What Have We Learned

2018 has quite literally felt like one of the longest years of my life. I’ve probably said that in some form every year for the last 3 years at least, but this one was particularly chaotic and thus felt like an eternity. But what have we learned? It’s been such a transitional year for me that it feels like I’ve lived three separate lives this year. And through it all, I’ve picked up a number of life lessons I thought I’d share.

I started the year as a senior in college interning at a fashion magazine. I was more broke than I had ever been in my life, but enjoying my final semester of college. Then I spent the summer interning at The Daily Beast, which was kind of like big-girl-job purgatory. Not because it was a bad experience, but because I had entered into adulthood in terms of working a 9-5 job and being out of school, but it wasn’t permanent, and I still went in every day with what felt like a sign on my back that said “intern.” And not because I was treated as such there, more just because I knew the whole time it was temporary and I spent a lot of time applying to other jobs and worried about what would happen when the internship was over. And now here I am finishing out the year as a full-time employee at LendingTree, enjoying the full benefits of paid time off, health insurance (granted, I’ve yet to actually utilize either of these literal benefits), and a level of job security I did not know before.

One taught me love, one taught me patience, and one taught me pain…I type that in jest, but that lyric really could be used to describe the different roles I went through this year. My glitzy fashion internship was more or less a bust. I threw so much money at the MTA just trying to make it a worthwhile experience, and at the end of the day, it wasn’t. I don’t regret doing it—I did learn what it’s like to work at a fashion magazine (yawn), and that some celebrities who will not be named give excruciatingly boring interviews. I can’t say for certain that the gig at ELLE allowed me to pursue my next endeavor, but I have to acknowledge that it didn’t detract me from my trajectory. I went into my next stint at The Daily Beast with the feeling that I had a minuscule amount of journalism experience.

My time at The Daily Beast did a few things for me. It made me love the news a little bit more and hate the news a little bit more. Part of that was just the timing, I mean I don’t know if there’s a news cycle that anyone really wants, but the one I worked with this summer was absolutely not it. It tapped into levels of empathy I didn’t know I had while exposing me to a vast list of things I do not understand. It challenged me to learn more while drawing on my education. In terms of hard job skills, I picked up a couple at The Beast, but I learned a lot more about myself that I’ll get into in a moment.

And here I am now just over a month into my new job at LendingTree. I won’t say more than I can about what the experience has been, but it has been positive. The corporate world is insane and I’m not sure I love that aspect of it, but my office is homely and my team has been incredibly welcoming. I have the satisfaction of knowing I’m where I’m meant to be right now.

So what have we learned?

Probably the biggest lesson I’ve taken out of this year is knowing when to be selfish, and doing it. I spent way too much time this year in my professional and personal life waiting for someone else to make a decision for me, or tell me what I want, when I absolutely could have and should have taken the reins. I always thought I was a selfish person until it was important for my well-being that I be selfish. It was hard (because I’m obviously super selfless). But I had to take a good look in the mirror (and get yelled at by my mom) to say, “Kamaron, you should be doing better.” Which brings me to my next lesson.

Patience is not just virtue, it is the virtue. Each of the jobs I had along with just being a person this year was a constant reminder to have patience. But with that, I also had to give myself a kick sometimes and say I’m not going to sit around waiting for this or that. I did and you do at some point need to say “Here’s what I can do to change this,” and then do it. There will always be factors you can’t change, but the ones you should change aren’t going to change themselves. Sorry to get preachy, but that was experience I really went through in my job search. Patience kept me a little bit sane when I sent out dozens of job applications that would get no response. Patience kept me from committing a crime when I would hear back from a job 5 months later letting me know I’d been rejected. But I also changed my resume or my search approach probably ten times throughout my process. I refused to give up half because I literally couldn’t, and half because I knew something good would come out of it.

One lesson The Daily Beast did reinforce for me was to have the confidence to speak up. I consider myself an outgoing person, but I am deathly shy especially when I know I’m in no position of authority. My defaults to thinking no one wants to hear my ideas because I’m just the intern or I’m just the assistant, or I’m just Kamaron…and I do regret the amount of time I spent at The Daily Beast not sharing my thoughts. It really just took my supervisor saying, “You should speak up more,” for me to be like “Oh they want my input.” Realistically I should have had the confidence all along to know they hired me for a reason and that I was a voice they wanted at the table, but it took a push for me to actually speak up. By the end of my time, my supervisor was applauding my ideas because some of them were actually good.

The final major lesson I’m taking away from 2018 is the greatest of all that I have now just ruined by tying it to a played-out cliché. Yeah it’s love. Wow, did Kamaron grow a heart in 2018? Kind of! I didn’t need to learn how to love, but I did start paying extra close attention to the way I show my love. Through all of the ups and downs of the year, I clung so tightly to the people in my life who make it all worth it. I went through a period in the year where I felt like I was being a really bad friend because I knew I didn’t show love the way my friends did for me. In some ways, I literally couldn’t—like when some of my friends show me love by paying for me to come out with them when I can’t afford to. But there were plenty of other ways other friends would show me love that I didn’t reciprocate for no reason.

I had friends on campus who without fail whenever I saw them, would offer to be there for me if I needed help with anything. Friends who consistently complimented my outfits or pictures online and in person. Little things that would make me smile or make my whole day, but I wasn’t doing for them—with no excuse. So I decided I needed to make an effort to show the people I love that I love them in whatever ways I could, just because I could. The real lesson here was realizing, these people weren’t doing these things for me because they had to, or for any ulterior motive. They just wanted to let me know that they love me and care about me, and I learned it is so special and important to let people know you love them in this way. Just in your every day interactions. It sounds kind of stupid now that I’ve written it down and I do feel like the Grinch character here who had to learn basic human affection, but progress is progress!

That was my 2018. I lived, I learned, I loved. Came, saw, and conquered. The what’s next question is big and open-ended for me right now, but that’s a good thing.

Happy Holidays, and a very Happy New Year



Right on Time

Hello—is it me you’re looking for?

It has been way too long, and I apologize for my absence. Junior spring kicked my butt, and this is going to be both a life update and thought piece on coming of age, because that’s all I think about these days. I am preparing to enter my final year of college and therefore doing a bit of panicking about my future. I am excited to earn my degree and go out into the big bad world and show it what Kamaron McNair is made of, but that comes with this intense anxiety that the big bad world is going to reject anything that Kamaron McNair has to offer. I have expressed this anxiety to a few of my mentors and they all say the same thing—I’m right on time.

This is apparently the moment in my life and all of our lives where we do this panicking and feel like “Oh my God what am I going to do with the rest of my life because it starts tomorrow and I’m not prepared and I’ve spent 16 years in school and haven’t learned a thing and why does everyone keep posting these articles about how my generation is so miserable and we can’t buy houses or diamonds and we ruin everything and I’m going to ruin everything and the world is a mess and I want to fix it but I’m broke and have no connections and I got the wrong degree and and and and and…”

Here we are. Right on time.

I am frustrated because you all know that I don’t want to be put in a group with another person, much less the whole of humanity with this idea that everyone does this panic dance at the same time and I’m not special. I know. No one is telling me I’m not special, they’re just looking out for me and telling me that it’s okay to not know but here’s why I am special and why this panic has thrown me into a whirlwind whereas it seems most of my peers are just casually panicking. This year was incredibly difficult for me emotionally. I try not to get too personal on here (a website named after me), but I’m going to because I’ve reached an important milestone and there was little to no cake involved.

I got my heartbroken this year, romantically. I add that qualifier because I’ve been heartbroken before. My dad died, after all. I didn’t get into the college I set my heart on. I’ve been hurt before. But I had never been hurt by someone who I adored in this way, and I want to apologize here to every woman I have discounted for grieving romantic relationships. That’s a lesson that I needed to learn firsthand, and now I am glad that I have learned it because I have even written about it on here before. Grief is not a spectrum, it’s a scatter plot. There are different kinds of grief and measuring by comparison is not helpful to anyone, so I’m sorry.

I’m writing about this now even though it happened a few months back and I am just about completely over it because it really did rock me to my core in a scary way, but it taught me a lot about myself. The boy was not worth my time or my heartache, but that’s not something we can help. I was attached, and he was not. A telling scene from our short-lived relationship was a time I was saying a lot of funny things (as I do) and he said that we should get a TV show because we were so funny together. It’s kind of a stupid example, but a perfect one that showed he used me to make himself look better.

I did a lot of self blame after the end of the relationship because I knew that he was going to hurt me. The entire time we were involved I was afraid of it happening. He hurt me a lot of little times, and then the kicker at the end was completely predictable, but I was the greater fool. But, I learned (in therapy) that none of that was my fault. Even if I knew he was a bad person it was not my job or anyone’s to make him a good person. I gnashed my teeth and tore my clothes because I felt like I let this thing happen to me, but my therapist really reminded me that in general, we don’t let bad people do bad things to us. They just do them because they’re bad people.

The next lesson came this summer when I was admittedly still stewing a bit about how this boy wrecked me for a little bit and ruined a lot of things that should have otherwise been a great time for me. Lorde release an incredible album this summer, Melodrama, and she wrote a song called “Writer in the Dark,” which is about her breakup. The song is kind of ruthless in its beauty because she’s saying “You hurt me, and I’m going to write a song about it and it’s going to be huge because I’m Lorde and you’re not” (very Taylor Swift on her part, which I was not ecstatic about, but I respect the artistry).

Lorde talked about writing the album and how she felt a little guilty writing about a person and immortalizing them in her lyrics, but this song is her way of saying they know what they did, and they knew what they were getting into. She said in an interview “But it was important for me to say. And I don’t think that song is apologizing for it. It’s more like, what did you think was going to happen? I was doing this before I met you and I’ll be doing this after you’re gone… I felt quite empowered.” I read that interview, and thought “That’s it! This is what I feel!” Some of you may have been reading this blog post and thinking it’s super petty of me to trash this boy on my website, but he knew I was a writer. And he trashed my life.

That’s enough on him, though. This is about me and career aspirations and what the heck am I doing with my life? Well this whole experience was important because the breakup made me question a lot of things about myself—my confidence, my relationships, etc.—which coincided perfectly with my plans for the future panic where I started questioning a lot of things about myself—my confidence, my qualifications, my passions, my financials, etc. However, I know it’s all going to be okay. I found a quote from a Samuel Beckett play while researching one of my papers this spring that says, “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” It’s a simple sentence that became my mantra. The comma is the most important part because it forces you to believe in your fortitude without coming to a full stop in your doubt. You tell yourself there is no way I can get through this, but you quickly remind yourself that of course you can.

I did not intend for this post to go the cliché route, but here we are. This is special because while it sounds like I’m heading for an inspirational moment, I feel as though I cannot inspire any of you, readers, because I am still in this moment of panic, and still striving to learn as much in this moment as I possibly can. I’m going to figure it out, and I will take you on this journey with me, so long as you show up on time.

Problematic or Not

I did it. Today someone on my instagram feed “did a thing,” and I had to say something about it. This young woman with whom I attended middle school several years ago has recently been posting photos of herself modeling in various places and doing various things. They’re all beautiful, and she is a lovely girl from what I remember. Today, however, she posted a new photo of herself in an American Indian-style tribal headdress.

Again, I have hardly, if at all, spoken to this girl since around 2010, and we weren’t best friends back then, just to set the scene for you. And I am not the girl who comments on Kylie Jenner’s instagram when she wear cornrows or blasts Iggy Azealea for her racist actions. So did I step out of line? Perhaps. But I tried to do so as respectfully as possible to point out the flaws of this photo. Here is what went down:

Me: “I’m rarely the one to cry cultural appropriation especially to a culture that’s isn’t my own but this is completely disrespectful. You are stunning in this photo and the others but I would recommend you and your photographer do some research especially if you are trying to be a professional. This is becoming more and more of shameful action. I don’t mean to be rude or point my finger at you but it’s really not the best representation of yourself and your art.” I also posted a link to an MTV article about appropriation especially in the form of wearing headdresses.

Girl: “I already read the article. i am fully aware of this being politically incorrect. although to appreciate another culture is nothing shameful. people dress in costume every Halloween like this in face paint as well making it a joke. white girls wear their hair in cornrows. I appreciate you trying but why don’t you rag on all the girls wearing kimonos from lawrence”

Me: “This issue isn’t wearing something from another culture. If you read the article you’ll know the problem with this specifically is a sacred tradition. It’s your gram, you can post what you want. I am just saying if I was trying to be seen as professional this would not be my chosen route.”

Girl: “‘The headdress is reserved for our revered elders who, through their selflessness and leadership, have earned the right to wear one.’ i read it Kam. thank you. i have people very close in my life that are Native American and haven’t said anything. Professional… there’s a whole page of well known models wearing this head piece. I go to college to be a social worker i live my whole life to help others. i’m wearing a head piece that is beautiful. leave me alone.”

I was then told by her other followers that I am “just jealous” and to “leave with my negative energy if her page isn’t up to my standards,” where she did defend that I was just sharing my opinion and we can agree to disagree, so thanks for that.

Now I’m speaking on my own site, so let me continue with my opinion and negative energy.

First of all, like I said to this girl, I was not trying to attack her personally or call her a racist or anything. I think I chose my words carefully, and I appreciate the way she defended herself. I took the approach as to letting this be a teaching moment. I don’t know if she is trying to be a professional model, I don’t know if her photographer is a professional or trying to be one. What I do know is that this post was not “politically incorrect,” it was just downright offensive. The article explained that the use of the headdress is traditionally sacred, which is why it’s not okay for commoners to put one on to take an edgy photo. Kimonos, are not sacred cultural symbol, so for girls from Lawrence or wherever to wear something in the style or even called a “kimono” is okay. Should we all take a history lesson when donning trends from other cultures? Sure. But is there a difference between sharing trends and appropriating culture? Absolutely.

Again, I am rarely the one commenting on things like kimonos and cornrows, because things like that seem more of a gray area to me, and I am still learning. When it comes to headdresses, it’s just a fact. Victoria’s Secret couldn’t get away with it. Pharrell couldn’t get away with it. Will this girl get away with it? Maybe. It’s her personal instagram account and I seemed to be the only person who cared, but hopefully she’ll think about her actions because I said something.

I have posted before about my annoyance with the apparent influx of “cultural appropriation arguments.” My first week of college I wanted to yank my eyeballs out because it was such a “big deal,” but I think some aspects are important. I say some not to say some cultures being targeted are less important, but rather to say that in becoming more aware of this, we are walking a fine line.

The issue is being afraid of cultural appropriation rather than being aware of it. If something you want to wear or do might be considered appropriation, you should absolutely research it. But the keyword there is research, not just avoiding it altogether. If we walk around on eggshells saying things like “I shouldn’t use chopsticks that’s appropriation!” we breed xenophobia. I think chaotically-neutral on tumblr said it best when they said,

“Historically, separating cultures often leads to cultural incompetence, xenophobia, discrimination, stereotyping, and racism. Cultural appropriation is bad, but that doesn’t make cultural segregation good.”

I’m not always right. But I think discourse is important especially when it come to these issues. The girl on instagram said she lives her whole life to help others and I think that’s great. However, I think she made a mistake in posting this picture and I hope she and the people that applauded her can see that.

The world is constantly changing, and it’s hard to keep up with what is still okay to do and what is really looked down upon in society. We’re all gonna make mistakes, but I hope that we continue to accept when that happens and learn from them.



UPDATE: 9 hours later the picture is still up, and someone else has joined the argument. This person commented:

“Honestly i truly believe cultural appropriation is determined by who you are as a person and your morals and beliefs and i think the issue with so many people is that they are assuming that you are not advocating for the oppressed people you are so called “representing” but they wouldn’t know that. If they knew you theyd know you are going to school for social work aka working against social issues. Basically i always say never appreciate a negative opinion from someone who doesnt really know you.”

To which the poster replied:

“This was so well said. thank you. the whole issue with wearing a headpiece is that in their culture you have to earn the right to wear it, but i do not live in their society. i fully respect their traditions.”

I’m trying to let it go and walk away, but I am getting angrier. I would post more comments on the picture, but clearly no one is paying attention. Basically, this person is saying you’re only appropriating a culture if you actually hate and intend to disrespect the culture and its people. She is correct and saying I don’t really know the girl who posted the picture. I don’t know her morals or her actions. But, I never said she was a bad person for posting this. I did say I think her actions were disrespectful and it is cultural appropriation.

Once again, it’s not about whether or not she hates Native Americans. I don’t think that’s what she is saying in the photo. The fact is she took a symbol- the headdress- which is sacred in Native American culture, and used it in a casual way. This is appropriation because it is taking something that is earned and highly regarded in a culture and dismissing it as a fashion accessory. She made it worse when she defended herself by saying she earned it because she’s a good person.

Also, does this other commenter know what a social worker is? Not to say they don’t do good work, but “working against social issues” isn’t exactly the job description. I suppose that’s a really general description, but their job is not to be out fighting racism, they help families and in some cases people with disorders and other issues. Again, not bad work, very good work indeed, just not what this person thinks they do.

Also, does the poster realize the hypocrisy in her statement, “I do not live in their society. I fully respect their traditions.” YOU ARE DOING THE OPPOSITE. She is saying “I’m not black so I can say the n-word because I ‘respect’ them.” Her friend is saying, “I can be racist because I’m a good person.”

I am appalled.

I am also counting my blessings because I am so grateful for my education.



Why I Want to be a Trophy Wife

Woah woah woah. Before you start asking yourself, “Wait, isn’t Kamaron a super feminist? Why would she post this???” remember that headlines are meant to grab your attention and pull you in.

The term “trophy wife” is one often used by men and women alike to describe a woman that a man married for her looks. She is there to sit on his shelf and look pretty while everyone admires what a great job he has done.

Stop this.

This idea is ridiculous, and both parties look dumb taking part in it.

I love when anyone- especially men- find me attractive. Who doesn’t? It’s good to feel good about yourself, and it is good to find someone who is physically attracted to you. However, if I am looking for a mate, I NEED him to be attracted to my brain. I will always accept compliments. You love my hair? Great. You think I should be a model? Awesome. But self-indulgence aside, I want him to also tell me how smart he thinks I am. How creative I might be. How he loves the way my mind works. How he is generally interested in the things I have to say.

I cannot iterate how irritating it is to be around a man, or a woman for that matter, who is only interested in how I look. Not just because beauty is fleeting and it’s the inside that counts and all that, but because it’s boring. We can only talk about my physical features for so long then I want to know who you think is the best bet for presidential candidacy or climate change or literally anything that involves some amount of critical thinking.

So why do I want to be a trophy wife? Because I think we should redefine what that means. A trophy is something that you win. You have to be the best to earn the trophy in competition, and let’s face it: life and dating is a competition. I want to be the trophy for most beautiful, but also most intelligent, most creative, most engaging, etc. I want to be a prize that a man earns because he is interested in these traits about me, and he thinks I am the blue ribbon across the charts.

You want to know one of the most destructive phenomenon in out society? The participation trophy. The idea that everyone should get an award just for showing up. That’s wrong. Should we encourage kids that each and every one of them is special and has potential? Absolutely. But don’t tell your kids that if they show up and exist they will get the same outcome as the kid who shows up and puts in the most effort. You don’t walk into a company and expect to get hired just for showing up, right? Why do we teach this to our children? Feelings will be hurt. But lessons will also be learned.

Bringing that into the trophy wife idea, the old meaning of the term is like a participation trophy. If a man (or woman), walks up to a woman (or man), and tells them they’re pretty, they should get a date, or in this case, a spouse. That’s crazy. You have to earn it.

To the “husbands,” look below the surface. Find out their interests, talents, hobbies, everything, and decide if this person is actually what you want. To the “wives,” set your standards high. Be the best you that you can be. Tell this person your interests and your strengths. Let them know that you are an amazing person, and decide if they are good enough for you. Also, reverse the roles here. Every trophy wife needs her trophy husband. He should be someone she wants to show off because she also had to earn him.

Do better.