February 17th, 2014: Cultural Appropriation

Manaka Handmade…
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www.manakahandmade.etsy.com

-photo belongs to: http://manakahandmade.tumblr.com/

I was looking through the gorgeous girl’s Tumblr from above and saw that someone was attempting to chastise her for cultural appropriation by wearing three dots which the person thought was to represent a bindi. This made me think of many other times I see users on this site blame others for cultural appropriation where it was not warranted.

If you adopt something from another culture, in my opinion, and are respectful about it I don’t see a problem. It is very easy to be inspired by things from other cultures and I think that is wonderful. Naturally if you are inspired by something, especially when your physical representation is concerned, you adopt it in some way shape or form. There is a difference between what Manaka and many other people are doing and the true definition of cultural appropriation.

"Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture.[1][2] It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion, language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, can take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held.” via Wikipedia.

-via Google Images.

These pictures are completely different.

February 15th, 2014; Romance.

For the past week or so I have been thinking about relationships and romance more than normal. Today I kind of reached an interesting understanding, or came to an interesting observation is more like it. In today’s society we are conditioned to think that grand gestures displaying our emotions are the ones that mean something and are valid. Think about how most people seem to think an enormous wedding is the way to go, lavish and expensive gifts are what anniversaries and Valentine’s Day are made of, or that unless someone specifically says “I love you,” then they don’t.

I blame movies and television shows. Much like I blame them for most of our society’s problems, I blame then on our ridiculous definitions and representations of love and romance. Think about any romantic movie you have ever seen. There is usually not subtle ways that people show their affection towards their love interest. Most people are raised with their television as a third, or sometimes first, parent. We are taught to value that god forsaken box as spoonfuls of unrealistic ideas and idols are crammed into our mouths until those unrealistic ideas are now what we expect as the norm.

While feeling like you may not be special to your significant other because they didn’t organize a candle lit dinner, buy you flowers, or write you a nine page sonnet on how you make them whole, maybe you should look at the small things. In my opinion, the small, everyday things are really the big things. If someone can show you can special they think you are or how much they love you when they don’t mean to or think to, that is real love.

A good majority of the people I have been with only show their love and appreciation when they are “suppose to”. Valentine’s Day, our anniversary (if we lasted that long), Sweetest Day, when they think I want them to, when the did something wrong, or are trying to convince me to do something, ect, ect. Only one person I have ever been with constantly does things to make their feelings known on any given day at any moment and not because they are trying to get something or think it is required. Most of these actions come as second nature, actions that are done on auto-pilot while one thinks of something else or is doing something else. They are not done because of a Hallmark Holiday, or because society says that it was needed to be done.

The smallest look, the gentle kiss on the nose, the pulling you closer as you sleep, even the random surprise gift expensive or home made, these are all constant representations of love and care that are being overlooked because society has trained us to believe if it wasn’t done big, expensive, and elaborate then they don’t really love or care about you.

I feel many relationships crumble due to this. I truly believe if we all took the time to step back and notice all the unnoticeable we would all be a lot happier in our relationships. Romantic or just friendly.

Romance isn’t just flowers or candles. Romance, at least to me, is showing how you feel about someone. Making them feel special. Making them feel like they are wanted in your life. Making them feel like they bring you happiness. Romance is found even in the small gesture of grabbing someone’s hand while walking through the grocery store. Kissing the person upon first waking up. Brushing their hair out of their eye for them. Cooking them dinner.

Romance isn’t about the show, the performance. It is about the genuine feeling. It is very simple, easy, and sometimes thoughtless to buy someone a gift to make them feel special, but showing someone in the actions that may come as second nature that you care about them can only happen if you truly feel that way.

November 9th, 2013; Birch

Today while reading The Healing Power of Trees by Sharlyn Hidalgo I learned that this month is “Beith” or “Birch” in the Celtic tree calendar. In a nutshell, this is what the book states that the month of Birch symbolizes.

"Beginnings, endings, a new start; cleansing; overcoming difficulties; pliability; re-establishing boundaries; purification and renewal; releasing old patterns and shedding unhelpful influences; resolution of conflict."

Lately I have been struggling with all of this. There are many things I have struggled with letting go and it seems the past month or so the struggles have been doubled and sometimes tripled. I don’t think it is coincidence that as I am feeling I have reached my limit with these burdens, I learn that this month symbolized rebirth and letting go in many forms.

For instance, the astrological sign for this month is Scorpio. Scorpio is ruled by Mars and Pluto and one of the systems it governs is the elimination system. Basically, it governs the ability to eliminate anything that is preventing you from growing and being happy. That is precisely what I need right now.

My brain has always been my worst enemy, that has never been so prevalent as it is now. The things I can’t let go of right now all stem from the overwhelming amount of insecurities I sometimes wear. I wish getting rid of insecurities were as easy as removing a garment or shedding your skin like a snake. Curiously enough, I now remember from my reading earlier that the snake is one of the totems this month. How interesting that I feel as if I should be shedding my skin. Shedding this negativity so I can move on to the next faze of myself. A better version, more enlightened version.

I can’t seem to let go of jealousy the most. Specifically jealousy that I feel towards any person my boyfriend has been with in many definitions of the word. There are two women specifically that I feel the most rage-full jealousy towards. The most recent woman he was in a relationship with and one from years ago. The one most recently I feel the least amount of jealousy towards; it is mostly physical jealousy. She has the body type most men want-not what I have. She is curvy in all the right places. I have very minimal curves. This is a ridiculous thing to be jealous of or to care about considering He wouldn’t be spending as many months as he has with me if he didn’t find me physically attractive.

The other woman, she poses the most jealousy I have probably ever felt in my life. She is the one that got away. After all these years, he is still in love with her. I don’t know for certain if he still feels this way, but from previous conversations, I can guess he does. I feel love for past partners, but not in the sense that I would ever want to be with them again. It is more like the love you have for a relative. I feel as though once you love someone, it never goes away. It just morphs into a different form of love. I can’t help but drive myself insane wondering if He wishes She was in my place. 

This is the worst feeling of all. Being in love with someone who loves someone else possibly more than they love you, which they may not even love you at all.

When I look at our relationship, I should not be complaining about these feelings. Especially because they very well could be a figment of my overzealous imagination. He is the most wonderful human I have ever even been friends with. I doubt highly that I have ever been so lucky to have someone in my life, let alone have that person want to share theirs with me. 

The bottom line of this mini revelation I had and am having is that I feel, no, I know that I can overcome this with the help of some spirituality and meditation. I can shed all of this negativity that causes strain on my happiness thus strain on our relationship. I am so thankful for purchasing this book, yet even more thankful for the incredible things this world can teach you if you just listen.