Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Does it not defy our culture of the American Dream for us to be in our mid-20's and unmarried? To not have roots anywhere or a long term commitment to anything or anyone? This friend and I are both self-proclaimed adventurists with insatiable wanderlust. If asked to choose between domesticity and globe trotting, we would both choose the latter in a heart beat. This caused me to start analyzing what other factors outside of an obsession with travel and culture could be contributors to this lack of interest in the "American Dream." I decided that, at least in my case, there are two major factors.
The first goes hand in hand with wanderlust. It is one's world view. Why do I have a lack of interest in domesticity? Because I have seen enough of the world to know there is so much more yet to be discovered. Why do I not care about having a formal wedding and a status affirming diamond ring? Because I know how far $30,000 can go in in the pocket of a globe trotter, and because I have seen the devastating affects of the diamond industry on the developing nations where those stones originate. Why do I not care about having my own children? Because I have worked in orphanages where multitudes of abandoned children waste away discarded and abused. My world view is more broad than that of someone who has been raised to believe the world is only as big as their suburban town, and that their value goes only as far as their ability to become an integral part of that town.
The second factor and the one I want to focus more on in this blog has to do with my perceived lacking of "real men." I don't subscribe to the rational of blaming men in general or society as a whole for the struggles that my generation of women face; although I do believe that understanding the current condition of these things sheds light on the tug of war inside our heads and hearts. If society places a strong feminist emphasis on the equality of genders and the dissolving of "traditional" gender roles, we cannot be surprised to find a generation of emasculated young men stripped of their fight. Men are designed to have a warrior's heart and an adventurer's spirit, but when they embrace these things they are chastised for their machismo. My generation of women were taught that they shouldn't be dependant on men. In turn, our generation of men have realized that women don't need them. These men have begun to believe that unless they allow women to "wear the pants," they'll be trampled and lost. They sacrifice their masculinity in order to simply be kept around. I realize how controversial this is but I'm going to say it anyway - Feminism has deflated real men. But what we need are real men.
If a man doesn't know how to be masculine he will never walk with purpose. If a woman doesn't know how to be feminine she will never be satisfied. "A man needs to be tender at times, and a woman will sometimes need to be fierce. But if a man is only tender, we know something is deeply wrong, and if a woman is only fierce, we sense she is not what she was meant to be." – John Eldredge in Wild at Heart. Before a man or a woman decides who they want, they need to discover who they are. They need to be whole people in and of themselves with a sense of direction as to what they were created for, and then trust that IF they are meant to get married and have children then as they walk out their purpose those two seemingly polar opposites will align in way that works uniquely for them.
So where is the balance? I am a 25-year-old, educated, financially independent, single woman. I cannot live each day husband hunting any more than a woman who yearns for motherhood can live each day denying her calling to that. We cannot merely want what we are taught to want, or be the sort we are told to be. The focus should not be on finding someone to make us happy, but on finding happiness in being, and trusting that by walking down our own paths the rest will fall into place without any compromise or extraneous effort on our part.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
My mother may not have taught me about makeup or dating, but she definitely instilled in me an appreciation for keeping a neat home, or usually in my case a space, that is always "guest ready." When I come home it isn't to a space that looks as chaotic and disconnected as my mind often feels. There is an order to things, both in life and in the home, and they are meant to reflect one another. While my mother and I have very different tastes in decor, I think we are both good at creating spaces that are functional and appealing.
This standard often causes extreme tension in my shared space. The only thing worse than coming home to your own mess is coming home to someone else's, be it shoes in the hallway, mail strewn across the kitchen counter, knickknacks on the coffee table, or pet hair caked on the couch pillows. I haven't decided yet if God insists on keeping me at a roommate necessary standard of living to break me of my OCD or if he's just gets a kick out of watching me have mini-meltdowns every time I find my toothbrush holder sitting at the wrong angle on the counter. Either way, I greatly anticipate someday entering a life season in which I can have a place, modest as it may be, where I can create a Zen untouched by less acute sensibilities. I dream of lazy overcast mornings curled up in a breakfast nook with a newspaper in hand, Elis Regina streaming on Pandora, and the delicate scent of freshly cut stargazers competing with that of the steam rising off my French press. I don't care much where you place that scene... In a San Francisco Victorian, in an Ann Arbor loft, in a Cape Town flat... As long as there's a good man strolling sleepily into the kitchen after me, and a genuine anticipation for the job I'll head to a short while later.
On a lighter note! I'll share with you some of my favorite places to score decor bargains! Of course my favorite items are ones I've accumulated through my travels, but there are countless places to find unique pieces locally while shopping on a minimal budget. When I'm in designer discounter stores like TJ Max, Marshall's, Ross, or Nordstrom Rack, I always keep an eye on the clearance racks where I have scored $1 bathroom counter accessories, $5 towel sets, and $20 bedding. Pass up those outrageously priced vintage drawer knobs at Anthropologie and find yourself an estate sale! As tacky as it may sound to some, garage sales are a fun way to find beautiful pieces for pennies. Of course, there is Ikea, where European inspired minimalism descends upon broke college kids and frugal self-decorators alike. I also recommend Z Gallerie for their affordable and trendy decor that carries enough variety to satisfy all tastes and avoids the stigma of having "that Ikea stuff."
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Yesterday the California Supreme Court ruled that the state would uphold Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage. However, the court did decide to legally recognize the 18,000 marriages that were authorized between the court's pro same-sex marriage ruling in May 2008 and the November passing of Prop 8.
Protesters gathered outside San Francisco's City Hall shouting "Shame on you!" and 162 arrests were made. Even larger gatherings were reported in Los Angeles and San Diego.
According to the court's only Democratic appointee Justice Carlos Moreno, the decision "is not just a defeat for same-sex couples, but for any minority group that seeks the protection of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution." I should expect that Moreno is well versed in the rights that are in place for the protection and equality of the LGBT community, and should be aware that they in many ways exceed the rights of straight couples who want to live together outside of a legalized marriage. Most companies now include a clause in their insurance policies allowing same-sex couples to add their life partner to their coverage, a benefit that is not usually extended to non-married straight couples.
In November, Prop 8 was about gay marriage. Today, Prop 8 is about the will of the people being upheld. This is democracy! The people vote and their decision is respected and enforced by the government! The passing of Prop 8 does not inhibit anyone's right to the American "pursuit of happiness" or strip them of the ability to find employment, housing, and health care. It doesn't even ban them from having wedding ceremonies, living together, or raising children.
California, and more specifically San Francisco, has been a front runner in the progression of LGBT causes over the last 30 years, including the securing of equal employment and housing opportunities, and the rallying of support for the fight against AIDS. It is inevitable that eventually same-sex marriage will be legalized and, in my opinion, the sooner that the cause is approached in a professional and strategic manner the sooner conservatives will become receptive to it. Not everyone is moved by masses of drag queens chanting into megaphones and waving cardboard signs. Lawmaking happens in a three-piece suit.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Today I had the rather unique experience of going through the jury selection process for a criminal trial. The defendant was being tried for drunk in public and resisting arrest. During the course of his arrest, in which multiple officers were involved, the defendant allegedly became violent with the officers and a tazer gun was used to subdue him. The defendant was also suspected of gang affiliation.
Because I am still registered at my parents’ address in Tracy, I had to serve jury duty at the Stockton courthouse. I wasn’t all too happy about doing the extra driving, but knowing I had dibs on my parents’ couch and that my office would pay me for up to twenty days of trial, I was fairly excited to participate in the civil process. However, by the time I was dismissed this afternoon, I was rather disappointed by the experience.
The defendant, his defense lawyer, and the prosecuting lawyer were all present for the entire jury selection process. I was among the first dozen randomly selected persons asked to be seated in the jury box for questioning, and remained there until the very last round of dismissals. Every time a new person is moved into the tentative jury, they are asked to respond to a set of general personal questions, including what is your name, where are you from, what is your profession, do you personally know anyone in law enforcement or in the DA’s office, have you served on a jury before, and so on. I must have given satisfactory enough answers for both sides because I was asked relatively few questions throughout the rest of the interview process.
Toward the end of the day I began to assume that I would be on the jury, which I didn’t mind since the judge had already informed us that the trial would be finished by week’s end. Initially our group had been intended for selection for a child molestation case, which would have lasted much longer, but new evidence had been admitted, delaying the trial’s start until next Monday. My case was to be a misdemeanor filler until the other case was ready for jury selection.
I was curious about our case, ready to see the evidence and hear the testimonies. I was beginning to get excited about participating on a jury and having the opportunity to take an active role in the judicial process. It was no surprise when the man who had been charged a few years earlier of accessory to murder was dismissed, or the woman who outright admitted that she could not be fair in a case with charges so similar to one her son was facing the following week. There were a few others who were clearly saying whatever they could think up that might get them dismissed for bias or inability to “fairly” judge the defendant. I felt like I was different. I had never been arrested, never gone to court, never known anyone to face the same charges, had no harbored hatred toward lawyers or law enforcement. I understand the value and purpose of jury selection, and am conscious of how significant it is that I, as a woman, am allowed to participate, when not so long ago only Caucasian property-owning men were permitted.
It wasn’t until the defense attorney questioned my views about the limits of law enforcement that my seat was scrutinized. I still stand by my answers; they were simply not what the defense wanted to hear. When the lawyer asked whether I thought it was okay for multiple officers to arrest one person, or if it should always be one on one, I responded that if more than one officer was needed to subdue a person then yes it would be an appropriate means of force. When asked whether I thought there was ever a time when it was okay for an officer to use a tazer, I responded that under some circumstances I could see where a tazer would be necessary. From that point it was clear that the lawyer was done with me, and when he was asked to eliminate one last juror, there I sat in chair number 12 with a big red bulls eye on my forehead.
I quickly gathered my belongings and left the courtroom, rode the elevator to the basement and turned in my badge, validated my parking, and headed home. I felt like a cheap date. Like I had done everything right and was discarded for having done just that. There were several people who the lawyers questioned at length, people who could hardly form an intelligible sentence in response, and admittedly knew nothing of the laws that pertained to the case in question. How, I wondered, could these people be more able to decide this case? Sure, this was a rather minor infraction with relatively low consequence to the defendant, but what if we had gotten that child abuse case. Would these same people be selected to apply their awkward personalities and socially inept presence toward making a decision that affected people’s lives in such a huge way?
The judge repeatedly mentioned that a jury had to remember that their decision wasn’t a popularity contest; it was to be based solely on the facts. Why does that same reasoning not apply to jury selection? The judge dismisses those who are most blatantly not willing or able to participate, but then it is up to the lawyers to take turns questioning and dismissing those who they don’t want on the jury. Had the lawyers mistaken a lack of general intelligence for neutrality? Probably not. One can only assume that each lawyer will make selections that they believe are most likely to benefit their side. But if that is the case, where is the justice in such a trial? It’s like childhood kickball in the park, with each team captain selecting the players they think will be of most use to them, rather than selecting in the interest of who will create the most fair and balanced athletic experience for the game as a whole. Sure, in sports that’s not how it works. But in court, isn’t that hypothetically how it IS supposed to work?
And so as it is, I will not be juror number 12. Why? Because I believe that it is the right of law enforcement to use the force we as a society have bestowed upon them, even though I do support the reasoning that some officers may abuse that force, and also that it is the defendant’s right to pursue legal accountability for the officers he has drawn into question. Rather than being dismissed from jury selection feeling proud to have participated in a legal process that our nation boasts as a central function of its democracy, I am coming away feeling disheartened by an experience which has made me acutely aware of how at the end of the day even the “due process” of “justice” is merely bureaucracy.
Monday, March 2, 2009
This was my second year attending SWPJC, and while it was different from last year and even different from what I had expected this year would be, I am so glad that I went. I initially anticipated spending the weekend with my dear friend Esther and hearing a photojournalism great, James Nachtwey, present some of his work and talk about his career. However, Esther took a last minute assignment with Charity Water in the Central African Republic, and Nachtwey was assigned to cover the conflict in Gaza. While these were both very disappointing changes, I knew that there would still be priceless networking, relationship building, and industry discussion going on.
Toward the end of the weekend, two friends and I were discussing what each of us was walking away from the conference with this year. I couldn't say that I had learned any new skills or heard anything mind-blowingly new. What I took away from the conference was a renewed faith in the work that we as journalists are pursuing regardless of whether we are industry employed or not, and much needed face-to-face time with like-minded friends who's passion and faith are inspiring and refreshing.
I am the first to point out my number one character flaw... I'm a total control freak. Honestly, read my last blog. It's never enough for me to know that things will always work out as they were intended to, which they always do, but I have an extremely difficult time slowing down and enjoying life. When I can't see any open doors, when I feel like all my hard work leads nowhere, I get overwhelmed and discouraged. This weekend I was able to step outside of my routine and gain some much needed perspective. Has God ever let me fall flat on my face and left me there alone? Not once. The problem is always me. Me not letting go, me not seeing the glass half full, me not accepting that my plans and my ways are not always what was designed.
For all my frustration with my career, I need to accept that one of my professional strengths is in administration, and I am blessed with the opportunity to be refining that strength in my current role. If I do everything within my power to get transferred to the Phoenix office and it simple doesn't work out, I am not meant to be there. If I have a desire to further my education so that I am more able to pursue the things I know I am called to do with my life, I have to trust that when I am walking down the path that is meant for me, opportunities will arise when the timing is right.
Call me silly, but anyone who dines with me very often knows I take my fortune cookies seriously! Yesterday my fortune cookie said, "You will make many changes before settling down happily." Even though Keegan cracked his cookie first, which technically voids my fortune, I brought it home and put it next to the one I got while back that says, "You have a charming way with words and should write a book."
I have no reason to not be happy. I have no reason to not feel fulfilled. I have no reason to not wake up and joyfully welcome whatever each day brings. I am blessed, and I am loved, and that should be more than enough.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Alicia, Me, Lamba