A series of song diaries starting… soon!

Coming at you in the hottest weeks of Summer 2016: the CapriceCake Song Diaries!

… Basically, I really like rambling about my favorite songs and how I interpret their meanings, so expect to see some posts related to that soon. I already have enough material for me to post weekly for, like, the rest of my life, so I’ll just throw them here whenever, especially if I haven’t had an inclination to write about anything else for a while.

And now I’m going to address the audience that I pretend I have:

Send me song suggestions; leave me feedback with your own opinions; and link me if you keep a similar song diary! :) But most importantly, KEEP LISTENING. KEEP ANALYZING. AND WRITE!

Love,

 

capricecake

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Something to take away from “Blue Lives Matter”

I wrote this post the day this hashtag surfaced a few days ago and have been slow to edit it. So here it is, better late than blablabla.

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“Blue Lives Matter” is a phrase. Black Lives Matter is a movement.

“Blue Lives Matter” is a response to the BLM movement resulting from anger and fear on behalf of police officers and those who support them. I interpret the message behind this phrase as, “People are not valuing the lives of officers like they should.”

There’s something immediately off-putting about the phrase “Blue Lives Matter.” No one needs to be told that it’s an obvious rip off of BLM, and that struck me as ignorant and distasteful. Last night, a former classmate of mine shared something insightful on Facebook that helped me articulate why:

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Working as a police officer is a choice, and an officer knowingly assumes risks by choosing that career. Yet every black person in the U.S. is in more danger than a given white person simply for having been born black. You see how the element of choice is lost here?

I don’t want to rip on police officers– not here, not now. They do good. Not always, but at least sometimes. In my pessimistic worldview, they’re only  about as flawed as the rest of the human race: Some of them are good people, some of them are bad, and I’d assume most of them are somewhere in between. Don’t get hung up on the question of whether or not they’re “good,” whatever that means to you — that’s not the point here.

So what is my point?

I think “Blue Lives Matter” presents a tremendous learning opportunity for white people. Think of a police officer in your life that you care about, if you know one. Imagine this man or woman has a family that now, especially after the police murders in Dallas, hugs them extra long and tight, worries about them a lot more, and feels helpless to protect them from a world that wants to hurt them. They worry that their lives are in danger because of the uniform that they wear, presumably with the honorable purpose to protect people.

That’s incredibly sad, and of course everyone should feel empathy for these people and their families. After all, everyone wants to honor and protect the ones they love.

But the reality is that theirs is a similar fear that so many black families have to deal with, simply because this country has demonstrated to them over and over, day after day, that they are in danger because of the color of their skin. That black lives are less valued by our media and our justice system.

I’m white; I don’t personally know this about black families. It’s not a part of my experience. I also don’t personally know any police officers. But I’m reflecting on what I’ve heard and read from a variety of sources and all sorts of people, both from testimonies and actual statistics. And I have to say, the anger and fear that this “Blue Lives Matter” hashtag seems to express bears similarities to that which can be found burning hotly in the BLM movement.

There are stark differences between blue and black. But I think these feelings present a very important opportunity for empathy on both sides. And it’s worth noting that for the white police officers who are statistically proven to be more likely to use excessive force on black people, resulting in their deaths, these officers have more power in society and therefore bear more responsibility to explore that empathy, to understand the people they are trying to crush (whether they mean to do it or not), and to learn how to better the situation.

That’s the lesson I see in “Blue Lives Matter.”

Love,

capricecake

Connecting is a workout: both exhausting and worthwhile

 

It’s a bit alarming how quickly I have adjusted to the callousness associated with cities. I drive aggressively– at least compared to how I used to– and I am really good at avoiding or shutting down people I don’t want to talk to. My unfortunate habit of dealing with people in a disconnected, goal-driven way comes in handy when I need to get past a chatty housemate or an aggressive person on the street, but it’s something I want to be conscious of and challenge so that I can nurture another ability that I know I possess, even if it’s less often used: the ability to appreciate the uniqueness of people and situations.

When I’m in stop-and-go traffic, I love when I suddenly become aware of all the bodies and brains around me, each with their own complex stories and personal goals. It makes the situation instantly less stressful when I look upon the strangers around me not with aggravation and impatience, but with care and curiosity. (I probably drive more safely, too.)

I’ve been making small personal gains, too. I sometimes force myself to linger in the kitchen with my housemates instead of scuttling up to my room to eat my meals in solitude. Other times I invite them out with me or accept their invitations, even though I’d rather be alone. And it’s been exhausting, but good: Some people feel like friends when they probably would have felt like acquaintances, had I not put in this effort.

Callousness is a good personal defense mechanism. It helps me not to constantly despair over homelessness or get chummy with questionable wanderers in the street. And as an introvert, I don’t flush my energy into this vast whirlpool of people around me; my reticence allows me to save that energy for people who mean more to me.

Still, I think it’s less important to make myself comfortable than it is to make myself strong and more connected to the humans around me. Sometimes I feel love for people I see in the city that I’ll never speak to or see again — but I don’t feel that love often enough. It’d be naive to expect that love from other people, and perhaps even to expect it from myself more often than it already comes… but it’s worth trying to foster anyway.

Listening to the news every morning in my car before work, I came close to tears a few times this week. People are scary; the world is scary. I don’t know how to bring more love into it, and even if I did, I don’t quite believe I’d be strong enough to follow through with it. But, I’m still young. Maybe practicing these everyday challenges will get me a little closer to making that kind of difference. Writing helps.

I know it’s a holiday but I want to be alone >:)

I took a vacation last weekend that lasted through Wednesday. I saw a city I really enjoy with someone I love by my side, and it was wonderful and exciting and stimulating.

And now, all I want is to be by myself. My boyfriend is away and I have no obligations to anyone or anything. And so far, this weekend has been restful and breathable. I needed it more than I thought I did. So why am I getting flack for it?

Don’t I want to go home? Shouldn’t I be at the block party at Independence Mall? What the hell was I doing at the gym the last two mornings? How am I going to make friends like that?

Unfortunately, I can’t be with my family, with my friends, with new friends, and recharging my batteries all at the same time. So I made a choice.

Faced with everyone who has questioned my choice this weekend, what I want to say is that being alone is as much of a holiday as those on the calendar, and about as rare. I’m not avoiding anything or being lazy; in fact, this weekend has been purposeful, even productive, and much healthier than the last few weeks. I’m happy and satisfied. And yes, I did see a fireworks show and hear Dostoevsky’s 1812 Overture — twice.

I didn’t say that to anyone because I didn’t take the time to articulate it until just now… :) Luckily, there’s still one day left in this long weekend — the number-four day we’ve all been waiting for — so if someone new makes the mistake of passing judgment on my introverted self, I’ll be sure to dump my loner wisdom all over them.

Thanks for reading, and I hope your holiday is at least half as insane and explosive as our election season has been. <3