Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York State Invests Stock in Love: Richest State in the Country



.Fourth grade history books lie.

At least mine did to me. No, not the teachers. The books. The chapters. The sentences. The words. They all lied. My fourth grade books told me that the Civil War was all about black vs white (nothing else) and that at the end of that war, several assassinations later, and one huge dream, we were starting a new fad called: Anti-Discrimination. The books tell us that people began to learn how to treat one another--how to live in a better world...a better country, where each man and woman could live equally. The books lied.

I should have known as a chubby little fourth grader who was teased for my less-than-petite size at the age of eight that judgement and being treated differently was completely here to stay. I should have known that when one kid was made fun of for the way he dressed, another for the way she combed her hair, and another for being adopted that judgement and discrimination was still being handed down from generation to generation. I should have known that the books were full of shit and that America's hands were still dirtied of discriminatory and derogatory words, slurs, phrases, jokes, and insults--that those who aren't white still suffer--that those that didn't fit "the mold" were still being judged--I should have known and the books should have said so.

There should have been a full chapter on the still very real existence of discrimination in our country--both seen and unseen. (Ie. Think about privileges you might have that others may not have--hidden privileges- EXAMPLE: Me, as a white female, has the "hidden" privilege of not feeling threatened or targeted a terrorist on a plane. Others don't have those privileges--we call them hidden discriminations. See how many you can come up with.)

Of course over time I have discovered much of this discrimination through experience and classes. I've seen friends and acquaintances who have dated members of another culture or skin color be looked down upon or reprimanded for their "actions." I've seen people judged to be "terrorists" because of their matched culture description to those printed in the media following 9-11. And I've seen the LGBT community spit on and frowned upon through disgusting slurs and rants.

With the help of a college course, during my senior year, I continued to discover more biases (like the hidden privileges as aforementioned). I probably should have had a class similar to that one--in elementary school.

Bias. Judgement. Failure to have an open mind. Discrimination. It is all around us.

HOWEVER, this weekend, at 1am on June 25th, 2011, New York state made a jump--took a leap and showed that even if bias and discrimination are going to continue on other levels, that this state is not going to be a tag-team partner in the ring when it comes to marriage equality rights--that this state will not continue to partake in discrimination when it comes to civil rights--when it comes to something bigger than life sometimes--when it comes to a wonderful thing like love.

If you are a little lost, and I hope you aren't, New York state passed the law for legal marriage rights for the LGBT community.

(Cake is at LuLu in Manhattan on 8th between 15th and 16th)

It has been a long battle, and people all over the country have been fighting for this right in their states and other states, for a long time. As New York states takes their side, it's hopefully time for other states to follow suit--to take notice, engage in less discrimination and put a ring on the finger of same-sex marriage.

If only each person could see all the pride, just alone in the wonderful city of NYC, after this historic and triumphant moment in America, they would see that investing stock in love--for all, would yield the richest states--the richest country in the world.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Anatomy of 8 Million Dreamers

Every now and then a song speaks to us–and it speaks for us. It captures exactly what our hearts are feeling but are unable to say. It brings a tear to our eye, a smile to our face and a memory to our soul. It touches us, and we feel it with every ounce of our flesh that covers our body. And even though we know it wasn’t written for us, we know it doesn’t matter, that we can feel anything we want to feel when we hear it–as if it was written by our own hearts.


Every time I hear or listen to a song about New York City, my heart flutters. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t grow up here–or that I didn’t experience the trials and tribulations–the crime or the craziness–the soot or the sadness. All that matters is every time I hear a song about New York, I am reminded of the rush I feel each time I sit in Grand Central, or of the flood of excitement I have, each time I meet a new person, or of the disdain I have for the work day commutes (Ha), and, lastly, of course I am reminded of the passion and love I have for each nook and cranny in this city.


Each day that I was in Italy, I called New York City my home–and it’s no wonder–I have never felt more home than in the moments I have spent sitting in the subway trains; or in the moments that I have spent chatting over coffee at my favorite shop (Bourbon–14th street and 5th); or in the moments that I’ve spent on the Brooklyn Bridge; or in the seconds that I have spent in dodging tourists in Times Square. I have never felt more on top of the world than in the moments I stare out my 26th floor work window at the dazzling skyscrapers that reflect off of one one another in the night time glow. And I have never felt more relieved, relaxed, or comforted than in the moments I have spent with the friends that I have found, the talent that I have encountered, and the family that I have made here.


You know, they say if you let something go and it comes back–then you know it’s real love…well I left for a bit, three months…and I came back. In fact, it was nearly hours after I heard Empire State of Mind (II), by Alicia Keys, for the first time, that I made my decision to come home, months earlier than I had planned.


Like songs–I want this video to have captured what I feel each time I walk down an alley way–a street–or a set of subway stairs as well as what I feel each time I see or meet a stranger or watch a talented street performer. I wanted this video to play out like all the songs I hear that cause a tear to shed or a smile to cross my face each time I hear it, and think of this city. I wanted this video to speak what was on my heart while looking into the hearts of others–I wanted this video to dissect the anatomy of the dreamers that live in this city–that breathe this city–that love this city. Because really–if they can make it here–they can make it anywhere. I hope you enjoy:

Monday, June 20, 2011

Momma always said, "Never Talk to Strangers..." I say just don't take candy from men in white vans...

My mother always told me never to talk to strangers. That was pretty high up on the “don’t do list,” right along with, “don’t ride your bike to a pharmacy at 8:00 am without my permission.” Because—Yes I did that on multiple occasions, with my next door neighbors, until we got caught. We weren’t buying drugs…well…we weren’t buying illegal drugs—just enough caffeine and sugar to get us to the next sun rise.

When my mom found out that I had been sneaking off with the boys, I was punished for a length of time that felt like centuries. Thank god that punishment didn’t deter me from going against my mother’s rules for the rest of my life…because I’d never have many of the friendships or networks that I currently have now.

You see, I learned much too quickly that if you never talk to strangers, you’ll never make new friends—and that is especially true in what I consider to be my home now: New York City.

As I turn to my left, a man with a Bruins hat smiles as he watches people walk by. I ask if he is from Massachusetts. Of course he is. But I ask anyway. “I grew up there.” “Congratulations,” I say, “That Stanley Cup, it was a long time coming.” We continue talking for a few moments and then bask in the sunlight.

I turn to my right and a man’s Iron Man drawstring bag is exposed for passer-bys to see. I reach out and ask if he has ever ran one.

“3, actually,” he modestly says without breaking a stride in his facial expression.

We continue to speak for fifteen minutes—me in awe of his accomplishments—him attempting to convince me that a triathlon is definitely in my future. We laugh. We compliment one another’s accomplishments. We talk some more. And then we exchange business cards, and not before long…he is on his way.

Strangers.

Strangers are amazing people. They can teach you about life, about an event, or about yourself—and in a brief moment, they can become your friend.

A good friend of mine from college recently pointed out that I have this ability to get along with anyone, to reach out, to spark a conversation, to laugh, to make a joke, with just about anyone that I meet. It’s the exact reason why she never worries about bringing new friends of hers out to meet me. In fact, I’ve even begun spending time with her friends, while she’s away for the summer. Why? Because they’ve become my friends too. And that’s why I love people—and why I love talking to people, and why disobeying one of the world’s most golden rules, is the best decision I continue to make on a daily basis.

Because that’s what life is about—meeting people, connecting with people, forming friendships, forming relationships, creating bonds—imagining together—developing life-long dreams with.

I say: Talk to all the strangers in the world because you never know what he or she will do for you—or what he or she will become to you. Strangers really are just friends we haven’t met yet.


….But if you do happen to be under 15 and a stranger in a white van offers you candy, please, please, please…Just say no.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

video
Opening Red Ruby Scene, Follow the Yellowbrick Road and Closing scene are all part of the original Wizard of Oz. Using in accordance with Fair Use.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart"-Anne Frank

It's not every day that I lose faith in New York City, declare my hatred for people who have no respect for others, and get angry over feeling violated by a complete stranger. But for the second time since living in New York City, these feelings graced my heart--even if only momentarily.

When I left New York City nearly 8 months ago, I drove off with a bad taste in my mouth. My car was filled with only 3 quarters of what I had packed for my big move out--but only because 1.4 of my belongings had been stolen the night prior. I summarized that final night in NYC in my blog post: Just not a material girl in a material world .

Saturday night, as my best friends and I headed out for a night in Manhattan, we didn't make it very far. In fact, we made it up about three steps before my best friend's clutch was ripped from her hands, and the young kid, who could have been no older than 15 ran off with it.

As I turned around, I stumbled over the words "What the hell happened?" My friends were watching as the punk and his friends ran off. Too angry, or too lost for words, we all kind of looked at one another. "Damn."

My best friend is a lot like me when it comes to personal belongings. If they disappear, we can replace them. Really, it's the time that has been stolen from us. Like me, my best friend avoids materialism, mutters under her breath how it sucks--but how nothing can be done, but move on. It's probably why we make such great best friends. We will never care more about our belongings than the people we are with and the people we care about. If we had to live with nothing, but our family and our friends, on the side of a street...we'd be just fine. And I honestly mean that. I am not sure how many other people can say that.

Despite, wanting to just let it go, we were forced to ride around in cop cars to attempt to identify the boys who ran off with the stuff. With each cop we encountered, we felt like we were actually the ones being interrogated:

Well...Why are you up here? Why would you ever live in this area? What the hell are you doing up here?

One female cop went as far as to say "I have a gun and I wouldn't even walk down that street."

My best friend looked at them like they had ten heads. And finally said to the one,
"The Bronx is a great place."

It is because of my best friend that I was able to avoid materialism just eight months ago--it is because of my friend that the bitter taste in my mouth from the moment I saw the smashed window of my car, literally only lasted seconds...it is because of her faith and her belief in people and actions, that I am such a caring and forgiving person--that I see the good before I see the bad. That I state, "Maybe they needed the money more than I did," when trying to make up for feeling violated and insecure in a city that has done me right so many times.

_______________________

A couple days later the sweet, sugary, savory feeling of love for New York City has returned to my taste buds in full.

As my phone lit up from across the table, I could just read the name of who it was from. "Laura Cell."

"But her phone was stolen," I thought to myself.

"I got my stuff back! everything except money and metro card!"

And in that moment, I smiled. I smiled knowing that my best friend's attitude, that has rubbed off so wonderfully on me, was just one of the many reasons her stuff came back to her in a very unconventional way. And despite the fact that we may never know the person who ran off with her stuff to begin with--it doesn't matter. What matters is that no matter how much bad there is in this world--no matter how much crime, no matter what the statistics are--people are still good at heart...this world is still good.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"There's more to life than being cool, athletic, and popular"-The Wonder Years

"There's a lot of pressure in high school--you know? Like--lots of stress. If I said let's each name the 20 most popular people, from high school, we'd probably rattle off a majority of the same names, but they were popular, only because they were given that role. They probably didn't ask for it, we just held them up on a pedestal."

A good friend of mine, who I recently became reconnected to, via a five year high school reunion, said this to me during the afternoon portion of the party. Looking back--he's right. We all cared so much what people thought of us, and once we reached a certain status, we stressed about about maintaining that status--rather than just enjoying the ride, for ourselves.

The truth is, that being cool--athletic--and popular--aka fitting a stereotype--only matters for such a short period of life--barely even 1/25 of it. But we make that stereotype that people create for us, for such a short period of time, into such a big thing--something nearly consumes us. We think that if we are athletic--we will automatically be popular. We think that if we are the cool kid, more things will come easily to us.

So...it's five years later. Does any of that stuff matter?

Here's my answer:

No. We don't have the pressure now.--There's no "most popular" in the real world. If someone likes you--they like you. If they don't, they don't--and you just move onto the next one. There's no superlatives in life. Your status isn't being voted on and stamped into a yearbook forever. Five years ago, we focused way too much on who we believed would be the "most successful" instead of asking ourselves what would make us each individually feel successful--instead of worrying about the one person who mattered: ourself. Who's to say that someone who is happy with three children and a husband isn't just as successful--or even more successful than the head of multi-million dollar cooperation. No one.

At the end of the day, it's time to forget the stereotypes--it's time to forget the outside vote; join the independent party--the "me" party...and just live life so at the end of the day the only vote you are casting is on yourself and your own happiness and your own success.