Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ahhhhh 2010.....Sweet Freedom!

It's 2010 and I haven't posted in quite a long time. Many funny and interesting things have happened, but because I don't take notes they have been lost to my memory forever. No matter. The universe is sure to supply new material for anecdotes.

First, a checklist of things that have happened in my life since September of 2009...

Since I last posted I have enrolled in graduate school and am now getting a masters degree in engineering management, which is a degree that combines a masters in industrial engineering with an MBA.

In graduate school we are doing a lot of group work. It's interesting to see how I interact with people. Because the degree is all online everything I "say", every interaction, is recorded in print. It turns out I'm not so bad. I could stand to be a little bit more agreeable, a little more flexible. But what suprises me most is how often I am RIGHT! It actually makes me feel a little bit more relaxed, a little more wise, to know that I don't have to prove my point. I can rest in the assurance that most of the time my assessments are correct and I can relax, stay open to learning another point of view, and let other people work their way to their own conclusions: right, wrong or indifferent.

I have broken free of people who mean me no good: the users, the people who demonstrate the attributes of friendship and affection up and until exactly the point where my happiness seems to exceed their own, wherein they proceed to demonstrate the unmistakeable signs of envy. It feels good to be honest and open with everyone about what my limitations are and what I will accept and what I can not accept. I feel centered. My relationships are true and genuine! My friendships, deeper.

Not only am I a member of the Jane Austen book club, but I have also helped form another book club with the ladies at my church. THAT'S interesting! Being in a book club with church ladies requires that you find books that are good literature but have no (or very little) offensive language. I recommended we read "Eat, Pray, Love" and was terrified of what the ladies might think of the "Love" part of the book. Luckily for me the book got a lot of press on shows like "Good Morning America" (or one of those shows) right at the time we started to read it. Somehow if it was good enough for wholesome morning TV talk shows, then it was good enough for us! To use language like Jane Austen might have used, the ladies surprised me most pleasantly.

Tiger Woods has been in the news with something like 18 mistresses! Poor man!! Not that I am excusing him, but when you have had to be THAT good and THAT well-behaved for THAT long, how could you not start to think you deserved a little bit bad? Granted, he was more than just a little bit, but you get my drift. We are not meant to be perfect. Someone wrote that now he can finally be more human and authentic because he has fallen off his pedastal. I couldn't agree more! He apologized most sincerely and is getting help! It's not how many times we fail that define our character, but how we are able to recover and help those around us recover. Quitting on people is a much greater sin than any other mistake we could make. When I wrote above about having genuine friendships, I didn't mean that I cut anyone out of my life. Quite the contrary, I became honest with people without cutting them out of my life. They accepted my boundaries and I accepted theirs and it made the air between us fresher to breathe.

I am noticing that every time I write something, I come to a new paragraph that seems to contradict what I have just written, almost as if I was writing the Bible! Case in point...

John Mayer has also been in the news, not for cavorting with strange women, but for expressing the fact that his, uhm, physical parts do not respond to black women. He expressed this in the most racist and offensive manner possible by calling his, uhm, physical part a "white supremacist". And the question he was asked wasn't even about whether or not he found black women attractive, it was whether or not THEY chased HIM. A simple "yes, but I haven't dated a woman of color" would have done. I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with finding certain features more attractive than others. As a celebrity he has to be aware that his opinion is going to influence public opinion. He has voiced an opinion that has been secretly held by a white segment of the population for centuries. Racial selection in dating ranges from "I don't find that race attractive" to "I find them attractive but wouldn't want to be seen withthem in public on a date" to " I believe there are attractive people of all races". The spectrum is broad and yet his preferences, if not his social views, fall in line with the most undesirable group on that spectrum. And so he has unconsciously validated their view. The damage is done. No take backsies, John.

Now can he grow and learn from the public outcry over his view? Will it bother him that so many people found offensive what he considered to be a matter of fact? His public apology seems to indicate so. If his mind opens up just a crack then maybe, just maybe, there is hope that he will begin to see past race which, after all, IS just a social construct. As I have said in a previous post, race is no more a valid way to separate people than hair or eye color. What we define as "race" is just a series of dominant genes overpowering recessive ones. We all originated from the same colony in East Africa. So if we are all one race, any race, then we are all black.

I don't know how white people originated but one theory is that two black people can get together and have an albino child, whereas two white people can only have a white child. The first albino child born amongst East African black people must have seemed like a strange anomaly, even a curse amongst the superstitious. It would have been likely for such a child to feel ostracized and eventually separate from the group. Whatever genes in his parents produced him would eventually produce others. The genes would be passed through generations and a colony of outcasts would have eventually formed, giving them enough people to migrate and create a colony of their own away from the scrutiny of "normal" black people. Environmental factors can attribute for the rest. It would make sense that eventually an appearance that once seemed strange and misplaced would gradually become exotic, then rare, then preferable.

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