Tag Archives: los angeles

Aside

“And I just ran out of band-aids / I don’t even know where to start / ‘Cause you can bandage the damage / But you never really can fix a heart.” -Demi Lovato/Fix a Heart

It’s National Human Trafficking Day and I promise this post relates…while it may seem that we are veering off-topic for a moment, I promise, if you just keep reading, it all relates.  And by the way, while we’re chatting, if you do anything for me, at least make this issue a hot-button topic that you want to hear candidates talking about.  Because people are not for sale.  20,000 of them US citizens, by the way.

Sometimes, despite all of life’s annoyances, AKA dropping your driver’s license and losing it, God really just has a way of putting people in your path whose stories you simply need to hear.  So yesterday, I went to a DMV in the Valley to avoid the craziness that is the Hollywood DMV.  And while I did forget my checkbook and have to return to the Hollywood DMV to actually get my replacement, yesterday’s waste-of-time activity really ultimately wasn’t a waste of time.

You see, I sat down to a perfectly normal-looking eccentric woman.  Yes, she was wearing a very peculiar outfit, yes her hair needed to be brushed, but she blended it with all the other eccentricities I see in Los Angeles.  She noticed my new cross tattoo on my left wrist and asked me if I was a Christian.  And I knew the way she asked, that this wasn’t a loaded question.

It wasn’t full of the typical, “oh you love Jesus so you must hate gay people” contempt and well-earned judgment.  So I said, yes, I am, but not in the way you might assume and before I was able to become nervous, she began talking.

It was a bit like pulling teeth to find out the real root of her pain, but once I did, I knew it was one of those moments that I needed to remember for the rest of my life.  Long story short, she is probably 60 years-old and somewhat mentally-disabled.  She is not also not very physically mobile so she watches church on television, particularly TBN.

Well, she was watching and she interpreted the pastor/speaker/whomever was on TV to be saying that in order to be blessed by God they needed to give money to that particular network or cause.  I can see how she may have misheard or misunderstood the intent, cue mild mental delays, but I can also connect-the-dots and understand how she internalized a message that is rampant in prosperity theology.  So she, earnestly wanting to “be approved by God” and “needing to be blessed” completely emptied out her bank account and wrote one well-meaning check to this particular organization.

Again, I realize that there are significant problems in logic in doing so, but this woman’s heart was in the right place.  She zeroed out her bank account, got evicted and became homeless.  All the while believing that her money was going to good use and that God would ultimately bless her sacrifice.  Since then, she has been living behind a Jack-in-the-Box fast food restaurant and sleeping on the ground.  She eats refried beans and rummages through the trash for food.  Again, I understand that her thinking is completely illogical and off.  She has some problems.  But here’s the bigger issue.

The bigger issue is that you can donate your every penny to an organization out of a sense of guilt and shame and a gut-wrenching desire to be loved by God.  Not knowing that He loves you completely as is.  Not understanding that God wants to be kept far away from manipulative, disgusting, deceptive marketing ploys.  Not believing that if shame is involved, God isn’t.  I know we have free will.  We can do perfectly idiotic things like empty our bank accounts and become homeless.  But the thing is, this woman has some significant mental handicaps.  I wish someone on the other side of the phone, who was accepting her money, asked her if she had the money to be doing this.  I wish there was a way to stop her from doing this.  She’s on Disability, I really wish someone had financial conservatorship over her. I really wish people would just stop falsely advertising the earning of God’s grace to perfectly desperate people.  People just longing for God and ending up down this rabbit hole called American Religious Capitalism.

My heart really ached for her.  It still does.  I don’t know how I can be a part of the solution.  She wouldn’t accept a food handout.  She wasn’t stable enough for me to feel comfortable giving her my name or phone number.  She wanted to use my address to receive her mail, which just made me uneasy in my gut which I tend to listen to.  I guess all I can do is pray and lend my voice to honor her story.

And I promise, this does relate to human trafficking.  The sale of your body or the sale of your soul is very interrelated.  What people will do out of desperation to connect to God, to connect to themselves, to feel worthy and loved.  Human trafficking has personally affected me and if you looked at me from the outside, saw my teaching resume or were even decent friends with me, you would never guess that in a million years.  Someday maybe I will be brave enough to tell you how I got lucky, how I listened to my gut, how it could have been me if I would have taken just another step in a particular direction.  I’m going to give it time, years to heal, before I tell my story publicly.  I was that close, without me even looking for it.  That close to just falling in the trap that was waiting.  That close and I am a savvy, college-educated, independent woman.  That close to getting out of control and causing me major harm, if I made it out alive.  It’s not just a problem of poor people.  It’s not just a problem of “prostitutes” who “are asking for it.”  It’s very real and if you don’t care about the adult women affected, think about the other 50% of victims — the children sold — little kids sold into modern-day slavery.

So, to sum this up, people are not for sale.  God is also not for sale.  What do you think?  Lend me your thoughts!  Tell me what stirs your heart, what hits you, what you resonate with, and even what you don’t…

fix a heart

sneak peek: get loco

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update:

The official music video for “Go Loco” is finally here…

originally published march 2011:

Just a super quick update to give all you readers (my Aunt Katie?) a sneak peek of the music video I just shot this past night for LA Lakers all-star, Ron Artest called “Get Loco” featuring Taz, George Lopez and Fat Joe.

We can play a game called “Where’s Waldo: Jen Edition” and see if you can spy me in the sneak peek by ESPN.  Stay tuned, I’ll let you know when the  actual music video drops.

p-p-p-p-p-photoshop

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I must credit fashion designer Sheena Gao’s post here for bringing these photoshopped images to my attention.  You will get to know Sheena and Laura of INTERNATIONAL CITIZEN soon as I will be interviewing them and showing you some of their amazing fashions on my blog.  Sheena, Laura and I are going to get to be working together soon in Hollyweird, so I just want to show you some of their awesome pieces.

Anyways, wow…photoshop:

I know I have posted this before:

but the photoshopped images above continue to make this cause so real.  This is nuts.  I too spent the last many years wanting to emulate a fake glamour, a real lie, and never felt skinny/pretty/wonderful enough.  Girls, Hollywood is not real.  It is magic…enjoy the magic but don’t find your value in it–none of these women wake up looking like stars.  What are your thoughts?

what company!

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thank you so much to no h8 and adam bouska for featuring me on their favorable faces portion of their website.  no where near the notoriety of the fabulous company i keep below, but so grateful and honored to be in their mix.  and to be one of three advocates with disabilities, myself, shoshannah stern from weeds and marlee matlin.  thank you reality tv!

little tokyo magic

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It has to be said that I am a sucker for all things kitschy, ridiculous and a little bit out of control.

So when I saw these vintage Avon perfumes in a little retro thrift shop, I HAD to take a picture.  If it’s quirky, weird, miniature…I am very indiscriminating and will probably love it.  And did you know, “to kitschify” is an actual verb?!  Out of control.

So when Sara, Alex and I went to get yummy ramen in Little Tokyo last weekend, I was so down.  I’ve always wanted to go to the legit real Tokyo.  My friend Liz Porter recently went and I was pretty much obsessed with her photos–completely ridiculous.

I mean, really, I like fruits but I didn’t know how much I would like them on sponges:

So when I saw the words “miniature donut SURPRISE” I just had to know what was going on:

And then of course, some Panda Goodness:

Hopefully someday I will get to Tokyo, but until then I have to enjoy finding the kitsch in legit places around LA!  Viva the chotchkes!

be back soon!

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i haven’t posted in a freakishly long time but preschool is wrapping up for the year in about 3 weeks and i will have some fun things to share coming up soon.  hang tight.  xo

and the above video is a cool video of my dear friend sara singing with miley.  check her out at http://www.saramann.com.  we are going to do another video again soon for those of you who have emailed to ask.