The Audacity of Hate

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From CBS News

This blows my mind! For a well-respected journalist to inform others not on facts but on a bias opinion is nothing short of ignorant. No, I don’t believe his apology. Do you?
I’ll tell you why. At that moment when he opened his mouth, he made a conscious decision to let the prejudice that he held for the Hispanic community spew out, like venom from a serpent when it bites. He’s not sorry for what he said. As a matter of fact, he totally believes it and probably thinks we just got offended for no reason. Let me tell you why because it’s not true.
I know first hand the sacrifice that it takes to come to a foreign land, learn a new language, and start over. It is not easy for anyone involved, but with the grace of our ancestors and love for our families, we make it happen.

The blaring of a Univision telenovela can often be heard in the background of a Hispanic home. This does not make us less American. The smell of spices wafts for miles outside our homes, alerting everyone that a meal is being cooked. This does not make us less American. We pray to our Santitos, while rapidly turning beads around our fingers as we whisper a rosary. This does not make us less American. The blare of Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, Corridos could be heard from blocks away as we celebrate numerous special events. This does not make us less American. Coming here at an older age may give some of us a thick accent that may be hard to understand. This does not make us less American. The color of our skin, eyes, and hair varies as much as the color spectrum of a kaleidoscope. This does not make us less American. Our passion much like our voices has the tendency to carry itself in high decibels with a lot of emotions. This does not make us less American. We love to display vibrant colors in our arts, our dress, our hairs. Just a statement piece, I sometimes say. This does not make us less American. Our children rise through at times difficult school systems, all the while learning English. This does not make us less American. Our children do better than us because it is our goal for them to surpass us. They are graduating colleges, acquiring vocational training, opening businesses, and starting families amongst other things. They know that a great sacrifice was made for them and they refuse to let it go to waste. They are passing down traditions and starting some of their own. They are part of the melting pot that makes America a diverse place that enjoys the culture and unity of many people.

Hindsight is 2020

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Schindler’s List (1993)

I remember going to see Schindler’s List in theaters with my history class. I had to see it, and I had to write a paper about the movie afterward. Having immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic, I was not abreast with the history of Europe or the United States as a matter of fact. I would soon learn both through traditional school education, documentaries, and books which I would devour reading at night before bed to gain as much knowledge as I could during my free time. My young self, inexperienced soul, and open heart could not comprehend how such atrocities happened and for so long! How can a whole country think it will be okay to demonize others, separate and then segregate them, and lastly start killing them only because they were ‘the others.’ They had not committed any other crime, only being of a different race. A race that was deemed by the current president and party of that country as criminals, as leeches of the system, as people that made it hard for those born there to reach their potential. I would ask myself, why can’t they see that the problem does not lay with ‘the others’ but with them? Why did it take them so long to figure this out? If other countries such as the United States would not have jumped in to stop this, how much worst could it have gotten? Would a whole race be exterminated merely because of fear of what is different?
Hindsight is 2020, right? Later on, I learned that hate didn’t start with that president, not at all. All he did was brought to light; to the forefront, fears which had been festering in his country. He was smart enough to speak on those fears and make it ok to feel that way and then to act on those fears through violence. Then he had what he needed, a group of people who followed him blindly. That group grew and grew. But it doesn’t end there. He sought ultimate power, so he needed a complete submission. Statistically speaking nothing is ever 100% there is always this pesky .999 something that does not line up. So to make it 100%, he threatened those who will not agree with his message to stay quiet or else they will suffer a similar fate than ‘the others’. There were some from this group who stayed quiet to survive and not stand out and not be different than the majority who agreed with the message of hate. Because let’s be honest who wants to be different when ‘the others’ are being shipped to ‘work camps’ so they can work off their crime of being born different. No, it was safer to be the same. Then there were those who became different to help the others, in the face of fear and probable death they stood up for what they thought was right. Some died, some survived. But something tells me that regardless of their fate, their heart was full, and their soul cleared when they reached their destination. You see, I use to wonder how a country could walk those steps and not realize the path that it was on, and continue to walk it. It’s like a horror movie, you are watching it and know what’s going to happen, you yell at the screen in the hopes that the character may somehow hear you and turn around and not walk towards imminent death, but the character continues to step. I used to wonder, I don’t wonder anymore.

 

 

I’m a Spanish Speaker

One of the things that I love about New York is that I can go there and speak Spanish. The ability to roll out my mother tongue and talk to others who share the language is just as sweet as eating tres leches cake. In New York, I get to hear the different accents from all the countries that share Spanish as a language and is music to my ears.

Never in my life, has anyone berated me for speaking Spanish. When I visit China town or little Italy, I don’t belittle those that speak Chinese, Italian or whatever language I don’t understand. Shit, I been to Filipinos friends party (they have a lot of food!), and enjoy the shit out of them, even though I don’t understand what they are saying 60% of the time. I merely accept the fact that other people in the United States speak other languages other than English.

I lived in Belgium for three years and traveled Europe, and it was familiar for their citizens to know and speak more than one language. I saw small children that knew two languages and were mastering their third. What is so wrong with that? If anything the mastery of languages should be praised. The way to maintain proficiency in a language is to practice it. Yet in the United States, it seems almost like a sin to speak something other than English. There are usually those jokes “No speako,” “or don’t talk that shit around me,” “if I don’t understand your posts, I’m going to unfollow you.” The last comment made me laugh so hard because my immediate reply was “well shit, click it, unfollow.”

Let’s take the dust off our history books if we may. The United States was a country that was ruled by the British crown, before that, it was inhabited by Native Americans, who had their own language based on their tribe. The British, brought over the English language, but there were other populations in the country that spoke different languages. Lousiana had the French language, Texas and some parts of the southwest had the Spanish language as the language being spoken based on who had colonized that territory. Let’s not forget that slaves were brought over to the country and they spoke different languages as well. Eventually, everyone learned English but, the populations described had a mother tongue that was still spoken and passed down to the next generation. For example, there are still people in Lousiana that speak French.

Is English the official language of the United States? Yes

Do we have the freedom to speak any language? Yes

When a language is the official language of a country, it merely means that official government communication will be done in that language. Therefore, citizens are expected to know it to be able to communicate in an official capacity. For example, Belgium has two official languages French and Dutch, when I would receive official government correspondence, it will be in both languages. I was expected to either know it or get it translated so that I can reply to the piece of communication.

I tell you what, I was not once berated for speaking English while I lived in Belgium. I chose to learn French so that I could communicate more with my neighbors and while going out, but no one made me feel sorry for speaking English while I was out and about. No one got in my face and threaten to call police because I dare speak English, so therefore I must not be a legal resident. No that never happened to me.

Yet, in one of the youngest countries of the world, that was created by bringing so many different cultures, we still have ignorant bigots, such as the Manhattan lawyer that think is okay to harass someone because they speak a language other than the one he speaks. What’s next? We will get attacked because we look different? Yeah… that’s already happening.

The thing that makes the United States such a great country is the freedoms that are imparted to its citizens. The government is charged to protect those freedoms by the constitution. This so-called ‘lawyer’ who by trade should know the law, is infringing on the fundamental human rights of these people. It upsets me to think that someone so ignorant is out there spreading hate to unsuspecting victims.

Enough is enough! If you know or have an asshole in your life. Set them straight, is not cool to be a bigot. This world is filled with wonder, with differences, with colors, and it’s beautiful because of it!
What makes the world and the United States so great is that not one inch of it is the same!

If we stop being afraid of what we don’t know or understand and having these knee-jerk reactions to it, real change will occur. NEWSFLASH: We are all fucking different! Get over your damn self!

Social Media Anxiety

“Social media gives me anxiety”- was a comment that I read on Instagram. Why do we compare ourselves to others? Why do we compare ourselves to complete strangers on the Internet? Why do we put so much energy on an overly formatted image?
There are people out there that feel depressed or anxious when utilizing social media. Time and time again someone, somewhere in the world will pick up their phone, tablet or whatever electronic device to browse through a social media site. They will look at the pretty pictures, perfect family, incredible bodies, outfits, cars, houses and wish that it was them. They will look away from the bright screen and look around to see something that is drastically different from what they saw and the feeling of anxiety will kick in.

To covet means to yearn to possess something that belongs to someone else. This emotion goes hand in hand with envy. Both, to covet and envy are heavy feelings that can drag an individual down and push the person to focus on things that are beyond their grasps, which can cause frustration, anger, sadness and even depression.

What most fail to realize is that what is being posted is a highly formatted image of a small snippet of someone’s life. Sometimes the picture is taken 80+ times, to get the right angle, the proper lighting and is still filtered even more! Why compare your whole life to a fragment of someone’s life? I’ve seen friends and family use props (other’s cars, bags, watches) to make it seem like it’s theirs in IG.

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#moneybaggyo #moneyman #moneymoneymoney is just three of a good amount of money hashtags floating around IG.  I bet you some of those bills are not his or maybe there are a whole bunch of dollars.  Monopoly money?

I for one, only share positive things on Facebook: accomplishments, happy photos, vacations, funny things, holidays and use it mainly to connect with family and friends. I use Instagram for pretty images, mostly for outings and vacations or when I’m having a good outfit day.
I reframe from using it to air out personal problems, talk about work, or type passive aggressive things to someone. All these things I prefer to do in person and in a private setting not in front of the whole digital world to see. So you see, my entire life is not displayed for the world to see. There are a ton of crappy moments that will not be posted.

I’m telling you not everything is unicorns and rainbows. Even if that is all that is shown, I bet money that there are a few devils and skeletons hiding if you just peel the layers. I keep mines in my hallway closet, BTW.

I suggest that before you feel depressed and anxious over someone’s social media post, feel grateful for your life; your messy, chaotic, maybe boring life. It’s ok to have the body that you have, the clothes that you have, the car that you have. Be grateful and honored to be living YOUR life. By all means, if you want to improve it, then get after it and chase YOUR goals. But remember your life will never look like someone else’s because at the end of the day it’s YOURS. Live it!

What I learned today…

I know that Google has all the answers, but never in my life have I Googled chicken fried steak.  I merely assumed that it was chicken.  Having a conversation with my hubs, talking about what I wanted to eat, I mentioned my desire of chicken fried steak because I did not feel like eating red meat.  After I finished my statement, he laughed, and laughed, and laughed even harder.  Not one to like to be left out of a joke, I asked: “What’s so funny?”.  He simply stated, “it’s a steak baby, chicken fried steak, it’s a steak” with tears rolling down his eyes.

Boom! My world exploded around me.  The fabric of my reality had been ripped and the world that I knew disseminated into small pieces around me.  Only dust showered me, all around me, falling to the ground.  What other things have I’ve been lied about?!- I thought.  How many more lies were there to be discovered?

As my husband continued to laugh with gusto, all I could do was shake my head and try to look back at all the other things I believed to be true, that were not.

What things have shattered your belief system?

Karma is a B****

I purposefully don’t use my change so that when I see people in the streets asking for a bit of money, I have something readily available to give.  Sometimes my passenger or companion will tell me how wrong it is to do this because the person getting the money will turn around and use it for drugs.  I always reply back that if its so, karma will take care of them.  My intention is to help, and if they use it for anything else, the repercussions will fall on them, not me.

What is karma? To put it plainly is the reciprocation of energy.  To visualize it, one will have to imagine playing with a paddle ball.  This is the toy that is made of a wood or plastic paddle and had a small rubber ball attached to it.  The person will move the paddle and hit the ball, while the elastic will bring the ball back to the paddle.  Karma is that elastic; that magical string that always brings the ball back to be hit by the paddle.

 

Paddle Ball
Paddle Ball, an old school toy that provided hours of low-tech fun.

 

I could also explain it by using the law of cause and effect.  For every action, there’s a reaction.  Sometimes the reaction is equal to the action. Seldom is the opposite.  But, once again the string will ensure that the ball comes back.  I regress-sometimes it does not come back to the paddle.  When our movement or aiming is off, it comes back and hits us in the eye.  That’s karma for you!

The bible mentions karma; it does not use the word.  Instead, it is written, “You will reap what you sow” in Galatians 6:7. That is karma.  How about those naughty naked kids?  Adam and Eve?  They certainly reaped what they sowed.  They took the apple after being told not to, and got kicked out of the party!  Talk about major party foul.

Where else do we hear about karma?- Duh!  The golden rule!  What is it that they teach small children and even some self-centered adults?  “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”  Boom! (drops the mic) Someone long ago thought of this: if I treat others well, I am bound to be treated the same way.

How about in songs? What goes around comes around?  Didn’t Justin Timberlake write that song when he found out Britney Spears was cheating on him?!  He knew that karma would eventually find her.  Anyone remembers her psychotic breakdown and terrible love life after that?  Shit if that’s not karma, I don’t know what is.

That’s the thing with karma, is like a boomerang that always comes back to the person who threw it.  You give out shit; you get shit.  You give love; you get love.

Has anyone seen the movie pay it forward?  I suggest you see it.  This movie encapsulates the act of repaying a good deed to someone else.  Therefore pushing good karma far and wide.  Sometimes when I hear karma being described, it usually entails a harmful act that will come back to the person.  Hence why people say ‘karma is a bitch”.  I don’t think karma is a bitch; I think karma is this obnoxious brat that parrots everything you do- for good or bad actions.

In Hinduism, karma is viewed as the effects of past actions.  They see time and the soul to be continuous; never-ending.  Karma and reincarnation work hand in hand in Hinduism.  A soul will work through their karma for however long necessary till they reach perfection and don’t have the need to be born again.  In Hinduism, they believe that karma can come all the way from the past and bite you in the ass in the present or future. Karma is very patient.   So you better do the right thing, or you will be paying for it when you least expected.

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom of Speech

Why do people think it’s okay to be nasty just because they are being honest?

“I’m just being honest though” is the usual reply

“yes, Sheryl but you are also being nasty for no reason”

 

Or they will defend their views by putting yours down.  This often comes when people talk about religion.  They will put another one down in order to show that theirs is ‘better’.

“Catholics worship Mary, she was no virgin”

“First of all, Paul do your research she is honored because she’s the mother of Jesus. Sorry I can’t provide you with a virgin authenticity certificate”

 

Or they will belittle you for having a different view than them.

“Trans people are confused they don’t deserve any rights, you are stupid for supporting that shit”

“I was taught to love and respect all, even your bigot self, George”

 

I’m astounded when I hear it or when someone approaches me with this shit.  I feel like we are in a world big enough where all of our opinions can fit.  If you want to be next to like-minded individuals then be with them and sing kumbaya while fist bumping and agreeing on everything.  But if you find yourself amongst individuals who don’t share your point of view, share it in a respectful manner.  Don’t push it down someone’s throat like a car sales man trying to make a quota.  Don’t insult others who disagree.  Most importantly, if you don’t have nothing nice to say, then keep that shit to yourself.  Take a speech class or something to help you learn how to express yourself effectively and then come back to it.

I’m exhausted with these Internet Ninjas, typing on their keyboard going from forum to forum insulting others just because they think differently.  NEWSFLASH, we are all different!  Our anatomies are so alike but our minds are not.  There is a world in each of our brains.  Mine have a lot of unicorns and rainbows, yours may not.  Or maybe yours do but your unicorns look different than mine.  Does that mean you get to trash my unicorns because they are purple as opposed to pink, NO-DA FUCK-NO Ginna!  All you get to say is “ok, mine are pink” and move the fuck on.

Get over your sense of entitlement, and self-centeredness as if your opinion, is the only one that counts, the only right one, the only that matters.  That’s so fucking lame.

I’m stepping down the podium now, thank you for reading.  Stay nice peoples.

A lifestyle blog that is not afraid to explore all things