Monday, September 13, 2010

We Are All Africa

Sitting in my intercultural communication class, first semester post-mid-point of university career, first day of the week, first class, we talk about culture [a personal favorite of mine]. We then proceed to watch an interesting [and slow] documentary called "The Journey of Man". It is about how there is a genetic print on the Y chromosomes of males that has been helpful in going back to our very earliest of ancestors. Obviously, we learn that the remains of our most ancient of our ancestors can be traced all to Africa, making us all descendants of Africa. Thus, the title of this here blog, and also the introduction of the song with this lyric: We are all Africa. It makes me curous: did they watch "Journey of Man" too?

Having to write a riveting and lovely response to some quote I found interesting in the documentary, I wrote the following [wisely and completely thought-through as all reaction papers tend to be]:

“Tradition rarely sits well with science.”
“Logic of language and lifestyle is relative to culture.”

Although the documentary focuses on how genetics play a role in identifying the different relations between cultures, I kept wondering how, with all these similarities in DNA, people still get hung up on the differences of appearances and traditions. These two quotations represent two facts of reality of which I wish more people were aware. If more people took a step back and re-examined their traditions and superstitions with an open mind, they would admit that it might seem ridiculous by another person’s standards. That is because no one ever has the same experiences, perspectives and backgrounds; however, social constructions of different cultures create some “common truths” that fuel the logic of a society. This specific “logic” is part of the barrier to open and true intercultural communication. Many times, whether the logic is brought on my personal motivations or emotions, it does not coincide or parallel with scientific fact; however, there is a comfort in a culture’s beliefs because there is power in the numbers who believe in it. In these types of communities, beliefs tie people together with a sense of belonging. Hopefully, there can be a real conversation between cultures about where the “logic of language and lifestyle” of all the cultures come from because without this exchange there can never be tolerance and even less acceptance. The cultural perceptions of differences are sometimes misunderstood as more than they actually are and create even bigger divisions. I think the idea that all humans might have come from the same continent of Africa shows that our common bond runs deeper than any chasms between mental processes. The greater picture is constantly and consistently ignored for the sake of individual gain and self-motivation. Just as our DNA connects us, our open-mindedness should unite us.

On this note, I bid thee good night! Cheers to rants ending up as "A" papers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Character-Building & A Building's Character

Today marks a week of being back on-campus at LMU for Resident Assistant Training. A lot has happened in the past seven days even outside the jam-packed itinerary handed out to us at the onset. The most noteworthy is the immersion into human contact and communication that can be anything from awkward to awesome. I realized that, with merely one similarity, others can sprout and blossom. Sharing and encouraging an exchange is not as difficult as I sometimes think it is.
Something is to be said about those "annoying, irritating and useless" ice-breakers that get everyone to open up a bit more to one another. Maybe there is something else at work when these endeavors are taken like a unity of disliking these activities. I dare even to appreciate them and their awkwardness and embarassment.
I realized quite early on that I am extremely lucky to be a part of the staff of which I am a part. My colleagues/co-workers are exactly the type of people Jack Kerouac would approve of. Even the most commonplace thing is interpreted as a joke beyond jokes and a hilarity beyond laughter. The only true ingredient necessary for this recipe is open-ness. Open-mindedness to different ideas and open-heartedness to complete strangers will bring us closer together and closer to our common goal.
An important confession is that, while I've got open-mindedness down, open-heartedness is just out of my reach. Going along with the motions, volunteering for certain things, and being forced to do others, I saw in myself a type of tentative understanding of people from what I would imagine is their complicated perspective without any assumptions or stereotypes but the vulnerability of letting others know how highly I might think of them is lacking majorly. Perhaps this all plays into a bigger role of self-defense and preemptive strike but I really do wish those ''roman candles'' knew I thought they were as bright and precious as gold.

On the other hand, sometimes friends let you down in ways they do not even understand. While being back reminded me of that, I am aware that there is only room for movement forward. Backward is unacceptable. :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

August with Arms Wide Open

A great thing happened today: a thing that has taken me a long time and has, on more than one occasion, made me feel hopeless. I passed my driver's license test. It was so shocking that I couldn't believe it for a very long time. I was in no condition to drive after the exam.

I was not just any permit-holding person desirous of a license; it was my 4th time taking the exam and my 8th visit to the DMV for permit (3) & license (5) reasons. After failing my permit exam once then passing it, I failed my behind-the-wheel test twice. Then, I needed to re-do the permit as it had expired. My first behind-the-wheel appointment with this second permit I was turned down because the DMV's computers were down. After failing another time, I got my license on August 2nd, 2010, a sunny Monday. It took 2 years but boy does it still feel good.

As I was sitting and pondering my life in the passenger seat, I wondered what I should do with my 4 driver's tests, especially the first 3 disqualified ones with angry scribblings of people surely worried for their lives. I'm a scrapbooker personally, even somewhat of a pack-rat. Which got me thinking: Do you document your failures just as much as your achievements? It's important to have both to look back on. It's important not to just focus on the good and ignore the bad. One should actually face the bad head-on to overcome and learn from it. Now that I will not be making that walk of shame out of the DMV without a license it's easy for me to say that I am not humiliated or ashamed of whom I am.

I think those damned tests should burn in hell but I don't mind holding on to them and laughing at the stories they have left me with. It might be merely a sappy sentiment but I like this new outlook.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On the Pursuit of Happiness

Much has been said about happiness, and still more will continue to be said about it. To be honest, the idea is hard to grasp for me, not because I believe it hard to attain (which I believe) but because there are so many illusions of happiness in everyday life. Mirages of what is this wonderful joy and emotion called happiness. Some say it's not an emotion but a place (think: "Go to your happy place.") I'm not sure.
For a very long time, places did not matter to me. It was the environment and the people. Once my environment was completely dissolved and my people completely yanked from me, I began to resent the places I was, becoming fixated on this nameless unattainable.
Introspection, self-reflection, and all that jazz is helpful to realize that the name of the nameless could be true and genuine happiness. Characterized by sincere laughter, not merely forced chuckles, and by uncontrollable dimples, not merely a muscle twitch, that positive truth is not unattainable. It's actually somewhat common, common for certain attitudes of hope, optimism, adventure, and the list goes on.
Perhaps what needs to be done is a slight alteration. Instead of the general tendency towards negativity or complications, look toward the possibilities. That is not a word used and understood as much as it needs be. Possibilities, like opportunities, can be created and chosen. We can create possibilities. We can make things (ideas, actions, feelings) that seem impossible possible with the wave of a finger, attitude, or upturning lips.
Therefore, the unattainable and the impossible are nothing but things that the mind lingers on in one direction. Seen from any other, they are possibilities, challenges, and opportunities to grow, to overcome, to learn.
Dude, it's all good. Seriously. Really, nothing is as scary, dangerous, or outrageous as we make it out for ourselves.

In other news, I saw KiD CuDi Saturday night at Audiotistic. It was lovely. Can you guess my favorite of his songs? Oy, correct! Pursuit of Happiness :P :)
Cheers. To new-ness. Cheers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Prelude: An Analysis

Thought I would start off with an image that captures how Summer 2010 is going for me: [but it was removed by]

Up close, the imperfections of the flowers appear but, in the distance of time, place, and space, they look amazing.
It's a field of wildflowers which reminds me of a song by the JaneDear girls called Wildflower which I heard for the first time today while I was listening to the music channel "Great American Country". For a month now I have been on a country music binge.

For some reason, yellow has been my color this summer; it helped me land my first ever summer job at Ann Taylor Loft [which sells clothing in the array of these flowers' colors]. I said something along the lines of "for some reason, recently I've been really loving yellow.& you know what? I think it's because of the sun. It's exciting to see especially after spring gloominess so when I see that yellow; it carries the same excitement with it."
Just as these flowers are not all in bloom neither is my summer or myself. Constantly growing and learning is the state of my summer.

Thank you Mother Nature...