Month: January 2012

Barbie Has What??

Puppies and kittens and… Cancer Barbie?  Oh my.

When browsing the morning paper the other day, I came across a strange sight.  It was a very large picture of Barbie, sans hair.  I of course had to read the ensuing article.  I had to find out what happened to my childhood friend.  I feared the worst, perhaps this was a repercussion of her painful divorce from Ken.  After all, I’ve heard that stress causes hair-loss.

Wrong.  Oh so wrong.

As much as I’d love to blame a man for everything wrong with this world, there are worse evils, like the big C. You guessed it, cancer has reared its ugly head and not even Barbie is immune.  But you know what?  I don’t think that’s such a bad message.  NO ONE is immune.  Take precautions, be aware, and don’t assume that it just won’t happen to you.

This interesting article explained a grass roots effort to encourage Mattel, the company responsible for the plastic goddess herself, to create a “Beautiful Bald Barbie in 2012.”  The doll is meant to act as a coping mechanism for young girls suffering hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomani or for children of women suffering the same.  The article also went on to say that a bald Barbie might cause a backlash from parents who are not ready to explain the new ‘do to their own children.

Personally, I don’t see why Mattel shouldn’t go for it.  Why shouldn’t these girls have a toy that will help them come to terms with the idea of being bald?  Better yet, why shouldn’t they feel just as beautiful as Barbie?   I believe that Barbie, bald or not, should be welcome in toy stores all over.  You wouldn’t tell a cancer patient that they weren’t allowed in your store, would you?  So why treat such an icon with any less respect?  If Mattel fears a backlash from parents who aren’t yet ready to expose their children to the fearsome reality that is illness, make it a point to only sell the doll in hospital gift shops.  (That is going to the extreme but it’s worth it if it will get the doll on the shelves.  There are plenty of options!)

We have Latina Barbies, African American Barbies, Asian Barbies and Barbies of all different cultures.  Why is that?  It’s because Barbie is a role model for so many young girls.  It’s so that little girls across the world can see someone who looks just like them.  These little girls who are losing their hair or watching their mommies lose their hair just want to see someone who looks like them.  It’s comforting to know you’re not alone but especially at such a young age.

If you’re going to throw your support behind a cause, make sure it’s an honorable one.  Don’t do it because I told you to or because you will be promised something for your time.  Do it because you agree with every fiber of your being.  My support goes to the women behind this movement because they shouldn’t have to feel anything less than beautiful every day.  Bald is beautiful.  So there you have it folks, my endorsement to create a bold, bald and beautiful Barbie in 2012.  And if this doesn’t work, you can bet your butt that I’m blaming Ken.

For further information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/BeautifulandBaldBarbie?ref=ts

Read the original article at http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/cancer-barbie-backers-seeking-bald-doll-sick-kids-terms-hair-loss-article-1.1005391

Which Box Do I Check?

If you’ll take a few minutes to watch the above video, I believe that you will learn something about the way this world continues to view race.  Label it racism, label it ignorance, label it what you will, but something is still invariably not right in the way we judge one another.  We feel the need to categorize one another: he is White, he is Black, he is Asian, he is Hispanic but much like life, few people are definitively black OR white or any one race.  There’s a whole lot of gray and mulatto and Eurasian and a bunch of other blends.

It happens to be a funny coincidence that I came across this video today for today is also the day that my father chose to remind me of how racist this world remains.  He has raised me to be proud of my heritage but very, very aware of it.  My father, a dark-skinned Puerto Rican, has lived through his share of prejudice and has instilled in me a subtle fear, a fear that I will be judged purely for my last name.  As I send out job application after job application, a part of me wonders if employers see my last name and immediately toss my resume into the waste basket.  The other part of me thinks that’s impossible, because people don’t think that way in this day and age.  Naiveté will be the death of me.  The truth is, people do think that way and this video supports that fact.

The featured video clip exposes just how confused people are when it comes to mixed races.   Black and Hispanic?  That’s possible?  You don’t act Hispanic.  You don’t act Black.  I don’t deny the fact that I too buy into stereotypes occasionally but we need to try harder, as a people, to accept that no one can fit into a pre-set box.  Which box do I check?  Have you ever gotten stuck when you reach that tricky little section on your paperwork?  I have.  I am a proud Italian and Puerto Rican woman.  My skin is white.  Why do I have to pick one?  Why should Black latinos have to pick just one?  I have been told by many that I don’t look latina.  Oh, you’re Spanish?  Really?  You look so Italian!  Don’t look so shocked, folks.  I may not look or act latina in the way that one might expect me to, but that doesn’t change my roots.  A director that I once auditioned for told me that I wasn’t loud enough to play an Italian girl.  Excuse me?  Now I’m not Italian enough?  I look Italian but I’m not loud enough and I have a Spanish last name but I don’t look Spanish enough.  Who the hell am I?  I am me.  I don’t fit into any one box.  Some days I identify more with Italians, others I identify more with Hispanics but you can’t take either of my cultures away from me.

I do not experience the same ignorance or prejudices that those in this video may face but I can relate.  It is far from easy to hear someone explain to you who you are.  I hate to see these people being type-cast purely for an image created in the minds of those who know no better.  I hate being told that I’m not latina enough and I hate being told that I’m not Italian enough.  I am who I am, they are who they are, and you…you don’t know us.

Watch the video.

The Young Heart

Photo by Kim Anderson

This poster has been hanging on the wall above my bed for years and I love it with every fiber of my being.  The innocence is striking and heart-melting.  Young love is sweet beyond measure and perhaps the most enviable of all loves.  It is pure, untainted, and kind.  “I like you.  You like me.  Let’s get married.”  If only the simplicity could last forever.

After years of admiring the chastity captured by this photo, I have put to words what I felt upon first glance.

The Young Heart

The young heart knows no bounds.

New to love, the young heart is free.

Within a young soul, each beat resounds.

Heartbreak lies above the realm of possibility.

The young heart knows no fear.

Love is simply a necessity.

Life rocks!…in theory.

It seems as if my insomnia has inspired yet another bout of inspiration.  As I laid in bed unable to sleep last night, I began to think, if only to drown out the roaring snore of my boyfriend next to me.  (If I think about something hard enough, I can tune out anything and everything around me.  I’m pretty sure that’s normal but usually it’s called day-dreaming.  Most of you reading this are probably currently day-dreaming the majority of your work day away.  Don’t worry, I won’t tell.)

Anyway, my thoughts consisted of how awesome my life would be IF.  If I were a doctor, if I were a lawyer, if I were a famous actress, if I were a successful writer and then it hit me.  Everything is awesome in theory but theory is quite the elusive minx.  You can never live a theory for as soon as it becomes reality, all of the awesome-ness tends to fly out the window.  Yes, if I were a doctor I would be responsible for saving lives but I would also be responsible for losing lives.  Yes, if I were a lawyer I would be responsible for helping people in need but I would also be responsible for failing to help others.  Yes, if I were a famous actress I would have tons of money and a great job but I would sacrifice any sense of privacy and thereby a sense of security.  Yes, if I were a successful writer I would be doing what I loved and making money but…no…no that one sounds pretty good.  Just kidding.  Sure, as a successful writer I would be doing what I loved and making money but I would be immensely underappreciated and easily ignored.

Reality pales in comparison to theory.  In theory, everything is perfect.  In reality, nothing is.  But let’s face it folks, perfection is boring.  Who doesn’t love a little bit of drama?

Sick Bitches

I’ve been sick for the past few days and now that I’m not on my knees over a garbage can, I’ve decided to write a blog.  Hmm..what to write about…what to write about.  I think I will write about things that annoy me, two things in particular; being sick and gym teachers.

First, about being sick since it is freshest in my mind.  What’s the deal with nausea?  No, seriously, I just don’t understand why nausea was ever invented.  I’ve been thinking about it for the past 24 hours because what else is there to do when you’re nauseous for 24 hours?  I’ve decided that nausea must be some kind of punishment for the wrong we’ve done.  We all sin, we all screw up and considering I hadn’t been sick like this in about 10 years, I’d say it was long overdue that I got “punished”.  Perhaps I’m wrong.  Actually, it’s rather likely that I’m wrong but I just needed to rationalize some kind of reason for the hell that is the perpetual state of feeling like you could throw up at any second.  Yesterday was indeed absolute hell.  I spent the entire day begging my boyfriend to kill me.  Did someone say drama queen?  Yes, I am a HUGE baby when it comes to being nauseous.  Give me a cold and I will still bitch and moan but at least I won’t be praying for death like a diva who hasn’t gotten enough tabloid attention recently. Anyway, the day was saved in the end only by a couple of Disney movies which were able to calm my nerves and lull me to sleep.  Thank you, Disney, you evil geniuses you.

Okay, that’s enough talk about nausea.  I’ve had all I can handle in that area.  Time to bitch about gym teachers!  Who’s with me??  First off, if you’re a gym teacher and you’re reading this, be forewarned, I will not be kind.

My middle school gym teachers have scarred me for life.  Who knew a gym teacher could have such an effect, right?  Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I don’t like being yelled at for things that are not my fault.  If I have to re-hash these horrible instances in gym class so that you understand, I will.  Then, I will cry alone in my room, wrapped in my comforter with the lights off, repeating over and over again “I didn’t know.  I didn’t know.”

First instance:  6th grade gym (Maybe 7th, I can’t recall).  Mrs. M. told the class to lay down, close our eyes, and listen to her direction.  Well, I don’t learn very well if I can’t see what it is that I’m supposed to do.  My first mistake was closing my eyes.  There was another girl with the same name as me in class, so when Mrs. M. started shouting my name, I assumed she meant the other girl.  I was never a troublemaker, I never spoke out of turn; hell, I barely spoke!  So why on earth would she be shouting at me?  Finally, Mrs. M. said “OPEN YOUR EYES!!”  Once I had opened my eyes, she said “Now, does it look like you’re doing what everyone else is doing?!”  No, no it did not.  Like I said, I don’t follow direction well without a visual example of what I’m meant to do, not when it comes to exercise.  So, while I was twisted into some weird pretzel, the rest of the class was sitting up, staring at me, and laughing.  Great moment for a 12-year-old, right?  I was mortified.  Was I misbehaving?  Was I disrupting the class?  No.  So please tell me, why did that woman need to scream at me and mortify me amongst my cruel and immature peers?  Oh wait, there is no reason other than that she was obviously an unhappy lady who took pleasure in making her students miserable because she had no soul.

Second instance: 8th grade gym.  Now, my eighth grade gym teacher was also a soulless bitch, but a different one.  If you haven’t already figured out that I’m not very athletically inclined, I am telling you now: I suck at sports.  Ms. Bitch had arranged a game of softball for us.  I HATED playing softball.  Too many girls on my team were actually on the Softball team and there I was, with no clue of the rules or what I was doing.  I always prayed that class would end before it was my turn to go up to bat.  Usually this worked for me but not this day.  I finally made it up to bat, and instead of striking out (which would have been smarter for a girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing), I got a damn hit.  I GOT A HIT.  I ran to first base and I hear Ms. Bitch shout “OUT!”  Now, I wasn’t sure why I would be out but I heard her say it, I didn’t see it because I was too busy running towards the base.  I was disappointed.  “I finally get a hit and now I’m out?”  I asked the first baseman if she heard the coach say that I was out, and she did.  Unfortunately, I don’t think either of us really knew what we were doing.  I walked off the base and headed back to the bench.  Shortly thereafter a member of the other team walked over to the bench and tagged me with that stupid baseball on steroids.  Ok so…that was embarrassing, but what made it worse?  Ms. Bitch then came storming at me from 3rd base and began SCREAMING at me.  “What do you think you’re doing?!  You don’t want to play so you think you can just walk off base?!  Who do you think you are?!” etc etc.  Again, let me remind you that I was never a troublemaker.  I barely spoke and I avoided trouble at all costs.  So again I ask you, why did this woman think it was a good idea to attack me for a mistake?  I was a kid who didn’t understand the game!  (For those of you wondering, it turns out that she did indeed shout “OUT” but it was meant for the girl on second base.  How was I supposed to know?  The Yankees have multiple umpires telling them who’s out and who’s safe, then Michael Kay tells me what happened.)  That story ended with a lot of tears.  A lot of tears.  I can’t remember too much, but I can remember that little woman screaming in my face very vividly.

*Note to teachers:  Screaming at a child will NEVER have a good effect.  EVER.  All they will learn is not to ask for help for fear of being mistreated.  So for those teachers who read this to the end, I hope that is what you walk away with.

How does that affect my life now, you ask?  Well, to this day, I am afraid of taking any group classes.  That means, I don’t do yoga, I don’t do spin class, I don’t do step class and I won’t walk into a room where there is a group of people and a teacher up front.  When I go to the gym, I work out in a corner somewhere by my lonesome.  That’s why I hate gym teachers, how about you?

Obligatory New Year’s Post

It’s that time of year again; the start.  It’s time to wipe the slate clean only to make unrealistic resolutions that will only end in failure and disappointment.

Kidding!  Well,  I’m not really kidding because unfortunately too many of us make “resolutions” that amount to nothing more than a pipe dream.  Chances are, you’re not going to meet Johnny Depp in 2012 or become a famous movie star or win the lottery.  If you do, god bless you.  Some of us go a little overboard and make too many resolutions, so many that they can’t focus on any one in particular.  Still more of us choose not to make a resolution in an effort to avoid the inevitable disappointment of not achieving our goal.

My advice to you is this, you don’t have to resolve to do anything just because a new year has begun.  So what if we write a new number when we scribble the date on paperwork?  You can change your life at any moment.  Don’t feel obligated to make changes now because all 562 of your Facebook friends are filling up your newsfeed with their over-achieving resolutions.  Sure, you might want to lose weight or get a new job but unless you are genuinely prepared to make changes, it’s not a resolution; it’s the exact same desire you’ve had for the last year or so.  Your “resolution” stems from your resolve, which means “fixity of purpose” (according to Merriam-Webster.com).  What does that mean, you ask?  That means failure is not an option.  Your resolve is your determination to achieve, so no more of this “My New Year’s Resolution is to go to the gym every day this year!” and then two weeks later, “Oh no, I quit the gym.  I didn’t have time with work and the kids and the blah blah blah.”  Where was the resolve?!  When you are truly determined, quitting is not an option.

I don’t care if you have a Flag Day resolution, a President’s Day resolution or an Earth Day resolution, but you’d better make sure that you are prepared to make it a reality or don’t bother calling it a resolution.  Call it a wish list.  If you’re not ready now, that’s okay.  It’s a new year but really, it’s just the day after yesterday.

As for me?  Well, I think I’m ready.  I think I am ready to resolve to do a few things.

  • I resolve to secure a job.
  • I resolve to study/practice my Spanish a little bit every day.
  • I resolve to write something everyday, whether it be a blog, my screenplay, a poem, or a cover letter.
  • I resolve to go back to the gym at least 5 days a week if not more.

These few things have been on my wish list for a while, but I think it’s time to make the jump.  I’m ready now and here I present to you my January 1st 2012 Resolutions.  I look forward to hearing of your triumphs, whether they be your New Year’s resolutions, your Flag Day resolutions, or your Earth Day resolutions. 🙂