not the only one…

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Spartacus Books & Rhizome Cafe

I’m going to Vancouver BC this weekend and I’m going to check out Spartacus Books and the Rhizome Cafe. They are both social justice minded establishments and I can’t wait to browse at Spartacus and enjoy what looks like delicious food at Rhizome.

The homepage of Spartacus is awesome with a listing of, what they call, “explosive titles.” Gramsci’s Prison Notes and Helene Cixous’s Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint… I wish I could just sit around and read all day… every day…



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Look closer

“Look closer.” This was a theme in the movie, “American Beauty,” one of my favorite movies because the story chooses to see all the beauty in our world, even amidst the greed, self-loathing and ego pervading our society. The movie takes on harsh realities; a teenage girl rebelling against her parents, a woman who chooses to find her identity in money and who forgets why she ever loved her husband until she loses him, a middle aged man hitting on his teenaged daughter’s friend, loveless marriages (mirages?), a closeted, retired military man who collects nazi stuff and his wife who is dead inside from years of abuse from this self-loathing gay man, and their son, teenage boy so intelligent he doesn’t fit in at school so he makes lots of money selling drugs so he can be his own person and someday get away from his dysfunctional family in the suburbs.

I must admit that I find myself worrying too much about money. After grad school, I have a lot of debt and I’m realizing I don’t have a narrative to frame this student debt in a positive way. Everything and almost everyone seems to say debt is bad, it will keep you down. But my wonderful partner reminds me that it is my choice. I can decide to view my debt as a shackle that will paralyze me and keep me frozen in fear. Or I can decide to live my life and make myself happy.

I want to be a professor. I have wanted that since I graduated college. I want to make positive impact on the world. More specifically, I want to make an impact in America, which can change the world since we are such an influential nation. I want to end the prison system. It’s a blight upon our world. Putting people in cages only makes our society more unjust and does nothing to truly heal people who have suffered as a result of American capitalism and institutionalism which lack compassion and deference for difference.

Growing up, I never wished for a lot of money. I knew I didn’t want to work only for a paycheck. After grad school at a private university, with so much debt, I got scared. But I can’t live my life scared. I’m a bold person with bold ideas. I enjoy challenging myself and I want to take risks. I’m working through a lot of this now because I have lost my center. I need to regain my focus on the things that matter to me: love, peace, justice, community and joy. These are my values. I will do my best to live them everyday.

To my readers, what are your values? How do you center yourself?