Little Miss Saving-the-World

Changing the way we think in order to change the world

 

Breathe April 17, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 10:32 pm

It’s easier than it sounds but try it

I promise it will be okay

 
 

Like a diary for the very first time

Filed under: Uncategorized — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 10:31 pm

And so my desk was dirty, for the first time in weeks it was covered in papers and rift raft and I couldn’t tell if I cared. It was such a little problem, such a first world, teenage problem but my nerves, my head, my heart I couldn’t help but feel so overwhelmed by how underwhelming everything was.

I felt no passion when I touched myself when I touched fingers with someone else, no light in their eyes and suddenly I felt alone, like the battle I was fighting- I was the only one doing it. And among this crowd, this group of 30,000 individuals at this place called university I couldn’t help but feel so totally alone and so completely nervous at this fact alone. All my friends- or rather, many of my friends- are back home enjoying the beach, the Sun the sails and their universities to the same extent I’m enjoying mine and what’s the most nerve racking thought; the one that’s been coming up the most.

I don’t know what I want to do- yes it’s normal for some- but for the girl who’s spent the last fifteen years of her life dedicated to accomplishing my goal, I’m not so sure what my goal is anymore. Yes veterinary school is this feat I must accomplish but what after that? What’s my great plan?

I don’t have one.

I just have love and passion which are a lot kexier than I expected ( it’s a new word I learned meaning brittle). I can literally feel swells of passion leaving my finger tips and going no where- they’re definitely not on this page, all that’s on this page is relief because I don’t have to listen to anyone respond to this. Oh yeah in case you were wondering this has kind of become my fake diary in addition to my random thoughts on protecting the planet because I’m too intimidated by the large dandelion covered book known as my journal. I can’t write about death or depression or anger- I feel so much anger and it’s towards myself mostly and that can’t be healthy. It can’t.

And today after I was interviewed for this paper I used to work for, about a position I now hold for a committee – I went off on a tangent about pro-choice groups on campus being unnoticeable and this girl got so mad at me. I realized I was wrong but in the same second I realized I was so cocky, so out of it I also realized I haven’t really done anything worth while in this interview. Maybe that’s why I really didn’t care? I felt like the work I was doing was so incredibly incomplete and tiny that it was sad it was being recognized.

I remember feeling the exact same way in high school thinking that having an entire page in the yearbook for an event my friends and I planned to raise money for The Humane Society was sweet, but it was too much. It didn’t challenge me it just made me upset. Praise me when I deserve it, when my work has touched humanity like being involved in the Huffington Post or Girls For a Change or all the things that I have yet to accomplish(which I would like to think is a lot). Pats on the head and a smile are great motivators for some but for the most part all I need is a “I notice what you’re doing, that’s nice of you” because as patronizing as that sounds everything else is far worse to me.

Mostly, what I need is to stop being my biggest enemy, to open my journal and finally write- to meditate and stop fighting in my head because all these battles I can’t win- that’s the most destructive part of it all.

 
 

United Under Patriarchy: Feminism and Vegetarianism

Filed under: Uncategorized — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 10:00 pm

 

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, Meat is described as the essence or principle part of something, however over time its meaning has been shifted a great deal. What used to be considered as a principle part of any of our food, has come to be known as only the animal protein we consume. Similarly the word man has undergone great lexicographical narrowing to exclude women as part of “mankind” (Adams, 46). And while these subtle shifts in language may appear to be unimportant on paper what they symbolize in the reality of this nation and of this planet is a shift in thinking , a shift in the oppression of both women and animals so that they are one in the same. . This phenomenon of unrighteous actions, of sexist thinking and violence against women has all been the result of the dual oppression of women and animals. For it is through the increasing push for what has been deemed “masculine” food (animal protein) that women have lost their identity, that both animals and women have been denounced as important and have instead become the systemized “others,” it is through this push that patriarchal society has found it easier impose violence upon these parties and made it so that women and animals are consumed both literally and visually by the “masculine” majority.

Women and Animals as the Systemized “Other”

Women as the systemized “other”

In her acclaimed book “The Second Sex” Simone de Beauvoir uncovers the truth about women in the current society stating that they are in fact one of the largest minorities worldwide, one which includes mothers, daughters and wives who are all considered, “the other.”

This vague sentiment for 50.6 % of the United States Population (Women’s History Month: March 2011.) represents the idea that women have hold no history of their own and are not seen as the norm in their societies. In the United States this can be exemplified in many ways, the most obvious being the way Americans speak and the second being the distribution of animal protein among its citizens.

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill states, “English speakers and writers have traditionally been taught to use masculine nouns and pronouns in situations where the gender of their subject(s) is unclear or variable, or when a group to which they are referring contains members of both sexes.” This is a defining feature in the way women have not only been treated in the past but in the way their treatment has manifested overtime because it essentially ignores their existence. In defining the unknown gender as a man the speaker has already subconsciously favored one over the other and as such given more meaning and importance to the man than to the woman. In a similar manner, the assumed reality that all events happen to men and that for an event to have happened to a woman one must specify her femaleness just furthers the idea that women are not the assumed normal within the patriarchal society. And as the English language continues to use masculine nouns as a method of describing the world, the inequality of gender is only further reinforced through the demonstration of men in the flesh being privileged over women. (Kleinman, 6-7).

Yet, men have been considerably more privileged than women throughout history especially in the context of food distribution. During times of starvation women have been the ones willingly sacrificing for both their husbands and children. In fact, according to the World Food Programme, while women make up a little less than half the population worldwide, they make up 60% of worlds hungry. Similarly, during times of war and rationing the best food or the meat has always been given to the men while women, known to be less virile (Adams, 36) are left to sustain themselves off of plant protein which has been considered less desirable. “Where poverty forced conscious distribution of meat, men received it,” (Adams, 39). This demonstrates how men are seen as not only needing a better quality protein but that they need a better quality protein because their duties are more important than that of their female counter-parts. And while the reality is that women who are nursing or pregnant actually have considerably higher protein requirements than men, the implications of having control over a certain “better” quality protein has once again created a hierarchy in which women are inferior to men.

Animals as the systemized “other”

The transformation of the meaning of the word “meat” from being an essential particulate to simply being animal protein has already been discussed in this paper. However, the ideological changes this has brought to civilization have not.

In making meat the sole word for all food based from a source of animal protein, there’s been a kind of self-created hierarchy among humanity’s food and while meat is at the top of this hierarchy, the flip-side is that animals used for this meat are off society’s radar and out of their minds. In discussing this topic and the “otherness” of animals, there are two parts, the food hierarchy and the way meat reflects on its living equivalents.

First, let’s further discuss this food hierarchy which has been created. During the prehistoric beginnings of Homo Sapiens, it was found that the males’ hunting, while nutritiously less beneficial, held more value in society than the women’s gathering of root vegetables and nuts. This was because men found a way of using meat as a kind of social currency which is still demonstrated in both apes and humans today. Craig B. Stanford, author of The Hunting Apes: Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behavior found that “In many traditional human societies, men hunt but women procure most of the protein and calories for their social groups through their gathering of roots, fruits, and small animals… [But] the fact that meat is so highly valued even when it composes a small part of the diet is powerful testimony to its value as social currency. Men are able to use meat to enhance status, show beneficence, and even to obtain more sex by having caught meat.” By controlling the distribution of meat and thus, the major currency, the males not only hold the power of the food but also the power over women and society in general.

What this demonstrates in terms of the animals being consumed is that they are also oppressed by men. After the domestication of first animals to more easily procure their flesh, men continuously reinforced not only the idea, but the reality that they were not only the unimportant “nonhuman” animals but that men owned their flesh and the right to their lives. Their otherness and unimportance is only furthered by the use of fragmenting words causing us to forget about the animal’s being and rather pushing their lives into a dimension far away. Words like “drumstick” or “brisket” are examples of fragmented words which help to blind humanity from the harsh realities of the animal’s death. Instead of ever seeing the animal as a live being we chop away at all of its differences beginning with its lack of humanity by calling them “nonhuman” and using words like “it”. We then further tear away at the creature’s differences by naming its sectioned limbs in such ways that it’s hard to tell it was ever anything but a slab of flesh; the “otherness” of animals runs deep.

The imposition of violence on women and animals

In almost any situation crimes of violence are crimes of power. In the case of rape and even in the case of domestic abuse the point is for the dominant party to reinforce their dominance. Scholar and feminist author bell hooks theorizes that that domestic violence, which she renamed patriarchal violence, is just the flesh of sexism and sexist thinking.

In other words it’s the “hunters” of the community which not only hold the meat but also the power and the ability to implement violence on the “others” as they see fit. The irony is that as the “others”, whether they be women or animal, accept their punishment- the lines between women and animal are only further blurred. The result is women using animalistic terms to describe their abuse, terms like “piece of meat”. By being coupled with animals women of abuse have actually become their counterparts not only to themselves but also in the eyes of patriarchy. According to Adams, “if you are a piece of meat, you are subject to a knife, to implemental violence.” Women have not only reached a new low but they’ve also reached a new level of submissiveness in the patriarchal community, by being seen as pieces of meat through implemented violence and brutality women are also made consumable.

In a similar manner, animals which are seen as defenseless have already been made consumable under patriarchy and thus, violence to them is not only seen as acceptable but as a natural way to keep them in line for further consumption.

Comparisons of the Literal and Visual Consumption of Women to the Literal and Visual Consumption of Animals

The Literal and Visual Consumption of Women

After the implemental violence has reduced women to “pieces of meat” they are able to be consumed either literally, visually or both.

The best example of this is through human trafficking in which women, children and even some men are abused and forced into sexual slavery where they are made to please their clients and their pimps through their physical beauty as well as their willingness to be consumed. For the purpose of this discussion we will focus primarily on the women who are trafficked.

Whether they be young or old women make up 78% of the sex trafficking or potential sex trafficking population (National Human Trafficking Resource Center Annual Report- 2010) making them the prime victims of sexual trafficking and also the prime victims of consumption.

Lisa Thompson, liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking at Salvation Army’s National Headquarters puts this consumption into perspective stating, “These sexploitators, … when [they] are hungry for sex, they buy it. They devour it. The thing devoured disappears. They are energized by it, until once again the urge for sex returns. Thus other human beings are just morsels they consume to satiate one of their physical urges.” And while the sexual consumption of women as a way to break their spirits and bind them in the ties of patriarchal power are by far some of the most severe, the visual consumption of women as nothing more than sexual beings or “pieces of meat” is far more common. Whether it be through the advertisements for Hooters in which scantily clad women are ogled and serve up the ideal masculine meal to a primarily masculine crowd or women in PETA posters sectioned off like the diagram of an animal at a butcher’s shop; women are consumed by the masculine population much like they consume their animal protein- first with their eyes and then with their body.

The Visual and Literal Consumption of Animals

Animals, already considered as insignificant “others” within patriarchal domain are consumed more literally than visually and yet, their visual consumption is a reflection on not only women but also on who holds the dominance within the culture.

Animals, such as cattle are shown to judges as a recreational activity and are judged based on what is essentially their pageantry. In an adult cow she is judged almost solely on her appearance where 40% of her Dairy Cow Unified Scorecard is based off of her Udder at the time of pregnancy. This section includes certain particulars such as the cylindrical placing of her teats, the size of her teats and the depth and texture of her udder (Jenny, Bruce). These are all factors which the cow herself can’t control and yet, her beauty and fitness are judged solely on criteria just like this one. Similarly, women in beauty pageants are judged based on criterion such as the evening gown which consist of measuring “beauty, carriage and grace,” (Judging Criteria).

Yet, by showing the cow or even the woman in a ring they are thus, rated on not only how productive they may be later in life but also on how consumable they may be when their (re)productive life has ended.

In the case of animals, the end of their reproductive life entails the literal slaughter of their bodies and the consumption by the patriarchal or dominant power. In being fragmented and being pushed further into the “otherness” of society as a way to make their consumption appropriate.

Conclusion

In conclusion one can easily see that the connection between women and animals goes far beyond being breathing, sentient creatures. Rather both women and animals must suffer from the injustices of a patriarchal society which continuously puts them down by first taking away their rights through systemized “otherness”. In women this is done by stripping women of their history and a language which recognizes them as anything other than the second sex. Contrastingly, animals are considered “others” through their lack of humanity and are further pushed into this “otherness” through the fragmentation of their bodies beyond a recognizable state.

The second way the patriarchal society takes away the power of both women and animals is by implemental violence towards them both. By deeming both parties as “others” this community has made them less important and thus, made violence against both parties not only acceptable but appropriate. In both cases the implemental violence is only meant to procure the third and final state of patriarchal domination which is consumption.

Through the implemental violence which makes women feel like animals and the fragmentation of animals humanity has made it possible to visually and literally consume both parties. In women the most common forms of consumption are the somewhat literal human trafficking and the visual consumption through advertisements, typically involving some sort of animal product. In animals the consumption can also be visual through judging or productive life and future delectability to the consumer or more commonly, the animal is consumed literally after the fragmentation of their bodies.

Works Cited

Adams, Carol J. The Sexual Politics of Meat. 10th anniversaryth ed. New York: Continuum, 2000. 36-65. Print.

"Gender-Sensitive Language ." The Writing Center. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, n.d. Google. Web. 14 Apr. 2012.

Jenny, Bruce. "Dairy Cattle Judging." Dairy Science. Baton Rouge. 2011. Lecture.

"Judging Criteria." Miss Westchester and Miss Hudson Valley Pageants. New York Crown Productions LLC., 2011. Google. Web. 15 Apr. 2012

Kleinman, Sherryl. (September, 2000). Why sexist language matters. The Center Line, a newsletter of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, pp. 6-7.

"National Human Trafficking Resource Center Annual Report- 2010." Polaris Project. Salesforce, 2011. Google. Web. 15 Apr. 2012.

Stanford, Craig B. The Hunting Apes: Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behavior. N.p.: Princeton University Press, n.d. 201-02. Princeton University Press. Web. 15 Apr. 2012

Thompson, Lisa L. "’Cannibalism’ of the world’s women and children through sexual trafficking and prostitution." The Salvation Army. N.p., 2011. Google. Web. 15 Apr. 2012.

"Women’s History Month: March 2011." United States Census Bureau. N.p., 26 Jan. 2011. Google. Web. 14 Apr. 2012.

World Food Programme. N.p., n.d. Google. Web. 14 Apr. 2012.

 
 

Fear your mind and smile March 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 9:55 pm

Timing isn’t my forte. I have a terrible habit of arriving ten minutes late to just about everything, I’ll make you wait if I know I can and I haven’t worn proper tennis shoes in the past month. I don’t always brush my teeth in the morning or shower at a particular time, it’s always just been when I feel like and what feels good to me. I cook for myself, try to eat healthy but no matter what I do I feel trapped. Oh and I have a secret fear of ant hills and a sudden craving for a chocolate glazed cake donut.

Is that bizarre?

I feel like I’ve come up with this image of myself, a pair of shoes I stare at across the room. A pair of 6 inch heels, gorgeous and way above my budget but I keep trying to work and save until I get there but along the way I drop some cash on food, on charity work and I wonder if all the work I’m doing is really worth it? Are the shoes really my color? Could I even walk in a heel that high, comfortably? What if I fell and sprained my ankles, unable to walk because of this sick, demented vision of me, 125 pounds, sleek legs in these incredibly beautiful shoes- me incredibly beautiful, a force to be reckoned with?

I see myself walking slowly, comfortable with the current state of being until I get scared, fed up and I walk faster and faster til I’m sprinting up a mountain and I fall exhausted and so sick of chasing a dream I’ll never fufill. Turns out the heels weren’t really what I wanted, I always wanted so much more out of myself and I don’t know if I can be her. I don’t know that I can be this image I have in my head- the powerful queen and the apathetic giver, the perfect girlfriend and daughter while staying true to myself. And the worst part isn’t that I’ve been sitting on the top of this mountain crying as the air sweeps past my face. The worst part isn’t even that my tears have now froze against my face, it’s that I can’t find myself crying anymore- I stare, searching for the tears I can feel quivering in my soul yet they aren’t emerging.

They’re like toxins sitting in my system, sucking me dry and I feel so alone on this mountain. Alone because although I’m surrounded by people- those above and below my new-found perch, the spot next to me full and smiling, there’s no one sitting in my place. I can hear the voices the thoughts of others but the only one I find myself listening to is that of the wind.

I notice how it shifts the blades of grass between my suddenly bare feet, how it causes a nearby stream to sway and how I’m so sad yet so content with this solitary I’ve found.

My mountain is a paradise for my mind when it doesn’t stray to thoughts of loneliness and insignificance. My mountain is perfect except for the one area which is marred by pasty tar and black sand which I haven’t been able to get rid of no matter how hard I try. The shoes, laying near this ugly pit of black, are sucked into this oblivion I’m now too scared to touch and the hand I was once absent-mindedly holding has left.

I’m late because I have the power to do so, it makes me feel like I have control- like I’m important to someone because living in a different state where I’m the odd one out again; it can be empowering but it can also be terribly redundant and awfully lonely.

Hope wherever you are you’re smiling because you deserve it.

 
 

NEXT step! WooHoo!! January 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 10:37 pm

Alright so we’ve got this. Second week, we started by buying thank you cards as a reminder of how we shouldn’t take life for granted. Next on the agenda is random acts of kindness! The idea is to do at least one random act of kindness a day whether it be for someone you know or a complete stranger. If you can’t find anyone or you’re not feeling up to it do something for yourself by doing 15 minutes of exercise. This isn’t only a great way to better yourself, it’s also great for your body and a good way to prep for next week’s resolution ;) Meanwhile start buying more vegetables we’ll start our prep for a vegan diet within the next few days.

A great site to fuel ideas for random acts of kindness is

http://www.helpothers.org/ideas.php: not only does the  site give great ideas for acts of kindness but also offers printable smile cards. These happy little cards give a little incentive for the next person to pay it forward. And while these changes may seem tiny- there’s nothing better than knowing you’ve made someone’s day.=)

 
 

Mission 1 accomplished January 9, 2012

Filed under: Well-being — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 1:06 pm

Bought a pack of 24 blank cards and wrote all the thank you cards I need for now. How’s your first week of resolutions going? I’ve been using iDoneThis.com to keep track of my goals =) It might help you as well.

 
 

Moments lost- R.I.P Simba bhatia and lots of love

Filed under: Uncategorized — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 12:21 am

Seconds wasted, moments lost- it’s hard to believe that my family member of sixteen years is gone.

Many people would call him a cat and while he was indeed a blue tabby with the most beautiful green eyes, more than a cat he was a friend and a beloved family member. from the age of three to the tender age of twenty- I’d like to think he had a happy life. Moving from state to state only to settle with us in CA- you could tell by the purr that was happy at least a good portion of the time.a model xmas-fall soph 1762

The perfect cuddle bunny, the perfect secret keeper and a perpetual friend; this is the weekend I shall dedicate to him. It’s also a time to reflect on all the moments you may have lost and to pledge to make the most of what we have left by spending our time wisely and causing the least amount of pain possible whether it be emotional or environmental; it’s time we all make a small change.

We love you Simba

 
 

First thing is first! January 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 11:13 pm

Buy thank you cards to remind you to show your gratitude whether it be verbally or written.

Also start buying more fruit- may I suggest tiny oranges? They’re delicious! ;)

 
 

2012- To a better world through a better you January 6, 2012

Filed under: Well-being — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 12:24 am

*Click* *Clack*

Countdown

5-4-3-2-1

HAPPY 2012!

It’s been a ride- this past year; from making myself incredibly vulnerable to superficiality and pettiness to realizing the greatness and a compassion which can coexist in a quiet year. From meeting brilliant minds to keeping my mind brilliant and realizing who my real friends are; 2011 has been the start of yet another incredible journey and one which I’m not ready to finish. Rather, I’ve decided to extend my stay on the planet of reflection, self-love, giving, empowerment and improvement indefinitely. -

And while it’s looking a bit shabby right about now- I dare say I’ve been handed the seeds to change this atmosphere and make it a little brighter. That’s why from this week forward I’ve decided to start a journey that I invite all of you to partake with me. This journey is one of self-discovery and potential inspiration like I’ve never taken before- it’s going to last for at least 5 months and include the following in no particular order.

1 week of silence: So I can get a sense of what it means to listen rather than speak. Our mouths move so much- but have you ever really analyzed what you use your voice for? Is it for self- forwarding, bringing people down, the greater good of society, petty gossip, white lies, ignorant/sexist comments or rather to teach, to acknowledge or to show universal love? Without having the least bit of time to notice our tones or our sense of self, there’s no way to really realize your motive and whether or not it’s how you want to live your life. That’s why for at least one week I’d like to experience first hand what it’s like to listen rather than feeling obliged to speak as I often do.

A vow to be vegan: How is it that we can try to be compassionate, loving beings when we spend so much of our time dependent on the suffering of other beings? From the way they’re treated on their farms during their temporary existence- to their unnecessary, barbaric, terrifying deaths in slaughterhouses; it’s become quite obvious that the life of meat animal is not one which we’d like to lead, so why condone it? Why consume the products of people who aren’t even paid minimum wage, given decent breaks or treated reasonably when all it does is further not only their own suffering but the animal’s, our environment’s as well as our own. Meanwhile we can’t give up meat while condoning the simple use of their udders, their female reproductive organs because it’s sexist. Milk comes from the mammary glands of female animals who have to be regularly impregnated and their babies regularly taken away from them.

Believe me I took a Dairy Science course- this stuff’s real and the sad reality.

SHOCKER!!! The mother’s actually cry for their babies- they become distressed and when they can no longer be used for reproduction, they’re sent to slaughter. Meanwhile their calves, their children are used for either milking or for veal if they’re male.

Sound fair to you?

Oh yeah forgot to mention- most cattle and even chickens can live to be 30 or twenty years old but are typically killed around 5 years old or 8 months old respectively.

30 minutes of meditation once a week and 8 minutes every other day: Caught up in the hustle and bustle of life it’s hard to remember to breathe. That’s why there’s no better way to remember to breathe than to make it your sole purpose for 8 minutes every day. The process may seem pointless if you’ve never tried it before but the calming of the mind known as meditation has not only been proven to increase brain efficiency by Harvard and Cornell Universities but is also incredibly relaxing. However, if you’re a beginner as I am- I would highly recommend starting out with 8 Minute Meditation: Quiet your mind. Change Your Life by Victor Davich and exploring local Buddhist temples. Buddhist temples typically believe more in a sense of self than a sense of salvation and in my experience are more about calm, meditation, self- reflection and bettering through the mind and actions rather than through direct preaching. This makes it ideal for people of all faiths and backgrounds, not to mention they’re typically, very beautiful.

My recommendation- start with the eight minutes a night( no excuses- as Davinch says- it’s the length of a commercial break and you owe it to yourself) and as you get the hang of it( give it five tries at least) push onwards to including one day with thirty minutes. I also highly recommend the book!

No artificial sugar or sweets: It’s hard to imagine our favorite snacks as anything but sweet. Unfortunately, the reality is that sugar and other sweeteners act as inflammatory agents to our bodies and also our arteries. Also the more artificial the sweeter(aka high fructose corn syrup) the more inflammation. Fun times.

Workout once a day( min 15 minutes): Bettering your mind can’t be done without actively bettering your body. Taking in this concept that all of our bodies should be equally honored( no matter the species) and that they are thus, all temples; we need to realize the responsibility of actively taking care of ourselves.

Write Thank You cards: I’ve been the worst about telling people how grateful I am for their presence but let me start with this. No matter where you are at this moment, what has happened to you, what you’ve done- I love you and I hope that you choose to be grateful for all that you can. I also hope that you come to realize as I have, how precious a card is- a letter or gesture of gratitude is.

Become more spiritual

Do one random act of kindness a day- Find Smile(pay it forward cards) on http://www.helpothers.org/cards.php: The holidays may be a time for giving and receiving but really what feels better? Giving or receiving? Now be honest, when was the last time you were nice to a stranger, to a person you knew for no good reason other than that they existed? Was it yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, a year ago? Didn’t it feel good?  So why not do it more often? Even a simple gesture can make someone’s day- so do it.

Learn one new word every other day:  We only ever use 10% of our brains and to think that we’d just stop learning and improving ourselves- it’s a scary thought.

Watch one documentary a month:  They’re random, they’re in depth and they’re usually enjoyable. For a wide variety of free documentaries use www.topdocumentaryfilms.com

Read the New York Times/ The Advocate(local newspaper):  I’m so sick of walking into a room full of men and being ignored because I haven’t actively spoken about politics. I’m sick of being unnoticed by society and by those who assume they know more than me, that’s why I’m determined to constantly learn.

Make an active effort to work towards my goals

Be happy

Breathe

Now I realize this seems like a lot to accomplish but I’d like to start one week and one thing at a time then add on from there. Stay tuned for which is first =).

 
 

The Lucky Ones December 26, 2011

Filed under: Well-being — LittleMissSavingTheWorld @ 1:23 am

It occurred to me a little too late that I was in a sketchy part of town. In anticipation of making it to my massage appointment, I had actually gotten off my bus five blocks before my stop- and by the looks of things that was the least of my problems.

If it wasn’t enough that I was young and clearly a college student, I was also wearing a bright pink t- shirt proclaiming that sex-education saves lives; needless to say, I stuck out like a sore thumb in the southern town. Yet, even with my fingers trembling I was convinced that I would be perfectly safe, that I didn’t have to rely on anyone for help. My cell-phone was neatly tucked away in my handbag and my fear was causing me to start talking to myself.  “It’ll be okay Priya, you’ve dealt with 2,000 pound horses, so a dangerous person is nothing to you.” Much like my pride, my pep talks weren’t very helpful but neither was the cooing I received from the next bus stop I contemplated waiting at.

Walking seemed like the only real option since I didn’t see the point in calling for help and so I continued. I went another block and sat down impatiently waiting for the bus next to a cemetery when I first pretended not to notice them.

Two perfectly innocent strangers were walking right towards me but rather than seeing them as helpful I saw them as dangerous. Dingy hair, a banged up eye, crutches and an old back pack were what greeted me as the woman sat down next to me. ” What’s your name?” “Annie” I lied because I was too scared to tell the truth.  “You don’t look like you belong here, where are you headed?” “ I’m trying to get to Corporate Blvd but I got off the bus too early so I’m waiting for the next one. Do you know when it’s coming around?”  “Probably not for another hour but you should really get out of here before that. You’re young and you don’t blend in very well. I’m only helping you because you look like my niece and I can’t see you get hurt. You’re like fresh meat out here.” The woman with stiches over her right eye pulled out her small wallet and showed me a picture of her beautiful niece. ” You look exotic just like her. Isn’t she pretty?” ” She’s gorgeous.” I replied, shocked by the size of her injury as well as the picture of her fully clothed, clearly better off relative. ” So Mike and I are going to walk you to wherever it is you need to go- the bus station is only a few blocks away and you can catch the next bus out there but I want you to be safe.” I could feel my jaw drop,” “Thank you so much.”  “Don’t mention it we don’t want you to get hurt.”

I was blown away by their act of complete kindness and generosity. These were strangers who I had been afraid of but what I really learned instead, was that they were far better, stronger people than I had ever been. In this one moment of kindness these two homeless individuals had so unselfishly taken me three blocks to my destination telling me horror stories that I couldn’t imagine.

The woman had been beaten with a bottle of alcohol after someone snuck into her tent and  the evidence was as clear as the stitches over her eye. The man she was with, Mike never told me his story- he was silent but helpful, mumbling occasionally and walking slowly along with his crutches and his casted arm.

After my agonizingly long wait at the station and being hit on by an elderly man all I could think of was those two people. Those two wonderful people who had in that time made me realize how perpetually incredible and blessed my life is. ” You be careful now, I’m gonna be worried about you all night.” “Thank you both for everything; thank you so much.”  And even after calling my aunt to pick me up from my final destination I couldn’t help the tears from falling down my face.

How could two wonderful people be so incredibly stigmatized against to the point of being untouchable, unnoticeable, absent from every aspect of our lives to the point where we forget about them? Why is it that the first thing I noticed about them was their social economic status rather than their kindred spirits, their kind hearts or their simple humanity?

That common string keeping us together as creatures has gone from being so very inclusive to constantly being cut, separating us based on age, race, gender and now social economic class. Now, the commonality that used to be so standard- our humanity- has changed in such a way that we have to prove our likeness to others just to feel safe, to give us a false sense of security.

The problem lies in the fact that we’ve come to confuse rich and poor, old and young, black and white with good and evil- forgetting that what actually defines us isn’t what we look like but rather what we stand for as I was so humbly taught by Mike and Barbara.