What does being alive mean to a person suffering through depression? Another endless day to trudge through? More pretending like things are okay, putting on a happy face, so you don’t have to explain yourself to others, see their pity, or worry about bringing them down with your gloomy mood? Wondering if there will ever be an end to this misery, because it seems like you’ll always feel this way? Trying not to collapse when someone asks, “How are you”?
You may have heard of Angkor Wat, but it’s far from the only temple in Cambodia. Located in Siem Reap, the famous monument shares the city with at least 1000 other ancient temples that also attract curious visitors from all over the world. I had the opportunity to explore four of these incredible feats of architecture on my recent trip to Southeast Asia and each is magnificent in its own way.
I don’t recall seeing “chow down on deep fried tarantula” on the tour itinerary, but when our local trip guide ticked off the day’s itinerary – mouth in a wide grin, eyes dancing at the mention of “eating spiders” – there it was. Given I’m willing to try (almost) anything once, I was game. Besides, I’ve already tried beetle, scorpion, and cricket, so what’s a big ass spider?
I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I decided on Cambodia as a travel destination. A few years ago, a co-worker’s raves of her visit to the fast-developing country in Southeast Asia sparked the idea. After watching several stunningly-shot Cambodia-centered episodes of The Amazing Race, it rocketed up my travel wish list. I envisioned magnificent ancient temples, expansive green rice paddies, picturesque remote fishing villages, and bumpy thoroughfares teeming with tuk-tuks.
Stepping into the bustle of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), your senses are overtaken by the cacophony of whirring motors from scores of motorbikes zipping by, and car horns blowing at pedestrians and cyclo drivers on the chaotic streets where traffic rules seem nonexistent. Your skin dampens after mere minutes of exposure to the powerful sun and relentless humidity. In every direction you look, people occupy space, whether it’s working in one of the many retail shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels, street kiosks, businesses, and residential units that flank the roads
Happy New Year!
2015, like every other year, had it’s ups and downs. However, it’s important not to let the year’s lows overshadow the highs.
When I considered writing an end of the year retrospective, my face scrunched up in disgust as I reflected on 2015. Not my favorite year by a longshot. So much of it felt like a continuous struggle – like I’m in the middle of a significant lesson which I’ve tired of learning.
In an LA Times op-ed Jonathan Zimmerman, a professor at NYU, and judging by his photos, decidedly not Black, deemed it necessary to take to a national newspaper to tell Black students how to behave and advise university faculty and administration on how to treat them. Not only did he step out of his lane to admonish America’s least favorite ethnic minority, he had the nerve to use the name and highly regarded words of black writer Ralph Ellison to do so.
Here we go again.
Last week, a Black software engineer, Leslie Miley, made news when he shared why he quit his job at Twitter – where he was the ONLY Black engineer in a leadership role – in a thoughtful piece on the lack of ethnic diversity in tech. In recent years, Twitter and other tech giants have come under fire…
One of my closest friends is a white woman 30 years my senior – a Baby Boomer. We shared a cubicle wall back in the ’00s when we worked in IT at a large insurance company. I hated that job so much that some mornings I’d sit in my car and cry before leaving for the office.
It was the type of job where I had a micro-managing relic of a supervisor whom on a daily basis would periodically stroll by unsubtly peeking at our screens to make sure we weren’t surfing the internet.
In 7th grade, I pleaded with my mother to let me change my name to one less “black.” I didn’t use those words exactly, but I’d gleaned by then that, just like my dark skin, my name was considered inferior somehow. We’d just moved to Texas from Georgia where I’d experienced for the first time the anguish and confusion of being the only black girl in my “gifted and talented” classes full of white kids. I was in the midst of my racial identity crisis.
I built my first business at 6-years old – a bakeshop, because when you’re that age, having your own store full of delectable sweets seems like the best idea in the whoooooole wide world. I lovingly designed the awning with alternating red and white squares that stretched across the windowed storefront. I made the best damn paper cupcakes in Brooklyn and my mother was my favorite customer, exchanging the fake currency I’d cut out from green construction paper for inedible treats with an amused grin.
I’m kind of back to not liking living in San Francisco.
Part of my disenchantment is probably my fault. I arrived here with big dreams I’ve yet to see realized. For one, I thought I’d fall into a good group of friends. Instead, someone I considered a good friend ghosted on me. Though I have made a few good friends whom I am grateful for, they’re from disparate circles. My social life is unrecognizable to me.
I’ve never really taken an official break from blogging in the three years of this blog’s existence – even when I’ve gone on vacation. So, I’m taking a break.
Quite frankly, I am exhausted by what’s going on in the world, particularly in the United States.
We’ve got a racist, entitled demagogue running for President and dominating the media.
A few days ago, rapper Nicki Minaj tweeted out her frustration that her big booty-full, controversy-generating Anaconda video was overlooked for a Video of he Year Award by MTV. Soon after, media darling and America’s archetypal sweetheart, singer Taylor Swift, inserted herself into the situation, which was NOT ABOUT HER, tweeting Minaj with her hurt feelings and ivory tears.