October 25, 2013 Leave a comment
October 10, 2013 1 Comment
I was listening the the BBC’s “World Have Your Say” earlier this year, and they were discussing a new ad campaign by Australian makeup company, Illamasqua. This image landed with the tagline, “I am not dreaming of a White Christmas.”
A company representative on the program insisted that their concept was one of juxtaposition, yin and yang. They make high pigment makeup and they wanted to showcase the intensity of their colors.
Others have taken offense to, what is to them, a blatant reference to the horrendous Blackface practice which began in the minstrel era of 1830-1890, and mimicked degrading stereotypes of black people at the time.
Based on this definition, the ad could be seen as not representing Blackface since the racist, stereotyped entertainment is not present. Others again, disagree, and say the large, red lips are a direct reference to the blackface style.
Throughout the program is became clear that no one wanted to agree to disagree. They wanted admission of guilt, and wanted to be right.
So what is more important, Intention or Interpretation?
According to Illamasqua, the idea that this ad could be viewed as racist never even crossed their mind. They were trying to creatively show the deep pigmentation of their make-up which ranges from deep black to shocking white. They went on to say, they have a long history of supporting and promoting all types of women, young, old, black, white and everything in between. They stand by their history of promoting the beauty of all women, and don’t think their ad should be viewed as racist at all.
But some do view it as racist.
If they have a long history of supporting all skin colors, is it possible that the interpretation of racism is simply wrong? Or does interpretation trump intention – making this ad a hideous representation of racism and one that should be pulled and apologized for?
And around and around and around we go.
October 6, 2013 4 Comments
And I would do it again.
You see, we are Facebook friends, which means on some level you have invited me to participate in your life. We knew each other as children, more moons ago than I am going to count. We haven’t had a direct message conversation, and the last time we spoke it was probably about our math homework or boys. My memories of that time are fuzzy, but I remember your face. I remember that I genuinely thought you were a nice person. When I accepted your friend request – or maybe I sent one to you – I invited you into my life, and me into yours.
Last night, at 1:30am you posted that you were going to kill yourself.
I found myself staring at the line, paralyzed. Surely a good friend or family member is going to respond on Facebook and tell you that they were on their way.
A few minutes went by, and the only response was a plea to not go through with it. The poster was thousands of miles away. As was I.
I called the police in the city where the post originated with my wealth of information. First Name. Last Name. City. Nothing else. The dispatcher said she would attempt a wellness check if she could find an address. I hung up.
That’s when I started to doubt what I had just done. I hardly knew you, had no idea if this was a serious threat, What if it wasn’t a serious threat and you found out that I was the one that called? What if you get pissed at me, or what if I got you in some kind of trouble? What had I just done?
After my call, there was Facebook silence, and uneasy sleep.
When I woke up I searched for any news about your well being. Your “real” friends had since seen the post and were posting frantic messages of love and strength. I learned that someone else had called the police, and they had already done a wellness check because of an earlier caller. No information was received on how the check went. 24 hours later, and I’m still not certain of the outcome.
The only thing I know is that I made the right call, and I would do it again.
I can live with you hating me, un-friending me, even casting an evil curse on me.
What I couldn’t live with was doing nothing and finding out you meant it.
If you are thinking about suicide, or faced with a similar situation, here are some resources:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
October 8, 2012 14 Comments
We are putting our beloved 12-yr-old dog down tomorrow. It’s hard to think about, and weird to type the words. He is old, and tired. His back legs no longer carry his weight, and the sight of them dragging behind his 50-pound frame has reached the point of pain, both for him and me.
Deciding to help move him through his last phase of life with the gift of sweet eternal sleep has been difficult, but it has come down to two things:
- Does he wake up every day happy to be alive?
- Does he go to sleep at night having enjoyed the day?
In the morning, he no longer rises happily to greet the day, or more importantly his food bowl. He looks at me wondering why he has to move so far to get so little.
In the evening he is asleep on his bed, having only moved to eat and the occasional request for love at the end of my day. I relish the evenings when he shifts over for a love scratch. I can’t imagine the other 12 hours of his day have been anything but pain and boredom. His once exuberant life has been reduced to existence without joy.
So, tomorrow I will say goodbye.
He has taught me an incredible amount about unconditional love, and anyone who knew him when he first arrived will remember the anxious barking, escape attempts, broken windows, and chewed everythings. We went through training, medication, all the way through to a second dog, that we have aptly nicknamed Prozac. Eventually we found a solution; and a lesson in tenacity.
He also taught us about overcoming stereotypes. As a 60-pound pitbull mix, he desired to be the lick ambassador of his half breed. He melted hearts, and quelled the fears of first impressions.
And now he gives the final lesson.
I know in my heart that letting him go is kinder than holding him here.
September 11, 2012 4 Comments
For those of us old enough to have experienced the events of that morning, we still remember where we were, the frantic calls we made, and the terror as we watched, helpless. We all have a unique story from that morning, but for a brief period of time, Americans were connected by the horrific events of watching the Twin Towers crumble and planes crashing. We shared days and weeks of uncertainty and fear, not knowing if this was the beginning or the end. We were kinder and more forgiving of one another in the first hours, giving way to collective anger and need for retribution as we entered a war. We began to unravel in the subsequent years, pointing fingers and laying blame. Today we are divided about events, how they happened, and how we should have responded. The aftermath in America still rages around us as we continue the “War on Terror” and fight for health benefits for first responders.
Like Alzheimer’s destroying parts of the brain, the farther we get from 9/11, the memories of that moment in time when Americans felt united, connected to people simply through nationality, begin to disappear. The people who experienced 9/11 first-hand will slowly give way to new generations, and 9/11 will become merely a fact of historical importance.
Today, as We Remember 9/11 and try to rekindle that feeling of connection to one another that was so strong that morning, we are faced with the reality of faded memories and the blur of larger context. We start to realize that, as a nation, we are already forgetting.
September 1, 2012 8 Comments
I really should have done my laundry yesterday, but I didn’t. I also should have gotten my MBA, eaten healthier in the last few weeks, and put the kiddie pool away before it left a big, brown circle on my lawn.
I should have done a lot of things in the past 20+ years, but I didn’t. I also have a lot of regrets and guilt, the results of a lifetime of “should haves”.
What is it with this word “should” that makes us all so miserable?
If the word “should” did not exist, I would have a lifetime of things that I did and did not do. And things I wouldn’t and couldn’t have done. What’s the difference? The word “should” implies that I have all the wisdom of today when I made the decision. It also implies that an alternate decision was better.
Let’s take the fact that I did not get my MBA. I did not get my MBA directly after my undergraduate degree, when I feel I “should” have done it. Instead, I got a job where I met most of the friends I still have today. I met my future husband, who has given me two unbelievable, if not high-spirited, children. I also had some incredible experiences that are now my favorite memories. So, really, it’s not that I should have gotten my MBA. I didn’t. Why would I wish for something different now? If I want my MBA, I can still get it.
What about the bigger “should haves”? I should have spent more time with my dad before he got sick. The fact is, I didn’t spend more time with my dad because I was an adolescent that wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the stories and wisdom that I might have gained had I spent the time. I wasn’t ready, and that’s OK.
We are a product of the people, opportunities and decisions of our past. They leave small imprints of expectation, and we call on them to help guide us through today and into tomorrow. From an outside, unbiased perspective, this would seem like a good thing. But we humans, unfortunately, are wired to internalize, rate, and shame ourselves into believing that we should have done things better.
Don’t wait for a life-altering event to make peace with your past.
Don’t should on yourself.
Note: The phrase “Don’t should on yourself” was told to me by a very wise woman, who attributed it to another. I only wish I could be so smart to think of it myself.