Friday, August 23, 2013

Is Suicide a Viable Option?

I am not liberty to say yes or no because I have never committed suicide; and I hope to God that nothing in life ever pushes me to that point.  However, if I am going to state an opinion on the topic, I will definitely say a resounding no.  Is it an option?  Sure.  But a viable option?  No way.

Recently I read about 21 year old Vicky Harrison who committed suicide three years ago in England.  She had 3 A Levels and 10 O Levels, but after submitting 200 applications, she received no prospect of a job.  Humiliated, she opted for suicide.  It tugged at my heart because I thought to myself, “People are living so much longer nowadays.  She could potentially live another 70 years.  And there is no doubt that she would have gotten a job in that time.” 

Four days ago, I was saddened by news that Lee Thompson Young had committed suicide.  It honestly felt like I had lost a member of my extended family.  Lee starred in The Famous Jett Jackson as a child and for the past three summers I watched him every week on Rizzoli & Isles.  Like Wendy Williams would say, “he was a friend in my head.” 

He was on a TV show.  Yeah it is cable and not network, but there are about 7 million people watching it every week; and that’s no easy feat.  He had a popular Disney series, which was also made into a movie.  He was handsome.  He was young.  He was talented.  What didn’t he have?  And that is what people who are not suicidal don’t get.  They don’t get that people who are suicidal feel like they are at the end of their rope.  They don’t get that people who are suicidal feel so hopeless and helpless and useless.  They just don’t get it.  Because we optimists think that as long as there is life, there is hope.  We think that tomorrow is going to be better.  We think that you stick around because the 201st  job application might be the one with an offer.  We think that you stick around because next week you might get a better job, a better role, better opportunities.  We think something better is around the corner.  We think that we have time; and with time, the possibilities are endless.

If for nothing else, the main reason why I think there has to be at least one other alternative besides suicide is because death is so permanent.  Now I’m not debating any afterlife.  I’m just talking about here and now.  When a person is dead, that’s it.  There is no okay maybe I’ll try this next , no maybe I’m unhappy with this job so I’ll find another job, no since I’m unhappy with this relationship I’ll find another one.  No.  That is it.  The end.

I don’t have any personal experience, but I will imagine that when a person suffers from depression, it must be hard on him/her to pretend to be happy.  Every day that person has to pretend that their issues are not bothering them.  That person has to pretend that all is well.  That person pretends so much, that that person no longer knows who he/she really is. 

The way that I see it, well mostly because I watch Oprah:  Where Are They Now?, and I see people like Todd Bridges, Danny Bonaduce and Fab Morvan, people can turn their lives around for the better.  And trust me, Fab probably felt like committing suicide.  After all, his lip synching partner from Milli Vanilli, Rob Pilatus, succumbed to suicide after he had trouble coping with the scandal.  Is life perfect for Todd, Danny or Fab?  Of course not!  Life is not perfect even for Bill Gates, and he is a billionaire.  Life is not perfect for anyone.  But anyone’s life can always turn for the better.

As someone who is currently not suicidal, I have deep sympathy for those who are.  I have the capability to find an alternative to anything that gets me down.  Kids get on my last nerve, I lean on my husband.  Husband gets on my nerves, I lean on my kids.  They all get on my nerves, I look to my siblings.  Siblings, husband and kids irritate me, I communicate with my friends.  Friends driving me crazy, I lean on my family.  Heck I’m known to start conversations with strangers, and to see me laughing and chatting with them, no one would know we just met.  But for those few minutes, I don’t have a care in the world.  For those few minutes I’m interacting with someone new and different.  Those few minutes give me enough boost to last much longer than the few minutes it took to achieve.  And before you know it, I’m in a position to deal with the kids, husband, siblings and friends again.

And if push comes to shove, and I feel like the whole world is getting on my nerves, I go for a walk alone.  I take a long shower.  I take a long bath.  I watch TV alone.  That’s all we need to fight depression – a healthy, coping mechanism.    And I know it is easier said than done.  Fighting demons is never easy.  Those girls from Charmed can testify to that.  [I know…..I watch too much TV; but now I call it research for my writing.]  And we all have something that we are fighting to change.  Some of us will be successful, and some of us won’t.  And I surely don’t have an answer on how to combat depression except to fight it head on; but, perspectively speaking, one thing I know for sure, suicide is the one option that allows us no do over.

Friday, August 9, 2013

50 Cents a Day, My ……

If I see one more D-list celebrity pleading for pennies a day to feed those beautiful but hopeless looking black and brown children or to protect those mangy, wound-licking, sad dogs, I will throw my TV out the window.  Look, I love children, (don’t necessarily like being around them all the time) but my hope is that every child is able to live a happy and cherished childhood.  And I love dogs as much as the next person.  Well, not quite.  Not since I spent the last 35 years screaming and running from them.  But I love puppies!!!  So as politically correct as it is to adopt somebody’s abused dog, please don’t look to me because it is not going to happen.

So, as much as I now abhor dogs - and truthfully, that is liable to change anytime soon, especially after petting that cute poodle a few days ago, what irritates me more is the celebrities who are pitching for pennies a day.  Now I have no qualms about giving to charity.  As cheap thrifty as I am, helping people that are less fortunate, downtrodden or experiencing a tragedy has always been what I see as my duty.  And I appreciate that these celebrities volunteer their time and use their status for worthy causes and that the commercials might be free or on the cheap, but I just can’t shake the issues I have with them. 

First off, after administrative expenses how much money goes towards the starving children and abused animals?  Secondly, who are they to tell me which causes to donate my money to?  Thirdly, why do they seem to act as if we TV viewers are heartless creatures who need to have our heartstrings tugged at in order to have pity on helpless victims?  Fourth of all, they need to stop giving the impression that only black and brown children from Third World countries are the only ones starving.  And lastly, how come they don’t appeal to us to attend their Hollywood soirees?  They look directly into the cameras at us and pretend that we are best friends when they solicit money from us, but they don’t remember us when they get invited to their fancy parties.  So really, the last reason is the one that I have the most issue with, and the fact that I can’t deal with the theatrics…….but mostly the last reason.

But seriously, check it out:  they appear dressed down on TV, asking for pittance.  Then they go out all dressed up in expensive clothes to expensive parties with their expensive friends.  Here’s a thought.  Instead of asking people who are less fortunate than you for pennies to help people who are less fortunate than they, why don’t you just go to your celebrity friends and get dollars, thousands of dollars from them?  Maybe that would help the problem a lot quicker.  And the next time you go to one of your soirees, why don’t you just ask your friends to donate all that money they would have spent on entertainment to help “that child”, Alyssa Milano.  And I know you are not the only one, but you were the last one after Sally Struthers begged for money to help the starving kids and ended up eating all their food.  What gives?  So we are good enough to give money, but not good enough to hang out with them at these parties?  Well then, how about they just stick with their hoity-toity, rich friends and leave us alone so we can watch them on TV without any interruption.

And what is the deal with the big department stores asking for $1 for charity?  What, I can’t find a suitable charity on my own?   First they started with us donating our change.  You know me, after I spent $3.96 at JCPenney for something that had cost about $20, as cheap thrifty as I am, I wasn’t going to haggle over 4 cents for the neighborhood YMCA.   That would have been low…..even for me.  But I wish department stores would stop asking me to donate money to charity or stop telling me that they’ll match my dollar.  How about this Mr. Executive at the Big Department Store?  Put a sign out telling me that you donate money directly from your coffers for clean water in some Third World country and maybe, just maybe I’ll come in your store and help support the cause.  I say maybe, but you know my cheap thrifty ass still won't shop at Nautica no matter how worthy a cause they support.  But at least, I won’t suck my teeth and roll my eyes every time I pass the stupid sign about my giving $1 so they can provide clean water to needy people. 

I mean these are the same companies that are making the big bucks; okay many of them, because really some of them are in the toilet.  JCPenney had to call back customers to their stores after they came up with that one price idea.  Who the heck is going to a store when the price is the same forever?  But tell us bargain hunters that they are giving us $10 off, and we put everything on hold, rush to the store and lo and behold, our eyes set on one thing, then another; and before you know it, we have purchased $300 worth of stuff that we never intended to.  Okay, again not me, because you know if they say $10 off $25, I'm doling out only $15; but you get the drift.

And speaking of Third World countries, I’ve had pen pals from all over the globe when Big Blue Marble or whoever gave us addresses, and I have never seen anybody who looked like they were accustomed to flies buzzing around them.  I’m not saying that it doesn't happen because there are slums and intense poverty all over.  But please don’t think for a minute that I’m going to give my soft earned money, (remember I don’t get a paycheck) to people who have a reputation of abusing charitable donations.

People listen to me.  I’m not saying that 50 cents a day can’t significantly help someone in a dire situation, but perspectively speaking if my 50 cents a day perpetually is what it takes to support a hungry child, I want to see more documentation than a letter that Sister Maria wrote on behalf of all the kids and then throw a photo in the envelope for good measure.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Own Your Truth

Have I mentioned how much I love OWN, Oprah Winfrey Network?  And have I mentioned how much I love Iyanla Vanzant?  If I were a billionaire and founded a network, it would be just like OWN: uplifting, spiritual and insightful.  Of course I would throw some humor in the pot, but I’m not a big reality fan, so most likely sitcoms.  (When I first started this post, Love Thy Neighbor had not debuted as yet, but Oprah somehow got the memo – yes, I’m taking credit for that, although I don’t like the show.)  But you have to start somewhere, so I’ll do the same thing, except I would not have Life with La Toya.  I have never watched it, so I shouldn’t really badmouth it, but I just can’t stand looking at a Jackson nose.  And I don’t know La Toya from Eve, so I’m probably the last person to speak on this, not to mention I don’t want to offend her fan.

And if I was blessed enough to have my own show, it would be exactly like Iyanla’s.  Honestly, Iyanla Fix My Life is the most riveting thing on TV, apart from Scandal, of course.  Because of Iyanla and turning 40, because turning 40 is one of the most liberating things in the world; and if given the chance, everyone should experience it; I have decided to own my truth at all times.  One of Iyanla’s phrases is to speak your truth, own it, say it and accept it.

So the other day, I was talking to a dear friend.  Wait, since I’m owning my truth, I was actually talking to my sister.  But every time they read my blog, they inform me that I write about them.  As many sisters as I have, and as often as we talk, of course I will use some of our material.  But anyhow, we were talking about somebody being conceited.  I tongue-in-cheek said, “I used to be conceited.”  She said, “Used to be!  When did you change?”

Okay, so I still am conceited, but not as conceited as before I realized how conceited I appeared to others.  Or maybe I am just as conceited, but I now curb my enthusiasm for proving how right I am.  Who am I kidding?  I’m still conceited.  But is it really being conceited if you are right?  Like, ALWAYS.  J  Look, the best I can say is if I’m still quite conceited, deal with it, people.  As Iyanla would say, “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it.”

Furthermore, I don’t like the contemporary meaning of the word – having an excessively favorable opinion of one's abilities, appearance, etc.  I really don’t think that’s me.  However I’ll take the old meaning, “having an opinion”.  So I will admit, I’m opinionated/conceited.  In addition, I’m impatient and hot-tempered.  But I’m also funny, generous, accommodating and loyal.  I don’t believe we should only accept the qualities in ourselves that are deemed positive (by others or even by ourselves) and dismiss the “bad” qualities.  We should embrace all of our characteristics.  After all, they are what make us who we are; and no one person is all good as much as anyone person is all bad.

And folks can try to change as much as they want, some things about themselves.  I don’t.  Well I have tried in the past, but it takes so much work to not be me.  Being me comes a whole lot easier than trying to be “perfect”.   What I will do is to try not to display certain traits that others find offensive; well unless they piss me off.  Then I’ll have to go full blown Myra up in here!  I won’t always get it right, but I can only try my utmost.  When all is said and done, if I avoid all the “bad” aspects to make others happy, then it’s only fair that I curb some of the “good” ones too, in order to achieve some kind of balance in my life.  I can only be myself as best as I can and own my truth and accept me for all that I am.  It’s all about the DNA, so if anyone is to be blamed, then it’s my parents and their parents. 

It would be nice if people had only good things to say about each other.  And it certainly would be nice if the people we care about only had good things to say about us.  But at the end of the day, it would be even nicer if we can look ourselves in the mirror and just appreciate and love what we see.  Believe me, there will be some good; and there will be some not so good.  Can you improve the latter?  Maybe.  Not everyone has the capability to change an unfavorable trait.  However, this is nothing to beat oneself up about.  We are who we are.  Some will love us for it, others won’t.  We all know:  it doesn’t matter how nice a person is, not everyone will like her; and it doesn’t matter how nasty a person is, not everyone will hate him. 

For instance, I can be very tenacious.  Some people might find that admirable, while others might find it annoying – especially if they are getting the short end of my stick.  Also, I find humor in everything.  Again, plenty serious people can easily get annoyed by that, while like-minded people look forward to us hanging out together.  If I stop being tenacious and give in just to make peace reign, eventually I’ll be upset with me for not being who I am.  And if I act serious all the time, not only won’t I have as much fun, but I’m simply not being me.  Am I going to act the fool at an important event?  Of course not!  But if something foolish happens, you better believe that I will laugh appropriately…..if I can help.

We have to interact with each other occasionally, and we have to determine how much of any one person we can endure.  So in parting, I say embrace all of who you are because perspectively speaking, when that head hits the pillow at nights (or days, if you work the night shift) the only person that you have to live with is the person whose thoughts are running around in your head.