Lean Wherever, Whenever: another stream of consciousness

April 1, 2014

I just read this article about how women need to get married and run a household – that this is how to make women happy.

I know this is a common belief, but, I mean…it’s April 1st. This is a pretty extreme point of view for an opinion column.

My biggest issue with this article – and most articles, magazines, and blogs for that matter – is that it defines feminism as one-sided.

Let me go back to an experience I had while studying International Human Rights law in Cairo. It was my favorite class in human rights studies I’ve taken because of the true diversity in the group. Don’t get me wrong – Peter Lucas was one of my favorite professors at NYU, and I’ve kept all of the books, handouts, and notes I took from his classes. The makeup, however, of the class was pretty much the same. Everyone agreed, for the most part, what innate human rights were, and what we are guaranteed as global citizens.

But while studying International Human Rights Law in Cairo as opposed to theory in an NYU classroom was completely different. There were a descent number of students from the US, but there was at least one student from every continent in the class. And when the topic of women’s rights came up, I remember one student saying he didn’t want to say his piece because he was afraid of the backlash. He truly believed that women and men have separate roles, and women do not need to be guaranteed certain rights.

This is extremely crucial to understanding the development and execution of international human rights policies.

Which brings me back to my issue with one-sided feminism: it’s not black and white. All kinds of people believe they fight for women’s rights, even though they don’t agree on what those rights are, or what it means. Some believe feminism is about fighting for equality. Some believe feminism is about fighting for the well-being of the greater good. Some believe feminism is for women. Some believe feminism is about moving forward. Some believe feminism is about preserving the past.

There will always be differing opinions of what feminism is; however, you shouldn’t hate on feminism as a whole because you don’t agree with one group of feminists. Just find your own brand.


How I Met Your Mother: stream of conciousness in the hours following the series finale

March 31, 2014

Did you not love UP? A story that ultimately was about a perfect love that was had, passed, but then one half was encouraged to continue living life, because you can’t possibly only love one person or thing in your life? Because life is full of adventures, and you’re allowed to have more than one, and someone who really, truly, purely loves you will want that for you. Sorry that’s not romantic enough?

This show is certainly hopelessly romantic, yet so grounded in reality.

What kind of expectations did you have of the finale? We had already met the mother. We already knew they’d be perfect together. For example, I knew, from the moment I started watching Breaking Bad, that Walter White had to die. I didn’t care or know how, but I knew he had to die. That was the only expectation I had of the series finale.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER has been less predictable than that (not that I didn’t enjoy Breaking Bad, or wasn’t surprised by numerous events).

The show has always been about Robyn. Everyone may’ve realized it at different times. I knew it was about Robyn at the end of the eighth season. I knew that the story of how Ted met the mother was completely based on his relationship with Robyn. As annoying as the ups and downs had been, his absolute lowest of aloneness and despair was Robyn’s wedding – where he meets the mother of his children.

People leave us when we’re not finished loving them. It’s just a fact. It’s not one we usually talk about or see in such a light-hearted sitcom (though they beautifully and perfectly touched on it with Marshall’s dad). Yes, we’d all like to think that life can’t or doesn’t continue after our soulmate passes on. Titanic happened to be on AMC a couple hours before the HIMYM finale. Wasn’t it bittersweet that she lived her life to the fullest?

Yes, it burns to think that Ted had always been in love with Robyn, even when he was with the mother. First, this show has never been about being perfect. It’s been a constant struggle to find perfection, but realizing that your idea of perfection will always be unattainable. Life gets in the way, and you better fucking enjoy it. Second, you have to keep in mind that a) 6 years have passed since the mother died; and b) Ted has happily lived his life outside of the story we’ve been told. As his kids, so to speak, we know everything that happened after Ted met the mother, and I for one like to think it was everything Ted imagined his life with his future wife would be.

As it was pointed out by the mother, Ted has been living in his stories. This show cannot be so simplified to how he met the mother. This show has been about his transformation to becoming the man who met the mother. It’s about ALL of the people he’s loved.

Don’t you think he was happy with Tracy while they were married? He may have pined for Robyn every now and then, but can you blame him after everything we know about their relationship?

The scene with the yellow umbrella was all I could’ve expected and wished of the series finale. I didn’t know it, but it’s exactly how I expected and wanted Ted to meet Tracy. That’s really all I could’ve asked for I guess.

All in all, an emotional roller coaster. One that I will probably ride over and over, and come to different conclusions every time.

AND ANOTHER THING: love is all we have, right? It doesn’t have to make sense, right? And didn’t the mother have to move on from the love of her life before meeting Ted?

I think a lot of people expected a marvelous, explosively romantic ending to the show, when in fact we had already MET the mother at the end of season 8 and throughout season 9. I’m not sure what people expected from the series finale in that sense, though I haven’t yet taken the time or built the emotional reserve to read other analyses and blogs.

AND YET ANOTHER THING: This article by Megan Garber starts to articulate how I feel about the series finale. As everyone continues to point out, YES, THE SHOW IS CALLED HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. And you know what? We met her. What more do you want? What more did you expect?


I Don’t Believe You.

February 28, 2014

There’s been some hubbub in Georgia about a bill similar to Arizona’s protection of religious freedom. Both bills have been vetoed or shot down.

At first, when I saw all the Facebook posts about signing petitions and sharing articles about how ignorant and prejudiced the bill was, I looked into it. I actually tried to read it, and other than clearly having an anti-choice stance, I couldn’t understand how it could be racist or anti-gay. To be fair, I had trouble understanding the bill as a whole.

This morning I saw an article on the Washington Post: “After Veto in Arizona, Conservatives Vow to Fight for Religious Liberties.” Being the skeptic I am, my first thought was “Really? REALLY?? Is this just the liberal media blowing this out of proportion? Conservatives can’t possibly care that much about denying gays the right to spend money at these businesses. Is it really that important not to let them spend money at their establishments?”

The answer, amazingly, is yes. People genuinely feel threatened by marriage equality.

I just…I can’t…what?

I know, I’m clearly very naive. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I went to college in New York City. My dad is Chinese, my mom is a Caucasian lesbian. Certain conservative or ignorant points of view genuinely confuse me.

Anyway, that’s all really. I wanted to say something about this without starting a comment war on Facebook.


Parameters

August 28, 2013

Rant.

Syria has been going on for two years, and I’ve been posting about it as much as I can. I look up news stories on them every day. As an individual, obviously I can only do so much with social media and talking with people I know.

Recently, however, it seems that Syria has finally taken center stage with the use of chemical weapons. There is now serious conversation about whether or not to get involved.

The discussion I’ve noticed revolves around the question: why now? I hear the bleeding heart hippies say that, over the past two years, Syrians have been suffering no differently than they were 18 months ago, 15 months ago, or 1 month ago.

I also hear the cold hearted conservatives arguing about the “parameters of war,” and the specific nature of weapons used up to this point, versus the indiscriminate nature of chemical weapons. And then, of course, the argument of why have weapons and war at all.

My first question is to the bleeding hearts: what about Egypt? Do we need to get involved with Egypt’s civil war? When should we have gotten involved with Egypt? What about Sudan? What about North Korea? What about our own country? Don’t you think there’s enough problems here to deal with? How many countries should we get involved in? And once we’re in them, can we set a real date to end the war? Is it possible to go in only for a few months or years, and leave if it’s not resolved? Better late than never, don’t you think?

My next question is to the cold hearted: what budget do we have for this? Can we afford to be there for however long it takes? Isn’t it a violation of sovereignty? What does their civil war have to do directly with us? How can involvement in Syria be any more successful than Iraq or Afghanistan?

I have more to say, but I also have work to do. Since I’m at work.


Surely Is A Dream

January 10, 2013

**I made a resolution to blog at least once a week (either here or on my cooking blog), so…here’s to a late start!**

On a drive to Columbus, I looked at the sun setting and I thought “I really wish I could capture that in a photograph.”

I realized a few years ago that I didn’t want or need to photograph everything anymore. There just isn’t a point. Photographs are taken to create memories, or preserve as much of a desired memory as possible. But when it comes to emotions and smells and feelings of awe, those memories can’t be preserved in a photograph. Sure, pictures can help provoke those things, but I feel that my most precious memories are usually in more than just photographs.

That being said, there was something about this picture my brother took the other day of our mom.

Image

There’s something about it that I just love (other than my mom and La Victoria). I posted it on Facebook, and my cousin commented “I love that it’s your grandfather’s face with your grandmother’s expression!” I’m not sure what it is about that statement, but I totally see it. I don’t know if it speaks to my past, my present, or my future, or to any memory I sort of have of either grandparent, but I like it.

I’m not sure what the point is of this post, but I just wanted to share all that.


Going Where You’ve Never Been

October 21, 2012

I haven’t had much to say to share with the world in a while, but this I feel needs to be said.

I’m currently having a crisis of identity. Maybe that’s a little intense, but it’s how I feel at the moment.

I’ve known for a long time that I don’t want to be an artist. I knew years ago, but I was afraid to leave my photography program. After all those years of building a portfolio and learning everything I wanted about photography, I realized early on in my college studies that it wasn’t what I wanted. Unfortunately I was too chicken to do something about it.

A while ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is finishing med school this year. He asked me why I didn’t choose to study a science since it was clearly something that interested me. I can’t remember what my answer was to him then, but now I’m pretty sure I know what my answer is.

I don’t blame anyone but myself for not pursuing science. I went to a great school with extremely bright people. I have faith that all of my friends are going on to do great things as engineers, doctors, marine biologists, and teachers. I love them all, and I have no regrets about going to the only non-secular all-girl school in the Bay Area. I do, however, regret ever feeling like I wasn’t smart enough to study science.

Everyone around me was so fucking smart. A couple of my closest friends were on the robotics team for our school. I always thought it was the coolest thing that they built and programmed robots to compete with other robots around the country. (Seriously, how badass is that?) It’s not that they ever excluded me or anyone else. Everyone was encouraged to participate if they wanted. I just never took the initiative to ask.

It was pretty intimidating to be around people who studied the shit out of cool things. Everyone was so confident and good at what they loved, and I just never felt smart enough to be that cool. So instead I turned to photography because it was something I understood and enjoyed. It became something I wrapped my identity around, as most of us do with things we love growing up.

To be fair, my love of photography started before high school. But my passion for academics didn’t seem to grow the same way. It could be because I was home-schooled for a year, or because I had a bad science teacher one year and couldn’t pull my grades up. Maybe it’s because I felt that good grades were more important than simply enjoying the act of learning.

Regardless of why I didn’t pursue science then, the problem I face now is what to do about it. I am very tired of school and have no interest in returning; however, school seems to be the only option to fully invest myself in learning. I guess I could pick up a book and read, or listen to some Podcasts if I’m too lazy. But it’s just not the same. I read any science-related news I can that’s listed in my BBC newsfeed, even though I don’t understand it most of the time. I just searched for free science lectures near Atlanta, and the first search result for “free education” turned up seminars on dating. What the fuck.

My name is Sterling. I have a BFA in Photography & Imaging. I feel trapped with a misformed identity and a stunted career path. I am on a mission to…to…I don’t know. To do something about it I guess.


Have to be Loved to be Understood

May 2, 2012

I’ve heard that I haven’t posted in a while, so…here’s my post.

I’m currently reading Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene, and let me tell you…it gives me chills every time I pick it up. First, part of the introduction:

Once upon a time – not really so very long ago – something happened in this one little town that, especially on days like this one, now sounds just about impossible. Something happened, in the remote Nebraska sandhills, in a place few people today ever pass through….

…We’re always talking about what it is that we want the country to become, about how we can save ourselves as a people. We speak as if the elusive answer is out there in the mists, off in the indeterminate future, waiting to be magically discovered, like a new constellation, and plucked from the surrounding stars.

But maybe the answer is not somewhere out in the future distance; maybe the answer is one we already had, but somehow threw away. Maybe, as we as a nation try to make things better, the answer is hidden off somewhere, locked in storage, waiting to be retrieved.

The book tells the story of North Platte, Nebraska, and the Canteen that developed as a result of the large train depot where soldiers passed through during WWII. Soldiers would stop for 10 minutes at different depots, but North Platte was different. The people of the town (and surrounding towns) greeted every train with smiles, food, coffee, music, magazines, and gratitude. Every train. There were always people there to greet the soldiers. Soldiers – teenagers – who were traveling across the country to most likely die far away from homes. These people were always there to express their appreciation and to give them one last taste of America before beginning their journeys.

Who does that anymore? What kind of civilians do this for their soldiers? Yes, “it’s a different time,” especially since most people don’t travel by train. But is it really that different of a time? At least during WWII there was a very clear enemy and cause to die fighting for. But what now? And wouldn’t that mean that soldiers need civilian support more than ever?

As all of you know, I have plenty of qualms about the military, but this just sounds like the solution to bridging the gap between the civilian and military populations. I don’t have an idea of how we can implement something like this today, but I think we should all read this book and think about what kind of country we’re shaping for the future.


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