Monday, January 13, 2014

New Year New Me: Don't Take It so Literally

Before we entered 2014, per usual, everyone was reflecting on the past year. Whether it was Flipagram or Statigram, reviewing 2013’s highlights filled the timelines of all my social media platforms.  Along with the new year, also brings New Years resolutions and the phrase “New Year, New Me” tends to get thrown around quite a bit.  However, this year, many folks were bashing the idea of that phrase.  They claimed, “You’re not gonna change, so don’t even say that you will.”  I would like to argue that the phrase “New Year, New Me (NYNM)” in this sense, is being taken too literally and delve into what I believe that person is really trying to express. 

First, we have a tendency to take things literally far too often.  The tendency to do this increases even more, when we are going to criticize someone/something.  We are creatures of habit and when someone or something changes, there’s going to be some folks who don’t like that change or flat out discourage it.  Don’t listen to the naysayers.  Change is good, healthy and in most cases very necessary.  If you have a bad habit, there is something that you need to do differently in order to stop that bad habit.  

I believe the person using NYNM is really trying to say that the new year will look different for them because of what the past year taught them.  They’re trying to say that some poor decisions, minor mistakes, and bad habits should be left in 2013. They’re trying to say that there will be a valiant effort made towards being a better “me” in 2014 and that’s nothing we should bash—it’s to be encouraged!  

We spend far too much time criticizing and not enough time lifting each other up.  Challenge yourself to be better than the person you were yesterday.  That’s the only person you have to compete with—you should be your biggest critic.  As LeBron James would say, “Strive for Greatness.” 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Exerting Worthwhile Energy

Before diving into what has me irked today, but ties into what I am going to discuss, I really am beginning to think that I should study social media and the way people interact on these forums. It is all so fascinating to me.  Someone is eventually going to begin (or already has begun) studying the kinds of online personas that are present on today's world wide web and social media platforms (that's a blog post still in progress).  From the quiet in "real life" person and very loud online person (meaning you see updates from them constantly) to the person who simply retweets celebs and parody accounts, I am intrigued by them all.  What I want to discuss in this post, are the hundreds and thousands of people who take special time out of their day to make rude comments on celebrities social media pages. 
If you despise that musician, actor/actress or athlete so much, why on earth are you on their personal pages spouting off?  Yes, freedom of speech, but people really take it too far.  Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, but it is not always necessary to share your ignoramus two cents.  Yes, public figures are allowed to be (and a lot of times should be) scrutinized, but there is a distinct difference between poking fun and unnecessary meanness.  LeBron James and Justin Bieber both are the two whose Instagram comments alarm me the most.  These are very, very successful and high profile celebrities who are making more money than the people leaving those comments will most likely ever see in their lifetimes. But yet, people are constantly making fun of LeBron's hairline and Justin Bieber's clothing. The researcher in me would love to find and interview these people and really challenge and ask them the most important question of all: Why? By leaving that comment, do you feel better about yourself? Why are grown men commenting about a 20 year old's jeans anyway? Think I'm exaggerating? Please take a minute now (or after reading this) and scroll the comment section on their pages or any celebrities for that matter.
In this country with so many freedoms, it seems so petty to not follow the old school rule of not saying anything at all if it's not nice.  People truly never cease to amaze me.  Everyday I am amazed by the prolific ignorance that and sincere hatred that people have in their hearts.  Why am I going to bother you if I don't like you and/or whatever it is you represent?  I wish...I really wish people would take the energy they use on pointless endeavors and put it into something that breeds results. If that miracle ever took place our economy would be resuscitated, the government would not still be shutdown (or even better never shutdown in the first place), and folks would know that Obamacare and The Affordable Care Act are indeed the same thing. Folks, we have got to get it together. We have to begin to care about the important matters going on in this crazy world around us.  Either we stand by and let it happen or we make change. Which will you choose?
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Celebrity Psyche

I really just took a second to try and fathom the concept of growing up in front of millions and millions of people. Celebrities’ Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber are the two who made this thought cross my mind. I have made so many mistakes in my 24 years in the world and I am certainly a better person for making those mistakes. Without making mistakes you don’t grow—there’s just no way around it. But having to hear the professional critics, online bloggers and TV hosts make those mistakes known to the public would take a toll on me. 

These adolescents were/are held to great standards and very few people seem to acknowledge that fact. I guess because I’ve studied the models that Erik Erikson and other theorist have developed, I can’t help but think about what stages they may or may not have gotten to experience. They have all the money in the world in exchange for their innocence. If presented with the opportunity, I’m not sure if that would be something change about my childhood. 
Yes, I learn things the hard way most of the time, but to have to learn those things in front of the camera, can mess with your psyche. Everyone’s story is different, which is the beauty of life, however getting to live it without the majority of the world watching is something I don’t take for granted. It’s a wonder you don’t see more celebrities with mental health issues like poor Amanda Bynes. The entertainment industry is no joke. They get to share the talents they have been blessed, but the price they pay is truly insurmountable!
It was Nick Cannon who wrote to Amanda Bynes saying, “[…]the entertainment industry just consumes people and spits them out like flavorless bubblegum.”

Monday, September 16, 2013

America The Beautiful and Ignorant

Last night, an Indian American was named Miss America. However, not every American saw this as something beautiful. Very racist tweets were posted about Miss. Nina Davuluri, 2013 Miss America, soon after her crowning. Because of her Indian descent, some decided to make the 7-11 jokes, some said she was not really an American and others went as far to say that 9/11 was days ago and we let her win. Try to fathom for just one second that there are actually adults who believe that someone is not American just because he or she is of Indian descent. Those too, are most likely the same people that believe race was not a prevalent issue in the Trayvon Martin case. This may be a news flash to some, but we do not live in a post-racial society. Yes it is 2013, but race and diversity issues are still running rapid.
As Americans, we are allowed to be ignorant—ignorant to and about so many of the basic concepts of humanity. So many are oblivious to the forever lingering race issues that will continue to plague this country because everyone is afraid to discuss things that really matter. It is disheartening to know that a lot of people could tell you more about their favorite sports teams and television shows than the issues taking place in Syria. WE ARE A SPOILED PEOPLE! We can choose to not pay attention to the news and what is really going on in the world around us. There are not enough people willing to educate themselves. Why?
For once, non-white skin color was not a strike against a person. She instead was judged on her performances, her speaking skills, and other talents. Oh my! What if we lived in a society that did not judge people based upon the color of their skin and instead judged them on what they have to offer? Did we not just celebrate the man who had that ‘dream’ 50 years ago? Do you understand that a woman of Indian descent being crowned Miss America is exactly why this country is (supposed to be) so wonderful? That’s Martin Luther’s dream coming true!
Yeah I am proud to be an American, but I would rather not be associated with so many of us [Americans]. I am not discounting the great strides we have made as a nation, a country and a people. However, there is still great progress to be made and it seems to be moving at a snail pace. Ask yourself what you can do to educate yourself and those around you about any of the prevalent issues. You never know who is listening or who you will encourage to do their own research. “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.” Don’t let it be you.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Honestly, Just Be Honest

Why do people not believe in being honest with one another? The first thing that comes to mind is that the truth is scary. It doesn't always feel good or sound the way we would like. Usually, it's something that stings your whole being and takes a little while to comprehend and maybe even some recovery time is necessary. Because let's face it. It's hard to see yourself. I always say, "The easiest place to see yourself is in the mirror and even that doesn't show everything." In other words, we need and have friends and family members in our lives who should tell us about ourselves, in order to be the best person possible. 

Just think about it. What if our guardians and elementary teachers never taught us how to share? We would probably not have many friends or significant others in our lives. For example, in college you share a room with a roommate and maybe even one day share a life with the person God created just for you. So thankfully there were people in our lives along the way being honest with us about the importance of sharing. Sharing is the foundation of many, many things in this life. Am I making sense? 
There have been plenty of times where I have tried to go around the mulberry bush in order to say the truth, so that it didn't 'sting.' But I try my best to tell the truth because even if it hurts, honesty trumps being untruthful. There is way to tell without being hurtful or harmful to someone. Be mindful of your words and how you would want someone to say make you aware of something. Being untruthful comes with more baggage than simply telling the truth. Untruthfulness comes with lies, hurt feelings, and maybe even a loss of relationship/friendship. And instead with truthfulness comes, true feelings, and an overall better understanding of that person or persons. 

So remember the rule you have heard thousands of times: Honesty is the best policy. If you care about someone, whether it's like or love, be truthful about your intentions with him or her. Emotional scars can last a lifetime. Don't be the person that someone regrets befriending or even worse, loving. In order to be better than the person we were yesterday, we have to be honest with each other and more importantly, ourselves. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Party in The VMA's

Every year music lovers around the globe anticipate MTV's video music awards show. Our favorite artist are acknowledged for their year's work by taking home a moon man.  Artists of the pop and hip-hop genres gather on this special evening to give great performances or at least attempt. I'll never forget telling the story at the cafeteria table for quite some time of my mum yelling, "She's licking her in the mouth" after watching the Britney and Madonna kiss. There is always as an iconic moment that is talked about for the rest of the week by everybody and this year it's Miley Cyrus and the treacherous performance she gave with Robin Thicke. 
I have to acknowledge the debauchery in her performance last night. Miss Cyrus has the pleasure of acting black but never suffering the actual consequences. In other words, she can act black all she wants and not actually endure what blacks (especially women) face on a daily basis. Fellow blogger, Ali Esteem, put it eloquently:
Black people find Miley Cyrus annoying because her white privilege makes it possible for her to experience only the painless enjoyable parts of being Black. When Miley Cyrus has had enough she can leave. She can leave this Blackness and call it a phase. Where as I, I will be Black forever and I will continue to be reminded of my race for the rest of my life and not in the safe, un-life altering reminders that are just on social networks that Miley feels so oppressed by. 
However, it is not all her fault because we continue to glorify her actions. The Jay-Z shoutout in SomewhereInAmerica may have made matters worse.
That's my first bone to pick with her. 
The other bone is this. After watching one horrible performance after the other, Justin Timberlake graces us with his glorious presence. From start to finish, the performance had flawless choreography, his beautiful voice and even his boys NSYNC from back in the day. I thought to myself, "Wow. People like Miley Cyrus make a complete mockery of what legendary performers like Justin and Beyonce put so much time and effort into making so great." I am more than positive there were not many rehearsals for all the gyrating and horrible attempt of twerking she did on that stage last night. Yet, she is the talk of the blogosphere on every social media platform (and here I am talking about it too). 
No where during the rest of the year is MTV about music, so maybe if they got back to caring about the first part of their acronym instead of capturing horrible teen mother situations, one of the most anticipated award shows of the year would not be a hott mess. Maybe then, artists who are genuinely passionate about their craft like Kendrick Lamar, Miguel and countless others who give us hit after hit, would actually receive awards. I don't know. It's just a guess. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Elise's Summer '13 Epiphanies

Summer '13 is drawing to a close and it has been absolutely eye-opening. Being the reflective person that I am, I would like to share some of the epiphanies I had. The post-graduation unemployed life leaves you a lot of time to think about any and everything. When you have time like that, one must spend it wisely because time is something you cannot get back. We are not promised tomorrow so we have to take advantage of everything we are given.

This is My Story, This is My Song

One thing The Lord is helping me to understand about me, is that I am most definitely supposed to share my story. I believe my story is unique and so is yours. However, not all of us are called to share (nor would many want to share) our stories publicly. I do not mind being one of the chosen few that must share her story. It is my belief that if I share my story with whomever is willing to listen, he or she may be able to go through life a little bit easier. I am not by any means calling myself the Messiah; what I am saying, is that I want others to learn with me and from me.

Different Kind of Reader

I may not read the novels, but I am constantly reading excerpts, columns and articles from my peers and colleagues. There is true value in learning from one another. The importance of reading is invaluable, but actually sitting down to read books is just not my thing. It is funny because one of my long-term goals is to write a book. Anyway, "We hold these truths to be self-evident" and that is one of mine. As long as you are constantly searching for knowledge and constantly reading ANYTHING, I promise you are indeed doing something right. Never stop reading. The more you read, the more you understand how to grapple with the crazy workings of this world. More importantly, you understand yourself a little more, too.

My Fresh Start

Last, but most certainly not least, I may be late to the party, but I always arrive on time and in style. Most of my colleagues are employed and after a long but fast summer, I am ready to join the ranks. Everyone was saying, "Elise! What's next?" I was not ready to have that answer right after graduation. I wanted to have a second to hang out with myself and be on my own schedule. Slippery Rock had me by their schedule for six years, so I deserved a few minutes to breathe.With that said, after submitting a few applications, I am getting some feedback from potential employers. Exciting, huh?

The plan is to move from PA to the DMV. There is just something about that area that is calling my name and when I get there, my hope is to quickly figure out just why it has been calling me for so long. Would I love being close to home? Yes. However, it's not really that far (four hours) and most importantly, not much is here for me. It is going to be so nice to watch Steeler games without doing homework, going on dates to nice restaurants, and taking road trips to see friends and family. You know, doing things people in their twenties are supposed to do. This new life post graduation will be an adjustment, but a delightful one. Change is not easy, but is necessary for growth. BRING IT!

My Purpose in Life

My purpose in this life is bigger than ensuring students take the correct courses, advising them on how to talk to their roommate about the stinky dishes or what major or career to choose--it is changing lives FOREVER. I want to make a difference in so many peoples lives that I have to keep an online website designated just for people to share their stories with me. This is why, I am really tossing around the idea of becoming a motivational speaker. I want to encourage, inspire, and challenge so many individuals to believe in him or herself to achieve the impossible. Let's want to be more than rappers and football players. Money does not define success; it is defined by what you have done with the time The good Lord has given you while here on this earth. Time is precious so make the most of it!

I know my purpose and I want to help others to figure theirs out--that's how I'll make a difference in this world. I am BEYOND determined. THIS is what I am passionate about. I am passionate about people figuring out his or her purpose and passion. Because if I can get people to realize their passion, their purpose in life is activated, which means goals can be reached and THAT equals success.

You know I always like to end with a quote. It was Confucius who said, "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."