The beauty influencer who wants to be the hot intellectual, but who is, ironically, not smart enough to know why nobody thinks she’s intelligent…lol.

The beauty influencer who wants to be the hot intellectual, but who is, ironically, not smart enough to know why nobody thinks she’s intelligent…lol.

When someone who has built their career (&yes, I am dignifying the “influencer” with the terminology “career” as models are considered to have “careers” as people who work for the sake of commercial interests as advertisements, and what is an “influencer” but a small-scale advertising and marketing agent, much like models of yore?) around their image laments that they are not taken seriously for their very average intellect, I wonder, wholeheartedly about how their perceived intellect has failed to recognize the irony in their lamentations. 

Picture, with me, will you, a younger-than-average-looking, cute, bubbly Korean-American plopped down in front of a camera she positioned to be pointing at herself slathering dozens of different products on her face in the name of “beauty” while attempting to make a statement (without outright saying it) about how glammed-up, hot girls are smart, too, which means that not only does she perceive herself as hot (obviously, due to her online following, right?), but also, she perceives herself as smart, and she wants to be recognized as such. She also perceives of herself as able to maintain her relevance due to the work of others (as a fast-follower rather than a genuine creator, she outsources the creative aspects of her videos). This combination of her lack of genuine creative skill alongside her out-sized perception of her intellect will be her inevitable downfall. 

It is at the moment when you accept the world’s definition of success that you will fail. 

At first, she wonders aloud about how the viewers of her “books videos” (and no, there are no actual quotes from this “influencer” as I am not about to waste my time rummaging through her intellectually void videos for a second time to gather exact quotes) are definitely different from the viewers of her regular (vapid, beauty) videos. And then, while continuing to paint her face with the dozens or so products, she sort of explains how when she’s all “glam,” people comment in a way that makes her feel like nobody takes her “thoughts” (or attempts at more intellectually leaning content) seriously. 

I, literally, laughed out loud. 

And now I’m realizing that I have little to no idea where to actually begin when attempting to be critical of a thing that really requires no intellectual critique. But alas, I do not want her to “go away,” nor do I wish that she would stop making content. I wish for her success and representation as an advertisement. I just also wish that “influencers,” in general, simply own up to the fact that they’re nothing but ads. I actually had plans to write about a certain white woman who is “trending” rn due to her fraudulent behavior in posing as Latina, but then I realized that I’d be amplifying yet another dumbass white woman instead of shedding light on a fellow Korean-American (although, I am not technically Korean-American, as I am, technically, a transracial Korean).

The only point of this writing is to hopefully help her understand why she cannot be taken seriously, unfortunately, at this point in time. This is not to say that one day she might be considered an intellectual, but today, at this point in time, with her average mental capacities (&I’m not being mean here, since, if you were to watch some of her cooking videos for yourself, her attention to detail is slim, which doesn’t bode well for the longevity of her career and apparel business that contributes to the continued catastrophe that is fast-fashion) I am confident that she could become someone who could potentially have something intelligent to say in the future. 

My point is that she’s providing the proof for her own average-sized intelligence. 

Anyone who has built their career on their image is spending all of their time thinking about their image. This means that this same mental energy cannot be utilized for intellectual pursuits. Yes, she does read (but she includes audiobooks as “books read,” which I cannot tolerate because you do not read an audiobook!), but not only does she read fluff, she largely does not understand what she reads. Her reading comprehension, in fact, is so low that she has a hard time finishing each week’s publication of The New Yorker within the week that she receives them. 

This is the thing that intellectuals know about people who care a lot about how they look—they know that the amount of time people spend doing their makeup, shopping for makeup, selecting their outfits, shopping for outfits, worrying about whether or not a certain makeup look makes them look smart is the exact reason why she is not smart. The entire portion of the video was dedicated to her ruminating about what sort of makeup look will make her LOOK intelligent to the viewers who stumble upon her “books videos” instead of spending that time studying the books she’s going to talk about in a way that will actually make her intelligent. Get it? 

And so no, I’m not being mean, nor am I saying anything particularly damning. I’ve only repeated things she’s shared herself, which means that these things are open to discussion and criticism because she put them out there. And it is this same principle that has put my own opinion of her “out there” for criticism by someone far smarter than me. 

I get it. She desires to be perceived as intelligent more than she actually wants to be intelligent, and I know this through her (failed) attempts to drop knowledge about ideas such as “cognitive dissonance” and “antifragility,” the latter of which I know she knows absolutely nothing about because she’s never once referenced the author or his source material when discussing books, not to mention that her usage of the idea of antifragility in such prosaic and superficial terms proves that she knows absolutely nothing about it. Hint: It is, first and foremost, an economic theory. 

She’s aware of the fact that school was difficult for her, and she’s even proud of the strides she’s made in her intelligence. I’m not here to deride the work that she’s done. I’m merely the messenger attempting to explain to her why nobody will ever take her seriously until she takes herself seriously, which doesn’t mean figuring out a way to look like someone to take seriously but rather, means that she needs to cultivate actual skills that will make other people see her as intelligent. And pointing a camera at yourself as you review consumer goods for the internet is hardly an intelligent pursuit, which again, is why one’s money is not a reflection of one’s intellect. 

Which actually brings me to another point about her general lack of intelligence with regards to finance. She continually refers to herself as financially independent. Hmmm…what does that mean? Well, for starters, financial independence is defined by the fact that one no longer needs to trade their time for money. She thinks that because she can name her own hours (like all business owners) she is financially independent. Hmmm. Okay. Well, first off, she is working, “hard,” every day. She doesn’t even work for herself. She has a manager and advertisers for whom she works. She thinks, “But I can choose my advertisers.” Yea, until your numbers droop (when you inevitably age-out of the demographic category into which you currently fit). And if she decides, even for one month, to stop making videos, from where will her income come? Wealth is largely determined by how long you can sustain your current lifestyle without trading a single second of your time for money. Financial independence means that you are wealthy. 

Is she rich? Sure. Does she have some cash stashed away that makes her feel as though she can afford her lifestyle without income? Probably. But she is not financially independent because her expenses are too high, which means that she must pump out videos and content so that she can continue to cover her expenses (and I’m not even going to attempt to break down how her apparel company will fail). She must relegate herself to content creation in order to sustain her lifestyle. So is she rich? Yes. But is she financially independent, fuck no! 

And obviously, smart women can be hot, and there are a lot of hot women who are incredibly smart. Intellectualism, however, is a completely different pursuit, but even among the dowdy intellectuals, there are hot women, and I know this because I’m a hot woman who is an intellectual. But my pursuits have not revolved around my fortunate appearance, because, who cares? My pursuits have been around cultivating my intellect, and so, when someone interacts with me, they’re seeing the fruits of my labor (my intellect), and when someone interacts with her, they’re also seeing the fruits of her labor, which largely revolves around her image. 

At the end of the day, she’s showing up to her intellectual pursuits with a makeup bag and complaining that nobody (except her tween following) is impressed by her intelligence.

None of this matters, obviously. I’m just bored.

Doubling

Doubling

It’s official. The work that I thought needed to be done in order for us to start our business here in Colorado has doubled. We had a business idea that worked well, together, as one entity, but now nary the twain shall be. Instead, we must now develop the organizational structure of two business, and we must incorporate and launch them both at the same time.

Honestly, I never thought that I would ever come up with an idea so complex that it would not only require more than a million dollars, but also, it’s now so complex that two businesses must rise from nothingness simultaneously. Goodie. I feel as though I would normally be excited by the complications, but instead, I feel disbelief.

The reality is that I do not really know how to do the thing I aspire to do. What I do know is what I want it to look like in the end, but getting from here to there seems ridiculously challenging. I can’t see it. I cannot create images in my mind about what my life will look like in the future, building this concept. Obviously, I’m doing the work right now, so it’s not impossible; I’m doing it. But the fact that I am figuring it out as I go is not an exciting prospect. At least, it’s not as exciting as I had imagined this process being, when I imagined my life now, six months ago.

And the taunting words keep rattling around in my mind, “Nobody wants to hear you.”

I do not believe I have an express purpose so much as I have a bunch of grievances against shit I can no longer stand. The world needs to change. Education needs to change. Businesses need to change. Everything about the way that we live needs to change, or else, we will not make it to the future we are all hoping for most. It’s the fucking 21st Century, and yet, so much about the way that life is lived and business is managed  makes me feel as though I’m still trapped in the 20th. Lame.

The Role of Ugly Babies in the Universe

The Role of Ugly Babies in the Universe

There’s nothing better than karmic unfolding in the form of ugly babies. Back in the days of my grade-school youth, I got in trouble for writing a note about the principal’s daughter. This same daughter was also caught writing notes, but of course, she did not confess to the note (even though the entirety of the class knew and said that the note was hers) thereby bypassing any reprimands. The saddest part about the whole situation was that my note was about her—a spoiled, bitchy, privileged, “pretty” (for a white girl) albeit overweight (except that she was anorexic and still managed to be overweight somehow), white girl who was psychologically incapable of being nice.

Case in point, the two notes. I wrote about her, about how terrible of a person she was (and still is) through her actions and behaviors that make everyone aware of how much better she is than everyone else. The note that we all knew that she wrote was about the student who struggled greatly to keep up with all of us academically. He was, essentially, a special needs student as he was many years older than us, learned at a slower pace but who would eventually be able to live a mostly-independent life. She wrote a scathing, nasty, hideous note about the most vulnerable person in our class, and we all knew that she did it because we all saw the note at some point (the least popular among us at least heard about it). Nobody will ever convince me that she is a good person. Who you are inclined to be in your youth (high school) says so much about who you are, who you will grow up to be. It doesn’t say everything, obviously, but it says a lot. How many people do you know would write terrible things about a classmate who struggles the most? Exactly. You know the type of person who would do this. Would you be friends with them at any point in life? Exactly. You wouldn’t.

But most people do not know the true nature of this daughter because most people whom she knows now did not know her until very late in her high school career. And those who do know her, overlook anything that might be unsavory because she is “rich” and “well-connected,” and yet, she’s done little to nothing with her life, so I’ll never “get it” when it comes to this woman. I know her, however, and I will never forget.

And so, I dedicate this short (due to the holiday season kicking my ass) report to this bitch of a nightmare, and I rest peacefully in the schadenfreude-like gladness that her twin daughters are ugly as fuck. And the fact that they’re ugly is unfortunate for them, but that’s what happens when your mother is the worst type of person—mindlessly privileged, white, suffered no consequences for wrongful actions. Karma is a bitch, but she’s fair. And so, when I think back on my grade-school years and how this woman has grown to basically be exactly what everyone expected—better than everyone, holier than thou, seated upon a high horse looking down on us, giving us “advice” and “knowledge” about how to live life and/or be “woke”—her ugly-ass babies represent the true fairness of life. Perhaps it’s unfortunate that her babies are ugly (and of course I understand how petty it is to talk about ugly babies), but perhaps this is karma’s lesson to her family. Since her girls are going to be f-ugly (they’re old enough now that they’re not just baby-wrinkle ugly; they are fucking ugly), perhaps they’ll have to actually develop some sort of personality that is more appealing than the way that they look. This is karma’s perfect unfolding around the necessary development that this grade-school acquaintance must endure (also, she posts selfies with narcissistic regularity).

Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

Being not-white and being adopted are not the same thing.

So, there’s this white woman (or family but mostly it is the mother) on the ‘Gram who, in my humble opinion (which is wholly entitled to speak about such an issue), is simply the worst. She and her white (doctor) husband adopted two black, twin girls through an adoption where the birth mother and white woman met.

DISCLAIMER—I am (as the aforementioned white woman defines) a transracial adoptee. I am of Asian descent, and my parents are two white people. They adopted me decades ago, long before the internet, long before social media, and you know what, they do not perceive themselves as heroes or some fanciful influencers who can and will make adoption #trending. They’re just my parents. I’m their child. They did everything they could to make my life as a former orphan totally normal (my older brother was essential in making my life seem normal). This writing is not really about them, but they are the greatest parents in the world. I’m not biased at all—END DISCLAIMER.

And so, this is the place from where I have come, and this is the impetus for my disdain for said white woman. It’s one thing to do good; it’s an entirely other thing when you want to share, through self-promotion, all of the good you are doing. Of course, I do not know the circumstances of why this white couple chose to adopt not-white kids. I also do not know why it is that they chose to adopt at all. Perhaps they have shared their story, but it is hardly the story about which they want to talk, and oddly enough, it’s really the only story they are entitled to tell. I would take no issue with this white woman spewing her whiteness and lamenting, remembering and rejoicing in the sadness of her motherhood story about how these girls have changed everything, from her perspective. But this is not the messaging of this white woman; instead, she opts for seeking praise for how great of a white woman she is to two black girls. I have many friends who are interracial couples, who (inevitably) have interracial children, and who are in families where nobody looks like anybody else.

The issue is not that this white woman adopted two black girls. The issue is that two orphaned children (no matter their race) were abandoned by the woman who conceived them, and now, they are being raised by two strangers. Yes, race will play a part at some point in their lives, but the issue, at this stage in their lives, is not about race—it’s about adoption. They will forever feel abandoned. They will forever know they were unwanted. They will forever face the challenges that come with being an orphaned child. Whatever this white woman does will not control or change the fact that she is not their birth mother. Someone who was supposed to love them unconditionally, forever, gave them up. The issue with adoption is about adoption, not race.

I grew up not seeing any other people who looked like me, aside from my brother and one other kid my brother’s age who was also adopted from the same country, around the same time (all during the span of a few decades, hundreds of thousands of children were adopted out of this particular country, and essentially, created enough economic activity to jump-start the country from which they were adopted into the modern ages, and nobody talks about this, and yet, here we are, a massive population of Korean adoptees who were shipped to These United States but who are wholly American [leave out the Asian, please]).

Of course, my identity is important. It’s important to know the answers to questions that are obvious, like “Why don’t you look like your parents.” The reason why I do not look like my parents is because I was adopted, not because I am Asian; I just happen to be Asian. My parents went out of their way to make sure that they knew about the country of our birth, our homeland. They went out of their way to educate themselves about our homeland. We traveled to go to a camp that was tailored specifically for adoptees from this country. We traveled to the country to visit and see where we were from, but none of my issues about adoption revolves around my race. Of course, I cannot speak for the girls as they are black, and so, their lives will inevitably acknowledge their race in a way that I cannot relate to. Nevertheless, right now, as children, their adoption issues are about their adoption. People will see them as black kids with white parents, but they will not see themselves as such. They will just see themselves, and then they will look at their parents, and they will not think to themselves, “Oh, there’s my white mom.” Instead, this white woman, as she frets about things I cannot believe she frets about, will be perceived by her twins as their mother. Just mom. No race. And so, the race issues that this white woman frets about now are all about her, not about the actual people who will have to deal with the issues of race…her daughters. It’s almost like she sits and thinks about what the world thinks about her when they see that she has two black girls, like she sits and thinks about her girls’ blackness. And it’s like all of these thoughts make her feel sad, bad, worried about a future that is already making her feel uncomfortable.

I know that I look Asian, but I am not Asian. I know that I definitely do not look white, but I am very white. I did not need to grow up to be everything. I can be Asian-looking because the woman who gave birth to me is Asian. But I can also be fully white on the inside because the two people who saved me are white. All of these people instilled within me an amalgamation of a new identity, me. This happens to everyone. Thus, all of this emphasis on adoption being so strange and different is meaningless and somewhat harmful. Not that adoption should be ignored and dismissed, but the emphasis could change. If this white woman continues to emphasize the race and adoption part, she will forever make her girls feel like adoption is not normal. People within biological families are adopted by biological relatives! This white woman was not chosen so much as as she was willing and available, and so, her emphasis on her being chosen over the idea that she saved two people’s lives makes me sick.

Sure, they can share the tips and tricks of the adoption process, help those who would rather or who have no other option but to adopt, but this particular couple rubs me so wrong because the white woman basically spews every single little thought she has about how (essentially) great, blessed, amazed, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, she is to be able to be these girls’ mother, how “incredibly blown away I am that their mother chose me.” The fact that she shares at all for capital earnings and superficial gains pisses me off. Exploitation much? The fact that the entirety of social media highlights those who already brag about themselves, those who are already predisposed to bragging about the nothingness of their accomplishments pisses me off, I suppose, if I’m being honest. There are so many people out in the world doing good and not shining a light on themselves.

In this vein, my parents adopted children to save lives, not to brag about whatever accomplishment they felt as though they achieved by being “chosen” to be parents for children who are orphaned. Sure, you can argue that perhaps my mother is not as clever or resourceful in turning her knowledge and experience into a half-assed business/IG post. Or you could argue that my mother not only had enough knowledge and experience to adopt children, internationally, before the internet did everything for you, but also, my mother spent all of her time raising me and my brother (also adopted from the same country, but no, we are not related by blood), used all of her energy and resources to give us the greatest life possible. My mother did not spend all of her time “sharing” and promoting the greatness of the works she endeavored to pursue. No. My mother spent all of that time doing it, and we’re both fully grown, self-sufficient adults. She succeeded (They both did, I am intentionally leaving out my father at this time, using my mother as a comparison to the white woman in question).

So, while it’s nice that the white woman in question (who exists as the impetus of this writing) wants or desires to “share her story,” she embodies everything that is essentially wrong with white women in America, these days. White women in America are capable of turning something like being a black adoptee in America into something that’s all about them. The good news is that all of this white-woman attention might actually be able to bring more issues about race to light, but don’t hold your breath. A white woman will not risk her position. Nevertheless, the issue remains. Whether or not this white woman succeeds will not be known until her girls are both able to tell her and prove to the rest of us that their mother raised decent, self-sufficient people.

A Tale of Two Bosses

A Tale of Two Bosses

What do you do when you realize that you do not really like your boss, and then, you find out that nobody else you work with really does either? And it’s not that she’s my boss so much as it’s that she’s my supervisor. And the issue is not so much about her competence as it is about her personality or “management style.” It’s rough to be around her. The worst part, however, is that she may not even know that she’s coming off the way that she is.

The thing about me is that I try really hard to treat each person as an individual. I try my damnedest to never make any assumptions, and I try really hard to get to know people so that I can know who they are as opposed to who they tell me they are. And so, the issue with this “manager” (and I use quotes here as the term is thrown around quite loosely at my place of employment, and so, she is not a manager [like stated above] so much as she’s a supervisor), revolves solely around the way that she talks to all of us mere, wee, underlings. She talks to us as if we’re A) doing the wrong thing or nothing, and B) not doing it right, and then, all in the same breath, she asks you to start doing some other thing, but she was the one who put you on the task you are currently “doing so badly.” And it’s all in the tone.

Everything about her personality feels contrived. She’s fake. She’s the version of herself that she thinks she should be in her new “management” role. Even when she interacts with customers, she speaks at them as if everything is their fault, which sometimes it is but never under these circumstances of waiting tables (90% of the time, for the elderly). And so, the issue is a matter of style.

The two of our personalities clashed a little bit when she A) reprimanded me for a “mistake” that I did not make, and then B) failed to understand the question I was actually asking her, which made me repeat myself over and over again because she lacked the understanding to know wtf I was trying to explain to her. Our conversation, which to my credit (as I am known for not being able to keep my cool in the midst of an argument with someone who is, let’s just say, stubborn in all the wrong ways) remained calm and collected, became the focal point of all our other coworkers. They were clearly wondering a few of the same things I had brought up, but nobody had said anything aloud before. And then later in the day I was relieved of my stress when a few fellow coworkers (and the next day my actual superior and manager) kindly, quietly and gently made it known that it’s not me; it’s definitely her.

Of course, I have worked for people I did not like. However, the strange part about this particular personality is that nobody else who works there is like her. Everyone else is really chill and is equally put off by her. So, what is management supposed to do, if she’s competent (she is) and the issue begins and ends with her terrible personality? I am genuinely curious as we’ve moved here specifically to start our new business venture, and I may someday have to deal with exactly this same issue.

My lifemate (and body buddy) have discussed a few options, but basically, I’m left with leaving it be. Those are my direct orders from my actual boss, and so, I have to assume that they know that she’s a bit of a pickle, but you can’t fire someone just because you don’t like them—A) you will never have more than two employees, and B) people you don’t like are still capable of doing the job.

I don’t really have a point; I’m throwing my predicament out there to see if anyone has any insight on this sort of thing.

Until next time.

Gratitude is not an attitude

Gratitude is not an attitude

When your boss ought to know more than you about certain things (probably most things) related to your employment, i.e. all the things you need to do at your job, the most important thing becomes your boss’s own competence, and yesterday, not only did I learn that my boss is highly competent, but also, she’s unlike any other boss I have ever had before. Of course, I am a new employee (still under a probationary period), and perhaps, the boss is capable of seeming competent for a short period of time. I do not believe that this is the case, but obviously, anything is possible. And so, I tread optimistically with caution, as I have been brutally disappointed before, after exactly this sort of employment excitement.

Thus, my point seems to be circling around thoughts about how I am feeling validated in my personal ideologies about how to be a boss. This is, after all, the reason why I am working at the place I am working under the boss for whom I am working, to learn from her, everything that I can for my own business. And yesterday, she validated my natural proclivity for being generous.

One of my greatest fears in life is having someone take advantage of me. I hate it. There’s nothing worse than working hard for someone who could not give a shit. There’s also nothing worse than offering an opportunity to someone who does not see it. Also, there’s nothing worse than being taken for granted as either a great employee or employer. And this is where, so far, my new, current employer has everyone beat. She is not ungrateful. She does not let hard work go unnoticed.

As the snow fell and swept through Colorado yesterday, I thought, for sure, that I would be called to not come into work. As a newbie (and thereby unnecessary to daily operations, as of yet), I figured I would be the first to be cut or set free for the day. I was wrong. Not only did I have to come in, I was under the impression that we would operate for regular business hours (luckily we closed early), but this is not my point. My point is that I had no problems going to work. I thought that it was a bit strange, since I knew (without a doubt) that it would be slow (nearly dead), and it was. However, my boss made it clear that the lack of busy-ness would be perfect training ground for me, and it was. The day ended up going super fast because my boss was able to train me on things that I would not have been able to do during normal levels of customer traffic. And, since I was able to train as slowly as needed due to the slow dribble of customer arrivals (which I still cannot believe that anyone would willingly trudge into the snow, but I know that I am guilty of this all the time on snow days), I feel really confident in my newly-acquired skills.

Herein lies the lesson that I truly learned yesterday by trusting and not fighting against a boss to whom I have willing turned to learned—I finally have the competent oversight I’ve been searching for my entire life. Not only is my boss highly competent as a business owner and operations manager, she is also full of heart, love and warmth. I feel like a person when I work with her. And my coworkers seem as equally happy to work there as I am beginning to feel.

I have my own plans for owning and operating a business similarly complex as the business I have joined. And one of my greatest fears is that I will be too nice, too generous, too easily taken advantage of because of my niceness. At the exact same time, I also greatly fear demanding too much of people because I am demanding. Both of these fears have been greatly diminished because I am witnessing, with my own two eyes, that not only is it possible to balance these two seemingly conflicting ideals, but also, it absolutely works as a way to make employees feel good.

My boss was tough yesterday in demanding that the business be open, but she thanked us (the skeleton, bare-bones staff that came in yesterday, despite the feet of snow) for going out of our way to make sure that business was open for the community in which we live. Every customer who walked through our open doors was very grateful that we were open. Our boss was grateful that we all came in to make her business functional for the day. I am grateful that my boss is human enough to understand that she had requested something from us that went above what is needed from us as employees of an establishment that could have just as easily been closed. She thanked all of us who worked with more than just words, and for this, I cannot help but feel seen and cared for. It’s a simple thing really—seeing people as people. And yet, the task seems nearly impossible for most.

And so, the lessons I am learning hardly have anything to do with my actual job description. I know how to do the work for which I have been hired. I am merely being run through the ropes of this particular establishment. What I do not know, however, is how to be a boss to a lot of employees, but this is why I have chosen to work at this particular business. I’ve entered the business at the bottom of the chain, but I am taught by and interact with the top of the chain every single day. And the person at the top of this chain is teaching me all of the lessons I will hopefully need to learn before I start and open my own complex business; she’s teaching me not only how to treat my employees like people, but mostly, she’s teaching me that it’s okay to inject a lot of humanity into the rigorous work of hourly employment.

Obviously, I do not think that she is perfect (nobody is), nor do I think that the owners run a perfect business (nobody can), but I do think that I have greatly lucked out in being able to learn from someone who is setting an amazing example of what business ought to be … a place where people trade their time for the work that needs to be done, while they build a life from the sufficient amount of money they earn in exchange for their time and work. Business owners, to me, have a huge responsibility. And so really, all I’m saying is that it’s nice to work for someone who feels that burden of responsibility and who does the right thing by maintaining the loyalty of employees through gratitude and thankfulness, by acknowledging that a business is nothing without its employees.

Podcasts: Use Sparingly

Podcasts: Use Sparingly

The thing about reading is that it helps your brain understand itself, which in turn, allows you to understand yourself. When you read (and I do not have scientific backing or proof, only personal observation, introspection, education, contemplation and experiences), you are not only reading the words off the page so that you do not have to listen to someone else speak them, but rather, when you read, you are teaching your brain how to think, and when I say “read,” I am nearly always speaking about nonfiction books and/or thick literature. Yes, general fiction is absolutely important and included, and I have found that general fiction can challenge the way I think, but usually it doesn’t, like the way movies are capable of challenging you intellectually, but usually, they don’t. And so, I do not rely on general fiction nor to I reach for general fiction to educate me. If a general fiction novel does educate me, then I’m all the better for it, obviously; I merely do not turn to it to educate me, like I do nonfiction and literature.

The thing about reading is that it challenges your brain to either defend itself, accept itself or change itself. A good nonfiction book embeds itself deep into your brain, gives your brain a lot to think about, and then, after your brain has come to a conclusion, after testing it against everything else you knew about the subject before, it reveals to you what you think. When you hear someone speaking to you, you are confined by the whims and speed of the person speaking, and you can read much faster than you can listen to someone reading to you. You can also see and hear reading. When hearing, you typically do not see words in your mind, so, you’re not deepening your ability to write (i.e. the expression of your mind in words), and if you’re illiterate, you definitely do not see words flashing across your mind; you see images and are incapable of writing.

And so, this is my case against relying on listening. Of course, indulge yourself from time to time, and absolutely partake regularly so that your brain is intellectually well-rounded, but don’t consume only through your ears (and yes, I mean video, too, because when you watch someone else speak, you are not reading the words coming out of their mouths, and it’s the thing about reading that makes this so important, and yes, the blind can read with their minds’ eye). When you read you consume through both your ears and both your eyes. And the thing about reading is that it goes directly into your head at the speed your brain enjoys most. You can see the words for yourself, with your own two eyes, hear the words in your head through means nobody can explain, and your brain can decipher the words of other people at the speed at which it is most comfortable. This powerful combination is the power of literacy, and in a country where nearly everyone except the severely underprivileged is taught how to read and has access to every single book ever published for FREE, I am appalled at how so few people are avid readers. It’s shameful. When you think about how oppressive illiteracy is, how it fuels inequality, Americans should care more about their privileged position of literacy by reading all the books they can get their hands on. Instead, nobody reads.

But, your life is your own; what do I care? In the end, you can keep on listening to all that consumable “information” but all you will ever learn about is the opinion of the person speaking. Why would you want to spend all that time learning about another person when you could be spending that time educating and learning about yourself. When you read a book, you are presented with information, and your brain comes to a conclusion, thereby creating your own opinion, which now makes you an educated contributor to the conversation. Regurgitating the opinions of others makes you a mere puppet, parrot, tool.

So, I suppose what I’m saying is that you should just keep listening. I’ll go ahead and keep reading so that I can be part of the conversation with my own conclusions, theories and opinions to share, while you sit back and listen all while knowing nothing about anything except the opinions of others. I prefer it this way, actually.