Small Great Things

“If I cannot do great things, let me do small things in a great way.” That statement is one of Dr. King’s best known quotes; it is also where Jodi Picoult got the title for her book, which in my opinion is a modern day Native Son. Told from the perspective of a black nurse unfairly accused of the murder of a newborn, a white supremacist who is the father of said newborn, and a white public defender who “doesn’t see color,” this book charges head on at a topic that has been brushed over far too much: racism.

Ruth Jefferson, a black nurse who has been working at the same hospital for 20 years, finds herself caring for a baby who had been born the night before to a white supremacist couple. Shaken by the black nurse touching their newborn, the couple demands that she not be allowed to touch their son. Two days later, Ruth finds herself being left in charge of the baby during an emergency situation. Noticing that the baby has stopped breathing, Ruth is faced with a choice; risk her job to try and save the baby or follow the orders she had been given by her superior. In the chain of events that follow, Ruth finds herself at the end of a murder charge and represented by a white public defender named Kennedy. Kennedy tells Ruth time and time again that race has no place in the courtroom, despite the fact this case would not exist if Ruth had been white. Told from three strikingly different perspectives, Small Great Things encourages us all to see the world around for what is truly is: biased.

The book raises the question, what if everyone who had been born on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday were given more opportunities than those born later in the week. They were given better access to jobs and education among many other privileges. It seems silly; you can’t control the day of the week you’re born on. But when you replace “Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday” with “white” and “later in the week” with “black,” it suddenly doesn’t seem so silly. Now some of you may thinking I have no place to be talking about racism because I am a white person, and you’re not wrong. I don’t know what it’s like to be discriminated simply because I have darker skin. I don’t know what it’s like to have people stare when I walk into a restaurant because of my skin color. I don’t know what’s it’s like to watch people pull their belongings closer to them or to have people inch away from me because I am not a white person. I don’t know how it feels to be a person of color. But I do know how it feels to see my black friends be genuinely afraid of the police. I know how it feels to see my Latino friends worry about the safety of themselves and their families. I know how it feels to worry when my black friend is walking home alone at night. I know how it feels when the police drive by extra slow when they see me, a white girl, walking at night with my friends, who happen to be black guys, but never bother to slow down when those friends are white. It makes me feel angry. It makes feel afraid. It makes me feel ashamed.

Now you can claim that you aren’t a racist, but you don’t have to be a white supremacist to be a racist. You are being racist when you are surprised that the person in charge is a black man. You are being racist when you become hyper aware of your behavior around people of color, because god forbid they view you as prejudice. You are being racist when you complain about there being more scholarship opportunities for people of color, never minding the fact that they system has worked in your favor your whole life. You are being racist when you ignore the problem that is so clearly in front of you. Just because you don’t realize it, doesn’t mean it’s not hurting people of color. You can keep denying it, but that doesn’t make it go away. All it does is add to the problem. Racism is very much alive in the United States, and it’s time we stopped pretending it isn’t. It’s time to stop seeing the world in black and white, and start seeing it in color.

We all have biases, and we all make judgements about people, whether we know them or not. The key is to stop pretending they don’t exist and start owning them. That is the only way they will ever change. Change starts with an individual; it may seem small. How can one person make a difference? But small things turn in to great things.

This book is must read for people of all race, gender, religion: everyone. It’s a captivating story that forces you to learn more about the world you live in as well as about yourself. As the book mentions, we all shave ourselves down to fit into the puzzle, but no one ever bothers to just change the puzzle all together. It’s not someone else’s job to fix the world we live in; it’s ours.

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Skin

If the hurtful things you said to people appeared on their skin, would you still stay them?

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In case you can’t read the words, from top to bottom:

Disgusting 

Burden

Your Fault

Dumb

Slut

Kill Yourself 

You’re a Waste of Time

Shut Your Annoying Ass Mouth

Belong in a Mental Hospital 

Crazy

Grow Up

I Hate You

Broken

Pain in the Ass 

Gross 

Whore

Exhausting

Pig

Bitch

Damaged 

Fat

Stupid 

Unlovable 

Pathetic 

Too Many Problems

I Wish You’d Die

Not Good Enough

Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words leave marks you’ll never see. If the hurtful things you said to people appeared on their skin, would you be more careful? Would you be kinder? Would you think before you spoke? Why not start now?

Things Guys Don’t Understand

While we continue to fight for gender equality, there are many people who don’t seem to understand what feminist mean when they say “equality.” We don’t mean that we want to hit and be hit without consequence. We don’t mean that we want to stop shaving our legs and never wear makeup again. While these things would be nice to do without judgment for some, there is a bigger picture at large here. We want to feel safe when we go out. We want to be able to go to the bathroom alone without getting anxious. We want to be able to have fun without worrying about giving someone the wrong idea. We want to be able to do the things we want to do without constantly having to think about who we are going with, making sure someone we know is within sight, and keeping ourselves safe. We want to stop having to constantly look over our shoulders, stop getting blamed for our own assaults, and stop having to defend everything we do. With this, there are some things that guys need to understand about being a girl; things they aren’t even aware of. These are the things that many of us wish guys would wrap their heads around.

We don’t enjoy being catcalled or told we have a nice butt, or any other part of our bodies: It’s not flattering; it’s disgusting and dehumanizing. It makes us feel that we are sexual objects that exist merely for your viewing pleasure. It doesn’t make us feel good or pretty; it makes us feel anxious because we don’t know your intentions. It makes us feel self-conscious about everything we wear. The worst part is we blame these feelings on ourselves because we shouldn’t be drawing attention to ourselves, instead of holding the ones making us feel this way responsible.

Stop assuming rape accusations are false: Out of 1,000 rapes, 2 are falsely reported. That’s .02%. Of those same 1,000, 100 are reported, 20 rapists face trial, and 10 rapists serve jail time. We need to end the stigma surrounding this, because 900 out of 1,000 rapists are free to do it again.

Stop expecting apologies when we are assaulted: How many times do girls feel they need to apologize to their boyfriends for being assaulted? How many men are relieved to find out their wife was raped rather than unfaithful? Why are woman expected to ask for forgiveness when they are assaulted? The answer to all of these questions is we keep blaming women for own their own assaults. If it were about how revealing our clothes are, sexual assault rapes would quadruple in the summer, but they don’t. If it was about how much we drank, then sober women wouldn’t get assaulted, but they do. If it was about how much sex we have, then virgins wouldn’t get assaulted, but they do. There is no other crime where people try to blame the victim and justify the actions of the offender. Stop blaming women for our own assaults, and start blaming the people assaulting us.

When we say no, we mean no: This is not us playing hard to get. If you want a “challenge,” do a crossword, and stop using us as means to prove your own masculinity. We don’t hear you flirting when you say this; we hear you disregarding our words. We hear that you are ignoring our voices and looking at our bodies. We hear you saying that you don’t care about our consent. No is not a challenge, so stop disregarding us when we tell you no.

It isn’t our fault that we don’t know how to fix things: From the time we are toddlers, boys are taught to fix things; they are taught how to work on cars, how to use tools, and how to mow the lawn. Very few girls are taught these same things; we are taught how to cook, look pretty, and clean. While none of these skills are bad things to have, we are tired of being made fun of for not “knowing how to change our oil.” It isn’t our fault that we weren’t taught these things like you were. Instead of belittling us for it, take the time to teach us it.

The friend zone is a place you created: If we aren’t attracted to you, then we simply aren’t attracted to you. Stop making us feel bad for it; being rejected is never fun for anyone, but stop making us feel like we are bad people for not returning your feelings. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty for being attracted to a type of guy who is not you. Stop making us feel guilty for saying no.

Makeup is not “false advertising,” because we are not products: We wear makeup because it makes us feel good about ourselves, not for you. We also shave our legs because we want to, do our hair the way we want to, and wear the things we feel good in. Our physical appearance is not a prize for you.

We don’t like you in our personal space: You don’t know how it feels to have someone who is bigger and stronger than you invading your space, when you know you would have a slim chance of fending them off if you needed to. We take a step back when you get too close, we flinch when you talk with your hands, and we cower when you yell because women are conditioned to be afraid in those situations. We are conditioned to expect to be hurt when you are angry. Don’t make us feel guilty for an automatic, involuntary reaction that we can’t control. As much as we want to believe you wouldn’t hit us, we know there is a chance you might. As much as we want to believe you won’t assault us, we have to be prepared in case you change your mind. If we step back, don’t step forward. If we cower, lower your voice instead of raising it. If we flinch, look at the placement of your hands. You will never now how it feels to be in our situation when it comes to these issues, but you can at least attempt to understand where the uneasiness comes from. More women have been killed by domestic violence in the last decade than people killed in the War on Terror and the 9/11 attacks combined and 1 in 3 women are abused. Don’t make us feel bad for being scared when we are taught to be afraid of an angry man.

When we say things about men, we don’t mean all me: When you say “not all men,” we already know this, but here’s what you aren’t getting. Maybe not all men, but enough men to make women afraid to make eye contact or smile at all men. Not all men are dangers to women, but all women have felt threatened by a man. Not all men, but too many men.

Feminists are you best friends: Feminists believe that rapist are made and not born; that not every man is a rapist. We are the ones who are advocating for your right to show emotion. We are the ones who defend males who are victimized. We are the ones who advocate for men who are victims of rape and/or domestic violence. We are fighting for your rights just as hard as we are fighting for our own.

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For guys who need a pick me up; who need to be reminded of their worth and their value, check out my post “For the Boys” in the link below.

https://historyiswhoweare.com/2016/12/03/for-the-boys/

Things I Suck At

Ironically, this was one of my favorite pages to make. Not only did I get to play with fonts, but I found it oddly uplifting to admit to myself the things I’m not so good at. I am usually the first one to admit my own flaws, so it was empowering to write them down on paper. Who knows, maybe I’ll eventually be inspired to get better at these things.

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Mood Tracker

This page is in a grid form that covers the whole year. I use this page to track my moods every day. As you can see, there are six possible options I have: angry/irritated (red), mellow/relaxed (orange), stressed/anxious (yellow), ill/gross (green), sad/depressed (blue), and happy/excited (purple). At the end of the day, I fill in the color or colors that best represent my mood(s) of the day. This is a great page to have, especially when you have a bad day. I can look at this and see that most of my days are good ones, and I feel better. It is definitely one of my most beneficial pages. img_2258

It’s Been Awhile

It’s been two months since my last blog post. I have a lot to say, but yet I have nothing. I haven’t posted in two months because A. I haven’t had Wi-Fi and B. I just couldn’t think of anything to post. What is there to say? Normally I have a ton of things swirling around in my head, just waiting to burst out onto the page, but I haven’t had anything swirling around that seems worth while. Even now, I’m this far in and all I have managed to write is gibberish. I’m not going to lie, this summer has been rough and it’s taking its toll on me and my writing. I have so many things I want to post, including a new food category, but I just don’t have the energy to do so. As I struggle to write something worth your time now, I have nothing. My brain has nothing. So I will leave you with this: stick with me. I’ll get something worth your while written soon. I’m not quite ready to shut up yet, so bear with me. I will write something good again soon, I promise. Until then, you keep doing you.

Floor Planning

When writing a novel, it can be very difficult to stay consistent with your setting’s layout. One scene, your character is turning the corner to get to the kitchen, and in another the kitchen is just down the hall. While many readers may not even notice, to us authors, it’s important to get the story perfect. This includes the layout of the setting. Having been struggling with this myself during my latest novel endeavor, a solution seemed to slap me in the face. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this sooner- floor planning. The thing about floor plans is that they can be as detailed or as simple as you would like. As you can see, my main setting is a simple rectangle with a few rectangular rooms. For me, this is as complex as I’m going to get. However, some more ambitious people may design more complex shapes, add more furnishings and appliances, or even add measurements. This particular one took me about 5-7 minutes to complete and has helped tremendously. To do mine, I simply sketched a rectangle, divided it in half, and then divided the halves into the rooms that were essential to my story. Sure, the apartment could have another room, but it would be irrelevant for my story. My characters have no use for a guest bedroom or an office, etc. It also helped me to map out where some larger furnishings would go. Things like beds and T.V.’s had location relevance, however where exactly the lamp was in relation to the couch wasn’t so much. These diagrams can be very simple and easy to complete, but can help a ton. It has made writing scenes so much easier- I just refer to the diagram as I write and it makes the scene go much smoother and helps me to ensure my layout is constant throughout the story.

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Entering the Blogging World

 

Entering the blogging world is scary and exciting. It’s a great way to write about things you are passionate about or things you feel are important enough to put into the world. However, there is always the question, “Will anyone read it?” My hope is someone, somewhere will read what I have to say.