RealityCheck22 (12:12:11 PM): Millennium studios is a really fun place. I took dance classes there when I was a kid. What was the inspiration behind your recent “day in the life of a dancer” post?

PowerIsTPM (12:13:56 PM): I have a lot of friends who are dancers. They try to explain to me the feeling that they get when they dance. I really feel like those forms of creative outlets are what remind people why life is so important and beautiful. Kind of like the way I feel when I read or write or am around good company. I’m not a professional dancer and I just thought it would be a fun space to explore

RealityCheck22 (12:15:22 PM): Definitely. That studio especially. It’s full of very passionate people who use their body in really amazing ways: a true art form.

PowerIsTPM (12:15:34 PM): Do you still dance?

RealityCheck22 (12:15:53 PM): Not like I use to, but I do love to dance. For fun.

PowerIsTPM (12:16:11 PM): What form of dance did you use to practice?

RealityCheck22 (12:16:37 PM): In my family dance is an important part of family gatherings. Middle eastern belly dancing and things like that.  I used to do ballet and hip hop

PowerIsTPM (12:17:18 PM): Very cool. Yeah, Ethiopians are all about the dancing and Koreans are all about the singing.

RealityCheck22 (12:18:01 PM): haha, yeah, the ethnic vibe is full of beautiful dances, songs, and really interesting food….which brings me to your post about fatty foods loved that post!

PowerIsTPM (12:18:37 PM): Yeah! Made me feel so much better about my crazy cravings.  I feel like people, especially women, think that there is something wrong with them when they sit around and think about food. It could be something emotional, maybe stress… But we never think about what it is that we are craving and eating…

RealityCheck22 (12:19:29 PM): I’ve seen that too.  Many overweight people talk about “food addiction” and never get help for it because people feel it isn’t a real issue.  I think they actually have a group, kind of like AA, called Over-eaters Anonymous (OA)

PowerIsTPM (12:20:47 PM): Yeah, I actually have a friend that is in that program. She really likes it and it has helped her a lot.

RealityCheck22 (12:21:13 PM): wow, interesting. has it helped them to understand their eating habits better? get a little healthier?

PowerIsTPM (12:21:37 PM): She definitely tries to recognize why she chooses to eat when she does.  The program helps her dig a little deeper and understand why she has an addiction to food.

RealityCheck22 (12:22:27 PM): I mean the weight loss community is a multi-billion dollar business in this country. It’s like they want to keep people in a cycle of unhappiness.

PowerIsTPM (12:22:35 PM): A lot of it comes from the way we are raised, what we have been told growing up, insecurities.. you know the basic list that makes any addict and addict

RealityCheck22 (12:22:47 PM): of course. Having people discuss the issue with a foundation of credibility really changes the discussion. It gives people room for hope, because other people understand It RealityCheck22 (12:23:33 PM): It’s all about perspective and upbringing, how we were socialized…. which brings me to “What is beauty? Who defines it?” man… that was an intense post

PowerIsTPM (12:24:59 PM): Yeah, it really resonates with what we were just talking about. Being rooted in a society that teaches us that there is always going to be something wrong with us. Did you read about the jungle gym that was built in a low-income neighborhood in New York that had a jail built inside of it?

RealityCheck22 (12:26:37 PM): no!

PowerIsTPM (12:26:37 PM): like a “play” jail

RealityCheck22 (12:26:38 PM): ?

PowerIsTPM (12:26:53 PM): It was like swing, slides, jail.

RealityCheck22 (12:26:58 PM): wow

PowerIsTPM (12:27:26 PM): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/26/nyregion/26jail.html?pagewanted=print

RealityCheck22 (12:27:39 PM): I mean I use to play cops and robbers when I was a kid, but putting a jail versus a house, castle, or something of that nature is pretty telling. makes the jail become a symbol for something much more divisive.  In your post, the video “A Girl Like Me” That was an emotional thing to watch. How did you feel looking at that as someone with a mixed ethnic background? Did you ever go through that phase in your life?

PowerIsTPM (12:29:46 PM): Definitely. I was one of those young girls of color who always had a white doll. I don’t think I even ever asked for it. Maybe it’s just what my mom assumed I wanted

RealityCheck22 (12:30:35 PM): Right, “because everyone else has one.”

PowerIsTPM (12:30:54 PM): Exactly, I went to schools with all white kids.. blonde hair, blue eyes, the whole package.  So I was never around anyone that looked like me.  Especially being Korean and Black.. it was really confusing being a kid and not really understanding “my place”

RealityCheck22 (12:31:48 PM): That must have been really tough, but probably not something you really understood until you were older, right?

PowerIsTPM (12:31:50 PM): in a world that tries to fit people in certain catgories.  It was confusing. I remember going to middle school and the Korean kids calling me “a disgrace to my race”

RealityCheck22 (12:32:37 PM): wow, that’s very harsh

PowerIsTPM (12:32:41 PM): Being young, and already confused, it just makes things worst. My parents surrounded me with a lot of cultural pride, so I have never felt that shame of being who I am.

RealityCheck22 (12:33:09 PM): I had some similar experiences being white with a dark skinned father RealityCheck22 (12:33:21 PM): that’s very important, my parents did the same thing RealityCheck22 (12:33:42 PM): you have to appreciate where you come from, so you can be proud about where you are going. understand the context.

PowerIsTPM (12:34:36 PM): Though you had ethnic pride, those insecurities still happen. PowerIsTPM (12:34:45 PM): When was the first time you felt “different”? PowerIsTPM (12:34:57 PM): Assuming that you have felt that way in your life, at some point..

RealityCheck22 (12:35:18 PM): my father being Middle Eastern was difficult growing up because I was always on the fringes of a society. not “enough” one way or the other. thankfully i live in a diverse city, and that changed as I got older. but it’s still there. the section of my ethnic group that only socializes with other Middle Eastern people. RealityCheck22 (12:35:26 PM): umm, I would say when I was 5 years old RealityCheck22 (12:36:01 PM): I was going to school in Beverly Hills, CA and a little boy in an older grade called me a dirty Arab RealityCheck22 (12:36:14 PM): but I was white and everyone didn’t get what he was talking about RealityCheck22 (12:36:42 PM): then my dad came to pick me up and everyone laughed at me, calling me a “dirty arab” RealityCheck22 (12:37:29 PM): they didn’t understand what they were saying, but ironically when I spoke to my father about it he just said “you aren’t an Arab, you are a Persian.” As if that was enough of an explanation. RealityCheck22 (12:37:33 PM): lol RealityCheck22 (12:38:15 PM): I went back the next day and told everyone I was Persian! And the other persian kids (there are a ton in Beverly Hills) they all ran up beside me RealityCheck22 (12:38:27 PM): they had my back RealityCheck22 (12:38:28 PM): haha

PowerIsTPM (12:38:36 PM): haha PowerIsTPM (12:38:47 PM): That’s awesome!

RealityCheck22 (12:40:18 PM): When I got older I began to understand the difference. My father is Persian, to him and his friends, persians are more sophisticated and Arabs are very different from them. This brought on a whole other division as I got older, but at least I understood the difference in his mind.

PowerIsTPM (12:40:53 PM): Yeah, when I was growing up, my dad would tell me you are not Black! You are African!

RealityCheck22 (12:42:24 PM): Yeah, because to our parents their ethnic heritage is an integral part of the American Dream they created here.

PowerIsTPM (12:43:03 PM): And it makes them feel seperated from the racism that other groups face.

RealityCheck22 (12:43:11 PM): it’s cool to see that even though we come from very different backgrounds we share similar experiences when it comes to race and identity.

PowerIsTPM (12:43:47 PM): Definitely PowerIsTPM (12:49:49 PM): Obviously the one that caught my attention was your car accident blog. I just got in my first car accident over the summer. Scariest experience of my life… and then you become haunted by that image every time you are driving.

RealityCheck22 (12:50:11 PM): yes!!

PowerIsTPM (12:50:19 PM): You are a very descriptive writer without being over the top. Your details allow the reader to really understand what you are feeling.

RealityCheck22 (12:50:27 PM): The worst part is that I have to drive that road every day to and from school. Freaks me out RealityCheck22 (12:50:37 PM): Thank you!

PowerIsTPM (12:50:44 PM): AsI read it, I was thinking I know exactly how you feel

RealityCheck22 (12:51:01 PM): I’m just trying to write the story they way I would tell the story

PowerIsTPM (12:51:52 PM): I’m over the top when I tell stories. Trying to give every little detail… gets a little draining, so I like the way you talked about your experience.

RealityCheck22 (12:52:01 PM): (: RealityCheck22 (12:53:54 PM): the most powerful experience for me, even with the recent accident and sickness, was the moment with the marine. really intense and it spurted this whole off topic binge on military perspective

PowerIsTPM (12:56:30 PM): Before we talk about the blogs I just want to understand a little bit about your voice. In your “about me” section (called “about moi”) You say that you are percevied as obnoxious and arrogant. PowerIsTPM (12:56:39 PM): Why do you feel it is important to mention this? PowerIsTPM (12:57:21 PM): Do you feel like this is central for readers to understand when they read your work? PowerIsTPM (12:57:42 PM): Did you intend to mention that because you keep bringing up your personal strive for success and education?

RealityCheck22 (12:58:05 PM): I actually feel like changing that up a bit, because originally I was going to blog about my experience with education and success RealityCheck22 (12:58:10 PM): from the start to where I am today. and talk about the times when other students (older students) felt threatened by me and the projects I was doing RealityCheck22 (12:58:35 PM): or when my ego went out of bounds. the pursuit of healthy ambition and all of that, lol RealityCheck22 (12:59:03 PM): now I don’t know, my blog is kind of all over the place, and I need to re-position the brand

PowerIsTPM (1:14:17 PM): I really enjoyed your post of the marine that approached you. PowerIsTPM (1:14:24 PM): Where did that happen?

RealityCheck22 (1:14:42 PM): I was the Panini Cafe in the Marina RealityCheck22 (1:14:46 PM): at the*

PowerIsTPM (1:18:05 PM): In your description of the encounter, it seems almost as though “Mr. Man” is longing for someone to hear his story. The fact that his friend committed suicide shortly before your encounter, yet he let you in to such a personal and vulnerable moment in his life. And you have only been talking for a few minutes. I feel like tjos really represents the voicelessness of soldiers. PowerIsTPM (1:18:12 PM): this*

RealityCheck22 (1:19:40 PM): It definitely represents that our troops don’t feel like they HAVE a voice. Or if they do, nobody is listening. RealityCheck22 (1:20:43 PM): I think it also says something about only speaking about the chaos with someone who they feel can understand. He thought I knew first hand what it’s like to live with a marine. So maybe he felt safe speaking with me.

PowerIsTPM (1:21:12 PM): Yeah, for me the most moving part is when he says, “It’s not even about the war anymore, or fighting for our freedom, it’s about my brothers and getting them home.” PowerIsTPM (1:21:56 PM): How did you feel when he said that. PowerIsTPM (1:21:58 PM): ?

RealityCheck22 (1:22:59 PM): Very frustrated actually. And sad. I wanted to be able to DO something to help him, help THEM get home, and I felt very trapped with my inability to make the change. RealityCheck22 (1:23:34 PM): I do have a brother in the Navy, a medical man, he was in Fallujah for a while

PowerIsTPM (1:24:11 PM): Have you talked to him about his experiences? PowerIsTPM (1:24:18 PM): What he has seen?

RealityCheck22 (1:24:29 PM): it’s a very difficult position to be in. you have to support your soldier, and not let the politics get in the way. But eventually everyone feels the weight of the politics. RealityCheck22 (1:25:14 PM): Yes, I have spoken with him about it. But he really doesn’t like to say much.

PowerIsTPM (1:25:33 PM): I feel like that resonates with that voicelessness.

RealityCheck22 (1:25:35 PM): It’s a hard place for him to go back to, especially on his side because his job was to save lives, and sometimes you couldn’t

PowerIsTPM (1:25:37 PM): No one will really ever understand PowerIsTPM (1:25:52 PM): so you stay quiet

RealityCheck22 (1:26:02 PM): yeah RealityCheck22 (1:26:26 PM): he talks about how life was there, but nothing specific about combat or images that are too difficult RealityCheck22 (1:27:08 PM): he concentrates on the cultural exchanges that happened, and the people he could save RealityCheck22 (1:27:58 PM): One of my best friends is a marine, he is the same way about his time in Iraq. But the guy I spoke to…was different. RealityCheck22 (1:28:12 PM): maybe dealing with some PSTD and trying to hide it

PowerIsTPM (1:29:14 PM): That’s great that you try and make a visual statement in supporting the troops. I feel like because a lot of young people do not keep up with the news or pick up the paper, they forget our people are out there dying everyday. People our age. Because we are not directly affected by the turmoil of war, we don’t have to deal with what is happening to American soldiers and families in the Middle East.

RealityCheck22 (1:30:52 PM): Very true. If people our age continued to be supportive of the troops I don’t think we would have so many cases of PTSD. It’s not the shock of the experience, to an extent it’s the idea that they went through it for nothing, and that their country is ashamed of them.

PowerIsTPM (1:32:35 PM): Also the resources available to them after they are released from duty.

RealityCheck22 (1:32:36 PM): And we tend to fit everyone under one umbrella. Many of the soldiers over there are very involved in the middle eastern society in positive/productive ways RealityCheck22 (1:33:37 PM): its not all about horror stories and mis-treatment, for many of them, it’s about making the best out of what they can. a success is coming home alive, but a really successful mission is in created relationships that win the hearts and minds of the people over there

PowerIsTPM (1:34:36 PM): Did your encounter with the marine inspire all your video posts? PowerIsTPM (1:34:41 PM): How did you pick them?

RealityCheck22 (1:35:11 PM): yes, that’s a huge issue! one that I might blog about in the future. there are not enough resources for our troops coming home. I’m proud of the effort our current President has put into that area. Hopefully the sins of our nation towards Vietnam vets won’t be duplicated with the vets from Afghanistan and Iraq

PowerIsTPM (1:35:11 PM): I am a very visual learner. What statement were you trying to make in the categories you divided the clips into?

RealityCheck22 (1:35:21 PM): yes, it did. RealityCheck22 (1:37:45 PM): well, I wanted to explore what got the most hits on youtube. The sub-divisions were about making the narrative clearer. RealityCheck22 (1:38:29 PM): for fun was about keeping it real during chaos, finding a few laughs.. .or having too much time on their hands. lol

PowerIsTPM (1:38:42 PM): Lol

RealityCheck22 (1:38:54 PM): the second was to make us remember the fear and anger that united us all after 9/11 RealityCheck22 (1:39:34 PM): two very different, very powerful videos, but they had over 200,000 views RealityCheck22 (1:40:05 PM): and the last was about how the military sometimes manipulates people into joining up RealityCheck22 (1:40:45 PM): honor and the warriors code is very well and good ( I sure appreciate them) but when you are 18 and just coming out of high school, the videos might be a little overwhelming

RealityCheck22 (1:41:06 PM): playing on their GI Joe fantasy

PowerIsTPM (1:41:28 PM): Call of Duty obesession…

RealityCheck22 (1:41:37 PM): hah, yesss PowerIsTPM (1:41:42 PM): -_-

RealityCheck22 (1:41:54 PM): well it was great talking with you RealityCheck22 (1:42:13 PM): thank you for taking the time to speak with me and explore some of our blog themes

PowerIsTPM (1:42:42 PM): Definitely. I will be back on your page commenting and hopefully we can exchange some more ideas

RealityCheck22 (1:42:54 PM): I would love that.

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