Why I’m Boycotting The Oscars This Year

In front of the screen, Hollywood seems progressive, with its sexy TV shows and growing number of strong female leads. But if you truly dissect what your eyes are consuming, you’d find that things are a bit more problematic. Hollywood is years behind cultural standards in terms of social progression. And it’s even worse behind the screen, with many of the leadership roles, both on set and off, still predominantly filled by white men.

I’m not normally one to take a public stance on these issues. I usually don’t speak my mind in this way because I feel that I often don’t have the right perspective to do so – I do not face the same discriminations that others do, and therefore don’t feel that it’s right that I assert my own opinions about struggles I know nothing about.

But now I feel I must say – and do – something. Even something as minuscule as not bothering to watch The Oscars this weekend. Why, when I’m not some Hollywood celebrity, when my viewership pretty much holds no weight? Because I do not wish to support a system that is, at its core, broken and refuses to acknowledge that it is so.

This extends beyond issues of racism, and my investment in the issue extends beyond that of the outspoken bystander. Though women get their fair half of Academy Award categories, sexism is rampant in Hollywood, and the issue of race in The Oscars points to an even more problematic Hollywood: one that still lives in social standards dripping with old school world views. While my single viewership might not count for anything, I do not wish to support a system that turns a blind eye to the fact that, in the year 2016, our stories of the world around us still abide by false depictions of white-washed life, of trope-filled minorities and female characters whose personalities are more determined by curves and surrounding men than by legitimate challenges and relatable struggles.

I’ve been lucky. My personal experience working in this industry has only brought me within solar rotation of some of the horribly sexist and/or racist people making their marks in Hollywood. I’ve worked for the good eggs, the rare nice guys you sometimes hear about in faint outlier stories. But I’ve heard horrific things, shocking things from friends – women who couldn’t get hired as set PAs because they weren’t “strong enough,” whose bosses made increasingly sexual remarks about their actions, or clothing, until finally, passes were made, etc. And these stories don’t even scrape the tip of the ice berg when you open the discussion to issues of race, sexuality, diversity, and inclusion behind the screen. Even when a show is led by a promisingly diverse cast, the writer’s room and production crew may not be so.

So my boycotting The Oscars is only a small step in raising my voice against a predominantly straight-white-male institution. Hollywood is first and foremost a financial pursuit and business endeavor, a creative machine second. I’m not sure if it will ever treat issues of race and minority as more than trendy subject matters unless more people – those with power, and consumers, like myself – step up and demand change. We need to get to a point where the Reys and the Finns are not some novel Disney dream, but a natural result of good writing and enthusiastic casting. We need to get to a point where the Academy hires Chris Rock to host The Oscars because he’s an awesome, funny guy, and not questionably because The Oscars would otherwise be “Too White”. We need to get to a point where LGBTQ creatives are equally represented in all fields. We need to get to a place where it’s natural and easy to staff a writers room with more than one or two people of color and/or women.

The change won’t come while we continue to quietly consume – and subsequently support – a broken Hollywood. We need to speak out. We need to demand change. We need to put actions to our words to make it happen.

Check out this awesome NYTimes article about really cool people discussing their own experiences with broken Hollywood.

-tlc

Musing Mondays: Make America “Great” Again

In light of Trump missing the latest GOP debate, and because I recently watched the most terrifying video clip from CNN interviewing three adorably naive 18 year olds about why they’re voting for Trump, I thought I’d get a little political with you for a minute.

Normally, I try to avoid overtly political posts here, because this isn’t a blog that has a liberal or conservative agenda. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have strong opinions about a lot of things, including politics, but this blog isn’t about politics. And frankly, I don’t take the time to keep up with every idiot who decides to run for president to really have a justifiably strong opinion to share with you. What I can tell you is this: Trump’s motto, his whole campaign platform, ‘Make America Great Again’ is wrong.

But Tasha, how can a campaign slogan, that states no facts, be wrong?

Well, let’s break it down here: ‘Make America Great Again’ has two connotations. First, it implies that America is not great. Okay, well you have me there. This is a completely unmeasurable assumption based on opinion that can neither be confirmed nor denied. It is entirely possible that America is, in fact, not great. However, ‘Make America Great Again’ also implies that there was, at one point, a time in which America was great. While this, too, is an entirely unmeasurable assumption with no solidified dates to point us to a time in which we can say, “Ahh, yes, I remember [insert designated date], America was great then,” we can break this down a little bit further.

Let’s start first by asking what we mean by ‘great’. What is great? When we say America is great, to what are we referring? Are we discussing America’s financial success? The morale of the American population? America’s standard of living? America’s military dominance? Any combination of those things? As you can see, we’re already running into problems because there is simply no way to know what it is exactly that Trump’s campaign slogan is referring to. But, just for kicks, let’s try and ride this logic train all the way through to the station.

Let’s assume that ‘Make America Great Again’ is referring to America’s financial greatness. Seems logical enough, given that Trump is a business man who has made his fortune playing the capitalist game in corporate America. This assumption is further supported by the fact that much of Trump’s campaign has played into his successes in the private sector, distinguishing his experience running businesses from your average politician who only has experience, you know, running parts of the government.

So, when has America been financial great? Economics is a horridly depressing subject and way too complicated for me to understand and put into layman’s terms here, but for the sake of being simple, let’s guess. Are we talking about 1980’s during the era of Reaganomics, which are still highly esteemed by many conservatives but ultimately proved to be short-sighted and short-lived as the market fell in the 2000’s?  Could we be discussing the Boomer economy of the 1950’s, which rode the money wave out of an era of war and accelerated invention into an era of blue collar jobs? How about the Roaring ’20’s–we all know how that ended. Some earlier time perhaps, not in the twentieth or twenty-first centuries? FUN FACT: America as a country has always been in debt, ever since the revolution. Google it. Thanks, Obama.

Okay, so if we’re not talking about America’s greatness as a fiscally responsible country, are we talking about America’s military dominance? Does that really make us great? Certainly it was great that we were able to help Europe (which had already done most of the work by the time we got there, fyi) beat Hitler. Phew, that certainly was a close one! But does it make us “great” that we’ve been single-handedly responsible for the military intervention and disruption of several governing states’ autonomies? America was universally founded upon one belief: We don’t like other people ordering us around and generally being all up in our business. I mean, we freak out the second we think our “secure” borders are at risk, to the point where we’re willing to look the other way while we let our president listen in on all of our phone calls. (I bet Bush has some pretty juicy secrets to share from it, too.) Are we great for being big whopping hypocrites? Most of these military interventions wind up blowing up in our faces, anyways. (Research Vietnam, or just watch the end of Charlie Wilson’s War.)

So if not military dominance, then what makes us great? I could go around and around discussing how every historical aspect of a specific period of time in America’s history is both good and bad, but I don’t want to bore you with too many generalizations*. Instead, I’ll let you in on a secret about a fallacy that many of us (including myself) have fallen prey to: There has never been a “Golden Era” of time in which America–or the world in general, for that matter–has been “great”. Every century, every decade, every year has its ups and downs, its different problems faced.

So don’t be victim to the naive–and frankly, prejudiced–view of the world that Donald Trump, and every politician tries to paint for you. And the end of the day, they’re all just salesmen trying to sell you different products in the same ways. Take the time to wade through all of the bullshit.

*I realize I have not provided you with any facts here to back up my claims. The truth is, I didn’t want to take the time. This isn’t a scholarly article. I’m just trying to get to a singular point here. But if you’re really dying for some facts, feel free to Google anything and everything that I’ve talked about here. You’ll be much smarter than me by the time you’re through, and definitely a more well-informed voter come the next election. And if you find any glaringly wrong generalizations, comment below. I’d love to be more informed, myself.

-tlc

Reminding Myself Of Reality

 

On Monday morning I woke up in a strangely perky mood for a Monday. This past weekend officially marked a full year in Los Angeles for me, and even though I didn’t really consciously acknowledge it, I think knowing that I’ve spent a year doing what I never really thought possible back in Kansas has filled me with an incredible sense of accomplishment. Monday was a strange day, though, and my bright morning was about to turn into a less-than-shiny day.

When I got to work, I discovered on a local news site that a robbery and subsequent manhunt had taken place in Century City during my commute. Century City is fifteen minutes from the neighborhood where I live, and many of my assistant friends were discussing it on Facebook, as CC is where several different production companies, one studio and a handful of agencies are situated as well.

This in itself didn’t really phase me all too much, besides the initial surprise that in the year 2015 people are still committing big-time robberies in the middle of the day as if they were Bonnie and Clyde and this was the nineteenth century, not the twenty-first. However, I took bigger note of this situation when later that afternoon, I got a text from my roommate who couldn’t go home because our neighborhood had been blocked off by the police, who were searching for two men who had hijacked a car, rammed into a police car, and then taken off on foot through our neighborhood. It would be another two hours before she’d be able to enter our street.

This really hit home for me, but the events of the day weren’t over yet. As I was driving home after a long night of printing, I passed a car that was essentially parked in the right hand lane of the street. I passed by slowly, wondering if they had stalled, or if there was something wrong, and was surprised to find that the driver was simply sitting in the driver seat, waiting. I though perhaps he was an Uber driver waiting to pick up his next customers and drove on, but as I looked into my rearview mirror, I noticed a second man kneeling on the ground near the passenger side of the car, doing something to a tire of a parked car on the street. I was too far away to tell exactly what was going on, and decided it was better if I stay out of it, but if I didn’t know better, I would have said that those men where stealing hubcaps off of cars.

And while I can’t say for sure that that is what I witnessed, it was a jarring experience nonetheless. And the entire day’s worth of events really got me thinking about the world we live in, and more specifically, the city that I live in. It was a very timely first-year anniversary reminder that LA isn’t some glamorous or shiny city where everyone is middle class and can be trusted not to steal your things. LA is a grimy place where people who are suffering live and are desperate enough for money that they’re willing to steal your hubcaps or car or attempt to pull off a robbery in broad daylight in order to improve their situation.

The world can be a scary place, and I think we often let ourselves fall into these places of disillusioned comfort so that we don’t have to face the dark, harsh reality around us. And honestly? It was a good reminder for me, as I realized that I had been falling into this abyss of comfortable ignorance. To me, that is worse than depressing reality, because when something bad does happen, it is that much more unexpected, that much more jarring, and that much more hard to handle. I don’t want to let myself grow comfortable and rigid in how I think the world works, because I want to be prepared for the tough times, and as much as I wish they were all behind me, I know that there will always be tough times ahead of me, too.

-tlc

The Best Lesson I’m Learning in 2015

There are few lessons in the life that I think I will constantly and consistently need to work on as hard as the one I am writing about today. However, there are also few lessons that need learning in this world that are so delicate and yet so vital to our social sanity. That lesson, my dear friends, is not to care.

The art of not caring is a fine line between (and do pardon my french) giving no fucks and fucking up. You see, on the one hand, if you make yourself care about everything, you will be in an endless circle of trying to please others–a task that is not only harmful to your self esteem (as you are not perfect, and others will point this out to you), but also hurts your productivity (because if you’re constantly working towards trying to make people like you, when will you ever have time to work on the things you want to do?). However, if you don’t let yourself care about anything, how can you ever expect to garner any success in anything you do? If you don’t put effort, thought and care into your actions and creations, you’ll never reach your potential, and you certainly won’t make friends.

So how do you navigate the fine line between caring too much and not caring enough? Well I can’t claim to have a fail-proof way of going about this, as I’ve already said, I’m still working on this myself, but I’m going to steal this one piece of valuable advice from my roommate, who I can safely say is much wiser than I: “You are the only person who has any control over your feelings. You can choose to be bothered by something or someone, or you can choose not to give them control over how you feel.”

In other words, you decide whether or not something or someone makes  you feel a certain way.

Now, I get that this is a difficult concept to accept, because we aren’t raised in a society who views emotions this way. We’ve been taught to think of emotions in the same way that we think about reflexes or getting sick: they just come up upon us without any reason or notice or control of our own. This is part of the reason why we have such a victimizing stance in rape culture: we allow or assume men (and women!) can’t control their sexual urges or feelings. But if you have any ounce of logical reasoning, you can easily realize that this isn’t the case at all.

Emotions are a matter of the mind.* They are a normal function of our everyday lives, and we can decide what and when we feel what we feel. This is anger management 101 (okay, it might actually be anger management 394, I don’t know I’ve never taken anger management).

So here’s the really amazing part of this revelation: YOU CONTROL YOUR HAPPINESS. This means that you’re happiness is not reliant upon the things that happen in your life, or your job, or even the people you find yourself surrounded by. You don’t have to feel sad, or sorry, or mad, or jealous of anyone, EVER, just because they want you to feel that way. You are in charge of your feelings and your happiness. Don’t make yourself bend over backwards simply for someone’s emotional approval.

And that’s it. That’s all I have to say on this subject. I will add that I wish I had known this while I was still managing a kitchen during my junior and senior years of college. It would have been so helpful to recognize that, even though I knew I couldn’t make everyone happy all the time, that I also didn’t need everyone’s happiness in order to feel happy myself. This might sound harsh, but there are just some people in this world who are going to decide that they don’t like you, or that will want to feed off of your misery, and it’s just not worth the effort.

So go forth and be happy my loves.

-tlc

*DISCLAIMER: If you suffer from a mental illness, controlling your emotions may not simply be a “matter of the mind”. If you’re finding it difficult to control your emotions, if you find you often ask yourself why you did or said or thought certain things, it may be time to ask for help. And there is no shame in that. A quarter of the population struggles with mental health issues (including myself!) and it’s perfectly okay to ask for help. If you aren’t sure who to ask, talk to your doctor or someone close to you that you trust and let them know how you are feeling.

Why I’m Grateful To Be A TwentySomething

I talk in this blog a lot about the trials and lessons of being a twentysomething. It is, after all, that uncharted, turbulent time when technically everyone calls you an adult, but you still feel like you’re growing up. That means there are a lot of nights of anxiety, and a lot of decisions that feel like the equivalent to jumping off a cliff, or holding your breath far beyond when your vision starts to blur.

Or at least, I have these moments.

But it’s not always like that, and in the midst of everything, I am so grateful I have this time in my life to just sort of stumble around blindly.

Why? Well, frankly, I look at the people in their 30’s and 40’s around me and see two groups: those who have their lives “together” and those who are either starting over, or still figuring out what they want. Both are okay, but neither is where I want to be right now. Of course some day, like many–if not most–other people I know, I want to be in that first group of people, where “together” means a happy combination of career and family. And, of course, I know that if I’m in that second group, that’s fine, too, because “together” doesn’t always have to mean career and family. But once you have those two things, there isn’t a whole lot of room to be selfish or focus on yourself. You have kids and a spouse to think about, bills and responsibilities, people who are depending on you to be a stable, reliable resource. Which means putting off things like chores, or taking time off from work to focus your energy on a side project isn’t really a possibility for most people at that stage in life. So if you ever feel down about not knowing the love of your life, not working your dream job, and not living in a mansion somewhere near a beach, just remember that your low-profile and freedom now gives you the opportunity to do these things:

1) Travel on a whim, for long periods of time, to random places “just because.”

Sure you’re poor and paying the rent is your biggest concern right now, but think about it this way: You don’t have that many possessions. You’re bank account already practically qualifies you for welfare, what’s there to lose if you move your stuff back into your parent’s basement for a few months, save up a couple thousand, and hike across Europe? You have no one waiting for you back home, and given your salary if you even had a full time job, it probably wasn’t something you’d like to stick with long term, anyways. If you’re ready for a change and want to spend some time discovering more about yourself while you meet awesome people and learn more about the world, traveling in your twenties is the perfect time to do it. You’ll never get a chance like this again.

2) Be a student.

Okay, so now that I’ve been out of college for a little over a year, I don’t recommend going to grad school without giving yourself at least a year in between. Obviously, I can’ t speak for the experience of those who do go straight to grad school, and granted, it was definitely something I deeply considered my senior year of college, but I’ve learned so much being in the real world this last year that I wouldn’t have been exposed to if I had stayed in the nice warm shelter of school. One of the things I’ve learned is that for the line of work I’m trying to do, having a master’s degree in Creative Writing–or really, any kind of degree in any subject–isn’t going to really give me a leg up. It’s just going to put me in more debt, and delay my entering the real world by a year or two.

Still, getting my masters in Creative Writing is a dream in the back of my mind, if for no other reason than giving me an excuse to spend a year or two living in some cool new place, focusing entirely on building up my arsenal of original work. And, working at a University is my fall back dream career, so there’s that, too. And no matter when you do grad school, if you do grad school, it’s definitely easier to get through when you don’t have a family to support. I would also assume that it’s an easier feat when the knowledge you picked up in your undergraduate classes is fresher in your mind.

3) Try out different “fun” jobs.

There is no better time or excuse for jumping from job to job than when you are first starting out in the world and trying to figure out what you enjoy and where you would like to fit into the bigger picture of society. I did this with internships, by working in marketing, publishing, and film development, discovering that while all three were exciting in their own right, none were exactly right or exciting for me. Still, there are a variety of dreamy odd-jobs on my list that I would only be unashamed to try because I have zero responsibilities beyond paying my bills right now. These include the following:

-Working as a Disney Princess at Disneyland.

-Working as a park attendant of some sort in the Wonderful World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios LA when it opens next Spring.

-Working as a Studio page and/or tour guide at any of the film studios around LA.

-Working as an extra for films and tv shows.

-Working as a house sitter/dog sitter for wealthy clients.

-Working as a personal assistant to a celebrity.

-Working for Buzzfeed.

-Working as a travel guide and/or a travel agent.

-Using an etsy shop and being an Uber driver as my primary source of income.

etc, etc.

4) Spending irresponsible amounts of money on take out, exploring new restaurants and bars, and being a semi-permanent ‘tourist’.

Granted, this might be a little more feasible for someone living in LA than in Kansas, where everything is a chain restaurant and being a ‘tourist’ consists of spending the day at the Renaissance Fair, eating giant Turkey legs, but still. Being in your twenties is the best time to find what will become “the best place to eat brunch,” “the best movie theater deal in town,” “the diviest bar, ever,” “the greatest hangover cure,” among you and your friends, because once you start working longer hours, have a spouse and/or kids to come home too, and a mortgage bill to pay, putting off chores or responsibilities no longer makes you “fun,” it just makes you immature. So do it now while you’re not tied down.

5) Consume all there is to know about whatever interests you.

This doesn’t mean you have to have your nose in a textbook. If you’re really interested in script writing, maybe this means regularly binging on Netflix (at least, that’s the excuse I use!). But it could also mean taking a day to learn new techniques on sewing, knitting, hunting, gardening, photography, whatever! Now is the time to learn and develop a hobby, because when you start involving one, two, three or more people in your life (aka have a family) you’ll find that any free time you have will be spent doing laundry and watching Sesame Street. This, at least, is what I’ve gathered from observing my siblings.

I could probably go on and on about things to do, and things to be grateful you can do while you’re in your twenties, but this post is already long enough. And if it isn’t obvious, this is a start to another thing you should incorporate into your life–no matter what age you are: Be a little more positive. When I start to feel down about where I am in life, I just think about all of these experiences that I’m able to have and then I act on them, because there is no better time than now. Take charge of your life, and enjoy being a twentysomething.

-tlc

 

Be Ambitious

So as most of you know by now (I’m not sure how any of you wouldn’t know–I’ve only posted about it a gazillion times already on Facebook) I just cut my hair. DRASTICALLY cut my hair. To be specific, I went from probably close to three feet of hair to a pixie cut without rocking a mid-length ‘do in between. And honestly? I FEEL GREAT.

Without contest, this has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in relation to my appearance and I don’t regret it one bit. But then again, I had been thinking about making the change for well over a year, and had begun mentally preparing myself a long time ago. Still, before cutting my hair, there was no way I could fully prepare myself for the person I would be looking at in the mirror afterwards. I had gotten so used to my reflection with long hair, I hadn’t realized that the person I was looking at wasn’t really me.

Now when I see myself in the mirror, it’s not that I’m like, “Ahh, here I am, finally.” This ain’t no Mulan, Who-is-that-girl-I-see moment (That’s going to be stuck in my head forever, thanks self), though I do love this hairstyle and the fact that I can style it with my simpleton hair skills gives me great confidence. No, in fact, this isn’t really about having long hair vs. short hair at all. This is really about change.

So many of us (women in particular, though men do it, too!) get attached to the way we look. We get attached to our clothes, the length of our hair, the certain brands of beauty and cleaning products we use, etc. We get so attached that we grow uncomfortable with change. Our hair, or sense of style, or piece of clothing, or whatever starts to become sentimental; it turns into something that we invest emotion in. We do this because we grow comfortable with the way we look and the certain way things are, and then we find it difficult to change.

We find it difficult to change our looks or our hair once we’ve grown attached to it because we’re uncertain. We don’t know if we will still look good with the change–we aren’t sure that we’ll be comfortable with it. And this sentiment expands beyond our looks. We find routine and become afraid of change. That’s why graduating college and entering the real world is such a point of anxiety; that’s why so many of us feel the pressure to find a stable job and start our lifetime-long careers at 22 years old. That’s why many of us get married, settle down, and start a family before we even hit 30 (which, in coastal culture, aka NYC and LA, is outrageously young).

We’re scared to take a risk, take a chance, make a change (thank you Kelly Clarkson, that’s still one of my favorite songs) because we can’t see the future in that decision. We ignore our “wilder” fantasies because we view them as that: wild, uncontrollable. We crave routine and comfort, but do we really find satisfaction in that?

I loved my long hair; it was a point of pride to have such long locks, and (despite what it might of looked like in pictures) my hair was really healthy. I loved pulling it up into long sideways french braids like I was Katniss Everdeen about to go kick some ass. But when I really thought about it, I was just tired. I was tired of my hair, bored with it, and ready for a change. Braiding it was the only way I knew how to style it. It was heavy, a hassle, and always got in the way. And almost immediately after I cut it, I realized that it really wasn’t me. I’m the type of person who loves to take leaps, who loves to bound into new adventures, even though they might be terrifying. And short hair was a new adventure for me. It’s not that I am inherently a pixie-cut type of person (though I do think I look better in short hair than I did in long hair) but it’s the significant change that really expresses who I am. I like to dance to the beat of my own drum, and I think my hair represents that now.

So I guess my long-winded point is this: be ambitious. Let yourself dream, and go for those dreams. No one ever got any where good without taking some risks. And even if you fail, you’re not really failing, because you’re learning something about yourself and the world around you along the way. You know what I said to myself right before I cut my hair?

It’s just hair. It’ll grow back.

So take a chance on yourself. Get out of your routine and comfort zone and figure out how to do what you love–figure out what it is that you love doing!! You will have so much more confidence in yourself, and ultimately find yourself in a happier place if you do.

-tlc

Use Your Brain

Today I would like to write a short PSA about using your brain.  You see, in today’s world, we don’t function as a society without social media. It’s how we consume and digest information, and–scarily–how we learn to understand issues.

Particularly with presidential campaigns gearing up, I would like to ask–no, implore–you to educate yourselves on the facts before sharing info-graphs, articles, or any other biased source of information. Here’s why:

It’s easy to see something, agree with it, and want to pass it on. But if that information is not accurate, out of context, or in any way twisted to create a misconception, you aren’t doing the world any good by passing it on and getting more people to agree with your POV. In fact, you’re actually slowing down progressive change and actually may be hurting a lot of people in the process. Think of it this way:

When you allow yourself to become part of the problem by spreading stereotypes and social/cultural myths, you prevent parts of society  that you may not understand completely from getting the basic human rights that they are entitled to. Like worrying that child predators will take advantage of using opposite-gender bathrooms if laws are passed to make public restrooms transgender-friendly. John Oliver, who I recommend as a good source for getting yourself educated on all the hot-topic issues (and for a good laugh) does a really good job of explaining why this is ridiculous fear-mongering and actually holds no real substance or statistics to back it up as a real problem.

Truth be told, I am being a teensie weensie little bit of a hypocrite here; I, too, am guilty  of posting a lot of things that have no solid facts to back them up, or researching the source behind the information to make sure that the information is solid, primary source material.

So why did I feel entitled to tell you not to do it? Because I’m not perfect, I know better, and I’m working towards posting only accurate, educational stuff that I can feel good about passing on to others because it’s good information to know, not just information that I personally agree with that I would like others to know about and agree with, too.

Something I get accused of a lot is being “Too Liberal.” I often find that people get defensive because so much of the time their conservative views are on the wrong side of progress, and they worry about morality and whether or not “progress is actually good.” And here’s how I think about it: I’m not liberal or conservative. True, I tend to agree more with the liberal side of any issue, but I want what I think will create the best opportunities and safest living environments for everyone. So really, I just agree with what I either know is right, or think will work best to create what is “right”. If you have to get angry at the facts and discount the truth behind your opinions (i.e. the truth being that your opinions are not grounded in facts but in stereotypes, etc.) or call others names or get angry at them simply for disagreeing with your views–but not being able to back that disagreement up with facts–then you should really consider the validity of your own opinions. Perhaps you’ll discover that your view of the world is a little inaccurate and skewed. Or perhaps you won’t. But at least you’ll know.

So–especially as we jump into this God-forsaken 2016 presidential run–please, PLEASE think before you post. Sparks start fires. And only YOU can prevent false social media fires. (See what I did there?)

Until next time,

-tlc

Everything Is Going To Be Okay

Earlier this morning a friend sent me this graphic about several of my favorite success stories and where they were at 23 years old. Even though others’ failure shouldn’t be a comfort to me, knowing how far all of these people went to change the world (in their own respective ways) is reassuring. So many of us leave college feeling as though we have to have a life plan; as if our time to discover ourselves and build our career is extremely limited, and if we haven’t found ourselves and laid the foundation for our futures by the time we’re 24 or 25 we’ll never find success.

I’m learning very quickly that success isn’t necessarily a number on a paycheck. Success is living a life and lifestyle that makes your happy. Success is putting things out into the world that you are proud of. This doesn’t have to be physical objects, but can be actions, lessons, or the way you treat other people. All of these things have the ability to impact those around you.

So, to keep this post brief, here’s something I’ve learned just from contemplating this graphic:

1) Success means taking risks. If you don’t put yourself out there, if you don’t take a chance on your dreams, you’ll never achieve your goals. As the saying goes, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. I know it’s scary to go out on a limb away from any sort of familial or financial safety net, but if you don’t do it, you’ll never get where you want to go.

2) Failure isn’t the end. If this graphic isn’t the perfect example of that, just go read up on all the statistics about Donald Trump filing for bankruptcy. (Not that Trump is a great example of success by any means, but he’s still stinking rich.) The world keeps turning, even after it feels like it should stop. In your darkest moments, this may be a terrible reality, but time does indeed heal all wounds, and someday you will be grateful that life allows us to reinvent ourselves over, and over, and over again.

3) Change is necessary. All of these people made changes in their lives to get where they are today. You can’t expect to have different results if you try the same things over and over again. Sometimes this is really hard to hear, and even harder to put into practice. Especially as a writer, I understand the pain of spending so much time on one project, only to realize afterwards that I’m not getting the results I want with it. Starting over is difficult. Throwing out things you’re attached to so that you can make room for a fresh perspective is challenging. But nobody ever said life was easy.

So there you have it. Everything I gleaned from a simple internet graphic. Too bad most internet graphics spread stereotypes, not positive reinforcement. But that’s another post entirely.

Yours truly,

tlc

Don’t Judge Me By My Age

This is something that I’m sure a lot of younger 20-somethings can relate to. You’ve reached that point where you are for sure in adulthood, yet your experiences within adulthood are still relatively recent, new, or not yet accomplished (i.e. Getting your first “Big Kid” job, getting married, buying a car/house, having kids, etc.) Or, you’ve experienced those things, but you’re young enough that people assume you haven’t or that just in general, you don’t have enough life experience to deal with things maturely.

I’ve struggled against ageism (if I’m allowed to call it that) for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a household where I was the youngest by nine years, and by the time I turned ten, I was the youngest by 32 years. So naturally, I’ve grown up surrounded by people and frames of mind a decade + my senior. My parents always treated me with the respect that they would give another adult, and frankly, I’m so stubborn that they learned pretty early on that even as a kid, the only way to get through to me was by logical reasoning. So I was raised on a habit of examining myself and others and reasoning my way through interactions logically.

That being said, I find it very frustrating when I my thoughts or actions are discounted because of my age. Do not use my age as a reason why I can or cannot do something. Do not use my age as a reason why something is my fault. I am an adult, I may not have the wisdom that life experience brings, but I have enough insight to deal with concerns, issues, and problems, and I have enough maturity to accept responsibility where accepting responsibility is needed. To me, age is not the biggest factor in maturity. Maturity relies most heavily on perspective. Perspective can be acquired at any age.

One of my worst pet peeves are people who tell me how they acted or what they thought when they “were my age” and then proceed to use that as reasoning or expectation for my own actions and reactions in life. Sure, you have insight about things that happened in your life at a similar time. Sure you went through similar things that I might now be experiencing because of where I am in life in terms of getting a job, establishing a career, dating, etc. But that doesn’t mean we’re the same person or that we’re going to have the same experiences. By all means, share with me your advice or insight, but don’t expect that you know all the answers to my life or that you understand me or my actions completely.

I know this is very teenage-ery sounding, but this issue has weirdly come up a lot lately. I thought I had reached a place in my life where people had enough decency to get to know me, speak with me, realize my maturity before judging me based on my age. This has strangely not been the case. Perhaps those people need to gain some more perspective themselves.

It’s strange to be talking about ageism without referencing older adults and the elderly. But I guess just like every other issue, it can go both ways. And the more and more I interact with people of all walks of life, the more I realize just how seriously important it is to take the time to understand people, to empathize with them, and to really lead your life from a place of love so that you can have the patience to understand and empathize.

Just something to think about.

-tlc

A Sad Truth I’m Slowly Discovering About The World

I think this is something that I’ve noticed as a reigning quality in a lot of people ever since I was old enough to have any sort of insight on people and their characteristics. However, up until very recently, I had always chalked this quality up to growing pains; something that most, if not all, people would someday grow out of. Moving to LA, and finally living outside of the structured confines of school, it’s becoming increasingly hard to ignore the obvious self-absorption that rules people’s lives.

I’m not saying that I, too, am not guilty of this. Many times in a single day I have to stop and check myself. Make sure that I am taking others into consideration. And often there is still oversight because I don’t see things through others’ eyes, so I’m not going to automatically know what bothers them, to what extent it bothers them, or what they’re thinking. But the difference is that I recognize this rampant problem, make a conscious effort to consider my actions, and to understand where others are coming from. And I think this is sadly where most of the world falls short.

We get so wrapped up in our own minds, our own ways of thinking and living that we begin to mistake the “truth” and what is “right” and what is “wrong” as being black and white, something that operates very clearly in our favor and justifies our own motivations, actions, and beliefs. We do not take the time to consider other points of view, or give those points of view validation. Other people simply become that, “Other,” and are wrong, or crazy, or evil. No one suffers as much as we do, gives as much as we do, or considers us. In essence, the world around us becomes a “me” game. How does this effect “me,” why aren’t others thinking about “me,” I’m the only one looking out for “me,” why don’t others agree with “me.”

This is a dangerous spiral that we all fall into at one point or another, and if we don’t take a step back and really examine ourselves, we can become obsessed with the idea that there is malicious intention behind anything that doesn’t go our way. We don’t stop to think about the fact that most people out there don’t want conflict, don’t want to stir the boat anymore than you do. Or, we let the stressors in our lives get to us, and we take those emotions out on others, because we can’t handle the idea of being the problem. Because we are good people, and it’s those others who are bad.

People are always going to look out for #1, that’s just a sad fact of reality. There are too many selfish goals and dreams, too much greed driving most of us away from being selfless. And those who choose to be selfless, who attempt to care for others and make the world a better place, often find that day-to-day life becomes a struggle simply trying to stay alive, make ends meet, or simply find genuine companionship because someone will see an opportunity to create a shortcut for their own selfish purpose by taking advantage of that selfless person. Lately I’ve become exhausted to the point of illness because of people who cannot see past their own reasoning to understand how their words, actions, and requests come across and affect others.

It’s sad that there aren’t more genuine people out there. Those who embrace empathy as a top priority. But the longer I live in LA, the more I realize that truly, what you do in life, what you accomplish, is a drop in the bucket to the way you make others feel and the people you surround yourself with. Let’s all practice being a little more genuine, and getting out of our own frames of mind to better understand others. One of the many reasons I find myself often drawn to people of different walks of life from my own is that I want to understand them and their take on life. I write because I want others to hear those POV as well. I want to know how their background, their history, shades their view of the world and how they interpret others. I believe that the only truly stupid people out there are the ones so stuck in their own belief systems, their own opinions and view points, that they cannot hold any empathy for people who disagree with them. Those are the horrible people who call others names, accuse them of ruining the world, and let hate dictate their thoughts, words, and actions.

Don’t let hate dictate your thoughts, words, and actions. Love others more, and love yourself enough to let go.

-tlc