Thursday, October 22, 2009

Compassion turns an armed robbery around

Click to watch an interview with Angela Montez, who started praying and talking to a robber who held her at gun point.

Loving Yourself

Today, I can stick a finger in the waist of my fat pants.

After months of calorie counting and many more months of sort of working out, I think I learned something about self-loathing. I think self-loathing is punishing yourself for being you, when you don’t think you’re good enough to love as you are. When I would skip working out for weeks, because I’d skipped once, it was because I’d written myself off as a failure, like an abusive parent or something. I thought I’d slipped down some slope and might as well free fall to its depths.

What does it mean to love yourself? I asked, and you answered:
“Loving yourself means believing you have value and worth and deserve respect and compassion. It means truly hoping for the best for yourself.”

“Maybe ‘tough love’ is good self-love: pushing yourself to excel, and rewarding yourself for a job well-done. Or maybe just being comfortable in your own skin.”

“I think the practice of Love should be the same for yourself as it is for others. …Do you want only the best for your best friend and believe they shouldn't needlessly suffer through judgment- always.”

Loving yourself, I hypothesize, is acknowledging that you’re on a walk, so that when you trip and fall, you get up and keep going. You are not scaling a deadly mountain grasping for approval at its peak! One day, uh, many days, I’ll eat way more than my calorie budget or say a nasty thing I didn’t mean. The next day, I should refocus on eating right and speaking love, because I still believe in myself like a loving parent.

Soon enough, I'll be able to stick two fingers in my fat pants.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

86-year-old WWII vet on gay marriage

86-year-old WWII vet on gay marriage at a public meeting on Maine's marriage equality bill on April 22, 2009: "What do you think I fought for in Omaha Beach?" A powerful video:

"Post-Marriage" Counseling

Behold, the intersection of three of my favorite topics: relationships, metaphor, and branding:
Thanks, @catherinefaas and @GuyKawasaki!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cultural Differences: Shut Up and Love mentioned in AJC!

This article ran in the print edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Sunday October 18, 2009, but it didn't run online at, or I'd post the link for you. I'm posting the text of the article below with the writer's blessing. Discuss!

Eager hearts, open minds

Service links those who accept diversity in the search for love.
Racial barriers falling, but not easily for most.
By:Helena Oliviero

Mauricio Solano has distinct tastes when it comes to the women he dates.
You could even call him picky. His dream girl is outdoorsy, cares about
her appearance, but isn't "too skinny."

He won't date smokers, and cussing is a big turnoff.

But when it comes race, often a barrier in romance, he said his mind is
wide open.

"Doesn't matter, " the 44-year-old Colombian native said in a
matter-of-fact tone, revealing a very slight accent.

Recently, Solano joined Color Blind International, an Atlanta-based dating
service built on the premise that racial diversity should be embraced and
never get in the way of true love.

Solano --- a well-educated, divorced civil engineer --- said during a
screening interview that he dated women from various ethnic backgrounds
while in college.

With clipboard in hand, Color Blind co-founder Mingnon "Ming" Gregory, cut
to the chase and asked him: Are you interested in white women or all

"All races, " he said.

While many online dating services match people of different races, Color
Blind International appears to be Atlanta's first dating service (outside
of online dating) aimed at interracial dating.

Gregory, an African-American woman with model-good looks, said the idea
for the business stems from her own experience. For a couple of years, her
quest for Mr. Right was going nowhere, even after joining dating sites and
a dating service.

Then one day, Gregory, an image consultant, had an epiphany and confided
in her friend John Evans, whom she later joined forces with to start the

"I remember telling John one day, 'I might open myself up to other races,
' " she said. "And he said, 'Good idea.' ... I remember thinking, there
are a lot of good guys out there; why am I limiting myself?"

More than 60 members pay from $1,700 to $3,000 for the dating service,
which includes matchmaking, background checks and image consulting. It
also provides life coaches who give members tips on how to handle their
relatives' reactions to their interracial romance.

Dating interracially has long been sensitive, even taboo. It was just 42
years ago that the Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling, legalized
interracial marriages.
And, for many years, black men were subjected to
violence for simply looking at a white woman the "wrong way."

Attitudes have changed over time. And there may be signs that a growing
number of singles are crossing racial lines for love., one of the biggest online dating sites with more than 9 million
members, said more than 90 percent of current members say (in their
profiles) they are open to dating outside their race. In Atlanta, the
percentage is 91 percent, up 9 percent from 2006.

Tony Brown, sociology professor at Vanderbilt University, said online
dating patterns are not likely representative of the general population.
He said singles online are usually younger, live in urban settings and are
more educated --- all of which makes them more likely to date someone of
another race. He also thinks many singles may revel in the idea of an
interracial romance, but have no intention of marrying outside their race.

Even for singles who fall in love and want to marry someone of another
race, it's not always an easy proposition, Brown said.

"Oftentimes, these relationships get shot down when one person brings that
special person home to family.
There's like this 'relationship bubble' and
that gets burst
at Thanksgiving dinner, " said Brown.

Census figures show just 5 percent of marriages in Atlanta and nationwide
are interracial unions. Interestingly, the percentage of unmarried
interracial couples living in Atlanta is 10 percent, according to the
Census Bureau's 2007 American Community Survey.

Still, as singles marry at an older age and have more experience with
people of different races, there's more opportunity for people to date
outside their race.

And for some, it's a numbers game. Some African-American professional
women, for example, say it's difficult to find a black man with their same
level of education. It plays out at college campuses, where an average of
65 percent of black students enrolled in college are women, according to
the U.S. Department of Education. At some colleges, Brown said, women
represent 75 percent of the black students.

All in all, Brown said, the vast majority of Americans don't explore
romances with people of different races.

"We live very homogenous lives. We surround ourselves with people who look
like us, think like us, believe what we believe. And when it comes to
romance, it's very unusual for us to deviate from that pattern."

But Michael Rosenfeld, a Stanford University sociology professor who
studies interracial marriage trends, sees many more opportunities for
interracial dating, particularly in the online dating world, which brings
together singles of various ethnic backgrounds.

Rosenfeld believes race continues to be a major fault line in America but
thinks it's becoming less relevant.

"It's much less of an issue than it used to be, " he said. "Old racial
divisions are slowly dying away."

'Shut Up and Love'
Ivy Le, a 26-year-old Vietnamese American, explores her intercultural
relationship with her German-born boyfriend in her blog, called "Shut Up
and Love."

She talks openly in her blog about cultural differences. Le said she and
her boyfriend have argued for more than a year about moving in together.

In Germany, it's common for people to live under the same roof before
marriage. But in her culture, that's not the case. Couples don't live
together until they are married. In fact, single adults often live with
their parents until the wedding. In the end, Le and her boyfriend
compromised: They decided to live together after they get engaged.

"Of course, it's easier if I came home with a good Vietnamese, Buddhist
boy. If I brought a boy like that home, we would be on easy street to
marriage, " said Le who lives in Athens. "But love, while wonderful and it
does have all of these promises, easy is not one of them."

Keeping options open
Pretty and personable, Jeanette Phillips has a good job in finance. She
seems to have it all. But lately, the 46-year-old African-American has
been grumbling to her girlfriends about how impossible it seems to find
Mr. Right in this town. As she has gotten older, she said, she has become
more open to dating men of other races.

She stopped by Color Blind International's posh 15th floor suite in
Buckhead recently to talk about her recent dates.

"I like that that element has already been removed and you can be relaxed
in that regard, " she said. So far, she has gone on three dates. Three
different white men. They've been nice, but she likely will continue to
keep her options open.

Meanwhile, Hazel Brito, a 32-year-old Hispanic woman, has gone on three
dates, all with the same guy, who is white. She said she found instant
chemistry over bites of tiramisu at Intermezzo and steaks at The Strip.
"He makes me laugh. His family is important to him, " she said.

So what would her parents say about her dating someone of a different

"My parents would be totally fine with it. My parents just want me to be
happy, " said Brito, who works for a pharmaceutical company.
And happy in love is what she wants, too.

"The tall, handsome guy is always nice --- in whatever race that happens
to fall into it, " she said.

Saying 'I do' to diversity

Chance that a person in the Atlanta five-county metro area will marry
someone of a different race:
White men: 1 in 25 (4 pct.)
White women: 1 in 50 (2 pct.)
Black men: 1 in 20 (5 pct.)
Black women: 1 in 25 (4 pct.)
Asian men: 3 in 50 (6 pct.)
Asian women: 4 in 25 (16 pct.)
Source: AJC analysis of marriage statistics, based on U.S. Census Bureau's
American Community Survey
Database reporter John Perry contributed to this article.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cultural Differences: Interracial Marriage Denied in La.

This justice of the peace in Louisiana who would not marry an interracial couple is getting a lot of heat. And here, I'd posted the story on the Facebook fan page, because I thought it was funny.
"I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."
C'mon, Jon Stewart's whole staff couldn't make that line up! Alas, I know we're not "post-racial," because no one else laughed. I get it: this justice reminds us of that time when miscegenation was illegal, and back then, this wouldn't have been funny. I'm sure the couple was stunned, as I would have been, at the moment the justice's (not judge) wife told them her husband doesn't marry interracial couples. But then they just went to a different dude in the same area, and they're married now.

I think we should lay off an old man who grew up when people thought colored people carried disease (and so people were afraid to let us use their restrooms). Let him and his views retire quietly like so many embers in an abandoned fire. It's the next generation we should put all this indignant energy toward teaching, not the last one. Hope you can laugh about this:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Reform Madness - White Minority
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Love Hurts and It Should Sometimes

I'm reading through boxes of old letters researching a writing project that my friend, the redneck noir author BH Shepherd, has persuaded me to tackle (or die trying). The love letters from my first love are an interesting time capsule, listing the things we predicted would happen after high school graduation:
  • we would move on to meet and love others,
  • we would each eventually be displaced as the relationship standard against which new prospects are measured,
  • we implicitly acknowledged that it would be a struggle eventually to stay in touch.
Indeed, all those things came to pass, and re-reading the words that tore at my barely-callused high school heart, it hurt that those things didn't hurt more when they happened - as my younger self had hoped they would.

Why did I hope that it would hurt to move on, when many are afraid to stick even their bare big toe in the murky waters of love?

If love could NOT cut you down to the ground, would you want it? If it wouldn't hurt when your child lies to you, would it mean anything when he or she said, "Mommy, I love you"? You cannot love without exposing some vulnerability, and why would you want to? Even if you could love without feeling pain, would you learn anything about your soul's topography in the process?

There is a logical argument (as in explanation, not debate) for the stinging phenomenon of love, but knowing why is not the same as knowing that
"there are sharks in the water
but the only way to survive

is to breathe deep
and dive."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gift-Giving to One's Beloved really effin' hard. I used up all my best ideas the first two years we've been dating. One of my first boyfriends got a really sweet top-of-the-line alarm clock/CD player to replace his squawking radio alarm for Valentine's Day. I thought it was perfect; the girls in my dorm explained that it was tragically practical, that I was that guy.

What do you men WANT, for heaven's sake!!!

My two-year anniversary is Wednesday, and I've only gotten my Great Idea last night. Wish me luck, friends.


Related Posts with Thumbnails