The Struggle is Real

Getting real tired of opening social media, turning on the tv, or any other type of news gathering option, just to see that the POTUS has once again tweeted some bullshit immature spout off instead of acting in a manner befitting his office. I’m sick of seeing the arguments and reactions it causes. I’m sick of the embarrassment (at best) and horror (at worst) I feel in response to the actions of the government I had very little say in electing. Made the mistake of watching a Netflix documentary called “What The Health” and that made me so fucking sad. Combine that with the very real effects climate change is causing all around me and it’s making it way too easy to want to give in to apathy and depression.

It’s a constant battle every day. Trying to motivate myself to not give in to despair. To rally and find causes worth putting effort into. Clinging to hope in the face of cold logic. Reminding myself to appreciate the little moments of joy I am privileged to experience daily. It’s a struggle, and I’m sure I’m not alone in it. Thank goodness for support networks. Thank goodness for the people who love me and the people who let me love them. For asshole cats who hug back. For the power of music and the feel of a hand holding mine. For that first bite of something delicious made with care. For humor in the face of fear. For hot baths and good books to get lost in. Thank goodness for the little things that allow me to keep going despite the raging swell of negativity that surrounds me. Some days tho…it’s all I can do to get out of bed.

Advertisements

Merry Christmas

Every one deals with existential crisis at some point in their lives. Why are we here? What’s the point of life? What could my purpose possibly be?

Everyone has a different answer.

Christmas time is supposed to be a magical time where you can reconnect to that innocent spirit and remember your belief in magic, in miracles, in the basic decency of humans. Unless you live on Earth in the year 2017.

There is so much devisiveness, so many people and media outlets trying to convince people to pick a side. Hatred and fear infiltrating societies around the globe. Life sustainability threatened on a global scale. Planet that supports human life on the decline. Species going extinct at record rates. Crops and livestock suffering casualties daily. People attacking people every second. Peace on Earth…the most foreign of concepts that no one is willing to embrace anymore.

Is this the end times? Do we stand here and watch as people around the globe do one of three things? Do we watch as they ignore the problems humans have created? Do we watch as people kill one another and the planet we depend on? Do we help assist in the mass genocide of all living things on the planet? Or maybe we chose a fourth option. Maybe we stand and we look fear in the eyes and we say “No, not today, today we elevate and become what we’re capable of. We don’t give in to fear, to hate, to insecurity, and to destruction. Today we recognize that humanity and this planet is worth fighting for. We recognize that money is an arbitrary concept, that we are stronger together. We resolve to put in the effort, to be vulnerable, to choose creation instead of destruction. Today we can embrace the magic of the season and we can make a choice.

Choose life, or choose fear. Up to you, but think hard and think long. Because really it’s on all of us.

Airport Bathrooms

Why am I posting a picture of a tile mural from the entrance to a women’s bathroom in the MSP airport?  Because it’s become symbolic to me. I blame my awesome boss for that, by the way, he pointed out how nice the bathrooms are there in a meeting and now I can’t help but notice, appreciate, and compare all other airport bathrooms to them. I get that they’re just a bathroom in an airport but think about it. You’re traveling, which can be stressful. Plane bathrooms are tiny and gross. These are large and clean, bright and well designed. There are hooks and shelves, well lit mirrors, an area to tuck a stroller in… plus those murals. The whole airport is nice actually. Wide seats, free charging stations everywhere, a good variety of stores and food and it all makes traveling easier and more enjoyable. My hometown airport has set the standard by which I judge all other airports. It helps me appreciate coming home. It reminds me that my motto “do better always” needs to apply to everything, not just the big things. It needs to apply to the small, usually overlooked, things too…like bathrooms. Because those small things are often the unifying factors of humanity. When you do that people notice and they appreciate it and hopefully it inspires them and they can go off and inspire others.

Throwback Thursday (The New “Middle Class”)

I questioned who was benefiting from this shallow society we now live in. Pondered what the cushion between the haves and have-nots was, now that the middle class has all but disappeared. As I was debating this topic with another person the answer suddenly presented itself.

The new cushion between the rich and rest of us is the entourage and handlers who make their living suckling at the teat of wealthy individuals. Take for example one of the major players, Jonathan, of Village Green Properties. He is a millionaire (he has an F150 Ferrari hanging from his ceiling…just because) who continually makes poor design decisions and wastes money on ill-advised projects. He has an entire executive staff who will stomp down upon one another to get in his favor or impress him so they can climb ever closer to him on his corporate ladder. They refuse to say no to him out of fear he will cast them aside. They do not share the valid concerns of lower employees about issues that arise at his properties. They will ignore cost-effective/ethical solutions brought to their attention by anyone lower on the totem pole than they are. They would rather chew people up and spit them out in a pattern of failure than address the idea that the process Jonathan has put in place, or their own terrible ideas aren’t successful. Anyone who appears to be willing to offer Jonathan a different opinion/option is seen as a threat and kept at bay or let go. The hard workers who would ensure continued revenue at rental properties are continually sacrificed to balance mismanaged budgets and take the fall for mistakes of the entourage.  I have seen it happen at several companies I work for as well.

This isn’t only applicable in the business world. Society in general treats wealthy people as if they deserve more respect and less accountability than non-wealthy people. It usually has nothing to do with a winning personality either. It is the hope that by being nice to, and doing favors for, rich people, they will bestow some of their wealth and protection to the people surrounding them. It is the collection of people hoping to get close enough to the money tree to break themselves off a branch or two that form a protective bubble of delusion around those rooted in prosperity. They are the ones who keep the rich safe from the outrage of the poor.

As the pool of super wealthy consolidates to a smaller and smaller number, will the entourages of each rich person left also dwindle? At what point will people stop chasing the almighty dollar and open their eyes to the dysfunction of planetary management. Money has an arbitrary value which means we ultimately control what it is worth. The fact that so many people sacrifice ethics, integrity, time and even lives for a made-up commodity is pretty ridiculous if you stop and think about it. Greed has already been the downfall of many people and civilizations, yet it appears that too many people have not learned the lessons of our past. If we don’t stand up to greed and put an end to its reign it will also be the downfall of our entire population.

Realizations

I think I can count on one hand the times I’ve grabbed my “real” camera to go on any type of photo shoot since the police came to seize my laptop so they could check it for evidence of child porn over a year and a half ago. I never did get the laptop back, even after ex husband died and their case against him was a moot point, the police refused to give me my laptop back or even a copy of my extensive picture collection I’d edited and stored on it for years.  *disclaimer for anyone who doesn’t know the back story…I do not and never have looked at child porn,  it was my now deceased ex husband who’d bookmarked some sites that contained (among other things) images of child porn and I about died of horror the day I found out.

I’ve told myself a lot of excuses since that day on why I don’t feel like taking my camera out. Grief over the death of my dad,  plus miscarriages,  plus finding out husband bookmarked those porn sites,  plus the divorce,  plus the rest of my immediate family falling apart…the list was endless. What I never considered was the effect losing a huge chunk of my work meant to me. I didn’t stop to think about the connection of that loss being tied to pictures in of itself. I had so many pictures of my niece on that laptop,  of my friends kids from all the family photo shoots I did…frozen moments of time where they were being silly or happy. Did some police officer spend hours of time searching through my neatly organized folders just itching to find one that would prove I had any intention of exploiting an innocent child? That concept actually did cause me trauma. I felt like my entire body of work was somehow sullied just by association. I think that,  more than the rest,  is why I can’t bring myself to pick up my camera and try to capture an interesting or beautiful moment. I love(d) photography,  it was a creative outlet but now I just use my phone for everything because I’ve never associated cell pics with being “real” photography. I don’t even own a laptop anymore and I keep putting off getting one. I think I need to find a way to try and get over this. Yes I lost everything, but I can’t let it stop me from building up a new collection. It’s crazy the things we hide from ourselves because of negative emotions and fear.

Lies Are Easy, Truth Is Hard

As I drove home listening to the news I heard about snapchat being valued at 25 billion. Why, I wondered, would it be worth that much? Granted I haven’t used it in years but a friend told me about the new features and how people liked to subscribe to celebrities because presumably they can feel like they know famous people better. It got me thinking again.

Why do many people spend more time cultivating relationships with people over social media or the Internet and less time investing in real life interactions and relationships? Why limit yourself to acquaintance networks that never really scratch the surface of the people in them? Sure social media and acquaintance networks are easy because they require minimal effort to establish and maintain,  but they also offer little back in return and are the equivalent of fast food friendships. Where’s the substance? They aren’t built on a strong foundation and can fall apart much easier because there is such a paltry investment required of them. In relation to the people who follow or subscribe to celebrities,  the entire concept that you have any connection with them at all is basically an illusion. Of course fiction is much easier to create and maintain than real life.

I wonder if it’s this very proclivity towards illusionary,  low-effort relationships that contributed to an environment where someone like Donald Trump could become president. Sometimes I feel like we live in a world where it’s easier to believe the lies than it is to believe the truth. I’m not ok with that. I must belong to that camp of people that value quality over quantity. I value truth over lies even if the truth hurts. I want genuine relationships with the people in my life, I want to experience events for myself and make memories that mean something to me.

How did humanity get to this point? Alternative facts shouldn’t be a thing. Having to be highly skeptical of every single accusation that comes along because there were people willing to lie about events just to create more chaos in the world makes me want to cry and rage, which might have been the point. What message are we sending to the world,  to younger generations? Some things need to matter and effort must be exerted. Yes lies are easy and truth is hard but a world without substance isn’t sustainable.

 

1998 Called…

“It’s a Fine Line Between the Monkey and the Robot”

Spend a day trying to sum it up with one quotation
Spend a lifetime as a model of the phrase
Modern man automated to withhold our thoughts with hesitation
Life of redundancy with single mind and double face
And I got to wonder where such a small man got so much hate
Got our own opinions but don’t throw them on the open floor
Get lost in the repetition and don’t want to hear them anymore
Thousands of us dead today, thousands went unfed today
And all we talk about’s the fucking weather
Got your fingers in your ear because you’ve heard it all before
Roll your eyes as if there’s nothing left to say
Here it is, nothing’s changing and I think that’s something
We can not ignore
Dismiss your boredom because I won’t be what you became
Life’s so happy over there on the sidelines
Ant that’s where you’ll stay
Got our own opinions but don’t throw them on the open floor
Get lost in repetition and don’t want to hear them anymore
Thousands of us dead today, thousands went unfed today
And all we talk about’s the fucking weather
And I’ll keep singing the same songs
I’m sorry if you’re bored now
But I can’t understand spending life ignoring
The other side of the story