Thursday, July 2

From Where I Stand, inked fingers

July 4, 2015 Independence Day

What does "Inked Fingers" mean? A quick Google search will find that along with a photography company, there are images of people primarily from the Middle East, holding up their left index finger, covered in ink. In countries where citizenship documents are not required to vote, it helps prevent people from voting twice. Ultimately, it is a sign that their vote has been cast, their voice has been heard. 

I did not know any of this when I decided to name my company Inked Fingers (another quick google search can find the interview with Nick that does discuss my reasons), but it was a serendipitous moment as I now delve into Sahar's book Find Your Voice. So... 

This week a landmark decision was made in the Supreme Court and I've never felt so taken aback. Permit this quiet soul to explain.

I have GLBT friends and friend's family and if you know me, you know I 100% support them. That's not even a question. I support them in as much as I support my incredible family that goes to church on Sunday. I support them in as much as I support my incredible Jewish family that celebrate Shabbat. I support them in as much as I support my beautiful friends of Sikhism. 

I support all walks of life because I whole-heartedly believe we each are on our own path and no more do I want the government to demand that I believe something than do I want them to demand that I can not believe something. 
This is not the government's job.
From where I stand, I own a small business.
From where I stand, I own a small business because I enjoy making my own rules, setting my own income, making my own decisions based on what I believe to be true.

From where I stand, I support personal liberty.
From where I stand, I don't want ANYONE telling me what to do... as long as I am not harming myself or others.

That is the catch. This is the original purpose of our federal government, to protect us.
The government, the executive branch of the office where Barak Obama currently sits is called the Commander-in-Chief because he is the leader of all branches of the military. (Another discussion, another day.) 

If the government feels the need to tell everyone what they can and can't drink, who can and can't marry, what movies we can and can't watch or worse...  what books I can't own.... 
what if one day I wake up and I live in a country where I can't be me?
I believe it's called the boiled frog.

I concur with Brandon Stanten "I've always thought people's stories are more interesting than people's opinions."

"How long have you been together?" she asked him. Her and I were going to get flowers for a gig. We patiently waited as the man pulled together a gorgeous arrangement.
"My partner and I have been together for over 20 years. I think we're finally going to get married" he smiled to himself, as he wrapped up a beautiful bouquet for us and then way undercharged us. His kindness cut to my heart. 

In a country where the divorce rate is currently over 50% anyway, and the sole reason marriage licenses were even granted by a government was to tell us who could marry who and to decide who was going to get benefits-- I don't want the government telling anyone anything related to our sex lives or religion or body. I don't want them telling me to do anything because that isn't their business. 

You can't legislate morality. (We must first all agree upon a Moral Code.) 

From where I stand, I want to work my freaking butt off to live the American dream.
From where I stand, I have relatives that rely on the government and they have disabilities and I'm so grateful that we, as a country, can provide for them. Although, if we truly lived in a community, (which rarely exists) then we wouldn't need the government to even do that.
From where I stand, I want to be able to pray to whatever tribe or Universe or God that I so choose, fly any flag, stand on my soap box and preach any message that my heart so desires.... as long as I am not bringing physical harm to anyone.

because THAT is a government of the people, by the people and FOR the people. 

At what point did we ever believe that our opinion, our walk of life, was greater, more important, more valid than our neighbors? 

We are each fighting our own battle. 

Freedom isn't anything the government can grant us. It is our unalienable right as a human being. To breathe, to think, to believe, to create. This is the freedom that I believe some died for, when they came to America. This is why countries dip their fingers in ink.... to have their voices, their wants, their needs, their STORIES heard.

How do we get back here? 

Martin Luther King said it best: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that... I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

I propose a challenge. We do not need to be legitimized by any man or any organization or any government because in the end, we, behind closed doors, will live our lives the very way we feel led to in our hearts. Any one that feels differently on this, speak freely. 

Hate doesn't drive out hate.... only love can do that. The next time you're tempted to rant on someone's facebook wall about an issue you don't agree with... I dare you to ask their story. I dare you to put yourself in their shoes for even a brief moment. 

My story?
I believe in personal freedom. My husband and I both worked for Fortune 500 companies before we began our companies. We enjoy the freedom of a schedule that we both make. We haven't paid to advertise for either of our companies since 2008. We are built solely on referrals and our generous clients that keep returning. Having lived this lifestyle, we can tell you from personal experience over the last 7+ years, the road of a entrepreneur isn't paved. We must be gluttons for punishment then, because the unpredictable and wild ride is intoxicating: it is OUR path and we hold the reigns.

I believe in love. I was raised Christian until I was in middle school and my parents threw out everything relating to Jesus and Christian holidays and denied that the very Jesus they taught me in a song, who loved ME, didn't exist. In college I gravitated towards Buddhism. After I left the house they went on to officially convert to orthodoxy and I lived confused for a very long time. Now? After hundreds of stories and feeling the heart beat of humanity I believe there is only ONE answer to religion and that path is easily paved and that is love. 

This is my story. We are each on our own paths. 

freedom: to let every man, walk as he so chooses, on the path that he feels he might live his life to the best of his ability

peace: to remove our own small-minded "we are the only ones that are right and the rest of the world is wrong"
This is my story of inked fingers.
"Every moment we are writing the story of our lives....."

(I post this with the hopes of encouraging discussion. I would love to hear YOUR story and your voice.)