Social Media And The Dreaded Clique

I debated on whether or not to post this, but here goes nothing…

You’ve decided to do it. Everyone else seems to be doing it, so why shouldn’t you, especially if you need to get your name out there to promote <insert product or service>? Therefore, you decide to go ahead and set up that Twitter account, Facebook profile, Google Plus profile, and just about every other damn social media platform you’ve been told to try. After all, you have to get your name out there, right? How else are you going to peddle your product to a large audience?

So, you’ve established your profiles. Over time, you’ve met some people and everything seems to going well; you’re chatting, mostly about superficial things here and there and meeting other people through the relationships you’ve already established. You’re just freaking swell and chugging along on the little social media train. People genuinely seem interested in what you have to say…. Until one day you start noticing little things here and there. It’s all subtle of course. No one is overtly saying I’m not feeling you anymore or that your content sucks. Yet, you notice actions, or rather inactions. People aren’t reading your blog posts or sharing them anymore. People no longer comment on the silly memes or articles you’ve linked to your profile. Ah! Somewhere along the line, people you’ve regularly conversed with are fading into the abyss of the Internet. It gets worse though. Not only do they seem to fade away from you, but they also seem to regularly converse with the same group of people. You know what I’m talking about. They share and comment on each other’s posts, comment on each other’s silly memes about work and life. Hmm. That’s when that dreaded thought first crosses your mind. Dare I say that social media is cliquish?

Ha! Pretty much summed up my sentiments.

Let’s face it. Cliques happen. But why are people cliquish? Is it just the nature of the beast that we call human socialization? Maybe. Ok. So I know you’re probably thinking; Stephanie, cliques only exist in high school. Or, how could they exist virtually? Ha! Walk on any college campus and stay for a while. You’ll soon see that cliques are very real. You could argue that they are just remnants of high school and that they fade with each subsequent year of college. Yeah. Tell that to those people who go to a fraternity or sorority “meet and greet” or “open house” and don’t get selected to pledge. From what I hear, the answer (if any is provided) is that the “would be pledge” wasn’t a good “fit” for the organization. {Side note: Surprisingly, or perhaps not, I’ve heard of this happening after failed job interviews as well.} As far as virtual cliques are concerned, hang out on a social media platform for a while and I’m sure you’ll start seeing certain people interacting more with the same group of people.

Recently, I was chatting with a fellow blogger/indie author/cool person of the social media community. I asked if she also noticed that people tend to form cliques on various social media platforms. She commented that it’s a trend that happens and you soon get used to it [clique forming] and you’ll move on accordingly. Damn. I guess. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that it sucks.

And with that, dear reader, I continued to mull over social media group formations. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that perhaps my observations were too harsh and that clique wasn’t the right word, or rather description for what I observed on social media. After all, people naturally tend to be more friendly towards some more so than others, mainly due to commonalities. Furthermore, the more you have in common with someone, the more likely you are to repeatedly interact with that person and vibe with what they have to say. I don’t think that behavior is necessarily cliquish, but rather the natural progression of friendship once you get beyond the superficial layer(s).

As such, I decided to not dwell in the pit of social media despair. Instead, I thought my musings would make a great post on the blog. Who knows? Maybe there’s someone else out there who’s feeling similarly. I guess my fellow blogger/indie author/cool person of the social media community was right; you get over it and move on. I’m sure my words will gravitate to people who will connect with them.

Well, what are your thoughts about social media? Do you think that it promotes cliques? Groupthink? Harmony? Peace? I want to hear it all; the good, the bad, and the down right ugly. Leave your comments below.

Guest Blog Post

Love is love!

Hi everyone! I have great news! I was asked to guest post on fellow independent author, Dicey Grenor’s, blog. I interviewed her on one of my indie author interviews. You can check that out here.

Over on her blog, I was asked to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart; interracial relationships and the need for diversity in novels. Peep out what I had to say here: https://diceyblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/indiethursday-s-m-dahman-author-guestpostinterracial-romance-in-fiction

Meet Sean Schultz and Invisible Wounds

always a vet

Hello dear readers. It’s been a few days since I’ve last chatted with y’all. I’ve been busy reading (interesting stuff out there), chatting (should really do less of), and trying to plug away on my sequel (whenever inspiration hits *sigh). Anyway, I’m taking a mini break from all of that this morning because I want y’all to meet a pretty cool guy who’s on an important mission. His name is Sean Schultz.

Hi Sean! The red filter serves as a reminder of everyone deployed. Hopefully I'll start a trend like the rainbow colored profile pics for the LGBT community

Hi Sean! The red filter serves as a reminder of everyone deployed. The intended goal is to start a trend similar to the rainbow colored profile pics for the LGBT community.

Sean is one of the nicest people I’ve met on social media. He popped up in my Twitter feed one day due to an indie author Q&A I did with his father, K.G., who’s also pretty cool (you can check out his Q&A here). Over time, I’ve found out that Sean has eclectic taste in music (awesome!), four tattoos (dope!), and he likes to bring a smile to someone’s face with his twisted sense of humor (again, awesome!). While chatting with him one day, he shared with me that he is a Marine veteran suffering from posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). Naturally, I had a few questions about his Marine background. Graciously, he was kind enough to answer them:

Question 1: When did you join the Corps?

Answer 1: I joined the Corps in August of 2001 right before the attacks on September 11th, which definitely changed the pace of training once that happened. We knew then that the majority of our brothers and sisters we graduated boot camp with would be deployed at some point to a combat zone. For me, that was Iraq in 2003 with 1st Marine Division 11th Marines Regiment during the initial march to Baghdad.

Q2: When did you first begin experiencing PTSD symptoms?

A2: The fight with PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression is a daily struggle I am still dealing with. I believe I started having symptoms when I was still in the Corps and for the longest time I was using marijuana as my solution for masking my illness, which in itself does have some incredible benefits in treating my symptoms. However, it is a depressant, just like alcohol, and it got to a point that I became addicted to it. Like alcohol, or a lot of the psychological pharmaceuticals that are out there, I was using it to mask the pain. It wasn’t until my most recent suicide attempt, after I stopped smoking that I realized I had a problem that I needed to face. I finally reached out and got the support from my family and friends. I have also started hormone supplement therapy through a doctor here in San Diego in conjunction with my antidepressants and antianxiety medication, which we hope to wean me off of at some point.

red boots

Q3: What has personally helped you combat PTSD?

A3: A large help for me personally was moving to San Diego with my parents, who have been a huge support system for me. The change in scenery and the amount of resources available to me out here versus back in southern Indiana are extremely different. It also helps that there is a more positive and artistic vibe to the Normal Heights area in which I currently reside and am a member of the community association.

In addition to the change of scenery, my incredibly talented mother, who outside of her day job, is a phenomenal painter and I don’t just say that because I am her son. She got me addicted to yoga, which is where the majority of the healing began. I am very thankful for that and to the instructors at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga here in Normal Heights as well as the studio in North Park. The practice of yoga is incredibly spiritual and allows you to connect, and for me, start to love myself again.

Another huge help for me has been the starting of this movement [see below], which has forced me to get out of my shell and be motivated. I spend most of my day online talking with fellow veterans, researching, and trying to network with similar organizations to create a unified front and decrease the dramatic statistic of 22 veterans that take their own lives everyday. I have also started to network within the community and begun sharing my story with whoever will listen in order to raise awareness and break the notion that “you are fine, suck it up.” Mental health awareness, in general, is on the rise because we are finally starting to see the side effects of this “war” we have been involved with for over a decade. It has taken a terrible toll not just on the veterans themselves, but their loved ones as well.

As previously mentioned, Sean started a movement to spread awareness of PTSD along with the alarming rates of suicides among veterans. Please read more about his movement below:

The Invisible Wounds Tattoo, donated by Pete Walker of Allegory Tattoo in San Diego.

The Invisible Wounds Tattoo donated by Pete Walker of Allegory Tattoo in San Diego.

The #InvisibleWounds movement was started thanks to a woman I have never met, whose life dramatically changed due to an unfortunate event. Because of her, I have made it my life’s mission to help spread awareness of PTSD and suicide that plagues veterans, like myself, because the VA [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] doesn’t do their job in a timely manner. We [veterans] feel as though it is a sign of weakness, and suffer rather than seek the help we need. We feel as though life would be easier, not for us, but for our loved ones, if we just removed ourselves from the picture and decreased the burden.

I know first hand how crippling this can be. No matter how badly you would like to get up off of the couch and just do something to participate in life, you feel you can’t. You wonder why you are the way you are and how you got so broken. The worst part is you do your best to hide it from those you love. If they knew and understood what was really going on with you, they would be willing to drop everything to help you in a heartbeat because they love you.

Not to get too deep into my story, because this isn’t about me. If you want to read my story I invite you to go to my page. Because of Stephanie Mason Lembo’s video, I have been able to let go of all my built-up self-hate and have begun to love myself again. I have seen the light and that life is worth living since my attempts on my life resulted in my best friend and fellow Marine convincing me to seek help. His name is Alan Kissinger, and he discovered me in the middle of one of these attempts; he literally saved my life.

But that’s enough about me. This post is simply to spread the awareness. Hopefully it will reach those that are struggling and afraid to seek help, to let them know that there are options and programs outside the VA that can help them get better, and participate in this glorious thing we call life again. My hope is that this post will inspire someone else like it did me, to tell their story, face the demons they are hiding, and finally close those old wounds that no one can see. I can tell you first hand it is a terrible feeling to have to constantly wear a false smile for those you love, or go to work to support your family (if you are fortunate enough to have one) while you are completely falling apart and screaming on the inside for change and help. You feel as though there is nowhere to turn except toward the barrel of a gun or, in my case, a noose around the neck, a knife to an artery, or even a bag over your head.

That being said, this movement’s first mission is to spread awareness of the terrible tragedy that has befallen our nation. On average, there are 22 Veterans that take their lives every day. That statistic does not sit well with me. We at Invisible Wounds are no longer going to stand by and do nothing. The time is now to spread awareness. As this movement grows, we will collaborate with similar organizations to create a unified front and bring down those numbers.

We thank you in advance for any support you are willing to offer to help our cause, and salute you for your efforts. If you have any questions on how you can be of assistance, we invite you to send us a message. We are very responsive and open to any help and suggestions we receive.

Sean C. Schultz

“Uncle Sean”

USMC Veteran

du3O_JUZ.jpg-large

Startling statistic!

Q4: What support has Invisible Wounds garnered so far? 

A4: I am currently manning the ship solo, but am picking up resources as I go along, like Byron Rogers (USMC Vet, Motivational Speaker, and founder of Meaning After Military), Katie Kyle (brainchild behind Kome Together, which focuses on general mental health awareness), and Mark Zambon, the San Diego County Veteran Representative for Congresswoman Susan Davis. I’m trying to gain support from the local, state and national VFWs [Veterans of Foreign Wars USA] as well.

Thank you for your service and for sharing your story, Sean. I’m sure Invisible Wounds will help save many lives. If you want to learn more about #InvisibleWounds, please contact Sean from one of the links below:

Email: Sean@invisiblewoundsllc.com

Twitter: @Invisibl3wounds

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/InvisibleWoundsLLC

Facebook: www.facebook.com/InvisibleWoundsLLC

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/Invisibl3Wounds/

Instagram: invisiblewoundsllc

Website (coming soon): www.InvisibleWoundsLLC.com

 

 

 

Cannabis Innovations

Davon!

Davon!

It’s all about the green… At least according to my main man, AJ! He’s not alone. Between green money and green weed, most people are concerned with either one or both forms of green. In some states, having one form of green leads to the other. As such, the legalization of cannabis is on the tip of most people’s tongues (for better or for worse) nowadays. Turn on the TV, read a news article, or scope out a random blog post (clears throat) and you’ll eventually come across the debate on whether or not to legalize weed in the country, or at least in a particular state. Depending on which state you reside, you could see the legalization of weed on your ballot this fall (even though it’s still illegal at the federal level). The fact that state governments are even entertaining legalizing recreational (and of course medicinal) use of cannabis can be attributed to one state in particular, Colorado.

With the new legalization of cannabis in the Centennial State, companies are making massive profits off its decriminalization. Of course this isn’t going unnoticed by other entrepreneurs itching to get their hands on some greenbacks in this “new” market. One of those said individuals happens to be one of my besties, Davon. I’ve known Davon for almost 15 years now. (Wow!) He was my road dog back in high school before he up and moved back to his home state of New York (side eye!). Anyway, I knew he had a weed business, but I wasn’t sure what all it entailed. So, I sent him a text inquiring about it. Before I knew it, we had a full fledged conversation about what’s been happening on the ground in Colorado. Apparently, loads of people, particularly children, have been ingesting too much candy that contains cannabis resulting in overdoses (AKA hellish trips, been there, done that). Most of these accidents stem from lack of proper labeling on the product. This is a problem. But, when there’s a problem there’s a solution. In steps Davon’s business, CannaMark. Check out more about how his business is innovating the cannabis market:

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Question 1. Tell me more about your company, CannaMark.

Answer 1. CannaMark is an FDA approved product that goes directly onto cannabis infused edibles. For example, once a Cannabis cookie or piece of candy is opened and left outside of the wrapper, there’s no way of telling it has Cannabis in it. Cannamark solves that problem because the CannaMark [logo] itself is edible; it is a tasteless and odorless application.

Q2. So you don’t actually make edibles, just the logo imprinted on them?

A2. Yes, like the Hershey’s logo on a candy bar.

Q3. How did you come up with the idea behind your company?

A3. Initially our company was compliance based. Once we knew that New York would be passing a stringent medicinal marijuana program and few licenses would be rewarded, we decided it would be best to focus on the market as a whole and find solutions to problems that were sure to arise. Fortunately for us, the west coast was already booming. With Colorado’s edibles market gaining traction, it wasn’t long before we noticed news reports of accidental ingestion and over-ingestion due to the labeling and potency of the products. It wasn’t long after that we realized we had a solution that worked: label chocolates. Even though we didn’t have a solution for non-chocolate edibles, chocolates made up enough of the market for us to begin patenting our product and reaching out to companies out west. Simultaneously, I began focusing on different applications to label popularized edibles so that we’d be able to better service clients and the industry as a whole.

Q4. You have political advisors on your team right?

A4. Yes.

Q5. How did they become involved with CannaMark?

A5. Multiple cannabis meetings and groups began to form when the bill passed in New York. [S.M. side note: Starting in January 2016, residents of NY will be able to consume cannabis, but they can’t smoke it. Interesting.] While I didn’t attend as many [meetings] as I should have, I was lucky enough to attend those that also drew the attention of political bodies. Grassroots efforts are always a great component to building a business, but in an industry that walks fine-lines, knowing the politics and laws associated within a given state helps tremendously.

We had also done business in the past with someone who would become a partner in our company. We had no idea how extensive his political contacts were because our business relationship with him had formerly been solely in the music industry. Everything seemed to gel together for us, especially given that our product didn’t contain cannabis.

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Q6. What are your hopes for the future of the cannabis industry?

A6. While the cannabis industry continues to experience tremendous growth, scalability for companies is still constricted due to the inability to ship products containing THC across state lines. I’m looking forward to the day when that becomes legal. I also hope to see the cannabis industry become widely viewed as a respectable industry without the current stigma attached to it. Of course there’s an education process that comes with that, but over the coming years I believe we’ll see a shift in acceptance towards the “herb.” The public will have to rethink [what they know about] cannabis since we’ve been programmed over the past seventy years to view it as a dangerous and harmful drug.

Q7. Can you please elaborate on what you mean by scalability? 

A7. Basically we’re a printing company, not a marijuana company. Lol! So, unlike marijuana companies, who can’t engage in interstate business transactions, we can.

Q8. What are your fears for the cannabis industry?

A8. My only fear for the cannabis industry, specifically at this juncture, is companies and consumers not working in unison with respects to public safety and health. It would be a shame to see such progress go to waste due to a few irresponsible parties. While it’s a fact that cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco, it’s still under close scrutiny. With that, everyone needs to do their part in self-compliance as best they can. It’s good to see states working closely with their local businesses to address problems that may arise.

Q9. What challenges are there for the legalization of cannabis nationwide?

A9. On a national scale, cannabis faces a few challenges. Two of the biggest, in my opinion, are dealing with imprisonments [due to possession] and the battle against “Big Pharma.”

On Prison Reform: Existing medicinal and recreational laws specify where people can consume [cannabis] and [the] amounts they can have on them. While those with extensive drug charges may not be considered, individuals who are currently imprisoned for minor drug charges will have to be released. Many records will have to be expunged. Without getting into the politics behind prisons and numbers, we all know what that will do for their business.

On Pharmaceutical companies: The story is not much different with regards to the pharmaceutical industry. We’re already experiencing doctors, along with parents of children with severe illnesses, and patients alike, expressing their preference to medicinal cannabis use as opposed to traditional medications. There are far fewer side effects, and as we dig deeper into the benefits of CBD’s [cannabinoids] its only a matter of time before the pharmaceutical industry is turned on it’s head. Either that or they become early adopters to developing cannabis medications of their own. Either way, we know pharmaceutical corporations have a hand (a very heavy hand) in politics. [S. M. side note: Thanks lobbyists!]

We live in a world of information today. You don’t have much digging to put it all together.

Q10. I believe you mentioned that licensing is tough. Could you expound on the issue/problem with licensing as it pertains to your business?

A10. Licensing isn’t tough in all states with marijuana programs. It may be an extensive and expensive process, but not all states are difficult. With regards to CannaMark, we do not sell or touch cannabis, at all. That eliminates the need for us to have a license. Since we’re providing labeling solutions that go directly onto edible products, we’ve luckily addressed scalability and the ability to do business nationally.

 

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Q11. Finally, where do you see CannaMark in the future?

A11. We want to become the industry standard. We’re currently working for our stamp to become a mandate so that all edible snacks have to have CannaMark stamped on it. We’re also working closely with state laboratories in testing to ensure products have exactly what they say they have in them.

We’d like to become to BBB [Better Business Bureau] of the cannabis industry, or the official stamp [of edibles]. No mail can be mailed without a stamp, right? Then no cannabis product should be sold without an official seal. Essentially, that will also help crack down on government-approved products vs. black market products. People who like insanely potent products can deal with the black market at their own risk! Lol!

Thanks for taking the time to participate in my Q&A! 🙂

After speaking with Davon, I have a fresh perspective on the legalization of weed. I always thought it should be legal; hell, I’m not sure how it’s illegal and yet alcohol is legal. I’m sure that stems from the cultural demonization of it (thanks culture wars!). Once again, it all boils down to regulation. Much like alcohol was regulated after prohibition, so too does cannabis. I think it will ease parents’ concerns about their children and teens gaining easy access to it.

What do you guys think? Leave a comment below or find me on social media. If you’re interested in finding out more about Davon’s business, check out his website: www.cannamarkusa.com

Is Love A Losing Game?

FullSizeRender-1 Amy Winehouse sure thought love was a losing game, as do countless other artists who write and sing about heartbreak and the frustrations that come with it. It’s true. From that perspective, love sucks. It’s the kind of suck that burns and eats away at you until one day you’re either: (a.) over it and don’t think about it ever again, (b.) accept that it’s over but occasionally think “what if, but oh well” (à la Jill Scott’s “Cross My Mind”, another great song), or (c.) never get over it (let’s hope few people land in this category). Either resolution still results in love being a losing game. However, even when you’re in a happy, healthy, committed relationship with someone, it’s still a losing game. Instead of losing the other person, you’re losing your absolute sovereignty.

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Or course heartbreak blows and unrequited love is the worst. After all, who likes it when the object of their affection doesn’t reciprocate the affection? Perhaps some masochist out there does, but I’m sure most people don’t. I know it was a hard thing to deal with when it happened to me (there were also many, many other complicating factors involved). The object of my affection was very smart and I enjoyed all of our conversations. He knew a little bit about everything under the sun. His vocabulary was extensive, off the charts. I learned new words in every conversation we shared. Long story short, when things got complicated, everything went south, quickly (similar to how it would in a theoretical zombie apocalypse). In the end, I had to pick up the pieces of my pride and in doing so, I learned what the word “lovelorn” means. In retrospect, he was right at the time; I was lovelorn, but hey, first loves are one of the toughest losses to shrug off.

FullSizeRender-3 Fast-forward 10 years and I’m married to a great guy, who says reading my posts give him insight into my thoughts. That’s cool. I’ve always said I’m a better writer than speaker. He even dropped a line in the comments section on one. (Thanks!) If you’re reading this post, thanks for giving me a strong dose of reality and a fresh breath of positivity when I really need it. Tu amor me hace bien. 🙂 I digress.

FullSizeRender-4 Anyway, when you love someone and you agree to be in a relationship, you have to give up something, essentially losing your total autonomy, your absolute freedom. From this perspective, love is once again a losing game, albeit a bittersweet losing game. I say bittersweet because it’s sweet that you’re in this amazing relationship with someone with whom you can unabashedly share all of your fears and aspirations. It’s bitter because you no longer have full autonomy. I don’t mean in the sense that your significant other won’t allow you to do certain things. That would be abusive. What I do mean is that you can’t just fuck off and do whatever you want. Someone else’s thoughts and feelings have to be taken into consideration. You can’t fully do everything you please on a whim because you lose that freedom to do so once you commit to someone. Honestly, it’s something I’m still learning to navigate. Just about everything I do, say, or even think has an indirect or direct effect on my husband.

Strangely (or maybe not), commitment makes me think of parents and children. I’m not a mother, but I imagine relationships are akin to parenting, where each individual is a co-parent and the relationship itself is the child. You have to nurture it and spend time with it in order for it to flourish and grow in a healthy fashion. You also have to be mindful about your actions and what you say so that it can grow to be the best that it can be. You have to be selfless, but not so selfless that you completely lose yourself. That’s not healthy either. It’s a balancing act.

Is love a losing game? Of course that’s subjective and contingent upon circumstances. However, love is definitely a game of reciprocity.

New Section Coming Soon

Lol!

Hello readers (hopefully you’re still there)!

It’s almost been a week since I’ve posted anything. I apologize. I’ve been busy plugging away at the sequel to Twisted and blabbing with cool peeps on social media. In the midst of doing all that, I decided to start a new section on the blog geared toward interviewing interesting people that I’ve met on various social media platforms. I’ll probably post these interviews either weekly or biweekly depending on schedules and what not starting next week (fingers crossed). In the interim, I’ll try to come up with some random things to chat about so that I don’t stay ghost for too long.

Stay tuned…

10 Facts About That Kush

We all know Rihanna likes to puff

My main man, AJ, is into that green business and he makes a pretty nice profit for himself. As much as weed has been in the news lately, I discovered that I really didn’t know shit about the drug, aside from the usual stuff you’re fed in school through those D.A.R.E. programs (if you grew up in the 90’s I’m sure you’re aware of those antidrug initiatives). Or, from the musings of a friend who’s high as hell and waxing philosophical about the ills of the world and how if every world leader smoked one, a lot of problems would get solved.

D.A.R.E. poster

So, I decided to look some shit up on this divisive little plant. However, I wasn’t interested in the mundane discussions on its medicinal purposes (although I do sprinkle some in the end) or how it’s a gateway drug that will have you itching for that next hit of rock outside that seedy downtown spot (which is probably gentrified by now if you live in Atlanta). Nor did I want to go into details about how although weed usage is even across the races, blacks are disproportionally imprisoned due to weed possession (aside from being outright sad and ridiculous, that also deserves a post all of its own). I wanted to dig for some other facts ( as much as my 2 a.m. brain will allow me). Therefore, after cutting through most of the mainstream malarkey, I discovered 10 interesting things about cannabis:

Courtesy of gifstumbler.com

  • Hemp is not marijuana. Cannabis stiva (weed) and cannabis stavia L. (hemp) are two entirely different things. The former contains the psychoactive compound THC, the latter does not. There are also many other strands of cannabis that also contain other psychoactive properties aside from the THC we’re familiar with.
  • Cannabis has been around awhile. It is believed to date back to Central/South Asia around 12,000 – 10,000 years ago. For instance, cordage made of hemp found in ancient pottery in Taiwan suggests that cannabis was one of the oldest known human agriculture crops. Chinese records document various ways hemp and weed were cultivated and used throughout the centuries.
  • Cannabis wasn’t always illegal. In fact, it wasn’t until around 1906 that the U.S. began cracking down on the cultivation of cannabis. Prior to that, King James I mandated that hemp be grown as one of the crops in the Virginia colony mainly for textile purposes. Many oils and serums made of hemp were marketed as medicines. However, due to charlatans mixing harmful ingredients into their hemp-based medicines and conservative social mores driving legislation, The Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) was born and deemed cannabis oil a “poison” thus increasing regulation of it. This law preceded the Marijuana Tax Act (1937), which made the possession or transfer of cannabis illegal throughout the U.S. under federal law excluding medical and industrial use. Of course those exclusions were levied heavily. By the 1950’s and onward, the laws around the criminalization of cannabis usage got even tougher.
  • In the U.S., cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 substance. Apparently that means it’s in the same classification as heroine and LSD. Damn.
  • According to some theories, xenophobia helped to criminalize cannabis in the U.S. Interesting on so many different levels. According to an article from NPR citing a 1994 Atlantic article, “Cannabis was outlawed because various powerful interests (some of which have economic motives to suppress hemp production) were able to craft it into a bogeyman in the popular imagination, by spreading tales of homicidal mania touched off by consumption of the dreaded Mexican ‘locoweed.’ Fear of brown people combined with fear of nightmare drugs used by brown people to produce a wave of public action against the ‘marijuana menace.’ That combo led to restrictions in state after state, ultimately resulting in federal prohibition.” Now this was during the early 20th century. What’s most amazing to me about this quote from NPR is how corporate interests played on the fears of the American populace. Arguably, corporations and other interests groups currently employ these same tactics. As far as the xenophobia, the more things change, the more the stay the same. Once again, this deserves a post all of its own.
  • How did we get the term ganja? Put your lighters up and wave your ganja in the air.I’ve heard the term ganja in many dancehall songs and automatically thought it was Jamaican slang for weed. Well, that’s partially true. However, ganja derives from the Sanskrit word ganjika. In Hinduism, ganja is associated with the god Shiva.
  • Even influential minds smoke that Kush. Shakespeare was one of them. While he probably didn’t smoke the Kush strand specifically, an archaeological dig did find pipes from Shakespeare’s garden that contained trace amounts of cannabis. I was surprised to know that even Oprah admitted to smoking it once upon a time.
  • In the U.S., cannabis ranks number 4 in crop value. At least according to some estimates. It’s kind of hard to track that since it’s illegal on the federal level. In some estimates, cannabis ranks as number 1 or 2 in California, New York, and Florida.
  • Cannabis is delicious. People eat it, including yours truly. And no, I’m not talking about those special brownies your homeboy made when you were in college causing you to have that God awful trip. I’m talking about products such as hemp milk, (I use the unsweetened Vanilla flavor in my protein shakes) hemp seeds (which are high in Omegas 3 and 6), and other edibles that don’t contain THC.
  •  “Marijuana” is not the spelled the same in Spanish. Hmm. This probably isn’t that interesting to most people, but since I took Spanish throughout middle and high school and was a Spanish major once upon a time, I find this interesting. In Spanish, it’s spelled “marihuana.” How did the anglicized version morph that “h” into a “j?”

So, that about sums up my 2 a.m. ramblings on random weed, sorry, cannabis related stuff. As always, I’d love to hear from you. Do you know any other good factoids about cannabis or do you have any good weed related stories? Leave them in the comments below or find me on social media.

Sources:

  1. Live Science. http://www.livescience.com/48337-marijuana-history-how-cannabis-travelled-world.html
  2. Advanced Holistic Health. http://www.advancedholistichealth.org/history.html
  3. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_(drug)
  4. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_foods
  5. NPR. http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/07/14/201981025/the-mysterious-history-of-marijuana
  6. DEA Museum. http://www.deamuseum.org/ccp/cannabis/history.html
  7. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_history_of_cannabis_in_the_United_States

 

10 Random (Yet Comical) Writer Memes

Writers memes

You’ve heard the joke before. Writers are big time procrastinators. In fact, they procrastinate so badly that you wonder how they even get any writing accomplished. (On an anecdotal note, I tend to get my best writing done in spurts. For example, I won’t write anything for two or three days and then I’ll go on a random ten-hour bender.) I was ecstatic when I saw these recurring jokes online. After all, I thought that I was the only person who stared blankly at a screen for ten minutes or so before deciding to check Twitter or G+. However, this seems to be a common thread that I share with fellow writers. So, on a morning chocked full of procrastination, I decided to make another lighthearted post. Sit back and postpone your musings for a minute or so. Here are ten comical memes pertaining to writers:

writing meme 4

Hmm…

10. Accurate. Sometimes it seems like my characters are telling me the story and I’m just the scribe. Other times, I’m trying to dig deep into my creative reservoir to see what I can come up with. When the latter happens, it’s time to hop on Twitter or G+.

Writers meme 8

Try insulting a writer at your own risk

9. Need I say more? Don’t mess with a writer and her keyboard (and sometimes pen and paper).

writers meme 3

Beware of plot holes and crazy story logic

8. Anyone who examines a plot and sees gaping holes (be it movies or novels) will tell you why the aforementioned meme is spot on. Or, if the story just doesn’t make any sense, this meme is also appropriate.

Writer's Meme 9

Procrastination at its finest.

7. Ha! Story of my life while in the middle of any writing project. I even remember going through these same categories while procrastinating for school work.Well, maybe not the comparison piece.

writer's meme 7

Are you ready to go yet?

6. What can I say? I’m a little introverted. However, listening to others socialize can yield great ideas for future storylines or characters.

writer's meme 5

Ha! Where’s my tribe?

5. Anybody who’s read this post will and this post understand why I selected this meme. The struggle is real!

writer's meme 2

Well, is it?

4. Ha! More of an inside joke for myself. I wear my satin bonnet whenever I’m parked in the house for the day.

large_Memes_from_Writers_Write4

Happens to me all the time.

3. I actually find these conversations beneficial. I really get to know my characters and it helps me keep them authentic throughout the course of the story. I particularly enjoy interviewing them. Or, I could just have multiple personalities. Am I crazy or nah?

Writer meme 6

Another thing that happens to me more times than not

2. When I have those ideas on the tip of my brain right before I fall asleep, I jot down notes in my cell before tossing it on the nightstand and rolling over. Sometimes, I’ll even dream about those ideas. When I wake up, I’ll get the cell and jot down the details I remember.

1.  I love this meme, which is why it’s number 1! I think it’s an accurate description of different people’s perception of who writers are and what we do. What are your favorite memes? As always, leave a comment below or find me on social media! If you liked this post, please don’t be afraid to share the love! 🙂

Yep!

Yep!

10 Random Facts About Me

Yours Truly

Yours Truly

A quick, fun Saturday post!

 

Yuck! T

Yuck!

10.) I don’t like overly ripe bananas

Why so serious?

Why so serious?

9.) I love a good joke

8.) I’m short

Vanderbilt Divinity School

Vanderbilt Divinity School

7.) I spent 2.5 years in seminary.

Non-GMO-project

6.) I’m a little particular about what I eat

Nope!

Nope!

5.) …and I don’t drink sodas

Archer!

Archer!

4.) I’m a Sagittarius

My Camry isn't this jazzy!

My Camry isn’t this jazzy!

3.) Every car I’ve own so far has been a Toyota

2.) My favorite time of year is October 1st – January 1st

Ha!

Ha!

1.) I can be stubborn at times!

What’s a random fact about you? Leave your comments below or find me on social media!

For Those Dumpy Days…

The G.O.A.T.

The G.O.A.T.

We all have them. Those days where you just feel like nothing is going your way or nothing is working out like you want it to. That pretty much sums up my mood these past couple of days.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m no marketing guru and trying to figure out how to market this little story I wrote is a massive pain in my ass. However, I don’t really have the luxury of paying someone to market this shit for me either. So, I’ve taken the last day and a half and I’ve just been dumpy, dumpy that my story isn’t being heard in a sea full of stories. Dumpy because I don’t really know what I’m doing. Dumpy that it seems tons of other books are promoted and discussed, but mine is in its own little corner of the market collecting cobwebs. Dumpy that I really haven’t tapped into a resource or network that I feel can truly help me figure all of this shit out. I was so down that I really didn’t felt like writing. Why bother? To hell with writing a sequel to Twisted if no one is going to read the first book anyway. That sentiment remained until I read the New York Magazine article about Serena Williams.

Everyone knows who Serena Williams is. She’s arguably the best female athlete of this era (I consider her the G.O.A.T.). With that being said, reaching that pinnacle of success doesn’t come without a bunch of shit. For example, she (and Venus) is constantly called a man, accused of juicing, slammed with racial slurs and epithets (hate is especially vehement on message boards) and every other negative comment you could possibly imagine. And yet, she (and Venus) perseveres on and off court. (I marvel at her mental tenacity on the court. It’s quite the sight to see.)

As the New York Magazine article stated, her mental fortitude and self-belief is off the scale. I agree. It has to be. In a sport where the majority is telling you that you’re not good enough and its pundits denigrating you every chance they get, you have no choice but to maintain a sense of inner belief. Upon reading that article, I felt inspired. I decided to stop wallowing in the dumps and try to tap into my own inner spring of resilience and self-belief.

Therefore, I pulled myself up by the metaphorical bootstraps and reminded myself of a few things: Twisted is a good story. Your book hasn’t even been on the market for a full month. Patience is a virtue. I need to persevere and keep seeking out methods that will help me promote my story and myself. It’s a big world out there. Someone is bound to think what I have to say is good.

So, with mindset anew, I’ve decided to start this day off with positive thoughts. Who cares if I didn’t do much preplanning in regards to marketing before the launch of Twisted? That’s in the past. All I can do now is learn from my mistakes and figure out what I can do from here moving forward. As Serena said in the article, “I don’t dwell in the past. If I do, I’ll be swallowed up my negativity.” Boy, if that’s not an accurate statement, I don’t know what is. If you have moments like what I shared in this post, remember that each day is new and different. If you stay mentally tough, focused, and patient, you’ll achieve your goal.