The 327th Five Star Mixtape Is Brought to You By Milan Kundera

This week's Five Star Mixtape come to you from a refugee's life, a road less travelled without regret, starting to figure out one's involvement in racism, the power of language, the weight of a man's blackness, and Milan Kundera:

by Elisa Cabot (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

by Elisa Cabot (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.

— Milan Kundera —

"Everything Is Yours, Everything Is Not Yours" by Clemantine Wamariya at Medium's Matter:

People listen, and they don’t listen. They’re amazed and moved, and they look bored and proud of themselves, like they’re checking a box. I try to be relevant and not frightening.

"The Night I Graduated High School" by Amanda Jetté Knox at The Maven of Mayhem:

I want them to understand that you don't have to walk the same path as everyone else to live a wonderful life. My life is incredible, in large part because I took the road less travelled.

"Dropping the Soap for Charleston" by Jim Lunsford at Coming Clean: Confessions of an HIV+ Dad:

I have long suspected that I may be a passive or cultural racist.

There, I said it. I understand that this particular confession may smell like some gratuitous, well timed, over baked click bait, but it happens to be true.

"As a Black Mom Raising a Brown Boy, I’m Bracing For the ‘N-word’" by Nicole Blades at Ms. Mary Mack:

For so many people, that word — despite tired attempts to reclaim the power rooted beneath it — will always be loaded with loathing and a brutal history, making it hard to truly shrug off. I may be able to let go of the incident in which it shows up, but the word doesn’t quite leave right away. It has a way of lingering behind like a noxious belch.

"President Obama Took Me To Church Today" by Greg Howard at Deadspin's The Concourse:

I was suddenly profoundly aware of my blackness, and this cape I wore and wear on my shoulders, every day, in the shower and to school and to work and on dates and to bed. The weight never gets easier, and it causes you to bow your shoulders and bend your knees, to tiptoe around. You shrink beneath it. Painfully aware of your blackness, you become smaller.

And because you are a fan of finding good, new writing online:

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Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a blogger, designer and consultant, and speaker who blogs and works from schmutzie.com, spreads gratitude through the graceinsmallthings.com social network, celebrates quality blogging with the canblogawards.com, and speaks all over. She has been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health and Woman's Day magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. She believes in and works to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

The 326th Five Star Mixtape Is Brought to You By Richard Wright

This week's Five Star Mixtape is brought to you by the continued stigmatization of intellectual disabilities, an inner conflict triggered by intended kindness, repetition compulsion, the bittersweet experience of birth and death, one of the weirdest lies we tell children, the fact that some things don't change, and Richard Wright:

by Gordon Parks (1912-2006) [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

by Gordon Parks (1912-2006) [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.

— Richard Wright —

"Dear Pixar: Inside Out and Papercut Deaths" by Jisun at Kimchi Latkes:

Pixar, for that one moment, you helped make that stigma and discrimination happen. When words moron and idiot are thrown around like nothing, kids learn that it is ok to insult someone’s intelligence. Young kids learn that a good way to make someone mad is to call them stupid and pretend to look like someone with an intellectual disability, because of course it is awful to be that.

"Unknown Issues" by Kerri Ames at (Un)Diagnosed and Still Okay:

Last December when she was hospitalized and almost died I didn’t call for the Chaplin, I didn’t ask her to be blessed. I was not deliberately not calling on God but He had ceased to be of comfort to me. As I held Bridget down for the IV and she screamed mommy hurt then rested in MY arms afterwards I was amazed at her capacity for love.

A God of love should not allow any of that to have happened.

"It Is Not You, It Is Me" by Jasmine Banks at Just Jasmine:

He told me it was my fault and my child mind took that moment, and every other moment since, and filed it into the “It Is You” category of my psyche.  Don’t misunderstand. This is not an essay explaining the early makings of a narcissist. Nay, this is an account of a Virgo who was primed to take a hell of a lot more responsibility for the suffering and actions of those around her.

"The Day After the Longest Day of the Year" by Amanda Palmer at Amanda Palmer Is Creating Art:

the day went by slowly yesterday....we took turns sitting at his side, making him comfortable, massaging his head and feet, telling him that we were all here, that it was okay to leave. his breathing was hard to listen to, increasingly pained and underwater. we know, as mammals, when death is at the doorstep. knock knock. who's there.

it was the day after the solstice, the day after the longest day in the year.

"It's Important to Wear Underwear When You're Stealing Teeth" by Molly at Mollytopia:

I’m sharing this critical information with you because
a) one of my polls revealed that some of you go commando
b) I recently tried to steal a tooth and I was really thankful I had on panties.

"Letter To My Mother After Charleston" by Carvell Wallace at The Toast:

But seeing them beating that man on television, it must have scared me so deep, in a place so hidden, that I didn’t even know about it. My brain kept playing as though I were a regular teenager. But my body. My body ma. The body you gave me. My body knew the truth. My body locked the door from the inside without me even knowing it.

And because you are a fan of finding good, new writing online:

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Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a blogger, designer and consultant, and speaker who blogs and works from schmutzie.com, spreads gratitude through the graceinsmallthings.com social network, celebrates quality blogging with the canblogawards.com, and speaks all over. She has been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health and Woman's Day magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. She believes in and works to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

The 325th Five Star Mixtape Is Brought to You By Agatha Christie

This week's Five Star Mixtape is brought to you by learning to prioritize and not take stuff too personally, finding one's power, a relief from this transgender/transracial mess of an argument, the then and now of newspapers, the ability to see one's mother as a multi-dimensional human being, a real danger of living in a dangerous neighbourhood, discovering one's lack of privilege, the desire to leave a legacy of love, snacking horror, and Agatha Christie:

by Violetriga (own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

by Violetriga (own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend.

— Agatha Christie —

"The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck" by Mark Manson at Mark Manson:

What we don’t realize is that there is a fine art of non-fuck-giving. People aren’t just born not giving a fuck. In fact, we’re born giving way too many fucks. Ever watch a kid cry his eyes out because his hat is the wrong shade of blue? Exactly. Fuck that kid.

"Poetry is Not a Luxury: Poetry As Power" by Kiki Nicole at Where Are You Press:

White people love to tell me how lyrical my writing is, how the rhythms of my words flow so well, how every verse is so political, so eloquent. Outside of past college workshop classes, however, white people love to scrutinize my Black existence. They love to touch my hair (especially when it’s pastel colored), invade my personal space bubble, whistle and holler out of truck windows, and sneer as I walk through suburbia.

"Trangender vs. Transracial: Caitlyn Jenner & Rachel Dolezal" by Rafi D'Angelo at SoLetsTalkAbout.com:

Until Janet Mock or Laverne Cox gives me something to work with, I want to attempt to explain that while race and gender are both social constructs, they don’t occupy the same space with regard to perception or flexibility.

"Flush" by Nancy Nall Derringer at nancynall.com:

A blind copy editor was a joke on some Mary Tyler Moore TV show, but we actually had one, a guy who leaned his white cane up against his desk. They could have booted him onto disability, but they didn’t. He edited the weather page, his nose pressed close to his monitor.

"She Would Have Been 80" by Vikki Reich at Up Popped a Fox:

I’ve spent years trying to understand why I loved her so much, why I still consider her to be one of my heroes. People have asked me how I forgave her for the pain she caused and I could never articulate the why or the how of that forgiveness.

Until now.

"Sleeping Bags for Two or One" by Ashley Nicole Black at Dead Housekeeping:

Find one who is kind, likes the same things you do, and has asthma so they’ll stay behind with you to play pretend and tell stories, when the other kids run off to play sports. Go everywhere and do everything together. So that if your best friend died, and someone made a collage for her funeral, they wouldn’t find a single photo of her that didn’t have you in it.

"If I'm Good the Police Will Leave Me Alone" by Laurie White at Laurie Writes:

This is a different kind of life. This is the privilege people often claim isn't real, because it's uncomfortable. Because it is real.

"Done" by Christy Sturm at Motherhood Unscripted:

I choose love. I choose encouragement. I choose edification. I choose support. I would rather be wrong about an issue and have a legacy of love than be right and have some person’s suicide on my heart.

"Dear Nestlé, We Have to Talk About Raisinets" by Geraldine DeRuiter at The Everywhereist:

Nature is horrible at almost everything. That’s why on those rare occasions when it does manage to create something of immense beauty – like the Grand Canyon or Beyoncé – we can only sit and marvel with our mouths hanging open.

And because you are a fan of finding good, new writing online:

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Elan Morgan

Elan Morgan is a blogger, designer and consultant, and speaker who blogs and works from schmutzie.com, spreads gratitude through the graceinsmallthings.com social network, celebrates quality blogging with the canblogawards.com, and speaks all over. She has been seen in the Globe & Mail, Best Health and Woman's Day magazines, TEDxRegina, and on CBC News and Radio. She believes in and works to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.