Hello + Happy Monday! I took some time this weekend to just relax, catch up on much needed rest, and to try to get some inspiration. With today being MLK day and the cord that was struck with me when watching a new favorite show this weekend… I knew what I wanted to chat about today. Coffee talks are pretty typical in the blogosphere, but I talk enough about clothes and such… I think we should use coffee talks to really get real. (I kind of started on that here.) We will also talk about this yellow maxi dress that I’m so obsessed with… so keep reading for that!
So here goes… I was watching Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (highly recommend) and it struck so many cords with me. From social hierarchy, racial discrimination, women’s rights… wow! It blew me away! I’m from small town Tennessee… I live a life of privelage. A lot of us do… and I can’t stand when people make excuses for their ignorance just because of where they come from. I’m not saying I’m perfect. I’m far from it. I also used to be very ignorant. I hadn’t been exposed to anything other than what I had known all my life. There were two black students at my school, none at my church, and the only asian friends I had were made at work because I worked after school at one of our local chinese restaurants. Yep… I did.
I now have friends that cover every color of the rainbow… and I love learning more about them. I find other cultures so interesting and I’m always trying to learn more. I don’t think putting people down just because their beliefs or interests are different than mine… and neither should anyone else. I learned so much from college friends, class-mates, people I met at work, and really when I moved to Philly… that’s when it all changed for me. I asked questions. I tried to learn as much as possible. I was intrigued. I didn’t see a difference as something to judge… I saw that difference as an opportunity to learn.
I believe that most misunderstandings come from ignorance. Truly I do. We are all a little ignorant to what goes on outside our worlds. There really is no room for racial ignorance in this day and age though guys… there just isn’t. Everyone and their brother has a smart phone. Sadly, I see people out there almost daily who say they can’t afford this and that, but have the newest iPhone. You have access to the world with that thing. Protests, wrongdoings, violence, political issues… all on that phone people. There’s no reason to not know what is going on in the world and just get your news from your social feed. Much of 2017 was full of stupid conversations in the comments. Most were started because people were ill-informed and just read the click-bait titles for the posts… they didn’t really know what was even going on. That’s just sad.
Stop looking at one another with a sense of judgement. No one is in any better place to judge someone else. I fail every single day. Failures aren’t determined by the color of your skin, where you live, what you do for a living, or who your family is. It certainly isn’t determined by the balance in your bank account. Everything is determined by willpower and character. Remember that please. Those things are priceless.
Ten ways to educate yourself:
- Check the news daily: I know… I’m sure some people will disagree, but really checking a reputable news source is the only way to educate yourself on what’s going on in the world. I do this not only to better myself, but because I want to know what’s going on when I’m going to write a post or share something on social media. When people are literally dying due to a natural disaster I don’t feel right complaining that I’ve had a bad week, need more coffee, or didn’t catch the Bachelor yet this week. Does that make sense? Also, PSA: do not get your news from your facebook feed. Lord bless. Please do us all a favor!
- Socialize: I really don’t know who or where I would be if I hadn’t broken the privelaged white sorority girl mode after college. I was so entitled. Looking back I’m embarassed. Get to know people outside your circle. I’m not saying you need to go out and just socialize with people because you feel like you need a gay, black, or asian friend. Go socialize and get to know people for reasons other than sharing a skin color and zip code. Seriously. Your mind will be blown. I have learned more about Hinduism, Budhism, my own faith as a Christian, black culture, asian culture, the culture of someone asian adopted into a white family… and I am so much better for it.
- Be open-minded: Treat people the same no matter their beliefs. Don’t give someone a lecture on their lifestyle if you aren’t living it. Don’t pretend to know how someone feels when you don’t. This happened to me recently when I spoke about gun violence after the Las Vegas attack. I was floored. Someone said to me that guns don’t kill people, but that people kill people. That literally is true… but it doesn’t make that the root of the problem. No, I don’t believe that guns grow legs and arms and walk into public places shooting left and right. I kept thinking as I read the comments that this couldn’t be real. We can’t be living in 2017 and thinking this way. I also had someone comment about how stricter gun laws aren’t effective because Chicago has the strictest gun laws and one of the highest crime rates… wow! Hello! Have you even been to Chicago? (not that I’m an expert… I’ve only been once) Really though. Chicago felt like one of the safest places I’ve been. I’ve been exposed to more in Knoxville than I was when I was there. Now if we are talking the Ghetto of Chicago? Yeah, I’m sure it isn’t safe. Why? Opression, gang violence, and lack of resources. So before you preach about an issue… at least communicate with people who know the reason why things are how they are. I’m no expert being a white girl from Tennessee, but I’m not blind. Don’t be blind please.
- Share love with everyone: Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve experienced loss, had family turmoil, watched someone struggle with a drug addiction… or all of the above, but I can’t see the point of treating people unkindly simply because they don’t live up to your expectation. Imagine a world where you were treated the same no matter where you went. Starbucks, the grocery, washing your car, walking the street. Imagine if you were met with a smile. Imagine if you returned the smile and continued the trend throughout your day. What a better world we would live in with just a little more kindness.
- Volunteer: When I moved to Philly I volunteered at the ASPCA. I can’t tell you the things I saw there that changed my life. Seriously. The reasons people left their animals there, so many evictions, the homeless, abuse to animals… it all shook me. I got to meet so many inner city families from all walks of life. There is more out there than the bubble you live in. Get out and volunteer in your community and learn more!
- Go to Local Events: It’s bad enough when we don’t know what’s going on in our own country, but when we don’t know what’s going on in our own community it’s the saddest thing. If you live near Knoxville take a drive down Broadway. Get to the underpass under I-40 right down from KARM and take it all in. HUNDREDS of people are homeless in Knoxville. Women, children, elderly… out on the street and alone. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve mentioned that to that had no idea. There are so many local events that will open your eyes to these kinds of issues going on in your community and you will learn how you can help!
- Join a local networking group: No matter your occupation there are so many people you can connect with. Most likely there is a young adults club, marketing groups, groups based on your vocation, and based on interest. A favorite of mine is the Rising Tide Society. There are local chapters everywhere and it’s for photographers and creatives. Such a great thing!
- Venture out of your comfort zone: If you work at local coffee shops regularly, branch out! Going somewhere different will open your eyes to what’s going on around you. My friend Katie and I shoot together regularly and are on a mission to go to all the local coffee shops in Knoxville. We’ve covered a lot of ground so far… and the vibe at each place is SO different. I can’t even tell you!
- Follow local and national hashtags: Did you know that this was a thing now? You can follow hashtags on Instagram! I recommend doing this for local and national current events. It’s a good way to see what’s going on in your area! #865life and #knoxrocks are two of my favorites locally!
- Do something everyday for someone else: Okay, I hear you! I’m busy too! A great way to turn your day around is to help someone else though! Open a door, share a gofundme for a family in need, stop and give a homeless person a meal. Doing these little things will bring things into perspective for you. I promise!
This yellow maxi dress is one of my absolute faves! It’s still in stock with two of my favorite retailers too! I love yellow so much. Always have! This shade really looks beautiful on every skin tone and I love it for easy, winter looks. It will work well into spring too which makes me excited! The booties and beanie make it really great for those cozy winter days in the meantime!
I hope this post inspired you to be a little more informed in 2018. No hate to anyone at all, but we really need to educate ourselves. With all the resources out there for us, there’s no excuse!