Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Come Together

Saturday morning, my Uber driver and I got to talking about what's going on in America. Boonj told me that this is the first time he's seen something like this here. He even went on to say that he wants to make New York its own country. Surprisingly what I said to him resonated with him. "You can't hate people you don't know." He stopped and said to me, "You should write." Therefore I am. I did explain to him that I haven't written in a while but trying to get back into it. He also commended me on my speech, "I like how you speak."

I say you can't hate people you don't know, but as many of us know, people do. Hate is defined as "intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger or sense of injury." So you could hate without knowing someone but that would make you fearfully ignorant. "Lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified." Am I wrong? I don't think so. 

I love the world, hence why I love to see it from all views. Although the whole world does not love me. My own prejudices growing up had me think that if I was lighter, I'd have nicer hair or a more handsome spouse or other ridiculous assumptions. The reality is that I am beautiful, have amazing but stubborn hair and have a future husband who is very handsome (he just walked into Starbucks and I checked him out).

I'm enlightened as well as intelligent. Persuasive when passionate or driven. Logical more than emotional when making decisions. And right now, I believe my country is lost. Struggling to grow up from its adolescence as many other countries have. Many times, people forget that the United States is relatively young. Not too long ago there were slaves and segregation. For goodness sake, there is still discussion and fights about civil issues in Palestine and Southern Africa.

Patience and kindness are needed. I've said it before, I will say it over and over. Be patient with one another. In the end of the day, you will meet people like Boonj who will randomly inspire you to write. And you'll thank him for the inspiration you desperately needed. That spark of creativity.


We need each one another to make our country great. 



Definitions from http://www.merriam-webster.com/

Human Rights Watch
https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/israel/palestine
https://www.hrw.org/africa/south-africa

Monday, October 24, 2016

Note from Jamie Lee to America

It's been a while since I've posted any material. Jamie Lee reached to me and asked if I was interested in something she wrote about the election and I quickly said, "YES". I love having material on here that isn't just mine. Having all types of views and opinions is what makes this world fascinating.

Now I pass it on to Jamie Lee:



I have kept my opinions mostly to myself on social media, as I tend to find most discussions uninformed and argumentative which is not my way.... but no more, this has gone far enough.

#imwithher ....I don't care if you like #Clinton or not, please #read a book, read the #newspaper, #educate yourself and discover for yourself - #DonaldTrump is nothing short of a dangerous choice for our country.

#Voters: let's examine Trump's "policies", if of course you could manage to find the time when he speaks in depth regarding his positions on...uhm... anything. As opposed to utilizing diversion tactics such as putting a wife's husband's mistress in the audience as a petty attempt to distract Senator Clinton, or speaking ill of Former President Clinton or President Obama (I must have missed when they were added to the ticket and running for the 2016 election). Or lastly is too busy using his (mostly stolen) speaking time throughout the debates to threaten to arrest Senator Clinton (FYI Donald, that's not the job - you may want to reference a description before spewing out such uninformed threats, or you know...applying). Etc... etc. 

Take a moment to read and listen to how he speaks to and of women. Do we want the leader of the free world to be a man who speaks about our #women in such a derogatory fashion? This #country fought for women's rights for decades. Now we are considering #VOTING for a man, into the highest office in the land, who feels this way about our nation's hard working women?  Our mothers, daughters, nieces, granddaughters, who are CEO's, business owners, authors, actors, doctors, nurses, and etc? Donald Trump outwardly treats women in such a belittling and disgusting manner. Let us not forget, this man is a husband, father of two beautiful daughters, and grandfather to a granddaughter. 

Voters answer me this, "Is this the American way?" Is this how we want our potential future President to speak and feel about of 47% (and growing) of the United States work force? Do you find that to be acceptable?

Our nation is considering electing a Commander in Chief, who filed bankruptcy only two weeks after he threw a lavish multi-million dollar wedding on his private island. This is a fact. Is this the candidate who will fix our countries finances? Our national debt? We are an intelligent nation of people. Do not make an uneducated uninformed decision. Let alone one so important to our future. 

Ladies and gentleman, no one is asking you to read the Wall Street Journal front to back... for goodness sake just GOOGLE!

We have not even touched on the fact that we are a country based on #immigrants coming to America in the hopes of creating a life in this beautiful #free land. Not only did Donald Trump's own family come to The United States at a point in history, but two of his wives are immigrants. And that's not to throw a low blow (I typically find it in poor taste) but facts are facts. One of Trump's wives may or may not have hinted at😉...working in America illegally for some time. 

Not every #immigrant is #illegal - let alone unworthy of a life here in #America. THERE IS A BETTER WAY TO ESTABLISH BORDER CONTROL and TO STABILIZE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. A WISER WAY, A MORE HUMANE WAY. AND WAY IS ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, NOT A WALL! Is this 1961? Have we learned nothing from our world's history?

This "man", this CANDIDATE, believes and stands for NOTHING that this #beautiful land of hope and freedom was built on. His rallies do nothing more than spread inaccuracies, stimulate hatred and rile up the #American people based on chatter that is far from the truth.

VOTE!!! Vote #smart. Vote educated and most crucially vote as a human being. For you, your family, your #children, your grandchildren and our #future.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

#BlackLivesMatter

The gum chewing in between distracted me most of the speech. 

Let's talk about this. The hype around Jesse Williams' speech is still much present. I came back from my vacation to find there were insulting remarks made to Justin Timberlake. Completely understand the perspective and argument but maybe we shouldn't attack white people who agree with the cause. That's like I never quite understand how racial minorities can be homophobic. You can not (although many do) fight for equal rights and still exclude people. It's incorrect. Absolutely incorrect. Equal rights itself knows no color, sexuality, or religion. It knows no difference from one person to another. Equal rights knows generosity and civil actions towards one another.


I surprisingly found myself agreeing with Jesse on a lot. Some things were best said because he in fact has been present, when black people talk about white people, and vice versa. His perspective is broad. "He's not 'that black person'. He's Jesse," I'm sure a lot of his friends think or say. I personally don't identify with being black often, but in regards to my race, Yes I am for sure black. Otherwise, I'm Panamanian Haitian American and I am very proud to be so. But when I thought about how white my day job is... I had to think. Is he right? My ideas are used but I don't get promoted but my supervisor does. The one director who was black in my department just left. Now everyone, who is black, in any sort of management role is primarily in a manager position. And I don't want to make this only about black managers, let me be clear, there are no minorities in any roles above a manager level. Interesting.

One would ask if anyone qualifies to be promoted or hired into a management role, and the answer is yes. Myself and a co-teammate of mine have applied to be managers before. We were told how amazing we were but weren't given a chance. I've been classified as a leader numerous times but I haven't been offered a position in an actual management role. Many would ask but I haven't, is it because we are both other minorities? My answer, I don't know.

I understand that competition in the work place is strong, but as a resident in East Harlem said to me once, "Girl, you have a Masters?! What you doing out here?" I explained my reasons and he went on to say, "While you're being all noble, everyone else is making money". And he is 100% correct. What the fuck am I doing? What the fuck are we doing? I tell my clients in these undeserved communities all the time, "Stand up for yourself. There are resources and ways to help yourself." I need to take my own advice. I don't need to be happy that I just have a job. I need to excel, have a position that fully appreciates my genius and opinion. There is no need to hold myself back. But then again, my day job is not my end game. I'm an entrepreneur and have businesses I want to pursue. Cause when I'm in the Power Seat, I will make sure that everyone who works hard is compensated for all their hard work. Whether it is with me or somewhere else.

I'm not done.

Black lives do matter. I believe that wholeheartedly. Again, I want to emphasize that as Americans and humans in general, we need to learn compassion and understanding. Black lives, LGBT lives, Hispanic lives, poor lives... Lives matter.

There have been many disgusting acts of hate that unfolded in the last two months. At some points, once again, I had to think. Am I naive to believe that all people in America should be treated with equal respect? I don't think so. I believe that people are angry. They deserve to be. Cops are scared, and they deserve to be. What doesn't deserve to happen... black men being gunned down in the street. There is no excuse for that. At the same time, I believe many of us are waiting to hear a different type of black man to be murdered by the police.

"...a black lawyer who just finished working out at the gym, walking to his car with his duffel bag"

And I can't disagree. As a friend of mine pointed out, it will never happen. There is a scene I remembered from House of Lies. Don Cheadle got beaten up by the cops while taking a jog. Was it his fault? No. If you think it was, maybe it was because he argued with the cops. Do white people ever yell at the cops? Hmm I think so. So why exactly would it be his specific actions that warranted a beat down?

The Civil Rights movement wasn't even 50 years ago. We still have much to learn. Yes, we had a black president but that means absolutely nothing. The people of America need to change what happens next, not our leaders. The people. There are still people, who spewed hate less than 50 years ago about minorities, that are alive. My hope is that, as many of them die off, so will their beliefs about "porch monkeys" and "Spics". (And side note, Latinos also need to stop the race game too. A drop of European doesn't mean you're white. Your hair gets curly too.You know who you are.)

At the same time, it's been almost 100 years since women had to "stop" fighting for their equal rights. And still they push on every year. Getting a say in what they do with their bodies. Demanding the same pay for their roles in movies or even at more conventional jobs. Asking their men to stay home with the children instead. Becoming CEO's, entrepreneurs, millionaires and overall independent! Women have fought for their rights every single year and decade, for a hundred years.

There will be no end, but constant development. Be as strong as the women are and make that shit happen. Make everyone listen. Don't just isolate yourself from others, make others involved as well. No more conversations, instead more actions. We are all strong and capable. Let's push on for another 50 years and make shit happen. Don't get angry, get determined.

And THAT'S what I took away from all of this. Thank You.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Is this a job or purpose?

I saw an ad while I was on the subway that said that. Moments before, I was writing notes for a conversation I wanted to have with my coworkers about what I have been feeling and what has happened during a project we're working on together. Some of those feelings are annoyance, distress, obligation and some I can't seem to describe.



Some people would ask, " Why bring it up?"  "Like why bother?".  And then I saw that subway ad. My answer is purpose. My purpose in life is to make a change, in whatever I do. I sometimes suffer from compassion fatigue as a result of my day job. But even so, I feel accomplished and whole with what I do for a living. "I save lives", is what I tell myself every time I have a really bad day. If it's not a pets life, it's the pet owners' life. How? Well that's classified info. ðŸ˜€

Also I've been busy promoting this congressional campaign, I have admittedly thought about quitting numerous times. No lie. I have to stop sit and think, then wonder if that is actually what I want to do. The answer as you can guess is always "No". Well so far. Maybe it's allegiance, maybe it's blind love, maybe it's masochism. I think it's cause it goes with my personal mission statement.  

My purpose is more important to me than my comfort. I don't mind standing for 9hrs and then standing on the subway to get home at the end of the day. I don't mind making myself physically sick from all the stress of getting 425 animals free vaccines in ONE DAY. My sense of accomplishment makes it worth making my body and mind my slave. I own them, I'm using them. 

Purpose isn't something everyone has. Therefore I appreciate that I have continuously had one throughout my life. As an advocate for under-served communities, the branding guru to others' dream businesses, a daughter who gets you tequila shots to keep you young, the spouse who motivates you to be the best you and no one else, to write words online to encourage her peers to strive for greatness and nothing else, ... The list goes on and it will keep going because I am living my life not just passing through. 

I have purpose, do you? 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Come away with me (Travel Tips)

My first real vacation was to New Orleans in 2013. I was finally able to do what everyone else had done. Request to use my vacation days on a particular week. Book my flight and hotel. Plan all the activities I want to do when I'm there. My excitement can not be described. In my family, we didn't take many vacations. We did trips. Day trips. Work trips. There was this one time my mom and her friend surprised me and her daughter with a Girls trip. That was probably my first real vacation. It was a cruise to nowhere and then we headed to Canada. It was awesome.

All I did was eat, drink and walk on my New Orleans vacation in 2013. Here is the fine cuisine from Parasol's. Best Po Boys . 

What I noticed after New Orleans was, "I can travel if I want". For some reason, I think I always had this belief that I wasn't able to travel. I couldn't AFFORD to travel. I didn't have TIME to travel. I had NO ONE to travel with. You know, the stupid shit we say to ourselves and others all the time. But I had decide NO MORE. I was determined to travel. And you should too.

Here are some tips to help you on your way.

Destination
If you're anything like me, you don't want to go to hot locations in their hottest months. Therefore I take trips to New Orleans or Latin America in the Fall/ Winter. Trust me, it will still be hot, but not burning. A part of your decision should also be based on what you like to do. Are you into art? Activities like bike riding? Food? Use questions like these to help stir you in the right direction.

If you've gone to many countries already, well... aren't you lucky? I guess just cover your eyes and point.

Request your days off
Of course this is an essential part of your vacation. You have to be off from work. Or in freelancers' case, you have to decide when it's appropriate for you to take off from your clients or are you bringing the work with you? In my opinion, I don't mind checking my work email when I'm on vacation. I have the luxury of deciding whether or not I want to check them, and more importantly if I want to reply. Rather than demanded to. This to me is a great big perk of vacations.

Request your days off at least 6+ months a head of time. Minimum time frame should be 3+ months. This is especially if you work on a team of some sort. You want to beat out everyone else for the days you want. You should not be mad at your supervisor if they do not approve your vacation time you sent to them last minute. That is in poor taste.

Look for flights
Lately I have gotten into the habit of stalking flights on Google Flights. I love it. It tells me when flights dip, as well as, the history of prices since I started watching them. I save specific dates to my saved flights list. I would suggest to check on the list in the morning and evening.

I got tickets to New Orleans, LA for about $200 each by doing that. As soon as it dipped that low, I bought them. Another suggestion of mine is, have your credit card be a travel card. If you're going to go into debt, do it in another country. Let's be serious.

Accommodations
Airbnb is my go to. Probably always will be. To de-stress, I put places on my wish lists. Now that they added new features to these lists, I'm in heaven. I can even share it with other people as well. Now I don't have to send my boyfriend numerous links when I find new places. Or if you have a group of people going on vacation with you, you can also just share the wish list with them.

Keep in mind that there is a point when you have to ask yourself whether or not it is worth staying at an Airbnb location. When the price goes too high or it gets too difficult to find a place for your time-frame, start looking for hotels. Expedia and sites like it are best for that. Be smart though.


Those are all the tips I am willing to give away for right now, but I have a feeling I will be providing more soon. Go and plan a vacation today!


Since October 2013, I have been to Atlantic City, North Stonington,CT, Washington D.C., Jamaica, Philadelphia (numerous times), Landsdale, PA, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Toronto, West Hampton, NY, Seattle, Vancouver, England, France, and Mystic, CT. It's actually time for me to go on another trip soon. Guess where? Back to New Orleans. Woot woot. 


Monday, January 18, 2016

What are you? Where are you from?

Me llamo Selena. Mi familia es de Haití y  Panamá. Mis padres de mi padre hablan español. Hablo espanol un poco porque de mis abuelos, mis amigos y escuela. Yo uso mi español en mi trabajo a veces.

Je besoin de plus d'aide avec le français. Mon nom est Selena . Ma mère parle français et je essayer d'apprendre.



...mwen grangou


I have received the top two questions almost all my life. Black people look at me and say, "You're not black." White people look at me and ask, "Are you black?"Most Latinos start speaking to me in Spanish or ignore me and talk in Spanish anyway. Haitians and other Caribbean folks usually guess.

My heritage/ background has great importance to me, but I don't think it should be of great importance to anyone else outside of my family. Will you be my friend only if I am Hispanic? If I'm not "Black" you will give me the job? Yes, I do consider myself Hispanic often, but would I if this were the 70's or 80's? And would anyone care?

I bring this up because I deal with different prejudices from every ethnicity it seems. My family raised me that speaking another language while in the presence of others who do not speak that language is rude. Time and time again, I see people going on in Spanish (usually) and disregarding anyone who doesn't understand. Often I wonder, would I do that if I was more fluent? Will my children be like that? I don't think so. My boyfriend once told me a story about two female co-workers of his were speaking Spanish all day to each other (not saying anything mean about anyone, just speaking). Then when someone came in and greeted another co-worker in French, proceeded to have a conversation... only then was it rude. Is that how us English speakers feel? Are we as ridiculous as those two women?

When I go to Europe, I am always astonished about how fluent everyone is in different languages. I learned enough French to get someone to speak to me in English. One woman said she didn't know too much English to give us directions, but come to find out, she definitely knew more than I knew in French. Which got me thinking, Why don't more Americans know more than one language (other than Spanish)? My manager at work is British, she speaks English, Spanish and French. Another co-worker said, "I wish I could do that." I laughed because factually you really could. The only reason why I know so much in Spanish is because I taught myself and paid attention. You can do the same and probably better.

In our household, we switch in and out of French and Spanish. I practice with my partner because we eventually want to have children and want them to know other languages. I don't plan on being perfect but I have my mother and my grandparents to help. Which leads me back to the two questions above. What will people think my children are? They will have a long list of countries to spew but I hope they will be proud of each and every one. When I was a child, I was very confused about that question. My hair was kinky but not in the way other brown girls at school had kinks. I spoke with a slight accent on words because I replicated and learned words from relatives (like my mother) who have foreign accents. In result, I have a slight pronunciation issue when I say or learn certain words. Which is why I wonder about all this.

Let me tell you something, "What I am?" has minimal to do with "Who I am". That is what I am going to teach my children. In the end of the day, as my father used to say to me, "You are a human being first." And factually, we really are. If the planet was invaded by aliens, you think you're going to care who's German and who's Indian? We should be more concerned about feeling, learning, thinking, creating, and living. Not only the root. The seed is planted and it grows into a tree then produces fruit. Do you still obsess over the seed? No, you take a bite into that fruit and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Kathy

Young Love is a special thing.

My boyfriend told me a story about his once girlfriend named Kathy. She was a highlight in his life. I could tell by the way he told the story. Most people would say it was insane for him tell me about her, but I love hearing about his life before I entered into it. We're all human. And we all fall in love. In this case, I am wowed by how he maintined a relationship with this girl for so long and only met her once. Meanwhile, a lot of couples who see each other more often find it difficult to stay together.
For some reason, it all brings my mind to pen pals. Hopefully I don't lose you. But with a pen pal, you build this deep rooted relationship with someone miles away from you. You dare to tell them the truth about yourself and your life. Your biggest wants and your deepest desires. A soldier away on a base (in a non disclosed location) was once my pen pal. All because I left my email address in a Christmas card I made during a sorority unity event. It was nice to talk to someone who wasn't there or in my life. As I'm sure it was nice for him to talk to someone about something other than a possible war. Making that connection with a stranger makes you friends, or... pals. Therefore I can slightly understand how Kathy and my boyfriend became so close.



When it came to my first love, it too was amazing. Deep rooted and maybe not so healthy for me. He made me laugh, made me cry. I had such dreams when I was with him. Honestly, at that age, I never thought a boy would find me attractive. Probably why I latched onto him right away. Then it became love... Or something like it. Isn't it funny when you think about all those times before now when you were " in love"? Some people think they were dumb, weak, or even childish. Some even dare to say they weren't in love. Well I am here to say, "Don't".

We all have a Kathy and I think respecting that love, whatever it was is necessary. Don't discredit or lessen the value of that time. You were in love for you then, not now.
I hope to write more about this in my memoir I started. Because  we as a species are in love with love but don't quite know what to do with it.

*name was changed for privacy