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Tynt

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Privilege of the Underprivileged…


The Privilege of the Underprivileged... or should I say, The Plague of the Privileged...

The words themselves clash when placed together... They seem to fight against each other as if they were never meant to be joined in the same breath...
Even reading it out loud, it doesn't slide off my tongue as easily as if I were to exchange the word "privilege" with "pain", "struggle" or simply "disadvantage." All because my mind (with all the preset), preconceived notions can't really conceptualize an underprivileged group of people, having any privilege...
Oxymoron... Not really. Sarcasm... It could be, if that is how I intended it to be. But truly, while I still find it paradoxical and absurd that what and who (in today's society) we consider underprivileged could have privileges, I can't help but to come up with that possibility… I considered this to be a certain truth after my last visit to my homeland, The Republic Democratic of Congo.

"To say someone is underprivileged is to imply that there is a standard of privileges to which everyone is entitled, privileges that have been unjustly withheld from the underprivileged."

I wanted to bring my children to Africa for several reasons. For starters, I wanted them to know where their mother was from; I wanted them to not only know about their origins but to a degree, give them the opportunity to experience their origins… I wanted them to understand and be able to accurately describe when asked, “What are your origins?” They really understood the “African” and the “American” part of being African American because they had the chance to live it… This was probably the most ambitious reason of all as we were only scheduled to be there for a short period of time…
A less ambitious reason, but nevertheless important, was that I wanted them to live realness, to know why compassion really needed to exist. I needed to show them life on the other side; life lived differently, so an exceeding sense of appreciation for what they have would make them even better humans (and members of the global society) than what they already are.
I wasn’t taking them to give myself proof or validity to the “great” upbringing we are giving them but more so for them to know they had no ground to stand on as far complaining was concerned.

Before the trip I gave them a rundown of what to expect (at least what my blurry memory remembers from my time visiting the RDC). In retrospect, I can see myself giving a “judgmental” heads up, while comparing the culture we live in (in America) and the one we were about to visit - comparing what defined progress to me, with what I felt were natural rights and accessibilities all humans must have, with what I felt they were robbed of. While a culture shock was going to happen for certain, I wanted them to be prepared at least mentally, so the experience wouldn’t be a traumatic one…                                                                           

I would love one day to have one of my children share with all of us what the experience had been for them. Telling us what they got out of it, what they learned from it (if anything)… I can’t tell you if I succeeded.
I hope I did succeed, not through the visions I put in their mind but because like me, they saw the reality of this different life through the eyes of the people we were in contact with… It’s safe to assume that their own eyes had been tainted by my warnings


We went to places in what we call cities. We visited areas that we would call suburbs. We drove through what we would call villages and through it all, I was judging against what I know to be the norm in my daily life… what I know to be my given rights to have, the minimal expectancy I thought we (as people) should be granted. I judged against my definition of progress… not excessive… marginal progress at best.

On our way to one of the most beautiful resorts outside the capital of Kinshasa, our convoy that consisted of a bus and 3 SUV’s drove through kilometers of red sanded road. Shacks and makeshift “homes” were on each side of the road. Our passage was leaving falling red dust long after the last car had passed. The rear view mirror couldn’t tell us if anyone one was behind us and while we couldn’t clearly see the car in front of us; we knew we were all together, as the mini sand storm we were creating was proof of the one just in front of us. All of the sudden we would see little ones, barefoot, partially dressed, running beside the cars, trying to keep up, laughing, waiving at us.
I couldn’t see the smiles on their faces… I couldn’t see the sparkles in their eyes and the fun they were having, because all I could think was, how could anyone live like this? All of this sand and excruciating heat. No paved streets, just rough-and-ready passage ways we called roads. How could they breathe in the polluted air? How can they function without… everything, how… how… how… HOW? So many questions preventing me from opening my eyes and seeing…
Seeing that even though we are the ones destroying their environments to make ourselves temporarily comfortable, they still had joy and found ways to work with the changes we brought…


 

To be happy is so tangible if we simply reach for it…







We parked the cars and started walking. My professional camera on hand, I start taking pictures… I could only take candid pictures as so many things were appearing in front of me. Little ones running around laughing, some playing hide and seek with me, some walking to or from the market with a load on top of their heads, and finally some approaching us so we could take pictures of them…
I stopped for a moment and showed a few of them pictures they had allowed me to take. And while they were giggling at their own images, I realized how life can be so cruel…
I was finally seeing the sparkles in their eyes, the white of their teeth from the beautiful smiles they had, the joy in their lives while showing us their dance moves to the beat of the music in their head; the pride they had from having us walk their ground… I was finally seeing genuine happiness and I was left speechless...  

The Privilege of the Underprivileged

While I will probably continue to consider most of those villagers and habitants of the underdeveloped countries “Underprivileged” – not because I still believe that there are natural rights that should not be granted, but to the contrary should be a given in anyone’s life in today’s world, however that justice is not yet reality – I have realized regardless of what I know to be an injustice, they do have privileges that most of us can only dream of… and one of them is The Privilege of unaffected, candid, unconditional happiness…
The easy road to happiness is what they march on every day. It is what they were blessed with. Because their lives have not been tainted by the materialistic, conditional relationships, or reward base competitions… they live by recognizing and appreciating the life they are given…the blessing that is to just be.
We in turn we have lost that candidness, we wallow at lost opportunities, we strive and only thrive when we get more than… our level of acceptability is based on a materialistic culture giving happiness a threshold, at times very difficult to attain.

How do I teach my children to forget all they have ever known to be true because only then they will know that everyone’s reality (different, and yet at times similar) has a value only an open mind and open heart will be able to appreciate…
In this last trip to my home I have finally learned that I could have been looked at as the savage and as the underprivileged one. And more importantly, I would give away much to have that sparkle in my eyes…


RosieSandz

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Money Can Save Love...

“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.”
~George Lorimer



Yes that is what I believe… And don’t read into what I didn’t write!
Let’s be clear, when I say “Money can save love,” what I’m NOT saying is, “Money is the only thing that can save love.” This is a very important difference to highlight. Money, in conjunction with other things, will save love… because love does need sustaining, love needs help!

LIES! LIES! LIEEEEEESSSS are being spewed by those who say they'd live out of a cardboard box (let’s add moldy box to make this even more dramatic), under a bridge, be content with passionate encounters in the back of truck, calling home his or her parents basement and even better… surviving off water and bread, just as long they got love... LIES! When they say love is the most important thing they need, and that they are comfortable bringing kids into this world with no money, or plans of making money because they believe LOVE will conquer all… this is clearly LIES or they are clearly clueless…

I’m smiling as I finish writing my intro to this blog because I can hear the hissing and the booos J. So while you might still believe in this notion that love is the end-all, be-all, after reading my thought process and what life has taught me, I hope you will be willing to share with me your point of view.

“Money isn't the most important thing in life,
but it's reasonably close to oxygen on the "gotta have it" scale.”
 ~Zig Ziglar

So, The Hubby and I met 24 years ago and yes I must admit, at the cusp of being 20 with no responsibilities, I was one of those people who thought all we needed was love… Oh sweet naivety J.
I thought “Happily ever after” was guaranteed after finding who I knew to be the one. Speaking from experience, I can say that fairy tale is exactly that… a fairy tale. The truth is that having and maintaining a relationship is not easy. The divorce rate tells us that love is not enough. Even though it is a potent ingredient, it is not enough to make sure you will travel through life’s experiences, hard times, questionable times, naïve and unscathed. Many other dynamics are needed to keep a relationship going and money comes really close!
Love gives you wings - it gives you a sense of security and gives you that sense of nothing is impossible, just as long as you have “Love.” But my belief is, that love through course of lifetime is ever changing. What was feeding your new love is different from what is feeding your current love today, with the same person or… with someone different. Love is the constant reminder of why we are in the relationship, love will give an advantage to your relationship when it needs to be fought for but love (while it is the most important thing to experience, or to have) will not eradicate the need of money in your life. Money gives us what is needed to make it work, to make that foundation that is love, grow stronger, sheltered.

I read somewhere “You can wear all the stupid armbands, ribbons & pins you want. Until you cut your charity a check, it ain't Love.” I laughed but it is true… Love needs backing… Love needs action…

We grew up, we matured, we acquired given responsibilities, made tough decisions and made mistakes that affected our way of life, all the while having money at times or none most of the time! I did marry for love, and I’m still in it for love because I made sure I didn’t fall in love with a man who had no aspirations, or goals, or deep desire to take care of us… His family.
While love helped us think twice before giving up and giving in, the fact that both of us knew that it was not okay to have the minimum, that we had to strive for better, that we knew that “moldy cardboard box” underneath the Brooklyn Bridge wasn’t an option for us, the fact that we knew that we needed to break our back and find money is one of the main reasons we are still together … in love. We are partners in this thing called life. We are not actors in a Happily Ever After movie in LaLa land. It’s not always 50/50.  Most of the time it’s 70/30 and it changes, depending on circumstances but the key is, that we have learned, to be in it forever, love is one of the common denominators. Love will remind us why we are in it but in addition, dedication, acceptance, willingness to sacrifice and money (with all it brings you, i.e., peace of mind, security, life’s necessities, etc.) will facilitate growth in us and our love.

Love, true love, long lasting love is a luxury. It’s a gift that you seek and focus on finding, when all of your other basic needs (food, shelter, clothing...) are met. When you have the peace of mind that while tomorrow is not promised without challenges, you have the ability to provide and rise above the things that can shake and put a strain on that love. But think about it, what do you need to have these basic needs? Money, right? So what makes you think that money can’t save love?
Money can save love… Money just can’t buy real love...

“Money may not buy love, but it sure makes one hell of a down payment to my happiness” I’m just saying…

            “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made like bread…
Remade all the time, made new…
All the time, made new…”
Amy E. Dean

RosieSandz

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Trusting The Timing of Life, in Our Lives...


 “Happy New Year my Friends…
To the continuation of yesterday, towards a rewarding tomorrow…”
RS~

This was my "send off" into 2014 for myself and to you all. 
How rewarding were our tomorrows?
Did we accomplish what we wanted to?
To assess or not to assess?
Why do this to myself, why do we do this to ourselves?

The lesson learned was that no one's life worth was to be measured in 365 days. Every day we plant the seed of new beginnings and every new day we nurture and cultivate what was started yesterday… I realized that no goal or achievement could ever give me an everlasting happiness, because at any given moment, it can surely fade away…

The lesson learned was in realizing that time is not the beginning of the end but on the contrary, it should be our most cherished asset. Instead of setting goals or expectations with limitations, realize that time is limitless and our time is out of our hands…
Time is that minute within the hour…that second within the minute… that millisecond within a concept, a thought. Time is not made to track progress or to calculate pressure. Knowing time is not as important as knowing what you do with your time; what can be accomplished with your time.

Part of being human is mastering the actions that stem from the word "want" in all of its tenses (what we want, what we wanted, what we are wanting, etc.)… and this is really not a bad thing. Where we unknowingly sell ourselves short is when we set limitations. It's when we let time define our actions as success or failures, instead of realizing that we learn from life experiences and intentionally continue to grow and evolve in the directions we choose.
I’ve learned to live through obstacles and interferences, and at times I feel very disconnected because of the changes around me. But I’ve also learned to circle back to the core of who I am and reconnect with who I believe I am meant to be.

This past year, work took over…
Priorities shifted, the focus became conical, and so many times I felt as though life, as I knew it, love and living had been interrupted.
BUT was I wrong…
So yes, I do have to assess. I do have to take account of what yesterday was. And this is not to determine what was wasted in the past year of my life (failure), or if I made something good (success) out of it. It's because I have realized that the story of me, the life I live today doesn’t end and restarts at the end of the countdown, or the drop of the ball. I know that my life is a thread of moments… it is continuity.

I believe success is a journey of multiple peaks and valleys. Trust the timing of life in your life. Trust that if it was meant to be, it will be but only when you are ready for it… Life will get in the way of your goals and resolutions have them if you need them to guide but don’t confine them or be define by them…give it time, give yourself time. This way you can do what you wish but also let life be and not demand anything out of it; because happiness can turn into unhappiness in a blink of an eye, if you were to not get what you expected or demanded when you expected or demanded it!

“It has never been matter of wonder to me that human resolutions are liable to change; one passion gives them birth, another may destroy them.”
― Antoine François Prévost


Cheers to 2015 and the gift of continuity!
RosieSandz
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