What I’ve Learned; From GLAD – By: Shelly

Shelly3Shortly last Thursday after my morning sociology class, I head down to the T station nearby to catch the green line into Boston. (Let me say I’m so glad that the T is operating because just a couple weeks ago it was not working.) I’m terrible at directions and I usually rely on my husband or friend when it comes to traveling anywhere I’m not familiar with. But I’ve managed just fine getting to the stop that I needed to be. That day we had an important interview with a person who works at the non-profit organization GLAD. Each group in class was given an assignment to check out an organization that was chosen by the professor and it was our responsibility to meet with someone that would be willing to show us around the organization as well as give us an interview that was work related about themselves. GLAD is an organization that provides legal advocacy for Gays, Lesbians, Transgender, and those affected by HIV and AIDS.

Two other classmates and I were greeted by, a gentlemen named Bruce. He was extremely pleasant to speak with. He told us that a  young lawyer  at the time named John Ward founded GLAD in 1978. The reason behind it was in 1978 there was actually a sting operation at the Boston Public Library with men soliciting other men for sex. The Boston Police Department decided to have officers dressed in regular clothes and try to soliciting other men. The gay community was outraged as they felt they were being targeted. John Ward made this his first case and it went to court where he won. John Ward felt that the BPD was trying to entrap them.

Bruce also told us that in 1983 GLAD launched a project for those living with HIV and AIDS. Apparently a Boston Hospital was refusing to treat those living with this deadly disease. During this time GLAD fought for the rights of the people who had been affected by this. The case ended up going to the Supreme Court.  This was the first for GLAD. Because of this, is why HIV/AIDS are a part of the American Disabilities Act.

On a personal note: my father was diagnosed with HIV in 1991 or 92, and even though my father wasn’t gay, GLAD helped my father by making sure they he received all of his medical treatment by them winning that case. Before he passed away in 1994 he was in and out of the hospitals a lot. It is remarkable how people you don’t even know can some how make a positive influence in your life, even if its just trying to help. GLAD only takes on cases that will not just affect one person; it has to affect the masses.

One of the most significant cases that GLAD has won was the right to marry in Massachusetts. Other states have used GLAD’s “blueprint” to win the right to marry in other states. That’s why today there are 37 states where gay couples can legally marry.

I know that currently or recently anyway that the state of AIabama didn’t want to issue licenses to those who were gay, even though technically it was legal for them to marry. I also understand that there are people who may disagree with gay marriage, but I don’t understand how what a gay person’s marriage affects straight peoples marriages?

Anyway, the whole experience was really awesome and I felt like I learned more. I may even volunteer at their organization. For anyone reading this that would like to know more about GLAD please visit: www.glad.org and to learn more about their history and the cases they have taken on please visit: http://www.glad.org/history

TOP LEFT - 1 year anniversary pic of same sex marriage.  TOP RIGHT - Bruce and I

TOP LEFT – 1 year anniversary pic of same sex marriage.
TOP RIGHT – Bruce and I

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Transgender’s – By: Shelly

Shelly3I just recently wrote a paper for my sociology class which focuses on race and ethnics.  Each of us had to write a “current reflection paper” that is focusing on today’s current issues.  I chose to write about Bruce Jenner and his transition to becoming a woman. I received a an A for my paper and I would like to share my article with you all.  I hope that whoever reads this, will be able to take away something valuable. 

According to the “The Boston Herald” former Olympian Bruce Jenner has slowly and recently has revealed through small changes that he is a transgender. In recent months small, but noticeable changes has occurred with Bruce. Bruce has been seen with nail polish on his nails, longer hair, had plastic surgery to shave down his Adams apple, and is occasionally wearing a sports bra. Bruce has revealed to his family about his personal change. It took time though for them to come around, because some of the children had felt initially embarrassed. Once tabloids though started shedding negative light on Bruce’s transformation the family grew a stronger bond. The only person who may not be so supportive of Bruce is his ex-wife Kris Jenner.

In my opinion I believe that if Bruce or anyone for that matter wants to dress as a woman/man, become a woman/man, he/she should have the right too. I think it’s hard for people to wrap their minds about why anyone would choose this lifestyle if that person isn’t in their shoes. For a long time now there has been a transgender community, but often times I feel as though they are over-looked. I remember two years ago when there was a Macy’s day parade on Thanksgiving. They had a segment of transgender’s dressed up where they were dancing and singing. Shortly after people on Facebook had been leaving Macy’s comments about how they were disgusted that Macy’s would have transgender people. There was a lot of: “How am I going to explain to my child what we just saw?” I thought: “Wow society can be cruel.”

In my last Sociology class we had an assignment where we had too “deviate from the norm”. One classmate knew a transgender couple that lived next door from him. For his project he hung out with them. They went shopping for women’s clothes (where people gave him strange looks), and later when they went out to a club in Boston where he dressed up as a woman. He said that there were people that called him a “fag”, a long with other slurs. He thought the Transgender couple he knew were really nice, and didn’t deserve to be treated in-humanely.

With Bruce being a high-profiled celebrity he has a real opportunity to shed positive light on the transgender community. According to “The Boston Herald” he has an interview coming up on the Today Show, and there is rumors that there will be a reality T.V. show where he will talk about his transformation. I think if society kind of has a window to really hear from someone what their journey is like, and that transgender are still people, just with different interests, people in society may become more open with the idea, and not so harsh. As time has gone on people have been more openly accepted to people who are gay, so I think those that do transition to be transgender has an opportunity to be more accepted with Bruce talking about this more on a National level.

Being Told I Have OCD – By: Shelly

Shelly3Unless you’re a super good friend of mine, or my husband, no one would ever know that I have OCD.   In my case though it’s more like obsessive thoughts, without so much the compulsion (to an extent). Just before I got married I had so much anxiety about the planning, I decided that for me, it was not a bad idea to see a therapist. After all it’s always good to see someone who is neutral to talk things out with. I was telling her about my behavior at the time. She pointed out that I am someone with OCD.  I looked at her and was like “I’m not a clean freak though.., and I don’t have any rituals.”  I always thought OCD was someone who was just all about being clean, having rituals, super organized, and particular. Turns out OCD can really be anything, not just cleaning. She mostly just said I was someone who has obsessive thoughts but with out the compulsion (at least sometimes).

Anyone, who is reading this maybe like “What the hell are you talking about?” Let me just say my mind can be like a broken-record, repeating the same topic over and over again, and it takes a while for me to “let it go” or move on. Some times I go from one topic to another and at other times just a situation alone. I’ve gone 4 weeks straight (maybe more) looking up everything about credit. Not too toot my own horn, but I’m like a friggen credit expert. I know about soft pulls, hard pulls, inquiries, and how to go about opening a credit card, and the best credit cards to get. I know that the utilization on a credit card should be no more than 30% of a person’s limit, and how often to open a credit card account. I could go on, and on. The point is; I literally, looked up everything humanly possible to find out about EVERYTHING! I even joined Myfico.com. On top of that I would talk about this to whoever would listen! Obsessive thoughts are when people think about things for more than hour a day, affects daily life, and isn’t in control of their thoughts. Most people can think about things, but not let it take up their life.

When my friend leased a car, I looked up everything for two weeks straight trying to get all the information I could about leases. I needed to know the pro’s, the con’s, everything. I knew if I ever wanted to lease a car I would want to negotiate the value of the car’s sticker price, because if I decided to buy it after the lease I would get a better deal. I’m pretty sure I have a file of info save.

It’s kind of sad when my husband notices I’m obsessing about something. He will say to me “So now what you obsessing about?” Mainly because when I’m obsessing about something, I can be found in our bedroom with my computer, with information printed. Just a few weeks ago I was looking into homes for days, and I couldn’t stop. I had states printed out, areas with the best school systems, locations of the best towns, etc. I’m on Craig’s List looking at jobs and pay, just so I have an idea about what we could afford. The way I was acting, it was as if though we would be buying a home this year.

I’m not on any medication, and didn’t take anything when I saw the therapist a couple years ago. I just kind of, go with it. I am careful not to let it affect my life too much, as of now I’m much more aware of what I’m doing, although sometimes it can be difficult. I’m always sure to focus on a job that I’m doing, or focus on a class that I’m in. My mind my ruminate, just not so much if I am actively engaging with a person, or a task that I’m doing in the moment. Having obsessive thoughts is a blessing, and a curse. The positive, I get to learn so much. The negative, it can be very time consuming, especially when there are other priorities that need to happen. My therapist had put it best: the topic/subject on my mind is my obsession; my compulsion is the need to find out info, or purchase the product if we are talking about a material object. I’ve also taken psychology and have asked my professor if OCD can jump from one topic to another, and he happened to concur with the therapist I saw.

I’d love to share this topic with people I know, however, I’m slightly apprehensive because I know people can be so quick to judge. Will people think I’m weird? Who knows; I shouldn’t worry but I do. I’ve never really been an “open book” but it’s always nice to see a different side of someone, and to get a better understanding of society as a whole. I don’t like to label myself as someone who has a mental health problem, although technically mental health in general can range from low level to severe. Mental health can be a touchy topic for most, understandably with the stigma that can come with it.

3 Different Hair Styles – By: Shelly

Shelly3First off I’m not really a beauty guru or anything like that. I just get asked all the time how I do my hair. As you can see from the picture below I have 3 different hair styles: Naturally Curly, Curly, and Straight.

Hair

In the first picture, that is my natural hair.  I actually don’t like my curly hair.  I don’t know why, but I could care less for it.  I think everyone else looks good with natural curly locks except me haha.  I was in a store last year and I had this woman stop and ask me how I kept my naturally curly hair looking good.  I recommended some different products at the time, and I also used a lot more.  That same weekend, I was with Scarlett and she recommended using the Shea Moisture. So I use that now.  It’s an all natural product, and I’ve been satisfied with it.

The second photo (the one where I am wearing glasses), I always get compliments on my hair, and often asked if I use a hair wand.  (I don’t even know what that is).  I use my chi straightner believe it or not, and I accidentally curled my hair last year on Valentine’s Day (which happens to be the current picture I use at the beginning of every blog).  Before when I actually did try which was years ago, I couldn’t do it.  Every time I do it though I get better at it.  I get better results to after 1 day of not washing my hair.  I also use “Chi Silk Infusion” and section off my hair.  Don’t put to much of the silk infusion or your hair will be oily.  Start off small add more if needed.

The last one with my hair straight, I first put in “Chi Total Protecting” before blow drying my hair. Then again I use my chi straightner (which I’ve had for 10 years now), and I use the “Chi Silk Infusion” after I have blown dry my hair, section it off, straighten it, and the next day if I’m up to it curl my hair, as it will hold better.

***If you have naturally curly hair and you live down south or anywhere that gets humid in the summer time, there is not point in straightening or even curling your hair with any type of iron, because it will just go flat 😦

products

Feel free to leave a comment and tell me which hair style on me you like the most.

Valentine’s and Monet – By: Shelly

Shelly3I hope everyone had a nice-relaxing Valentine’s Day! This year my husband and I celebrated a day early because I was working on V-day (my choice). This year is our second Valentine’s Day as a married couple. We kept it real simple though. He was super sweet, and he got me some pink roses, and took me to this restaurant called “The Cottage” which happens to be beach themed. I got lobster fettuccini and he got some type of steak cut with mashed potatoes and steamed carrots. It was like all the ingredients of beef stew but solid obviously.   It’s just nice to spend time with the person you love and care about, even if it’s just with friends too.

This past Saturday, I had a blast teaching a class how to paint Monet’s Lilies. It was a small class of 12. I think mostly because of yet another snowstorm we had this past weekend. Anyhow, it was a pretty fun and was a laid back class! Everyone was nice. My friend and his girlfriend came, which I thought was awesome!

Every time I teach an adult class though I always get nervous. Mainly because every painting I teach is different, but it’s giving out the instructions on each step to do. Naturally I’m a people pleaser, so I want to make sure everyone is happy. People who come to paint tell me though I always do a great job explaining and helping. One customer told me that she had come a few times and that I was the best instructor they ever had. It made me felt really good because I always strive for the best and give my 100%. My co-workers though are really amazing painters. Most of them have a natural talent for it. I definitely learned some great techniques from them. Of course I practice each painting before I teach it, if I haven’t done it before. I always tell my class that painting is just like handwriting, we all look at the same letters, but we write them differently, and the same goes for art. It’s your own personality on the canvas.

Here are some pictures from this weekend!

Valentine's

Monet

Turning 30 – By: Shelly

Shelly3In just 4 short weeks I will be turning 30 years old. It’s crazy how the time really does fly by. When I was a child I couldn’t wait to be an adult for numerous of reasons. I’d have to say though for me the best ages were 18-23. During that time I felt as though those ages were a transitional age from still being a “child” to an adult. It’s like the best of both worlds! I didn’t take those years for granted either.

I think when most people turn 30, they have an expectation of where they should be in there lives, when really there isn’t a manually to tell anyone where they should be. I think we all have an expectation. For example, I think I should already have my Bachelors degree. However, I wasn’t really ready for college at the age of 18, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I wont have a degree until probably 32-33. It is the way it is though. At least I am pursuing an education, rather than in my opinion settle.

Second thing is having children. If a person is married, people start asking: “When are you going to have kids?” Thankfully, I haven’t been asked too much, but it is annoying (not so much the first time, just when people repeat the question). When people ask me this it causes me to pause and quickly reflect on my life, and then I feel like I might be getting judged because “I’m not where I should be”. People know I’m working on getting my education and currently where I live (in an apartment) it is not an appropriate time for my husband, and I too have a child. When I tell this to a person that asks me, I feel a little irritated. I really shouldn’t have to explain myself. I think I take the question to personal, because I look at my life situation. Not that it is bad or anything but not where we want to be personally. My husband, and I know that having another human being is an extremely huge responsibility that we do not take lightly. It is so important to us that we have established a solid foundation, so we can more than adequately support our future child/children. It’s ok too have to children at an age that a person is comfortable with. Until we do have kids, I’m going to enjoy the time I do have with my husband.

As someone who is studying sociology and looks at society as a whole, I feel as though we as people are ALWAYS comparing our lives with others (or in a general way). Part of the reason why we have some expectation of where one should be at a certain age. It doesn’t matter how old that person is, how much money they have, what they do for work, whether one is married or not, kids or no kids. We do it. Maybe not everyone does, but it wouldn’t surprise me if most did. Some may not even realize it. As a society we should be solely focusing on ourselves and where we need to be individually, not comparing and saying “I need to be married like this person is, or having children at this age because this person is.”

It would be sweet if I had a home, degree, kids (maybe), etc. However, the important thing I have to keep in mind is that I have goals, and those goals will have an end result. Generally speaking I think if a person is trying to better him or herself in any aspect of one’s life then that is what truly matters. I have to remind myself this at times. I’m a determined woman; eventually things will come my way. So as 30 years of my life approaches I’m going to try to embrace it. After all, I am very lucky that I have a wonderful; husband, family, friends, co-workers, and that I just have amazing people in my life.