The Social Brain Drain

Our big beautiful brains are empty; rather we don’t know how to use them anymore. I wouldn’t recommend using at least MY brain all the time because it doesn’t come up with the most intelligent stuff. It has its shining moments though. I’ll some of the greats someday. That will make for a real fun read. I just mean in general, as a people we are never just with our thoughts much these days. We are not exploring the depths of the creativity and emotions that is buried there. We have started to refer that to as being “bored” or “idle”. Our bodies and specially hands need constant movement. If that is not happening our brain feels something is not right with our body and we feel emotionally unsettled. I am no Neurologist or Scientist of any kind, but I do understand what I see and how I feel. We do it without even realizing it, buy products that will allow us to stay connected with everything all the time. We call it safety but it’s actually the fear of the unknown. We want to predict the future rather than to be surprised by it. Where is the fun in that?

The bigger picture that is probably more troubling, if we let ourselves think about it, is that we avidly believe because everything seems to be more calculated, and on our fingertips therefore everything around us is safer, is it really? Is it really any of those things?

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Photo Credit: Jesse Orrico

The way we use our brain is changing. The way we think we should use it and the way we were meant to use it have become different. There is a lot of irony in this statement because the brain becomes whatever you think and that then becomes the right definition of its function. However, if we forego uses of it at certain periods of time, what do we call that? I mean I know technically its not possible but practically it happens all the time.

I was in the dentist’s office. The procedure was not going to be anything fun, and it was lengthy, so I had put all my belongings away. Including my phone. During the process the dentist decided that we should take a breather.

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Photo Credit: Hal Gatewood

I was sitting on that chair, with 3 other people in the room and absolutely nothing to do. The first thing my hands did was search in my lap for the phone. I knew it wasn’t there, but I went through the motions anyway. There wasn’t enough time to actually go and get it, so I decided to just relax and go to my “happy place”. I didn’t know what that meant anymore. It’s not a world of dreaming and wondering anymore. It’s not a world where I create what gives me comfort as it used to. Now those free spaces in our minds are nothing more than boredom  until we can have our thumbs moving and,disconnect from ourselves and the people around us to connect to the world. I am absolutely not against technology, that’s my livelihood. Im against losing myself in it. Im against not knowing where my brain stops and where a machine starts.

Im against being around 3 human beings and still looking for a device to occupy my time.

 

The Endgame Thor is the mightiest Thor

SPOILERS ALERT

What happens when you’re grieving? You take a minute. You stop. Stress eat. Stress drink. Don’t really feel like going to the gym. Reality changes. Look back at everything he’s lost? He is real. He’s messy. He is absolutely fantastic.

After a long time the strength narrative was separated from the fit, and beautiful narrative. Actually not after a long time, but in after ever, really. Don’t get me wrong, I like my superheroes tall, muscle-y and iron-man, however, sometimes it does get tiresome for us, not-so-powerful beings to watch all that unfold. Most of their power is not coming out of their muscles. So, why do they need them to be so rock solid? Why does the Black-Widow’s teeny tiny waist always seem to be giving my buttered popcorn a look of disapproval?

Then there’s always the satisfaction of knowing that they are not people they are superheroes. Yet you know they are actors playing superheroes who are impossibly perfect looking in real life too.

Yep! I love myself. I love my body. I am a strong person.

Sigh.

I didn’t realize this was so much of the dilemma going on with me, and everyone else when we put these people up on that great pedestal. When Thor showed up on that screen with all his chub it suddenly made sense.

The separation of power and beauty; such a simple concept. Such a real concept. This is almost lost in our world. We don’t like to let people have any kind of power unless they pass our individual tests. Those tests are purely aesthetically motivated. Without any regard for human emotions and needs. This has nothing to do with actually having the ability to perform their jobs or having the right skills.

His entire time in the MCU Thor has been undermined by his muscles and abs. Wait, don’t come at me. Let me finish. He appeared. He was big and beautiful, therefore capable. Everything that he could actually do mattered much much later in any scene or movie entirely. His excellence was established upon arrival.

But this fat dude with a long beard, and messy hair without a care in the world. That guy who has been the hero, and is over it. He’s had everything, and lost everything. He’s all the buzz. He understands where power comes from. He knows its not coming from the places imagined because he has looked. I mean come on, he even got a haircut. He still ended up alone.

The Russo brothers did everyone a huge favor, on a global level, by showing us that one of the world’s mightiest hero’s powers has nothing to do with his body size. It has to do with his state of mind. The second he believes he is; he becomes.

Somewhere in the past my chubby self is very grateful.

Thank you.

The Funny and The Wise: All about Jeremy McLellan

He has figured out a way into the hearts of Muslims everywhere. Even more miraculous, he has made his place into the hearts of Pakistanis. That is not easy to do. He knows the difference between PMLN and TI (Pakistani Political Parties). That is something to be proud of. I joke, but we are a cautious people.

There has been a lot of buzz about him in the community. People couldn’t say enough good things about him. Every member of my family follows him. I mean EVER. MEMBER. OF. MY. FAMILY. I was the last to do so. Everyone was sharing his jokes, talking about how funny he was. Claiming that he is changing the face of comedy and taking it in a new direction. I’m always here for a good joke. I’m definitely here for someone who’s changing the discussion around us, and bringing folks together, but I remain wary. It’s easy to” discuss” however it’s really hard to actually “change”. What is different about him? Everyone talks about love all the good, hate all the bad. I hesitated, I limited myself to “liking” the few posts or comments that I read through others.

Jeremy has worked with non-profit organizations around the world to help people in need physically on the ground and raising money through his comedy.

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When we sat down to talk recently, McLellan said he worked as a caregiver, and a trainer for caregivers for people with disabilities before starting out as a comedian. Helping people is apparently a family trait. According Jeremy his brothers were in the same line of work. He started comedy as a hobby. When his comedic career started taking off, he started pursuing comedy full time. Only, he didn’t. He has his hands, and heart full of everything that matters, everything that is needed right now. Comedy is a very essential part of it.

“When I worked with people with disabilities, I had clients who were all different races and religions, including Muslim and Pakistani. I had lots of stories about my interactions with people with disabilities who were different than me. And when I started doing comedy about five years ago, I started talking about the stuff that I cared about which, for me, was religion and the differences between religion and sort of making fun of that but also trying to address it in a helpful way.  I think four years ago. It was right around the time that Trump started getting popular and the refugee crisis in Europe. The question of Islam and the West, I know that’s a false dichotomy, but that sort of thing kept coming up, and people were interested in hearing about it. So, when I was doing stand up and I was talking about this stuff, it all started going viral within the Muslim community. People started sharing all my stuff and then I got invited to some events for Muslims. In America, in the Muslim community word travels fast, so if you do an event and you do well, I guess they’re all in the same WhatsApp group or something – ”

We are, we really are.

Now, apparently it runs in the family, because according to Jeremy his brothers worked with people with disability as well. All I gotta say to that is; mom, and dad need to start teaching classes on HOW IS THIS EVEN DONE? Im serious, we need workshops, proper classes in schools, colleges, my house, on how to not divide the planet. Do we need to write a formal application? Let’s!

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BTW Jeremy has opinions about grand-parenting as well. His parents and parents-in-laws live just down the road from where he lives with his wife and daughter.  He thinks that grandparents make the best babysitters. “So, you can have a bunch of kids if you have grandparents [to watch them]. Instead we pay people to watch our kids and then we pay people to watch our parents. Why would you do that? Just have your parents watch your kids. Everybody is happier that way. We are very blessed to have a lot of support with our Jewell.”

What is this guy’s deal?

He’s an American-Christian stand-up comedian from Charleston, SC (thanks Wikipedia). He wants to, “Find a way for religious communities to live together in peace while disagreeing, and living out their faith in public,” as oppose to “everyone keeping their religion private.”

He also just started a podcast called ‘Holy Wars’.

The people that have been on his show so far are a Journalist for the New Zealand Mosque shooting, he is from Karachi and he writes for the intercept. They talked about the New Zealand shooter’s manifesto. He talks with his friend Sultan about his trip to Pakistan. In the third episode he interviews his friend Jibran who is a conservative Muslim Journalist, and writes for a conservative newspaper in The US They discuss Islam, liberalism and Christianity. In Jeremy’s opinion the podcast is talking to “anyone I’ve met who I find really interesting, and who I would love to hear more from”.

In his opinion, you can’t be a comedian, and not have empathy. That is a valid point. Their job is to get into people’s heads or their “world” to figure out what they would find entertaining.

He believes working with different kinds of people who see the world differently helped him. That gave him the ability to be able to connect with others on a different level. A lot of the people with special needs can’t tell you what they need so you have to figure it out through their body language or expressions. That’s a special kind of connection.“There are these moments sometimes when these clients that are non-verbal and they have these behaviors that clearly show that they’re upset. And you have to really use your imagination to figure out what in the world is going on. Eventually you figure it out…They suddenly get better, right? That moment is so great. You feel like Sherlock Holmes. Those moments of empathy and trying to get inside someone else’s world, those were always so meaning full to me and I loved it.”

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He should matter to us because we matter to him. People like him are very rare. When we find someone, who is trying to bring people together you stand right next to them and hopefully grab on, and do not let go.

There is a fine line between entertaining, and offensive though. We all have to know it; as a Christian comedian making jokes about religion, culture, and customs to a Pakistani and Muslim audience, McLellan really needs to have full control over where he lands. I can say with full confidence that so far; he’s doing a fine job of it.