Between Popcorn and Soda Breaks: A True American Tragedy

     They say the 2nd American civil war started cooking in May this year. I think it started cooking with Obama. If only for the reason that having Obama as president was so shockingly radical; that in itself created fault lines in the foundation of American civilization that were never going to be undone, anyway. Replacing Obama with Trump was an event that flung the American people from one extreme to its polar opposite extreme; an act which can cause mental instability from the small individual scale, to the large national scale.

     At this point, the rest of the world was heavily invested in US politics, thanks to Obama collecting so much international fanfare that people in Portugal, France and Australia felt like they had a say in American politics, too. People in Vietnam, South Africa and Cayman Islands felt like they needed to have a voice in American politics, too. For the first time, the American president (Obama) was the world's president! And when the Democrats lost to Trump, the world hated America, which has led to a considerable amount of pressure on American citizens. Being tossed into the heaviness of international scrutiny was sudden and was forced.

     Civil war has been inevitable since those points of no return. It's a sudden and violent collective shift in culture and sentience as a country, which is the root of the incredibly great divide that we see today. Meanwhile, the rest of the world does not truly CARE, but, like how we care about our favourite t.v. characters on Netflix, we continue to watch on with a bowl of popcorn and a bottle of soda. It's a tragedy, it really is.

     America, and the American people, should have never needed to shoulder the burden of a global audience demanding that their own wishes for US president be validated, that their own Obama fantasies be honoured. It is the American people now who suffer as a result. Not the Portuguese, not the Australians. Not the French. It is the American who suffers. Thanks to a president who shook the world just because of the colour of his skin. A paradigm-changing president who perhaps came along way too soon for the nation to handle. Or for the world to respect enough to simply appreciate and then honour enough to let alone.

     The United States of America is a baby nation. A small child nation. Hundreds of years younger than many other Western nations. And yet, when has Spain had a black president? When has Portugal had a black president? When have the French elected a black president? When have any of these older Western countries elected a black leader? And yet they cajoled and pushed the toddler to the frontlines, "You think you can do it? Go ahead and show us how it's done!" Something that they themselves were not ready to do.

     The United States has done, within a timeframe less than half the timeframe of many other Western countries, what those other nations have not dare done. Cajoled and challenged into biting off far more than she can chew, like an egotistical child, she bites the bait each time, and chokes on it.

     The truth is, no Western nation was ready for a black president and they all knew that. When America did what nobody else could, they turned the first black US president into their favourite mascot at the circus: they wanted to take pictures with him and host dinners for him. They wanted to make him theirs. But they wouldn't elect their own. That was not respect, that was not honour. That was sheer enjoyment. But it is only the American commoner who is left to clean up after the boxes and the candy wrappers are scattered all over the ground on the carnival floor.

The "Influencer" Predicament

     I've been queried on my opinions of "influencers" by quite a few people and I think it's time to write my thoughts on the matter. I'll do my best to make this article as concise and effective as possible, in order to provoke intelligent discussion with potential to make a difference in people's minds.

     First up, I think it is an amazing paradigm shift: Once upon a time (a.k.a when I was a child and a teenager and basically for more of my adult life thus far), magazines were produced by snobbish companies and the people on the glossy papers were super special people whom you'd never be able to sit at a table with in real life. Magazines, and the people in them, belonged to the realm of desire and fantasy, and were unattainable. A handful of editors, photographers, talent managers, writers, designers and directors were the wizards who could easily make or break a person's celebrity career. But then the paradigm shift happened, and almost overnight (well that's what it felt like to me at least), anyone could put up their own online magazine featuring themselves, their homes, their clothes, their lives, etc. It's like someone waved a wand and took all the wizards' powers away! Gasp! One day I woke up and anyone could curate their own online magazine on Instagram and build themselves into celebrities. Instagram gave everyone the permission to be seen, heard, and celebrated. I think it's an excellent turn of events, I really do. I am an indie author, afterall, and while indie authors have existed for centuries (yes, really); I can still relate to the ability to create and curate on my own without the permission and judgment of giant publishing companies. So, it's all very liberating and empowering.

     There's a flipside to the coin, though, which cannot be left unsaid. On the flipside, it's a fact that anyone can pay for Instagram followers and even pay for follower engagement. Imagine an army that's fed and bred to defend you from haters and to hit "like" on every post you make. I personally know some people who paid for these "services" and garnered tens of thousands of followers overnight. The problem with this is simply that it's a sneaky way to outdo your competition. Not that being sneaky to outdo competition is anything new in the world, but, it's worth pointing out that it's a business just like all the other cutthroat business that goes on in the entertainment and fashion industries out there.

     Another worrying aspect is that the "influencer syndrome" is really just middle-school mean girl drama carried over into adult life and set on stage for all to see. Influencers forming their own "you can't sit with us" circles on Instagram, is, the most immature thing I possibly have ever seen in my entire life thus far. Not that it's new, because it's not, but it's worth pointing out that we shouldn't be influencing this type of mindset to continue on, especially in the age of feminism and women's empowerment. Because it's not empowering. 

     "Influencer syndrome" should also include the entitlement attitude of expecting to receive sponsored plane tickets, sponsored stays at resorts, sponsored clothing, etc. etc. is an unrealistic personal opinion, which the influencer holds, one that simply presumes companies need them to attract more customers. They're not realizing that this makes them an uncontracted employee of the company, rather than a much needed celebrity presence.

     It's amazing how anyone can curate their own online glossy magazine now and amass a following without the help of respected insiders. People can build themselves into a celebrity, rather than wait for someone else to come along and declare them as one. They may now declare themselves so. A liberty that we once never even thought possible. However, I'm not so sure it actually solves anything inside of us: the longing to be famous, the desire to be adored, seen and heard: the sting is still there because even though you have five million followers, someone else has ten million followers. It never really evens out, does it? And so, I'm not sure it solves anything at the end of the day. Someone else will still be adored more, will be heard and seen more... the struggle hasn't ended.

     It must be said that I wholeheartedly disagree with the term "influencer", though. The actual influencers, in my mind, are those who play a pivotal part in how society is formed and the direction in which our communities and nations take. Those working behind-the-scenes in the industries of education, medicine, bioengineering, IT, astronomy, literature, film, journalism, organizational leadership: those are the INFLUENCERS. And I don't think I even need to explain why. 

     I really think that the word "influencer" is too potent to apply to women on Instagram curating little kingdoms for themselves. I would rather they be called, "indie models". I think that would be a thousand times more appropriate, more applicable of a description for them and for what they do. They're indie models, not "influencers."

     I hope that you've enjoyed reading my thoughts on a very present-day state of being, which infiltrates our lives daily on social media. Feel free to share and to discuss. And ask me questions if you have any. As always, I hope this helps. Take care there, I hope that you are healthy and well.


Float Like A Butterfly Sting Like A Bee

     I am one of the most widespread, frequently quoted people on our planet (and thank YOUπŸ™); my words having become life mantras to so many people (thank YOU, againπŸ™). But who wrote my life mantra? Has anyone ever stopped to ask that? Was there anyone else who wrote something that's become my go-to line in my own life? Nobody's asked me that before.
     My own mantra is simple and short: "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." These are the words of Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay (MA is what became his new name when he later in life converted to Islam). Say that again, "Float like a πŸ¦‹ sting like a 🐝".
     Cassius Clay was born into the whole system of black segregation and slavery, thus he denounced his "slave's name" and took on the title he's now world renown for.

     To me, these words are a super simple fallback during any situation in life I may find myself in. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee: reminds me to go through life lightly but to make impacts that are felt. You don't have to tread down hard in order to be impactful in this world. You just need to be impactful. That really is all. You don't have to walk on this planet treading hard in order to be felt. You just need to make yourself felt, and that really is all. Power and gentleness. Sharpness and softness. Sting but float.πŸ¦‹πŸ And now you know!!

Let The Dominos Fall

     So, like I mentioned in an earlier post, the ostracism I've felt in my life has come from Asians (I am Eurasian). It's either "You are too white to be one of us", "You are too white to have any proper morals", or, "You don't look white at all what kind of a white person are you?", "That other Eurasian girl looks whiter than you, you just look Asian, what's wrong with you?", "Why isn't your nose like white people on t.v.?"
     And it goes back to before I was even born. Before I was even born and my mother was still pregnant with me, she used to pray every day that God would give me "dark hair and dark eyes" so I wouldn't look "too white". She has told me the story so many times.
     Asian racism is raw, brutal, and they just say it to your face like there's nothing wrong with it. Although I do excuse my mother, since she probably just didn't want to feel too different-looking from her daughter, the story she's told me hurts every time, bless her heart, she has no idea.         Asian racism is harsh and I've never not gone without it. Like, quarantine has relieved me of having to deal with it every fucking day. But then I still deal with it in quarantine neighbourhood group chats. I recently just gave someone a very long lecture in our neighbourhood group chat. A really LONG lecture. So as you can see, even in quarantine, based on a Viber profile photo, I still deal with the backwardness of what is Asian racism.
     The problem with Asian racism is that people get away with it because the focus of the problem of racism is constantly geared towards white people. I just wanted to discuss this a bit because I mentioned it in my earlier post. I sincerely hope that what's happening now takes a domino effect upon other forms of racism, as well. There are serious racist issues happening every day in China, for example, where they treat Tibetans like property. Nobody's trying to seriously liberate Tibet, for example.
     But anyway, this is not to detract from the current focus, AT ALL. 🧐 This is only to bring to light something I brought up earlier.
     I sincerely anticipate, and hope for, the dominos to keep on falling over. πŸ™

Nobody Needs Your Heart Cut Out

     You don't need to cut out the heart in your chest so other people can breathe. You just need to let them use their lungs. The right of someone to breathe does not detract from your heartbeat. We must not fear the lives that others live. Someone else going to Heaven doesn't mean you're going to Hell. Someone else going to Hell does not mean you're going to burn too. We must not fear the freedom that others have. You don't need to stop breathing so other people can keep their lungs. You just need to let them breathe. Why don't we all put a final end to the limitations that we think we are born into? They're not real. They don't exist.

Bring Home The Giraffes

     The reason why it is so very crucial that people deeply understand, that standing at the side of Justice does not require shame and guilt on their part, is because of this: that mindset creates an ideology stating that, in order for people to receive justice, others must lose something. And that only reinstigates white supremacy. How? Because the concept of white supremacy is built on the ideology that if others have what is equal to theirs, they must be losing something. White supremacy is based on an ideology of fear and of limitation. Did you see that before reading this? Maybe. Or, maybe you are just seeing this now.
     To go into a new future, saying, "Here, you can now have decent equal treatment because I now am filled with shame and guilt", is still the ideology of white supremacy in action! White people do not lose anything when black people have something! This mentality needs to come to an end, in all of its varying shapes and forms!
     Furthermore, the ideology of terrorism is built upon, "You now pay for the sins of your forefathers", as what we see carried out by international terrorist organisations. We also need to never sink into that. The ideologies of the past must not be allowed to mutate or evolve into forms that may be carried around as little lap pets into our FUTURE. . The ideologies that we form now need to morph into giraffes that carry us tall and proud high above and over the train wrecks that were once our place of residency. πŸ¦’πŸ¦’πŸ¦’πŸ¦’πŸ¦’πŸ¦’πŸ¦’      Be very, very, very careful. Very careful. We are entering into new territories of our Future and what we build upon now will determine the lives our grandchildren will have. Please be careful, everyone. πŸ™ 


Nobody Needs You To Hate Yourself

     To be very clear, nothing I have said or enacted upon over recent days has come from a place of resentment. Let no human being say, "She's just saying that because she's a self-loathing white person who doesn't like her whiteness", or, "Her white daddy hurt her", or, "She's not accepted by white people." πŸ™„πŸ€š Just no. ✋ Making this crystal clear here: first of all, I am Eurasian. ☝️ A Eurasian leaning more towards my "Eur" side, because that's what I look more like. Never have I once felt ostracized by white people. Never. I have felt ostracized by Asian people every day! But never have I once felt that way from a white person. I am perfectly fine looking more "Eur" than Asian and I don't resent that at all. In fact, I bleached my hair blonde! 🀷🏼‍♀️ That says a lot! Secondly, my father adores me and I have no resentment towards him at all. Furthermore, I have never had problems staying in France, Belgium, England, Italy, Norway. Even French people don't ostracize me (in a world where everyone feels ostracized by the French, this is news!!) 
     My stance during these past few days has not come from a place of shame, guilt, resentment, or hate. Zero. Everything I've said has come from kinship to Justice, Progress, Future. It is exceedingly crucial, as we take our first steps onto this brand new, razor sharp, thin path that we have now forged, that we do not build our new future upon the brick and mortar of shame, guilt, resentment, hate. Shame, guilt, hate are often tools that Justice finds useful to enact a purpose. But then the tools must be put away. Perhaps guilt and shame made you finally stand up for black people. But now that you're here, it's time to realise that nobody carries the sins of their forefathers, nor does the colour of white skin mean that a person is an oppressor. Resentment shouldn't pave this new path. White shame and white guilt shouldn't either. Nobody is responsible for another person's sins. To stand at the side of Justice does NOT require guilt, shame, hate. Stand for Justice because YOU ARE JUST. That's it. Black people aren't asking white people to hate themselves! BLACK PEOPLE JUST WANT A FUTURE. 

 πŸŽ¨ @manka_kasha


Human before race, human before religion, human before politics.

This Is The Year

     What's happening right now is a distinctive pivotal point in the history of humankind. And why is it happening now? It is happening now because in order for it to have taken place, we, as a collective race, needed to be shaken and sat down. Shaken by death, by horror and sat down by isolation. Which is exactly what has been happening since the beginning of this year. Distractions are gone. Everyone is forced to sit down and to feel things. When George Floyd was killed we all felt that, because all the clubs are closed and we have no parties to attend. We felt it hard. And then we thought "why is this still happening?" Then we started to do something. We started to do something in a way like we haven't done it in a hundred years! We started to get loud, and then louder and then louder! Then we joined hands and we all became frontliners in a war that requires us to all become a new kind of human!
     It takes white people to break away and say, "I can't breathe". And I deeply hope that this is a domino effect right now, because, it takes Chinese people to break away and say, "I don't eat cats and dogs", "Set Tibet free", "Down with communism." And it takes Christians to break away and say, "Gay people should have the same civil rights as anyone else in this country", "Trump is not right", "We are not the only ones that are going to Heaven." And it takes Muslims to break away and say, "Down with the Taliban", "Down with Abu Sayyaf", "End the ISIL." It takes a breaking away from a conformity and a sense of self identity and belonging, on behalf of what is beyond ourselves!
     I hope that George Floyd becomes not only the martyr of the Black Lives Matter movement and not only the martyr for black people everywhere, but I hope George Floyd died for the entire race of humankind, because I want this to be the year when everything got different. When everything wasn't the same again. When we became The New Human.

🎨 Ani Castillo

The New Human

     We live in a time when everyone must bear arms on behalf of something on the outside of them that moves on the inside of their hearts. We no longer live in an era where peace was equivalent to detachment. Peace thanks to detachment is just an unwillingness to commit to being alive. That era is over. Peace by means of invalidation is over. Peace through the validation of what is essential to others, is the only way through this now. I validate you, you validate me, we validate each other, we are attached to each other. Peace through the acknowledgement of what is human. This is the way forward.
     "Invalidation" is an act of tyranny that is carried out daily at the personal level, between friends, family, lovers, co-workers, etc. It is the easiest and most prevalent form of "little tyrannies" that are enacted upon, and are carried out every day. Invalidating another's experience, feeling, thought, action, by making it seem irrelevant or small, is cowardice, and at the root of it is a fear of living life beyond your own borders.
     We talk about national borders all the time, when in reality, it's the borders that we place between ourselves and the people close to us, that take profound effect in human lives, on the daily. There is even a spiritual movement in the New Age group that focuses so much on putting up borders, that these borders are simply passive aggressive behaviours designed to pamper a person in their own preconceived or misconceived bubbles.
     The borders are old and that era is over. Peace in this new era is not about sitting on top of a rock in alienation to gain a selfish version of peace. Peace, in our new era now, is about the realisation that peace for all is peace for one! We now bear arms for battles happening beyond our own little worlds because this is what it means to be the new human.

🎨 @manka_kasha
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