This white girl and MLK Day.

I have the enjoyment of being the primary content writer for the blog I oversee where I work at The Giving Keys. On Friday I wrote a post about Martin Luther King Jr. Day to go up today. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so unqualified to write a blog post in my life.

Recently seeing the movie Selma re-stirred within me, and I am sure a great deal of others, the impact that this man has made on history. Particularly civil rights and African-American culture.

This is weird for me to attempt to write out and describe, but seeing Selma along with writing the post on Martin Luther King Jr. have had this way of making me feel the color of my skin. And the rotten history attached to this color.

I spent years of my life working with Detroit youth, where I was generally the only white girl in a room of young black girls that I counseled. And I adored it. I adored them. Adored, adored, adored. I had big plans to spend the rest of my life working with Detroit teens and then other plans happened. But through those years I came to understand and acknowledge race and racism in ways I otherwise never would have had the chance to. For that I am forever grateful.

I learned how ignorant hatred is, and how powerful love is.

I learned the sheer force that culture has on an individual.

I learned how difficult it is to reshape that culture.

Leaving the movie theater a couple weeks ago after seeing Selma, I couldn’t help that my stomach churned with that question of, “If you were alive in that time, in that location, which side would you have been on?”

No one wants to dare say such a thought aloud but I can’t imagine I am the only one who thought it. Believe me, I know it’s a disgusting question and it’s extremely hypothetical and really there is no way of knowing. I mean it was a different time, and place, and things are different now, right?

Re-listening to King’s “I Have A Dream” speech on Friday when writing the blog post one of the lines that stood out to me was this:

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

Maybe, things are not so different yet. We are not yet standing in the day that Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt of when our current events are still exactly that.

There are still sides. Tragically. Horrifyingly.

You still choose whether you stand on the side of paranoia and prejudice or do you stand on the side of peace and equality. In some ways we may be less naive and less hateful than years before, but we are still not where we should be.

At the Golden Globes last week Tina Fey made the joke, “the movie Selma is about the American Civil Rights Movement that totally worked and now everything’s fine.”

We are not where we should be. We are not where we should be when over 50 years later we are seeing the same issues, the same violence, the same preconceived notions without bothering to understand.

Everything is not totally fine.

I can’t help but look at the life Martin Luther King Jr. lived and wonder what things would be like if more of us viewed humankind the way he did. If more of us fought for peace and equality with even half the vigor that King did, what levels could we reach together?

Because that’s the thing, it has to be together. No one can do it alone.

It’s time to come together.

I love Sia’s new video, and I think you should too.

After reading and hearing about the controversy surrounding Sia’s new music video for her song “Elastic Heart” I watched it for myself this morning and have not been able to stop thinking about it all day.

First things first, if you didn’t see the original video for her song “Chandelier” you need to watch that or else you’ll be lost in this post.

Now, this new video featured the same young Sia character, as well as an older male version of Sia, played by Shia Labeouf. Based on this next sentence you can decide if you want to watch the video or not, but if you keep reading I do hope you watch the video. The controversy surrounding the video is that people interpreted it to have pedophilia connotations.

After watching the video I came to one conclusion: People will find what they’re looking for. If you are looking for inappropriate dance movements to be outraged about, you will find it. If you’re looking for inspiration through the depth of dance movements, you will find it.

I found the latter.

I watched the new music video and was nearly in tears. Which, by the way, is the same way I felt about the “Chandelier” video. Maddie Zieglar is an incredible dancer to say the least, but teamed with Shia Labeouf’s acting talent I was in amazement. The emotions, the expressions, the way so much is communicated to those who watch it, it is exactly art.

For those who may not know much about this past year for Shia Labeouf, he has had some heavy times. He struggled with a lot of questions and accusations about himself, his career, his sanity, his faith. And that is keeping it completely vague. Not that vague is necessary when a quick google search can tell you everything I am not. I’m not telling you because I have felt pretty heavy hearted for the man this past year. I don’t know and I never will know what it’s like to live a life in the spotlight, so I am the last person to judge anyone for any action or reaction they may have. As for where Shia stands now, I am not sure. But I know that when I watched this “Elastic Heart” video I saw raw talent, and perhaps raw transparency.

To me, Sia’s videos have tapped into a depth of emotional art that forms a lump in my throat and makes me long for creativity.

If this video makes you feel weird, that’s okay too. Art is different to everyone. And everyone has different perspectives.

14 Things I Learned in 2014

I gave this a shot a couple years ago and I liked it, and then last year was a rather horrible year so I didn’t want to even try. However, this year has probably been the best year of my life yet so I don’t think it will be difficult to share some things I’ve learned in this great year.

1. Having roommates you love is one of the greatest gifts. I’ve had all sorts of roommates, as I’ve said before I’ve accumulated over two dozen in my years, and I am telling you that living with people you genuinely want to spend time with is endless fun.

2. It isn’t easy to decide “a good thing” still isn’t enough, moving on to bigger and better things takes bravery but is so worth it.

3. Facebook just isn’t needed. Nuff said.

4. There is the opportunity for community everywhere, you just have to be looking for it.

5. After slowly but surely making my way through Cloud Atlas, and then reading two more of his books David Mitchell has become one of my favorite authors. He’s absolutely brilliant.

6. I’ve learned to show more affection, which has never been in my skill set.

7. Turns out not all sitcoms have good endings, like the How I Met Your Mother finale. Sigh. You knew I had to mention it, it was a pretty big part of my year.

8. Taking the power away from your past can make your present and future more powerful.

9. Also, being around someone who doesn’t give their past power over them is so attractive it becomes contagious.

10. It is good to keep talking about the dreams you have for your life, even if they are not immediately accessible.

11. I learned this year that returning home for a funeral is more important than returning home for a wedding, there is something so important about mourning with those who mourn, and you don’t realize the importance until you miss out on it.

12. Having people in your life that highly value honesty is such a gift.

13. I learned it is actually pretty easy to get a boyfriend, but waiting for a boyfriend that has the qualities you’re looking for is way better than dating any old schmo. (Don’t waste your time on something that’s less than what you deserve!)

14. Piggy backing off the last lesson–Having a good relationship is definitely way more fun than being single. But being single will always be better than settling in a relationship that isn’t worth your time.

I don’t really have set expectations for 2015, I just know it’s going to be a good one. I chose to open my arms and welcome in 2014 so I am doing the same for 2015. Embracing opportunity and the beloved people around me.

Don’t be like Ryan and Kelly.

Awhile back I watched the movie One Day, which a friend had kept telling me I needed to see.

I watched it, and did not have an inspirational About Time reaction with this movie. Just the opposite. I nearly had a How I Met Your Mother finale level reaction. I have become increasingly intense about our need for “clean breaks” in the last six months or so.

The lack of being able to fully break away, whether it be a job, a church, a relationship, even social media is proving to be a devastating affair for my generation.

We have on-again-off-again relationships with everything we do in life. We are noncommittal to the nth degree. Yet, we this have a debilitating fear of saying no and stepping forever away from the things that are damaging to us, because we ask ourselves, “what if it’s the best thing that will come along?” We break up and get back together with our exes. We beg our bosses to keep us in our dead end jobs that we complain about to everyone we know. We stay in churches that don’t further us along because finding a new one takes too much effort.

The question is, are we lazy and settling, or do we honestly not know how much more we deserve?

For as long as I can remember I have had this thought that I am not supposed to live an ordinary life. That my life has to, in some way, be different. Not an intense strive to be higher and do more than others, but I have just always had a desire to not settle for what other people settle for.

This deep seeded goal of mine has in a lot of ways not made life very comfortable/comforting. And often, when spending time around people who are living a life I would call settling (ugh, I know I’m the worst, I swear my horse is not that high! I just view things differently from others!) I spend time in their lives and I think that it’s actually rather wonderful, and maybe they know something I don’t know.

Each year that passes I come to learn more and more that there are seasons for everything. Something you want with all your heart in your 20’s may not be all you want in your 30’s, what you want most in your 30’s may not be something that matters to you in your 40’s, and so on and so forth. Priorities look different for everyone. The idea of “settling” looks different to everyone.

The fact remains though–especially to my fellow twenty-somethings–there is a big life out there full of great people and amazing opportunity and you don’t need to fight for things to stay in your life that do not build up your life.

I hate the idea that we circle back around to people who don’t bring out the best in us, that we settle for jobs that don’t fill our hearts.

There is truly so much more to this life than the majority will ever embrace.

Make clean breaks. Make getaways. Make the life you deserve.

 Don’t be like Ryan and Kelly from The Office.

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Don’t call it a comeback, but that’s kind of what it is.

I am a little bit in awe about the fact that I haven’t blogged even a smidgen in nearly two months. I oversee the blog at work and apparently that has dominated most of my creative juices. However, I’ve returned to my faithful little blog once more to ramble another day!

I’ll take this comeback post to get you up to speed on my life lately.

Currently obsessed with:

Music – Joel Alme // I watched the movie Happy Christmas which largely featured his music and now his tunes have become a happy place to me.

Movies – Dear White People // This movie is raw, hilarious, gut stirring, and beautiful. The fact that it is primarily based on true events is chilling. I highly recommend it.

Television – The Walking Dead // I can’t help but love this show. I’ve thought about letting it go a few times and then it draws me right back in, season 5 has brought me back in.

Books – The Bone Clocks // I’ve read a few of David Mitchell’s books now but this one is top notch. He is such an expressive writer. You can be following the narration of an asshole of a character and yet you are completely invested in where it’s going.

Work – The Giving Keys // Just celebrated my one year anniversary of working for The Giving Keys, and still adoring my job completely as we submerge into our busiest month of the year. Working with good people makes all the difference in your day to day happiness.

Romance – Boyfriend // Ya, got myself one of those pretty recently. He cooks, reads good books, and randomly breaks into song often. I like him. This blog may become much more boring without my feminist single woman rants. I’ll see what I can do about continuing the ranting.

Life – Future // I feel like I am taking solid steps toward the dreams I have for my life. It’s terrifying, kind of bittersweet, but when I really think about it my heart feels so full with the possibilities ahead.

Extra – Serial Podcast // If you have not yet jumped on this train do yourself a favor and jump! This podcast is literally taking us back to the 1950’s where we look forward to listening to the new episode every Thursday and can’t help but talk about it to everyone we know.

So that’s basically all you’ve missed about my life since I took my unintentional hiatus.

I’ll be around more often, I promise.

This is NOT the sound of settling.

I have been told a time, or two, or twenty that I can be a bit intense and too hard on myself. Naturally, my stubborn side rises up and disagrees with these claims.

It can be extremely easy to feel inferior in this city, and yet when I talk with people outside of LA I regularly get told things like:

“I would be exhausted if I lived your life.”

“Your love life is hilarious to me.”

“Wow, I can’t believe you do so much.”

Living in Los Angeles has been a humbling experience for me because most people in LA that are my age have written a book, started a non-profit, been featured in Vogue, and have been invited to the White House.

To me; having dreams has always gone hand in hand with working one’s ass off, pardon my French, so I have the hardest time understanding why people look at my life as though they are observing a foreign life form.

Then the other night I watched a Ted Talk that seemed to make me understand. It was about not wasting your 20’s. A topic of which I am passionate about.

When I was 17 going on 18 I joined a two-year internship program. Upon joining I had the leaders, as well as multiple people who had graduated the internship in previous years, tell me that at the end of the internship I would look back and regret the time I wasted. Maybe it was a scheme to try and get me not to waste those two years, if it was it most definitely worked. I became devoted to investing everything I could into my work, my study, and everyone around me. Constantly seeking correction, motivation, and discipline. I would not waste my time.

And I don’t believe I did. When I finished after two years I had no regrets, were there bumps along the road? Ohhhhh you betcha there were. Did my roommate and I spend 30 straight hours watching the 5th season of LOST? Yes we did, and I don’t count that as wasted time. But in the end those two years were my foundation for adulthood and I’m thankful I drove myself crazy utilizing every moment.

I saw a quote recently that said, “Doing the same thing 75 times does not count as living”.

Somedays I feel like such a lazy person, and other days I feel utterly overwhelmed by the dreams and deadlines that I balance.

When I saw this Ted Talk the other night I had the thought that 30-year-old me will be grateful for the dedication and standards I am living with now.

I totally lived, I just don’t have the instagram post to prove it.

I’m on this kick right now where, well, where I kind of really hate social media. As you know, I deleted my Facebook. I don’t miss it, and even better yet, I forget it exists until someone brings it up. Again, I am not an anti-Facebook activist. But… I may be becoming an anti-social media activist. I know, it all happens so fast.

A few weekends ago I drove down to San Diego and spent the night with one of my good friends and her husband. We cooked dinner in, poured the wine, and sat around the dinner table sharing stories and laughing for three hours.

And I have no photo to show for it.

It got me thinking, that a great deal of my favorite moments don’t involve an instagram post. A lot do, to be honest. Certainly instagram does not account for any of my days and nights from hell. It does not record my stress, exhaustion, or general bewilderment.

I am not again social media. I enjoy myself some instagram and twitter (eh, sometimes for twitter). But I want to be more concerned about living life and investing in the people around me than I am about getting the perfect shot to capture the moment of our brunch date.

It’s a good life, lets be sure to live it.

Some recent photos on the old iPhone that I love but haven’t social media-ified:

My brother and sister-in-law, downtown Detroit.
My brother and sister-in-law, downtown Detroit.
Waiting for the Made In America festival to start, DTLA.
Waiting for the Made In America festival to start, DTLA.
I will never get over the view of landing in LAX at nighttime. Scattered gold.
I will never get over the view of landing in LAX at nighttime. Scattered gold.
On of my best friend's wedding day.
  On of my best friend’s wedding day.
My brother and his foster puppies.
My brother and his foster puppies.
My British boss reading a new book by his favorite British author.
My British boss reading a new book by his favorite British author.
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Dogsitting, took him to work with me. (:
Moments of stillness.
Moments of stillness.