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Posts Tagged ‘living at home’

Am I Really Ready for Success?

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on February 4, 2010

Are you ready for the good life?I was talking to a friend and even through a text message my friend could tell that something was bothering me. I went on to tell how I felt trapped by my circumstances. Some might call what I am experiencing a quarterlife crisis. Circumstances surrounding the incompletion of my higher education have me living at home, working two part-time jobs, and wishing that things could have just been different. What do I want from my life? I want the success that I can see is on the horizon; and, I want it now. I want to move out. I want the life that other people younger than me have. I know I shouldn’t compare my journey to anyone else’s, but I am so so so so so so tired. Mediocrity is exhausting. Then, my friend asked me how I was going to get what I want. My answer: I don’t know.

Every day I’m reminded of how much I want my life to be different. Every time I get on the bus, watching the unwed pregnant teenagers, having to drown out the derogatory tunes emanating from the iPod 5 feet away from me, dodging the smokers’ spit puddles, I say I can’t do this anymore. Then, I wake up and do it all over again the next day. We all know the definition of insanity, right? That’s it. That’s what it is. I’m insane. I must be to want something better for myself, to be able to see it, and to not be trying ridiculously hard every day to achieve it. What is wrong with me? Then, I wondered, “Am I really ready to receive all that I want? Am I really ready for success?”

Stay tuned for the next post in this series on how I started moving towards getting what I want.

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Posted in Advice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

She’s so “Precious” – A Review

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on November 26, 2009

Precious, her mom, and her daughter

Upon entering the theater I felt nerves and anticipation coursing through my body. I expected to cry. I expected to feel anger and helplessness. I did, indeed, feel all of those emotions; but, I also felt more emotions than I expected inspired by the people around me and their comments. The experience of watching Precious has likely strengthened my resolve to tell my story. Not because anyone can do it if Precious did it, but, because, it will be my red scarf handed down to the little girl who feels all alone in the world.

Prior to viewing this movie, I read tweets from people who refused to see it, from those who saw it and were deeply touched, and from those who opined on the gross amount of racial stereotypes. Of those who refused to see it, many found fault based on the previous work of the people responsible for bringing the film to the big screen: Lee Daniels, Tyler Perry, and Oprah Winfrey. Words and phrases such as “coonery” and “typical black girl from the ghetto” were common in their complaints. Of those who saw it and were unimpressed, this tweet speaks volumes: “Whoeva suggest anyone too see this movie “precious” need to kill urself….dis givs black familys a bad look smh.” Please don’t listen to this person. I could cry peeling back the layers of disillusionment and incongruity present in that one allegorical onion. What came first: Precious or the Black Family?

This movie was adapted for film by Lee Daniels based on the novel “Push” by Sapphire. It is a first person narrative dictated to us by Clarice “Precious” Jones. Walking through the streets of Harlem with a scowl on her face and the weight of years of sexual, physical, and verbal abuse on her shoulders, she tells us the story of her life in such a manner that it prompted one viewer behind me to say, “This is realistic. I like it.” A concise and accurate statement, it is the reason to see the movie.

In the afore-mentioned tweet we see a common model for behavior in (Black) families. What goes on in the house, stays in the house; and, this is a thread that runs throughout the movie, as well. From the outset, we see Precious avoiding the truth and refusing to tell her story, petrified that her mom would kill her. Meanwhile, her mom continues to call her a fat ass, tells her that she’s a dummy, education won’t help her, she’s a nobody, and she should rely on a welfare check to get by in life. These are the racial stereotypes that people are afraid to see. They don’t want people to know what is said in their homes. Well, maybe what is said should change. It’s just a theory. A theory that “Precious” is attempting to make a practice.

In one form or another everyone can relate to her story. We have all either been the abuser or the one abused in some way. Other comments heard around me include: “Is that really how big she is?” “She looks like a boy. She looks like Eminem.” “Y’all ain’t right.” The second comment was directed to Mariah Carey’s performance as a social worker. Without her glamorous hair and makeup team, Mariah looked like an average woman, but it prompted someone to call her a boy. Worse, her friends laughed and made other jokes about her appearance, causing one girl (the only big girl in the group) to casually denounce their behavior. It is this casual accusatory tone that encourages the abuse. It is not seen as something that is really bad behavior. If she were to leave the theater and discontinue the friendship, she would be blamed for taking herself too seriously. “It’s just a joke” they might say. Well, Precious didn’t take it as a joke when she smacked her classmate for calling her fat.

The tagline for the movie is: “Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is….Precious.” Does it have to be this way, though? We’re so busy preparing each other for the “real world” that we forget to take care of each other. We forget to love. We forget to be the models of good behavior that we actually seek in others. Life is not some made up entity that comes out of nowhere to do us harm. Life is people. We are the creators of Life. If our lives are so rich and precious, why do we choose to de-value it?

Posted in Media Analysis, RandomThoughtOftheDay | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Don’t Treat Me like A College Dropout

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on August 15, 2009

college dropout“The college dropout”. Unless you’re Kanye West or Bill Gates, having this label attributed to you garners only negative attention. To be a college dropout is to be a wasted resource. “It’s a shame to see all that potential go to waste” is what most people say (behind the backs of the people to which they are referring). We hear you, though. You don’t have to say it to our faces because it shows in your eyes. Your body language expresses your contempt for us. It’s a good thing some of us don’t pay attention to your misguided attempts at encouragement, or else we may never get past the pain and onto success.

What follows is an interview conducted with Sommer Johnson, who founded Gemini Magazine, is achieving her goals and doing it all with passion. She is encouraging people to “join us in the revolution to open minds one cover, one article, one beautiful, sophisticated, professional curvy woman at a time.”

  1. Did you feel expectations from family, friends or society to succeed in college? If so, what impact did this pressure have on you?
    My parents always used to say, “If you are going to stay here after you graduate (from high school) you have two choices: college or a full time job.” It never bothered me or put pressure on me because I love learning & I love school.  What did bother me was the fact that I don’t think my parents understood my major. They wanted me to major in something like business or accounting or HR Management instead of English.  I’m sure most English majors feel frustrated like I did when fielding questions like: “So what are you going to do with an English Degree…teach?” My parents just wanted me to have a degree in something that could help me 10 years from age 18; and, to them that was business or accounting or HR Management.
  2. How do friends and family treat you because you don’t have a college degree?
    Only a few people in my family have an actual college degree.  Most of my family, if not all of them, doesn’t really care.
  3. How do you feel about yourself?
    Honestly, sometimes I feel stupid. Sometimes I over hear grown women talking about their college experience and I’m saddened by it because my experience was limited.  Sometimes I am grateful for being able to start my family early. By the time I am 43 my kids will be away at college and my husband and I can dance naked in the kitchen. Lol.
  4. Why did you leave school without a degree?
    The first time around I was lazy. I was also boy crazy and I didn’t feel like I fit in.  The second time around I was working full time, mothering 2 kids under the age of 4, and being a wife.  The 3rd time around I ended up getting a 65 on my exam paper in English (go figure), which gave me a C, which meant I had to repeat the class, which meant my financial aid was yanked (I had to get B’s or better to keep it).  Being laid off with a mortgage, two kids, a husband, and old cars made it hard to go back.  I will one day…
  5. Do you plan to return to get a degree? If so, what is preventing you from returning in the immediate future?
    Money. I would go back right now if I could afford it. Perhaps when Gemini blows up I can go back and not think about what bills I have to pay.
  6. What is the biggest myth equated with dropouts that you would like to dispel?
    That we are inexperienced.  I see tons of jobs in the accounting and admin assistant positions looking for just any kind of degree.  I’ve worked in accounting for 10 years and I grew up watching my mother be the Executive Assistant to Sanyo VP’s, small business owners, and so on. But none of that seems to matter. It’s all about what we look like on paper.  I realize from owning my own business that just because you didn’t make it through school that doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes to make it. I feel like education is an array of things.  It’s the crappy first job you had; the stupid boyfriend/girlfriend you broke up with (or who broke up with you); it’s the half finished college degree and birth of your first born. Your life is your education, but you have to add to it to make it greater.  For some, that means getting a degree.  For others it means spending hours in Barnes & Noble or online reading up on this or that.  With my eyes on the future and my heart in God’s hands, my life is looking pretty good – degree on the wall or not 🙂

Many people have had to leave school for reasons other than the stereotypical “college just isn’t for me” attitude; and, many would like to return to get their degree, but existing roadblocks make it difficult. Support education reform to enable the passionate people to more efficiently achieve their dreams.

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Posted in Advice, Under-qualified | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Living at Home is nothing to be Ashamed Of

Posted by Chanelle Schneider on June 23, 2009

Ringing the doorbell

The socialized stigma against people who move back to their parents’ home can make some feel depressed or ashamed. Once you leave home you’re supposed to stay gone unless you’re visiting. To be in your mid-20’s and living at home is thought of as the mark of the lazy good-for-nothing child who will never be anything in this life.

I don’t know about you, but that does not describe me at all. Further, I know that it cannot be an accurate description of many of the people who have had to move back home. This issue has been covered in an article covered by MSNBC contributor Diane Mapes here: . In the article I discuss what it’s like to live at home as an adult who is still their parents’ child.

Certain media outlets like to stigmatize the “boomerangs” as unwilling to secure their own future outside of their parents’ shadow. This is an unfair characterization that may be good for ratings, but there is no balance. Where are the shows of the twentysomething’s who are doing something with themselves; and, living at home is necessary to get closer to those goals? The parents who allow their children to come back home are blessings (even if they make them pay rent).

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