Friday, September 28, 2012

Moving Beyond Myself

Last week I was feeling sorry for myself. Nothing major or particularly traumatic had occurred...I was just a pretty lucky white girl feeling sorry for herself. As I was puttering around the interwebs, including that infernal Facebook, I saw a name which belongs to a person living far away from me and with challenges I can't fathom. Jhamak Kumari GhimireThis woman is amazing. And she made me feel like a complete schlub and now I'd like to allow her to make you feel just as schlubby.

You're welcome.

Let me set the stage for you: Jhamak Kumari was born in Nepal with cerebral palsy. She has slurred speech, limited movement in general and no control over her arms. When she was seven her father was advised to drown her in a river. In fact, according to the New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch, “disabled children are frequently denied access to education in Nepal and suffer abuse and neglect in their communities.” Jhamak Kumari’s family wasn’t a clan of awful monsters, although they did (reportedly) beat her on occasion. At some point they saw through her limitations to the brilliant mind inside and enterprising spirit trapped within the body. In eventually loving her and accepting her as their child they allowed her to grow and it’s a pretty good thing.

She has won Nepal’s most prestigious literary prize, the “Madan Puraskar” prize, for her book of autobiographical essays, "Is life a thorn or a flower?And she has written it with her foot. Yeah that’s right. HER FOOT. Suddenly my woes of not having the black crushed velvet jacket that I want seem a little ridiculous. The level of intensity with which I am pouring over nonsensical political “business” seems, for a just a moment (however brief) a little silly. My fervent consternation about the appalling lack of parking at my favorite restaurant is downright asinine. A woman whose community wanted her drowned, whose body traps her, found a way to communicate what’s inside her heart and mind…with her foot. By herself. Practicing until she was bleeding. What was that again about a crushed velvet jacket?

Here’s an excerpt of one of her poems detailing her view of how senseless modern society can be.


A soft light glimmers
on the eve of people's deaths
The fern unfurls out of season
without its stem
having matured

No mourning will be observed now
on the eves of people's deaths
What is the interpretation of this age?
A separate live identity
thrives inside a scream

After a hollow ending
the raped
orphaned skeletons
won't exorcise their agitation
at the crossroads of expression
as one exorcises
witches and ghosts
by sacrificing chicks
>>>Read the full poem here.

I have had to lay aside my woes and my perceived problems for a moment, and determine that I am NOT living up to my fullest potential. There is more for me to do and more for me to accomplish in this body and mind of mine. I know that problems are relative and it's not particularly fair to compare a suburban white girl with a woman in Nepal who's overcome the limitations of cerebral palsy...but screw it. I'm doing it anyway. 

Because once again I find myself in desperate need of a shove off my complacent tookus. (Tookus is British slang for the backside; the buttocks.) I need to stop neglecting the voice inside me that wants to get louder and bolder and I need to grow it.

So, reader, what’s inside you? What are you drowning out, ignoring, neglecting and mistreating? If a child in Nepal (who might well have been murdered) could survive, despite being locked inside her body, to blossom into a woman who could bring these words to the world and receive her nation's highest literary honor…what can you do? Shove off, flex your feet, and get to it. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I Have a Song

I'm working on a post full of judgement and calls to action, but I don't feel like finishing it. Instead, I want to share a rare uplifting part of myself because this is a rare Saturday post.

I love this song, from the album "In Harmony," which was a treasured childhood favorite of mine. Lucy Simon has a delightful voice and this song about friendship and love is just great. So here you go - and please don't think less of me because I'm a sap underneath it all. The video is cheesy but whatever.

(If you get this via email - you might have to go to the site to see the video. What a pain, right?)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Trickling Socialism

There are two terms running amok lately: "Trickle down economics" and "socialism." What's the difference, I want to's one way of looking at it that's super simplified.

Trickle down economics posits that by creating open wealth in the top echelon of the economy, people in possession of that wealth will create new jobs, spend more money and generally boost the health of the economy at large. It's the "I got mine" philosophy in adult terms.

Socialism posits that allowing the majority of the populace to determine the placement of money and resources will create a strong economy and strengthen the health at large with the majority having the most resources to dump back into the market. It's the "I got mine" disguised as "We got ours" so it sounds more noble.

And no surprise: neither one works. 

You want to know why? Because "I got mine" (in any semantic arrangement) is a human condition that can't be legislated, taxed or policy-ed out of us. We're hoarders at an Evolutionary/Biblical level. I don't care where you think we came from we were created to get and keep.

NO ADULT SHARES WILLINGLY because sharing is for chumps and children. (But that's redundant isn't it?)

What this means is that the far right and the far left are arguing for the exact same thing, just from two different points of view concerning who the "I" in the "I got mine" sentence is. And this is why it's all just a little bit of history repeating. None of it makes a bit of difference to me because what I got is blessedly one wants it and no one is after it. I'm falling out of the middle class at an alarming rate and I figure when I get to the bottom I'll be the freest I've ever been, because what do I have left to lose?

And I'll let all the idiots up top argue about what they got and how they're planning on keeping it. Maybe some scraps will fall down to my level, but after all is said and done - I'm still a white girl living in America. And I'm smart enough to know that that's about as good as it gets.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Best List Ever

Earlier this week I was listed in an article featuring four people you should know. If you want the scoop, it's HEREBut it made me think of all the other people you should know besides me, because let's face it...I'm better in small doses. I can't even stand MYSELF half the time.

So here are the people I think you should know and the reasons why, if I felt like writing them.

This is Nikola Tesla when he was 37 years old. Besides inventing practically EVERYTHING, he's just delightful to look at. Sure he was batshit crazy but he was idiotically smart too, and there's nothing sexier. The fact that he was an avowed virgin just makes me want to travel back in time and break his scientific spirit.

He never patented anything he invented so you probably fancy that other people (like that hipster doofus Edison) invented all the cool stuff. But it was Tesla. And this is why I think you should know him, but not in the Biblical sense. That's just for me.

This is Henrietta Lacks. She's so important to you and you don't even know it. I mean so important it's almost obscene. Her cells have been at the root of nearly all the decent medicine that has been created since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin...and you should probably know about him too but I'm talking about Henrietta right now. Because no one talked about her for a lot of years and that's super, super wrong. Her cancer cells won't die. They were taken from her without her consent during a surgery and have been used for research ever since. Ever wonder how big pharma got to be so big? Henrietta's cervical cells, that's how.

If you have a baby made via in vitro, thank Henrietta. If you don't have polio, thank Henrietta. In fact, thanks to the 20 tons of cells that her initial cells grew, there are probably a great many ailments you get to live without. So say thanks to Henrietta, okay? And then read a little bit about her and her miraculous HeLa cells. 

FINE. Alexander Fleming. He discovered the thing that makes it stop burning when you pee. That's all I'm saying about him.

This is Jane Goodall and I love her so much I can't even tell you. She does everything cool, and awesome and she's so smart and so fantastic and so funny. And she loves animals and she thinks we can save the planet and be good people and .... I JUST LOVE HER SO MUCH. 

Her work with the chimpanzees in Gombe National Park in Tanzania is incredible. Her outlook on the world, the way we eat, the way we treat one another and the way it should be going forward is just over the top perfect. Do I have a lady crush here? Yes. Yes I do. She is someone you should know. 

And this is Louis C.K. He's hilarious. Despite his Hungarian last name and obvious Irish good looks, he's actually a Mexican American. If you need more than that to decide you want to Youtube everything you can on this guy, then go read a different blog. 

So here they are: five people. That's it. That's all I feel like telling you about, plus if you've been around here for a while you understand that when making lists I like a rule of five. Happy Friday from North America!