Is It Now Okay To Say the N-Word?

A few months ago I went to a music festival in my hometown and ran into an acquaintance from high school. I was happy to see him until he greeted me with, “Kiah, my n*****!”

I can’t say I was offended, I was just more shocked than anything. For as long as I’ve been alive I’ve thought the “n” word to be something you never say to anyone. More than insulting me, as maybe it should have considering I’m biracial, I became upset about the word being used rather than it being used toward me. I told him to please not say it again, he did, and I haven’t spoken to him since.

Throughout my life I can’t say that I’ve ever been affected by racism. Though I’ve grown up in a predominantly Caucasian community, no one has ever cared about my skin colour. I don’t see myself as any different than anyone else, but in that moment I was suddenly separate. That acquaintance couldn’t call any of my other friends the “n” word and even if he had it wouldn’t mean anything at all.

As my anger simmered down in the next week, I realized that he hadn’t meant it to hurt me. I began to remember times during high school when people would use that word and in those cases it was used synonymous with “my friend.”

But when did it become okay to say nigger?

My brain barely recognizes the word as I type it. It’s just so foreign and so wrong to me. How can people use such a terrible word that was created to belittle a specific race and cause segregation?

Forgive me for letting my nerd-flag fly, but in the wise words of Albus Dumbledore, “Fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself.” By my rejection of the word, am I only giving it more negative power?

The truth is, the “n” word is just that: a word! However it holds such history that behind the letters it’s so much more. Today’s society is a lot different than that of only 50 years ago. Things have changed dramatically. I liken the change of the meaning of the word to the change of the word “gay”, where it now describes someone who is homosexual.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use the “n” word. In fact I don’t plan to–it’s not something that will ever be a part of my vocabulary. But I’m trying to tolerate it. I’m not saying that I don’t think it’s wrong to use it, I just recognize that it doesn’t necessarily have the same meaning.

– K

Advertisements

Why Haven’t I Been Listening to Miles Kane??

A few days ago I was on Tumblr, doin’ ma thang (reblogging shit, you know how it is) when I came across a song by Miles Kane on my dashboard. Being a super-fan of Arctic Monkeys and the band’s front-man, Alex Turner, I have been aware of Kane for a very long time. But for the stupid reason that he has the look of this one guy I hadn’t been too fond of, I didn’t bother looking into him (with the exception of The Last Shadow Puppets). On that day I decided to give Miles Kane a shot, mostly due to the fact that I’ve gotten to know the guy he reminds me of a bit better and as it turns out he’s pretty cool.

As soon as I pressed play, I cursed myself for my stupid, superficial reasoning.

What a beautiful voice Mr. Kane has! It’s very much like Turner, but a bit higher, a bit more melodic, I think. His lyrics are very reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys’ front-man as well (he cowrote most of Kane’s album though, so that is to be expected). Within the first lines I was hooked. Wow.

I went on to listen to his whole solo album (he used to be the lead singer of a band called The Rascals, I’ve learned from Wikipedia–I should check them out too now that I think on it) and loved every bit of it. It’s literally been my soundtrack of the past few days.

Here’s the first song I listened to, the title track of his album Colour of the Trap. Listen, love, and them listen to him some more. How fantastic.

Flirting and Why It Is (Potentially) Ruining My Love Life

I must admit, when it comes to the “dating scene” I’m not the most experienced fisherman at sea (is that an expression? …now it is). By that I mean that I have not gone on one date in my life. While I’d like to say I’m just too good-looking and amazing personalitied (not a word, but we’ll go with it) that the boys are being shied away, I know that the truth of my inexperience lies in my flirting techniques. Or lack thereof.

I just can’t flirt. It’s like my body rejects winking and seduction. Truthfully I’ve never really put in a real effort–but it’s so hard! In addition I feel like a creep when I do try. One of my (few) attempts was at a high school dance. I went up to this one guy while “Sexy Bitch” started playing and told him, “I once met David Guetta on a plane and he wrote this song for me.” Nope, I did not get his number. Or really an acknowledgement from him. Now that I’m looking back he may not have even heard me because the music was so loud…but the fact remains that it was not my smoothest move.

Being open to someone you’re interested in is so scary! In high school I forced myself to Facebook chat this one guy I liked. This sounds promising, right? Wrong. I was literally SHAKING as I typed. It was so bad that I had to take the time after writing a message to get rid of all the extra letters I had accidentally added (“Hooww aree yuouuu?>”). And while I would talk to him on Facebook at least two nights a week, I was so nervous I pretty much ignored him at school. I was glad when that crush was over…

Another problem lies in the fact that I just don’t trust a flirt. I just find the whole “art” deceiving. On top of that I’m very clueless. Usually I won’t notice I’m being flirted with, but when I do I decide that I hate it. For example, this is what happened at a club two weeks ago:

Flirter: Wow, you’re beautiful! What’s your name?
Me: Kiah.
Flirter: That is such a pretty name!
Me:
Flirter:
…do you get that a lot?
Me: Yes.

My immediate reaction was to shut him down. Honestly I do get that a lot, but most of the time I’ll say thank you. Knowing that he likely wanted to hook up with me (I’ve realized that most guys in the clubs I go to are only interested in that) was just a turn off and I wasn’t having any of it. I also shut down the guy that filled his place. (“I am Alessandro. You’re pretty, where are you from?”/”Canada.”/”No…background.”/”Jamaican, Italian…”/”I am from Ee-tal-ee!”/”Cool.”)

The key to flirting, or at least as I understand it, is complimenting. And I simply hate compliments! When someone compliments me I feel like they’re being insincere, which is why I’m very slow to compliment others. I feel like this started because of Mean Girls–to refresh your memory, Regina George compliments one girl on her skirt and immediately turns to Cady when she’s gone and says, “That is the ugliest effing thing I have ever seen.” So when someone calls me beautiful, I feel like they’ll turn to their friend the moment I’m gone and say, “Hey, I think we’ve found the Yeti.”

I want to write about another point, but I can’t think of anything. Isn’t flirting just compliments? That’s all it ever is for me. Or being creepy, as I proved with the whole “Sexy Bitch” fiasco.

I’m not too worried about learning to flirt and whatnot. It’s not like I’m gunning to have a boyfriend or anything (in fact the idea is just the biggest turn off for me). But it would be nice to not be a boy-repellent when I do give flirting a go.

How much simpler would the world be if you could just look at someone and know they were interested in you? I hate these games…I’ll probably never flat out admit to someone that I have a crush on them. Or at least not for a long time from now.

This has ended very abruptly. But I have nothing else to say on the topic. It’s too stressful.

-K

Pros and Cons of Taking a Gap Year

Image

Due to the ridiculous cost of post-secondary education and my own indecision about that quintessential high school question “What do you want to do with your life?”, after graduation I found myself still at home while a majority of my peers went off to start anew at college or university. Over the summer I was a nervous wreck, not knowing how the following year would progress. Taking a year off was leaving too much unknown for someone who had spent the past 14 years in school. This was a feeling I should have had after university, not before. But I had no other options.

The truth is I needed to take the year off. Without it I would likely have enrolled myself in some program I was only mildly partial to at some university I hated. Likewise, without it I wouldn’t have realized how desperately I needed to be in school. There are two sides to my gap year and so I share with you the pros and cons of taking a year off…

The Pros

  • Like I said, I had no idea what I really wanted to do. This year allowed me to take the time to really think about how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Without the year off, I probably would have taken Sociology at the university closest to my house–the program is general, I can do quite a few things with it, and I had a lot of friends who were applying/planning to go to the same school. Now I realize I would have hated it. Come the fall I will be going to my dream school which just happens to be across the country and will be focusing on the thing that I am most passionate about: theatre & film. I’ve set up my timetable already and am more than excited for the school year to start.
  • I was able to save up some money to help contribute to my education. I never scored a full-time job, but I did work fairly steadily for six months. (More on this in the cons…)
  • I got to visit quite a few universities to see my friends. Everyone wanted me to see how they were living in their new setting, so I got to really understand university life and see places that I would potentially want to go to. I even sat in on some lectures to see how a university classroom worked! At the end of the year, I got a slice of university life at 5 different schools. On top of that I gained a lot of insight from my friends who told me things they wish they’d known before applying for their program or to their specific school.
  • Room preferences! Because of my year off, I have the extra student attribute when applying to residence of being a gap year student. To be honest I’m not quite sure what this means–I’m crossing my fingers that because of it I’ll end up getting a single room like I’ve asked for.
  • Though this isn’t something I did, I know a lot of people who returned to high school for at least one semester to raise some marks. I considered doing this, but then realized I would probably have hated everything and gotten rebellious. (“I’ve already done this, I’m above your petty little high school!” &c.)
  • I made quite a lot of new friends–not just at the schools I visited, but also from my own high school. There was a handful of people who stayed back/took a year off as well, so I ended up getting to know a few more people in my own area who I never really hung out with in high school. It’s a nice phenomenon how much everyone changes between high school and university; everyone is so much nicer and open to making new friends.

The Cons

  • I hate my house. I hate living at home. The amount of breakdowns I had because I’ve been ready to “fly the coop” since grade eleven and yet have been forced to remain for a year longer than expected really took a toll on me. That’s perhaps why I’m going to school so far away.
  • I cannot begin to describe how lonely I felt as everyone left in late-August/early-September. One week I could call on my friends as I wished, the next everyone was moving in, having orientations, posting photos on Facebook about Frosh Week, making new friends, and forgetting about little old me sitting at home doing nothing.
  • It took me forever to find a job. I spent the whole summer looking and was finally employed in mid-September. Maybe not too bad, but two weeks without friends was terribly lonely when I didn’t have any distractions.
  • Not being busy with some kind of work that challenged me intellectually drove me crazy.
  • Building on that last point, because I have had so much time in the past year I have taken procrastination to a whole new level. I thought I was bad in high school but nowadays I’ll take months to do simple things (i.e. getting my G2, getting new headshots, filling out my “Statement of Activities” for my school application).

This year off has been anything but enjoyable. In November, when I realized I had ten months of suffering left I wasn’t sure I could make it. I fell into a major depression. Come February I struggled to make it through a shift at work without crying. Finally in March I had to quit. I started focusing on getting healthy, both physically and mentally. It was a relief when I received my acceptance letter in early April after my birthday, but that didn’t cure me. I’d been applying for different jobs since February and hadn’t had a single interview–this brought on a whole new stress about contributing to school, though my parents told me we’d be all right and I’d still be able to go.

Thankfully I’m doing better now, 31 days away from my big move. I know more than ever where I want to be and that is at school. I’m not worried that I won’t be able to fall back into being a student, it’s one of the things I enjoy most in the world.

Everyone has their own reasons for taking a gap year, and not everyone has a choice. The truth is I might be stronger now because of what I’ve gone through in this year. Twelve months means so much more to me now and I refuse to let another dozen get out of my control. I know what I want to do in life and that is not to sit around waiting for things to happen. September 1 is when my new life begins and I promise there will be no gaps from here.

There are pros and there are cons, but a gap year is only positive or negative based on what you make of it.

– K

The Daily/Weekly/Monthly Fresh Start

I write this post from my new laptop. I just got a Sony Vaio and I can tell you I love it already! But, okay, let’s get to business…

Are you familiar with the term “food baby”? It’s that terrible bloating you get after eating too much (usually carb-heavy) food. Well I have one right now. In fact I’ve had it for the past few days and I’m sick of sucking it in. But it just dawned on me today that, “Hey, it’s July 30–that means I’ll have a new start in the new month!”

Am I the only person that does that? The commencement of a new month means a new attempt at health. And when that fails in the first week, I change that start day to Sunday…and then I realize that, “Wait, it’s only Monday, okay I’ll start tomorrow” and then it goes to the next day and so on and so forth until “Oh, it’s September! Time to be healthy now!”

Why can’t I start now? There’s no better time like the present.

Well, now that I’ve asked that I already have an answer. Eating healthy sucks. Working out sucks. I would much rather just imagine myself having the body of my dreams and then opening my eyes and that imaginary me becoming real me.

But, if you want to look a certain way, you’ve got to do it. Which…sucks.

Tonight I have a soccer game, and I’ll play hard to make up for not working out or anything during the day today. And tomorrow I’ll start being healthier. And if tomorrow doesn’t work out, the next day I’ll begin.

Okay, maybe this post hasn’t changed anything, but I’m going to make a real effort this next month before I leave for school to get ma shit togethaaa.

– K

I Apologize Before You Read This: “YOLO”

Image

Since I was young, everyone has always told me that I act older than my age. I’m just very mature, I suppose. I was the girl reading books for grades higher in grade two, being the friend to the girl everyone shunned in grade five, learning HTML out of curiosity in grade seven, and giving advice to my friends about drama all throughout high school. My reputation is (or maybe I should say was, considering some recent events) flawless. So, naturally, people trust me very easily and expect me to get things done.

It was in March of last year when I went on my graduation trip to Punta Cana with a small group of my friends (the rest of the grade went during the summer) that I realized that I was different than most of my peers. I had not been in a fight with a friend since grade four, never been involved in any drama or had rumours spread about me, liked to party but didn’t mind sitting at home reading, wasn’t interested in having a boyfriend because the boys I knew were simply not good enough (to put it bluntly)… Meanwhile my friends were around me having fights with their boyfriends and girlfriends, guzzling alcohol from sun rise and back, having sex with strangers, and experiencing their own little “flings”. Now I definitely enjoyed that trip and didn’t hold myself back. I certainly drank every night, more than I would if I was at home. I had my first kiss. And my second. And third. But I found myself more interested in actually experiencing the trip by going on a trip on a catamaran, taking a jeep tour, and learning how to surf. Why would I want to sleep with a stranger just to “get the whole virginity thing over with before college”? Why would I want to wake up every morning hungover? What’s so great about tanning and why am I expected to want to sit in the sun for X amount of hours (risking heat stroke!)? However, this post isn’t about my trip so I’ll move right along…

I’ve always been the responsible one. Though I would say that I am by nature impulsive, I usually avoided doing anything “out-of-the-box” in fear of ruining my reputation, running into any drama, or having any regrets. But after coming back from that trip I had an epiphany: I was not having any fun the way I was living. I was surprised at the regret I felt from not doing anything crazy and not making mistakes!

Most weekends I was at home. I was not happy with a majority of my friends who I felt I had next to nothing in common with. Guys were non-existent in my life (if you didn’t guess that, seeing as my first kiss was at 18). Now these aren’t necessarily things that had to be fixed, and I certainly found happiness at one point with these things as they were, but they were the root of my discontentment.

At the time I wasn’t in a position to change it up. I was taking a class that organizes a huge conference every year and I was in charge of getting the guest speakers. It was a stressful job and a social life wouldn’t have been possible if I wanted to do the very best job I could. So I held off…

I really hate to say it because it’s become so lame/obvious, but you really do only live once. I despise people who use this acronym in a serious fashion day-to-day, but it is a valid reason to say, “Fuck it!” and live.

So this past year I’ve started hanging out with new friends. At one point I did go through a little bit of a depression (and am still working against it), but I found that improving my life not necessarily through productivity but through keeping busy and trying to make my life interesting has helped. But I’m staying grounded, avoiding that drama that I’ve never truly experienced. At the same time I’m allowing myself to be a little irresponsible sometimes, to do things just because I want to. Or to avoid things just because I want to. (Like quitting my job–I wrote a letter and had my mom drop it in the mailbox because I didn’t want to deal with confrontation–not my most responsible choice, but the best for me at the time as the stress I felt even thinking about it was insane.)

Maybe this isn’t the way to spend the rest of my life, but I’m definitely in a better place than I was last year at this time, in terms of having fun being myself. And I know life isn’t all parties and lack of consequences, but those are things I never experienced going through high school.

It’s time I acknowledged that I’m still young. I’m allowed to be a little irresponsible sometimes. I should do things just because I have a sudden impulse. In the end, I’ll be happier.

So fuck it. YOLO. Or carpe diem. Or “live every day like it’s your last”. Or some other cliché.

– K

Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game

After about three months of unemployment, this week I finally got a job as a marketing associate for a promotions company. I was ecstatic–I’d finally get some money in my pocket, the job was full time, and in addition I would be working with one of my friends! However, upon “hitting the field”, I soon realized that the job wasn’t quite what I imagined…

Have you ever gone to the grocery store, for example, and seen a table decorated with products with a few (pushy) salespeople behind it, insisting, “You’re gonna love this!”? That was essentially my job. I would have a partner and we’d go to different locations in my regional area to set up tables and sell…car wax. I was taught to give demos without asking if it’s all right to touch someone’s car and to “assume the deal”. I was taught techniques to trick people into buying the product, like inserting “key” words and phrases into my pitch to pique interest, such as “free” and “everybody’s getting it”. The things I was told to tell customers was a lie, claiming, “One can retails for $45 in the States, but today we’re doing 2 for $35 plus a free gift.” Truthfully each can was only $15 and the free gift $5.

I had been thrust into a culture of dishonesty where the prime goal was not truly to market this new product but to make more money and sell, sell, sell. (In defence of the product, it actually worked really well.)

Though I despised the job on the field, the people I met were fantastic. Everyone was kind, outgoing, and, most admirably, driven. They would set goals for themselves everyday and do everything they possibly could to reach them. I felt very welcomed into the workplace from the first day and everyone was intent on helping me to be better and feel comfortable.

After this, I wish more people would sympathize for those “pesky salespeople”. I don’t think I would be writing this if it weren’t for the extremely rude way I was treated by the public in the past four days. I understand that perhaps what’s being offered isn’t for you, but when I ask how your day is, you can actually respond instead of ignoring me, putting your hand in front of my face, or simply and vehemently telling me, “No.” I never asked you to buy anything! In this week I was treated like I was scum by a majority of the people I talked to. I worked 12-hour days in boiling heat and rain, coming home with barely anything to show for it, except for an irritable attitude and overall depression.

My point is, it’s a hard job. Everyone’s trying to make enough money to get by. The unfortunate part of this kind of job is that it is commission-based, so for those 12-hour work days I barely scraped $40 for myself a day. I know salespeople can be a nuisance, but more often than not this line of work is all that’s available for that person at the time. More often than not, that person is dreaming of bigger and better things. From talking to people in the office, I’ve realized that the majority of them want to go on to have their build their own businesses and have their own offices–this is just a stepping-stone for them.

Anyways, I now have to write up a letter to resign. Yes, it’s only been 4 days, but there’s only so much I can take. I salute the people that can stay in this line of work, because it’s just not something I can personally handle. It would be nice to have some money in my pocket, but at what cost?

– K