Friday, November 13, 2015

About that TV Spot, Dad

A Chick in Search of a Thing

It’s normal to feel aimless. To seek purpose. Humans have been doing it through the course of existence. Authors have bored me with it through the course of my education (I’m looking at you James Joyce). It’s not that I feel unhappy, but I am in search of my “thing.” The one thing I am great at. The thing that identifies me.

I’m good at a lot of things, but nothing stands out. Writer? Actor? Singer? CrossFitter? No. What I am best at is passable mediocrity. Or sometimes passable slightly-above-average-ness. My test scores showed this growing up. My physical abilities demonstrate this now. And my you-can-be-in-the-chorus-but-don't-ask-for-a-lead performing arts experience deliver this in a harsh dose of reality.

Sometimes I blame my mom. “Why did you let me quit everything?!” my 27 year old self whines to my mommy, “I could have been great!”

And I for sure blame my dad, an advertising executive. Who I suspected then but know now he could have definitely placed me in those TV commercials I begged to be in with Scott Hamilton. What did you even put me in ice skating lessons for, dad? Is this a sick joke?

My husband, who is a rapper with a real EP and a comedian who writes sold out sketch comedy shows in Chicago (and also a successful PR professional), says maybe my job is my thing. I’m really good at my job and I like it. Fuck you, Matt. (I love you).

Maybe it is, though. Maybe my job is my thing in a world where people are identified by and have to steak a claim in the one thing they can be recognized for.

But I invite you and must force myself to step out of that world where we are defined by one thing. It's a tall order, but here are 3 thoughts I hope will help me get there:

1. Take the Chance: 

You can't succeed if you don't try. Better to try and fail than to never try at all. Blah, blah, blah. It's true though. Take the class. Write the piece. Be in the show. Play the instrument. Because it's not about success or failure. Doing it is the thing.

2. You Don't Expire

So many times I have thought to myself, "Well, I guess my time has passed. I'll never be a famous performer, professional athlete, [fill in the blank]." It's hard to remember, especially for women, that you don't expire. There is no real timeline by which you have to accomplish greatness or fade away forever. Push yourself to try new things.

3. Screw Everyone

Originally, I called this "get out of your head." But that doesn't work for me.  This is the hardest part and frankly I can't do it yet. But when I find myself fearing failure, or fearing mediocrity, sometimes I just have to whisper to myself, "screw everyone." They don't matter. Their perception of my success, failure or one true "thing" doesn't matter.

So embrace the concept of the Renaissance Man and find value in the Jacks Of All Trades. Don’t do your thing. Do all the things and don't worry about the results. Find joy in the process.

Because that’s a world where I win. And winning is everything.

(You guys, I’m sorry I ended the post that way. I typed it and laughed out loud and couldn’t delete it. But you all go do you. Whatever that means. Whatever that means is right.)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The 3 Truths Behind Starbucks Red Holiday Cups

If you're reading this, you're an idiot. I'm an idiot for having written it. The whole internet are idiots for having entertained this. But here we are, discussing Starbucks controversial holiday cups. Because everybody's doing it. (The Washington Post UproxxCNN & Donald TrumpThe Atlantic, The New York Times, etc, etc.) And because I'm a sort-of-blogger handcuffed to relevant content who also happens to think this is outrageous.

The controversy is that by rolling out plain red holiday cups this season, rather than holiday designs similar to years past, Starbucks is obviously trying to sanitize Christianity. The real truth of the matter, however is 3-fold.

1) Starbucks obviously still loves Christmas. And by association they are at least symbolically down with Jesus. Not only do they sell a Christmas Blend coffee, which one could argue is more of a commercial than a religious statement, but they sell Advent Calendars. That shit is so Christian I barely remember from my Christian upbringing what it symbolizes. But it's certainly an overt celebration of the looming birth of Christ and more than just a secular-ization of the season.

2) The previous designs really had nothing to do with Christianity. At best, they were Pagan-based or secular holiday representations meant only to evoke holiday cheer, not to hold over your Advent prayer book. (But, as discussed Starbucks has an Advent Calendar just for your Jesus rituals.) So whatever these protesters think has been taken away, never really existed in the first place. If anything, a devout Christian might be pleased that secular and pagan symbols are removed in favor of plain red. 

3) Christians taking up this issue clearly need to work on their definition of sanitizing religions. There are real threats and gruesome examples of religious sanitizing and cleansing throughout the course of history and happening today. The worst cases involve extreme human struggles and death. So maybe reframe your outrage over disposable coffee cups

Choose not to patron Starbucks if you want. We won't miss seeing you there. And take your business over to the coffee chain next door. But for the love of white Christian privilege, please shut up about it.