Tag Archives: Blog Post 6

Cancel culture is ruining people’s lives

Before going into all the things that are wrong with cancel culture it’s important that we recognize just how much influence our peers have over us. Despite our better judgment it’s easy to fall into the trappings of hysteria. When we find ourselves beholden to a fabrication it quickly becomes indiscernible from the truth in our hearts and minds. Feelings can make an otherwise rational person do something irrational because it appeals to a higher calling within ourselves. As humans we have a primal need to belong, to be part of something bigger than ourselves and we reach a point where justification is just another speed bump on our way to conformity. 

To get to the crux of the matter cancel culture is a bullying movement and an assuming one at that. They prey on the alleged abuser as if they’ve already been condemned vilifying them with a type of contemptuous self-righteous fury that would make the Spanish inquisition blush. Simultaneously, the accuser is esteemed and praised for their boldness in defiance of the acrimony brought down on them by their irredeemable perpetrator. The problem I have with this factitious behavior is that the aforementioned persecution can and has happened before there is even a shred of evidence.  

It is both true and deeply unfortunate that those with status and power have taken it upon themselves to abuse their position in order to do some sincerely horrific things. However, on our journey to right the wrongs, it’s essential that we don’t overreact to the issue to the point that we lose ourselves in indignation and retribution. As difficult as it may be we need to have enough empathy for the alleged assailant to withhold our proclivities until there’s proof. That being said, it’s also entirely reasonable to support the victim without elevating them until the outcome is contextualized.  

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-mental-health-effects-of-cancel-culture-5119201

https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2021/05/19/americans-and-cancel-culture-where-some-see-calls-for-accountability-others-see-censorship-punishment/

Learning new skills

Soft.Insta 

As of late I have been interested in learning about 3D and 4D digital artwork. Looking through youtube for the fight tutotal to spark my interest, I came across this metallic and pastel art work that falls right into my interest. On my screen was a very kind and amusin woman giving instructions on how to create this digital artwork. They were friendly, relatable, and gave great and easy to follow directions. These two women Nicole Jonasson and Ida Lissner are designers and artists and now the creators and owners of SOFTER. Softer is a work-in-progress platform ready to change the narrative that tech is hard, a network for shaping Softer digital futures. 

Through their studio and digital platform they provide tutorials, live streams, residencies and more. What I really like about them is that they found a way to make the tech and digital art world softer for those that need it, especially newcomers. Within their program they have worked with a diverse group of people; tech-activist, artistic directors, dancers, writers, organizers, researchers, the list goes on. I see art as a multifaceted medium and I can appreciate people that understand what artists look like and can do many things – that art is actually in the middle of all of our interests and talents. 

I really want to learn digital using tools like blender which is a 3d/4d motion graphic software. I’m not a gifted painter or illustrator so this would allow me to do that in a way I’m used to. I see myself using it in my photography, videos, flyers and other graphics. In the future I could sell them as NFTs, potentially.

Can You Retire With $1 Million?

In many cities in America, it has become extremely difficult for one to retire with no plan. Some people have run so far behind that they give up on the prospect of retirement and they work until their body gives out or cannot fulfill job duties. In this blog post, I will consider the many facets of retiring in America, using the amount of $1 million as a point of reference.

Living Costs

If you were to start saving $400 every month from age 25 till age 67, you would have $1,000,000 but it’s important to remember what city you are in. In Northern California you would be lucky to make it over 15 years with a million dollars but if you were to live in Tennessee that expectancy doubles.

You must also consider how much money you would be getting from social security. The average amount is around $1,661 a month which is about $20k a year. So the majority of the money you will need will have to be found on your own. The unfortunate reality is that my generation has been made well aware of the fact that this extra source of income might not be around by the time I retire, but not all hope is lost.

Taxes

The money that you end up investing will be taxed unless you choose two popular routes: Roth IRA or Roth 401k. The good thing about these investment funds made in “after-tax” dollars which essentially means that this money or the majority of it will not be taxed once you turn 59.5 years old.

The mistake some make is having to pull out some of the automatic contributions made by their employer in their Roth 401k to pay for bills or other emergency costs. When this happens the money they take out is taxed and this can have a bad effect on your savings plan if it is not monitored.

Medical

At this point, I think we are all well aware of the stresses our healthcare system has on societies elderly. These are unfortunately things that can only be planned for as no one can be prepared for how many medical fees can cost. Maryalene LaPonsie from US News states that the average elderly couple in America could spend around $300,000 in medical costs in retirement. It is advised that you consult your doctor about your families health history and what to expect to best prepare.

It’s Time to Stop Plastic Waste.

The pollution of plastics is a growing concern.

Laura Parker states the following facts in this article “The world’s plastic pollution crisis explained” published in National Geographic:

The manufacturing of half of all the world’s plastics has occurred within the last 15 years. From the years 1950 to 2015, the production of plastics has increased by 445 million tons. This production is expected to DOUBLE in amount by 2050. Parker claims, “That’s the equivalent of setting five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world.” Additives added to make the plastics product more flexible and durable also extend the life of the products, taking at least 400 years to break down.

Parker states that 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the ocean each year.

Plastic pollution is harmful and deadly to marine life.

Due to plastic pollution, millions of animals are killed every year. The animals effected are: seabirds, fish, marine turtles, large cetaceans, seals, whales, and even zooplankton.

Ingestion of plastics, entanglement, and strangulation by plastics are common ways marine animals suffer and/or die from the pollution.

“Marine Debris on Kure Atoll” by USFWS Pacific is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Solution

Scientists and conservationists state the solution of plastic pollution is to PREVENT plastic waste from entering rivers and seas in the first place. Laura Parker continues in the National Geographic article that prevention “could be accomplished with improved waste management systems and recycling, better product design that takes into account the short life of disposable packaging, and reduction in the manufacturing of unnecessary single-use plastics”. In Britannica, Charles Moore offers another preventative solution in the article “Plastic Pollution” which involves prohibitive measures such as fines for littering and bans on single-use plastics. Moore advocates for the increase of biodegradable plastics and the embracing of a “zero waste” philosophy.

It’s Time to Demand the End of Plastic Pollution

The environmental organization of Green Peace is declaring that major corporations must take responsibility for the solution. Major corporations must not exceed its current plastic waste production, set reduction target dates, and invest in reusable systems.

Green Peace is a leader in the Reuse Revolution, and it is time for us to join them.

Image from breakfreefromplastic.org

Add your name to the “Break Free From Plastic” campaign to help stop plastic pollution.

Sign the petition now.

https://www.britannica.com/science/plastic-pollution

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/plastic-pollution

Distractions While Driving

Did you know that distracted driving kills approximately 9 individuals each and every day?

  • Other people’s/ children
  • Pets / animals
  • Taking hands off the wheel
  • Eyes wandering
  • Usage of electronics

In the world we live in now, it’s easy to get distracted especially while driving. From texting and
driving and eyes wandering across the street and you driving into a pole. There are 3 main
types of distractions while driving that can all lead to a car accident or injuries to you and other
passengers/ pedestrians . First one is visual- taking your eyes off the road to text back or use
your GPS. Second is manual- taking your hands off the wheel to reach for something. Lastly is
cognitive- your mind spacing out somewhere else to the point you forget your driving. Statistics
show younger drivers tend to email/text while driving as they are leading in distracted driving

Ways to prevent distracted driving

  • Avoid phone usage completely- have an idea or know your route
  • Speak up if your another passenger in the car.
  • Avoid eating or doing tasks while driving
  • Have everything arraigned before putting the car in drive gear

Arrive alive, don’t text and drive

Positive Vibes Only

I don’t care for that saying, positive vibes only. We’re humans and should be allowed and even encouraged to bring our whole selves to the table. There will be times in life when things are rough. Look at 2020. This has been a very challenging year for the majority of us. Even people that are doing well and surviving are still going through the mental stress of our new way of living. Whenever I find myself complaining and spiraling into a negative conversation with someone, I try to bring of something I am grateful for. I also try and do this when I’m alone and catch myself in a string of negative thoughts. Listing off several things that I am grateful for even if they are experiences that I have had previously in life, like places I traveled to or my beloved pet who passed a few years ago. Being grateful for the experience counts.

I first learned about the technique of using gratitude from where I work. My employer implemented an entire program by Senn Delaney which included in part a book by Larry E. Senn called  The Mood Elevator. The premise is that we all ride a mood elevator every day of our lives. There is a whole list of emotions from top to bottom with the middle being ‘curious’. It’s so interesting to me that curious is in the middle. I really love that he uses that emotion to be the one to reach up to when you are feeling irritated, judgmental, angry, stressed, worried. Moving from any one of those feelings to curious isn’t as much of a stretch as it would be to jump all the way up to flexible, hopeful, patient or grateful. Curious is doable.

The next time you are irritable or stressed try thinking of a few things you are grateful for and then look back to your current situation and try and get curious about it. Instead of thinking that coworker is denying my request to do their normal task to intentionally piss me off. Try assuming positive intent that your coworker isn’t out to get you intentionally and is doing the best they can from where they are in life. Then get curious about why they did what they did. Why could they possibly have denied your request.

There will be days that are easier than others I’ve found. Sometimes you just have to feel like a grouch all day and get it out. But every day is a fresh start and you can have a fresh start any time if you wish. Never judge a day by its morning someone once told me. Using the tool of the mood elevator and incorporating gratitude into my day when needed has made life more manageable and me happier.

Distance Learning

I work as a teaching assistant at an elementary school in Saint Paul. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, schools had to be moved completely online. So now we are doing distance learning. As a student myself, I understand how difficult this must be for younger students who are in elementary, middle, and high school. This is a scary time for all of us, for them and their families. I’ve only been working as a TA for 6 months now and I truly miss working in the classrooms. I miss being around my students and being able to help them with their needs right away. Now everything is different. I’m not gonna lie, this whole distance learning thing is very difficult and confusing. Luckily the MN department of education is giving support to educators on distance learning and giving them the resources they need to help their students, “Schools are community hubs for children and families. School closures put burdens on children and families and disproportionately impact communities of color, as well as indigenous, immigrant, low-income families and communities, and students with disabilities and their families. Throughout the distance learning period, MDE continually assessed the efficacy of the programming and services, issued additional guidance when necessary, and determined a need for additional supports for our most underserved students and families as well as students whose education may require limited on-site services”. I’m glad with Saint Paul Public Schools, everyone is working hard to make sure students and their families get the help they need and deserve and staff are getting the resources to provide for their students. Of course distance learning doesn’t work for everyone and as teachers there’s only so much you can do for students. I hope by the fall schools will be able open back up and I can see my students bright faces again. I know they miss being at school too.

link: https://education.mn.gov/MDE/dse/health/covid19/

Let’s fight STRESS together.

Life is stressful period. It can be bad stress or even good stress, the matter is it’s stress. Stress can cause issues for individuals of all size, age, and even mental stability. Stress is there.

According to research, stress has been on the high when it comes down to finance problem, divorce, and even social media. Stress can occur in small dosage, but with the amount of time you feel stress, it accrues. With too much stress, one can cause chronic pain or fatigue.

Stress does not just cause pain, but weight gain as well. According to sources, stress can trigger hormone, belly fat, anxiety, craving, and less sleep. Hormone is when one triggers the alert within the brain, caused by the fight or flight. This releases high adrenaline to stay in action. But, once the feel wears off, the body sends an alert to replenish the body. This causes one to overeat and drink.

Belly fat causes fat inflammation with the excess belly fat. This excess cortisol causes slow down of metabolism and for fat to build. The stress of this is do to mental and physical exhaustion.

Anxiety is caused by emotional eating. This is caused by one fidgeting and not being able to control their temptation. Having a strong anxiety can cause someone to stress, with that comes overeating and high adrenaline.

Craving is related to stress through comfort food. When someone is stress, they rely on a specific food to calm down. Most would eat fast food or carbs, because carbs were known to make people happy. But, carbs build high calories and sugar.

Less sleep is caused by stress with overthinking. This can cause someone to binge eat during the knight. But, with slower metabolism, foods are stored and turns to fat. This can cause weight gain and lack of rest.

Stress is there. But, stress can also be control as well. Some method to stay stress free is to exercise. Exercising allows one to release any negative thoughts and peer pressure. Weight lifting is a plus, because it gives people the leverage to drain that stress. Meaning if you’re short temper and need to release that anger, weight lifting can help control it.

Meditation is another stress reliever, because it trains breathing techniques, mindless thoughts, and relaxation. Meditation combine with yoga gives people an internal and external workout. It can also benefit people with quietness and stress relieving therapy.

Last is to be positive, because that conquers all on a daily base. Just thinking positive can benefit individuals thought process and turnout. It helps control the weight, the stress, and the relationship with people around you. So be positive daily and when stress kicks in, fight it with deep breathing and a positive outlook.

What is meditation

I am sure you have heard how awesome meditation is and how it changes your mood and overall health, but does it really change your brain? To answer this question, we need to define what meditation and what action is should be considered meditation. If crossing your legs bare footed and closing your eyes is comes to your mind, I suggest you consider your definition of meditation. This is because I have tried crossing my legs to relax to my body and brain countless times and never satisfied once, however, when I do body movement such as stretching (yoga), cycling and so on my brain and body changes. I sleep more and have more energy throughout day. I am not sure exactly why crossing my legs and closing my eyes never worked for and I am sure there are people out there who enjoy crossing legs and consider as meditation. The idea is to find something that works for you and start meditating

Taking Back Twerking

For many Americans, saying the word “twerk” conjures up images of rap videos where scantily-clad gyrate their hips while bent over a blinged-out Cadillac Escalade. Twerking is seen as sexual, incredibly controversial and even scandalous. Just look at the astonished reaction that Miley Cyrus’ surprise twerk session at the VMA Awards in 2013. For a lot of white Americans, this was their first encounter with what appeared to be a lewd, almost primitive form of dancing.
This is sad and frustrating to me as a native Islander. Long before white celebs like Miley hijacked it to cause a stir, the act that Americans call “twerking” was a simple form of dancing, an expression of passion, a cultural movement. Growing up in Haiti, we didn’t call it twerking — we called it dance. It wasn’t scandalous — it was just moving our bodies in celebration of all the good things of life.
I vividly remember a day after my family moved to the U.S. from Haiti. I had grown up with the beautiful dances of the islands, which I carried back with me to the states. I had been dancing as I always had in front of some American family friends. Their scornful looks of disgust still burn in my mind. “Why does such an innocent little girl like her dance like that?” they asked my parents.
To me, I see this as a conflict between cultural norms. In Afro-centric cultures like the Caribbean, we value physical freedom of expression, including moving our bodies as a means of celebration. In the U.S., there is still a puritan abhorrence of anything that can be interpreted as being overtly sexual. The rap artists who have plastered our minds with images of women twerking are partially at fault for this. They’ve taken something pure and wholesome and turned it into a precursor to sex. But that’s never what it was supposed to be — it was simply an expression of joy.
Ladies, it’s time to take back our twerking.