Being In College

As long-time readers know, I spent two of the last three years studying at a community college. I really enjoyed that time, I learned a great deal not just about the subject matter of whatever class I was in (I should hope I learned something in those classes!), but by interacting and listening to the man students around me from a variety of backgrounds. Working in the Writing Center taught me an amazing amount as well in my every-day interactions.

Being in college also showed me I have a brain. We all do. And the more discussions I was participating in, the more interactions with those around me I had, the more notes I took and the more books I read, the smarter I felt. The better grasp I felt I had on the world.

This gave me some ego.

I took this ego, happily, with me to Wales. I continued learning during this last year off, listening to news podcasts, philosophy podcasts, participating online and so on. However, I wasn’t actually interacting with those around me, not in real life. I was around people, but no one wanted to talk politics, despite all the upheaval going on with the British government. No one wanted to discuss human rights, racism (which I was told just wasn’t here (never mind the prejudice against people who might be Muslim, apparently)), or anything of any depth. So, I found myself in a digital echo chamber.

queExcept I was getting left behind. Because none of my discussions were with real live people outside a digital box, I was missing out on nuances, I was missing out on certain details because there was time for edited responses. I found that the holes I was developing in my understanding of certain issues were growing deeper, and wider. So I began trying to use rusted logic to fill in those holes, which in theory is fine, until that logic stops evolving and then is expressed in the big ol’ world.

There were a few times I spoke without thinking, without being aware of my audience. My ego told me it’s fine, I’m a smart cookie. And then, when the responses came in, I recoiled in horror at my own words. I realized that I didn’t know what I was talking about, I didn’t have the agency I thought I had developed. I was just another person putting half-conceived notions into the world and just making an ass out of myself.

So, for a while, I’ve been afraid to blog. That’s part of the reason there’s been a lapse as well. I stuck to my website (writing fiction and book reviews is pretty safe in that regard), and to my travel blog (also safe), but neglected this one. Aside from the IFTTT problems I was having, I was afraid of putting my thoughts and views out there because I didn’t trust that I didn’t have developed enough ideas, and that I was just creating content for content’s sake, which is only contributing to the utter crap out there–which, I suppose, anyone could argue that everyone is doing that, depending on the angle you loI know nothingok at it.

What’s worse, is that feeling of ignorance on my end was also keeping me from deciding to go back to university. What if I completely lost how to write an essay, or what an essay is even compiled of? What if I don’t actually know anything (which I don’t), and I’m unable to do well in this new, strict setting? What if I’m a complete failure, and all the money spent on tuition is just a waste?

So I hid. I’m really good at hiding while I sort my head out. And that’s what I did. I still think that I’m pretty ignorant. But I also think that I pick up on formulas pretty quickly, so I think I’ll have university figured out fairly well. BUt as far as my general understanding of the world around me?

There was a time that I felt this before. It was the first time I lived in Wales, and I didn’t think I knew anything. I was fresh out of high school, and cocky as all hell, and when I came here, I just knew nothing. So, I kept my mouth shut. I watched. I listened. I read. I reflected. I learned. And really, that’s something I should be doing now. If I want to be able to gain the most out of life, and being the biggest support to the communities around me, if I want to be the best ally I can be to anyone suffering an injustice, the best thing I can do is listen and learn.

but I learn

The paradox (ok, perhaps too strong of a word, but gets the idea across) is that now I’m a blogger. Twelve years ago, I was just a kid who was lucky to get online once a week. Now I’m a blogger with an audience, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn account, a website, and all the rest. How do I remain silent and listening while still trying to get my voice out there? Only write what I know? But if I’m at a point of admitting that I know nothing, then what do I write about?

I suppose I’ll share my answer when I come to it. In the mean time, enjoy the rest of my ponderous meanderings, and please, correct me when I’m wrong, engage me in discussion. Challenge me! How can I be a good human being if I’m not challenging my own ideas?

 

Lessons from Losing a Car Key: Part 1

Don’t do it. It’s just a ridiculous idea that you should get out of your head at once. Just don’t.

No, I suppose that isn’t helpful. What might be helpful, or at least if nothing else, entertaining, is for a recount of my own story in hopes that you’ll find the straws of wisdom at which to clutch.

It began on Sunday morning. My mother has been in town visiting, and had to switch rental-houses. She mentioned Saturday night that I should stop by in the morning to come see it. So I did. She wasn’t there. And with July being a particularly busy month for me, I decided to take my shiny powder-blue Peugeot to Pwllheli to get some writing done with the unexpected free time. I spent a few hours there before wandering off to the beach, which was delightful and I gained a fantastic sun-shaped sunburn on my back (don’t ask).

Lesson 1: Use pockets

I was wearing these fantastic summery, flowy, flowery pants, because they’re light and hide my shape and make me look taller (oddly enough). However, for some reason fashion designers don’t think that women need pockets. Or, they’re in cahoots with hand-bag designers (or they’re in actuality handbag people themselves!), and it’s all a conspiracy to get women to accessorize (something I, myself, just can’t be asked with). Either way, I had an equally-flowy sweatshirt tip thing which had one pouch in the front, much like a hoodie. It was there I stashed my belongings.

You might be thinking that this is how I lost my key. I assure you, that I didn’t, though I did have that thought. If I lost my key at the beach, then how did I drive back? Hm? Yes, let’s not be silly about this now!

I managed to get my back to the car, though I did forget my key at my perch for a couple of moments and had to return to retrieve it. But to my car I meandered, and drove back to the village, parked my car—

Lesson 2: Don’t lock your doors

–and locked the doors. I know, you might think this is a habit I should regularly engage in. However, usually I don’t have the best of cars (in fact the car I left behind in the states had a button for the ignition, and that wasn’t a built-in feature but rather the result of the starter stopping), and so, logically, I would rather someone just have access of the little-that-there-is-of-worth by opening my door instead of me having to pay for a broken window. What’s more, I live in a village with a rather insanely low crime rate, and it’s filled with insanely rich tourists, who aren’t going to steal my car or what’s in it, and probably have nicer cars to lure the criminals than my own. So, I don’t lock my doors.

Yet, for some unknown reason, as I left my vehicle with my backpack slung over my shoulder, and my free book in hand, I felt the need to hit that damned lock button. So, it’s locked. What does this tell us? My key isn’t locked in my car. I need a button to lock it, and that button is on the key. So it made it out of the car.

I live above a pub, and so it’s only a short distance from the pub parking lot to my flat. Once there, I had an hour before I was meant to meet up with my mother and a family friend at the Yacht Club to go out on said friend’s boat. (It should be noted that I’m not a club member, nor do I look the part, nor do I act the part, nor do I fund the part) During this hour I probably flopped onto the bed and just decompressed for a few moments before rooting around my room for a pair of clean jeans and a presentable top.

Lesson 3: Pay Attention to the Possibilities of Your Clothing

I couldn’t tell you what top I did find. But I do know for certain that I was wearing jeans with adequate pockets. And I do know that I grabbed that flowy seater thingy as well. At this point, my memory loses track of the key. Could it be that I stashed it on my night stand as I usually do when I get home? Did I put it in my jeans pocket from the bedside table? Or did it make it back into my sweater thingy’s front pocket on the journey from the car to my room? Who knows! After all, I did grab my bank card (another dumb decision), and whatever change I had laying there.

Lesson 4: Pay Attention to the Possibilities of Your Accessories

I was meeting with my mother and family friend on the boat to scatter Granny’s ashes. A couple weeks ago I made the long drive to Warwickshire to retrieve her ashes (that I didn’t know were still at the funeral director’s and was shocked to discover), and I had been the holder of them until Sunday. I didn’t have it in me to delve into the black-funeral-party-looking bag, into the shoe-box-looking case and take out the urn (which it turned out, looked like a coffee canister to my indignation), so it had remained snuggly put together in the corner of my room. I retrieved this open bag (is this a clue???), my bundle of flowy sweater thing, and left the flat near the time I was meeting everyone.

Lesson 5: Pay Attention to Mindless Habits

I noticed I was a little early to the corner that I was meeting Mom at, so I meandered toward the ATM, where there was a line. I stood in line for a little bit before I saw Mom, and abandoned the idea of getting cash out. Now, usually, when I am going to need something out of my pocket and I have to wait, my eager hands will sneak into my pockets and fiddle with the thing I need, or retrieve it entirely. This means that I could have had my card in my hand, I could have taken it out of my pocket, which means that my inadequately small lady pockets could have regurgitated my key from my pocket during that time—IF my key was in there to start with.

We weren’t at the Yacht club long at all before finding family friend and heading toward the boat launch—you know, down the stairs with nice gaps between them that open into the swaying tide. I managed to get into the launch boar fairly easily, though, as we left the jetty I felt the nip of wind and decided to put on my sweater thing. Was my key in that pocket? Did it fall out in that boat?

Lesson 6: Don’t Hop Boats

We reached the sailboat and managed to climb over the ledge of the launce, over the wire railing of the sail boat and get in. I actually have to pose the possibility too—did I actually just put my sweater thingy on in this boat, and not the launch? I know I was in charge of passing things to my mom, who was first onto the sailboat. Was my own clothing one of those things? Did my key fall into the water?

Lesson 6.5: When You Do Hop Boats, Stay Away From the Ledges

The day was beautiful, and we sailed around the—well, you can read my post on it here, or the description of the scenery on my travel blog here. I shan’t bore you with repeating myself (though I’m pretty certain I’ve bored my readers already at this point). We drank a glass and a half each of Prosecco to Granny on the way out to the point. When we finally reached the spot where Granny was to be scattered, both Mom and I made our way to the back of the boat. There we both leaned over the railing and took turns dusting the sea.

I think I can rule this out. While we were leaning forward, my memory had considered that perhaps the vibrations of the boat might have shaken the key from my pocket. But honestly, I think that it would have hit the flat back of the boat first, thus producing a clunk. Also, we didn’t start using the motor of the boat until after she was scattered and hugs were spread. We were all sail up until that point.

After the tears and the hugs, it was time to break into the average daily wine, and I think I had maybe two and a half, possibly three glasses of red, myself, while we moored up (is that the right terminology? I’m not a sailor. I suppose we parked the boat in the boat-parking lot on the bay).

Lesson 7: Repeat Lesson 6: Don’t Hop Boats

The launch came for us fairly soon afterward. I hopped boats. Again. What’s more, I hopped from the launch to the jetty, and made my way up the stairs with the large gaps to the Yacht Club.

Now, this is where I lose moments of my life it gets a  little hazy.

We of course had to have another drink to Granny at that time. She had such a great impact on so many people in the Yacht Club, and in the village. There were only a handful of people there, but I knew most of them while Mom knew all of them. Drinks ensued.

Lesson 8: Drink Only If You Don’t Have Your Car Key On You

And more drinks.

And more drinks.

Until finally the Yacht club was closing, the family friend and the rest had all gone home and Mom and I were swaying our way out of the building, through the beach huts in the nice, fine, white sand, across the beach car park, under the chain locking the car park, down the little lane (at which point Mother and I parted), and then down to the pub, where I live.

But of course the adventure never ends there, does it? Thinking that I was being good, strict with myself and emotionless, I threw the funeral-party bag and shoe-box into the giant pub trash bins. That sorts that!

I decided that I had to do my managerial duty and do the stock order for the following day…with my very heavy dose of hick-ups. This means that I went into the pub to retrieve keys, into the ice cream shack, into the storage shed, and repeat (for all those concerned, I did not drink and order. I realized that I couldn’t hold a pen, never mind leave a message with an order for twenty flavors of ice cream, so I gave up and hoped for the best).

Then I retired to my flat.

That’s where my memory ends.

Re: Life After Dreads

My most popular blog entry by far is the one called Life After Dreads: the First 24 Hours. I thought this was because there were quite a few people who were interested in what the result is when you chop off your dreadlocks. The entry is just about that.

However, a couple of weeks ago, a reader commented that I should make it known that I’m white and what my hair type is. I suddenly was struck by the implications of the blog post title. This could very well be seen as a potential social commentary, especially regarding the way society responds to black people with dreadlocks.

With this in mind, I wanted to make a much-delayed response. Since I had dreads I have completed two years at a community college which has opened my eyes to more issues regarding the social injustices of the world, as well as appropriation. The latter is something I’m still coming to terms with because part of me is having the hurt girl voice of “why can’t I play?” when it comes to dreadlocks and wearing bhindis. However, that’s exactly the point. The groups who have these cool styles and the like haven’t been able to play, and now I want to play with the toy they’re playing with and I have to be told that I can’t.

And it’s damn frustrating! Again, that’s (in part) the point. It is frustrating. It’s frustrating that people of other groups have been oppressed and told they can’t wear their hair a certain way, speak their inherited language, practice their faith for hundreds of years. Members of the oppressing culture are in turn taking certain elements of the oppressed and using them how they’d like to use them, while still reprimanding the oppressed for doing the same thing.

So whereas I do generally fall under the rule of treat others how you’d like to be treated, this has been necessary—for me at least. My want for being inoffensive keeps me from doing what I want to do, which is dread my hair again or wear a bhindi when I’m going for a night out. But being told that I can’t, and me struggling between “screw it, I’m going to any way” and not wanting to be disruptive of hurt other people is aggressive. I suddenly realized that it wasn’t about me. It’s not about me at all. And this wanting to play but not being able to is what the oppressed have been experiencing for far too long. It was shocking how long it got me to come around to this realization, in all honesty.

(Note the irony where I just wrote a whole blog post about myself so that I could tell the world it’s not about me)

I could see how my initial post could be click-bait, seen as something that one might look for as an analysis of the experience a person of color might have after they cut off their dreads, and I could see it turned into a metaphor, or as deep and powerful social commentary (of course if coming from the right narrator, which would not be me). But nay, it is my naïve self from three years past. So, my apologies to anyone who clicked on the entry looking for something less superficial and privileged.

Another Blog

I know, I know, I’m terrible at keeping up with this one. But I’ve had a few requests to start a blog that is just about my travels, and so I thought I would finally take people up on that request.

So here it is, called Hopscotch and Woolgathering, a blog about a gap-year student trying to see all there is to see in Britain between work and on the cheap. If there are any suggestions of anywhere that I should go, touristy or much lesser known (which would be far more preferred), please feel free to supply me with your suggestions!

Veganuary

My news feed on Facebook is filled–well, memes of course, but also with people breathing out 2016 and embracing their goals of 2017. There are people who are celebrating that they didn’t smoke during the last year, and they will continue on, people who are quitting smoking this year, people who are declaring their exercise regiments, their upcoming sobriety and so on. All of which are met with well wishes and support because good for them for trying to better themselves!

My personal goal for 2017 is to write a page a day (at least), but also to participate in Veganuary. Veganuary is where you go vegan for the month of January. This is not the first time I’ve attempted to go vegan, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Though this time, I am purely doing it for the month of January, and I will go onto why. However, I’m intrigued, as I always am, by the amount of aggression I am met with when I decide to change something about my diet that isn’t simply taking out fatty or sugary foods.

I’ve been (mostly) pescatarian for the last nine years, which is vegetarian though with the addition of seafood. There have been some more recent slip ups, however, it’s something I’ve been been happy with. When I decided to do this, I had a fair amount of people who didn’t understand why I would do this, and would try and get me to eat meat. My parents didn’t really understand it either, my grandparents thought that meant that I still eat chicken (and they’re not the only ones, though I’m not really certain as to where the logic of that comes from), I had a few people try to literally wave steak under my nose to tempt me into eating it, and my ex’s family even once invited me over for dinner, knowing my dietary choices, and put meat in everything before telling me the salad was safe, though then putting chunks of ham in it.

I once wanted to test out whether or not I had a dairy or gluten sensitivity, which involved cutting both of those things out for a couple of months and then slowly introducing them back into my diet. Again, people lamented, would try and tempt me with cheese and the like.

Since telling some people that my goal is to go vegan for the month of January, I’ve had quote the backlash–people trying to tempt me with things I’ve said I wanted to try, people telling me about local cheese farmers, and even one person saying, “What’s the point? You’re not going to get anything out of it.”

Don’t worry, having been pescatarian for nine years, I’ve gained a thick skin when it comes to people commenting on my dietary choices.

However, I’m ever curious as to why it is that people feel the need to do it. They support people who want to make healthier dietary choices, just so long as it still includes meat, eggs and dairy. Firstly, I’m not really certain as to why people feel that they have the right to comment on what I eat or experiment eating, at all. And secondly, they don’t bother to actually listen to me when I try to tell them exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing. They just hear that it’s not what they’re doing.

So allow me to illustrate why it is that I’m choosing to participate in Veganuary 2017:

  1. Environmentally friendly
    I’m huge on trying to help the environment, and in my current position, there’s little I can really do other than being conscious of what I buy and from where I buy it. However, I do know and understand that the meat and dairy industries are extremely wasteful, and raising livestock in the manner of factory farms is extremely harmful for the environment.
    I’ve had people in the past tell me that protesting eating meat/dairy doesn’t make a difference to protest by cutting out meat–after all, I’m just one person. However, due to many people taking on less meaty diets, the meat industry has been steadily decreasing by 10% since 2017. I can’t find the statistic now, unfortunately, though I will say that I recall reading that in 2014, the meat industry lost 14% of profits due to a movement called Meatless Mondays, where people just don’t consume meat one day a week.
    This is important because it takes an excruciating amount of water to raise one cow, one chicken, or one pig. Then farms have to deal with their waste, which contaminates underground water reserves that many people rely on. The Meatless Monday website reports that it takes an estimate 1,850 gallons of water just to produce one pound of beef.
    Many people forget that the dairy industry will use ample water as well, since it does have to keep those cows, goats and sheep raised. And let’s not forget the eggs!
    I am of course, talking about mass-producing farms/factory farms. There are many farms with ethical and sustainable practices, and I am grateful to say that I worked for one. However, especially with my upcoming lack of work, I can’t afford to support those farms. So in the mean time, I would like to start my year with a protest to the big industry.
  2. Get back on track to a healthier lifestyle 
    I’ve gone through a  rough year–every one has. Though when I go through a rough time, I find that I forget how to eat. Especially with moves and breakups. I find that all my abilities go into survival-through-the-stress mode, and I simply forget what it was that I used to cook, how I used to eat. I know that I used to be a healthy eater, but I can’t remember what kind of thought I would put into planning a meal.
    So forcing myself to think about what I’m eating is a really good way to get back into that. I used to have a great interest in nutrition, and still do. I just have to remember that spark. By eliminating something from my diet, I then have to be a conscious shopper, cook, and consumer. It means that I’m paying attention to ingredients again, and I’m not buying insta-foods either. I’m cooking in bulk, and I’m remembering what it’s like to have home-cooked food again. And I’m making sure that I am having eclectic meals that will ensure I’m getting the nutrients i’ll be lacking, which sparks creativity. I do love to be creative in the kitchen.
  3. Personal perseverance  
    It’s just good to have goals, and the more challenging they are, the better you feel when you’re done, especially when it’s something for a better lifestyle. Knowing you can do the touch stuff can help someone set harder goals and aim higher. Right now, after this last year, I feel like I need to accomplish some of those touch goals.

So when someone talks about going vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, any of those things that is against the norm regarding food, be supportive and recognize that they’re trying to better themselves. Help them come up with recipes, find alternatives, and just be a friend as you would trying to help someone cut back on smoking or alcohol. Be supportive.  Don’t be a jerk.

Defining “Mansplaining” Via Long-Winded Example

I was in a conversation with a friend of mine about what mansplaining is. He was saying that as a man, if he tries to explain his side of anything, then it can easily be combated with the idea that he’s just “mansplaining”, and there for his argument is irrelevant.

I am here to say that is not so.

Of course there are those who will just battle any man who has something to say and just call it mansplaining. I can’t speak on behalf of those who don’t fully grasp the concept. However, what I can do is attempt to make it clear the difference between explaining and mansplaining.


A few weeks ago, someone that I know mostly through either his profession or my profession approached me at my cheese booth at the farmers market. He stopped by to say hi and chit-chatted. As he went to say his good-bye’s, he said, “It’s such a pleasure seeing you and your boobies.”

I looked at him and calmly said, “You don’t get to say that to me.”

“Oh,” he replied, taken aback, but smiling nonetheless. “I’m sorry. I  miss seeing your eyes,” he corrected himself.

I wasn’t really pleased with the answer, but I saw that he was making the effort to remedy his mistake and so I was happy to let it go and move on.

Except  he didn’t feel the issue was over.

He later that day came back to me on Facebook, wanting to talk about it. He began telling me at first about how such statements are healthy, and that I should embrace them in order to keep healthy relationships. I disagreed and said that I felt I was being judged and reduced to my shape. My shape should not be a reason to be visited. He tried to tell me that he had no interest in me. That is, of course, fine, but it still does not permit for such comments. I explained this, and he said that because he’s willing to see my point on this, that I need to find a willingness to see his point, which is that he was giving me a compliment. 

The discussion soon ended when I stopped responding. Or so I thought.

The next day he decided to let me know that he had “figured it out”, that the reason why I didn’t feel it was an appropriate comment to make was because I don’t trust him. If only I know that he’s not trying to “bed” me then he would be able to make those comments without me being offended. I told him that no, that’s not the reason, it’s because no one gets to make those comments at me. If he respects me, he would simply hear what I said at the market that I’m not comfortable with those comments, and would leave it alone.

He told me he understood, and the matter was settled. For a little while.


There is more to this story, but I want to interject with some explanation of what I’m understanding of what is going on here.

  • Acquaintance makes an inappropriate comment. I tell him where my comfort zone is (in the sense that I said he can’t talk to me like that), and he adjusted his comment.
  • He messaged me on Facebook to tell me why it was alright that he made that comment, and that I shouldn’t be upset, ignoring my initial statement that I was uncomfortable with that kind of talk.
  • He messaged me again telling me that he figured out why I wasn’t comfortable, and why I should be comfortable.

Explaining:
The first bullet point was a social mistake that was corrected. That is fine. That is explaining himself, or adjusting, and that is fine. had he gone on to say something along the lines of, “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought that would be funny, or I didn’t realize that’s where your boundaries are,” that would have been fine. That is nothing to dwell on.

Mansplaining:
The second and third bullet point are mansplaining.

The reason why they are mansplaining is because they are times when this individual was not listening to what I was saying. He wasn’t hearing that I was trying to tell him what is inappropriate language to use with me as an individual, and where my comfort zone is. Meanwhile, I was being told that my boundaries weren’t where I said they were, and why they shouldn’t be there. He was going on to readjust my comfort level because to do so would remove him from fault.

What should have been done is simply realize the social faux pas, accepted the mistake, and move on. But instead, the fault was attempted to be put onto me and my perception of his words.

The story continues.


This weekend was my last weekend at the farmers market. nearly at the end of it, he appeared, wanting to explain himself yet again. He explained that he had learned he had a certain disorder, which makes him say certain things (I won’t list it out of respect for this other individual). Fair enough, I will give him that. However, I’m certain that it’s not that disorder which caused him to come back to me multiple times to try and change my mind on my discomfort.

I tried, as calmly as I could (because I was at work, trapped behind my booth, and representing the company that employed me), to explain to him why I was initially upset, why didn’t want to talk about it at all anymore, and what I viewed him as trying to convey to me every time he tried to talk to me about it.

He literally talked right over me, did not hear anything I said because he was too worried about being heard. And I conceded, I stopped talking because I didn’t want to start yelling at him top be heard myself, and cause more of a scene than he was already causing. He explained to me that I wasn’t hearing what he had initially been trying to tell me when he made the comment, that I just wasn’t understanding what his “joke” had been trying to portray to me.

(It should be noted here, that I put the word “joke” in quotation marks because when he initially began explaining to me on Facebook his position, he was saying I should take the compliment, and was adamant of his words. However, at the time of this recent discussion, it had transformed into a joke.)

I was also told that I was only meeting him with aggression (though the girl I was training said that I was extremely patient with this guy), and that I wasn’t hearing him as a result. So I gave him his platform. I asked him what it was that I had missed that he was trying to say between the lines of commenting on my chest.

I was then informed that what I was wearing the day of the comment on my chest wasn’t very flattering that day, and his comment was a means of portraying that to me. 

I reminded him that it wasn’t for him to comment on, that I wasn’t dressing for him, or anyone else. He went on to tell me that it is important that I should know how I appear to the rest of the world.

I left it at that. I gave up on my words because I had no more for him. They were only going to be wasted.

If I am grungy, I can understand why that might be important in my role as a prepared food representative and salesperson. Smelly, professional, any of those things–yes, I do need to consider how I look. But I do not need to consider whether or not my clothing is flattering, especially in a work environment when my only concern is to appear professional and to the style standards of my place of employment. And what I was wearing that day was downright cute and I have had multiple compliments on it. Though, that really is neither here nor there.

By suggesting that the non-form-fitting, flowing dress that I was wearing was unflattering, it was stating that what would have been flattering is something form-fitting. True, there are other possible meanings other than that one (though none come to mind), but at the end of the day, the assumption is that what I wear is meant to be for other people’s pleasure, which is completely inaccurate.

In summary, what I was met with when I expressed my discomfort at a comment that was made to me weeks ago was someone attempting to tell me that I’m taking it too seriously, being told to where I should adjust my comfort level, being told I misunderstood, being told what to wear, as well as a insult to what I was wearing and how I choose to display myself to the world.

Yes, perhaps in some regards one might consider this as airing my dirty laundry to the internet. But what I really truly want to do is display the difference between mansplaining and explaining. I also want to point out what it is that women deal with on a regular basis, and let it be known that sexism is still around, that women are still fighting to be viewed as human beings and not as something that should fit into a box of pleasure for the external world.

Why It’s Important to Question Clinton and Trump’s Response to the Brexit

A friend of mine were out last night and might have found ourselves in a political discussion with two men at the bar. One was arguing pro Trump, the other was arguing pro Clinton. The pro Clinton person was telling the Pro Trump guy to give any example of her lying. So, my friend, being informed as he is, listed examples. The pro Trump guy began telling us that’s why we needed a businessman in the White House rather than a politician.

I asked was his (Trump’s) response to the Brexit was going to be, how he intended on handling that.

“That was the best thing that Britain could have done for their country,” said Trump guy.

“I disagree.”

“They needed their country back and so they took it back.”

Oh this poor guy had no idea what he was in for.

“Actually,” I began. “At a glimpse, that is absolutely as it seems. However, the problem was much more than that. What’s more, their reaction has a huge implication for the rest of the world that we all need to be aware of so that we can learn from it.”

I went on to say my spiel, which is what I bestow onto now, dear reader.

Brexit Background

In 2009, the UK fell into a recession, which brought the US as well as various other countries into a recession. While most of the other countries figured out ways to recover, the UK didn’t, in full. While it’s better than it was, the unemployment rate is still below what is comfortable. What’s more, as a result of trying to compensate for unemployment programs, as well as greedy insurance companies, their universal healthcare system, the NHS, is being threatened.

Now, the whole time I was living there, from 2005-2009, people were complaining about Polish people coming over to work, much like many Americans complain about Mexicans coming and “taking jobs”. It’s the same deal: it’s a scapegoat which diverts from the real issue. Though, I suppose before I get into that, I should give some background as to what it means to be a part of the EU (for the UK).

The European Union was created just after the Cold War in an effort to bring up Europe’s countries’ economies. The UK annually spends about £5 billion after their various discounts (though the amount initially starts at £13 billion). What this means for the UK and those in the EU is the ability to freely trade with other countries in the EU. This is called the Common Wealth. Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are also a part of the Common Wealth since they’re also under the British queen’s rule as well. Countries that are a part of this also allow their citizens to be able to live and work anywhere else in the Common Wealth. So, in my case, because I’m a dual citizen and hold a British passport, I can live and work in Canada, France, Germany, Australia, etc.

There were just as many people from the UK taking advantage of what the UK’s membership to the EU entailed as were EU citizens. There were just as many people leaving the UK to live and work and do business in other European countries as were people coming into the UK.

When the Brexit was first suggested, many people wanted it because of what the Trump supporter was saying, to take their country back. However, as I mentioned before, there was another aspect about it: the loss of healthcare. And those who voted to leave who were educated and not voting out of racism and hate, were voting out of fear of losing universal health care—which is a legitimate concern. A much smaller percentage, those who were doing business between various countries, were concerned about the regulations on trade that the EU had, stating that they were ridiculous and just didn’t want to deal with them (I won’t lie, I know little on that end).

There were two leaders that were rallying the leave of the EU: Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn. Corbyn was the loudest about the NHS, even going so far as to place large advertisements on the sides of double-decker buses stating that leaving the EU would save the NHS. As soon as the votes were in, he back-peddled, saying that the amount of money saved by staying out of the EU was not enough to save the NHS, and that it was likely to be privatized anyway.

Many people in the UK saw this as an opportunity to be as racist and spiteful to anyone they thought wasn’t of the United Kingdom, and bullying from strangers has risen.

The Brexit Effect

During the counting of the votes, I watched the worth of the pound drop $0.20 to the pound. This is a huge drop in currency for just one night. Since then, it’s crawled back up another five cents or so, but for the most part, it’s still far lower than it should be.

What does this have to do with the U.S.? What does this have to do with Trump or Clinton, or any other potential president elect?

The UK is heading into a recession as a result. With the drop of their pound, and the severing of trades, basic living costs will go up, such as imported foods that are common staples. Countries who have ties with the UK will also go into a recession due to lack of trade. But more than that, we, in the US, will go into a recession.

I’ve seen various numbers thrown around of how much debt the US is in. The last time I personally looked and didn’t rely on a politician’s quote was $17 billion, though Trump states that we’re coming up to being $21 billion in debt (not sure I should trust that number, but still, both numbers are staggering). We are in debt to many powerful countries as well.

To get back on our feet, we might borrow more money. Or, because we’re hitting a recession and have trading ties with so many other countries, those countries might go into a recession as well. And when countries that are lending out money go into a recession, they want their money back. So, when China demands back all the money that we’ve borrowed from them while we’re in a recession, it could sink us into a Depression.

That’s the bottom line of it. We are potentially facing a Depression as a result of the Brexit.

Potential POTUS

So we need to ask these people who are using every trick they can find to getting to be our leader, what it is they intend to do in response to the Brexit. In the outside, without ever hearing Trump speak, without ever knowing a damn thing about him other than he’s rich, he might be considered a good person for this task–after all, he’s got a very successful business and knows how to handle money.

Except for the part where he doesn’t, because he’s had to file for bankruptcy four times. That does not make for a good leader when our economy is facing a potentially huge drop.

So what about Clinton? She will certainly fight it, and I do mean fight. She’s war hungry, and if presidents of the past have taught us anything, there’s money to be found in war.  After all, during the First and Second World Wars, the US did alright for themselves: it created jobs because we needed to manufacture our guns and uniforms and boots and vehicles. It did in fact generate US jobs, therefore, there’s money in war.

Except that there isn’t. That’s what got us into all this insane debt to other countries in the first place. Granted, Bill Clinton worked hard to get us for the most part out of debt, but after that, it was found by the Bush administration that in some logic that I don’t claim to understand, there is money in fighting for oil–or rather, there’s money in oil, and thus we need to fight for it. But somehow it was twisted in a way (and please please please feel free to correct me on this one) that there was money in the war itself, in sending and paying people to die, in buying weapons, in the fuel used for the machinery and so on. We aren’t necessarily creating the things we were create before here in the US. Some of it is manufactured here, but much of it isn’t, and is imported from everywhere including South Korea, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, and so on. It’s also raising the question of national security, but I’ll let you follow the link to delve into that one further.

However, it remains clear that the Brexit is not just some cute thing the UK did to get their country back; it’s something which affects the entire world, and that includes us. So we have to ask Clinton and Trump and anyone else running for the job position of POTUS: How do you respond to the Brexit?

Afterthought

After my spiel to this Trump supporter, who very patiently listened to me, he looked at me. He said, “When you and I go home and are getting ready for bed,” (I nearly threw my drink at him because I thought he was being crass, but then realized he wasn’t and I was just on guard), “and we look in the mirror, how do we know that we’re right?”

“Well, I consider my experience and research that I’ve done.”

“But I’m 62 years old, and I have a lot more experience than you. How do you know you’re right?”

“I don’t. I very well could be wrong. I can only go based off my experience.”

“That’s what I thought.”

And that was the end of that conversation. What he took away from that lecture I presented to him, I have no idea. He might have just thought I was some up-myself girl who wanted to prove she could talk with the big boys, and thought it to be cute. He might have just shrugged it off as too big of a picture to take in. Or maybe he’ll consider it, research what I have to say to determine that I’m wrong. I hope I am, but I don’t think that I am. Either way, these are the bigger questions we need to be considering and talking about.

Before I left, I shook his hand, and thanked him for the discussion, to show him I wasn’t attacking him, just trying to share ideas.