Santa’s are coming to town

A child’s belief in Santa Clause is one of the most magical things about being around children at Christmas. Everyone works together to create an atmosphere of magic and love for children at Christmas, urging them to believe as long as they can in the jolly old elf.

The best memories of Christmas usually are back in the days when Santa and the magic he represented was real, Christmas is always special, but something was lost when he no longer seemed real.
For many children, the yearly visit to meet Santa, perhaps in a mall or store is one of the biggest and best moments of the season.  Santa is Santa, children surely don’t care what color skin Santa has because generally, children don’t notice or care about race.

In the Mall of America in Minnesota, there was a bit of a controversy surrounding their choice in Santa. To play Santa, they hired Larry Jefferson Gamble to be Santa.

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Larry has been playing Santa for decades, the retired U.S. Army veteran was excited to be the first African American Santa at the Mall of America.

But some people had a problem that Santa was going to be African American. Trolls took to the internet, making their racist issues and thoughts known but he didn’t let it ruin his run at the nations largest mall.
“Kids love Santa no matter what color you are,” he told The Huffington Post in 2016.

This incident did inspire Daniel Kibblesmith and A P. Quach to write a book about Santa…or rather about two Santa’s.

During the whole black/white Santa Debacle, a tweet was sent out

Me & have decided our future child will only know about Black Santa. If they see a white one we’ll say “That’s his husband”

This tweet is what inspired Kibblesmith to write a book that covers many issues that parents can find difficult to explain to children. Gay marriage and love, race, religions and even conflict. “Santa’s Husband” Tells the story of Santa and his husband. They are a married gay interracial couple who work together to make Christmas magical for children all over the world of different races and religions.

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The explanation of why there are different Santa’s is that when things are busy and stressful, Mr. Clause steps in to help out and people simply mistake him as the real Santa.

This is a positive way to explain away a question a child might ask without labeling one type of Santa wrong over another. It creates a sense of acceptance and equal representation for any and all Santa’s and his believers.

The book has found a lot of success and publicity, but as expected not all of it has been positive. The same people who had struggled with the idea of a black Santa struggled with the idea of a Gay Santa. There was some worry that it would be inappropriate for children, so I went out and bought the book myself to see.

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The book is short and sweet, full of sweet and colorful illustrations. The story itself is appropriate for anyone of any age. The most adult theme in the book? A discussion of labor unions with the elves who I might add, have better dental coverage than I do. The story is about love, acceptance, understanding and of course Christmas in all its forms, shapes and colors.

Only a real Grinch could hate something so sweet, so maybe the internet’s heart needs to grow two sizes before next year.

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The rising threat of an old foe

I’ve been following a story out of Georgia for the last few days, and the pictures coming from the story are straight out of the 1950’s.
White Nationalists Hold Rally In Georgia
(Photo courtesy of Time.com)

This photo was taken after a white supremacist rally in Newman , Georgia just a few days ago.
Counter protesters were present and ready to show a strong presence but the police began arresting them.
Some protesters were said to have been wearing masks and refused to remove them so they were arrested.  The law that allowed law enforcement to do that was a law that was put into place to try and identify members of the KKK. Protesters at these kinds of events often were masked to keep from being identified by the white supremacists who may come after them for standing up.

It is 2018 and as a country we are fighting against hate and injustice on our own soil. We have a president who once called white supremacists “very good people” after they killed a young woman who was protesting them by driving a car into a group of people protesting.

White Supremacist’s have been growing more bold and more active in the last few years and will continue to do so as long as people protect them.

Police forces are often more focused on those protesting against the white supremacists than the white supremacist themselves and often seem to go into these situations ready to try and stop counter protests.

The photo below is the kind of resistance and welcome counter protesters were faced with for simply being present. One person who was interviewed by the Huffington Post stated that the police were aggressive with counter protesters but treated “Literal Nazi’s with kid gloves.”Photo courtesy of the Washington Post)5adbf3d71a00002700533bb5.png(Photo courtesy of the Washington Post)

With behavior like this coming from those in power and in charge it is no wonder white supremacist have been getting bolder. This cannot be allowed to continue. We have come too far as a nation to let things slide back into the way they were decades ago.
This issue can be tricky to handle, because yes, everyone does have a right to their opinion and their voice but I remember something I was a long time ago that has sat with me since that day.

“Your right’s end where mine begin.” When the voice and message of a group of people threatens lives and liberties of fellow citizens, then it is no longer acceptable.

Moving forward towards the future is our only choice, and we need to fight to make sure everyone makes it.

We are better than all of this hate. Now we just need to prove it.

Nothing left to lose but Home

Imagine for a moment that you’ve spent your entire life in a country. You gone to school here, you have friends. It’s the only life you’ve ever known. When suddenly around the time you’re 16, you get the news that you and your family are going to have to leave. You’re going to have to go back to a country that you don’t remember. What would you do? Would you cry and beg to stay where you felt safe? Would you be angry, and scream and rage about this decision? Or would you shut down? Would you sink down and give up losing all will to live?

In Sweden, where many refugee families are being sent back to the countries they fled from, there is a growing problem with the youth of these families. They have simply lost the will to live. The idea of returning to countries they don’t remember and losing the only life they know is simply too much to bear.

It’s called uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome, an illness that is said to exist only in Sweden, and only among refugees. The patients have no underlying physical or neurological disease, but they seem to have lost the will to live. The Swedish refer to them as de apatiska, the apathetic.

It began in the early 2000’s and has only increased in severity and numbers since then.

If you were in their place what would you do, how would you react? Do you think this is a real condition? Let me know.

Time to grow up

Im moving into my first apartment next week. It’s a lovely townhouse all the way across town. I’ll be living with two of my best friends and I’m so excited.

I’m also scared shitless.

Questions are looming over me.

What if I lose my job? How will I pay rent? What if we all suddenly hate each other?

What if what if what if……..

These are the biggest steps I’ve taken without a safety net. But I’m trying to have faith that I’m ready and capable.

Most of you have done this already and are shaking your head at my overreaction but I can’t help but ponder the countless what ifs.

What if what if what if……oh well.

It’s time to grow up. Ready or not. Here I come.

DAMN. Sit down. Be Humble.

I remember vividly when Kendrick Lamar’s album DAMN came out. Songs like HUMBLE and DNA were my summer soundtrack and even now the moment you hear the intro to HUMBLE, everyone is ready to rap along. The album is hard hitting and relevant for the times dealing with things like pride in ones background and political issues.

Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for music on Monday, he also became the first non-jazz or classical artist to win that honor in its seventy-five-year existence.

With this recognition of hip hop and mainstream music from the committee, Lamar’s win could very well mean the opening of doors for a more honest look at the art that comes from entertainers and word smiths like Lamar.

Breaking away from traditional music and exploring the music that is often ignored by circles like the Pulitzer committee is a step in the direction of acknowledging talent and art in all its forms.

A fathers love

He was mean and hateful. A violent drunk who never did right by anyone but himself.
But he was my father and as a little girl I loved him.
I loved him when I hid from him, or when he hurt me. I loved him even when he hurt my mother. I would pray so hard every night that somehow, he would understand how much I loved him and change.
But he never did.  But I still loved him.
When he left to go be with his new girlfriend, I still loved him. When he didn’t call on Christmas or birthdays anymore. I still loved him. When my mother died, and finally called me I still loved him. When the call was not to comfort me but to ask about the will, I still loved him.
I haven’t heard from him in 4 years, but I still love him.
What I have learned is maybe, just maybe he doesn’t love me.
But I still love him.

Buzzfeed

This column about Buzzfeed from the New York Times talks about the release of the Russia dossier. They writer of the column Ben Smith does a good job explaining the blow by blow of what the release of these documents meant for America and journalism in general. While there is a lot to be said for releasing such an important batch of documents to the public, there have been several reports that those connected to these documents have been assassinated for their involvement in the release.

My biggest issue with the release of such important and dangerous documents and information is the cost that may come with it. Did Buzzfeed, who is very new in comparison to other news sources take full consideration in regard to the fallout that may come from the documents release?

Buzzfeed is known for a multitude of things. It’s hard to imagine the same place you go for cute puppy articles and watching two guys hilariously get scared looking for ghosts being the same place you would go to for the newest breaking news. Maybe that was the idea. Maybe they assumed no one would take it seriously since it came from them or maybe they saw it as a way to fully breach the world of hard hitting news once and for all.
I feel that Buzzfeed and other outlets who still rely on click bait to get internet traffic begin to take their new found responsibility more carefully and look long and hard about what they post and understand that everything they publish could and does have real world consequences.

 

Conversations with my mental Illness

Why haven’t they called me back?
Because you are not worth their time. They don’t like you.

That’s a shame that they cancelled our plans, I really wanted to see them.
They canceled them because they don’t want to see you

Its so cool that two of my friends are friends now.
They don’t need you anymore. They will replace you now.

Wow, they really seemed to like me
It’s just a joke….no one likes you

I’m a good person.
You are a fraud. 

Depression is a voice inside my head that makes me second guess every relationship and interaction in my life. It’s been a part of me for so long, it’s hard to know which voice is real and which one is the sickness in my head. People get annoyed when I need the validation that I am liked and loved but it helps keep the voice quiet and those moments of silence when I am alone with my own thoughts are a gift.

If you know someone who needs those little reassurances of stability, give them what they need. You may not realize the amount of good your doing for their mental health.

So how do you do it?

How do you take care of yourself and still pay bills?

I’ve been at my new job for 3 weeks and during week 2, I got sick. A nasty sinus infection that got worse and worse. But every day, I went to work.
I was so sick I could barely sleep, but I still went to work.
It was way too early to ask for a day off to recover and my boss sure didn’t offer me one.
My friend got upset with me for pushing myself so hard but I saw no other choice. I might lose my job otherwise.
And do I need this job. I have medical bills that are long past due to pay, my phone bill and my car note all looming over my head and now the prospect of moving into a new apartment add to the stress and the pressure.
How do you take time for yourself when you work 40 hours a week and go to school? Finals are pressing down on me too….I’m scared that I won’t be able to study for them. I’m sure there is a way but I can’t seem to find it. I’m holding on with all I have until Saturday, when I can sleep the day away and spend the night with my nose in my books….I hope.
Oh those who have kids and a job and are in school! How do you do it and not collapse? Are you even human?
So here’s a shout out to all of us, too stressed and tired to think straight but still going at it.  May we all one day, be rested and calm!

Ms. Sugars From the bay

In the sun-soaked courtyard, surrounded by tall wrought iron gates covered in ancient ivy sits a woman with graying blond hair and sharp blue eyes behind wire framed glasses. She places a cigarette to her mouth and inhales deep, before exhaling the cloud of white smoke into the bright morning air. This was her routine every day before the customers began arriving at the shops large glass doors. Inside the large but packed family shop were countless objects, each with a story and a price.
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From dolls to dishes to photos of the dead, the store had a little bit of everything. Magnolia Antiques is a staple in the sleepy little town of Bay St. Louis. It had recovered from natural disasters like Katrina as if nothing had ever happened, the knee-high water and devastation nothing more than a memory now. The town around it continued to rebuild and recover but the Sugar’s store had recovered and flourished. “It was like a bomb went off…water up to your knees but we were blessed, our store survived.” She’ll say whenever a customer asks about that infamous disaster.
Behind the counter, 5 days a week sits Shay Sugars. She knows every item inside the store and every story that come along with it. She can lead you through the cramped aisles and dazzle you with tales of the history of the stores contents. There is passion and pride in her eyes as she walks past towering vases and dusty armoires, this was her domain and she was queen.
She pauses beside a doll and with the utmost care, she takes it from the shelf and holds it in her arms. She informs anyone who will listen about the woman who had brought this doll to the store years before. The doll had been made in the likeness of her brother, who had drowned as a small boy, and was given to his mother as a keepsake. When the mother passed away and her daughter inherited the doll, she discovered the doll seemed to move and shift when no one was looking. Terrified of it, she had sold it to the store.
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Since then you could hear footsteps running across the creaky wooden floors, or children’s giggles when the store was quiet.  Shay believes with all her heart the boy lived in the store now, and no amount of convincing will get her to think otherwise.
As customers enter the door she greets them with a wide smile and a proper southern greeting. “Ya’ll holler if you need something.” The newcomers vanish from sight, only the mumbled sounds of whispered conversations and the occasion thump of an object being moved to remind you that the store was not empty.
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As she sits behind the counter, placing price tags on newer items that will join the collection she complains about how she wished she could get away, move away from the store for good and do something else but you get the sense as she looks around at the crowded shelves and stuffed aisles that she wouldn’t be able to stay away for long.  She sighs and talks about the years she had spent away, her time in New Orleans as a bartender and her years in California where she had lived in a duplex beside a professional dominatrix. With a shake of her head and a chuckle, she recalls the wild things she had seen and people she had met but it had not been the place to raise two little boys.  So, home she came and home she stayed.
The customers leave with an absent wave and Shay sneaks out into the courtyard for another cigarette, her feet firmly planted on the cobblestones and her mind a million miles away.