Somewhere Between Rich and Poor

It’s raining.  It’s been raining for a while actually.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, but sad bitmoji1646363289nonetheless. There’s a grey-ness to it all, a coldness. And yet, I welcome it. Somehow I see it as tears from heaven, if you believe in that kind of thing…

I work for this organization that does amazing things in the world. And it has the potential to do so much more. I’ve known this organization for years and although it never has paid very much, I’ve always loved the work.  My feeling is, if at the end of the day, you’re going to have to do something for a living, especially if it’s not your innate passion – like being a dancer, actor, writer or a painter — then you want to work with people who are at least doing some good in the world, right?  That should be an easy compromise.   And for me, if I’m not working as an artist on a given day and being paid for it, then being part of this organization is the blessing – to do work that helps someone else…to make a real difference in the world. Easy choice.

I think that’s why I ultimately left my job at a once cool start-up company many years ago. I loved the people, but at the end of the day – I hated that I was pouring my heart and soul into what was basically selling products.  Don’t get me wrong, there was much artistry to what these creative people were doing, but for me, it didn’t make sense.  Especially when things started going south with the partners – the owners — why would I ever want to dedicate my talent, sweat and tears to selling products?  When the time came for me to walk away – it actually wasn’t that hard to do.  Financially it killed me, but I just quit.  And it was the right thing to do. No regrets.

This time, things are so different.  This organization that I have the privilege of working for now is actually changing people’s lives. It makes a difference in the world.  And even though there are a lot of the problems happening, again, with the “owners”, it seems to still be worthy of all my efforts – my sweat and my tears – maybe even more so. Every time a delicate painful issue arises, I feel even more compelled to do the very best I can to make sure we continue to do the good work.  It seems odd to me, because you’d think I’d just want to quit and move on… but no. It makes me even more committed to stay, to figure it out, to help in any way I can.  It’s odd, and I guess I’m just trying to understand why…

I’ve worked for so many people – so many wealthy individuals – and for the most part, wealthy people are not any different from poor people.  They’ve all got problems.  I’m 100% positive I would never trade my life for any of the wealthy people I’ve ever known.  Not one.

See, the problems of rich people are just as real.  Surely, poor people – in this generalized example – tend to have an over-arching problem of never having enough money to do anything. And everything they try to do is usually about trying to pay a bill. It’s a horrible cycle. Living paycheck to paycheck.  Rich people don’t get that. Even poor people that become rich, forget that – because it’s an easy thing to forget. And the thing about poor people is, when you get that extra money from a bonus, or an unexpected financial gift that lets you pay up your bills on-time or ahead of schedule, ohhhhhhh, that feeling is priceless, right?  I mean, there is a cleanliness to it that is hard to explain.  A burden jumps off your shoulders that you didn’t even realize was sitting there.  Rich people don’t get that because the sheer aspect of financial security makes it difficult to comprehend.  If you hadn’t had to think about how your rent or mortgage is going to be paid, then you can’t feel that burden. If you don’t have to save money to buy a pair of jeans, then you don’t know the inner negotiating and anxiety that comes with having to choose between paying your gas bill or fudging it for the month and spending that money at Target instead simply because you’ve worn your one pair of jeans so much that they’re falling apart in the crotch.

But the rich – their burden seems worse to me.   Again, I’m totally generalizing here  –  but the rich walk around in constant thought that someone is trying to screw them over.  Rich people never seem to feel completely settled.  Trust is a coveted process and never fully practiced or embraced because they believe everyone has to prove themselves first – over and over again. Everything is about THEM. Their vulnerability, their money, their lives, their self-preservation. They are always the first to scream that they are NOT about their money at all. And they always claim NOT to be THAT rich.  Cracks me up.  But sadly they always think  someone wants something from them.  There’s a fear of some entity that’s going to try and steal from them.  It’s sad.  They’re not positive of who their friends are. They think its other rich people who “understand” them – but nine times out of ten, their friends are just as skittish about trust and friendship as they are.  So the rich pay therapists, and massage therapists, and psychics, and go on ridiculous shopping sprees and visit all sorts of doctors, spas, etc., — all because of feeling unsettled. It’s a different kind of anxiety than the poor feel, but anxiety nonetheless.  The rich, in my experience,  try to feel better by hiring lawyers and doctors who will tell them that they are fine – and the more they cost, the better because, well, if the “BEST” are telling you what you need to hear, then it must be right.   And look, I’m not even saying that all these doctors and lawyers are being abusive and sucking money from these people – truth is, a lot of these people are so fragile, they need to hear some sort of comfort, some information from somewhere…  And this tends to be one place where rich people get that from. It’s a vicious circle.

Poor people don’t have that luxury – to go find some professional to walk them through something.  Poor people can’t go to a doctor on a whim because they’re feeling bad and need someone to talk too, because the co-payment alone may be $90 and not in their budget for the month. That’s grocery money. So, poor people have to trust their friends, their family,  their co-workers,  right off the bat.  And in order to trust people, you have to get good at reading people, at intuition. At understanding who is screwing you over for money, and who is actually doing the work and deserving of your hard-earned pennies.  You don’t have money to waste, so the minute you realize you are being snowed, you walk away and find someone else.

Surely money gives you choices – but from my experience, sometimes having all that choice, leaves you less inclined to be wise.  It reminds me of going to a restaurant like the Cheesecake Factory whose menu is so large that it’s just too much to deal with. Most times I hate going there, unless I’m going just for some actual cheesecake.  But sometimes, when you have all that choice, it’s hard to be wise and choose accordingly.  I think of Michael Jackson too – he had so much money, so many choices – – and with all those choices he became unwise. Purchasing items that seemed ridiculous, just because he could.  I loved Michael Jackson’s music and performance – don’t get me wrong.  He was brilliant. But, clearly he chose badly. And in a lot of ways, I get it. It makes complete sense to me.

Please know, I’m not saying it’s better to be poor.  But what I am saying is that it’s not better to be rich either.  Now, I can’t claim to have ever been rich. But, I’ve had more money than I’ve ever needed at one point in my life – and I tell people all the time, it was the worst time in my life. Not because I had so much money, but because I was so unhappy. I was living a life that wasn’t authentically me.  Now, it wouldn’t have mattered if I was making $10 an hour or $1M a year, it was clearly the wrong job, the wrong place and the wrong time – and had little to do with money. But, for the purposes of this discussion, I remember what it was like not to have to question buying a new pair of jeans that cost $400. Yes, I said, $400.  I still own the Jimmy Choo shoes I bought back then – my Jimmy Choo boots cost $1000 and were fitted precisely to fit me and only me.  There was a freedom in having the bills paid and never having to worry about how the mortgage was going to be paid that month and every month after that. But with that kind of money also came something I never expected:  the insecurity of why people were being nice to me, or questioning why I was getting such incredible service… I specifically remember getting on a plane and being treated like I was a Queen.  The overwhelming kindness and people willing to jump at anything I may have said… of course, I was flying First Class.  The comfort was one thing – you paid for that, but the way people treated you just because you had money… that’s why rich folk get confused.  Truth is, people – good decent people, especially flight attendants – will treat everyone that way.  With Kindness.  And in coach you do get that sometimes…. Not the comfort, but yes, the best flight attendants are the best for a reason. But imagine, being treated that way ALL. THE. TIME. Every day.  It no longer is special, it becomes your new normal.  And “normal” gets old real fast. Basically, you realize people are kissing your ass, not because they are kind good people, but only because you have money and they HAVE to be nice to you. Yeah, it’s like that…and you can easily see why you’d start questioning everyone’s motives, right?

But rich people get that treatment – all the time.  Even when they don’t deserve it. They can bitch and moan and people servicing them will still treat them like the kings and queens they believe themselves to be.  Again, poor people don’t get that privilege. We are grateful when we meet other kind souls who work for a living and treat us like kings and queens, but we also understand when that same flight attendant is having a bad day and is just going through the motions – because we get that they’re working just trying to make a living too… and yet, at some point, no matter how bad their day is, they still have to go up to first class and keep on shining.

I guess all this to say, I’m grateful.  My dream of course, is to make enough money as an artist/creative entity every day and be able to live a comfortable and fulfilling life by telling stories, sharing Carmenisms and changing the world all on my own. But, in the meantime, I’m okay. Happy really. I would never want to have so much money again at the expense of my sanity, and I certainly never want to hate what I do for a living.  So, all and all, I’m okay. Maybe more than okay. This too shall pass…

It stopped raining.  But there’s a heavy tint of lingering grey – it may rain again.  I hope so. For now, everything is so quiet, so still. I have to admit, I love it.

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*The term “poor” here is simply defined as those living paycheck to paycheck. There is no doubt that “poor” in relative terms can and does mean something quite different in our world and this author knows the difference.

*Image used/created on App Bitmoji

If All You Got Is Hate. . .

Liberals. Conservatives. So called Independents…start finding that place inside you that is LOVE, like when you were a child, that free-spirited place where it was fresh, clean and easy — because all this hate, from all sides, is only going to make matters worse for all of us, not better. Nobody wins in HATE. Nobody. Love still has a shot. Find a way to get there…

It doesn’t mean you have to stop your protest. Or that you shouldn’t support President-elect Trump or any of your causes. It means it needs to come from a good place. Not an evil, vindictive, hurtful place. We can make change, make our voices heard, do our jobs — without being so angry, so pained and so inhuman.

You know what social media has done a good job of? Making us less compassionate. We have no empathy for each other — we can never just disagree, kindly, lovingly. It’s easy to do behind a keyboard — when there is no real physical reaction to have to absorb. I refuse to let technology change me. And I’m screaming at all of you right now: You have become horrible people because you are not coming from a place of LOVE. Stop it. All of you.

We are Americans. We will get through this. But we have the power to decide HOW we do it. Decide right now, to be better than you used to be. Be the person you want others to be…don’t demand from others what you’re not capable of providing.  If all you got is hate, I don’t want you on my side.  Cause as corny as it sounds, my side is LOVE. Period.  – CLezeth

 

I HOPE YOU WILL TOO…

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Whether Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever…. we are all privileged to be Americans.  Do your duty, VOTE.  November 8th.  Tuesday.

Be the America I know you to be…actually, be the America I hope you to be — PLEASE VOTE!

One love.

Democracy is on the Ballot. Period. Full Stop.

I’m voting FOR Hillary Clinton.

I’m bothered by the Grand Old Party. I’m stunned by the loss of integrity and lack of honor that was once dem-rep-herosynonymous with the Republican Party.  Every time I hear one of them raise the name of Ronald Reagan, I cringe for him, his legacy – for our country.  How far off the rails have we gone?  Whether I believed in Reagan’s ideas for our country is/was irrelevant.  No one can deny he was a beacon of honor and integrity.  And yes, he was this Democrats President too.

I watch in horror as the Republican Party finds ways to justify the monstrosity it has become.  Instead of taking responsibility for the mistakes it has made, they seem, instead intent on denigrating and condemning Hillary Clinton.  Don’t get me wrong, you can fight the right fight against your opponent, but all the Hillary bashing in the world would only make sense if the FBI had found her at fault and pursued charges.  If the countless “Benghazi” hearings had concluded even ONCE that she was to blame and indicted her for at least something, anything! And yes, if it was Hillary who had actually slept with those women who accused her husband —well, hell, that would have at least been a good story and place to start! Maybe you are one of the few who really believe this “system” of ours is “rigged”.  Well, if that’s the case, you’re so off the deep end, there’s nothing I can say to sway you…

But Republicans, real true honest to goodness Republicans – WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?  It seems like for the past year you’ve been flailing in the air grasping at…nothingness in pursuit of bygone ideals that contradict who the face of your party has become.  Have you not noticed?  It’s a stark difference – blatant really.  Have you all completely lost your minds?

You’re so obsessed with finding blame in Hillary Clinton and in everyone else (the media seems to be a safe scapegoat) that you’ve lost all focus on what is fundamentally right and what is  absolutely wrong.  Basic decency, integrity and honor have escaped you.  And instead of seeing that, you keep bashing the democratic nominee at the same time alienating those of us, who could – at one point in time —  see your point of view – even if you had a legitimate argument once, you’ve lost your way so badly, that it just looks like a child having a temper tantrum about the wrong thing.  You look ridiculous. And as adults, we’re just sitting here waiting for you to be older and wiser, because we’re sure, then – we hope — you’ll understand.

The problem is —  we don’t have time for conservative republicans to figure it out.

Much to the chagrin of most of my liberal friends, I’m a conservative Democrat, always have been.  I could have voted for a Republican, but honestly – today…which one?  So many have failed the integrity test at this point, it’s shameful. I’m disgusted by Paul Ryan.  Maybe US Representative Adam Kinzinger of IL is the GOP’s best bet at this point. Integrity intact. Doesn’t waffle about anything. Seems to have his moral compass pointing North. I disagree with 80% of what he believes in, but I respect him. Can’t say that for most of the Republican party.  Adam seems to be one of the few young Republicans with integrity who has not flip-flopped or wavered… his bearings seem straight and he gets the simplicity of what’s right and what’s wrong. Republicans, with Paul Ryan and his friend Reince at the top of the list,  have lost their way. I suggest the GOP faithful have a conversation with Congressman Adam Kinzinger, watch how he answers questions regarding your Republican nominee, and find your way back to the path to civility.  In essence, learn to stand your ground, you know, without a gun.

And Hillary.

Maybe we’ve all gotten so used to flash and shiny objects with quick “feel good” instant gratification, that we’ve all forgotten that the role of a President is to actually BE and FUNCTION as a President.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Barack, Michelle and Bill Clinton when it comes to oratory skills.  Clearly, I’d like to be motivated and inspired too by words that ignite me into euphoria. It makes it easier to handle the bad days.  And I can admit that yes, even when I didn’t agree with Reagan, Lord have mercy if that twinkle in the eye didn’t catch me every time.  But Carter, George H.W. Bush and George Bush Jr., weren’t kickin’ it with oratory skills either.  Actually, in all due respect, they were rather boring.  Mundane. Painful to listen to at time.  But they were our Presidents nonetheless. And we accepted that. Because they were men.

I bring this up because I don’t need Hillary to woo me with her oratory skills. I don’t care if you “like” her – what I care about is, can she do the job?  Does she have what it takes to BE President?  And when it comes to being a woman, I have to say, did anyone really think it would be easy for the first woman to become President of the United States?  It seems to me that any woman considered worthy would have had to have AT LEAST 30 years’ experience or something comparable – and I’m pretty sure she still would have lost to a first time male Senator with no experience before even getting a shot  (forgive me President Obama, but you know it’s true).  This isn’t me screaming sexism; this is me admitting a truth about where we’re at in this country when it comes to women and leadership.  There is no other woman in this country that would have had it any easier. Make no mistake about it:  Any woman, Republican or Democrat, would have been smeared and tossed into doubt, regardless of what they did or didn’t do.  They would have gone to such lengths as to blame her for the misdeeds of her husband to whatever extent possible, just to make it quite improbable that she could be worthy of the title, the position of President.   Just like any other “firsts” – it has to move through the barriers, fair or unfair, before it accomplishes its goal.  And then, if we’re lucky, it becomes a new normal.

My criteria for being President of this great country of ours, is pretty simple:  If I know more about foreign policy and domestic policy than you do, you cannot be President.  If you don’t seem to understand how our branches of government work – or how many branches we actually have – you cannot be considered to occupy the office of the Presidency. It really is that simple.  If you claim to be a brilliant business man and you can’t pick the right people to put around you to assist you in your quest – and you can’t do the simple task of managing your negatives, elevating your positives:  you are not qualified to be a CEO let alone President of the United States.

The GOP has some work to do. And for the sake of our great country, I hope they start by owning up to their mistakes by voting for country over party and then doing the real work of reestablishing what the Republican party stands for now and in the years to come. We need at least two strong parties in this country…it’s the only way our democracy will continue to thrive. Of this, I am absolutely sure.

In the meantime, I’m voting FOR Hillary. She’s the right person, at the right time – and Lord have mercy it is TIME!

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Love of the Human Spirit

Enjoy the audio below and/or read the blog post below. Happy sweet day!

 

I love the human spirit. I do.

I love how even when the worst of who we are falls upon us, I love that the best of who we are always follows.

I love how we teach. How we learn. Beach Playing

I love that my life touches yours, and that your life affects mine. That something you do can change my life, and my life can change yours, hopefully for the better.

I love everything about the human journey.  I have faith in our possibilities, in all that we can accomplish.

I love that we push the boundaries, in everything we do.

I love that when we know better, we do better, most times.

I love the simple things too.  The smile.  The eyes that say “hi”.  The slight head nudge of acknowledgement. Oh, and when we dance. . .

I love the fist bumps. The high fives. Shaking someone’s hand for the first time.

I love the laughing, yeah, even the crying. Hey sometimes, things are bad.  And it’s hard.  And even in those moments, mostly in those moments, I dig deeper and find faith and believe even more in the magic of the human spirit.

I don’t know where this came from, this love of humanity.  But there it is.  I believe we are here to love and be loved.  Everything somehow falls under that.  Just Love.

I love all that we are, all that we have become and all that we can be.

I love the human spirit. I really do.