Thursday, February 19, 2015

Brain Stuff.

I take a lot of heat for my 'feminist' views. I also take a lot of shit for my affinity for profanity, my opinionated outspokenness, and my stubborn push to be heard. Some folks see it as a personal attack, others just see it as junk clouding up the airwaves.

It's okay.

At the root of giving me all of that grief, there are people who haven't really learned that standing out is okay. There are folks who believe that anyone who would paint a target on their own back doesn't have a right to be successful. There are also a lot of assumptions; assumptions that I'm angry instead of intense, upset instead of passionate. Those assumptions are made by folks who haven't even spoken with me, who have never interacted with me... They assume I'm a man-hating feminist bitch with a big mouth and too much to say.

They're wrong. But that's okay. I'm wrong a lot, too. 

However, I'd like to set the record straight: 

I'm not a feminist. I'm what I like to call a humanist -- I don't like women more than I like men. I like everyone pretty much equally, and when I dislike someone, it's not about gender. When I disagree with someone, it doesn't mean I don't like you. And even if I think someone is wrong, it doesn't mean we can't be good friends, or be respectful. 

I like to rant. I think that ranting has a certain value -- we are our most honest when we shout and yell, with no political calculation (or fucks) given. And so I rant. And it's usually very tongue-in-cheek, because I'm inherently human and always wrong, which makes the ranting funny from a philosophical point of view. 

But yes, I usually have too much to say. And I'm always wrong. I always have a limited perspective, based upon my human condition. But aren't we all? Don't we all? I'm not objective, because humans are not objective creatures. We see everything through the lense that our lives and natures and conditioning gives us. I'm opinionated and fairly ignorant about a great many things and, combined with a passionately fierce personality, it usually makes for a nightmare of epic proportions. But I'm not afraid to be wrong, nor to be educated. I'm a curious soul, and love to learn... Even if that means I end up looking like an idiot or with egg on my face. Shit happens and eggs break. 

I also NEVER set out to offend someone personally. If I'm offensive, it's usually because something has been bristling under my skin and I'm feeling contrary or comedic. I don't make an effort to hurt or offend people... Not ever. There are moments, however, when folks internalize stuff and get upset because they feel I'm particularly pointing them out. Here's the thing: if I single you out, I will leave your name. I'm not a coward. I believe that everyone has the right to defend themselves. 

Another beef that folks have: me 'calling out' other people. There's a fine line between calling someone out and calling it as I see it. As I said before... If I'm calling you out, you'll know. I'll leave specifics. If it's a general observation or an opinion on a topic, it's just me being outspoken again. 

I also am fiercely loyal. I also try my best to be kind. But if once we cross the line into my 'protective mama bear mode', kindness usually takes second fiddle behind protection. Lots of things trigger my protective instinct, too. But usually it's bullying. Lack of respect for someone, regardless of gender. I try to protect the underdog, the guy with half a chance. I'm a big champion of the vilified and I always want to know the Oz; I don't like my strings getting pulled by someone I can't see. 

That's another thing that whatever I write and whatever I say, do or comment, I attribute to myself. Personal responsibility -- if I say it, then you damn well better be able to nail me to the wall over it if I'm out of line. I'd do the same to you. 

At the end of the day, I want fairness. I don't think people should be valued for their appearance only. I don't think we should ostracize or cast out those we see as 'different' or 'weird'. I don't think that gender or a genetic lottery should dictate how we live our lives or love or succeed. I don't like politics or power plays or bullying. The way I see it, everyone is equal. We're all human and we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

I believe in creating your own luck and sticking to your guns. I believe that humans are inherently good and that they have good intentions. I believe in having an opinion and in standing up for myself, even when it's not popular to do so. I believe in a clean fight, a good laugh and our right to enjoy both. I believe in the power of positive attitude and the ethic of hard work. I believe in changing the world. I believe that we choose to be happy. I believe in karma and trying to do right by everyone. I believe in the concept of 'live and let live'. I believe that fate favors the fearless. I believe in myself. 

Because... Life is funny. It's short. And it's beautiful. 




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sisters....



We live in a world of trends. A world where 'on trend' and 'on brand'  aren't just marketing slogans, but a way of life for the majority. We live in a world of quick fixes, easy solutions and 'followers' -- literally. From social media to offline publications, we are a culture of creative edit; adopting someone else's style, idea or personality and claiming it as our own. 

Since the latest crash incident (calling it an accident feels like a cop-out) and the brain scans and the doctors' recommendations,  I've done a lot of pondering, asking myself what's most important to me. I've looked around wondering which direction I'll go, and trying to plan a future that honors more than just my stubbornness and sheer will. As I inspect the areas of my life I'm constantly drawn towards heroes and personalities as sources of inspiration and hope -- the strong, creative women of the world.

As someone who's a little 'crazy' and somewhat out of place in most social circles and cliques, I usually have no problem with going my own way, building an individual path and taking my lumps (and rewards) as they come at me. I do what I feel is right and best, but I've discovered that it may not always be because I have a personality that can ignore majority vote. As I've taken a look around me, I'm surrounded by women who have carved their own paths into the universe, defying expectation and building a world where they have a place -- because they wanted one. These women and their choices have helped inspire how I create my career, my relationships and my unwavering dedication to simply 'do me'. Their strength and willingness to walk their own path, to hell with the consequences and popular opinion, is something that has subconsciously influenced the very core of my personality. Two of the very first women that come to mind are my mother and grandmother -- so very different from each other, yet so incredibly similar. So patient and so kind, yet made of electrified steel when pushed too far. Dedicated and passionate, but with flaws: beautiful, loveable, amazing flaws. So are they flaws? Or are they individual personality, woven into the fiber of a soul that makes them both so special? 

I've been blessed enough to be exposed to women like this my entire life -- creative, sensitive, stubborn women with vision and heart. I still am. From my friends and coworkers to fellow athletes and idols, there are so many beautiful, bold, dedicated women who run their own race, who shed light on the term 'making it up as you go' and who embolden the world to stop following trends and just search for that part, that fiber, that cloth of ourselves that makes us special. 

Anyone can follow someone else's path. It's easy to copy someone's ideas and actions and claim them as our own, never giving ourselves a chance to really shine in our own special universe. But taking inspiration and throwing it into the bright void of what's possible, of what we can achieve? That's what creates and changes history. That's what leaves a mark. My mother, my grandmothers, my blood sisters, my 'adopted' siblings and the women who i'm indelibly linked to through passion are all leaving their marks and paving the way to a brighter future; being surrounded by wonderful women is one of the greatest gifts I've ever received. 

We tend to point at other people and look at 'flaws' and failings rather than accepting them as they are, and women are notorious for being 'catty'. But what we don't often focus on is the kindness and generosity and strength we have, or how welcoming and caring so many of us are. We embody a unique kind of caring that's both gentle and fierce; we may be self-critical, but won't hesitate to defend one of our own against outside criticism. Ours is a bond that transcends cultural differences and societal trends; it leaps separatist chasms and breaks down long-defended walls and only takes a smile and a nod to establish. This bond, this common thread, is woven through our subconscious. 

I think of my own sisters, by birth and by marriage, and I can only smile. I look at my girls that I've met through sport, through passion, through awkward encounters and terrible, life-shaking experiences and I grin because these women, these inspiring, complicated, brilliant, tough, multi-faceted women are my muses. The women I haven't met. The girls I haven't spoken with. The babies who have yet to walk, let alone understand the full scope of their worth... That is what gives me hope. That is what keeps me grateful and positive and motivated. 

So today, on this Tuesday, I'm grateful for the true gifts in our world: the women who surround me.