#formymisses Caught up in the Headlines: Racism at the Races & Why Art Always Wins

#formymisses Caught up in the Headlines: Racism at the Races & Why Art Always Wins

Regardless of whether you write, paint, make music, take pics; or if you are one of the lucky few who have been blessed with a combination of talents, I think we could all agree that now is a tricky time to be a creative. Artists around the world use our feelings and experiences as inspiration, which in my opinion, is what makes art so fucking amazing and necessary. But sometimes, these same feelings and experiences can also make the idea of picking up a pen feel like it weighs a thousand pounds. Sometimes it’s easier for me ignore my own thoughts rather than share them with you.

I have a lot to catch you up on, but for now, let’s take it back to the weekend of the Charlottesville riots. I had briefly mentioned this post was coming a few weeks ago, but what I didn’t tell you was I was one of the models hired to work a NASCAR event representing a major car maker as a brand ambassador. Basically it was my job to smile, interact with potential customers and give away free stuff (because who doesn’t love free shit). Simple enough right?

I had worked at the speedway before, and despite my reservations, my interaction with crowd-goers was nothing less than pleasant and polite. However, as a woman of mixed-descent (Italian and Black in case you were wondering), I’m not going to sit here and act like I never once questioned how I would be received at what was sure to be a mostly-white event. The saddest part of it all was that out of all the smiles and “Thank Yous” exchanged, the image I took home with me is of a group of 3-4 teenage boys wandering around with Confederate flags tied around their necks like capes. Driving past the rows of trailers I saw too many Confederate flags to count.

Needless to say, the 45-minute ride back to Ypsi definitely had me feeling some kind of way. I normally don’t leave an event questioning how many people looked me in the eye and smiled . . .  only because I was still technically “serving” them. I mean, we all know what that flag stands for. We all know what it represents and why people still choose to display it. I refuse to argue its historical “relevance” here, there, or anywhere, so please don’t come at me with that weak shit. I know what it is by how it feels – a feeling that has stayed with me to this day.

And while I realize that all this might sound a little extreme to some, ask yourself: is it really? Is this not a perfect example of what our country is, and always has been? Is the promise of life in America one big smiling facade on the surface with a history of hatred and violence brimming just beneath?

Unfortunately, there is no escaping the constant bombardment of racist bullshit we are subjected to thanks to you know who. And I’m not here to pretend like it was my first time seeing that God-forsaken piece of cloth. It’s just that given the horrific events of that weekend, the timing of its message hit me harder than the random occasions I’d see it waving from some guy’s pickup truck. Partly why I’ve never really spoken about race on any of my platforms until today is because it can be so difficult to digest what is (still) going on in our country, and how that affects both sides of my family as well as myself. But now I see there is no running from racism. It’s here. It’s real. And it’s in your face.

Every day I am disgusted by the headlines that seem to meet me at every turn, but I am learning how to create through the madness. I have also come to realize that when it comes to race it is okay for me to talk about it. I can even blog about it. But I can no longer remain silent.

 

 

Feature photo courtesy of NASCAR.com*

What the Price of Instant Gratification Could Cost You

What the Price of Instant Gratification Could Cost You

I want what I want and I want it now! Sounds familiar right?

nownownow

Waiting is hard, especially when we live in a culture that has been re-designed to fulfill our desires at the push of a button. But in the end, what are our wants really worth when we don’t work for them? And is instant gratification really a bad thing?

I don’t remember where I was or what I was doing, but I could sense this need for instant gratification slowly seeping into every aspect of my life, and not just online. Perhaps you have yet to notice, but the evidence of short-term satisfaction is everywhere you look. From the way we shop down to the way we love one another, the beauty of social media is the ability to exchange ideas and opinions with the rest of the world; however, there is no denying the negative ways this tool has shaped our lives as Millennials. And while none of our needs are new, our expectation of what is ‘fast’ is 10x faster than our parents’. Because who has time to wait, when you have a million other things to get done?

More and more retailers are helping us not leave the house by offering same-day delivery. Bits and pieces of the daily news are sprinkled throughout hashtags and timelines as we bullshit through our workday. Quick fun has become more important than learning regardless of age. Practically every beauty product on the shelf claims to offer ‘instant’ results, even though 90% of their labels are nothing but lies. Excuses provide us with material things we don’t have the money to buy. And sadly, some of our closest relationships suffer when Facebook or Twitter is preferred over what could have been a five-second phone call.

Personally, I noticed this habit popping up most notably when dating. I had to check myself when I realized that as soon as I meet a guy I like, I become obsessed. He’s like my new favorite song and I can’t get enough of him. I’m clocking all his moves and interests online. I make an effort to talk to him damn near every day. But the problem with this is that by having these needs fulfilled so soon, actions lose value. I came to realize that I cannot place expectations on foundations that haven’t been built yet, or else my trust would crumble. So instead of day-dreaming about romance and what the future holds, I am allowing the person I am interested in to meet me there. As time goes on, even the smallest gestures will mean SO much more.

So while instant gratification can serve as a great source of motivation, my point is it can also hinder us from what it is we really want, ultimately leaving us unsatisfied. I also think that most of us treat the future like a myth until we wake up the next day, which is why it is so important to practice self-control and accountability before you are faced with long-term consequences. From now on, when I set my goals the first thing I look for is long-term value, without allowing short-term pain to distract me from my success. And while patience might be one virtue I have yet to fully grasp, I can’t let my need for instant gratification cost me something I can’t afford to lose – my future.

Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

Alright y’all. I have a confession. I’m at this age where “Who Are You?” is still one of life’s hardest questions for me to answer. Just coming up with the little bit of an “About Me” section for this blog was a struggle, and I barely watered my interests down to a paragraph. So many people brand your twenties as time spent “finding yourself,” so with only two years left I figured it was time to make sense of my past, present, and future. I’ve spent years reflecting on the good, the bad, and the ugly in order to uncover the core traits that make me the sensitive thug I am today lol. And while I was looking for direction, I also knew I needed the courage to follow it. Here’s what I found.

entj-personality-type-header

If I remember correctly, my discovery came about randomly one day while scrolling Facebook (of all places, I know). I came across a link asking me to take a “personality test”, and with time to kill, I figured why not? What could it hurt? And believe it or not, it actually helped. Growing up in a culture dominated by materialism and good looks, it is all the more important that we celebrate our personalities, and to also understand that we are much more than our jobs, titles, or responsibilities to others. We often search for things outside of ourselves because we had yet to realize our own worth and abilities, but unless we know who we are now, we will never become the person we are truly meant to be. It’s actually part of the reason I’ve stayed single so long. Not only did I need to take time to rebuild my career and my self-esteem, I refuse to enter into another relationship until I am sure of who I am and what I want.

So you could only imagine my surprise when I found out that my personality type is classified as ENTJ (extraversion, intuition, thinking, judgment) and that only 2% of the general population think the same way I do. That number is even lower for women at just 1%! After reading through each section detailing my strengths and weaknesses, romantic relationships, friendships, parenthood, career paths, and workplace habits, I gained so much understanding over my life. The accuracy was unbelievable. I mean, it was almost like a psychic typed it.

Not to say I was ever lacking in the personality department because that is certainly not the case. I could identify things I did well or could stand to change for quite a while, but the results from my test helped fill in the “why.” When they pretty much summed up everything I already knew to be true about me in the introduction I knew they were on to something. It was like all of a sudden my whole life made sense. Seriously.

They call me “the commander” and for a reason. I own my strengths like being efficient, charismatic, and inspiring, and have come to learn how this can sometimes overwhelm others. I can also admit that some of my weaknesses are my stubbornness, impatience, and the fact I have a hard time processing mushy emotions, which can sometimes make me come off as cold and ruthless, even to those I love (tried to tell y’all I’m a thug).

analysts_Commander_ENTJ_friendships.png

Although I will say the one aspect of my life I questioned the longest up until this point were my friendships. I’ve acquired a lot of “friends” out of circumstance, or better yet, convenience, and would later be left questioning why they never lasted. What the hell was wrong with me? After all I was the common denominator so I had to be doing something wrong. Afterwards I was always left feeling like the disposable friend no one really valued, thus was never afraid to lose. I even went out of my way to befriend new people just because. One of the best decisions I’ve made came at the start of this year when I took the pressure off myself to make friends and put more energy into appreciating those already in my circle. Most importantly, I’ve learned that by surrounding myself with other creatives, I am so much happier. So if you want to discuss some deep shit about goals and the universe then holla at me. But don’t waste my time with gossip and bullshit.

Another big part of my life is my work. I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed, to the point where other people can see it. Aside from my desire to write full-time, my dissatisfaction from working dead-end jobs also stems from my craving for leadership, responsibility, growth and opportunity. I was pegged as a leader at a young age. My earliest memory of my influence stemmed from my 5th grade teacher Mr. Larson pulling me aside while the rest of the class was at recess, and asking me to set an example for the other students since he felt they would follow me.  I can only hope I’ve done a good job.

Curious about your personality type? All you have to do is go to https://www.16personalities.com, answer the questions and don’t forget to share. And while one test might not have all the answers, it can get you closer to it.