Christmas, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Trigger Life Incident:

So I’m a social worker who assists clients with paying bills they’ve either fallen behind on or can’t pay because of some emergency situation (ie. car break-down, child medical expenses, death in the family etc.) that interrupted their regularly scheduled bill payments.

During and after the Holiday season, however, the reasons or inabilities to pay bills oftentimes involves Christmas which has, nonetheless, been famously coined “the most wonderful time of the year”, but is it really though?

What makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year?

The world does not stop because the calendar has fallen, yet again on the “hap-happiest season of all”. Bills still come and managing those bills becomes a lot harder for many Americans when the seemingly mandatory purchasing of gifts is added to life’s list of expenses.

So what exactly makes Christmas the most wonderful time of year?

While there is this idea that Christmas is about “holiday cheer”, jingling bells, and a baby Jesus, if we were all honest, we’d admit that Christmas is way more about consuming worldly possessions (which, ironically, Jesus wagged his finger at) than it is about any of the aforementioned. I’ve had to help people pay their bills because they forced buying stuff into their already jammed-packed budgets.  I understand that as a parent you want your children to have a “good” Christmas, but do we really want to teach children that a good Christmas is connected to material things?

When I was little, I was far from a brat–what one would even consider a “good child”.  Yet, I still subconsciously expected to receive not just a gift for Christmas, but several, and though I knew better than to verbally express anything that ungrateful, the feeling was still there.  I would seriously be disappointed if the gifts under the tree were a little skimpy, and I found myself constantly comparing all Christmas days with the Christmas days the years before.

I think back to my primary and secondary experiences with classmates and how we would compare how much stuff we got for Christmas.  Of course there were always those children who couldn’t participate in the conversation, and while I’m sure that was somewhat depressing, their plight is not what bothers me the most.  I’m more bothered, I realize, by those of my classmates whose parents literally made financial sacrifices just so their children could come to school and brag about, or wear their light, gas or water bill on their feet.

No, I’m not against gift-giving, I’m against excess and the mentality that excess develops.  I’m against the pressure that Christmas places on parents to make financial sacrifices just so their children don’t end up lying across some psychiatrist’s couch explaining how it all started with a Christmas that yielded no presents.  I’m against instilling in people the expectation of material possessions, and the longing for those things because longing oftentimes turns into greed.  Greed, after all, is nothing more than an intense and selfish desire for something.

As an adult , I’ve had to learn to curtail my wants– to deny myself materials that I, for whatever reason, convince myself that I need.  I’ve had to learn to prioritize my needs over my wants; over my desires and to control myself so that my desires do not control me.  When we fail to put conscious effort into doing this, we become consumed by greed and our desire to have things overrule our logic.  This is how irrational and impulsive spending happens.  I do not at all blame Christmas alone for greed, but I do attribute a large part of the blame to it.

As of this year, my family and I have ceased to celebrate Christmas, but I am always open to hearing from people who have found ways to make Christmas more of what it’s supposed to be than what it has become.  So what do you say?  How have you curtailed the excess and greed that Christmas promotes?  Do you even agree that Christmas does this?  Make your voice known!

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To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required

Trigger life incident:

A while back I was randomly browsing through Rihanna’s tweets and she had this one snappy tweet where she was screaming at twitter world that she is “not a parent or a role model” so basically tough titty if your daughters try to imitate me and tough titty if they are mislead in the process.

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Ooohh…Okay…

But Rihanna isn’t the only person who feels as she does.  Many of her, and other celebrities’, fans will aggressively defend their favorite pop star’s right to be and do whatever they want with no regard to the effects it has on the fans.  Many will even argue that celebrities actions don’t even have effects on the fans at all.

I find that notion strange.  Let’s take a look at why:

Before I go any further, let me define celebrity for Rihanna and for all of those who share her sentiments:

ce·leb·ri·ty

/səˈlebrətē/
  • A famous person.
  • The state of being well-known:  “his prestige and celebrity grew”
Synonyms
fame – renown – reputation – repute – notability – glory
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Okay, if a celebrity is a famous person, that means that celebrities are people, like you and me, who entire (or a reputable number of) nations know and love.  Not only do these mass numbers of people love this person, but they support them by buying their material, attending their shows, building shrines of them in their closets, and heatedly defending them against any nay-sayers.
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Let’s take a look at what the typical fan looks like:
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I mean, people all but worship their favorite celebrities, so 1) I think fans need to realistically evaluate their feelings of connectedness toward their favorite celebrities, and 2) I think these screaming, red, and tear-stained faces that pay celebrities’ bills and keep them relevant and thus in the spotlight, and thus employed, deserve some consideration in return.  How selfish does a celebrity have to be to feel otherwise?  What is to be said about any human soul, famous or not, who discourages people from looking to them admirably and in turn imitating some of the things they do?  That’s called being someone’s inspiration.  The world may have never known Eryka Badu if she had never known or been inspired by Billie Holiday (or whomever she listened to growing up).
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How much denial does someone have to be in for them to aggressively defend their favorite celebrity, a person whom they do not know, but love anyway, and then honestly deny these deep feelings of connectedness that they feel towards this person that they don’t even know?   It’s okay if you love your favorite celebrity, just realize and admit that who you choose to idolize reflects who you are as a person and the type of behavior, music, lifestyle, etc. that you consciously or unconsciously endorse.  It is impossible for me to love Nicki Minaj and not be in favor of, or at least be “okay” with the messages she sends through her music and through the clothing she chooses to wear.
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So again I ask, why would a celebrity not recognize, accept, and enjoy their ability and their obligation to inspire their fans?  Rihanna, it’s cool if you don’t want to change your image to something more “wholesome” to suit angry parents, but you do have to realize that young women who watch you will try to imitate you.  It is the only reason they are listening to you…because they like something or everything about you.  Some will merely draw their artistic inspiration from you, or identify with you as an individual; and others will go to the extremes of darkening their hair and wearing all black just because you do.  If that bothers you then maybe you should consider another profession or consider a new look, because after all, if who you are (how you dress, how you act, the type of music you make, etc.) pleases you, then why wouldn’t you be flattered that other women and little girls agree?
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What I’m saying is that celebrities don’t really have a choice.  They work for “the man” technically, but in reality, they work for their fans to like them.  If you are a celebrity that no one likes, you will not be a celebrity long.
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At the least, I think celebrities ought to realize that they have a significant impact on the fans who genuinely love everything (that they know) about them–the good, the bad and the ugly.  As love goes in all other relationships, people tend to hold their loved ones in high regard and they tend to take the words and actions of those they love as indicators of what they should do and how they should operate.
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Whether fans who share Rihanna’s sentiments admit it or not, they identify in some way with their favorite celebrities and their musical influences infiltrate their lives.  The levels at which this happens varies from person to person, but it happens to all.  It is necessary for the relationship of celebrity and fan.  Again though, that’s okay.  It’s okay for you to demand that the person you adore acknowledge your thoughts and opinions.  Afterall, the good book says:
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”–Luke 12:48

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wedding?

Alright, first blog and uh, I already smell fish.

Most of my rants are triggered by some incident in my life, sometimes big, sometimes small.  So let’s begin with the trigger for this rant.

Trigger conversation (one of many, by the way):

Young Independent Woman: “I want to get married but not right now because I want a career.”

Old Independent Woman: “I don’t think you realize how serious marriage is.  Are you sure you want to be tied down at such a young age?”

Me:

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I H-A-T-E, HATE, when women say they don’t want to be married because they “want a career” or because they “don’t want to be tied down”.  I’m like, who the freak are you marrying,  Master Thomas?  Marriage is not slavery and your husband is not your master,  he’s your partner. He helps you accomplish your goals with his support, and vice versa.  Marriage is a partnership, like a team.  That’s always more fun right; two is company…what ever happened to that?  Am I really supposed to rather experience all of life’s ups and downs alone?  Is that really more ideal than having a friend, a partner, a supporter, a comrade, along the way?  I’m really confused by the notion that I’m supposed to sacrifice assistance for independence.  Why go it alone whenI could have help?

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What it seems that people fail to realize is that when you mary the right person they want nothing more than to see you accomplish everything you set out to do.  If you like to write, or travel, or cook, or sky-dive, or sit at home and do absolutely nothing at all, you just marry someone who is, at the least, cool with what you like.  At the most, the person you marry will be doing all the things you like with you…because the two of you are friends.  Friends.  Not enemies, not parent and child, not slave and master, but friends; partners with different but equal roles in your relationship.  You marry your friend and then there’s nothing to fear.

So what do you say?  Why are we so afraid of life-long friendship that build the foundation for families, and where do we get these notions that marriage, God’s design for men and women, is otherwise?

Isn’t God Love, after all?

Something Fishy

I figured I would start my WordPress blogging career with a little introduction of myself and, I guess, my purpose for writing.  The name of this theme I selected from the WordPress free theme collection is “Something Fishy”.  OOO, clever, WordPress, clever (cause there are fish in the theme).

Anyways, like this theme, the world is filled with fishiness: “fishy” situations, “fishy” people and a bunch of other “fishy” stuff.  I guess what I’m trying to say is “hello”, welcome to my mind and its lack of trust for this oh so fishy world filled with oh so fishy people.  Enjoy.

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