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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The Mean Reds

In his masterpiece, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote wrote, “You know the days when you get the mean reds?…The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?” I have that feeling.

It’s 12:30 on a Sunday night and I was thinking about that book, that quote, and the Holly Golightly character. She is admired as the essence of class in her little black dress, but anyone who’s actually seen the movie or read the book knows she’d be institutionalized if she was a real person in the 60’s. She’s nuts.

I hate this character trope. She’s the manic pixie dream girl we all hate to love, but what happens when we become her? You think things aren’t going your way because you’re just too flighty and too tied down to the mundane musings of everyday life. You get the mean reds.

I’m suffocating. I love everything that I’m doing. I love my classes, my school, my activities, but when I let everything settle and I look at what’s in front of me, I get short of breath and wonder if I’m doing anything at all. My stomach is in knots thinking about the future but doesn’t untangle if I think about the right now.

It sucks because I know that I’m not depressed. I feel blessed that I don’t have the type of chemical imbalances that make people feel this way all the time, but what do I do when I feel this way? When I’m not “bad” enough to be medicated, but I’m not “good” enough to not feel like this today? I want to slap Holly Golightly because she’s being ridiculous and making everyone else miserable, but then I realize I’m doing the same thing. I’m watching myself do it, but I can’t slap myself and tell me to stop.

But I’ll get over it. It’s just the mean reds.

xoxo,

Kam

Age of Nonsense

Since I was a child, I have never felt like I’ve been the right age. Part of that may be attributed to the fact that I have three older siblings, but I’ve also just always felt a bit like a misfit in my age bracket.

When I turned 14 I was eager to get my first job. In New Jersey, you can’t legally work before then, so I had previously stuck to babysitting. Everywhere I tried to apply seemed to tell me the same thing: they only hire at 16. When I was 16 I went around again with two more years of babysitting under my belt, some volunteer work, and everyone told me the same thing: they only hire at 18. Then I turned 18 and everywhere I wanted to work wanted me to have 1-2 years of experience.

Now I’m at the ripe age of 20. I’ve had a few jobs at school and when I’ve been home in the summers. I have a resume I am constantly updating and distributing. Yet I still have this nagging feeling that I’m not where I’m supposed to be. Nay, I know I’m not where I want to be.

I spent the first half of my life wondering when I was going to be old enough and now here I am wondering if I’ve earned my admittance into the twenty-something club. Maybe I’m a victim of my own generation. We have this obsession with infantilizing ourselves by calling everyday tasks “adulting” and accepting defeat as these millennial babies that no one wants near their workplace. I know I’m not a part of that. I’ve been doing my own laundry since before I could remember. I am confident that if I had a full-time job I could support and take care of myself.

The problem is I’m in the weird limbo that is college and I can’t figure out exactly what that means for me on this societal timeline. I’m supposed to have job prospects. But I’m also supposed to still be learning. I’m supposed to be getting my life together, but it’s also apparently cool to be letting it fall apart.

I’ve written before about how I don’t really believe in this concept of “wasting time,” yet here I am feeling like I’ve wasted so many years. People younger than me have incredible internships and are starting their careers and I feel like I missed my window of opportunity. Is it possible that in the blink of an eye I went from waiting to be old enough to wishing I had more time?

 

Rules of The Dance Floor and Life

It’s summer, which for a lot of people means weddings, barbecues, and other parties of the like. In the summer I work at an event hall, and that means I see a lot of these events and a lot of dance floors and P!nk once said, “If God is a DJ, life is a dance floor.” I have compiled a list of my own rules for the dance floor accompanied by what they mean in the metaphor of life.

  1. Do not be the person texting on the dance floor. I see this all the time with people who are near my age. You’re dancing and having a great time, but then your friend who is somewhere else texts you about her boyfriend troubles or your own boyfriend is texting you making sure you’re not stepping out on him or hatever it may be. 90% of the time, it can wait. You look dumb trying to dance and have fun while staring into a screen. In life, need I say much more? Yes, technology is great. We all love our iPhones and Snapchat and everything. But take a minute and look up sometimes. You don’t need to keep everyone updated on every second of your life. Enjoy the moment in which you are present with those who are around you in real life.
  2. No one cares about your diet on the dance floor. Stop thinking about how many times you went up to the buffet. Stop wondering how long you have to Dougie before you burn off that piece of cake. Have fun. On an everyday basis, no one wants to know about how restrictive your diet is. If it makes you happy, and you enjoy what you are or aren’t eating, do it. But if you go to dinner with me, I’m getting a burger regardless of whether or not you’re just having a salad.
  3. It is [almost] always acceptable to be the first person on the dance floor. So in reality, if it’s a wedding and the dance floor is not open yet because they’re waiting to announce the bride and groom, do not be the first person on the dance floor. However, if the DJ says the dance floor is open and everyone is just looking around, be the first person. Everyone will silently thank you. Similarly, if you’re the only one willing to start something new, you should probably do it. There is a word derived from an indigenous language of Tierra Del Fuego known as Mamihlapinatapai, which refers to “a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other would initiate something that they both desire but which neither wants to begin.” We don’t have a word for this sensation in the English language, but we all know exactly what that is. Pro tip: be the initiator.
  4. If a dance circle opens up, take a turn in the center. I know not everybody loves being the center of attention as much as I do, but I think it’s always a good idea to take a step outside of your comfort zone, even if only for a minute. Take the spotlight sometimes. Even if you’re really bad at dancing. If you’re having fun, no one cares that you don’t have the best rhythm.
  5. Even if you hate the song, if everyone’s dancing, and you are otherwise having a good time, dance with them. You all know how much I hate Taylor Swift. But if I’m at a party, and Shake it Off comes on, you can bet I’m getting down to this sick beat™. It’s not worth my time to stand in the corner refusing to dance solely because I can’t stand the singer. Obviously in life, if you hate doing something or you are uncomfortable doing it, don’t do it. But if it’s something so minuscule as dancing to a Top 40 song, you might as well sing along.
  6. Learn the words to Bohemian Rhapsody. If you’ve been living under a rock for the last 40 years and still don’t know the words, or the gist of the words, do it now. Period. It’s basically the National Anthem. Just do it.
  7. Being single on the dance floor is usually more fun anyways. I have danced many a dance floor without a date. It’s fine. Don’t pout about it. Own it. When Single Ladies inevitably comes on, own that. Every living human being born not as a conjoined twin has had to be alone for some event in their life, and they have survived. You will survive if you make the most of it. It is okay to embrace singularity. On the dance floor and in life. It is okay to be alone. You’re never even really alone, there are 7.1 billion people in the world. Some alone time does us some good sometimes, anyway.
  8. Have a go-to song. On the dance floor, for karaoke, for the worst days of your life, have a go-to song. Learn a dance routine, learn the lyrics and the harmonies, make it your own. Get it tattooed on your body forever, if that’s what you’re into. Impress your friends with a flawlessly memorized Nicki verse, or some perfectly nailed choreography. This goes great for when you put #4 in practice. In life, you should figure out how to make yourself happy. Find your ultimate happy place that grounds you and brings you back into yourself for when the inevitably crappy things happen throughout your life. Find the thing that’s going to help you say “I’m okay. I’ll get through this.”
  9. Dance like nobody and everybody is watching at the same time. There is a psychological phenomenon called the imaginary audience when humans tend to believe that everyone around them is noticing them. Like when you’re having a bad hair day and you think surely everyone will notice. Truth is, no one really notices, and if they notice, they don’t care. So when you’re dancing and you don’t actually know how to dance, dance anyway. But don’t be afraid to show off if you are a really great dancer. Use the dance floor as a stage every now and then.
  10. What happens on the dance floor stays on the dance floor. Have fun. Life is short. Embarrass yourself, laugh about it, move on. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

 

xoxo,

Kam

Why is That Girl Crying About the Black Eyed Peas?

Spoiler alert: I’m the girl.

We all have that one song that whenever we hear it, wherever we are, we are sent into an emotional trance be it ecstasy or dejection.

For me, one of those songs is “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. I am not kidding. And the trance I go into is not necessarily happy. Every time that song plays I fight back tears. I was working my catering job last night for a Bar Mitzvah. The DJ played that song, and I had to tell myself, “Kamaron you are NOT about to cry in front of these 13-year-old kids.”

I sound crazy at this point, I realize that, but I’m so serious and I’m not totally proud of it. The Peas literally sing the days of the week in this song. It’s not exactly a lyrical masterpiece. Yet what it evokes in me would suggest something like that notion.

I remember when the hit song came out. It was huge, and 7 years later remains iconic. The song marked the unofficial (and shortlived) comeback of the Black Eyed Peas. It was regarded as the most successful song of the 21st century until it was surpassed by Pharrell’s “Happy” in 2014.

For me it means a lot more than the records and its cultural significance, though. It brings me back to middle school and the year following the untimely death of my father. I was getting ready to transition to high school and leave all my friends behind when I transferred into a private school. It was this moment of uncertainty for my life, but then will. i. am proclaimed, “I gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night.”

That obscure but simple message is the tale as old as “Don’t worry, be happy.” BEP assures us, we don’t really know what the future or even the night holds, but they’ve got a feeling it’s going to be good, so we should enjoy it.

Maybe it’s just a catchy pop song. Maybe it’s just one of those fun songs we’ll keep playing at weddings and basketball games until we’re dead. Maybe I’m reading way too far into it, but maybe who cares? I’ve gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night.

I’m Different, Yeah, I’m Different

Peter Griffin, of Family Guy fame, once sang a song that speaks to me on many levels:

What makes you so special/The fact that you are special/But if everybody’s special/that kinda waters it down/So some of you ain’t special/I can tell you who is special/like you and you ain’t special/ and you are, and you’re not.

We’re all pretty much raised to think that we’re something special, and have the ability to change the world. Every parent thinks their kid is the greatest thing. Even if you have siblings, your parent likely brags like “My kid is THE best!” And you ask them which one and your parent is like “All of them . They’re all the BEST.”

I have this weird complex in my head that I always felt like I was actually super special. Like I will be a celebrity or something because my brain can’t function as an average person. This is a real thing that goes through my head.

But I’m in college now, and I’ve met all these people that are incredible human beings. I sit in my writing classes and think How am I supposed to compete in the industry with these people? I sometimes wonder about people who went to my school like JJ Abrams. Did his professors and peers know he was going to be a huge Hollywood director? I don’t even really want that kind of fame I just want to be better than a lot of people.

But then I think about the average people. The ones who kind of just keep their head down, work hard, and live out the American Dream. By that I mean, they graduate, they get a job, settle down, find a spouse, have kids, then work until they die. That’s an “average life,” right? It’s not a bad thing. Some of us look at that and think it looks miserably boring, but like that’s what most people do and that is what life looks like.

That freaks me out a little bit, though. I don’t want to be average. I have to be special.

There’s nothing wrong with being average, though. We need average people, or else nothing would get done in the world. We all have our talents and gifts. I just like to think that my talents and gifts are going to put me on the map. Like Peter Griffin said, “If everybody’s special, that kinda waters it down.”

I’m the worst. 🙂

xoxo,

Kam

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

I Don’t Hate Exercising

You know, I really really hate to admit when I’m wrong, but there comes a time when we all must humble ourselves and admit the truth. A little over a year ago, I wrote a post called I Hate Exercising where I explained why I felt that way. It actually was very focused on “the look” of working out, but also explained that I thought going to the gym was mind-numbingly boring.

I’m here today to tell you that I have been changed. I kind of sort of love working out. It’s still a lot about the way I feel after a workout, but part of me has really come to enjoy the grind (I still hate gym lingo, but baby steps).

Most of it came from being an athlete. That has never been as big of a deal as it has for me in college. Not only is it part of my social identity, it’s also just a huge part of my lifestyle. From February-May, I am in the gym 6 days a week with my team. Something that takes that much time out of your life has to be something you enjoy, or you lose yourself. And I prefer to be a winner.

This year in particular, I just got really motivated to be as in shape before the season started as I could. I went to the gym as often as I could, and really started to enjoy what I was doing there. Maybe I am just high on endorphins, but there’s something incredible about movement. I’m starting to understand the whole “runner’s high” experience (I get more of an “elliptical high,” but I digress). I feel like my mind and body have synced up and are operating to their full potential.

I could go on and on about the benefits of exercise, but you know them already, and they’re pretty boring. I will tell you that when you start to enjoy this activity, though, it’s kind of euphoric. I can’t even really explain it. I’m in a pretty good mood most of the time anyway, but I’m in a better mood now that I’m more in shape. This my way of saying everybody needs to get in shape to be happy, it’s not even about my physical appearance. It’s more of a mindset. I like the feeling of knowing I have started this good habit and I don’t want to quit.

I don’t know. I wanted everyone to know that I’ve had this revelation. I encourage my readers to find something they like doing that makes them feel this way. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you at the gym.

 

xoxo,

Kam

Time

First and foremost, let us all take a deep breath and remember that time is a man-made concept.

I’ve been thinking about the future and life in general lately, and it’s insane. That’s the best way I can describe it. Life is insane. You’re born, you do some stuff, then you die. And whether or not that matters does not matter. Whether you believe each life is equally meaningful or completely meaningless does not matter because they mean the same thing. Stay with me.

If you want to believe my life as a contribution to this earth means equally as much as Mother Teresa’s great. But that belief, I think, means the same thing as the belief that every life is meaningless. Because if we all mean something, we cancel each other out. You need me, and I need the next person, so it’s a random cycle of meaning that doesn’t mean anything.

What does that have to do with time? Well, I think our culture revolves around this idea that we’re running out of time. “Life is short.” “If you’re not living you’re dying.” “Time is money.” Everyone is at least a little obsessed with this hourglass inside of us because we’re afraid that time is going to run out before we get to accomplish great and amazing things.

I once read this thing probably on tumblr or whatever that said “I wish people would stop saying life is short. It is literally the longest thing you will ever do.” That’s a fact. The longest thing I, Kamaron, will ever do is my life however long that may be. So what is the rush? I’m not saying slow down and live every moment like it’s your last–that’s a whole other thing I don’t really subscribe to–I just think we should stop overthinking the time thing. Think outside of yourself. Sure, you could die at any second, but you know what? The world could stop spinning at any second. Who knows?

I think it’s really important for young people to wrap their heads around this. We get so caught up in what other people are doing faster than us that we lose sight of what we want. Goals become should-have-dones, and life is just a race to the graveyard. Yes, some things are time sensitive. But there isn’t going to be a time when your days move faster than days before them. Sure there are times you feel like all this time has passed, but that’s all in your head.

I don’t think it’s really possible to “waste time.” You gain something out of every moment. Whether it’s a lesson learned in time management or a moment when you just unwind, you got something. I told a professor last semester I needed to prioritize my time better and not just watch Netflix and she said, “Yeah, but if Netflix is what you need to do to relax and rejuvenate, then you need to do it sometimes.” No, this whole idealistic stream of consciousness wasn’t an excuse for me to keep watching Netflix, but she was so right. There are times when you have to buckle down and work towards a goal, and there are times when you need to take a break and give yourself the space to feel at ease.

 

xoxo,

Kam