Noise

I have this weird form of claustrophobia where it only affects my well being in super specific conditions. The fear that makes my heart race and breath irregular appears whenever either the use of my feet or my ears is compromised. The feet is just one of those comfort things I think is somewhat normal. I can’t sleep with my feet under the covers or in socks, and footie pajamas give me angina. I just like to know when the boogeyman reaches out from under the bed I’ll be able to kick back and maybe poke his eyes out with my toes.

The hearing issue is different, though. It is affected in even more specific situations, but also in the metaphoric sense. For example, I can be driving by myself and blasting music with no problem. But if I’m in a car with other people and music is blasting and someone tries to have a conversation, it feels like the walls are closing in. Or if I’m in a group and we’re trying to decide something and everyone is shouting ideas in a competition to see who can be the loudest, a part of my soul starts screaming. I just have this real sense of panic whenever there’s too much noise I can’t control.

I bet you thought this was going to be a political rant. Surprise, it’s not, and you’re welcome. I know we’re all tired of hearing about it. I am going to speak to that, though. I am excruciatingly tired of it. All I wanted was for the election to be over so we could carry on our everyday lives, but something unprecedented has happened, and everything has changed and no one really knows where to go. Or so it feels. It feels this way, at least to me, because there’s so much noise. It’s not even two-sided anymore. Everyone wants everyone to do something differently and we’re all just screaming at each other trying to be the loudest. We can’t even claim we’re the most correct because who knows what correct even looks like. I just want it all to be quiet again.

And even that, I’m told is wrong. I know it’s wrong in the sense that we should not continue to be complacent with the systematic issues like racism and sexism, but I can’t help but wish we could be complacent because at least it was the devil we knew. It’s funny because we know that with Hillary the world was not going to get better overnight. It may not have even improved much in four years. We know under Obama things got better but surely a black president did not do much for racism, and a woman president would likely do the same amount to fix sexism. But at least we knew they were trying. Trump isn’t even officially president yet and it seems someone picked up America and started shaking it like a snow globe. I want the snow to settle so we can see what’s going to happen. I know he’s the bad guy. I loathe that man, but it’s so loud in this country right now that I don’t even know what’s going to happen.

 

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What is a Safe Space?

Because I constantly face nagging from the side of my generation against the improvement of society, here I am talking about coddled college students again.

So much of society (or people on the internet) spend their days complaining about how college kids “need their safe spaces” these days. The theory is that we’re not going to make it in the real world because none of us know how to function without a “safe space,” and we’re too easily offended and so forth.

Wikipedia defines a safe space as:

“In educational institutions, safe-space (or safe space), safer-space, and positive space are terms used to indicate that a teacher, educational institution or student body does not tolerate anti-LGBT violence, harassment or hate speech, but rather is open and accepting, thereby creating a safe place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and all students.”

This is a little outdated, at least in my own definition, because now I think a safe space—or at least the safe spaces I know—are broadened to support anti-racism, anti-sexism, etc. Either way, the point of a safe space is to designate a space that is free from hate.  But there’s more. A safe space supports discussion, debate, and disagreement. A homophobic person is allowed in the safe space, but they’re not allowed to spew hatred when they come in. They can ask questions and try to seek understanding, but they should not come in with a closed mind.

We know the world is not a safe space. We see it every day on the news. How stupid do you think we are to think that we assume everyone is trying to make us comfortable when we pay witness to not just offensive words, but murders happening in our world because of sexuality or race or gender or ability.

What is the point of a safe space? The point is to try. If one room starts as a safe space then turns a whole college into a safe space which turns a town into a safe space, couldn’t the world eventually be a safe space? I know that is wishful thinking. Look at our presidential candidates.

Someone at my school said, “There are no safe spaces, there are only safer spaces,” and that is true. But when people say “there are no safe spaces, we just have to deal with that,” they are promoting violence. I understand where they are coming from. It is difficult to imagine a world where everyone gets along. Equality is a really big word. But why would you be complacent? Why are you okay with the fact that black men and women are being murdered for the color of their skin? Why are you okay with police officers shooting unarmed people in wheelchairs? Why is it acceptable for women to on average make 21 less cents per hour than men?

A safe space is not a bubble. A safe space is an opportunity to learn without being attacked. A safe space is not a barrier we put up so we don’t have to listen to oppression. A safe space is a hope that one day no one will be seen as inferior for things they cannot change. A safe space is not an attack on the freedom of speech. A safe space is a counter-strike on violence.

The 2016 Oscars

I will preface this post by reminding everyone I am a feminist. I am a mixed black and white woman who believes in equality. I would agree, The Academy Awards this year was unnecessarily white washed.

I watched the Oscars at an event in New York City called Every Single Word: The Oscars at the Bowery Ballroom. The event was a live commentary featuring: Franchesca Ramsey (MTV’s Decoded; Creator of “S*** White Girls Say to Black Girls”), Danielle Henderson (creator of Feminist Ryan Gosling), Sean Rameswaram (WNYC Host), Crissle West (co-host of The Read; Drunk History), Naomi Ekperigin (writer for Broad City & Difficult People), and Bowen Yang (Broad City). The event will be hosted by Dylan Marron (Welcome to Night Vale; creator of Every Single Word). It was awful.

While I have not read or seen most of the work of these writers or comedians, I understand they are all pretty accomplished and well known in their fields. What I saw of them last night makes me not want to read or see any of their other work, frankly. I understand the need for dialogue and debate about the racism at The Oscars and the systematic issues at play—this event was not that. It was unproductive heckling.

I can’t remember the last time I was in a room full of so much hate. The host opened the show with a lot of sarcasm about what we were about to watch, and an explanation why we were all here to watch it. He asked all the straight white men in the room to identify themselves so everyone could laugh at them. He handed out tally cards for people to count the times certain inevitable things happened such as “the word ‘diversity’ is mentioned.” He even handed out confetti poppers to be exploded every time the camera shows “white guilt.” I understand the point, sort of, to uplift people of color in this space, because we have been put down in the world’s arena. I did not feel uplifted. I felt uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because my “white side” was feeling the “white guilt,” but I think it’s more because the whole event was overkill.

I went to this hoping for a respectful conversation about the real issues reflected in the Oscar nominations. What I got was a room full of hatred towards anyone not of color, or maybe in the LGTBQ community. I don’t think that was the point, but that is what I felt.

The panel hated Chris Rock’s monologue, exclaiming he “sold out” and felt he made a mockery of the situation. I felt he did a good job as a black comedian hosting essentially an all-white party. Someone just said to me earlier in the week “We make jokes about the things we feel most uncomfortable about. It’s how we cope.” That’s how I felt about Chris Rock’s jokes, but apparently was wrong.

My ~favorite~ part of the evening may have been when Vice President, Joe Biden, came out and the panelists talked about how sexy he is and how they would or would not sleep with him as he spoke about sexual assault. Yet every commercial break the host showed clips of past acceptance speeches where men were sexist because they said the women were sexy. Joe Biden was one of many figures who made the panelists ask each “would you or would you not do?”

If we take out the fact that I was very hungry and physically uncomfortable in my plastic folding chair for four hours, we still have the same result. The event was a screaming match between these panelists and a screen, and it had little positive effect in my opinion. My colleagues seemed to enjoy it, and I’m glad they did, but I did not. I think screaming about how much you hate white people is not going to get us any further towards equality. You cannot beat hate with hate.

xoxo,

Kam

How Ignorant are You

Let’s talk about race. First of all, I cannot comprehend how there it is 2014 and still there is still so much hate in the world. It’s estimated that humanity has been in existence for about 200,000 years, yet we’re still bickering about things like the color of our skin.

Let the record show that I am a half black, half white teenage girl from New Jersey. I’m not from the low country where it’s still a thing to proudly fly a confederate flag. But I have been down there and I swear we lost a lot of those states before Gettysburg. Yes I am saying they are stuck in the pre-Civil War era. Sure they may not approve of slavery now, but they kind of act like. The whole slavery thing isn’t about getting work done for free. It’s about oppression. And that aspect of it is still alive and thriving in the south and in the world. Of course I have to say the world because it’s not just black vs. white it’s every color possible against each other.
Can we just think about something for a minute? Racism doesn’t even make sense. I can somewhat understand religious wars, land wars, even the freaking Trojan War better than I can understand the race war. Because all those other things are things you can change. I want you to believe what I believe so I’m gonna kill your family until you believe me. That is wrong and ridiculous, but it’s at least somewhat valid.
Naturally, we cannot change our skin colors. I was born this way, you were born that way. Simple. The whole racism thing came into play because of a power struggle I suppose. A sect of people “needed” to establish dominance, so they picked something the oppressed couldn’t change to use as a weapon against them. How effed up is that?
Moving back to the present.. How can people still think this is okay? I could get into how colonialism destroyed all of Africa and a lot of Asia for hundreds of years, but let’s just talk about America. This is a country founded on the belief that we are all equal. Yes, the men who wrote that still had salves, but they didn’t know any better. And that’s a lame excuse but it was culturally accepted 200 years ago. 200 years ago. Yes we’re over slavery, but are we over its purpose? We’re still oppressing each other. I say we because yes being part black makes me oppressed but black people can be guilty of oppressing other races and/or each other.
I saw a political cartoon describing this idea where a white man is trying to get to the top of a tree. He uses a black man as a ladder and climbs to the tree. Then the white man realizes he shouldn’t use the black man like this so he tells him he can climb the tree too. But he doesn’t hand the black man a ladder. America.

Too Young to Know

There is nothing I hate more than listening to depressed teenagers. This country’s teens are caught up in this weird pandemic where they all think they’re depressed and their lives are over and they need to cut themselves because other people are cutting and it all just needs to stop.

I know that depression is a real diagnoseable problem, and I feel sad for the people that live with it. However, I’m not sure I can honestly believe it is diagnoseable in teenagers. Teens get depressed, we’re under a lot of pressure almost 100% of the time. But there are ways to deal with that other than shutting ourselves down which is what I think too many of us are doing.
I’ve been there. Trust me, my freshman year, I was the definition of angsty teenager. I didn’t think I had friends so I let that run me and now I can see clearly I wasted so much time feeling sorry for myself and I look back on that time and laugh at how ridiculous I was. The feelings were real. I don’t doubt that at all. But coincidentally at the time I was just starting to feel so awful, I was introduced to tumblr. Now I love tumblr, it’s a great website there’s a lot of good things about it, but that was not the side I found at first. I found people who felt just like me and were so angsty and depressed and the world was out to get them, and I bought right into it.
Tumblr didn’t make me a cutter, I made me a cutter. In retrospect, it didn’t make sense. At all. I hated the pain of it, I hated trying to hide scars, but I finally felt like I fit in with some group of people. People who were depressed. So that’s how I identified myself.
Long story short I quit cutting after maybe 3 months and 6 scars. I still can’t explain why I started but I knew why I quit. It was stupid. And now I look at people who do it way more than I did and it pisses me off. Stop it! Why are you doing that! I read something when I was cutting that said, “You hurt yourself on the outside to see the pain you feel on the inside.” That might be accurate, but it still doesn’t make sense. I understand cutting to kill yourself, when you cut vertically down your wrists. I obviously never did that, and if you’re a loyal reader you know how I feel about suicide, but that has a purpose to it. Recently it all made sense. When someone said to me you cut horizontally to  show and vertically to go. 
 
It’s all a big show. Teenagers today have always had the spotlight on us and the minute it stops shining, which it will for all of us, we freak out. My feelings about my generation are for a different post, but in have a point to this one. Teenagers do this freak out, and they let it ruin their lives, for too many of them end their lives. My freak out didn’t exactly ruin my life, but it sure felt like it. I hated myself, and I pray I never feel so bad again, but it was temporary. And I want every teen who feels like this to know it is temporary. There’s the cliché anti-suicide groups use that says, “don’t fix a temporary problem with a permanent solution.” I hate clichés, but this one is very meaningful. There’s so many teen suicides today because all these teens are letting their freak outs get the best of them. How could you end your life when your life has hardly begun? 
 
I can somewhat sympathize with adults who kill themselves. They’ve lived longer and had more failures and for them it’s not likely that things will change so much that their situations get 100% better. For teenagers, it actually can get better. It doesn’t for everyone I acknowledge that, but everything in your teen years is temporary. Problems with your parents? You’re moving out in 5 years or less! Hate your school? You’re leaving in 4 years or less! No friends? You can go somewhere else as soon as you turn 18! Just before you let a feeling of sadness or depression decide how you’re going to live. Think about yourself a year from now. Or two years. However long it’s going to take for something to definitely change. I can guarantee it won’t be long. So buck up, and stop being angsty teens.
Xoxo
Kam

Die Young

I am writing this tonight following the tragic death of actor Paul Walker of “Fast and the Furious” fame. I want to start by saying I have never seen any of those movies but may he rest in peace and his and the other passenger’s family and friends are in my prayers.

So whenever something like this happens- a famous person dies suddenly and the whole world seems to react. People tweet, Facebook, Instagram, whatever else just to express condolences and our own sadness. Then there’s always this other group of people who freak out because everyone “cares” when someone famous dies but no one thinks about the other million people that died that day- most of the time these people are talking about soldiers, but in general they’re pissed. Can I just say, calm down.
Let’s look at the facts. Apparently about 155,000 people die every day. Today, one of those people happened to be a famous actor. Is it fair that 1 person out of the 155,000 got thousands of tweets about him? No. But is that to say none of the other 149,999 people got their respects paid? No.
What I’m trying to get across is that when someone famous dies everyone reacts because they have a connection to him or at least they feel like they do. Of course most of the people reacting don’t know him on a personal level, but in a way he was a part of their lives. We don’t tweet about every single person who dies because we don’t know they’re dying and we have no connection to them. Yes it is very sad. But we can’t spend our days crying for the thousands of people that die everyday. If you’re related to all those people yes then by all means mourn, but since you don’t, be thankful and be respectful for those who are related to them.
Think about what you’re saying. No it’s not fair that te men and women dying for our country don’t get all this attention when they die, but would they want it? Being famous is kind of a choice. If you want the world to cry for your death you have to be someone everyone wants to pay attention to. But even if this still angers you, do not disrespect the loss of a famous person. They’re still people with the same loved ones as the soldiers. Does this make sense? Just realize what you’re saying, and please just let people rest in peace.
Xoxo
Kam