Murmurs

murmurs

In my opinion when a group of people make a statement saying “We don’t believe our lives matter” and any response other than, “Of course, you do matter” is inhumane. It is inappropriate to choose that moment to state all the other lives which matter instead of addressing the pain that is currently being verbalized.

I am personally perplexed that people can shed tears over a dead dog or pretend to care about orphans in south east Asia or Africa when there is a whole generation of kids in your backyard who don’t believe their lives matter.

I have met several people in academia who believe that the overall response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement has been inappropriate to say the least but they will never say something in public for fear of offending someone else’s feelings. As Alain de  Botton so appropriately stated, “Many people in the intellectual elite are very scared of shouting. They insist on very quiet murmurs”.

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Personally, I never want to become so educated or get a title so important that I fail to respond to a fellow human’s cry for help.

Too educated

So let me emphatically say it; Black Lives Matter! You do matter to me at least. Of course other lives matter, white lives, Asian lives, Hispanic lives, Police lives etc, etc, But that is not the question at hand. The issue at hand is, a certain demographic in the United States feels systematically marginalized and targeted by law enforcement. And when they make a statement as a way of affirming themselves, any other response other than yes you do matter is WRONG! We as a people were provided with an opportunity to respond and we failed, the political leaders failed, the civic leadership failed, even the church failed.

So here is my advice to all the proponents of human rights in third world countries from the United States.  Before you condemn another dictator’s leadership and assert yourself as the self appointed  human rights police force for the rest of the world it would be nice to address the issues you have in your own backyard. Such as, the fact that a good percentage of your population is actually questioning whether or not their lives matter.  To all the awesome people who love travelling around the world to make a difference in the lives of other children 10,000 miles away, would you please consider addressing the issues here at home as well?

Disclosures: I happen to be black and I am also a part of the academia who ignorantly only voiced my disapproval in murmurs. Well, not anymore!

I leave you with a quote from Gaston Bachelard “The subconscious is ceaselessly murmuring, and it is by listening to these murmurs that one hears the truth”.

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I recognize  that we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friendfamily member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

 

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Ramblings of an overworked ENTJ

Truth be told, I have always had the reputation of a hot head who is neither lacking in opinions nor shy with sharing those opinions. However as I grow older, I have come to understand that being brazen rashness that may have by mistaken for bravado and may be even admired in your twenties is not cute when you are in your 30’s. As I begin to explore the idea that may be there is a different way to view and process things rather than just the usual I think I am right so therefore I am right.
During the pass decade I have grown so much and gotten so much more than I have ever hoped or planned or even dreamed of. But in order to understand my journey may be it’s important to understand my history up to this point.
I am the fifth girl in a family of 8 and growing up I was sort of a conundrum in the sense that even though I was clearly an extrovert and mostly outspoken and outgoing, I spent most of my child hood as a bookworm. Spending hours in our family library which is really an overstatement. It really was a small room may be 4 x 6 m with a small dingy window and poor ventilation with a collection of books that my dad a journalist had collected over the years. It was in the tiny room that my family and I affectionately called “small room” that I was introduced to Dicken’s flair, Bronte’s eloquence and Twain’s story telling abilities. It was my chance to escape into a world of possibilities and I lived an enchanted life.
It was a kind of escape and as I began to delve in the literature I felt liberated of sorts. It was at this time that I realized that I did not have to live solely on the basis of my experience but I could begin to draw from the experiences of others. I began to entertain the idea that there is more to life and to the world that just what I had seen or experienced. Also it did not hurt at all that my father was such a great story teller who had spent the majority of his working life travelling for his job.

TRANSLATION

translation

Languages are a beautiful thing. I have always been  intrigued by languages and the cultures they unfold. I was so passionate about languages that at age 18 I set a goal to be fluent in 5 languages by age 25. Well… things did not go according to plan. I just turned 33 and I am only fluent in 2 languages (English and French). I can barely understand 3rd grade Spanish with a few scattered medical terms. I have a vocabulary of 50 Italian words and I definitely am not fluent in Arabic which was also one of the languages I had planned to learn. I was feeling pretty sad about not meeting my language goals until I remembered that I spoke Pidgin and Franc-Anglais really fluently  bringing my grand total to a whopping 4!

However, I remembered my upbringing and I could hear my teachers from the British system of education say, “Pidgin is not a language, it is a dialect”. At that point I started researching the differences between a language and a dialect.

Oxford dictionary defines a LANGUAGE as:

The method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. A system of communication used by a particular country or community.

Whereas a DIALECT is defined as:

A particular form of a language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group.

It seems in the colonial era, the ‘powers that be’ decided that the countries being annexed were not “civilized” enough to have a language system and therefore these languages were dubbed “dialects” and this erroneous label has been wrongly promulgated though the years.

What most people don’t know is Italian, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Romanian were once considered dialects of Latin.

Meet Durante degli Alighieri also known as Dante

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He was a major Italian poet who was very controversial because he decided to publish his works in Italian which was a language mostly spoken by commoners. During Dante’s era, most literary works were written in Latin which was accessible to only educated audiences. Dante defended the use of modern day vernacular in literature thereby setting a precedent that other writers soon followed. As such, Dante has been credited in playing a critical role in establishing the national language of Italy.

Now let’s focus on one of my favorite languages, Pidgin which comes second only to Franc-Anglais. PIDGIN is the lingua franca for English speaking West African countries. Check out this recent article by BBC who started an initiate to create a service in Pidgin. They are just now recognizing what we have always known, pidgin is an awesome LANGUAGE!!! It is estimated that over 200 million speak Western African Pidgin English between (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Liberia.

Learning about this Dante and his controversial  prompted me to start a project that I had been putting off months. I have always wanted to translate classic text in literature and science into Pidgin. Imagine listening to the “To be or not to be” speech in Pidgin. I can only imagine it sounding like an Osuofia scene by Nkem Owoh (for those of you not familiar with the name, this is a Nollywood actor). If I could describe Pidgin in one word, I would call it “juicy”. It rolls off the tongue with such ease that once you learn it, you cannot unlearn it.

My goal is to create a body of work that can be of value to some groups that may be marginalized because they may not understand English or French well enough to understand the text to its full extent. I am very excited to start this project and here is list of potential works to be translated into pidgin.

  • The old man and the medal – Ferdinand Oyono
  • Dedication – Wole Soyinka
  • Okwonko’s speech (Things fall apart) – Chinua Achebe
  • To be or not to be (Hamlet) – Shakespeare
  • Newton’s Laws of Motion – Sir Isaac Newton
  •  Marc Antony’s soliloquy (Julius Caesar) – Shakespeare
  • The Raven – Edgar Allen Poe  etc, etc, etc….

I am open to suggestions for new works. I am excited to get started. Of course I am open to submissions of original works in pidgin as a guest author.

I leave you with a quote by Robert Frost: “Poetry is what gets lost in translation”

I recognize we are all overworked, over exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

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UNDERESTIMATED

I used to be irritated when people underestimated my talents. Often times I would be fuming in frustration when decisions were made against my recommendations. I have grown to appreciate being underestimated because it enables me to strategize covertly. Now, I just make my plans taking into account the fact that I will be underestimated then laugh all the way to the finish line.

It’s important to never underestimate a problem, a person, or situation but the most important thing to remember is to never underestimate your talents as you hone your craft. You must recognize that the one thing you can control when facing a problem or an opponent is your reaction to the said problem or opponent.

As I often say, “I refuse to be marginalized, stigmatized, terrorized or tolerated but thank you for underestimating me”. I know it can be annoying sometimes but I urge you keep a poker face when people clearly underestimate you. At the end of the day, being underestimated is the best gift your haters could ever give you.

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I leave you with a quote from Hale Irwin: “I never underestimate my opponent but I never underestimate my talent”.

I know we are all overworkedover exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

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Jealousy vs Envy

I have always been fascinated by these two words; by their meanings, their differences and similarities, by their use and misuse and most importantly by the fact that they are used interchangeably when they should not.

Jealousy is a complex emotion marked by insecurity and the fear of losing something or someone that we value greatly.  Jealousy encompasses several emotions including; abandonment, anger, humiliation and shame. It has been defined as being fiercely protective or vigilant of your rights or possessions.

Envy on the other hand is wanting or desiring something or someone that belongs to another person. One dictionary defines Envy as a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions or qualities.

envy

Neel Burton, MD in Psychology Today makes the following statement ” Envy is the pain caused by the desire for the advantages of others while Jealousy is the pain caused by the fear of losing our advantages to others.”

I always found it interesting that God uses “Jealous” to define his character:

Exodus 34: 14 (NLT): You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is JEALOUS, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.

Envy somehow makes the list of the “Seven deadly sins” which is a whole separate topic beyond the scope of this post.

In the privacy of your own meditations, I hope you get a chance to examine your life to see how jealousy or envy may be affecting your outlook. I would like to invite you to consider that there are sometimes in life when we should be jealous but envy on the other hand is an emotion I would rather not experience. One of my goals this year is to build successful relationships and I wish you the best with your relationships this year.

I know we are all overworked, over exposed and over stimulated today but if you liked this article, consider liking it and sharing it with a friend, family member, colleague, hater or frenemy!

Share your thoughts below, I can’t wait to hear from YOU!

I leave you with a quote by  H. G. Wells: “Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.”

jealousy-halo

 

ENOUGH

I was reminded of this quote a few weeks ago just like many of you when Denzel Washington challenged a journalist about their responsibility to tell the truth. He questioned the need for the media to put out information with immediacy. Nowadays the prize is given to whoever puts out a story first whether or not it is true. The challenge with this mantra is, those stories are about people. And regardless of how fast both the viewers and the media move on to the next story, those people are left to pick up the pieces or their lives.

As a mother, wife, physician, sibling and friend I am haunted by the people whose stories and illness are exploited by the media and our culture for entertainment purposes. I do not want to blame the media but I want to examine how news outlets like TMZ came into existence and how they managed to build thriving successful businesses.

Prior to the 20th century, ogling people with birth deformities was a socially acceptable form of entertainment and it was even considered appropriate family entertainment. People were willing to pay to come see  what they called “curiosities”, “cretins”, or “rare creatures”. Back then anything was fair game; severely disfigured, conjoined twins, dwarfs, giants, congenital disease. It was all permissible and people came to these freak shows in droves to be entertained. P. T. Barnum was one of the most successful businessmen at exploiting these people who were often unwillingly coerced into the industry as children. Here are a few classics he gave us:

Here is ZIP “ a different race of human found during a gorilla trekking expedition near the Gambia River in western Africa.”

He really was William H. Johnson, born to freed slaves in New Jersey. He was born with microcephaly which is a neurological condition where children are born with a head circumference significantly smaller than the mean for other children of the same age and sex. He was kept in a cage  and ordered not to speak but only grunt for entertainment pursposes.

Meet the “Siamese” or conjoined twins

Chang and Eng were born in a Siamese fishing village and were connected at the torso. They were paraded for entertainment for decades in Europe and America.  The duo is credited with the term “Siamese twins”  which was first coined by a physician who watched them perform.

“The dog faced boy”

He was actually Fedor Jeftichew and after his father’s death, the 16-year old a former ward of the Russian government was adopted by a shrewd businessman.  He was bought by P.T. Barnum in 1884 and advertised as “a boy who was raised by wolves in Siberia” eventually he was transformed into “Jo-Jo The Dog-Faced Boy” likely due to the American public’s infatuation with dogs.

While the American public has stopped being entertained by the “FreakShow” business they have a new obsession and that is “Show Business”.  Our evolved society no longer gawks at people with congenital defects or birth “curiosities” but we have moved on to more subtle defects “mental illness”.

The “Fedors”, “Zips” and “Siamese Twins” of the 19th century have been replaced by “Charlie Sheens”, “Carrie Fishers”, “Robin Williams”, “Amy Winehouses”, “Jim Carries”, and “Britney Spears” of today.

Who cares if Charlie Sheen rages and rants about tiger blood and other such nonsense? After all he is being handsomely compensated. Well that same argument was made by the “FreakShow” business after Carol Grant a 16 year old with a deformity was deeply offended by a sideshow. She wrote a letter to the Agricultural Commissioner stating that “Handicapped people are seeking more in life than being stared at in a sideshow”.

Bobby Reynolds a businessman involved in the “FreakShow” business responded with the following statement: “If you’re a mutation of sorts, the biggest thrill you get is opening the mailbox and getting a check from the government. Or you get put in an institution. People say ‘Oh, you took advantage of those people!’ We didn’t take advantage of those people. They were stars! They were somebody. They enjoyed themselves.”

Ultimately the “FreakShow” business died in the 1950’s once these “curiosities” and “freaks” and their fabricated backstories were debunked by science when physicians started speaking out and curing these so called “freaks of nature”.

As I physician, a nurse, a mother, sister and most importantly as HUMAN, I am greatly disturbed by these stories. I am perplexed by a society who is willing to sentence a man to jail for dog fighting on one hand but is entertained by watching celebrities denigrate publicly in front of our eyes.

I wonder how many of the millions entertained by Amy Winehouse’s song Rehab took a minute to reflect on her untimely death from alcohol poisoning. Many of us were  impressed with Heath Ledger’s role as “The Joker” in the Dark Knight.  Here is what Heath Ledger said about preparing for that role,

“I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices – it was important to try to find a somewhat iconic voice and laugh. I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath – someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts. He’s just an absolute sociopath, a cold-blooded, mass-murdering clown.”

His father would later reveal that at the end of shooting, he wrote “Bye Bye” on the back of the last page of his diary. Ledger died from an accidental intoxication from prescription drug intoxication.

I am sure he was well compensated for his role in the Dark Knight and I was “entertained” for a “couple of hours” while I watched the movie. However, in my opinion the price to pay is just too high a price. I would gladly sacrifice the 2 hours of entertainment I got from watching the Joker or his other movies so that he could have an opportunity to raise his daughter.

I am not blaming “Hollywood” for the problem of objectifying patients with mental illness and using and abusing them until they finally crack. And when they crack, we the viewers fanatically watch and like the videos online as we grotesquely gawk at them “losing it”. But once they lose it we “the entertained” show up in droves to memorial services, candle lighting vigils, we flock to social media outlets to show our outpouring of love and support to their surviving families and loved ones. I wonder if anyone else is plagued by this feeling of guilt that plagues me.

After pondering the facts for several months, I have come to the following conclusion; Hollywood exists because we allow it to exist, the Papparazi have jobs because we allow their industry to exist and thrive. At the end of the day they are not the problem- WE ARE! It is simply issue of demand and supply; we provide the demand and they provide the supply.

I for one am sick of it, I am sick of being part of the problem. I refuse to provide the demand for an industry which leaves parents childless and children parent-less. The price are just too high to pay.

As a mother and a physician it is imperative that I speak up and say this is wrong. I have members of my families who are suffering from mental illness and I hope that if they had a public meltdown and someone happened to capture it on camera. I hope that my fellow humans would not watch, laugh, comment, like and re-tweet the video. Unless we affect their bottom line nothing will change. The only way to affect their bottom line is to stop providing the demand. When the “FreakShow” was at its height in the 19th century, several people spoke up about the dangers of using humans in these circus shows. The very people who so eloquently supported the abolishment of slavery were entertained on weekends by children with birth defects kept in cages and used as a commodity.

Denzel Washington asked – Is there really enough news to warrant a 24 hour new cycle? I am asking – Is there really a need for outlets reporting celebrity gossip? I am saying ENOUGH! Today I am making a decision to take away the demand. I want to invite you to take a pledge with me to abstain from providing Hollywood and media outlets reporting celebrity gossip with the supply that keeps them in business. I am calling on mothers, fathers, the middle aged, the elderly, the teenagers and last but not least the millennials. I am calling on my generation to stand with me and take the pledge to abstain for 1 month. Join me as I abstain from all the following for 30 days; NO- Movies theaters, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Video, TMZ, E-News, Wendy Williams show, Hollywood Rag, People, OK Magazines  and the list goes on and on. To a see a more thorough list check out this article from Forbes.

I know it is a lot to ask and I know our decision may have negative financial repercussions on the very people we speaking up for but somebody has to take a stand. Let’s abstain from having someone else’s privacy invaded just so that we can be entertained. The goal is not to punish the artists but rather to remind the media that we control the DEMAND and we would like better moral standards established in this industry.

Let’s start our pledge on Martin Luther King day (January 16th 2017) and end on Valentine’s Day (February 14th 2017). What better gift to show to the people we LOVE than to say NO to Human Exploitation for Monetary Gain.

What is the worst that can happen? We save some money, we talk to our families more and we gain some time for introspection.

What we will miss out on? Celebrity divorces, drug overdoses, fights, custody battles, Celebrity arrests etc. Show you CARE and join me in saying ENOUGH.

TAKE THE PLEDGE here. 30 days too long? Consider joining for just ONE day!

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Here is the link to an excellent article by Susan Ruth on this topic.

TREASURES

 

Millennials, Millennials, Millennials, who are they anyway? The term was first coined in 1987 by William Strauss and Neil Howe and has since stuck. It describes people born between 1982-2004. I love millennials and their need for immediacy. Their irreverent view of typical American culture. Their uncompromising right to assert their beliefs even when it is absolutely irrational. I find this generation fascinating. They are also affectionately known as Generation Y, Generation Me, Me Me Me Generation. They have also been called digital natives because they are the first generation who have not experienced life without the internet. I affectionately love to credit them with the surge of “the microwave philosophy”.  For millennials everything must happen with immediacy and instant alacrity. In their minds the world revolves around them. This generation seems to glorify diversity of thought and philosophy as long as it fits with their personal philosophy. Some studies have shown a large percent of narcissistic characteristics among this population group.

Their most recent escapade is the anti-Trump riots that sprouted across the nation. This defiant group of young people branded themselves with catchy slogans such as “Not my president”. What was most astonishing was the fact that the my favorite generation the millennials did not seem to have any insight into why Trump was elected. As a matter of fact most of the rioters arrested in Oregon choose not to exercise their right to vote and some did not even register to vote. As they valiantly protested the Trump election I wondered in shock if any of them realized how their actions may have contributed to the results of the election.

But before we continue to rag on the millennials let’s ask ourselves the fundamental question: Who raised these entitled brats? Well, I hate to say it but the baby boomers are to blame for these self absorbed smart-mouths. This generation finds most things that baby boomers are proud of completely antithetic to their culture. And when I say “their” I mean each individual’s subculture. That’s right millennials don’t want to be labelled unless they are placing the labels on themselves such as “life coach”, “guru”, “expert” etc. As a matter of fact, some polls have shown that most of them do not want to be called millennials. Some say this generation seems to be missing the “American dream” and they don’t seem to care.

But let’s not condemn that whole generation lest we forget the good things the millennials bring to the table. They have redefined and really established what work life balance should be. They unlike any other generation before are serious about their relaxation. They also show the greatest concern for both local and global issues unlike any other generation in history. They are crafty problem solvers and innate innovators. They live life with gusto and do not believe in being chained to your job. They are reported to treasure a simple life with not too many frivolities. They seldom indulge in consumerism but when they do it is usually with a cause. They seem to care less what people think of them and focus more on their view as individuals. They have rejected a great tenet of American culture which is; more and bigger is always better. They believe in a 30 hour work week and actually demand it. This generation has been credited with inventing self branding, killing the napkin industry by re-branding the paper towel as sexy. Some of them have even given up sex. They have been accused of ending multiple industries and ideas including; the 9-to-5 work day, blockbuster, the movie business, travel marketing, vacations, golf, baseball, bad advertisement etc. See the entire list on fusion.

Before the end of this article, I would be remiss to not divulge that I am a millennial. Yes I am part of the problem. If you were not born during the time period described above and you identify with some of these values, there is a quiz to see just how millennial you are. I will end with my favorite thing about the millennials; they elected the first black president in the United States – I will forever be proud to be part of the generation who changed history. Speaking of history, I leave you with this quote; “One generation’s treasure is another generation’s refuse”.

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