Tag Archive | reflections

Changing Times

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

The actual time on a clock is constantly changing, but really it’s all the same. We, as humans, are the ones who have to make each hour, minute, and second different and distinguishable from the rest.

The Hoodie Argument

Photo taken from Flickr user: Harlequeen

Geraldo Rivera made the following statements on the show Fox & Friends:

  • “I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”
  • “You have to recognize that this whole stylizing yourself as a gangsta – you’re going to be a gangsta wannabe? Well, people are going to perceive you as a menace.”

After his segment on Fox & Friends, he tweeted two other statements:

  • “My own son just wrote to say he’s ashamed of my position re hoodies-still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe”
  • “Its not blaming the victim Its common sense-look like a gangsta&some armed schmuck will take you at your word”

I never knew that wearing a hoodie and looking like a gangsta were synonymous. Herein lies part of the problem with Geraldo Rivera’s argument. For some reason, Rivera is fixated on the hoodie being a dangerous article of clothing. A hoodie alone, I don’t believe, can be considered responsible for endangering someone’s life. And looking like a gangsta shouldn’t be responsible either, though, it probably would sway someone to look at a person with a much more vigilant eye.

What we wear, that is, our entire attire, and not just one article of clothing, certainly does influence people to form a particular judgment of us. Society as a whole simply does not hold the same opinion of an individual wearing baggy street clothes and of one wearing more formal attire, especially if the former is of a minority group and the latter is white. Sometimes even the same clothes on individuals of different races will formulate different judgments. Whether we like it or not, someone’s outside appearance and race will determine the type of attention, reaction, and treatment they will receive.

What’s important to remember is that clothing should not fabricate, whether positively or negatively, an individual’s character, and, consequently, cannot adequately determine their threat to society. Wearing gangsta-looking clothes does not automatically mean that someone is dangerous, just like wearing a suit, let’s say, does not mean that someone cannot be dangerous; it works both ways. Ultimately, even if someone looks like a gangsta no one should want to shoot them if they’re not being harmed by them.

Having grown up in a community that is primarily made up of African American, Asian, and Latino populations, I have seen and have been one of those stereotypical hoodie-wearing, young, and dark-skinned males. There was a time when I choose to wear clothes far bigger than my actual size because I was influenced by what I saw around me, but not because I was part of that crowd. Eventually I grew out of that phase and started wearing clothes that actually fit. Part of the reason was because I didn’t want to be associated with negative social circles; deep down I knew that outside of my community people would associate me and my clothing choices with being a gangsta. At no point in time, however, did I stop wearing hoodies.

While I do believe that individuals, especially those from minority groups, should choose what they wear carefully in order to not be seen as a threat, at the end of the day clothing choices is not what kills people. Weapons in the hands of ignorant and racist individuals who make lethal and rash decisions based on someone’s appearance, is what kills people.

Do I look like a gangsta?

Follow Your Heart

“Follow your heart, but be quiet for a while first. Ask questions, then feel the answer. Learn to trust your heart.” – Unknown

Much easier said than done.

Off Limits?

Photo taken from Flickr user: alancleaver_2000

Have you ever dated someone who exposed you to a new place that had some sort of significance for the two of you and then you stopped seeing each other? The problem is you liked that particular place and wish to continue going, but in a way it feels a little wrong to still go without them… just a little bit. After all, if it weren’t for them, you might not have learned about or discovered this place.

Depending on the type of break-up (amicable, doubtful, non-existent, or unpleasant), you’ll know whether running into this ex is manageable for you (or not) and whether it would be awkward (or not). If amicable (i.e. remained friendly and on speaking terms), then there would be no problem having to see this person again. If unpleasant (i.e. it was nasty and you hate each other), then presumably the last thing you would want is to have to see this person again. In those two cases, it’s easy to make a decision. However, if the break-up was doubtful (i.e. you weren’t sure if you should break up) or non-existent (i.e. one of you just disappeared on the other), then running into them would be somewhat tense and awkward but not the worst thing in the world. So, should you take the risk of running into them and continue going to this location?

Some things to consider:

  1. How much did both of you like the place?
    If you or they liked it, then certainly either of you will want to go again. If neither of you liked it, then avoiding it will be fairly easy.
  2. What kind of place is it?
    A one-of-a-kind, a difficult-to-find, or an off-the-wall place complicates things. In my opinion, the more unique the place is the more memorable and/or notable it is for a certain aspect, which was probably the reason why you two went in the first place. A city staple, a franchise-type business, or a well known site may still have some significance, but it’s probably too common and/or popular to make it that much more individually significant.
  3. Where is the place located? Size of it?
    A place closer to you is good. A place closer to them is not so good. A place in between both of you or away from both of you is open to interpretation. Size matters too, a larger location is better than a smaller space as it gives you more area to disperse in (e.g. Pier 39 in San Francisco vs. a small intimate restaurant).
  4. Why are you going? Length of visit?
    Going because you have to for whatever reason that may be (e.g. errand related, school related, work related, etc) cannot be avoided. However, going because you want to (e.g. date related, fun related, tour related, etc) can be avoided, and may be a smarter route to take. Whichever the case, the amount of time you spend there will also matter; the quicker you get out, the better.
  5. Who are you going with?
    If you’re going alone, there’s not much to worry about. If you’re going with friends, then that seems safe enough. But going with a new date? That would make a potential run-in extremely uncomfortable.

Each of our individual circumstances will give these questions different answers and values. What’s most important is to know whether you can handle seeing this person and to have an idea on how the encounter could transpire. And of course, not every place you ever went to with your ex will have to be evaluated. Here I’m strictly referring to those places that: saw you two share nice moments, hold some level of significance for both of you, and became one of your go-to-spots.

Why am I writing about this? I recently went to a place that I like a lot (an ice cream sandwich shop called C.R.E.A.M.) that someone I dated last year took me to. It was the first time I had gone since ending things with this person (about 3 months ago), and I only went because I was in the area that day and had been desiring one of their sandwiches. While I was there, of course, I remembered the times we had previously gone together and it just felt weird to be there again. Naturally, there is an association between the person and the place, even if you have moved on. So it got me thinking on whether I should still be going there, hence this post.

“Saying What We Think”

“Saying what we think gives us a wider conversational range than saying what we know.” – Cullen Hightower

That is exactly what this blog is about.

  1. I don’t write from a place of I know more than you. I write from a place of This is what I think, or am currently thinking. Even with everything I think, I barely have enough ideas as to what to write about each week; I would have fewer ideas if I wrote about what I know.
  2. When I was trying to decide which blog host to use, I discarded Tumblr because it doesn’t allow comments on entries, which for me defeats the purpose of writing. One reason why I have this blog is to encourage dialogue.

This quote is a progression from the one I posted last week. Naturally, after you “Think Whatever You Wish,” the next step would be to voice those thoughts. So what do you think?

11 Speed Bumps From 2011

Photo taken from Flickr user: Wetsun

After reflecting over the past year, here is a list of things that I’ve come to realize. Some of them are pretty standard, and you might even think “You’re just now realizing that?” But yes, I’m just now willing to accept these points.

  1. You shouldn’t say “no” until you’ve tried it.
    We’ve likely said “no” to something before even giving it a fair shot to win us over. I’ve been saying “no” to sushi for the longest time because I’m not a fan of seafood. However, last year I finally tried it and loved it. This also extends to my next point: dating. Unless you’re clearly not feeling it, don’t say “no” to someone until you give them a chance. Point is: try everything once, or almost everything, because you might actually like it.
  2. Dating is not always fun.
    As a whole, dating can be enjoyable and refreshing as you get to meet and interact with different types of people. Being single and being able to date around is great, but that can only go on for so long. At some point in the dating process, the fun goes away. Specifically, when the person you are on a date with is not someone you wish to pursue further and you need to let them know. Point is: it is never fun to turn someone down or to get turned down, but it has to happen.
  3. “Let’s just be friends” is not as easy as I thought.
    Before this past year I thought you could date someone and be able to remain friends if things didn’t work out romantically. After this past year, I’ve come to realize that you can’t force a friendship that wasn’t there in the first place. Sometimes people are too hurt, too full of pride, or too emotionally invested to keep in touch and be able to offer a no strings attached friendship. Point is: it is not necessary to remain friends with everyone you date.
  4. Ask no more than twice and move on.
    A no, is a no, is a no, is a no. How many times do you need to hear “no” before you finally accept it? Hopefully, it is no more than twice. My rule is to ask two times just to make sure, but after that the answer is very unlikely to get any better. Sometimes you might bug someone enough where they finally give in, but it’s probably just to shut you up. Point is: don’t waste time asking for something that is not going to happen from a genuine place.
  5. If you don’t speak up for yourself, no one will.
    Something happened last year that made me speak up a lot more, and I’m not sure what, or why. Suddenly, I’m less likely to keep quiet about something I have in mind. Whether that something is good or not, people need to know where you stand. Point is: make your feelings, opinions, and thoughts be known.
  6. Not everything inside of you has to come out.
    This one is an extension of speaking up. While you can’t control what you think or feel, you can control what you say or do. You need to know when and where you can react, and in some instances it’s simply better not to react. And even if probed, you need to find a good approach when you’re answering. Point is: figure out when you should and shouldn’t hold things back.
  7. It’s impossible to have control over everything.
    This one is a tough one for me. Point is: you can’t have a say in everything, so let it go.
  8. Just because you don’t have it all, doesn’t mean you don’t have something.
    Very few of us have it all. Most of us still have a long wish list in life. And while being ambitious and hopeful for the future is important, it’s just as important to be thankful for what we have in the present. For every wish you make for something you don’t have, you should take a moment to reflect on something you already do have. Point is: it’s likely you have something that others wish they had.
  9. High expectations lead to high disappointments.
    It’s important to make high expectations, but even more important to know your height restrictions. Being realistic does not equate to being pessimistic. Nothing comes to mind more than the never-was-iPhone 5, aka iPhone 4S. Consumers made an opulent mental image of what they expected to see in the new phone. When they didn’t get that, they were highly frustrated and disappointed; that was their own fault. Point is: make realistic expectations.
  10. The future does not always rely on the past.
    This one is a tricky one. While I believe that it’s necessary to consider things that have occurred in the past to better navigate through the future, it’s not always necessary. Sometimes we get too stuck in the past, that it can hurt what we think is possible for the future. We need to learn from experiences but at the end of the day the circumstances are never exactly the same in two separate situations. Point is: go with the flow and tackle things as they come to you.
  11. People are not getting any younger.
    I know, this is an obvious one. But it stems from reflecting on my own family members. My parents are not as young and healthy as I remember them growing up and my brother is no longer the baby/toddler I can just pick up and carry. My problem is I tend to make a static image of people in my life from years before. But reality is, people grow old(er) and change, so the image you have of them has to constantly change as well. Point is: take time to re-figure the people in your life.

Bonus for 2012:

Speed bumps are meant to slow you down, not stop you.
Even if you don’t know where you’re going, as long as you keep moving you will eventually get somewhere. Point is: don’t pull over because your lane is going slow, simply keep going.