Justine Monikue's Blog
December 18, 2014
Here’s a list of what I’d love for people to do and not do in 2015.
If this list is strongly considered, life as we know it may become a lot more delightful.
1.�� Stop liking your FB posts, and plussing your own G+ statuses.
2.�� Stop taking bathroom selfies.
3.�� Acknowledge and own your own cultural and gender insensitivity.
4.�� Don’t assume that your online presence automatically trumps that of others.
5.�� Read real news instead of celeb gossip.
6.�� Enjoy simple pleasures by reducing screen time.
7.�� Kill fax machines.
8.�� Lay off the processed foods.
9.�� Recycle at your workplace.
10.�� Cease causing your own drama.
11.�� If you’re a wide-bodied individual, stop wearing ill-fitted clothing.
12.�� If you’re someone with a pancake ass, stop wearing short tops and leggings as an ensemble.
13.�� Avoid having long personal phone convos while in line at public places.
14.�� Stop getting pissed when people don’t text you back immediately.
15.�� Teach your kids how to not conduct themselves like savages at home and in public; instruct them on basic mannerisms and respect for adults.
I hope that this list serves my readers well.�� Happy everything!
December 11, 2014
It’s easier for me to write a product review than a book review, because products are merely objects to me.�� A book, however, is more than that.
Since I’m a writer, I know what it takes to put a manuscript together.�� I know the intensity and discipline it takes to incorporate ink and syntax onto the pages of your work, the mere act of putting a piece of yourself onto each page.�� With this is mind, I find it difficult to review the written work of others.�� I know the writing struggle!
Though authors, particularly indie authors, like myself, rely on book reviews to make our works known to the public, it’s not an easy feat.�� It is definite that only a small percentage of those that read your work will leave a review.
My eBook Blow White was featured on Amazon’s Top 100 Free book list, taking the number four spot around this time in 2011.�� This translates into a lot copies of this book being acquired by Amazon users, yet I don’t have a single review on Amazon for it as of now.
I also struggle with writing book reviews, because I’m not sure if my review will be seen as valid to potential readers, due to lacking specific details.�� I fear spoiling the book for them.�� Just because a book is my cup of tea, doesn’t mean that it’s yours, so who am I to try and sway you?�� Isn’t that what the review is for?�� I’m not against the book review system, but it’s not always fair to those authors who put out decent books.
I would like to start writing more reviews for indie authors since they’re less likely to obtain the spotlight.�� Hopefully I will get the same respect.�� Do unto others, blah blah blah.
Here are two recent reviews that I posted to Goodreads:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I HIGHLY recommend this book to females between the ages of sixteen and thirty! I view this publication as a handbook, since it has such valuable info and lessons within it.
Women today, and of yesterday, continually get duped with sex, whether they are playing the part of a “tease” and/or using sex as a tool (sans female sex workers). It needs to stop! How can we as women uplift ourselves if we don’t understand our own worth outside of the bedroom?
This eBook answers that question.
Kudos to the author, Ms. Cowie.
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Though this book contains some gems of wisdom and fruitful advice, there was a lot of problematic content that I came across. I believe this book is suitable for those individuals seeking dating advice that are obtuse. This is NOT expert dating advice, and it should have NEVER been revealed.
I feel that when you write a book giving your opinion, that you should be extra careful about the messages that you’re delivering to the reader. Mr. Simmons, based on his written perspective in this particular work, comes off as slightly prejudiced, a bit sexist, socially unaware, and arrogant. As a woman of color, certain parts were hard to read regarding women and race-related topics. This clearly privileged White male has no business giving dating advice when he’s clearly ignorant to certain issues!
Here are some of the lines from the book that didn’t quite tickle my fancy:
- “A black person may have a heart of gold.” [Loc. 197]
-“…women don’t find weak men attractive, unless they have hit the proverbial menopause, that is.” [Loc. 238]
-“…racism has dwindled considerably, if not completely.” [Loc.545]
The book cover is also unsavory. How could the author feel that a book cover displaying a woman being groped be appropriate for this sort of book? May as well have titled it “39 Ways to Get Laid”.
Also, more proofreading should have been done to this work, since I found multiple typos.
I clearly wasn’t enthralled by the latter publication, but I refuse to say something false in order to boost someone’s popularity.�� I totally hate-read that book!�� I pondered giving up on it a few times, but couldn’t resist the urge to finish it, and to find more “expert” advice.
I’m attempting to speak more positively in my day-to-day existence, in an effort to dispel negative energy, but it’s hard not to call people out on their asinine behaviors.�� The truth isn’t always pretty!
December 4, 2014
This year, I have decided to shorten my Xmas gift list.�� If you’re upset about me using “Xmas” instead of “Christmas”, I kindly suggest that you go in a corner and bang one out until you run out of breath.
I was going to stop celebrating December 25th altogether, but decided that may be too much for my kiddos, who have grown accustomed to our annual festivities, which involve a lovely dinner, opening one gift on Christmas Eve, and baking cookies or making a gingerbread house on Christmas Eve.�� I practiced all of these things myself growing up, sans mom making baked goods or allowing for my brother and I to put together a gingerbread house.�� I decided that I wanted my kids to have more familial Christmas traditions, so I started the baking/gingerbread house activity.
My mother, like I, is spiritual but not religious.�� We both had been exposed to church life in our earlier years, but moved away from it in our latter lives.�� This is one of the reasons why I now don’t fully comprehend why my mother did, and still does celebrate religious based holidays.�� I suppose, like me, she did it for her children, and had become accustomed to it.
Unlike my mother, I do intend to stop celebrating Christmas once my children are old enough to realize the true meaning of Christmas, and will opt to put our time and energy into celebrating New Years Day instead.�� I intend to give each of my two kids one gift to celebrate the coming of the new year once I’ve declared that these Christmas shenanigans should cease (I’m assuming this will happen once they’re teens, and “so over” everything).�� By that time, I will be expecting all of us to use our time to volunteer at shelters and other places where the less fortunate are present.�� To me, that is the true meaning of Christmas: providing some form of comfort to the less fortunate, as I presume Jesus would have done if he were among us in the flesh.
Jesus would not have cared about getting the latest tablet or pair of Uggs for his birthday.�� He would’ve cared about humans caring about other humans.�� I believe he would also expect this act of kindness and humility to be performed every day, instead of just a single day per year.
I’m only giving my kids Christmas presents this year.�� This I decided after having a discussion with my current sweetheart, who does not celebrate Christmas.�� Like me, he is spiritual but not religious.�� I wanted to give my dearest a Christmas gift, and when I expressed this sentiment to him, he told me not to bother, that we shouldn’t get each other presents.�� When I asked him what he’s done when people offered him Christmas gifts previously, he told me that he politely declined.�� Wow.�� Teach me how to reject free stuff oh great one!
Having that discussion further pushed me to rethink my practice of celebrating Christmas as a non-Christian person.�� Though I’m not Christian, I will still enjoy the positive parts of the holiday, and have decided to use the money I would otherwise spend on Christmas gifts for my non-offspring, as donations towards local charities.�� I plan on donating money towards the Sunday Breakfast Mission to provide people with some meals on Christmas, and to WWF, since I am an animal lover and support the continued efforts of preserving habitats all over the world.
Spending my money on a worthy cause is a lot more important than cementing any of my current relationships.�� If those that I am close to only care about receiving material goods from me, than that’s not someone I’d like to associate myself with any longer.�� Life is about the memories you create, not the items you possess.
You won’t need an Apple Watch when you go to Hell.�� Trust me.
November 27, 2014
November 20, 2014
I recently met someone who still uses a flip phone.�� This person, a male, is in my age group, so I was a bit taken aback at their flip phone pride.
One of the reasons I was taken back initially, is because I don’t expect to see anyone under the age of forty with a mobile phone that isn’t of the smart variety.
It seems as if American society has become dependent on smartphone technology, at least that’s what I’ve gathered with the constant crowds of folks I spot with their heads down facing the screens of their phones.
I began to wonder how this flip phone guy (FPG) managed to avoid the smartphone world, how he basically rejected the concept of owning such a tool in a first world nation.�� I didn’t ask him, because I felt it would be condescending of me to do so, considering that I am an iPhone user.�� I’m not a phone snob by any means.�� In fact, I totally admire FPG for not becoming a part of the smartphone herd.
Here are some reasons why I believe flip phones are superior to smartphones:
Massive battery life
Less destructible (when closed)
The flip open motion
The flip closed motion
The noise emitted upon closing
I also think that owning a flip phone would make someone less distracted in comparison to someone who is an avid smartphone user.�� With all of the bells and whistles of the current smartphones, such as the iPhones and Samsung Galaxies,�� it’s hard for one not to put their phones down!�� Especially if you use them to their full capacity, like as a replacement camera, shopping list, and event scheduler.
I feel as if I’ve become too dependent on technology.�� I wish I had the balls (ovaries?) to go back to a flip phone, but since I rely on it for business and personal use (though mostly the latter), and enjoy the many features it has, especially the GPS, I’m stuck with it.�� Plus I look at having a smartphone as an investment, and I’d like to get my money’s worth.�� And I fear becoming “behind the times”, though I am still practicing having a more simplified life.
If I ever change my mind, at least I know that it’s possible to downgrade, since T-Mobile still sells flip phones.
I remember when times were simpler, when having a new faceplate for your Nokia 5165 put you at the top of the food chain in high school.�� [Sigh] Those were the days!
November 13, 2014
On November 8, 2014 at the Dover Public Library, I was one of five authors featured at the semi-annual Author Day event.�� My participation in this event marks my first public appearance as an author!
I was initially anxious about being a part of Author Day, since I’d never been on display in such a way before.�� I also don’t like networking.�� I brought along a business associate to help me, which proved to be fruitful, since he encouraged to get out of my comfort zone by meeting and chatting up some of the other authors and patrons that attended the event.�� Sometimes two heads are better than one!
I met some very interesting folks, one being a patron high on prescription drugs who wore about four hospital bracelets, that made frequent trips to the water drinking fountain by my table.�� I’m not assuming that she was high on drugs���I know because she told me!�� Our meeting happened upon her wanting to take some of the free tea I had brought to the event.
I thought it would be nice to give away some free tea (I provided three choices: Black with orange pekoe, Korean ginseng, and oolong), which is pictured on the far right inside of a bowl in the photo above.�� My business associate and I decided to give away some free bookmarks as well.�� Seemed like a logical choice since we had already agreed to sell Let It Break and Morning Stories: The Beginning, the two current My Morning Story publications.
I’m happy to say that two books were purchased by one of the other featured authors at the event���Regina Bumbrey, author of The Price of Being a Princess.�� I wouldn’t have gotten to meet the lovely Miss Bumbrey if I didn’t take a chance on our meeting.�� She too, was also not into networking, so we bonded over this similarity instantly.�� I was super flattered when she decided to purchase Let It Break and Morning Stories: The Beginning.�� I was even more astonished when I saw that she left the following review for Let It Break yesterday:
Such high praise!�� Thanks again Regina!�� I’ll be getting a copy of your book as soon as the Kindle version becomes available, so that I may leave a review for it on Amazon.�� Plus I try to keep my ownership of paper books to a minimum now.�� I’m all about going green!
I learned from being a featured author at Author Day, that I am able to successfully mingle with people without feeling like a predatory salesman.�� I also learned that being the center of attention can become personally rewarding, as long as you remain humble.�� The biggest takeaway that I gained, is that I’ll never accomplish all of my goals unless I am willing to step out of my comfort zone.�� I also realized that I REALLY need to have a table cover and book stands for all of my books if I ever do a gig like that again.
The more you know!�� :-D
November 6, 2014
How can we expect our kids to only use reasoning when they have an issue with an opposing force, when reasoning with someone isn’t always effective?�� Sometimes a punch in the face translates quicker to “Leave me alone!” than talking things out.�� Take it from me, a former bully, and victim of bullying.
It’s a challenge to remain reasonable and not resort to violence, when using violence may be your sole remaining option to end a conflict.
I consider myself a peacemaker.�� I wasn’t always of this ilk, however.�� I was picked on, and did the picking when I was an elementary school punk.�� I found that as a bully, the best way for me to shut someone up was by using verbal or physical force.�� With verbal force, that was usually a tactic based on insults.�� When I was a victim of bullying, I found that verbally assaulting someone was my best option, though it didn’t always end well for me.�� I was too scared to throw a punch or do a sidekick on my predator, so I chose the verbal route to defend myself.�� It only left me looking like a fool if the bully’s comebacks were harsher, and if they threw in some hard jabs for good measure.
Kids are taught not to fight by school officials, yet, American society has a war-based mindset and thirst for action entertainment that involves blood spilling.�� We have a military trained to kill.�� MMA is popular.�� We have armed police officers that are trigger happy.�� Civilians aren’t allowed to engage in combat.�� How can we expect children not to resort to violence when we regularly participate in it and condone it ourselves?
I’m always for trying to verbally sort things out.�� That’s the first course of action that should be taken.�� But if that doesn’t work, then what?�� Everyone is not capable of being susceptible to reasoning, especially in the heat of the moment.�� I believe that some folks need to be choked out for the sake of restraint, so that they’re not able to further harm themselves and/or others.�� Self-defense programs are active for a reason.
A victim of an attack should not be expected to lie down and take a beating or worse, all for the sake of not resorting to violence themselves.
Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.
October 30, 2014
Everything will go according to plan.
All of my dreams shall come true.
Nothing can stop me from being great.
My key to success is you.
Everything has failed.
All I have is nightmares.
Nothing can stop me from being mundane.
My broken key belongs to you.
October 23, 2014
After listening to @BlackGirlNerds discuss the current state of whorephobia with @whorephobia on the Black Girl Nerds Podcast, and watching “The Truth About Webcam Girls” on Netflix, I began to wonder why it seems to be so hard for Americans (I’m generalizing here, please refrain from gasping aloud in shock) to view sex workers as real people, and sex work as a legit occupation.
I view sex work as a trade.�� It’s a lifestyle.�� It’s not something that should be looked down upon, especially when the sex work industry has been around for ages.�� After all, porn is easy to come by.�� Without the demand, there would be no sex industry.
I’ve never been a sex worker, but if I had the mind, body, and spirit to do so, I probably would get into it.�� Seems lucrative and exciting, though it may be difficult to make a long-lasting career of it.�� Plus, being labeled as a whore for doing such work, would make me a target, and I’d rather not live in a constant state of paranoia and fear of my well-being.
It saddens me when I hear stories like that of Angelia and Tjhisha.�� The death of sex workers should not be ignored by the media.�� The lives of sex workers should not be looked at as unimportant.�� Angelia and Tjhisha were people, just like you and I, and deserved to live their lives as they chose without scrutiny due to their job titles.
It should not be cool for a sex worker to be assaulted for being a sex worker, like in the case of Daniel Holtzclaw.
Like it or not, sex workers are doing a service for humanity.�� They should not be blamed for doing their jobs, and living their lives in ways that others may see as not being respectable.�� Respect goes both ways, and we must discontinue the stigmas that go along with being a paid whore���call girls, webcam girls, hookers, strippers, phone sex agents, porn actresses, etc., all deserve to live peaceful lives.
Until we as people can accept sex work as real work, and sex workers as real people, society will never prosper.
October 16, 2014
I found myself in a pickle last week (not literally, for those of you not hip to metaphors), that involved my present love life, which I rarely discuss. Call me crazy, but I don’t feel the constant urge to give a play-by-play of that portion of my existence to the general public.
But I digress.
I’m currently in a newly committed relationship with someone I’d like to accurately describe as “the yin to my yang”. This person and I have an authentic synergy. Though I’ve been married and in a long-term serious relationship, I’ve never felt the way I do for my new lover, and amazingly enough, the feeling is mutual. Did you hear me? THE FEELING IS MUTUAL!
So, you’re probably wondering why I was in a pickle then. Well, you see, I tend to be a worrier, a cynical worrier at that. Having those character traits makes it uneasy for someone to claim my heart.
My new mate and I are definitely like yin and yang, in that we have different perspectives on certain subjects, but no matter how vast a disagreement may be, we’re always able to work through it verbally, because we care for each other so deeply. We’re able to take the negatives and make a better picture, which is part of what keeps us drawn to one another. We’re open to each others’ thoughts and feelings, because we have a solid foundation of credence. My past relationships have involved mild violence, verbal abuse, and lots of distrust.
Anyway, we did have a disagreement, and it bothered me so much that I began to question if we should continue our courtship. During this time, a long-time suitor of mine made himself present. This person is not only my suitor, but also a friend I’ve had for over a decade now, who had a lukewarm response when I announced my current relationship status to him months ago.
I began to wonder if perhaps my new lover and I were truly meant to be, or if perhaps “my yin” was actually a driving force from the universe to push me into the arms of my suitor. After doing my head in about it for about a day, I realized that that those thoughts surrounding that question were ludicrous. If the suitor and I were intended to be a match, than we would already be on a path to a blissful couple-laden future. We do not have synergy. We do not have the same views on life. We do not have mutual feelings for each other. I also do not feel like my suitor, despite what has been said in the past and as of late, does not totally get me as an individual, or appreciates my current lifestyle.
I believe that true love is a rarity. I sincerely feel that there is at least one soul for every soul on planet Earth, so why settle? Why allow yourself to be with someone that you don’t have a genuine synergy with? I’d much rather walk the Earth alone than to be with someone I’m not in love with, just because society says that I should be in a romantic relationship, that being single is equivalent to dying a slow painful death. To that I say, give me love or give me death!
I know now that that pickle I was in was a form of impending self-sabotage. Why would I want to chance losing having a phenomenal significant other? Because I became doubtful at a sign of what I perceived to be perilous, that if we couldn’t make it past this conflict, than our relationship would surely bite the dust. But I should’ve known better. My lover is not immature, so I should not have felt a fight or flight response to our disagreement. I should’ve known, based on our current history, that we would be able to resolve this. Even if we wouldn’t have been able to, thinking that my suitor may really be the one for me should have never crossed my mind. Those thoughts were a method to soften what I marked as an impending cease and desist order.
I have to learn to trust in what I have that is good. If it smells like love, tastes like love, and feels like love–it’s love! Even if things don’t work out between “my yin” and I, I will always be grateful for our time shared together, but from this point forward, I will never allow myself to not believe in what is right in front of me, and to not try and build something that doesn’t have all of the proper materials and tools with someone else, just because it would be the easy way out. Besides that, I’d only be doing myself an injustice at the end of the day.
The real underlying question is: why? Why did I have to doubt myself and choice in my current mate? The answer is simple: because my relationship record hasn’t been the shiniest. I’ve stayed in relationships that should’ve been snuffed out upon the first sign of serious trouble, and tried to make something permanent happen with someone who was never in it for the long haul. I wondered if my current sweetheart was merely another setup for a let down, because if things are going so splendidly, surely there’s a ticking time bomb hidden somewhere, right? Surely my lover will get tired of my cynically eccentric demeanor and leave me hanging, right? May as well go with the guy who’s into me indefinitely, since he clearly enjoys me, though not all of me. Go with the sure bet on the old horse! This is why I’ve been single for three years–to settle with someone I’ve put in the friend zone! Forget about having an amazing romantic relationship with someone who treats me the way I’ve always wanted to be treated, who appreciates and understands the whole me, and likewise! Cheers to me!
If you have something wonderful, don’t stray away from it until you absolutely have to. Don’t doubt yourself. Play with the hand you have, not the one out of your reach. Know that you deserve awesomeness in your life.