Ramblings about cultural appropriation

The US has had the nickname  The Melting Pot for a reason. I am white. I came from a very low income family and grew up in section 8 housing at the beginning of my life. I grew up around Latino, Black, and a Japanese family living close to me. My younger brothers father is Cuban. We shared music, games, and clothes. I feel my culture is theirs and theirs is mine.

I live in a rural setting now but those roots with all those different cultures colliding and merging is my culture.

However, I do agree that using headdresses and dressing up as Indians is offensive considering what was done to Native Americans and continues to happen in some ways. I didn’t grow up with Native Americans so I don’t know their culture and they have been so oppressed in the US for so long I don’t think many of us in the US really truly understand and can appreciate their culture unless you know them personally. I guess it’s the same with all cultures.

So I guess how I feel is if you have lived surrounded by certain cultures those cultures are part of you but if you don’t know and truly understand and live immersed in a culture don’t hi-jack their shit.

Obviously black-face is fucking wrong and offensive. Dressing up and making fun of and mocking a group of people is racist. I don’t consider that cultural appropriation or anything but racist.

But I listen to rap music, blues, appreciate bonsai, and eat Latin cuisine a million different ways. The way I dress borrows from the cultures I was exposed to and immersed in growing up. If someone has a problem with this just because my skin is white they can fuck the fuck off. They don’t know me.

I feel like people should just go with their gut and be respectful, or don’t cause it’s just clothes and you aren’t killing anyone.

If people give you shit and you feel confident in your authenticity, they can fuck off. The US doesn’t support segregation and that’s what it feels like some people shouting cultural appropriation are wanting. They don’t want people to be able to do or wear certain things based on their skin tone. I’m pretty sure that is close to the definition of racism.

I have experienced people telling me I should be a certain way because I am white and that shit is racist. Its accepted in our society to spit on white people because of what some evil white people did in the past but that shit ain’t me. I have never owned a slave. I never killed an Indian or took their land. I didn’t do that shit and it isn’t my fault it happened. It was a terrible tragedy and if I was alive then I know I would have fought against it like many of our ancestors who were alive did to try and help black people or Indians while risking their lives. Like today I don’t support wars that bomb countries that the US was never attacked by. I vote and speak out against unnecessary wars every chance I get and I vote for equality among the races and sexes because I believe all people should be equal.

If people say I have this view because of my white privilege they can fuck off. I am dirt poor, both parents dead, no family around cause I’m a faggot and they don’t believe I should be allowed to be a lesbian. I can’t afford college. I live in a rundown attic room in the middle of a dead end town. I am one bad life event away from homelessness. Oh, and I’m ugly so many people disregard me as soon as they lay eyes on me.

I’m just tryin to get through each day like many other people in the US today. Heh, I just love when college kids living on mommy and daddy’s dime tell me I’m privileged. They are the one who is fucking privileged. Black White Asian or whatever if you come from a family that has money? That is the real fucking privilege.

Keep doing you. Nothing else anyone thinks really matters in the end.

TL;DR The US is a melting pot. You are free to do whatever the fuck you want. (as long as it doesn’t literally hurt anyone else and violate their rights and you aren’t breaking any laws)

Exhausted Daylight

I took this on my old cell phone camera. I was sitting in a chair and looked over and it was as if the daylight was too tired to illuminate and instead dripped down the wall into a puddle. I took the picture because I understood how it felt.

thoughts

It’s strange that I spend so much time trying to kinda pull myself out of a hole. Time passes very quickly for me. It seems like just yesterday it was 2008 but here it is 2015 and I am still in the same place. I see friends have changed and they have accomplished things like they graduated from college got married or have a kid and bought a home get new jobs take trips around the world. They look different too you can tell they learn from their experiences and they change and grow. They look good though. They look like they are living.

It’s a neat thing to see but I do wonder if I will ever experience a fraction of what a lot of them do. I’m still dealing with the same stuff only kinda more difficult now. My friends still invite me to things like weddings and baby showers Halloween partys etc. I don’t go because I don’t really connect with them any more. I don’t have anything to say when people ask “What do you do?” “Where did you go to school” “Are you married?” “Do you have kids?”. It’s all just really weird. I still appreciate them thinking of me though. It makes me think that before I turned into a full time spaz maybe I wasn’t such a bad person to be around.

When I get real bummed about where I am at I try to be thankful for what I have and some of the things I have achieved. Like yes I did fail the 9th grade 3 times but I did pass the general education diploma test first try. That was like 17 years ago but at the time it was a big thing for me. I also flew in a plane once from Louisiana to Ohio. I was mortified and convinced I was going to die in a plane crash but it didn’t happen. The take off and landing were horrible but when the plane was above the clouds I was in complete awe. I imagined that’s what religious people envision heaven to be like. A blanket of clouds below a blue sky and a warm sun just lighting everything up. It was very peaceful and comforting.

In middle school I remember being terrified of reading a book report in front of my english class but I did get through it and read the whole thing. I hated it but I didn’t pass out like I thought I was going to. I remember the teacher saying I did an okay job. I didn’t believe her at all and the look on her face was more of a “Thanks for not fainting while giving your book report” look instead of a “Wow, this is a bright kid that’s going places” look. But hey, at least I did it. I can’t remember what book it was for or what grade I got. Oh well.

I remember traveling to a musical competition with a saxophone quartet. I played tenor sax. I can’t remember the song but  I remember one of the judges feeling bad about calling me a boy then realizing I was a girl, haha. We did good though. I vaguely remember we got the most stars we could get and  we were all pretty stoked. Our band instructor was pretty proud. One of the few times I didn’t screw up. It was great.

Yeah, I’ll never be a doctor or a lawyer or a college grad or a mom or pretty or wealthy or anything that society tells us we should strive to achieve in life but I have done some things I was proud of and that is going to have to be good enough.

I won’t be remembered after I die. Just like my parents and grandparents aren’t remembered. I’m just invisible so I might as well ignore what society wants and try to find some things that bring me peace and make me happy while I’m here cause nothing else really matters.

Some friends of the animal variety.

I live on a couple acres on the outskirts of a small town. I don’t visit with friends very much but I have some four legged friends to keep me company. They aren’t mine but I help care for them when my housemate goes on long trips. They are great listeners.

Jobe hanging out in the back pasture.

Jobe hanging out in the back pasture.

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The pics above are of my housemates nieces old dressage horse. He used to get worked regularly and taken to competitions and fairs but she grew up and went to college so he gets to roam the back fields. I know he looks pretty rough and could use a good brushing but he is happy as a clam to be living the retired life.

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The pups above are great danes Tanzi on the left and Tywin on the right. They are truly gentle giants. They are fairly young here but the male on the right will probably get up to around 170 lbs and the female on the left we estimate will probably get to about 150. She really shouldn’t be in that recliner but she sneaks into it every chance she gets. They are such large dogs but they are very quiet, almost like they had secret ninja training before they were adopted. You can have a sandwich in front of you and blink then poof it’s gone. It doesn’t help that they are about eye level with the kitchen counter.

I really love the guy on the right. That dog gets me and I get him. He looks so big and strong on the outside but he gets scared and likes to have a person to lean on when storms hit or when he has to get a vet checkup. He is there for me too. I think he knows when I’m down and makes sure to come up to my room to give me some hugs and look at me with an expression that says  “It’s okay human. This bad stuff will pass” When I do move out I will miss him the most.

Hi.

Hello. A lot of my friends call me Otto so it should be okay here.  I don’t have very much of an education so grammar and spelling and sentence structure and all of those kinds of neat things probably won’t have much of a place here. I could take more time to try and learn but ya see my head doesn’t work all that well and I don’t remember things like I used to. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to keep up with this much, all of the options are overwhelming.

A place to get some thoughts, ideas, and questions out of my head does sound kind of appealing. So this will mainly be just a place for me to spill randomness.

Okay, so introduction. I am 35 years old living in south west Ohio. I rent a room off the attic of a house my ex girlfriend that I was in the closet with for over a decade owns. (hilarious right? It’s so complicated I might ramble about it later)

I haven’t had a full time job in quite some time now. People laugh about how lucky I am and wish they didn’t have to go to work but I miss working so very much. I miss feeling useful and needed and waking up in the morning feeling like I had a purpose. My goal is to somehow find my way out of this hole and work again. It would be alright if it was just cleaning and taking out garbage, just something that I could do well. I would be proud of that. Worse than people calling me lucky would be the people who look at me smugly with harsh judgement in their eyes. I wish I could make them walk for awhile in my shoes. I never aspired to be a burden on society. I know I’m too young to be this way. I think that’s why I stay in my room so much. I hate facing people and am ashamed.

I wish I was as strong as the characters I play in video games. They can run for hundreds of miles and not get tired. They get chances to fix what they mess up. People don’t know what I am like in real life so they don’t judge me. In the games I get comments on how well I do a job. I run around repairing walls and building defensive seige weapons and healing my allies in fake battles. “Otto join my guild you’re a rockstar!” “Otto is looking after our base for hours. Thanks Otto!” “Who disabled that enemy seige on our tower? Holy shit! Good job Otto!” “Nice healing Otto!”  I know it’s not real but it’s all I got right now. When my anxiety and depression start getting real bad I just log out and ride out the storm.

On an upside, I was able to sign up for some health insurance. I will barely be able to afford it but maybe I’ll get some treatment that works. I research new ways to treat anxiety and depression every day. Something is bound to work. Just gotta keep trying no matter how tired.

Some jobs I’ve done in the past were bagging groceries when I was 14 in the summer. I was trained and moved up to cashier but people didn’t respond well to a butch looking woman ringing up their groceries lol. Stairwell sweeper at an apartment complex and maintenance assistant. (This was pretty fun seeing all of the handiwork that needed to be done but this ended when the summers were over) Video store clerk ( Ah, the good ole days of VHS. I loved helping people find movies to fit their moods or hearing what they thought of new releases) Auto-parts factory (this was my favorite job. I loved loading parts and watching robotic arms come down and weld them together. The hum of the machines was mesmerizing. I used to watch the robot repairmen work so much that I learned to repair my own machine in most instances when it broke down. This kept the bosses very happy because it decreased downtime) and finally my last job was for a friend working in her vet clinic as a kennel worker. (I would give dogs and cats their meds, clean their cages take them outside for walks when needed and do laundry  take out trash and sweep floors. This job was bitter sweet for me. I love animals and always felt good when I could help but there were cases where the animals couldn’t be helped and seeing this too often would trigger my anxiety. )

Why did these jobs end for me? Usually the anxiety would become too much and I would be paralyzed with fear of messing up and then I usually did mess up and then I would feel the tears coming on and bosses and coworkers wondering whats wrong with me and then after panic attack hits it would happen more often till I couldn’t go back.

Typing it out it looks like such a small thing that should be easily remedied with therapy and a cocktail of the magical wonder drugs on the market that we see so many commercials for. Hardly the kind of thing that could wreck a persons life so badly that they spend almost every waking moment hiding in a attic room but that’s just what it did.

I was started on medication at around 13 years old for anxiety. I think buspar and paxil were the first drugs they tried. I also went to a therapist and was pulled out of classes at school to talk to a councilor once a week. I didn’t like the medicine. I didn’t feel like myself and I think it made my anxiety worse but they just said to keep taking it. My mom made sure I did.

The school councilor used to ask me why I didn’t wear dresses lol. I hated dresses they made me feel like a clown. He was a really nice guy and most the time we just talked about random things or how I felt when my dad died. He once said he would be like my dad since I seen him so much. Every week wednesday or thursday. I actually missed when I stopped getting called to go see him. It felt like he was a good friend but yeah he wasn’t really, he was just doing a job. I don’t know why I was asked to sit with him. After I didn’t get sent to see him for a few months I was called to go see him again. He said he had been really sick and he did look very different. He had lost a lot of weight but he looked pretty healthy. He seemed happy. Mr. Jones was his name. He gave me a card and told me if I ever needed help to give him a call. I didn’t ever see him again after that. I wonder if the offer would still stand 18 years later.

I tried the 9th grade three times. I kept getting attendance failure. My science teacher used to give me shit. He said I got an A grade  but failed because I wasn’t there. At least I got an A. Too bad I can’t remember anything I learned. I do remember liking that science teacher a lot. Mr. Steele was his name. He was very passionate about Earth Science. He would give us samples of the rocks and minerals to pass around and check them on Mohs Hardness scale. He used to play classical music during class while we were doing work sheets. One time when I was actually at school and having a good day I gave him my copy of Yanni Live at the Acropolis tape. I loved this tape very much it helped me not have as much panic. I would sneak my cassette player under my jacket and only use one earbud that was hidden pretty well under my hair so I barely got caught with it on. I gave the tape to him because he played the same classical music over and over and it was getting really stale. I figured he would like Yanni even though he was known for being a new age hippy his live at the Acropolis album was damn good. He didn’t rely on the synthesizers as heavily because it was live with an orchestra. It truly did help stop most of my anxiety when I could focus on it. Too bad walking around highschool listening to a walkman wasn’t acceptable. Mr. Steele appreciated the tape very much and played it whenever I was there. I liked sharing it with someone.

The panic attacks at school got so bad l was afraid to go and got to where I was actually given in-school suspension for missing school. The principle said he wasn’t going to suspend me out of school because he said he knew that’s what I wanted. Brilliant idea that one. Stuck in the same room all day  with no windows where they taped construction paper over the clock so you couldn’t see when it would be over was just great for my anxiety and was soooo conducive to learning…. NOT! I made it half way through the  week long suspension but just couldn’t take it anymore. I got up picked up my backpack while the lady monitoring us yelled at me to sit back down. I was crying like a freakin baby the whole time but I just left. I walked down the hall out the doors and started walking down the shoulder of the road. I walked for about 4 miles before a cop stopped put me in his car and took me home. I tried homeschooling for a year after that. I ended up quitting and getting a generic education diploma. That was the end of my education.