Ism’s

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Religion has been around since mankind has been in existence. Along with religion has also been Agnosticism and Atheism. However comma as soon as you mention the latter, those who associate with them are immediately judge. It’s funny, as much as I think I have an “open mind” and try not to judge – I find myself judging associates of mine because of who they are. Is it because I grew up in a semi religious household? Certain religions have taught us not to accept homosexuality, races, Atheism/Agnosticism, or anything and anyone that does not agree with the “rules” of their religion. It wasn’t until I went to the 13th grade and took a “Religion of the World’s” course, that I began to learn about other religions and what they have to offer. Even with the new found knowledge, I still hadn’t learned, truly, about Atheism or Agnosticism. Not until now, now that I have people in my life who associate with these ism’s.

Atheism, the absence of belief in the existence of deities – there is no higher being. The etymological root of the word means without god. French philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre believes, “Atheism existentialism are concerned less with denying the existence of God than with establishing man needs to find himself again and to understand that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existence of God.”

Agnosticism, is the view that the existence of God, a divine being, or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. William Rowe is quoted as saying, “in the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that human reason is incapable of providing rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exist or belief that God does not exist.”

Religion does not need to be explained. In fact, one could say it has been over explained. It is what drives many decisions, what the majority associate themselves with whether it be the various forms of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Muslim, Taoism, and many more. If however comma we wanted a more formal context… according to Webster Dictionary: “the state of religious; the service and worship of God or the supernatural; commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance; a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices; cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.”

What does all this mean, I gave formal definitions with no real world context. I think I can sum it by quoting one of my newfound favorite scientist. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “The moment someone attaches you to a movement or philosophy- they assign all its baggage and all its philosophy to you. And, the moment you begin having conversation they insert that know everything important about you because of your association. That’s not the way to have a conversation. Why not just have a ‘real-time’ conversation and explore each other’s ideas/thoughts rather than assign a label to it and insert you know what’s going to happen in advance…I’d rather not be associated with anything.” All of this is exactly what I did. I had a preconceived notion of cynicism being synonymous with atheism and from this I had to take a step back, understand what these forms of ‘isms meant and respect those who associate with them. While this post may be superficial/lack depth I think one could surmise the importance of judgement.

There is a lot of knowledge I have gained from those I meet because of the respect I have for them. Do I agree with everything they say? No. But, I am willing to have an open conversation and understand the various points of view without a pre conceived notion that their view is one way because of who they are associated with rather, the facts they provide regarding the point they are trying to make.

1-Luv,

D

(May not fit entirely with the post but, still a good listen.)

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Becoming Cultured

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As a society, we can sometimes become wrapped up in what is acceptable actions, religion, music, activities, etc according to our nationality. Not realizing, what makes us different and what another culture does can sometimes unify the different races. Over the last few weekends, the togetherness I have seen amongst those I have encountered at Comicon and Renaissance Festival have been a reassuring sign that there is still awesomeness amongst us.

Fantasy Does Exist!!!

I went to Comicon and immediately became overwhelmed by the hero’s, the cosplay, the artist who cater to our need to escape reality. I met legends, saw Vader (I wanted him to say ‘Luke, I am your father.’ but jumbled my words and could only say ‘LUKE!’), purchased pieces of art that expressed me. I was amongst my people – not “black people” but, my people, those who enjoy comics and movies and fantasy. The cool thing was, there was no shaming, no judgment of the color of your skin; it was meant to be fun and fun was had.

Then, I had my first experience at the Renaissance Festival. It was full of pirates, wenches, nymphs, fairies, and pride and guess what?!?! Again, the crowd was diverse. We came to enjoy the artist and be entertained. Again, I was amongst those who luved fantasy, the era of the Renaissance, amongst culture; I was amongst my people.

Look at Me Becoming Cultured!!!

So, what does this mean? Experience is what drives perspective, gives new outlooks on life. Being cultured is not just about learning the history of your race but also, being willing to learn things from other cultures. We don’t have to stick with only “black culture” because that’s the only thing we know or that’s the color our skin. As a society, you can’t grow that way and have a full understanding of what life is through just one set of eyes. Accepting differences, interacting with other communities is what makes the human race great. And for the first time, I finally understand it completely.

My challenge to anyone who reads this: just as you would go to the museums to experience pieces of history, read the required books while in school – don’t stop there. Find local festivals to attend, don’t be afraid to try something different because it’s not apart of your comfort zone, if your children speak to you about religion or other cultures, don’t dismiss them; rather encourage their inquisitive nature. You never know, you too may find something fascinating – I know I have.

Next stop…New York Comicon

Impression

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We search for acceptance from our friends, family, co workers, children, husband/boyfriends, the person walking down the street, the waiter at a restaurant, not realizing that an impression has already been made.  A person has already looked at you and assessed your actions based on their standards.  It’s not until one decides they want to know you that their initial impression ranges from dislike, content, and/or admiration.  Questions: “So why?,” “Why should you care?” and “What is the fix?”

So Why?

Why do we try to make an impression? Why do we care so much? Why? Why? Why? My five cents…we do it because we were conditioned this way.  Think of when you were a kid; before you left the house your parents would warn you not to “act a fool,”  “your actions are a reflection of this household,” they would say.  What about your first date?  The unwritten rule, “Don’t show him/her who you really are.  “Wait a few dates/months’ or the crazy one “until you are married and he’s trapped.”  You go on a job interview, wear certain clothes, you speak and conduct yourself in a manner that is so uncommon that you have to coach yourself days before the interview; then you get the job and the first few months you are on your best behavior and once you feel comfortable you become a little more relax.  Restaurants – same thing, there are even social etiquette classes on how to conduct yourself in a social setting; as we speak, there is a format on how to engage your audience when blogging – “Social Norms” we call them.

So…why should we care?

I have a coworker who wants a James Jean “Crayon Eater” tattoo, however, is hesitant because of the social stigma that blinds our creativity and individuality.  She’s not sure how she would be perceived.  In speaking with her, this is one of her favorite artist, his work describes perfectly what is in her head.  Why should she care?

My son, a young black boy growing up in a “free”  but racist, discriminant, world.  Why should I care? Especially when, as much as you try to ensure they speak /respect others, peoples hate can sometimes affect how they treat people of color.  Why should I care?

The Fix

If we were meant to be the same, we would all be the same color, height, weight, sex; we would speak a certain way, conduct ourselves as a “Collective.”  My response to my coworkers hesitancy about getting the tattoo, “Tattoos are extensions of art, an extension of you.  If this is something you luv, do it.  When you luv it, you don’t regret it.”  In her situation she should not care what others thinks.

Me, I am 7 of 9.  I was once part of a collective: I had to think, act, and dress a certain way until I realized there was a way to construct my social etiquette without losing sight of who I am.  As I mature, I realize there is a need to “instruct” others on how they conduct themselves.  Every action will have a reaction.  We as individuals choose how our first impressions to others will be and should accept the reactions given.

My son, I should care.  I want him to make an impression, his impression.  So, what do I do?  I explain to him what I have learned, show him what happens when he goes left, or goes right, I teach him to think for himself, I provide him with the good, the bad, the ugly; I explain to him my idea of life and what it’s about, and as he grows/matures I pray that his impression is a positive lasting impression.  I pray whatever path he chooses, he thought about it and accepts the journey he will take.

As long as we are aware of our actions, impressions though needed should be our own.

The Wind is My Friend

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My hair free and of natural flow wanders aimlessly in the wind.  As she whispers go left, my hair sashays left, as she whispers go right, my hair trots right.  In this environment my sight is obstructed, she has disengaged from the effort of being previously styled, she is thanking the wind because now, she is free.  The wind was her liberator, her way of saying she would not be tamed. This was how my hair was when I had a relaxer.

For those who are often confused to the difference between relaxers, perms or being natural.  Relaxers chemically alter (relax) the natural curls in your hair, perms are also chemically altering products giving volume and curls to once straight hair, and natural is a state in which nothing has been used to chemically alter the state of hair you were born with.

For so long, I was addicted to the “creamy crack” called a Relaxer.  My hair was free and easy.  I luved her and she luved me.

Fast forward, to my pregnancy.  An experience forcing me to give up the creamy crack.  WHAT THE HELL!!!  We as women give up so much during pregnancy and the ease of taming the beast or learning how to style natural hair was never an easy feat.  My hair no longer blew in the wind so carelessly, it felt like no matter what I would do to my hair (when I did do something) she would battle with mother nature and mother nature would always win.  The woes of going back to a natural state of mind and body.
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In my early days of being natural, I had no idea what I was doing.  I hadn’t been natural since I was a kid and even then, it was my mother was doing my hair, not me.  If I did not keep it curled, I wore weaves.  I did not want to be bothered and when I wore my hair naturally I always felt self conscious.  This was a new life for me; it almost brought back a little insecurities of being accepted in “Corporate America?” However, breezes of wind blew in my ear and whispered that I was not alone.
I began networking in a completely new way…finding other groups of women who were having the same problems as me.  Ways to style and keep your hair healthy was becoming second nature to me however, I still did not accept nor understand the true meaning of being natural.  In all truth, most who go natural are never truthful as to why they went natural and if they are…they glamorize it to make seem like they are connecting to their roots.  I began my natural journey because I was pregnant and stayed with it because my hair began to thin ( a side affect of my munchkin being born).  Being natural and keeping my hair curled allowed me the volume I needed.  If I still had thick hair after pregnancy I would have went back to the creamy crack.  Much easier.
It wasn’t until my fourth 3rd year of being natural that I began to have a true appreciation and respect for being natural.  I began to luv it’s versatility, and in a way it made be become more healthier.  Because I use a lot of natural products in my hair (olive oil, shea butter, coconut oil, Jamaican black caster, vitamin e etc) have a wonderful stylist, and began doing my research on how to grow healthy hair- pinterest and youtube became my best friend, the food I prepared also became healthier.  And now, in my fourth year, I still luv being natural and I also luv my protective styles including wearing weaves or “tracks.”  The wind and I have come to a truce.  She showed me another side to her silly yet helpful ways.  Now, when she flows through my hair, I no longer hide from her assertiveness but accept her with open arms.  She adds more volume to my hair; she gives her life.  I once thought the creamy crack was the best thing in the world…not so much.  I once thought wind was my enemy now, we are best friends.
I have become naturally me!

Daily Prompt – Nightmare

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You receive the call, you have one or two choices, show them all of your cards or play along until you gather all the information you need and TRAP them in their “web of lies.”

Wait, let’s try this again. You receive a call, your nightmare has become reality.

Strike #1:

“This is the IRS calling.” “Is this Danielle Mackin?”

“Yes this is she.”

Strike #2:

“We recently performed an audit of your tax returns and we are calling to let you know we’re filing suit against you due to fraudulent taxes.” The representative states. “Due to your incorrect filings from 2010 -2015, and your inability to pay the debts owed. You are facing criminal charges, the potential to go to jail, accounts frozen, liens against all properties, and note that because it is Friday and if you chose not to settle your account today, you could possibly be in jail all weekend. You currently owe $3802.50 worth of back taxes. You have one or two options,  continue with our current course of action and fight this through the courts or pay your balance in full today.”

Danielle replies aloofly, “I was unaware that I filed incorrectly as I have someone do my taxes for me every year.  I also set up a payment plan with the IRS to pay my debts already, can this be added to my current payment plan?”  When has anyone ever given a courtesy call stating there would be a warrant of your arrest if you don’t pay your bill? Okay, I will still play along.

“Ma’am, is your current address 7500 Gentle Shade…?”

“No. It is…Can I contact my lawyer before I make any decision?”

“Danielle, you only have an hour left before we continue with the filing of your court…” Wait are you filing a lawsuit or are you arresting me?

“Can I speak to a manager to set up a payment plan?”

Strike #3:

This conversation goes on for more than fifteen minutes.  Me explaining that I don’t have the entire amount, the manager is negotiating with me as to how much I can give as a deposit now and that it can’t be via bank accounts, credit cards and other forms that I KNOW FOR CERTAIN THE IRS takes as monetary payments.  Finally, he ask me if my i can borrow some money from a friend, I told him when he called back I would have the money.  He says, “You do understand this call is being recorded and if you do not comply to your ‘end of the bargain’ we will be forced to continue with the suit filed against you.”

“Yes sir, I understand.”

At this point, I am on the IRS’s website trying to find a way to report the SCAM and waiting for them to contact me again.  I am also realizing that I was just involved a SCAM that I thought would never happen to me.  They had a lot of my information and even though it wasn’t current, it was still a part of me.  Finally, there are many people who will actually concede to the SCAMMERS because of the conviction in their voice that you are doing something wrong (I am not going to lie, for a second they had me scared – thinking I did something wrong – my livelihood was flashing before my eyes.); luckily I knew the laws of the IRS but, there are some who are not awareand become caught up.

 

I leave you with this, IRS does NOT call you about your debt.  If you receive a call, IT IS A SCAM (IRS Website attached).  The end result of my “Foolishness Friday,” they called back…

“Can I speak with Danielle Mackin”

“This is she. I have contact the IRS, they stated my account was in good standings.  I told them that their local offices contacted me…” click

“Hello? Hello?”  They hung up.  I guess, I am okay now.

Loveee – Part II

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You’ve met someone, they make you laugh, you have some similarities, he/she accepts your “flaws and all,” your relationship starts to become a little more serious, ya’ll start doing a lot more together, you guys are taking the “test” trips to see if you can handle each other for more than 24hrs and then it gets real, the question of, should we move in together?…Oh my gosh!!! YOU ARE IN LUV or are you?

I used to think that luv did not exist and sometimes I still don’t.  I believed that people fall into lust and because they so badly want the idea of “love” they are willing to accept anything and settle for what crosses their path.
I looked up the definition for “love” and it seems so simple but, nothing is simple when you have the human factor involved.
Love (according to Webster):  an intense feeling of deep affection, a person or thing that one loves, or a feel of deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).
Let’s look at the definition of “lust.”
Lust: very strong sexual desire, have a very strong sexual desire for someone
Definitions sound kind of similar don’t they?  Just stronger adjectives to make it seem as though they are not the same.
Now, back to the scenario above.  You guys chose to move in with each other.  There are quirks you don’t particularly care for but, you “let that shit go” because you know how to pick and choose your battles.  However, there are certain things that “grind your gears” and you fuss about.  That’s part of a relationship, communicating by fussing… right? Wrong.  You are beginning to find more faults that you know you did not sign up for but, you trying to make it work because all relationships take work.
Wayment!!! You didn’t tell me that you were gonna have a child.  Was that in the picture or was it a surprise?  Either way, what you are gonna do?  What are his beliefs in raising children?  How does she want to raise the child?  Were your upbringings good ones?  Will they affect what you do or don’t do with the munchkin(s)?  Questions you never thought to ask until now and probably still won’t.
The child has arrived, the right thing to do is get married so, this union can be legit.  We don’t want another broken home.  The faults that you tolerated before are intensified now.  You have a little human being constantly needing attention and your significant other being them but, because of the new variable in the complex equation called life, you are viewing things completely differently.   Those little quirks that you thought were cute before are no longer cute.  You are constantly upset.  “Here it is, I am taking care of a baby, and you want to go hang out with your friends and leave me here by ‘myself?’” “Fine, be selfish.”  “You ain’t no baby so, you need to clean up after yourself cuz, I ain’t the one.” Arguing has become a part of your daily or weekly routine.
Your relationship takes a spiraling turn (possibly for the worst)?  Did lust wear off?  The idea of being in luv finally fade away?  Where you ever truly in luv? Did you not understand when you signed up for this luv thing, that “falling in luv can be easy, staying in luv is too tricky” – Raphael Saadiq
A friend once told me;
“I believe in love, love is a selfless act, an act that does not expect anything in return because it is genuine. You would do anything for your love without strings attached…the problem is, most mess up when they become angry when they are not “loved” in return. If your love is pure, regardless of what the other person has done, their actions should not change who you are. If the love is not reciprocated, you move on and respect the situation for what it was.” That is my paraphrase but, it is so true.
For me, I take it one step further.  Luv first starts with luv’n yourself. Once you have come to learn to luv you then it is okay to safely search for a luving relationship with another.  Luv is about communication, respect, appreciation, truth, lust, independence and friendship.  If you don’t have communication you will never know what the other is thinking; arguing is not the way to communicate.  It is a whole bunch of noise yielding no results.  Respecting someone and their feelings, opinions, and their being says more about  you and who you are as a person.  Appreciating one’s individuality, independence and luv for you makes a relationship so much better.  The truth is always key.  No matter how much you don’t want to speak it at times (it’s called tact – I haven’t figured out how to be tactful yet), it needs to be said.  If it weren’t for lust, you two probably would not have been together in the first place.  Hello?!?!  Lust give spark when needed and keeps your drive for the person strong.  And friendship, if you don’t have friendship, then why are you together.  Friendship equals respect, trust, security, appreciation, and communication.  Think about the many friends you have.  There is a reason why you guys were friends for so long and now, your partner, the one you have chosen to live your life with should be your biggest friend, your confidant, your ride or die.
Do I believe in luv? There are glimpses of hope from time to time but, I still find myself straddling the fence of optimism and pessimism when it comes to “true luv.”  I believe in the idea of luv.  I believe that it could happen…believing and seeing is two different things.  I know this is not how all relationships are; this is a compilation of relationships I have went through and witnessed with others.  I have seen true love and while I know it exist the human nature in me is a little skeptical at times of its purity.  However, when luv happens to cross my path, I will be ready for the challenge.

Let’s Start with Me – Part I of Loveee

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I am a conceited emotional mother of one. I am plus size, full figured, or overweight (pick one). I have anger management issues, no patience, and somewhat of a “no holds barred” personality; some would call me rude or non empathetic. I’d like to think I am sympathetic when needed. I make sure that I put the caveat out there, if you ask me for my opinion understand, it’s my opinion and if you don’t agree with it then take it with a grain of salt. I am silly, love learning, love playing video games, and love being a black woman. I am not a woman scorned from relationships that didn’t work, I am a glass half full once I release my anger, and I am a self motivator. I am a thinker and a semi perfectionist. I am humble. And, I am an ARIES. All of these things I did not understand nor accept until my late twenties. When I was younger, all I knew was that I was an emotional kid.

So, let’s take it back before I found out all of things about me…back to childhood. A childhood, I truly don’t remember. Only bits and pieces, as if I suppressed memories (which I would luv to remember). From what I do remember, I know, I was a handful. I would sit in my window waiting for my dad to come and pick me up everyday (from Friday to Sunday), cry because he didn’t pick me up then be excited because two weekends later he finally showed and then come home and boast about how he was my “hero” when all he did was drop me off at my grandmothers house and take me out to eat on Sunday before I went back home. I remember people always telling me I had beautiful skin and that I could be a model, but for me, as I stated in a previous post; peer words when you are a child are stronger than any adults words of wisdom and truth. If a kid tells you you are ugly, you believe it. I remember always trying to fit in and no matter how hard I tried, it would only last for a little while. I remember me and my younger sister always clashing; I would want to play dress up and she would want to be by herself and go and build something, I would want to play doctor and literally stick a sewing needle in her skin to see the blood (what was I thinking). Don’t judge me. I know I did my sister dirty. I was not the best to her. smh

Let’s fast forward to my teenage years. My dad came around a lot more often then. He would pick me up, buy me things (I guess to show me he luved me) and we would actually “spend” more time with each other over the weekend. When we went out to eat on Sunday’s before I went back home, he would force me to try something different. He would order it, tell me to eat it, and after I said I liked it he would tell me what it was. That way I could not say it was nasty if I already said I liked it. Clever tricks. Clever tricks. Now, at this point in life, my life’s mission was to make sure my hair was cute all the time, my clothes were on point, and that I knew the latest song, or “club” music mix. Mannnnnnnnn! Every thursday evening at 2100hrs, I would turn my radio on put my tape recorder next to the radio and make sure I did not make a sound so I could record the club music being played on the radio station. This was my way of having something to listen to on the way to school the next week with my friends. Because I couldn’t relate to the other things they were doing, watching and wearing, this was my way of being hip. However, by the time I turned 15 and 9 months, I got a job and was able to purchase upon approval from my mother the clothes I needed to be cool. I was going to the gym because it was everything to be skinny and by the time I went to prom and graduated, I thought I finally made it. I was cool. I had friends. NOT!!! All of that faded as soon as graduation was over.

19, working as “Top Flight Security” and I have a boyfriend. Oh! and I am living on my own. I am no longer a size 6 but a size 14 and gaining; things change when you have a man. lol. I am job hopping – chasing money, drumming up a lot of debt, and doing all things I thought I was supposed to do in order to keep a man… going down the rabbit hole of Loss Identity Syndrome©. Things didn’t work out, I am now single, depressed, delving into alcohol and video games (that was so much fun), shopping for therapy, and constantly trying to find solace in what? I don’t know. At this point, I am in my mid twenties receiving negative attention because of my assets. I mistook this wrong attention and used it as crutch for my newfound “self confidence.” I began to be rude and nasty to people who didn’t deserve it and clothes were just as worse. As I type this, I can only shake my head. Then, something happened where it finally clicked, that I needed to change my life around. I think it was my grandmother passing away that made me want to do better.

I was in my mid/late twenties at this point, I found a mentor to teach me how to budget and take care of me financially. I finally accepted the fact that I was overweight and accepting the fact that you are overweight is 50% of being on your way to a healthier you. So, I began going to the gym, not to be skinny but to be healthy. I began loving the skin I was in. I began taking school more seriously and graduated with my associates degree and I even took my job more seriously. I learned how to be humble. I started outlining my negatives I needed to work on and consistently enhancing my positives. And, while I am still plus size, I know that I will always be a work in progress, I know who I am and finally luv the person I became to be.

“I am the goddess of war
I am filled with passion
I love
I lead
I am honest to a T
I am an Aries”

Loving and knowing who you are is the first step into a fruitful future. Without it, you maybe successful but, there will always be a void. A want for more. If you have a mentor, counselor or therapist they can aid in self approva. At the end of the day, it is up to you to accept and/or change the person you are. It appears the average time to “learn” you is late twenties early thirties. The reason could be because of our maturity level and hard knocks we may have went through. Or, we may not have went through any struggle but have become more aware of who we are as a being.

In the famous words of Ru Paul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell do you expect somebody else to love you.”

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Unless you are not a part of my progress, Do NoT eNtEr!!!