THE Ring Finger

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Today while walking through Warren Hall I came across the famous Balfour ladies who sell your JMU class ring after the Ring Premiere. They usually sit in Warren for two weeks after the big premiere. When I was a sophomore back in 2008 I was on the ring premiere committee so I have treasured my experience and my ring. 

This was a great opportunity to ask about my lifetime guarantee on my ring and how I really need to get it re-sized  We chat for a minute and then she asks me to give her my finger so she could measure the size. I hand over my hand and she looks at me surprised. 
Our conversation goes like this

Balfour Lady #1: "you want your ring to go on your LEFT hand?" 
Me: "yeah, why does that matter?"
Balfour Lady #1: "well, your left hand is meant for your wedding ring..."
Me: "[being laughing a little too loudly] Oh gosh, I don't care about that, like at all."
Balfour Lady #1: "but you should! What about when you get married!"
Me: "Uh yah, that's never happening."
Balfour Lady #2: "you never know!"
Me: "[under my breath] uhh, yah I do."

Then we all proceed to awkwardly giggle and try not to make eye contact. Oh no, here comes the horribly anti-traditional blacktina, just ruining little old ladies' days! That's what I do best, y'all. To make it more interesting, two of my sisters happened to be sitting behind the Balfour table and were overhearing my horribly awkward conversation. 

So here's where I am after this conversation:
1. The left hand is your wedding ring finger hand? I honestly had no clue. 
2. Before you "get married," are you supposed to just completely neglect your left ring finger from any rings? Why does it matter if the finger is preoccupied if I'm not committed? 
3. .........who cares though? Apparently many people. 

I've kind of made this obvious in the past, but in case you didn't know, I am not exactly a traditional girl. I don't believe a man I'm dating needs to buy my food every single time we get dinner. I don't believe in time frames of when you should be married. I don't believe in "traditional marriage" by any means, like only men and women can marry for example - yeah, not for me. I do have a lot of friends who are more traditional about certain things like the men pay for dinner and the men ask for a lady's hand in marriage, and only men and women can marry idealism, etc. but everyone's entitled to their opinions just like I am entitled to mine. I guess I was just really surprised at how surprised those ladies were. 

This brings me to the real reason this incident has me thinking: why is it that I'm so against marriage? It's possible that growing up watching failed marriages over and over again has completely tainted my image of what it looks like. Plus I think that I have trouble finding ways to support my feminist ideologies and think about being married. I know that "feminists can get married" but I feel like it's much more than being a feminist not wanting to settle down. It's more like I want my independence and I want the freedom to make my own choices. I want to raise adopted children on my own. I realize I am 24 years old and the world is my oyster, but I am just completely turned off by the thought of marriage. Not to mention, I don't feel comfortable getting married in our current time where not everyone is afforded that same luxury, so for the sake of being a gay rights advocate I don't feel right using my privilege. I'm just in a phase of my life right now where all of those things really do mean so much to me, and I recognize that part of this is just being young and in grad school and "hip" if you will, but I don't think it's a phase that will necessarily go away. I'm pretty committed to this idea and this movement and the inspiration of women around me to make my choices. Marriage just sounds like a horrible idea but maybe I'll find someone who will help me think differently. 

I know that negative self talk is absolutely a deterrent to future actions, but I also feel like I am doing it on purpose to guarantee that I never get married. The self talk that has convinced me to believe that marriage is not for me is like confirming that it won't ever happen for me, so it's like I don't have to worry about it! I know I am just a walking defense mechanism, but ain't nobody got time for all that money on therapy! Anyway, I don't want to really convince myself that I am not good enough to be married or that if I become married I'll become soft and lose all my values, but hey, I'm 24, that's my excuse for now. 

So the update is no, I'm not in the market, I'm unavailable, I'm off the shelf, I am focusing on bigger and better things right now. One day that might change, and little old ladies won't be so terrified by my feminism, but for now, take a big wiff of it, it's not going anywhere. 

Peace ,
Candace

Appearance is Everything: Shaved Bear's Story

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Recently, while avoiding my portfolio among many other things, I came across this image of a supposedly "shaved bear"



My first thought: I'M TERRIFIED 

Other initial thoughts:
  1. If I saw this thing, I would poop my pants or die or both.
  2. It's so hideous 
  3. Look at it's wrinkly black skin, ew.
  4. It's not cuddly, I like cuddly bears
  5. Why would anyone get near this thing to take it's picture
  6. Who shaved this bear and are they still alive?! 
  7. That bear is different, and I don't like it. 
Harsh, right? My initial reaction was so judgmental about a creature that I had zero information about, and it automatically made me reject it. I even posted it on my Twitter and Facebook to mock it and share that fear with others, which was reciprocated by most people that interacted with my posts. 

Then, I got an article sent to me by my friend on the post, describing the situation behind the bear. First thing I noticed was I kept calling the bear a "he" and it is actually a girl. She also has a name, Dolores. Also, I found out she isn't the only one, and that many other female bears like her are suffering from some condition that has the veterinarians baffled. 

Wow, could I have been more wrong about this bear? 

I felt really humbled when I read the article, but not just because I was wrong about the factual things behind this picture. It made me think first about my love for animals. I have claimed several times that I love all creatures, and it's a big part of my identity. Obviously I am not perfect and some bugs do freak me out but I try my best to really stick to what I say I believe. I have this philosophy that bugs that are outdoors should not be killed unless they are attacking you (mosquitoes for example), because technically that's their home. Same goes for animals running around in the wild - that's their home! How would you feel if people just walked into your home and killed you? Pretty sure that's called homicide. Now, when animals invade your home like bugs for example, that's where you can step in and say "Hey, no one invited you here" and then I usually escort them out if possible, but sometimes sadly I do have to get rid of them. It actually makes me really upset to kill a bug, I just feel like a monster, especially if they aren't doing anything to me. Obviously if you're in your house and a jaguar busts through the door like the kool-aid man, survival kicks in. Is it likely? No, but you get my point. 

Back to the bear: I thought long and hard today about the way I felt about that bear when I first saw it. I felt so scared yet I didn't even know it. I didn't know that bear's story. And yes, that bear's story is important to me because all creatures have a story. Am I starting to sound like Pocahontas? Yes, but I'm okay with that. It just makes me sad that I would be so negative to something I just didn't even understand. Here's where I'm with this: why do we as humans do this to each other? Why do we see someone of a different color or someone who looks differently than what we are used to and we completely shut off and become afraid or reject them? Please don't try to pretend that you have not done this - we ALL do. I do it all the time! Yes, I've been in a dark alley and seen a tall man in the distance and immediately become afraid, even though I don't know him. Yes, I've driven through a neighborhood with people that were different than I was used to and I locked my doors. We've all been there. I'm thinking about this as I reflect on my reaction to the shaved bear picture. I couldn't help to feel afraid, it was my brain's natural reaction, but once I learned about the bear and could understand her more, I was able to get around the difference and respect that bear. Do you see where I'm going with this? 

My point: interacting with different people is so difficult. I struggle with it everyday. I am absolutely not perfect at it, and I have to work so hard to see past appearance. The problem is that we need to be more consciously aware of the fact that yes, our brains do work in this way, but we have the power to overcome our natural reactions to make connections and look for a story to understand someone. Not only do we have the power to do this, but it's our job as human beings frankly. We have to teach our children to do this. We have to teach our parents. We have to teach ourselves. We need to hold each other accountable in this society that we really care about understanding each other. Make a habit when you meet someone new or interact with someone different that you FIRST ask yourself "what's their story?" 

I know all of this sounds so typical optimistic Candace, but I want to be clear about something. That bear, Dolores, no matter how heartfelt her story is, COULD destroy me. Unlike Pocahontas in her fictional movie, I do not go up to random animals that look like they could eat me and try to understand them. I realize that the reality is that not everyone is good. I realize that it's okay to be afraid of someone you come across in a dark alley who has a gun pointed at you asking for your wallet, and that it's probably not the best time to ask them "hey bro, what's your story?" I get it. Fight or flight very much comes into play. The point I'm getting to is that you have to use common sense of course because we can't be completely naive  but try to think a little harder about connecting with people on a more personal level, when appropriate

If there's so much more to Dolores, imagine how much more there is about fellow human beings? Get to know them, don't be afraid to ask, and make genuine connections. Different is okay, don't run from it. Train your brain. 


Peace ,
Candace

Bachelor Finale: Biracial love!

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So today was the last night for the Bachelor with Sean Lowe! What a journey it's been and I think my favorite part of it has been sharing the fun and gossip about the show with my fellow CSPAers! What am I going to do without my female CSPA camaraderie every Monday night?

Yes, of course I'm tweeting. #CSPAbachelorwatchparty #thebachelor #curlyhairdontcare
Anyway, I have become emotionally attached to the lives of these girls, mostly out of curiosity as to who in their right mind would want to go on a show like this?! Though, we are trying to get Emily to do the show because she'd be SO perfect - she'd win America's heart, stay out of drama by eating ice cream, becoming best friends with all the girls in the house, and then she couldn't lose because if she got the man, she won, and if she didn't win the man, she'd totes be the next Bachelorette! Stay tuned for a status update on her application for the 2014 season. 

Now, announcing the brand new winner of the Bachelor (and Sean Lowe's sexy, muscular bod-- uhh, I mean heart) ....... drumroll please .................

Catherine Giudici

I am BEYOND excited for Sean choosing Catherine! I've loved her from the very beginning because she tended to stay out of the drama and it looked like she made Sean feel like a human being, and not just a Bachelor robot making the motions of any other reality TV personality. That's what I connected the most with about her: she was just always so real, so genuine, so authentic, so Catherine! 

Now, I'm not a Bachelor expert as I have certainly not been watching for the last 11 years consistently (in fact, I don't think I've watched anything that consistently, not even Spongebob Squarepants), but is Catherine the first winner that is a person of color? I won't even lie to you, aside from all of the other things that make me love Catherine, I'm just so happy that a half Filipina won Sean's heart! I remember earlier in the season when Robyn sat Sean down and asked him what he thought of dating a person of color, and he said that the color didn't matter and that he loved all girls the same. He even said he dated a black girl before, which blew my mind! Blonde haired blue eyed Sean dated a black girl?! There's clearly hope for me then!!! 


As a blacktina, obviously multiracial ethnicity is something special to me and I'm just so happy to have seen on national TV a couple come together from different walks of life. It's important to me because I don't often see role models of biracial relationships in the media, and as a biracial person I often feel left out. You only see white people with white people and black people with black people and latino people with latino people, etc. I just don't feel so constricted by my race when it comes to love and it hurts when I hear people say things like "if I brought someone home of [enter race that is not their own], my parents would kill me!" I will never raise my kids to believe that the color of someone's skin (or their gender!!!) matters one single bit when it comes to loving someone. I'm just happy that we are starting to see some non-traditional relationships on commercials, in TV shows, etc! 

So basically, long story short:



+


=



Good luck to you both, Catherine and Sean! 
Thank you for reminding me that 
love does come in different colors


Peace ,
Candace

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one"

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I just came across this video below and it goes without saying that I'm distraught, emotional, and sobbing. Naturally. 


Fiona inspires me. The people who rescued her inspire me. Compassion inspires me. Unconditional love for our furry friends inspires me. 

As you all know, I'm a proud cat mom of two loves of my life. Both of my kitties were rescues too, Valentino and Muñeca. It hurts me so much to think that both of my cats could have starved, been abused, or euthanized if I hadn't stepped in to bring them into my life. Not only rescue, but adoption inspires me too. There are so many animals and people desperately waiting for help, and some of them will never get it. If I could, trust me, I'd save them all, and I promise you I won't stop fighting to save them. 

Most people often make fun of me for being so "optimistic" or "hippie-ish" or "emotional" but what is so wrong about those things? What's so wrong about caring about the people who inhabit this world? What's so wrong about feeling pain of others? What's so wrong about dreaming big? I know that I have lofty ideas of what life should be sometimes, but I always grew up being told that "one person can make a difference." Was I the only one that actually believed it when they told me that? I could sit here and list for days all of the people who felt the same way and made that difference. But what people often forget too is that yes, there are those inspirational people that made a difference, but just because one person can inspire a change does not mean they did it all by themselves. We hear people tell us "you can make a difference" and we automatically hear "....but you have to do it all by yourself" which is so far from the truth. You'd be amazed at how many people you can get behind you if you speak up and say you want to change something. 

So what's the point of this late night rant, you ask? I'm in a transitioning time of my life right now where I feel like I need purpose in my life. Watching that video reminded me to be passionate about the things I care about. It reminded me that my voice is enough - it's more than enough. It reminded me that life means more than daunting tasks, job searches, broken relationships, and mundane routines. It reminded me how lucky I am to be surrounded by people who are passionate too. Obviously not everyone will connect with me and feel this same passion for animals like I do, but the point is that it doesn't matter what you're passionate about, it just matters that you are. It matters that you care about something and you do something about it. I am young, I am fearless, and I am ready to seek out my passions. Are you?

In the words of John Lennon, "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." 
Dream on, friends. 

Peace ,
Candace

#GradStudentProblems


I found this hilariously accurate article on Buzzfeed and I could not resist the urge to copy and paste this to share it. It's just too, too accurate. 

However, there's one major flaw in this post:
I doubt I'm going to get that much more money with this degree, just saying. #SAproblems

Other than that, yeah, pretty accurate. Side note: Buzzfeed completes me. Seriously. 


Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jessicamisener/what-grad-school-is-really-like



So you decided to go to grad school. Congratulations!

So you decided to go to grad school. Congratulations!

Knowledge is pretty freaking cool.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

Someday you'll get a fancy diploma that will help you earn more money, or whatever.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

But you know, a lot of people think that grad school is just like a continuation of undergrad. And it's definitely NOT.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: static

For example, this was your school spirit in college:

For example, this was your school spirit in college:

School spirit in grad school: Ain't nobody got time for that.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

Social life in college:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

Social life in grad school:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: www

Leaving a progress meeting with your advisor in college:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: media

Leaving a progress meeting with your advisor in grad school:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: media

Your apartment in college:

Your apartment in college:

Your apartment in grad school:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: media

Drinking coffee in college:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

Dating in grad school is more like:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: media

In college, your main job is to consume knowledge.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

In grad school, you're supposed to be the one PRODUCING the knowledge.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

Fridays in college: no class.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: media

Fridays in grad school: IT NEVER STOPS.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: static

Your best friend in college:

Your best friend in college:

Your best friend in grad school:

Your best friend in grad school:

In college, you study really general things.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

In grad school, you focus on something so specialized you can discuss it with literally two other people on the planet.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: media

Spring break in college:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like
Via: media

Spring break in grad school: field trip to the archives.

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

And finally, in college you feel pretty confident, because you were at the top of your class:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like

But guess what? Everyone at grad school was the smartest kid at THEIR college, so now you're like:

What Grad School Is REALLY Like