Wednesday's insurrection had me thinking about my senior thesis I wrote in university about Russian Orthodoxy under Stalin between 1941-1945. For the thesis, I interviewed an elderly Russian woman who was a child during this period. Thankfully, my Russian was good enough back then to conduct this interview, because her responses were very insightful and reveal something common I've seen throughout time and varying situations, including what we are witnessing now.
Maybe I'm tired from wrestling with my 9-month-old 4-5 times a day while changing his diaper, maybe it's the pandemic, but I read a couple of things last night that really had me fuming out of annoyance and frustration. Don't worry, I'm much calmer now as I write this, but let's discuss. The Golden Globes will not consider Minari for Best Picture, because it is mostly in Korean, even though it is an American story, about the American dream, set in America, directed by an American, produced by an American company, and starring an American. I'll get into this more below. As I looked into this, I came across Schulz Saves America on Netflix, in which Andrew Schulz apparently makes some serious Anti-Asian racist comments. What got to me more upset was seeing all the praise the series was getting, which means people either still don't recognize blatant and harmful racism, and/or despite all the anti-racism discussions that took place as a result of the BLM protests this summer, Asian Americans are still invisible in the race talks. Just think about how we oft talk about Kamala Harris as a Black woman, but rarely as an Asian American/South Asian American woman. A lot of people have said what needs to be said on this, but I want to discuss the cultural identity impact here.
As I read the accounts of abuse my body tensed up and I felt frozen in my bed with only my eyes moving, reading the article. My stomach even feels ill as I write this, and I still feel disconnected from my body. Musician, FKA Twigs, described incidents that are all too familiar to me, some of which were very similar to what I had experienced ten years ago. Despite a decade that has gone by since then, reading this article reminded me that the trauma still lives in me. It lives in my body and in my memory. Even her desire to share her story is reminiscent of my own motivations to share mine. If sharing our stories can help just one person leave or avoid an abusive relationship, then it's worth it. As I write this, my hands are numb, and the trauma is making its way through my body, leaving through my fingers. It's kind of strange to me, because although so much time has passed, it's clear how trauma stays with us, even in our bodies. So, this made me think of two things I wanted to reflect on in this post.
I feel a little weird saying this, because there are a number of other countries that are well ahead of us in electing female leaders. Still, as an American, this is a momentous win for numerous reasons. In fact, even for non-Americans, this is a momentous win. Perhaps it's arrogant and bias of me to say that The United States of America has always been a beacon of hope in the world, and that that's what has been restored, but that is how this moment in history feels. I'm filled with so many emotions, but especially with hope, because of what this means for my son's future.
I feel hopeful that our country will make the appropriate steps forward to address climate change so my son and future generations have a livable earth to inherit.
I feel hopeful that no matter who my son chooses to love in the future, that love will be honored and celebrated as all love should be honored.
I feel hopeful that we will actually and carefully examine and reform social justice issues.
I feel hopeful that while racism won't just go away, it will no longer be tolerated and incited by the leader of our country.
I feel hopeful that little girls everywhere will shatter all the glass ceilings until there are no more glass ceilings.
I feel hopeful that our place and influence on the international and global stage will become a positive and collaborative one.
I feel hopeful that we have a leader who will lead with honor and integrity, who will surround himself with a diverse team and will lean on them to provide expertise in their respective areas.
I feel hopeful that we have a leader who will do his best to unite our country, though he has a tough road ahead of him.
And with all due respect to President-Elect Joe Biden, I feel hopeful that #47 will not be an old, straight, white male.
As many of us celebrate this victory, we must remember that there is A LOT of work to do now. 70 million Americans do not feel the same way, and we need to find a way to build the necessary bridges. I feel in my heart that everyone needs and deserves to be seen and heard. Then I think of those who are truly White Supremacists, and I think, except them. However, I remind myself of Daryl Davis, who befriended 200 KKK members and convinced them to shed their robes. So yes, let's please heal our wounds together and listen to each other. Perhaps then we will see each other as the neighbors, and brothers and sisters, that we are.
For the past month or two I felt like I was going through a bit of a screenwriting dry spell. I’ve been working on a new feature film script, but hadn’t written a new pilot in some time. Partly, I’ve been focused on pushing my copywriting business, but also, I just didn’t have any ideas that excited me. Then I watched “Emily in Paris,” which inspired me to write a parody. It started out as a joke, but as soon as I started writing it, the whole thing just flowed out of me in a few days. I even made it in time for a fellowship deadline that I was planning on sitting out this year, because I thought I didn’t have anything new. When I was telling a friend about this, she said to me she’s quit writing 17,000 times (which I can attest to), and she even did it last week (which I can also attest to). "Writing is a roller coaster," she said. Yes, indeed it is a rollercoaster! Every day in my life is different, and except for other writers and creatives I work with, I don't think anyone understands what I do or how I do what I do. My mom thinks I don't do anything or that I work for free. In everyone's defense, I'm lucky to have multiple writing outlets and platforms, so maybe people are just confused. That’s why I broke down my life in memes for you. Anyone else relate to these? This is the life of a writer...and life of a creative mind.
My company, Red Balloon Station, is now open for copywriting and brand strategy services and I'm really excited about this. For the past couple of years I've been quietly doing some freelance copywriting, and it was originally meant to be a side hustle to make extra cash while I worked on scripts and producing film and television projects. I genuinely fell in love with it because for me it's like another platform for storytelling; but I still didn't want to be loud about it, because I had this fear that if people knew I had this side hustle, I might look like I was failing at my other endeavors. Then I started thinking about all the doctors I've met who found themselves producing films (while still being doctors!). One woman I know is a full-time anesthesiologist and also produces a couple films a year. While yes, these people have had successful careers before pursuing other avenues, I've said this before and I still strongly believe that we live in a time where you aren't bound to ONE career. Moreover, I realized that everything I do comes down to one common thread--writing. And a writer writes. Writing has always been one of my greatest strengths and passions, and to have the opportunities to write in various mediums is more than I could ever have dreamed of. I feel like God knows me and has been slowly revealing my destiny to me and guiding the way through my colorful and unorthodox career path. That being said, I feel like I get a lot of confused looks from friends when I mention copywriting. What is copywriting? Well, let me break down the basics for you.
Cloth diapering has taught me a lot, but the one thing it has taught me most in a big time way, is that we've all been doing laundry incorrectly. I debated whether or not to make this a blog post, but I thought, sharing is caring and maybe someone will find this information helpful. And as one of the pillars of The Jawesome Life is sharing information in case it's helpful to someone, I figured that makes it an appropriate blog post. So hopefully you'll find this information useful, or maybe you'll read this and say, I've been doing laundry practically my whole life, even if it's wrong, it's not bothering me so bugger off, Justine!
We haven't even hit six months and I'm already worried about screen time. I hear people talk about it all the time like it's a cardinal sin. I definitely don't want my child to be glued to a screen, because that is eventually going to happen, unless he winds up in a trade that doesn't require being on a computer for work. My husband and I both work in industries that are all about screen time--entertainment and social media. Screen time is literally part of our jobs. On top of that, our son was born just before we went into lockdown, and from day one (okay, okay day 5), his main form of communication with the family has been via FaceTime. So, I'm struggling with a bit of Mom Guilt, but I've been thinking and wondering how harmful is a bit of screen time each day, and are their certain types of screen time that might actually be good for baby? Let me explain.
I alluded to this in my Father’s Day post, and I wanted to get into more detail in a separate one. One of the hardest things about being new parents, if not the hardest, is the challenges it poses and brings out in your marriage. People who think a baby will fix their relationship could not be further from the truth. I now think I understand at least one possible reason some people get divorced when their babies are well...babies.
During my pregnancy, I was forced to think more minimalistically, due to lack of space, and as much as I love to shop, it has become a way of life. At the same time, what do babies really need? All the baby sites have so many lists of what your baby needs, but do you really need all of them? The truth is, babies at a bare minimum just need food, sleep, and a clean booty. Thankfully, I found some blogs on baby minimalism when I was preparing for baby's arrival, and now that we're through the newborn phase, I thought I'd share my tips and recommendations for what I feel are the most necessary items. If you're not worried about minimalism, this list will at least get you started in what can be an overwhelming world of baby products.