Life isn’t fair, but kindness is

Sometimes life is just awful. You stub your toe, you fail that class, get dumped, lose a job, lots of things. Little things, in the grand scheme. Sometimes it’s big things: pain, sickness, death, and amazing people suffering for no apparent reason. It’s not fair in the slightest.

And platitudes don’t really help when you need them to. They might eventually, but not when you’re there, in the thick of it, grieving, trying to understand what went wrong, how can you ever be happy again? If this is you going through this, you already know what you need. Silence, video games, work to distract you, hugs, anything in your arsenal of coping skills that you know can get you through the day.

But what if it’s for a friend? For those closest to you, you might already know what they need. But you might not, and it’s ok to ask. “Is there something I can do to help you through this?” It’s ok if the answer is “just let me be alone.” You can do that, you can give them what they need.

They might want hugs, or to talk things through, or to talk about absolutely anything BUT “the thing,” or someone to just sit with them silently while they cry. They may not even know what they need and that’s ok. They don’t need to know. Just let them know you’re there, and act like it’s any normal day. Sometimes that’s really all someone wants.

But what do you do when you feel helpless in the shadow of grief and pain, at your wit’s end searching for something, anything, tangible that you can do. Make something, give it to someone that is expecting nothing. Pay for someone’s cup of coffee. Buy a sandwich for someone that’s hungry. Because everyone has tough times. Maybe you’ll be that bright light a random stranger didn’t even know existed anymore. And that’s a great thing, especially when life sucks.

Life isn’t fair, but kindness is

What to watch: Fall TV (the pilots)

Originally posted on Yes, You're Lovely:

E-CardAs I’ve discussed here and here, I love television. A lot. Probably more than I should at my age. Or really, at any age. But also like I’ve mentioned before, there are worse things to which one can be addicted. Cocaine, for example. I’ve never tried it and don’t really intend to. But a glass (bottle) of wine and a fantastic new episode of Empire or Scandal is the equivalent of a good high in my world. Easily excited, this one.

Fall is undoubtedly one of my favorite times of year. First you have the typical white girl reasons why: pumpkin spice everything, boots, scarves, and clothes that actually cover up all your wobbly bits and transgressions. Second you have football, hockey, and playoff baseball. And last, but certainly not least, you have fall television. One must now specify FALL television, as TV programming (much like film releases) is now year-round. Summer TV has brought us…

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What to watch: Fall TV (the pilots)

Representation really does matter

Do you know why it’s important to have more women in interesting roles? It’s so little girls across the country can look at a TV screen and see someone that looks like them be a doctor, a lawyer, a complicated human dealing with complicated issues. That there doesn’t need to be a man to fix things for them, there is nothing out there that they don’t have the right to try for.

However, do you know what little girls we’re talking about when I say that? When white people like me say that? It’s little white girls. We see a movie like Suffragette and we are STOKED because “awesome women doing amazing things, inspiring us to fight!” Do you know what little black girls see when they see the same thing? White women can do amazing things. Do you know what they still see over and over on tv, in the movies, and in books? Black girls (and Latinas, and any non-white girls) are allowed to be the funny friend, the maid, the nanny to a family that does great things.

Do you want to know why Viola Davis is so important? She is the first African American woman to win an Emmy for best actress in a drama. The first woman to win an Emmy was at the inaugural award show in 1949. It has taken SIXTY SIX years for a black woman to win as a dramatic actress in a lead role. Do you think maybe (just maybe) there could possibly be some truth to her speech? “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else, is opportunity.” You would have to be blind not to see the truth in that statement, when you count up how many women of color have even been given the opportunity to have a lead role in television. Historically, the number is embarrassingly low.

What do little girls of color see when they look out at the crowd at the Emmy’s? The Oscars? Previews at the movies?

So much Anglo

A sea of white faces, which tells them over and over and over, this is not for you. Imagine that you are a little girl of color, and you are asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” What do you say? When you’re little you think “I’m gonna be an astronaut” or “I want to be a doctor.” Something big. Something majestic. Something great. Then you start growing up, and you see the world you live in. You start thinking “oh I guess that’s not for someone like me, because I never see someone that looks like me do that.” Would you want your daughters to think that?

I am so glad there are more roles being offered to women of color, so that now a little girl will see Viola Davis, and she will see what little white girls have for a long time. Someone that looks like her that can be something big. Something majestic. And there needs to be so much more, because the default character in Hollywood  is still white.

That’s why representation matters. It doesn’t negate the fight for equal rights for anyone else, it just recognizes there are entire groups of people that we need to be better for. So pretty please, Hollywood, with sugar on top. Give us more. We deserve it.

Anyone wanting to say “but black people have their own TV station” can get the fuck off my lawn. You are missing the entire point.

Representation really does matter

It’s Whatever

There are so many people (i.e., celebrities, cause I mean, who else matters?) that are refusing to adhere to labels. They’re “whatever”, meaning they are essentially sexually fluid. Maria Bello, Miley Cyrus, Kristen Stewart, and I’m sure with each celebrity there are hundreds of people in the “real world” that now feel like they’re able to better enunciate what their sexual identity means to them, because someone they know is speaking up about theirs. Sometimes it’s super confusing, especially to young people that haven’t accumulated enough baggage to figure themselves out enough to the satisfaction of those around them. They get to see these famous people and say “oh wow, actually, that’s how I feel! I’m not alone! I don’t have to have a single thing that defines me, because that single thing doesn’t exist for the famous people either!”

Those kids get to heave a big sigh of relief. Because up until now, they’ve been asked ad nauseum “but what KIND of queer are you?” What people want to know is “what box can I put you into so that I can better understand you?” We are humans. We LOVE labels. We find a new species of animal, what’s the first thing we do? Label it. “Oh well it’s kind of a lizard, so it goes here, but it has these kinds of teeth, so that means it is part of this family-genus-species.” We don’t feel complete until we can figure out how exactly something or someone fits into this world. So we make these labels, and we assign to them characteristics that we decide are representative of the archetype for that label.

But I think we really need to be careful about how we do this. To others in the LGBTQIA community, in particular. Because what are we doing when we are asking Kristen Stewart “ok, but ARE YOU A LESBIAN OR NOT?!?” We are asking her to tell us exactly what kind of people she could ever have sex with. “Would you sleep with a woman? A man? What’s your ratio? Are you more emotionally drawn to men or women? How about in bed? Who gives you more orgasms? Are you pansexual? Would you sleep with a transgender male? How about a transgender female? If so are you a lesbian still?” Aren’t these the exact questions we get so annoyed at when straight people ask us the same thing?

I do get why labels exist. I completely understand why it is so necessary to have solidarity in a movement that has continuously worked so hard to get me to the point where I can walk with my wife down the street, holding hands, kiss her goodbye, like any other couple, without getting accosted in my neighborhood. A big part of that fight has been to stand together with a lot of other people and say “we are lesbians and we matter.” I am standing on your shoulders, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart parts. Yes, I do recognize so many places in the U.S. (and rest of the world) still can’t do any of the things I described, and I am so sorry about that. There is still so much work to be done!

But I also think we need to be able to celebrate the progress that has been won from this struggle. And part of that is moving towards a time when people don’t feel like they need to label what they are, because it honestly doesn’t matter who they sleep with. That is my dream for tomorrow: a world where people couldn’t care less the gender/sexuality of another person. I love seeing snippets of that world, and I do very much hope I see more of it. That doesn’t mean it disregards the past struggles; we only exist because of those. It just means the struggle is WORKING.

So I ask you, is there a defined finish line that exists where we can all stand together and decide “ok, now this is how we will proceed as a community of not-100%-heterosexual humans”? If so, who decides where/when that finish line is? If we can’t define this finish line, can we give younger generations a hard time when they don’t conform to the labels we have made for them, because we decided they haven’t paid the dues required to define themselves? I eagerly await the time when such a definition doesn’t matter to the rest of the population, and that includes us gays.

It’s Whatever

Just “For Girls?” How Gender Divisions Trickle Down (Reblog terribleminds)

Originally posted on Romance and Chocolate:

This. All of this and more. Our feeds are full of ire about men who don’t get it. A lot of men do, so I’m sharing just such a case. Men can draw the line from what kids read, to bullying, to how women are treated in society.

I agree with Wendig wholeheartedly: a comic book series featuring young and tween girls should be read by boys, and they won’t read it – possibly even know it exists because parents and teachers will censor it from them – if it reeks of “just for girls.” Why? Because at an appallingly casual level boys are discouraged from engaging in anything “for girls,” while girls are expected to engage in – and empathize with – everything. From the youngest age we indoctrinate boys to see girls as Not People.

One of the many sentiments you’ll find at the original by Chuck Wendig

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Just “For Girls?” How Gender Divisions Trickle Down (Reblog terribleminds)

What is strong?

You can look at this picture and take it any number of ways. Does it mean women want to be able to lift heavy things on our own and not need anybody to help? Maybe. Does it mean emotional strength? Financial independence? Or does it mean we should have everything: a career, family, home?

I see a lot of people in the world talking about this, and I wonder why anyone would not want a future of strong women? What exactly is there to be afraid of, for those who are afraid? I honestly think they don’t know what ‘strong woman’ means. Maybe they think a strong woman is someone that will cut their balls off and basically just be a bitch, but I think they’re using the wrong definition. Maybe in their brain they see a country full of beefed up Amazons that despise men in their future, and that’s terrifying to them. I think we need to change our default definition to something much more simple than that. Maybe a strong woman is simply someone that knows what she wants and doesn’t feel like pretending otherwise.

But do you know what? That’s something we need to start fixing within ourselves. We need to stop pretending the only acceptable paths for women are those that ‘advance the cause’. We are all allowed to want whatever we want, and we can not put our expectations onto others. Ever. When I see a woman put down another for their choices, it hurts my heart. When someone thinks another is inferior because she genuinely wants to stay home with her children, instead of trying to be a CEO, it bothers me. That doesn’t mean she can’t go out for a high-powered job, it means she doesn’t want to. Maybe she only ever wanted to finish high school and that’s ok! Maybe higher education is her equivalent to mind-numbing torture. Not because she doesn’t think she can do it, but because she would hate it. This is for big things and little things, people. If another woman has a preference (what books she likes to read or whether or not to get a PhD), it’s a good thing to remember she doesn’t need to justify that to anyone else, including you. Please let’s stop expecting her to.

So the next time you start to judge anyone for their choices, take a second and think it through. Does it matter in the slightest what someone else wants to do? Does it have any effect on your life whatsoever? I’d bet if you really think about it, it doesn’t. I think it’s a good time to learn that boundaries are a thing, and they’re really great! Because we can’t expect anyone else to take us seriously until we get our shit together, ladies.

What is strong?

Follow-Worthy Leaders Do This


Helpful tips to better yourself. Not just for leaders, either. But helpful for being a functional human!

Originally posted on LeaderNosh:

Much has been written and talked about on the importance of leading others. But what about leading ourselves? Our ability to self-lead has clear links to our ability to lead others and ultimately achieve success in whatever endeavor we undertake – whether at the gym, on the court or field, at work, home, play or study.

As the age-old saying goes, sometimes we are our “own worst enemy.” This is because we forget to take care of ourselves in the daily grind to lead our teams and our organizations.

It seems obvious to say that if we don’t eat, drink, or breathe, we don’t live. But I introduce this idea to lead us to two more obvious points:

  1. If we don’t learn, we can’t grow.
  2. If we don’t grow, we can’t grow others.  

It was Marshall Goldsmith, popular leadership coach and author of What Got you Here Won’t Get You There, who said:

To help others develop, start…

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Follow-Worthy Leaders Do This