Exhausting Existence

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Being two different people is so exhausting. I’ve taught myself to speak with two different voices and only say certain things around certain people. I’ve mastered it. As much as I say I don’t have to choose which Starr I am with Chris, maybe without realizing it, I have to an extent. Part of me feels like I can’t exist around people like him.

 

 

Chris and Maya walk through the gate, and my stomach gets all jittery. I should be used to my two worlds colliding, but I never know which Starr I should be. I can use some slang, but not too much slang, some attitude, but not too much attitude, so I’m not a “sassy black girl.” I have to watch what I say and how I say it, but I can’t sound “white.” Shit is exhausting.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

 

Growing Up and Staying Me

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Leaping a, and looping with his little striped friends, Verdi laughed. “I may be big and very green, but I’m still me!”

Verdi by Janell Cannon

Mermaid Explorer

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King Neptune beamed and hugged his smallest child. “My Minnow,” he boasted to he entire kingdom, “is a daring explorer!”

The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell

A Dragon’s Triumphant Cry

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He dropped the mackerel at Hiccup’s feet, did three somersaults in a row and landed on Hiccup’s head. He let out the dragon’s cry of triumph, which is a bit like a rooster crowing but a lot louder and more self-satisfied.

How To Train Your Dragon (Book 1) by Cressida Cowell

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Source of the Revolution

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…I wonder what put that dangerous look in her eyes, what put such drama in her speech, what made her become a revolutionary.

Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy, Book 3) by Veronica Roth

Could Be Gentle

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His voice is higher, lighter than I expected. He could be a gentle man, maybe, if this were a different kind of place. As it is, I see that he isn’t gentle, doesn’t even know what that means. Even though I myself have discarded any kind of softness as useless, I find myself thinking that something important is lost if this man has been forced to deny his own nature.

Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy, Book 3) by Veronica Roth

True Beauty

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“Color fills her cheeks, and I think it again: that Johanna Reyes might still be beautiful. Except now I think that she isn’t just beautiful in spite of the scar, she’s somehow beautiful with it, like Lynn with her buzzed hair, like Tobias with the memories of his father’s cruelty that he wears like armor, like my mother in her plain gray clothing.”

Insurgent (Divergent Book 2) by Veronica Roth

 

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I notice that she has pulled her hair back on both sides, to reveal the scar in its entirety. She looks better that way—stronger, when she is not hiding behind a curtain of hair, hiding who she is.

Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy, Book 3) by Veronica Roth

Poverty Survivor Pride: No Shame In Being Poor

Poverty Survivor Defined

Poverty Survivor (White) Tee Shirt

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A Poverty Survivor is any human being who has survived poverty. The individual may have been poor at some time in the past, in the throes of survival right now, or a member of a family that has (as far anyone knows) always been poor. It’s not about the duration or the cause, it’s about the ability to survive.

Why I Am A Survivor

There is no shame in being poor.
There is no shame in being born into poverty.
There is no shame in having family who is poor.
There is no shame in being homeless.
There is no shame in facing a serious financial crisis.
There is no shame in complete financial life change.

I Am Your Equal (white) Tee Shirt

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Poverty is a life experience.
I have faced this experience and lived to tell the tale.
I have gained skills.
I have made friends.
I have discovered inner strength.
I have successfully faced thousands of seemingly impossible challenges.
I have gotten through the worst, even when it did not seem possible.

I. Have. Survived.

Therefore, I am a survivor.
I have a right to my pride.

No Shame In Being Poor (white) Tshirt

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What Poverty Is NOT

It is not a crime.
It is not a sin.
It is not proof of God’s wrath.
It is not proof that a shameful/sinful/criminal act has been committed.
It is not proof of laziness or poor work ethic.
It is not proof of low intelligence.
It is not proof of poor money management skills.

Poverty Happens
People do not deserve poverty.
People do not choose poverty.
Poverty is not a ‘lifestyle.’

Poverty is not absolute.
Those with wealth may one day see poverty.
Those in poverty may one day see wealth.

Poverty Survivor (Black) Shirt

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Claim Your Pride

Discussions about poverty are to often overshadowed with shame and fear. The process of getting out of poverty frequently involves trying to pass as upper class while hiding both experiences and family connections.

There is no shame in being poor. Addressing the problems people in poverty face is a difficult process made more difficult by our own shame. Proudly declaring that you have survived poverty helps to break down that culture of shame.

We have the right to be treated with respect.
We have the right to aspire to better.
We have the right to hold our heads high.
We have a right to our pride.

Art and Self Expression

Sacred Sisterhood of Wonderful Wacky Women

Sometimes I wonder why people buy one artwork over another.

Does it represent where you are in your life or where you want to be? Is it the design and the colors? Is it fashionable or trendy? Does it draw you in for reasons you can’t explain?

Every person has many reasons behind decisions as intimate as the selection of art. Yes, intimate. Think about it. Artwork is placed in prominent locations within a person’s inner sanctum. The bedroom, the living room, even the front yard are your own domain. They are both private locations and semi-public representations of who and what you are.

Placing something over the living room couch means putting it on frequent display. It is something you view, repeatedly, every day of your life, for as long as the artwork remains. That’s significant.

All human beings instinctively recognize that frequency of viewing equates importance and will respond accordingly. Those reactions may range from shock to admiration, depending upon the artwork and each individual’s own interpretation of it.

Artwork has meaning. Significant meaning that extends far beyond anything the artist attempted or intended. Which brings me back to my original question – why choose artwork A over artwork B?

I’ve posted things to the Wild Raccoon Market that inspire this line of inquisition. The very purple (and simply wonderful) Sacred Sisterhood of Wonderful Wacky Women is one such item. This is something that could either represent the wacky women in my life (past and present) or the wonderful women I wish were in my life (present and future). Hanging this image could say “this is who I am and I proudly recognize that fact.” Alternatively, it could say “this is who I wish to be, and I am working to create that reality.”

Waiting For Signs

Another image inspiring inquiry into the purchaser’s intent is the striking and almost mesmerizing Waiting for Signs. This print contains the following text:

“I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, you can start any time now, & then I asked is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.”

Since this is currently hanging over the top of my desk (waiting for it’s new home), does that mean I am recognizing that my life has begun and waiting-for-signs has ended? Or, does it stand as a reminder that action must be taken each and every day, signs not-with-standing. Is it an acknowledgement of what is, or inspiration for what should be?

I suspect most people spend very little time mulling over these sorts of questions when selecting artwork for their home or office. It’s a pity, really, because this sort of digging has a way of turning up nuggets of potential for a conversational goldmine.

In my opinion.

Take it for what you will.

Intoxicating Candor

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“She was flushed and felt intoxicated with the sound of her own voice and the unaccustomed taste of candor. It muddled her like wine, or like a first breath of freedom.”

The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin