She is just one of us

Sometimes, smart people do really stupid things; beautiful people, ugly things; respectable people, offensive things. So many names come to mind, people whom we loved and made mistakes or caught us by surprise by doing something we thought they would never do.

There are 2 groups of people: those we idolized or love and out of nowhere shock us, and the ones who we know are really smart and we love and hate at the same time. We usually are not too shocked when they do something stupid. We expect it from them.

Let me give you a few examples. There are a lot of people we look up to, or enjoy watching on TV, listening to, but then one day, they do something stupid and suddenly it changes our whole view on them. Think Paula Deen. Think Lance Armstrong, Think Bill Clinton, Think, oh you know. I am sure you have your own list. Yes Miley Cyrus falls in this category, at least for young people and parents who thought she was a good example, and then suddenly went and did something so shocking….more on that later.

But first, let’s address the other category, the ones who really are smart, but do really stupid things because by trying to make a point (usually a good one) they are portrayed as monsters. Often, they are just misunderstood. Kanye West to me is the perfect example. If you listen to the man, he is actually extremely smart. He only wants harmony, peace and help people. He also does incredibly stupid things. I personally like the guy and like to hear him talk. I am very much like him. I sometimes let my frustration take over. Kanye West has gotten himself into a lot of trouble for things which, if you think about it, are not so wrong or untrue. Kanye lacks tact. I sometimes do too. I speak my mind and sometimes need to bite my tongue.

There were many men and women in history who were loved and hated at the same time. They were at first judged, only to be respected later when people realized what their message was.

There is nothing worse than seeing good people do stupid things because they might have lost their chance to do some real good. Look at Weiner, he screwed up a very promising career because of his indiscretion. I personally don’t care. I am one to believe that this just reminds us that these people are human. They make mistake like we all do.

No one is perfect. Yes, that includes you. You know you’ve done something stupid once. If you haven’t, maybe you should try it.

We’re all a bit judgmental of one another. Why? Because we are human and in a way we have a sense of superiority. We are social beings and we judge. I think jealousy plays a big part too.

This brings me to our dear Miley. Poor Miley, well, sort of. She is talented. Her songs are not any worse than a lot of pop songs playing on the radio these days. I believe she would have been a lot more respected if she had sang her songs but illustrated them differently. She took it a bit too far, but that is HER rebellion. I guess, even if we don’t like it, it is her life, her decision and in the end, she will be the one dealing with the consequences. She will be the one who will need to explain to her kids why she felt it was ok to expose herself to the world the way she did. It will be her regrets if she has any. 10 years from now, we won’t care about her VMA performance or her wrecking ball video. Who really cares about how shocking Madonna or Lady Gaga were in their videos?

Miley is just one of us, going through life. Yes she is in the public eye and she is using that to really get back at an industry who honestly probably took advantage of her and robbed her of a normal childhood in the first place. So in a way, who are we to judge (me including)? Michael Jackson, who is one of my favorite artists of all time, has done some PRE TTY weird stuff too. His ball grabbing was bothering me a lot when I was a kid. A LOT. But having a little compassion and understanding his life made me accept him and all his weirdness. I even felt empathy.

We all do things that are not always good or right or appropriate even. We all make mistakes and grow in our own weird way and at our own pace.

To be honest, I think that as spectators, we are awfully critical. Again. Guilty here too.

Everyone talks about how they hate the Kardashians. But honestly, who cares? First of all, their dad was famous before they were, they were thrown into the public eyes many years ago, before the sex tape. Then they had an opportunity and seized it maybe. Whatever. I don’t see how they are to be hated any more than other Hollywood celebrities. Why can’t we, “normal” people, just drop the judgment? Why do we have to resent people because they are successful? Ok yes, I agree if someone has gained success by stealing, then it is wrong. So why aren’t we more upset at CEOs, Cheney, Oil companies, Walmart more? They rob us more than the Kardashian. They do more evil. Pharmaceutical companies have worse agendas. So quit your jealous whining about so and so.

So ok, we can express our opinion. Miley Cyrus VMA performance and her new video are bad taste but let’s remember that she is human and if you don’t want your kids exposed to that, don’t let them watch it but also take the opportunity to teach your kid, and yourself, that she is human and makes choices, good, or bad. She is just a kid who is learning how to live in this world, like we all do everyday. Some of us have it figured out, some of us don’t. Some of us MIGHT THINK we have it figured out, only to wake up a decade from now to realize we are lost. There are no definite right or wrong way to live OUR lives. It is a journey. We do what we can.

Also, it wouldn’t hurt to bring some positive back. Instead of focusing on what is wrong about someone, why not try hard to find the positive aspects?

You want to know what made me want to write this post? Well, obviously, I watched that Wrecking Ball video because I wanted to see what the fuss was about (kids were talking about it and I needed to be aware). I found the song to be pretty good and the video could have been brilliant and powerful, even keeping the wrecking ball, etc. After the initial shock and disgust, I started reflecting and felt bad about the whole thing. It prompted me to realize how one small decision can change everything. Take out the self touching, nudity and hammer licking, a new approach and it could have been a more meaningful artful video.

Oh well. Maybe next time Miley. I mean in 10 or 20 years. We will forgive you. We understand. We really do.

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Everything is ok

Today is my birthday. I started the day feeling down, for so many reasons: an old friend of mine picked My Birthday to bring up some things that were hurtful, I am all alone today since I have been jobless since Monday. I went to get a massage that turned out terrible. I did get a gift certificate though in case I wanted to ever come back. Trying to make my day a good one didn’t seem to work so I headed home.

See, I was really trying to not feel sorry for myself and do something for me, like all my close friends and relative always tell me I should do. I always put everyone else first and usually don’t like wasting money on myself. Then when I do, it doesn’t seem to work. But this time, I didn’t give up. I called up a different massage place, got an appointment and finally got the massage I deserved and needed.  I walked home, feeling content and decided to write a post.

I have been gone for so long and have truly missed writing, one of my passions. I will soon go back to writing about random things, health, politics, and other things, you, my dear readers love but for now, I need to express and share a bit of me and my “wisdom”.

Since Monday, I have been worried about how I was going to provide for my family now that I was jobless. I have many moments of ” freaking out, OH MY GOG what am I gonna do, how am I gonna pay for this and that”. But I also have to be honest and admit that I have had many moments of liberation. Monday night, in the shower, I felt like I had just been released from prison, or as if I was alive again.

Having someone repress you everyday is the worst thing a human being can go through. Not being able to be yourself is a shame and a tragedy. At the end of the day, you are more than your paycheck, you are more than your commute and how much stuff you buy, how often you travel, what you do for the holiday. Deep down, you are YOU, a fertilized egg who grew slowly and was influenced negatively or positively by those who raised you. But really, you are just a peaceful piece of nature, or miracle and more than anything you owe it to yourself and nature/God to live your life, the way you want it and to be happy.

I am tired of explaining who I am to those who do not get me. I am tired of trying to please everyone. And so what if people don’t like me….does it mean I am less than they are? No. I am still this little piece of nature. I was obviously meant to be here. So good riddance bad jobs, good riddance bad people or bad friends. I don’t owe you anything. I owe myself more. I owe Nature more. I owe my child more.

The purpose of this blog was always to support those who do not feel like they belong……(fill in the blank). This is for the beautiful souls who are talented and intelligent and those who want peace and love and understanding around them and are shut down by the others who tell them they are not being realistic. Who are they to decide what we can and cannot do? What we should and should not do?

I am tired of trying to fit in and having to explain myself (I know I am repeating myself).

Everything is ok. I am warm. Everything around me is calm right now. I am listening to Debussy. There is a lot to do and think about and figure out but for now, right now. Everything is ok.

Remember, if you feel like you do not fit in, it just means you are around the wrong people and you have yet to find those who are like minded. Send out a message to that world. Maybe they will come to you.

Do you feel forced to follow tradition? An epiphany on Epiphany!

After a few weeks of writer’s block, it finally hit me. Don’t you love that moment when something comes to you and all you want to do is grab a keyboard ( *smiles*) and write a blog post about it. Well here it comes. I had my epiphany, ironically enough on Epiphany!

One of my readers figured out some of my origins after reading my blog post about eating consciousness. No wonder, all that mention about eating rabbit and cow’s tongue and liver as a child gave it away. Yes I am partly French. My whole adult life, I have had issues with how to keep up with traditions. As I mentioned in previous posts, the first dilemma came when we had to figure out whether to celebrate Christmas or not. Well I figured that out. But there are so many other things. For me and my husband, a few issues come to mind. First, we’re not Catholic but both had at least one Catholic parent, then when it comes to me, I was raised in a home where food WAS a national TRADITION! I’m not joking. So, even after having figured out that we didn’t have to celebrate some religious holidays, food is always a reminder or even an excuse. Like today. Today is Epiphany. I grew up celebrating Epiphany. My mom was not really a practicing Catholic but in France, it was tradition to get the Galette with the fève inside. Whoever got the fève was crowned King or Queen. Also, every time you would visit someone during the whole month of January, you would have to bring a galette. Whoever got the fève was the next one to buy the galette. It went on until the end of the month. We also have until the end of the month to wish Happy New Year. Anytime afterwards was bad taste.

I continued all the traditions I grew up with (well most of them) because it is heart warming and I wanted share my culture with my family and kid.

After a few years, I now find those traditions more as chores and duties. I went to bed last night thinking, “oh shit, tomorrow is Epiphany, I have to go get a galette I guess” excuse my language but that is really what I thought. I started wondering where I would get it, where the best one is at, which store has the cheapest…. AND because of my new vegan diet, I honestly had no desire to even eat it. It was Christmas all over again. At Christmas, I bought a bûche de Noel but I wasn’t excited about eating it. I looked forward to my vegetables a lot more.  Traditions are legacies, I get it. But we change, people change, so why do I feel so guilty by just thinking about NOT getting a Bûche de Noel or a Galette? I think it is because all those things were fun for me as a child, but I am not a child anymore and I could care less if I eat a galette on a Holiday I don’t even believe in. I am a closeted double hypocrite. So here, I am out. I am not Catholic and I celebrate Catholic holidays just because I did when I was younger even though it was mostly because of the fun and for the food and now I force myself to do it for my kid.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like traditions but after a while, it is time to move on. For example, we used to celebrate Easter, but now we no longer go for the Easter egg hunt. We graduated from that tradition. I never baked beignet on Mardi Gras like my grandmother used to. That’s ok. I don’t make crepes that often either which probably explain why I am not rich since the tradition is that if you make crepe on a certain day, you’re supposed to be rich all year. I think I have to stop being so hard on myself. Another reason why I kept those traditions for so long even when they annoyed me was because my mother would make me feel guilty about not being in France anymore. I think she was afraid my kid would not have enough reminders of where we came from. That could not be further from the truth. We all know where we come from and we cherish it. What is more important though to us is who we are today as people. Who we are is not defined by traditions. I love my origins and I will always cherish them but I see myself more as a part of the human race than as a National of a specific country or a follower of a specific faith. We did a great job raising our child that way. This might anger some people, but I find it wrong to force kids to say the pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag every day in school. We love our country very very much in our house. 9/11 was one of the worst days of our lives. We love our American People but we do not need to assert it that way because we feel we alienate the rest of the world. Traditions are like history to me. They have to be remembered and people choose to remember history in their own ways. Some express their opinions loudly, some join parades, some make movies about it, some light a candle quietly in the privacy of their home. The way we choose to honor our traditions is up to us and we shall not feel pressured by anyone, not our parents, not capitalism (hello Valentine’s day around the corner) or our government. So I am officially over the guilt.

The other very important thing to remember is to forever create new traditions. It is actually the most fun. I have countless ideas every year which turn into beautiful new memories and traditions and it makes me happy to know that I am continuing to write our history.

 

Now for all those of you who wonder what I ended up doing: well, I did it. I went out and bought a Galette des Rois. When I came home I wrote this post…out of frustration. Now I think I will actually enjoy it more but I will no longer do anything just because I have to follow some tradition.

 

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Originality is my convention

We are extremely lucky to live in the Western World. Developed countries have so much to offer to us. We pretty much can get anything we want, whenever we want, however we want. Sometimes, there are so many choices, we get lost or confused…..or annoyed (which reminds me, one of my next posts will be about shopping so stay tuned!). The privilege we have to live in such a society (let’s think about it here for a minute, it is a privilege, many people in under-developed countries envy us) can also be a curse. What I mean by that is that having everything handed to us on a platter makes us lack originality. We have become dull, plain, boring. We do not use our brains as much as we should and we just go with trends. With follow the herd like sheep and don’t question anything really unless it is something extremely important. In the next few paragraphs, I will mention how our society bores and traps us in its conventionality, how it makes us less interesting and most importantly how a buddabamama goes against the norm whenever she can. Some might call it rebellion. I just call it using my heart and soul.

Enjoy.

I’ve always struggled with fitting in this society. I struggled because, I really always wanted to do things that I wanted to do and not be pressured to do otherwise. Let’s say that it probably originated from my odd childhood. I always wanted to burst out of my shell, exit the world I was in. I still remember vividly reading a story in High School called ” The Black Sheep in the Family”. I do not remember who wrote the passage but it described me so well and for the first time in my life, I felt adequate. I thought, wait, maybe more people are like me… How amazing? Maybe if the people around me didn’t SEE me, others would. I just needed to find my blissful environment and like-minded people.

I was never one to conform to the norm. To me the word norm is scary and ugly. In my family weird is more of a compliment than an insult. Weird to most people means odd. What’s wrong with being odd? Creativity is an important part of our happiness. If we cannot create, then why are we here? What is the point of living our lives, just going with what the crowd does, buying what everyone buys, celebrating the same way people celebrate? Why not come out of our bubble once in a while and try something completely different? Why not do something NEVER done before? Why is that so scary? I think it all comes down to comfort. We are so busy, tired, sick, frustrated, what is presented to us is plain and simply appealing because after living our exhausting lives, we do not have time for creation. It takes time, courage and thought to create. No, we don’t have time for that. Instead, look, there is something on the TV, I can just call and order it and it will come to me so fast, I won’t have to worry about anything. I don’t have to come up with my own idea. It would take me forever to figure out how to make something like that….? Right? The good thing though when it comes to products is that the best thing that can ever happen to you to trigger creativity is lack of money. If I don’t have the money to buy something, I will try to make it. Often, if I need something, I will think, “How can I make it”? It is usually an adventure because I am not the  most crafty person. When my daughter was younger, we wanted to buy her a little table and chair so she could do her art. Everything in stores looked too commercial and expensive so I told my husband that we should make it ourselves. He was very reluctant ( he is the least daring person in our family). I had a vision to use an old side table that was passed on to me from my friend Ella. It was a dark wooden table with beautiful legs. I dragged my husband to a store that sold only unfinished furniture. We found the cutest little chair to go with the table. Then we went to Lowe’s, picked a color we know she would love and got to work. My husband was dreading the whole thing. He had so many doubts and fears. We stayed up late, sanded, coated, painted the table while our daughter was sleeping. The results: amazing. She had a great birthday and a decade later, she still has the table (now covered with hair accessories and jewelry) and she treasures the fact that she can pass it on to her daughter or granddaughter in the future. The best part is: I had won my husband over and from that day on, he has been a lot more supportive of my crazy ideas.

That is just one example on how I always think outside the box. I won’t lie to you, I encountered many nay-sayers and people who try to discourage me (my husband used to be one of them).  What I would recommend those of you who are brave enough to be creative is to just ignore, ignore and ignore again those who try to stop you. You could spend an hour trying to explain those people that you have a vision, that your idea will turn to gold, they will never understand until they see it. SO: don’t waste your time on them. If you are lucky enough to have been blessed to have the ability to free yourself from conventionality, then you owe it to yourself to just do it and not worry about how others will judge you. One thing for sure is that you can never please everyone. So why try? The person you must please first is yourself. It took me a long time to come to term with this simple notion.

My husband and I were both raised with some sort of religious upbringing. I was raised in Catholic country with a mother who didn’t care much for organized religion but with a Muslim father. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. What a combination!!! The good thing is that because of that and all the crazy things I was asked to do, I sort of deviated from the whole idea of religion. I mean no offense to those who are religious. I have the utmost respect for people’s choices and free will. What makes you happy, you should continue to do. However, religion is not for me. I do not find any comfort in organized religion. I never believed anything that was sort of shoved down my throat. It makes a lot of sense actually. If something is somewhat forced, you will rebel. When I went to college, I found my peace by taking a non-western religion class and reading up on Taoism and Buddhism. I am not a Taoist. I am not a Buddhist but I identify with those two ideologies the best. But I still don’t go to a Buddhist temple. I am content with my beliefs. They are original. It’s a little bit of science, a little bit of spirituality, a little bit of Buddhism (my blog name is starting to make more sense now doesn’t it?) a lot of nature appreciation, and lots of love and compassion. If I may, I recommend anyone who is reading this and who feels inadequate in their religion or faith to do venture outside the norm. You do not have to be the same religion as your parents. If they love you, they will accept you whatever you feel comfortable in. If you are afraid they won’t, it is not your issue. It is theirs. This is your life. You are with yourself more than you are with them. You will be the one raising your children, not your parents. You will be the one passing on your experiences so make them worthy of them.

All this brings me to our daughter’s first holiday season. We did not live in Los Angeles at the time where so many people have different faiths and no one is surprised if you do not celebrate Christmas. My husband and I had a huge dilemma ahead of us. We were not religious but were both raised celebrating Christmas. We didn’t know what to do so we did nothing. We figured our daughter was young enough that she wouldn’t remember anything. The only thing she really cared about was being loved anyways. By the second holiday season, we had it almost figured out. Because we both enjoyed Christmas as kids and because of the pressure of society and family, we figured out a way to make ourselves and everyone happy. We decided we would celebrate seasons. We decorate our house according to each season. We do have a tree with decorations matching our personality (we have yoga figures, lots or papier-mache animals, pictures of our dog, etc) and we do exchange presents. We keep our decorations sometimes until the end of January. We taught our daughter the meaning of Christmas, Jesus, etc, even though we are not Christians. There is nothing wrong with educating our kid about every religion. She knows about Ramadan, she knows about Jewish traditions, she knows most religions. We however put no pressure on her. We figured, if we do our job right, she will make her own choices. And she did. One important thing for us around the holiday is to bring our creativity to the season. We make collages with things we love that represent the season and holiday and hang them on our walls, we make our own crafts, we make our own wrapping paper sometimes. We shop in odd stores. We buy useful things. The holiday season is a celebration for everyone. I do not like to buy things that will only benefit the receiver. As much as we can, we buy things that will make an impact somehow. We also do not like the pressure around Christmas. Family can be stressful sometimes. My husband always tells me story how crazy is Christmases were, having to spend so much time in the car to go from one part of the state to another just to spend Christmas with everyone. We don’t do that. The world won’t end if we don’t follow the traditional schedule. We eat whenever we want, with whoever with want. One year, we got Middle Eastern take out and ate in our car before we unexpectedly decided to drive down to see my husband’s grandparents. It is to this day the best memory I have of Christmas. (This is for you Luella, whenever you are). The best things in life are not planned, they come out of blue or come out of pure sheer creative craziness.

So, we have originality in product creation which can range from kitchen stuff to jewelry, clothing, anything for the house, anything, you name it!, originality in our own personal choices such as religion, traditions (what is your own personal touch on birthdays, holiday celebration?). Now, let’s touch on originality of thought pattern. People sometimes find me unpredictable and to be honest, I like it that way.  I sometimes piss people off because I hate planning and I will just call someone up at the last minute and see if they are free. If they are not, I move on. Never upset because I know I am unusual. That’s just how I like it. I can be extremely traditional but also very “out there” in my way of doing things and seeing the world. I like to question everything. I tend to first go against the crowd until I have time to analyze things. I never rush to buy new popular things. I do not have an iPhone. It took me forever to even get a smartphone. I do my homework carefully before getting into anything but most importantly I will listen to my gut. Being used to going against the norm makes it easy to do this. I am sort of a pro at it. It does take time to feel completely ok with oneself. There is so much doubt at first. We are human and we want to please one another. We are also creatures of habit who sometimes just need to be part of group. It is only natural. Fear not, with a little bit of practice, you will soon find comfort in being different. Different changes the world. Originality is our future. Status Quo is an old thought. 2012 is a time for evolution, change, higher consciousness.  We don’t have to just be fed whatever is giving to us, we can stray from that and get better nutrients for our brain. If there is just a slight question or doubt coming to your mind, then it is worth exploring. Under no circumstance shall you dismiss it! *smile*. I was raised eating meat at least 3 times a week. Now I am a Vegetarian, close to being Vegan, except for my love of cheese. My eyes were opened by allowing myself to watch very uncomfortable documentaries (that is a whole other post). I question and study what I hear or read from news network. Pretty  much, a good rule of thumb is to question everything and anything that is on TV. Curiosity goes hand in hand with originality. If you dig into whatever it is you are watching, buying, thinking, you will most likely be better off. It is quite ok to not go with the crowd. You are born alone. You will die alone. It is ok to be alone in your search for truth and it is ok to be the first to come up with an idea.

My advice to everyone who is reading this is, don’t sweat it. Embrace yourself and explore your mind and your choices. I do things that seem strange all the time. People think I am crazy, only for a few years later to realize I was right all along. Ask my husband, he has tons of stories, especially when it comes to odd health remedies or advice on food/bad food. I think original people are ahead of their time. Do not give up on yourself because no one understand you. Your time to shine will come. But always remember that what matters the most if that you are staying true to yourself by being original. No one can ever take that away from you. So cherish it. Don’t be ashamed of it.

Now because I love you all so much, I leave you with one of the songs that inspired me while writing this. Remember, this world was made more fun for all of us to live in because of amazing people who dared to dream and explore, think out of the box, or challenge authority!