaped others can empower, or humble or motivate or even free us.

As you’ll see in this clip, Whoopi Goldberg planned to use her acting skills to be a black female role model (which she’s done superbly IMO), the impact she had on one particular gentleman however… well, even her character Guinan didn’t see that coming.

If someone has touched you profoundly, consider the gift of sharing it with them.  They may have no idea that their words or deeds have made such an impact on you.  Such a gift can greatly impact their life as it has yours and deepen their self worth more than you can imagine.

In the meantime, keep being an inspiration and a mentor everyday.  You never know when you will make the difference in someone’s life when you least expect it.

{{hugs}}

Maggie

No Bones About It

3 Bones - Reba McEntire

Reaction vs Reality

Life is what Happens

Mountains or Clouds – Who Are You?

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This blog is called Simple Living and it’s dedicated to exactly that.  For me it’s more than just non-toxic cleaners, but non-toxic people as well.

I read a fabulous article today about The 4 Excuses We Use to Hold on to Frenemies”.  A great read, true in every sense.  We all have toxic people in our lives at some point.  Some are easier to eliminate than others.  I think we all get to a certain crossroads with people in our lives where we have to remove them or ourselves for self preservation.

I started a few years back in my own “people diet”, trimming those from my life who generate negativity.  My suffering has been minimized and my joys have increased.  I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to allowing people to treat me badly, so everyone now and again, I have to stop and assess my relationships.

  • Do I need to give more time and energy to make this relationship work?
  • Does it cause me or the other person more anguish than joy?
  • Is this relationship one sided? Am I the only one putting in effort?

This may sound odd, but sometimes you need to evaluate.

I see people every week on Facebook ranting about how they’re tired of “the drama” but won’t take the steps to remove it from their lives or to remove themselves from the situation.  Why?  Because we’re taught that quantity rules over quality.

I, like most people, have only a handful of people I’m close to, yet according to Facebook I have a couple of hundred friends.  In the grand scheme of things, I really don’t care for that word when it comes to online socializing.  These folks are not friends, they are my acquaintances; they’re people I’m friendly with but really are not friends with in the truest sense of the word.

My handful of friends are there, through thick or thin, through hell or high water, no matter what and I know it.

I was reminded of that again just last week at my going away party.  Of the 80 or so that were invited from my “friends list”, only the handful came.  At first it bothered me a bit, until I realized that I was being greedy for quantity over quality.  Something we all tend to defer to from time to time even though we know it’s quality that matters.

Those that came are the people I will be coming back to visit and who will coming to see me.  We will stay in touch and check on each other because we care that much about each other and their spouses, children, etc. These are the people who can bring a smile to my face sitting in a room next to me not saying a word or who can make me laugh while I’m crying my eyes out and I can do the same for them.  These are my friends.  These are who matter.

My true friends are the permanent mountains on the landscape of my life.  The rest are just clouds… they drift in, drift out, sometimes they make the day pretty and let the sun in, sometimes they block the sun and just bring storms.  Funny thing about mountains, they’re always there, always strong.  Sometimes the clouds obscure your view of them, but you can have faith they’re right there.

My mountains are the people who never stir drama just to watch others suffer, who only build me up and encourage me.  They provide shade and shelter from the storms of my life and strength when I am at my weakest.

Friendship, marriage, relationship… all the same thing really.

They take time and they take work but they are so worth it.  Don’t try to appeal to the masses, spend your energy bringing quality to those who bring it to you.  Remember that the only person you can force to be a good friend.. is you.

Look at the landscape of your life.  Find your mountains and just let the clouds drift by.  Enjoy the scenery of your mountain chain and the joy of simple living will be yours.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie