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The Journey and the Destination

Throughout the next two months I’ll be documenting my experiences in Grenada. The first step of any trip is, of course, getting there. This involves driving to the airport, lugging heavy bags around, going through security, sitting and waiting for a while, and then sitting on a plane and waiting some more.

It’s the tedious part, but it’s necessary. You don’t get to where you want to be without a little bit of unpleasantness. Likewise, you don’t grow without leaving behind some comfort.

That’s how I feel. I’m a hundred miles outside of my comfort zone. The whole time I’ve been thinking thoughts such as “Oh god, what am I doing?! This is too crazy and big for me!” Then again, I’ve always been a wee bit crazy, so this suits me. Still, people were surprised. They were also proud, but some (okay, most) were jealous.

But the journey was had it’s turbulence (pardon the plane pun). Anticipating the security to be chaos – given the government shutdown situation and the TSA workers not getting paid, we assumed many wouldn’t show up to work – we left for the airport extremely early.

Lucky that we did. There was a car accident on the highway. Don’t worry, we didn’t get hit! We were several feet from the accident however, and were very close to being involved.

What happened is that a car, without a turn signal or hazard lights, decided to slowly pull onto the shoulder of the road. My dad had to slam on the brakes pretty hard to avoid hitting them, and we passed them with just a few inches of space between us. Then we hear a CRASH! At first we thought we had hit them, but when we looked behind us it turns out whoever was behind us slammed into the pulled over car.

We infer that the driver behind us didn’t realize we had braked until it was too late, and instead of hitting us decided to swerve to the side, not realizing the car was there.

It was unfortunate for those people, but we felt incredibly lucky to have dodged that bullet.

Following that occurrence, we were all a bit shocked, to say the least. This caused my dad to be distracted and he missed the airport exit. We all tried not to panic, but I was panicking very much. My sister pulled up Google Maps and found the directions, but I was still worried because my dad is stressful to be in a car with when he gets lost.

We made it on time. Actually, we had way too much time. We got our bags checked quickly, and there was hardly anyone there so going through security was a breeze. The hard part for me was sitting around and waiting for hours, but don’t worry – it gets harder.

One thing that nobody would be jealous of was the part where we had to sleep in the airport. We got off of our first plane ride to Miami close to Midnight. Then we had a nine hour layover til the flight to Grenada.

I knew I couldn’t stay up all night, and then travel the next day without dying. I knew I had to sleep at some point, but there were no sleeping arrangements. The idea of sleeping on a cold, hard, dirty floor was very unappealing. I did it though.

Don’t think I didn’t mind it. It took me a while to find a tolerable sleeping position, and it was probably 2 AM by then. But just being comfortable does not alone make for a good night’s sleep. There are many other factors involved.

Certain people acted like it wasn’t 2 AM when it most definitely was. They were just chatting and laughing away! Then there were the bright lights, the loud news report playing, and there was the old guy snoring like a freight train…

I made it through the night though. I probably only got around 4 hours of sleep, but it was better than nothing.

We had slept at the terminal we were originally supposed to be at, but we found out in the morning that it had changed. This left us with quite a long walk, toting heavy backpacks and purses, and for me, a blanket, two mini pillows, and a coffee cup. I definitely dropped some things a few times.

But the hard part ended and before I knew it I was just a few hours away from my destination. All I had to do was pass the time. It was only four hours.

I was mesmerized by the ocean view beneath me. Bright blue waters with turquoise spots, fluffy white clouds floating about… it was stunning. I could hardly stop myself from snapping a million pictures.

I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to compile even more beautiful photos. I’m so excited about starting this new adventure!

A Wine Lover’s Cake

Every time I make a cake people say, “It’s too pretty to eat!” Well, you don’t have that problem with this cake!

My friend’s birthday is approaching. However, I will be out of the country for it this year, so we’re doing an early celebration.

I offered to make a cake, but she said she isn’t much of a cake person. She is definitely a wine person though! She half jokingly (or maybe she was completely serious) suggested I make a cake out of boxed wine. We laughed about this idea, but a plan was brewing in my mind.

I took on the project, and it turned out fabulously, if I do say so myself (and I do).

You can make one too.

Start with the wine. I was trying to save money so I bought the two smallest ones, but you can get a full sized box and make a three tier cake, which I’m sure would look very elegant.

First you’ll need to cut out paper in the shape of the sides of each box. I put the boxes on top of the paper and traced. Once I had all the pieces cut out, I plugged in my hot glue gun.

Note: You can use any color paper you want!

Next I glued the paper to the sides of the boxes. Don’t worry about the side that will be the bottom. That’ll just be glued to a base, so don’t waste your time. I cut out that piece, then realized it didn’t matter. (*face palm*)

Don’t forget to cut a slit for the wine nozzle. I forgot to do this for the smallest box….(*face palm again*)

Next glue the boxes onto the cake board, or a piece of wood.

Now comes the fun part! Decoration time!!!

You can really do whatever you want to decorate it. Get creative! I used puff paint, origami paper, beads, and glitter.

I made paper decorations out of origami paper. You could use construction paper too.

I may or may not have been having some of the wine while I worked on it…

Then I used the puff paint to make a pearl border, which helped to clean up the rough edges.

Added some swirly designs, and pearl beads. It’s really coming along now!

I made the topper out of polymer clay. Then I hot glued it on top, and added the paper fan behind it.

Ta-da!!! That’s not too hard.

I can’t wait to present it to my friend for her early 23rd birthday celebration. I think everyone will get a kick out of it! I look forward to what’s inside of it too!

How Quitting My Job Impacted My Life

My first ever job was at a thrift store. I gave them five good years. I brought dedication, commitment, and all the effort in the world. I’m a fast paced person who has never been one to slack off.

These are some of the reasons I was promoted to supervisor.

I was thrilled. A little bit nervous, but mostly thrilled. It seemed so right. Out of my department I had been there the longest. I knew the ins and outs of the clothing department. Not only that, but I knew I’d be getting a decent raise.

It felt like things were looking up. I felt like I was moving up in the world. Then I learned the true nature of the world.

Early on I realized my new position was a much greater provider of stress. I was more exhausted by the end of each day, mentally and physically.

At first it was somewhat rewarding. But the more the stress built up, the more I resented what I was doing. It became suffocating. I felt trapped. I had constant headaches, and going to work made me feel miserable. Every day I dealt with frustrating situations, plus the overall weariness of retail.

This was my first job, and having been there for so long made me begin to worry. Anxious thoughts flooded my brain.

Am I going to be here forever?

 I don’t have any other skills.

But I get paid pretty well and I don’t want to start at the bottom somewhere.

I knew it wasn’t my career, just the job I took in high school to get my foot in the working world. I was grateful for for all the opportunities it had brought me, but I knew it was time to branch out. I felt like I needed to explore other options. I had to find something else I could do to open doors to my future.

Something Crazy…

Call it a quarter-life crisis. Call it crazy. Irresponsible. Impractical.

I decided to give a notice that I would be finishing up the year, then leaving to go live on the Caribbean island of Grenada. I would have a fresh start at my life when I returned.

It seems reckless to quit my job before finding another one, but in all honestly, I needed the time off from working. I needed a mental health break. I felt like I was too young to be as stressed as I was.

I’ve got my whole life to work. Right now is the best time for me to be doing grand things and having adventures.

Why Grenada?

My older sister has been living on the island for the past year and a half. Her husband is attending the medical school there, St Georges.

My parents and I had visited them for a few weeks and I absolutely fell in love.

It was beautiful. The waters were blue and crystalline. The jungles were lush. The weather was warm! (Keep in mind this was in the middle of winter, so I was more than happy to be met by 80 degree weather)

When I arrived home I felt a sense of dread. I so badly hadn’t wanted to leave. I didn’t want to go back to work and the cold, cloudiness that caused my seasonal depression.

I was quite envious of my sister. Envious of the life she was living. It was my dream life. She lives on a gorgeous island, where she paints and explores, and experiences magnificent adventures.

For months after our vacation ended I had dreams about returning to the island, being in the ocean mostly. It was like the ocean was calling to me.

The idea came to me one day when I was feeling so unhappy and overwhelmed at my job. I randomly thought, “I should just quit my job and go live there for a few months.” It was sort of crazy, but not too crazy. It’s doable! I realized that if my sister could live that life, then so could I, if only for a little while.

Suddenly I felt this lightness, this joy, this excitement. I wanted to book a flight immediately and go right then. I knew I had to be patient. I figured it was best to wait until after the holidays, that way I could stay at my job a bit longer in order to save up as much money as possible.

The months went by slowly, but finally my last day came.

Freedom

I’ve never felt happier in my whole life. It feels as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I feel such complete freedom. I know it’s temporary, so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

I haven’t yet embarked on my tropical adventure, so for the time being I am relaxing, and preparing.

I was finally able to do all those things that look nice on Instagram, but I’d never had the time. I do face masks and take bubble baths and read all the time, while drinking way too much coffee.

Before I was going through the motions. Now I’ve taken the time to slow down, to contemplate life, think about my future, and enjoy the present.

What About Money!?

I’m aware of the fact that I live in a capitalist society that runs on money. To some people, what I am doing seems ridiculous and impractical. I get it.

People think money is the most important thing, but my mental health is incredibly important as well. I will not settle for a job that makes me miserable. Why should anyone? Certain people seem so against following dreams if it means making unorthodox choices.

Sometimes you have to take leaps to get to where you want to be. You may fall, but you can at least say you tried.

I’ve worked my butt off and saved up my money for years. I didn’t know what exactly I was saving for, I just knew I was saving up for “someday.” Now is the time. This is what I was saving for.

I’m young and have nothing tying me down. No marriage, no kids, no house, or steady job. I can afford to take a break from normal life to pursue something amazing.

I never would have thought to live in Grenada if it were not for my sister moving there, and I wouldn’t go if she wasn’t there. In fact, I’d never actually heard of the country until she moved there.

Now she has five months left there, and I’ll be damned if I miss an opportunity like this.

I have this one life here on this beautiful planet. I want to experience the richness life has to offer. Everyone should do something crazy awesome at least once in their life.

Christmas Controversies

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The War on Christmas

Tis the season for arguing with family members at the dinner table on Christmas night! Yes we all have those relatives who watch Fox News and will give you an earful about the latest news, or fake news…

You’ll find that Christmas is a most imaginative time, where we hear songs and stories about things that aren’t real; Santa Claus, flying reindeer, elves, oh and the war on Christmas.

That’s right, I said it! There is no war on Christmas. Christmas gets the most attention out of any holiday. People adore it, even many who are non-religious.

As soon as Thanksgiving is over, Christmas swoops in and steals all the glory. You can’t escape it, even if you don’t celebrate it. It’s in your face everywhere you go.

The radio stations are bombarded by carols. Many of those carols are religious in theme, and these are played even on secular radio stations.

It’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year.” But there are people that take the joy away. The ones who give rise to internet debates and outrage. The ones who perpetuate the “war on christmas.” Some of the things these people have gotten mad about are as follows:

  1. Starbucks’ cups not being festive enough
  2. People saying “Happy Holidays”
  3. The term “X-mas”
  4. People of other religions thinking their religion should also be represented on government property

These are things that have made many Christians feel like there is an attack on Christmas. In reality, “Happy Holidays” is an umbrella term that includes Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Years, and any other holiday that falls around that time. It’s called being inclusive.

As for the term “X-mas”, some might respond with “Put Christ back in Christmas!” but the ‘X’ actually represents the Greek word ‘khristos’, meaning Christ. They might want to remove that bumper sticker from their car….

I recently received an email from the ACLJ, a conservative christian group, saying the following:

“It’s an outrageous attack on Christmas.

Satanists demanded that Satanic displays be erected in the Illinois and Michigan State Capitols, alongside traditional Christian and Jewish holiday displays – and both states caved.”

They don’t seem to understand the notion of separation between church and state. The first amendment says,”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” By erecting a statue of a cross on government property they are violating the first amendment. The Satanists are making a decent point. Christians don’t like the idea of someone else’s religion being displayed on government property, likewise, people of other religions don’t appreciate Christian symbols on government property.

Those were just a few examples of issues you will hear about during the holiday season. There are several new hot topics this year! You’ve likely heard about them.

“Baby It’s Cold Outside” debate

We all know the song, and have probably sung along to it. In fact, I’ve already got it stuck in my head just from typing the title of it. We’ve heard it on the radio, we’ve heard it in Elf, but some stations are refusing to play it now.

The song is about a man and a woman, presumably a couple, who are together on a cold snowy night. The woman says she should leave, and the man insistently tells her to stay. She’s tempted to stay but she explains that her family will worry and that people will talk.

During that time it was not appropriate for a young unmarried woman to spend the night with a man, so the woman in the song says “there’s bound to be talk tomorrow,” meaning she’ll have been labeled as a “loose” woman. The man would have no consequences though. Despite her reputation on the line, the man persists.

Eventually she even flat out says “the answer is no.” But that doesn’t do it for him. He even uses his pride as an excuse at one point, saying “What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?”

Some of the lyrics of the song promote coercion and manipulation. Even in the context that the woman does want to stay, I still find it inexcusable that the man would try to guilt her into staying.

Then there’s the part of the song where the woman is handed a drink and she goes “say, what’s in this drink?” This has people claiming the song is about date rape.

Wikipedia defines it as :
Date rape is a form of acquaintance rape in which there is a potential romantic or sexual relationship between the two partners in the moment the sexual assault occurs. The perpetrator uses physical or psychological intimidation to force a victim to have sex against their will, or when the perpetrator has sex with a victim who is incapable of giving consent because they have been incapacitated by drugs or alcohol”

Now I doubt that the writers of the song would have the male drug the woman, so I don’t agree that the line implies roofies. It could imply alcohol though. However I have read that “What’s in this drink” was a joke people used to make that actually meant there was no alcohol in the drink. I’m not so sure about that, as I couldn’t find any reputable sources to confirm this was a joke back in the forties.

It’s clear to me why many are uncomfortable hearing the song, especially those who have been in a situation where someone tried forcing them to stay somewhere against their will. The rhetoric of the song could remind them of an unpleasant experience they had.

I understand there is a whole other side to the song. That it was written in the 1940’s, when it would be scandalous for an unwed woman to sleep over her boyfriends house. Supposedly, the song is very progressive in origin. It advocates for sexual liberation for women, one might say. The woman demonstrates her own agency in disregarding societal standards.

Knowing all that, I still don’t have particularly good feelings about the song. In present day context many of the lyrics are problematic and normalize pressuring someone to stay when they’ve repeatedly said they can’t. Children aren’t going to hear the song and think about what it meant in the forties. They will just hear a man trying to convince a woman not to leave, and think that is okay, even though she consistently says no. The song does not teach children that “no means no,” which is an important lesson. The song teaches that no means maybe, which is dangerous for young girls and boys to hear.

I’ve seen a lot of posts saying things like “Why are you offended by a song? You should be offended by poverty and crime and war etc”

Here’s a thought, you can be offended by all of those things! Its not that complicated. Just because you speak out against a song, doesn’t mean you don’t care about other important issues.

The same people saying that are actually super offended that some stations won’t be playing a song they like, even though they could just listen to on their phone whenever they want…but tell me again how we’re the snowflakes.

Female/Gender neutral Santa

Recently a news article came out that sparked a lot of conflict. Many people were outraged and complained about the “liberals” and “feminists” being ridiculous. Many liberals and feminists spoke up to say they didn’t care what gender Santa was and that the headlines were inflammatory and click-baity.

Headlines read “One third of people think Santa should be female or gender neutral.” This can be very misleading. The truth is that one out of three people in a particular survey about re-branding Santa thought Santa should be re-branded as female or gender neutral.

The company GraphicSprings conducted the survey on approximately 4000 people from the US and UK. The survey was on ways to re-brand Santa for modern society, and included options such as giving Santa tattoos, making wear skinny jeans, putting him on a diet, changing his gender, and having him ride a hover board.

The survey wasn’t done with the intentions of actually changing Santa, and it is likely that the results aren’t even accurate, but it concluded that one third of the surveyors believed Santa should be made to be female or gender neutral. However, no one is actually fighting to make this a reality.

Now there is serious backlash coming from both the left and the right. Mostly the right, enraged that anyone would suggest such a thing, especially when Santa is based off of an actual man who lived long ago.

Here’s how I feel. I don’t really care if Santa is a man, like most other feminists. Although I don’t see it as an atrocity to suggest he be changed to female or gender neutral. Yes, Santa is based on Saint Nicholas, but very loosely based on him. Saint Nicholas didn’t have a flying sleigh pulled by magical reindeer. He certainly couldn’t fit down any chimney, and deliver presents to the world in one night. He didn’t have elves who worked all year round making toys, and he didn’t have a naughty and nice list with every child included. Santa is a character.

While I don’t think it is necessary to change Santa, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to give Mrs Claus a bigger role in the Christmas story.

What bothers me about this story is that it’s pretty much actual fake news. The news stories made it seem like there was a serious debate over Santa’s gender, but most people don’t care. I’m pretty sure it was barely even thought about until the survey was conducted. Now people are acting like we’re out there protesting over Santa’s gender, when really it’s just a discussion we’re suddenly having.

It’s healthy to discuss things, but don’t let online debates bring you down! These issues aren’t what Christmas is about. Just try to enjoy the holidays everyone!

Why Wearing Glasses Is Sometimes The Worst

Ever since 7th grade I’ve been wearing glasses. It’s been eight years and have I’ve always had people ask why I don’t just get contacts. I don’t use contacts for a few reasons. I’m uncomfortable with sticking something in my eye, and I also like the simplicity of glasses. When I’m ready for bed I easily take them off my face and if I accidentally sleep in them, my eyeballs aren’t in pain in the morning.

Glasses are easy and I like the look of them as well, I believe they add a little character. They can also drive me crazy though. Anyone with glasses can relate to the reasons.

1.Not being able to find them.

Sometimes I find myself crawling on the floor, impersonating Velma from Scooby Doo saying “My glasses! I can’t find my glasses!” BUT IT’S NOT A JOKE. I’ve been late to work before from looking for them! I’ve had to drive without them when I couldn’t find them quick enough. It can be so infuriating when you can’t find your glasses. Especially when you also can’t find the spare pair…

 

2. They make wearing sunglasses complicated.

Sometimes I’m Four-Eyes, but when it’s too sunny I become SIX-EYES. That’s right, I double up the glasses. The worst thing is when you can’t line them up properly so you look like a goon with your glasses sticking out from your sunglasses. But hey, I’ve gotta see!

 

3. Sometimes they get stuck to things

Have you ever had that problem when you are taking off a scarf and a string of it gets caught on your glasses? So annoying! Or they just get tangled in your hair. Then you have to pull your hair trying to get them out. NO FUN.

 

4. When they are smudged

Often I don’t even realize how dirty my lenses are. I live life seeing everything through smudged glass. I feel like I constantly have to wipe my glasses off. It get’s old.

 

5. When you can’t see because of the rain

Unlike cars, glasses don’t come with windshield wipers (Maybe they should.) Whenever I’m walking in the rain my vision gets impaired because my glasses get covered in rain.  Or I could just use an umbrella….

 

6. Having trouble undressing

When wearing glasses, you can’t always get shirts off without smooshing them against your face painfully. This happens when the collar isn’t wide enough. Then I get all stuck and have to take them off to finish removing the article of clothing. Frustrating indeed.

 

7. When you drop them and the lens pops out

No explanation needed.

 

8.When they break

I’m the kind of person that will duct tape my glasses when they break, and yes I do look like a total nerd. I just don’t ever feel like having an appointment, spending the money, and trying to find a new pair that I like. So I tape them until the tape becomes ineffective, then I re-tape them. It’s ridiculous looking and inefficient. Once when this was the case, they wouldn’t stay in place and I kept having to push them back up, they would also fall off my face very easily. Eventually I got fed up and made the effort to have them replaced.

 

Comment if you have had these problems, and let me know if there are any to add!

How To Get Out Of Bed

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The temperatures have lowered, making it increasingly difficult to get myself out of my warm and cozy bed each morning.

Not only do I want to remain snuggled up and comfy, but getting up is even more of a challenge because I’m usually not getting up for something fun and exciting. Nope. Just another day of work. Hi ho hi ho, it’s off to work I go….

I know I’m not the only one with this problem. So I’ve compiled a list of helpful tips for getting up in the morning.

1.Start with a good nights sleep

Oftentimes we feel groggy in the morning, which makes us not want to get up. Having a restful night of sleep can prevent this. You should get eight hours of sleep every night. If you have trouble sleeping, try taking melatonin. Something you should not do before bed is look at screens, so put down the phone, or tablet, and turn off that TV. Lights can lower melatonin levels, making for a less restful sleep. Another thing to avoid before bedtime is drinking alcohol. It may aid you in falling asleep, but studies show it does nothing for the quality of your sleep, and only makes you feel worse in the morning.

2. Keep your alarm clock as far from you as possible

It can be tempting to just hit snooze and go back to sleep. I often do this, giving myself ten more minutes or so. Unfortunately many times I end up falling into a deep sleep and waking up late. This is why it’s good to set many alarms, and to make it harder to dismiss each one. If your alarm clock is out of reach, when it starts blaring, driving you crazy, you’ll have no choice but to get out of bed to put an end to it. Once you’re out of bed it’s easier to get up.

3. Do some stretches in bed

It makes it easier to get up if you’ve set your body into motion. You can stay in bed while still waking yourself up by sitting up and stretching. Or remain laying down in bed and lift your legs up and touch your toes. There are many stretches you can do and they help wake up your muscles.

4. Plan out an exciting and healthy breakfast

It’s very important to eat breakfast in the morning. They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for no reason. It gives you energy, which can help to jumpstart your day. If you plan out a tasty, nutritional breakfast, then you have something to look forward to in the morning. You can even prepare it the night before. It motivates you to get out of bed when you know there is something tasty waiting for you. A sugary breakfast will lead to a crash later on, so go for something full of vitamins and nutrients. Omega-3’s and protein are a good thing to include in your breakfast. Eggs and avocado are a great source of this. If you like oatmeal or yogurt, try adding nuts, or chia seeds. Or both! Another amazing thing to have in the morning is a smoothie. Gather all your favorite fruits and have yourself a healthy and delicious smoothie, packed with vitamins, to help energize you.

5. Get yourself in a good mood.

Talk yourself into getting up. Recite some daily affirmations. Tell yourself reassuring things about how it’s gonna be a great day. This helps to create the right attitude, which can set the tone of your day. Sometimes it helps to practice gratitude in the morning. Just get yourself into a good mood so waking up and facing the day isn’t a total drag. I like to watch funny YouTube videos, or read uplifting blog posts before I get up.

6. Establish a morning routine that makes you feel good

Begin each morning with activities that you like. Maybe do some yoga, meditation, journaling, listening to your favorite songs, sitting down to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while watching the news (although the news usually doesn’t make us feel good..) Doing something productive, or just something that makes you happy is a great way to start the day.

7. Prepare your outfit for that day

Every night I pick out an outfit to wear the next day. This saves me time in the morning, and the frustration of trying to pick what I want to wear when I just woke up and don’t feel like doing anything. Sometimes I struggle to find an outfit that I like, so it’s best to do this before bed, rather than in the morning when you are sluggish.

8. Have a glass of lemon water by your bed

First thing you should do when you wake up is drink water, but you can enhance it by adding lemon. The vitamin C in lemon gives your immune system a boost, helping you to feel well throughout the day. Lemons also have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and are helpful in digestion. Your brain function may even be improved due to the potassium and magnesium in lemons.

 

Happy waking everyone!!!

Why They Kneel

While my Facebook feed is a melange of cute animal videos, hilarious memes, and cooking videos, it’s also a place vitriolic political activity. I see memes making fun of liberals, and supporting Trump, and I see posts about human rights and problems involving racism.

The Problem of Racism

People don’t want to admit it. They don’t want it to be true. They claim people are making it up because they want attention, or have a victim complex. They think America is the greatest country ever and there’s no way racism still exists.

Guess what. IT DOES.

As a white person, I’ve never experienced racism firsthand. I’ve never been looked at differently. I’ve never had someone fear me because of my skin. I’ve never had someone use a slur against me. I’ve never been forced out of a Starbucks for just being there.

Likewise, I don’t have a lot of experiences where I myself have witnessed racism against a black person. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I have certainly met a handful of racists in my lifetime.

I’m sure people use their lack of anecdotal evidence to deny the existence of racism. Anecdotal evidence isn’t substantive evidence. Similarly, lack of it isn’t good proof either. Saying “I’ve never seen ——-” isn’t effective in disproving something.

If you don’t believe it just look at the rise of white supremacy. The KKK has become more active recently and there have been rally’s, such as the one in Charlottesville, where they proudly brandish confederate flags, and swastikas, symbols of racism and antisemitism.

Bottom line is that racism still exists and it is incredibly harmful. Black Lives Matter is a movement that formed in response to police brutality against unarmed black men and other racial injustices such as mass incarceration of blacks for minuscule offenses.

And obviously all lives matter. BLM is not saying only black lives matter. If you respond with “ALL LIVES MATTER!!!” you are entirely missing the point of the movement.

Stephen Clark, Terence Crutcher, Philando Castile, Anton Sterling, Walter Scott, Tony Robinson, and Tamir Rice (And many more) are all black men who were fatally shot by police officers, despite no demonstration of violence on the victims part.

Most of the officers who committed those crimes got away with minimal or no charge. This sends a message to black people.  They heard “You don’t matter.” So they started a movement with the message “Yes we do.”

Kaepernick Takes a Knee

Colin Kaepernick is a former NFL quarterback who stirred the pot when he decided to peacefully protest inequality by kneeling during the National Anthem.  This was met by a range of responses. Many people criticized him, claiming that he is disrespecting troops by kneeling. People even began to boycott NFL.

Kaepernick is a BLM supporter and has explained his reasoning for kneeling as a protest against police brutality. Simple.

What do people do? They twist it around. They make it about something else. Once again, they silence blacks.

Kaepernick has promised to kneel until “[the American flag] represents what it’s supposed to represent.”

I think people who criticize football players for taking a knee, they demonstrate a clear misunderstanding.

Just what does the flag represent? Does it represent troops as people seem to think it does? Not to my understanding, based upon research.

What the Flag Represents

The American flag was established on June 6th, 1777, becoming the official flag of the new independent nation. We declared we were separate from Britain, and would no longer submit to the King.

The flag is designed to represent the thirteen original colonies (thirteen stripes), and the 50 states (50 stars).

The colors of the flag (red, white, and blue) also have important meaning.

Red represents hardiness and valor.

White represents purity and innocence.

Blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

The National Anthem

“Star-spangled Banner” was written by Francis Scott Key on September 14th, 1814. It was a poem inspired by the traumatic witnessing of the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British.

The Star-Spangled Banner was the name given to the flag that hung above Fort McHenry. This flag was different than the one we use today, having fifteen stars and fifteen stripes.


My point in explaining the origins of the national anthem and the flag is that they aren’t entirely relevant to the struggles of today. Troops are no longer fighting for our independence from Great Britain. That battle has been waged and won, and we are now on good terms with the Brits, finally waving a flag of our own.

So when people condemn others for not respecting the flag on the basis of disrespecting the troops, it logically follows that the disrespect falls on people who fought in the Revolutionary war. It’s not that we shouldn’t respect those brave people, but they have been dead for hundreds of years and therefore cannot be harmed by lack of flag worship.

I have respect for people who fight and have fought for our country, I really do, and I don’t mean to seem flippant. It just seems to me that people in the military are seen as having the moral high ground. But people enlist for myriad reasons, not always noble ones. Sometimes it’s just for the money and benefits, and that’s fine by me.

I know many people in the military whose jobs don’t actually require any heroism, so technically speaking they aren’t fighting for our country. They have my utmost respect of course, but should we really discredit a movement on their behalf? Many veterans do not even take offense to Kaepernick’s protest, some applaud it. It took courage to do what he did, knowing there would be backlash.

He’s become the face of a movement based on protesting the corruption in this country. You can’t deny that there is corruption. The flag represents America, and therefore represents that corruption as well.

It is supposed to represent freedom, and justice, but those are not qualities that can be entirely attributed to America. Capitalism serves the rich, while leaving the poor to starve. Low and middle class people are in prison for things like possessing marijuana, while the wealthy ones easily escape prosecution for serious offences, like rape, and can even end up in high government positions.

I understand the sentiment regarding the flag, and even why it is associated with modern day troops. I just don’t think it should be treated as something sacred. Criticism of your country is inherently American. We criticize it because we care about this country and want to improve it, to expunge it of corruption. The founding fathers firmly believed that.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

-The Declaration of Independence

I highly doubt the Founding Fathers would approve of the idolization of the flag and I believe they would be proud to see that people are using their freedoms, and voicing their concerns.

Furthermore I would like to express vexation at the words that are being thrown around lately.

The other day I saw a post calling those who kneel “babies” and not “real men.” People who post things like that miss the whole point of  kneeling, and they idolize the flag. I’d like to see them call neo-nazis and white supremacists babies for screaming and shouting about the existence of blacks, Jews, gays and other minorities. But they usually don’t.

I’d like to see the same disdain people have towards these NFL players directed at more heinous acts than simply kneeling silently. Be outraged about the mail-bomber sending bombs to popular democrats (even if you’re a republican.) Be furious about the recent synagogue massacre. Be enraged by the death of Heather Heyer, a counter protester who was rammed by the car of a white supremacist.

knee

The above picture refers to Trumps words regarding both NFL players kneeling, and neo-nazis, and KKK members. He couldn’t outright condemn the participants of the racist rally in Charlottesville, but had no problem cursing out the football players.

In America white men can carry tiki torches and march around screaming hatred towards minorities, but when those minorities protest peacefully, they get ripped apart and demonized by the right.

We need to be worrying about real problems in this country. Poverty, abuse, discrimination, animal cruelty, climate change, sex trafficking….. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately people focus on problems that don’t actually harm anyone.

The same people who cry about liberals always being offended are ironically incredibly offended by a non-violent act performed to call out injustices. No one’s kneeling because they hate veterans. Veterans are irrelevant in this whole situation, contrary to popular belief. Whether you agree or not, the refusal to kneel for the flag literally does nothing to hurt anyone.

No one can be forced to stand for the national anthem, or recite the pledge of allegiance. Being forced to do so would be an act of tyrany, which this country has always been in strong opposition of.

Don’t get me wrong here. I love this country. I’m so grateful to have been born here instead of in a third-world country, or a fascist country.

That doesn’t mean I will not criticize it. This country needs accountability. If something isn’t right, it’s our duty to call it out and to correct it. That’s why they kneel.