Streams of Consciousness

If you’re one of the few people who have decided to follow my blog then buckle your seat belts folks because you’re in for a bumpy ride.

I’ve been in a blog post drought for roughly 3 weeks now? Possibly longer?

Anywho – I’m baaaccckkkk 🙂

There are lots of things I’ve thought about writing about, but I couldn’t decide on one topic.

This blog post may read similar to a diary of sorts. *shrug*

Let’s talk about microaggressions. Microaggressions are the sort of actions that make me say that I’m tired of white people. That’s not to say that minorities aren’t guilty of microaggressions too because we certainly are. I’ve been the victim of microaggressions from both.

I’m not sure who is following my blog at this point so I’ll be brief here. One of my co-workers tried me recently. Let me say that again. Some dude at work that I have to work with and pretend to like on a regular basis tried me. At work. The place where I make money so that I can afford my bills and pay for food. I wanted to emphasize that for the people in the back.

We use a chat feature at work so that we can blast everyone with useful information. Given that for the most part we’re a bunch of 20 somethings, and that I work with primarily grown-ass men children, the chat is usually full of crack, memes, and bad jokes (often perpetuated by myself).

This dude at work takes a picture of The Donald, and uses it as his chat profile icon. He makes a point to tell me to take a look at it, and asks if I like this new photo. It was irritating. Inappropriate. Targeted. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a prime example of a microaggression – an intentional act used to challenge or mock a characteristic or identity of a person. Oftentimes this characteristic or identity is something that a person cannot change about themselves (or at least not easily) such as race, sexual orientation, physical ability, hair texture, etc. As a socially conscious, unashamedly liberal, woman of color, The Donald literally stands for everything that I don’t. The personal is political.

Grumble. Next topic.

Adulthood is hard. I read what is technically considered a self-help book when I first got out of college called Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown, a then late 20-something herself. The book explored a variety of topics, including relationships, cooking, careers, etc. It was hilarious, and full of actually good advice. I’d like to read this book again now that I’m deeper into my adulthood than I was a few years back.

What I’ve found interesting about adulthood is that I looked at this season of life looking forward to being independent, self-sufficient, and having the answers to things. The reality is that the independence is stressful and costly, most of my home-cooked meals still come from the home I actually grew up in, and I’m learning that I don’t have the answers to most things. I’ve been humbled by recognizing how little I know of the things that I couldn’t wait to “know” about as a child. Does that make sense? I mean, does that sentence make sense? Hopefully my sentiment makes sense.

Another great humbling thing about adulthood is that no ones cares. No one cares that I went to a highly-ranked public university. No one cares that I work a job that requires a degree from some highly-ranked public university, and that I earn a salary with benefits. No one cares that I live in a one bedroom apartment that I (praise the Lord) don’t have to share with any other humans. No. One. Cares.

On the flip side no one cares (or notices that much!) if I fail at something. No one cares if I happen to be really great (or think that I’m really great) at something. These days I’ve found myself jaded. I used to think of myself too highly, and now I struggle to recognize that I’m still smart, accomplished, and capable. I’m not where I want to be, but I am doing well. I’m not in the career that I want to retire from, but I do have a career that allows me the independence that I was looking forward to so much as a child/adolescent/young adult.

What I’m certain of present-day is that I don’t really know much of anything, and that I have so much left to learn about people, the world, etc. I’m making peace with this on the day-to-day. I’m learning to forgive myself for not having access to the people and experiences that could have taught me more lessons and truths earlier in my life. I’m grateful to have people in my life who are understanding of me and my quirks, and (sometimes) my denseness on the basic topics of life.

I’m also grateful for this tasty Mediterranean restaurant 2 minutes away from my apartment. On the flip side I’m also grateful that this zumba class is also 2 minutes away from my apartment on the days/weeks that I consume more calories than I should.

And on that note I’m reminded that I’m trying to drink a gallon of water a day in an effort to offset any junk that I don’t have the self-control not to eat on any given day. In case you were wondering 1 gallon = 16 cups = 128 fl. oz. That’s a lot of water, folks. So I’m going to refill this water bottle (again) and log these 3 additional cups into today’s water intake.

Cheers,

J.

Representation Matters

So I’m watching the Oscars red carpet show – y’know, the show on ABC that precedes the actual Oscars awards show.

I’m not a particularly movie-savvy person. My boyfriend and I JUST saw Hidden Figures. It was fantastic, empowering, and depressing all at the same time. Fantastic because YAAASSSS black girl magic. Empowering because it served as a reminder that black girls are smart, valuable, and can do anything. Depressing because these women had to jump through ridiculous hoops to be recognized. They were all brilliant and diligent. Despite their hard work at NASA they faced all sorts of unnecessary challenges because of their sex and skin color – two things that literally have nothing to do with their intellect or ability.

These challenges still persist today. Many images we see and hear of black people in the media are caricatures and stereotypes. Black men are often depicted as violent and dangerous. Black women are often depicted as loud, bossy, and purely [exoticized] sexual objects (which is not specific to just black women, but nearly all women [of color]). Black men and women are typically depicted as genearlly inferior: less smart, less prosperous, less capable of attaining more respectable roles and privileges in today’s society.

In the age of Oprah and Obama they are still not the “rule,” they are the exception. It sucks. Racism is as alive and well today as it was 40 years ago. Institutional racism exists. Intersectionality matters. Issues of access and equity that have existed since the inception of the United States continue to affect the same marginalized groups, and, therefore, still matter.

Now I could pull out some scholarly articles to serve as “proof” for my rant in this blog post. I can dig through my notes from Black Women in America, Health and Human Rights, Sex and Gender in Society, Justice in Public Policy, etc. If you’re seeking hard evidence for the reality of my existence, and the existence of anyone who is part of a marginalized group then you’re missing the point of this blog post.

The Oscars have officially started, and I’d like to pay attention to this awards show, so I’ll wrap this up shortly.

Today I am still a minority in any place of privilege. I have been very lucky and blessed to have had relatively easy access to healthy food, shelter, and a decent public education in both grade school and college. I work a full-time job that pays a salary with benefits. I am now my own means (via my company) of health, vision, and dental insurance; a 401k to save for my retirement, sick days, and actual paid time off. These things are not entitlements, they are blessings. These blessings grant me a great deal of mobility inaccessible to a lot of others who work harder than I do to earn less money because perhaps the work they do is inaccurately regarded as lesser.

I am one of 3 black women in my office. I’m tired of being the token black girl. In the future I want the Janelle Monaes, the Taraji P. Hensons, the Viola Davises, the Mahershala Alis, the Barack Obamas, the Michelle Obamas, and all of the incredibly noteworthy people of color I’ve neglected to name to be the norm, and not the exception. I want honorable and prestigious roles and awards to feel possible to both my peers and my [future] babies.

And it would just be really freaking great for there to be a bunch more black women and women of color in an office space that hang out with an equally diverse group of men and it NOT be such a strange, rare occurrence.

I’m super happy and grateful for all the people who have helped paved the way for my peers, my family, and myself. In the future I’d like for all my peers to be equally considered and praised, not patronized or overlooked because of characteristics that do not define our intellect, ability, or creativity.

The Oscars is about halfway over, and I’ve been profoundly distracted throughout the course of this blog post. I believe I’m going to call this one quits for the night.

Until next time folks.

-J

Feeling myself: a political post

Feelin myself. I’m feelin myself. I’m feelin my – feelin myself. I’m feelin myself.

I may or may not have been listening to Nicki Minaj and Beyonce a few minutes ago.

Additionally, I may or may not have participated in a march yesterday.

The NCNAACP hosted a moral march in Raleigh to defend liberty and justice for all, and not just for a privileged few.

We marched for human rights. We marched for health care access, women’s rights, black lives, climate change, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, public education, the injustices currently faced by immigrants and refugees, and a slew of other causes that I would probably forget to mention in their entirety.

SN: I’m currently watching the Grammy’s so I am EXTREMELY distracted but will try to stay true to the title of this post. The operative word here is try.

First and foremost it was super encouraging and empowering to march with other like-minded people who are disgusted with U.S. government and politics, and want to –

SN II: YES CHANCE THE RAPPER FOR BEST NEW ARTIST

do something about it. People who want to stand up for marginalized groups and the underdog, and who want to ensure that tomorrow is better than today.

I’m pretty profoundly annoyed at the current political climate here in the U.S. I feel especially bad for people like my father who fought for this country in the 70s, lived during segregation, saw incredible progress, and are now living to see that progress threatened by an extremist right-wing government [insert enormous eye roll here].

Sigh. Now’s not the time to back down. Now’s the time to organize and prioritize, and figure out a strategic way to resist and persist. And that’s that.

There’s so much more that I have and want to say on this topic. I’ll bookmark this and follow up later. Expect some other topics in between this political post and future ones.

Cheers.

-J

Blogpost?

I decided to re-launch my blog this evening while sitting at H&R Block looking at an old white man with an unfortunate comb-over.

Hi, I’m Jannine. I’m 25. I live in Raleigh. I work in finance. If you’re reading this apparently you’ve come across my blog one way or another.

Several months ago during one of my rants my boyfriend suggested that I create a blog.

“J! You have so much to say! You should start a blog or a YouTube Channel.”

“Eh babe idk how I feel about that. We’ll see.”

He’s right. I do have a lot to say. And I don’t believe he was just saying that because he’s tired of my rants (though I’m sure that’s certainly part of it).

It’s 2017 and America is nuts. I’m not sure what direction I’d like to take this blog going forward. I’m sure it will contain some political rants, some discussion about my being a self-proclaimed awkward black girl (#shoutout to Issa Rae), some thoughts on rappers/ artists and other happenings in black/urban media.

Perhaps I’ll share some funny stories on my interactions with people in my life and strangers I come across in the streets. Makeup and hair products will likely make an appearance given that I’ve disappointed my middle school self and become interested in such things.

And since I’ve resorted to pulling on several of my thinking curls (more on that in another blog post), I’m going to call this one quits.

Good night, folks!

-J