Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year, Pretty Similar Me.

The year of utter chaos.
The year of a first love, and of a first heartbreak.
The year of curiosity and exploration.
The year of a badass internship.
The year of (yet another) tattoo.
The year of anxiety. Apprehension. Confusion.
Of waiting. And waiting.
The year of a third (last) championship.
The year of self-discovery, of insight.
The year of asking for help.
Of receiving help.
The year of (legal) alcohol consumption.
The year of commuting, of a new home.
The year of social justice, activism.
The year of finding my voice.
The year of writing, of expressing, of feeling.
Of shamelessly exposing myself.
The year of invalidation. And of validation.


And what's to come in 2015?

The year of graduating (omg).
The year of (possibly) graduate school.
The year of career building. 
The year of more laughter, more smiles, more tears.
The year of compassion, and of selflessness.
The year of self-care, of self-exploration.
Of just "self."
The year of more expression, more passion. 
Of more shamelessness.
The year of independence.
The year of not being basic...
...And of still being pretty basic. 
(We know it's unavoidable, ya'll.)


'Til next time,
Christina

Monday, December 22, 2014

"And how does that make you FEEL?"

I was planning on doing a reflective post about 2014 ~in retrospect~, and I'm still going to do that, but I couldn't go another second without writing about what's going on in my head right now.

(Keep in mind that I'm writing this at 2am.)

We have this joke at Lesley University that everyone has a minor in feelings, and that we talk about feelings all the time in class. (Not true, but at the same time...very true.) And I'm a counseling major, so I talk about feelings a lot.

How did this article make you feel? In this scenario, how do you think the client feels?
Etc. Etc. Etc.

Sure, I can discuss how I felt about something in a class of 20 people, but it never really goes below the surface for me. As much as I would like to say that I am open and honest about my feelings, I'm really not. I've been grappling with this truth these past few months, after feeling pretty rejected for just being me. At the same time, I've gained a lot of insight about myself, my strengths, and my emotions. They're intense, they're raw, and sometimes they're numbing. I feel and I feel, but it's difficult for me to let other people know that I'm hurting or overwhelmed.

Don't get me wrong - I am surrounded by love and compassion and warmth. I just can't really bear to truly open up to people, even to the people that I'm close with. It's an interesting complex, and it sucks, and it's weird, but I'm working on it.

(Alright, sappy "me" portion aside.)

Humans are capable of a million different things, but I really think that one of our greatest assets is our ability to feel. (Oh my god, so cheesy, I know. But seriously.) The moment that you are angry or sad or hurt or confused and are able to recognize that emotion and just sit with it...it's amazing. We're always like, "focus on the positive and get rid of the negative, man." (Insert hippie peace sign here.) But no matter what, the negative will find you, so you might as well just accept it. Allow yourself to be with that raw energy, because it's really a wonderful thing.

Nowadays, being "emotional" or "sensitive" can equate to being "unstable," and that's bullshit. Being able to access such an intense, beautiful part of yourself should be appreciated.

Basically, this is what I wanted to say about feelings:
If someone makes you feel invalidated, or unstable, or incompetent because you have the ability to express your pain or joy in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, kick 'em to the curb.

You (I) don't deserve to feel any shame for being fully present with yourself (myself).
It's a gift, and sometimes a curse, but it's you (me), and you're (I'm) awesome.


'Til next time,
Christina

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I AM AN ANGRY BLACK WOMAN

Hope you all got a good chuckle out of the title, because things are about to get reaaal serious.

The other day, after one of my Facebook "friends" (we fortunately aren't actually friends) made a status about how Darren Wilson was in the right to shoot Mike Brown (6 times, btw) because he was a thug, I politely disagreed, he respected my opinion, and that was that.

Lol, jk, this is Facebook we're talking about - nothing's ever civil!

We had a pretty heated debate and one of my last points made had to do with white privilege in the U.S. (Side note - this person is white and failed to recognize his privilege because he identifies as gay and doesn't see how he could ever be privileged.)

The conversation ended with me eventually unfriending him, thus removing myself from the status debate. (Bye, Felicia!)
BUT not before one of his (white) friends chimed in:

"Christina, you seem very educated which is sad because you are very ignorant and bear a huge chip on your shoulder."

Along with:
"Our president is BLACK, tell me how white privilege still exists."

...............I'm just gonna leave that there.


This, my friends, is just one reason why I CANNOT EVEN with some people's ignorance. (Yes, black girls "can't even" too.)

The fact of the matter is that black people -- black men in particular -- are being targeted from the moment they step onto the street (or into the classroom...or out of the womb).

The authoritarians -- our police, our criminal "justice" system, the people we are supposed to TRUST -- are failing us. This racism is centuries old and ingrained in our institutions -- institutions that are constantly telling us "no." No, you do not matter, your dead body doesn't even matter, your life, your soul DO NOT matter.

And people have the nerve to say that these "violent" protests don't make us -- as people of color -- look good. I'm going to say this as respectfully as I can...fuck you.

The "violent" protests, and peaceful protests, are not spontaneous, I'll tell you that much. They are the result of years of injustice, grief, EXHAUSTION. They are tired. We are tired. I...am tired.

This anger, these protests can be confusing, and may seem very odd to people they don't directly affect. White people, let me make this request: please recognize your privilege. It lies within the color of your skin, regardless of whether or not you choose to acknowledge it, and regardless of whether or not you even choose to identify as white.

Also, please do not make this about you. Your #AllLivesMatter hashtags do not make things inclusive; they do the very opposite, actually. They are a perpetuation of the belittling of black people, the oppressed.

Your "educated" comments about "violent" protests, looting, about the murdered victims being "thugs" and "up to no good"? Well, they hurt. 

"But I am educated on this topic -- I have black friends! I'm not being/saying anything racist!"
Ok, cute for you, but I don't care. Also, it's not that black and white (no pun intended this time). Discrimination and racism can exist, whether you intended it/were aware of it or not. Racism is so institutionalized, so embedded in the U.S., that it can even exist in the band-aids that we wear. (Obviously it goes much bigger than that, and we've seen it in our criminal "justice" system countless times.) 

Ok. So. This post may have not made much sense, and it may have not taught you anything (even though I hope it did). It's not my job to educate the ignorant or confused, but I did want to do my part as a black person/person of color and make viewers of this post more aware to the issues being faced and the injustices that surface every. single. day. with regards to black people. I also wanted to express my empathy, concern, my sadness, and my fear.

Wait, what? Fear? But why would you ever be scared, Christina? You're a fairly educated young woman who attends a great university, comes from a great family, and has a bright future.
Well, folks, I'll leave you with this:

It really doesn't matter where you live, if you are a good person, what your education is, what your future holds, if you are unarmed, if the cop is unarmed, if people see it, if there is physical evidence, or even what your age is! If you are black, it does not matter. Your safety is at stake.
My black friends are not safe.
My family -- my dad and brother in particular -- is not safe.
My children...if I have a son, he is not safe. Daughter? She probably isn't safe either.
I am not safe.
I am not safe.
I am not safe.
We are not safe.


'Til next time,
Christina