Daily Life · Relationships · School tips · Work

Socially Acceptable?

Lately I’ve been thinking about social norms. Mainly because I was asked by a customer the other day what I think the biggest challenges facing women in the management workforce are. It’s a good question. Great actually. I really had to stop and think.

He and I continued to have a discussion about what the differences between men in management and women in management are. I’ve always enjoyed sociology and psychology when I take those classes. However the reality is that it doesn’t just permeate our society when it comes to management, it’s embedded into our thought process.

Gender stereotypes are weird when you think about them and heaven only knows when they started or where they came from. A great example: Pink is considered a feminine and girly color, while blue is considered a manly color. Interestingly enough these colors began as the opposite. Red was considered a manly color because it mimicked the color of blood and blue was considered feminine as it mimicked the color of flowers.

There have always been small gender stereotypes that we have allowed but the big ones are the ones I want to address today.

Guy Land – is a great example of how far we have allowed boys to fall within our society. Back when America was first being settled men were younger and more mature. They had to be. Now it is considered acceptable for men to stay in the mindset of drinking, partying, and having no responsibilities for a longer period of time. Many people love to watch the movie “Failure to Launch”. The reality is that it simply sums up what our society tolerates and calls “Men”. Like wise it’s become acceptable for people to say that if you cry, if you show any emotion besides anger, you are not a man – you are weak. However if you are a woman and you show anything like this – you are considered to be nothing more than a bitch.

It’s interesting to me how it is easier for men to get promotions, respect, and others never question their emotions in a situation or decision.

If you have ever heard the song “The Man” by Taylor Swift – you will understand what I mean. While I know society is changing and things are becoming better for women in the workforce, they are still very much opposed to women being in power. This song does a great job pointing out the differences between men and women.

Within our society it is thought that women are weaker due to being more emotional, though in all fairness i’m not sure that’s true. Society tells men to bottle their emotions – to be emotionally constipated. While a man might be considered being “strong and manly” by his friends for that, it makes it harder for women to relate to him. Yes there are times where it is nice, but lets be honest, people need relationships – they need to emotionally connect with each other. I’ve copied the lyrics for “The Man” by Taylor Swift and put them down below.

“I would be complex
I would be cool
They’d say I played the field before
I found someone to commit to
And that would be okay
For me to do
Every conquest I had made
Would make me more of a boss to you
I’d be a fearless leader
I’d be an alpha type
When everyone believes ya
What’s that like?
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
They’d say I hustled
Put in the work
They wouldn’t shake their heads
And question how much of this I deserve
What I was wearing, if I was rude
Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves
And we would toast to me, oh, let the players play
I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
What’s it like to brag about raking in dollars
And getting bitches and models?
And it’s all good if you’re bad
And it’s okay if you’re mad
If I was out flashin’ my dollas
I’d be a bitch, not a baller
They’d paint me out to be bad
So it’s okay that I’m mad”
The Man by Taylor Swift
Here’s my total ending – we all have stereotypes that are residual in our minds due to the way we have been raised. Society permeates everything. If you take anything away from this, learn to ask questions for why you do what you do and why you think what you think.
As Always – I would love to hear your feedback!

Daily Life · Hygge · School tips · Work

5 of The Best Ways to De-Stress

It seems like stress is always surrounding us. I’m not sure about my readers but I always go through a phase where every so many weeks – I feel more stressed than I should. Yesterday was that day. What happens is that I feel overwhelmed, over burdened, and generically insane. I get cranky and end up biting off my husbands head. In short – I become the “Queen Of Hearts”. Inevitably in this cycle of crazy – the next phase to follow is me de-stressing. I’ve found a five ways to do that and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.

 

Hygge- 

If you are familiar at all with this term than you will know it is made for relaxation. I come from a state which tends to be cold 6 months out of the year. For me – this practice is more nostalgic than anything. There is something very relaxing about curling up in a fluffy blanket with a cup of something hot in hand. I also recommend a book – something that you don’t need to think about.

Baking – 

For me baking is an outlet. I find that I need to be able to create something that I can control in order to feel relaxed. It’s like finding a hobby. Everyone should have at least 1 and for me – it’s baking. I enjoy food, and I enjoy creating it. (PS – Check out my baking business at http://www.sweetstoriesbakery.wordpress.com )

Exercise –

While I don’t particularly love exercise, I do find that I enjoy the endorphin release it gives me. I have found that with exercising it allows my body to expell all the negative energy it has and it allows me to focus on what’s at hand. It also helps me to remove all the thoughts in my head and become more at peace. The days that I haven’t been super stressed out – I will do yoga. The days where it’s been harder I tend to do more spinning, running, or kick boxing. I find that this allows me to keep the peaceful feeling flowing when I’m having a good day and to expell all the anger and resentment I may be harboring on the other days.

Candles and a Hot Bath – 

Hot baths can do wonders for the body and soul. I highly recommend this one especially before bed. I have found that a hot bath with a soothing candle can create an atmosphere of peace where one can feel completely rested. This allows the mind to relax and the body to let go of any stress. If you are like me – you come out ready for a nap.

Avoiding Social Media – 

To be honest – I’m rarely on twitter, instagram, or facebook. I find that they harbor so much negativity that my life is far less complicated or stressful when I’m not on them. I have also found, mainly because I manage a restaurant, that if I’m at home – I need to put my phone down. I also set it on silent so I can ignore any work messages until a certain time frame has passed. I will tell you that being on your phone 24/7 is unhealthy and creates a need for more drama than you can fill. It will cause your mind to never be able to shut down and really – not everyone’s issue needs to be ours. This is the one thing that my husband has to remind me of constantly and it’s the continual source of my frustration. I’m working on trying to put down my phone more often and I recommend you do the same.

 

Honestly,

It’s hard trying to de-stress. It’s hard trying to avoid certain habits that we have created and it’s hard starting new ones. I’m not much for exercising but I have found I need the outlet. I’m always attached to my phone – and I have found I need to put it down. If you have tips and tricks that you find help you de-stress I would love to hear about them. Everyone is different and so each item is going to suit people differently. Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Daily Life · School tips · travel

The Art Of Learning A New Language

When you think about it, what’s one of the hardest things to learn? Languages. Now granted some people are naturally born with the gift of tongues, which allows them to naturally learn languages quickly. Not all of us are gifted like that.

The hardest part for me about getting married into a new culture and family was that when they are all together they speak spanish only. Now if you went to a standard highschool you were required to learn a language of some sort. That being said – I’m going to talk about the best way to learn a language outside of a school setting.

I’ve picked up a few tricks – firstly when I learned some Japanese from my coworkers in Hawaii, and secondly when I married into this family.

  1. Duolingo.com – I swear by this website. It’s better than Rosetta stone. This app connects words with images and also teaches you the difference between verb conjugations without making you recite things like you did in highschool. It gives you a better sense on how you should speak in a sentence.
  2. Music/Radios – The best way to learn things is through listening. Music is great at that. Songs in different languages tend to be sung slower than when people normally speak. It becomes easier to hear and understand things in songs.
  3. Watch Movies – Watching movies in another language. It again slows things down. It teaches how to speak in a basic sentence structure. It is also great if you can watch them with subtitles in the same language. This helps widen your vocabulary.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice – The phrase “practice Makes Perfect” is very accurate. The more you practice something the more you become fluent and the easier it will become to speak in that language.

The best way to learn new languages is to always practice. Always keep notes, and always allow someone to help you/teach you. I have also found that if I talk to myself I improve because it becomes easier to pronounce the words.

Have any tips? Let me know!

Books · Reviews · School tips

The Art of Thinking: Truths Found from Poetry

Below I have encluded an explication of a passage that I wrote some time ago. I didn’t have long to write a post this week but I wanted to share something that I’m proud of and something that maybe another student will have to do. Hopefully it will be helpful and if not enlightening. I would recommend you all read the book – it’s extremely good.

 

An explication of a passage in Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“I was learning the craft of poetry, which really was an intensive version of what my mother had taught me all those years ago – the craft of writing as the art of thinking. Poetry aims for an economy of truth – loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions – beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence, my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.” (pg.51-52)

Throughout his book, Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates informs his son about his internal battle with his social position in the world as a young man. This passage correlates directly to his struggle with finding the truth. While he explains, earlier in his book, that he took time to study in the library for any answers he might need from outside sources, this passage informs the audience that he also looked intrinsically for the answers to the inner turmoil he experienced. Within the first sentence he informs his son that he learned poetry, which he says is an intensive rendition of what his mother taught him as a child. Earlier in the book he states that his mother always had him write down his questions and intrinsically search out reasons why he thought and acted the way he did. On page 51, Coates states that poetry forced him to do the same: to learn the art of thinking. He learned this art by confronting his own innocence and rationalizations, by forming poetry that helped him see the “cold steel truths of life”.

Many believe that poetry is something that is romantic. Something that can be read quickly, quietly, and without thought. Coates states that poetry is something different. He says it “aims for an economy of truth…” meaning that poetry is meant to utilize the truth, to be a stage on which truth is set. The word “economy” in this sentence means “the way in which something is managed” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. What Coates preposes is that poetry, even in its simplest form, is the essence of truth. He says that it discards “loose and useless words” even though they “…are not separate from loose and useless thoughts.” I believe that when he wrote this, the easiest way to understand what he meant is thus: poetry, while fluid and rythmic, is not filled with unnecessary words; even though, sometimes it may be filled by loose and sometimes useless thoughts and ideas. That is to say, on occasion, poetry is simply meant for the beauty it provides and not always to provoke deep thoughts. Coates concludes by saying that “Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions – beautiful writing rarely is.” This statement infers the idea that Coates believed that most poetry was founded on great ideas, profound thoughts, and the cornerstone of the writers beliefs, ideals, or morals. The way in which Coates expresses his understanding of poetry is that of a direct, flowing, and rhythmic way to understand one’s own innocence and rationalizations. 

He expresses his desire to learn to write in a way which he was taught – to confront his own innocence and rationalizations. As he stated in the beginning of the passage “…the craft of writing as the art of thinking…” Coates understands, as most great poets and writers do, that the craft of writing is to think. Anyone can obtain the ability to write, but few can obtain the art of thinking. A craft is something that is learned – a trade that is taught by someone. The arts are something that is a passion, a process by which someone works until they have perfected what they do to make it beautiful and alluring to others. What is to be understood from this particular part of the passage is that, in order to write well and influence others, one must think critically and be willing to challenge everything known to them. Coates states that he wanted to confront his own innocence and rationalizations, he understood that in order to understand the world, and to better understand the way in which he was to function within it, he needed to challenge what he knew. Coates understood that innocence and rationalizations will pass away and he seeks to do it himself through his own intrinsic searching, through the art of thinking, and the craft of writing. 

In the last sentence of his passage, Coates states that “Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.” The implication that stems from this particular sentence is that by leaving behind the “loose” and “useless” words, Coates was able to better direct his thoughts. He talks of the “… slag of justification..” this could be a reference back to his rationalizations that he spoke of earlier and wanted to confront. When he mentions the “slag of justification” falling away, it is easy to understand that he means all his rationalizations came to nothing and from that he was able to move forward to what was left. Slag refers to the substance. This means that all the basis of his justifications fell away. Coates was able to, without his rationalization or justifications, understand these “cold steel truths of life”.

Coates talks about the “cold steel truths of life” that he was left with after his justifications, rationalizations, and innocence fell away in the last part of this passage. While there are many truths to life, due to the context of this book, it could be argued that he understood these truths to be the way in which life would continue for him. He could also be referring to the manner in which society treated African Americans and how he believed it was unlikely to change. Whatever these truths are, he describes them as being cold as steel. A visualization to the reader that these truths are unforgiving and unbending, like steel bars on an iron cage. These are the answers he has been searching for, but it is clear from his description of them – they are not the ones he wants. 

Through his passage Coates brings to life what poetry can be for a writer. It can be a way to weedle out the unnecessary words and ideas, and simply come to the truth. It helps the writer to wrestle with questions they may not otherwise think of asking themselves. And it gives direction to the answers and, potentially, to the truth. Poetry is the best form of writing; the best available way to learn the art of thinking, a way to find the truth.

 

Works Cited

 

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. First edition. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015.

 

“economy, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2018. Web. 18 July 2018.

 

Oxford English Dictionary

“Islamophobia, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, July 2018. Web. 22 October 2018.

New York Times – “Arabian Knights” song; July 14, 1993

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/14/opinion/it-s-racist-but-hey-it-s-disney.html

Daily Life · School tips · Work

5 Things To Do Before The School Semester Starts

As this semester rises up to greet us it brings to my mind how much needs to be done before I begin school again. So, having sat down and come up with my own list of what needs to be done – I thought I would share it with my readers in a hope that it would help those around me.

  1. Deep Clean Your House – This sounds a bit intensive, and it is, but deep cleaning the house is a great way to start the semester. Not only will it be easier to maintain after you have deep cleaned it but it will also make you feel better and less stressed as you start the semester.
  2. Compile A List Of Items Needed For Classes – It seems easier to wait until you have to get things but honestly – pre-order your books. If you don’t know what they are – email your professors. This is a simple step in getting everything ready for that first day so that you don’t need to think the morning of.
  3. Pre-make Meals – Now I’m the kind of person that will eat based on mood but when it comes to the school year – getting meals pre-done makes things so much easier. Pre-make your breakfast oatmeal or dinner – stick them in the freezer – You might spend a whole day doing this but it will make it easier for you when it’s the school year.
  4. Build That Habit – Go ahead and start building that habit you want to have during the school year. It might be working-out or waking up early, either way if you start now it will make the first few days of school easier to keep up with and maintain the habit.
  5. Set Your Goals – Set your goals for the semester. It might be good grades or maintaining work and school, whatever it is that makes your list – write it down. Keep them short and obtainable. Don’t reach for the stars yet but start simple. You want to be able to succeed.

These are just some simple tips and tricks that I have picked up and found makes my school year easier to adjust to. These things are items that I do before every semester. It makes success easier and also helps prioritize and organize my life.

Have any tips and tricks? Comment below!

School tips · Work

Tips To Passing A College Level Course

I am not immune to bad grades. I wish I was but I’m not. After a long semester, one filled with tears (literally) and struggling to keep a good grade in specific classes, I have decided to write a post on how to successfully navigate a hard class. I’m not guarenteeing you will recieve an A or a great grade but you are sure to pass the class. Many of these tips I read before I started my class and I ignored until the end of the semester. I’ve since reevaluated my decision. So here are some tips that I will be implimenting this next semester.

  1. Perfect Attendance – I use this title because it brings to mind a specific item. Not “oh it’s ok to miss some” but always being there and always being on time. I want to stress the point that you really need to make sure to be in class as much as you can. Not only will it help you develope a presence with your professor but it will also help you when they give tips in class about tests, exams, and how to remember items.
  2. Ask Questions – Make sure you ask something if you don’t know it. It’s important to be clear about something even if you feel stupid or ignorant. You are in a classroom and it’s probably the safest zone you could have to ask questions like “Is Limestone part of Tums”? – PS – the answer is NO. And yes I’ve heard this question in a classroom.
  3. Study Outside the Classroom – This doesn’t just mean in the library. I would highly recommend http://www.KahnAcademy.com for pretty much any science or math subject. I haven’t used them for anything other then science or math but they have proven to be one of the most useful websites I’ve come across.
  4. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE – Practice until your head hurts and your brain wants to drop out of it. I’m not talking about practicing concepts where you are strong – practice your weak points. It is the only way you will get better. If you don’t understand the teacher – find another source, but practice as much as you can.
  5. Silence your phones/computers/any source of distraction –I do this in class and when I study because otherwise I will get so distracted. It will help you focus on the concepts you need to be studying or paying attention to lecture more than you realize.

Do you have any tips you want to share? I’ve found a study buddy to be very helpful in certain instances but with hard topics, I have to say that I find I study best by myself. I’ve also found it helpful to ask the professor privately for help or find a tutor for concepts that I don’t understand if you can’t find help online. Personally, I learn best by myself so that’s the way I tend to study. Best of Luck to all the students out there.

Books · Daily Life · School tips

Tips and Tricks to Reading Poetry

It has occurred to me today that reading poetry is a lost art. This comes to my mind as I’ve been happening to help my brother-in-law with an assignment he’s been writing. This assignment is based on poetry he’s read. So, for the student out there who is still trying to figure out that english assignment and has to read poetry here are some quick tips and tricks.

  1. Read slowly – The beauty of poetry is what the poet is trying to say and how they are trying to say it. Poets use fewer words but more imagery to get their point across, which is why it’s so hard to understand. Read it slowly and go line-by-line. Sometimes when you read a line – take a min to just think about it before chewing on the next one.
  2. Read it aloud by reading it aloud it will 1) force you to read more slowly and 2) force your brain to really process what you are absorbing. Sometimes even when you read slowly, your brain isn’t able to compute the line of poetry the same way it would when you read it aloud.
  3. Think about when the poet was writing – Many poets write about things that are unknown to us. If you are reading something written by Emily Dickenson make sure you keep in mind the time period she was writing in. It will make a difference in the interpretation. Many people who write – write from experience. Their experiences as men/women, differences in race, political standing, social/economical class color their writing and if you can read what they write while understanding where they are coming from – it will make it easier to understand (that doesn’t just apply to poetry – fyi).

Like I said – these are just a few tips and tricks that I have picked up via reading some poetry. Simply a few things that will help the “non-avid” poetry reader when it comes time to do that review. Take your time, read aloud, and do some research on the writer. It will all pay off in the end. I would recommend trying with “Anger” by Yusef Komunyakaa.

Children · Daily Life · Hygge · School tips

How To Cope With Burn Out

Everyone knows what the term “burn-out” is. If you have worked in the medical field you are especially familiar with it. Why? Because it happens most within medical professionals. Think about it – doctors, nurses, caregivers – they give 110% (at least the good ones do) to their patients – every moment of everyday they have them in their care. This is why you see shows picture parents who can’t take care of their children, who have disabilities, anymore. They get burned out.

It is not limited to the medical professionals though. Anyone can become burned out. Students, teachers, engineers. Burn-out isn’t picky. This past semester I experienced probably the strongest sense of Burn-out I have ever had in a long time. And after going through it – here are the ways I learned to cope.

  1. Work Out – This hits the top of my list because I stopped doing it and when I started again I immediately noticed a large difference in my own mindset. To quote Elle from Legally Blonde “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!”. Now I don’t go running, my workouts are boxing or yoga (yep I pendulum swing). When I’m angry I find hitting a bag helps a lot and when I need to relax – Yoga is the key. I recommend continuing your exercise or starting to exercise as one of the best ways to cope with burn-out.
  2. Hygge – If nothing else from this blog you all will remember this word for life! Hygge – meaning take time to do you. Relax with a book and decompress. Get a cup of tea or hot chocolate and simple take time for you. This is so important because you can feel pressure to just always be on the go! Don’t fall into the trap – take time to rest. Even God rested 1 time a week.
  3. Pace Yourself – If you feel like burn-out is at your doorstep then maybe it’s time to give up something. You don’t have to be superwoman/superman all the time. Think of it this way – It would be better for you to do 1 or 2 things and do them well then to do many things – half-assed. It’s ok to prioritize and triage your own life. Sometimes it’s necessary.

I wish I would have thought about these items sooner. Maybe I wouldn’t be repeating a class for school next semester then, but life has a way of teaching lessons whether we want them or not. I’m hoping you (my readers) will learn from my mistake on this one and maybe avoid your own burn-out or somehow learn to walk the tightrope until you are better.