Poetic Bends, Story Time, Thoughts of the Day

Regarding My Blackness

While sitting in the movie theater this past January, I watched as Moonlight began to borrow itself deep inside my heart. It clung to my lungs and wrapped around my rib cage. It crept into my brain stem and spread across my skull.

I was covered in it from head to toe. Unable to separate myself from it, we had become one. Suddenly and wholeheartedly.

After the commotion at the Oscars and Moonlight was finally given its well deserved title and prize, everything that I held inside burst through my tear ducts. It was as if every single marginalized person out there, the ones who were born with the words “I AM DIFFERENT” written on their forehead like a birthmark, were finally able to wipe away the permanent marker. The slate was wiped clean and they could finally write something else.

Because suddenly, through the shocked, ernest and tear stained faces of the Moonlight cast and crew, they, along with many baring witness, watched as the word87dedde498b70bbac653e4389497036ds that looked back at them in the mirror were clearly and miraculously, “YOU ARE SEEN”.

I’ve spent these 26 years of my life trying to understand what it means to have a white mother and a black father. What it means to be biracial. What it means to be black. And I have to say that it wasn’t until recently that I truly found myself able to embrace my blackness.

And maybe that’s because we don’t have to only be seen as victims of racism and police brutality or as images that take up space, or as bodies to be consumed, or darkness to be feared. Maybe it’s the mere fact that our stories are not only being told, but they’re being recognized as worthy and worthwhile.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway. I’ll say it until my throat is raw and my voice is raspy.

We run just as fast as you (though some might argue). We laugh jus
t as loud as you (though some might argue). We smile just as bright as you. We love just as hard as you. Our burdens might not bear the same weight, but we matter just as much as you do.

I am part of the black community. Those are my people. You are my people. And I love every single one of you. 

And if we’re getting technical here, I am not only just black, I am also a woman. But that’s a story for another day.

Thoughts of the Day

The Mind is a Terrible Thing…

I have this thing with writing. It’s a love/hate thing. It’s a good/bad thing. It’s that thing where you sometimes would rather stick the pen in your eye then stick it to paper. It’s also that thing that puts the blood back in your body after you’ve already lost so much. It flows through the tubes and through your veins. It’s the restarting of your heart.

I have this thing with writing. It’s those dreams that come to you in the dead of night, jerking you awake, only to slip silently away. It’s the moment in the early morning where the words are all there is. Where they’re all you want them to be.

In my mind, every small popcorn kernel is deafening. Popping up when I want them and popping up when I don’t. Exploding when the lights are off and when the shower is running.

When I’m not writing I’m reminded of the things I want to forget and the things I don’t want to hear. And when I am writing, I’m reminded that the mind is a terrible thing…to waste.

 

Story Time, Thoughts of the Day

How a Single Meme Caused My Existential Crisis…

The most recent meme going around the internet is to describe yourself in 3 Fictional Characters.

Initially, I thought it would be a fun exercise and saw it to be a good way to revisit those characters that I’ve grown to love so much.

By no means did I think this task would be easy, but I didn’t think it would actually be this hard. I’d like to think that I know myself fairly well. But as it turns out, that may not be the case.

When a flood of characters first came to mind, my immediate thought was, “Wow, this is easy! I know myself so well!”

I have never been so wrong.

When I actually thought about it, I realized that many of those initial characters were nothing like me. Instead, they were who I wanted to be.

Take Tina Belcher for example: She’s a smart, strong, sensual woman. She knows who she is, what she wants, and she’s not afraid to go after it. She’s not ashamed to tell other people how she feels, even if it could some else uncomfortable. Those are all things that I admire and love about her. But, unfortunately, I am not her.

Take Rory Gilmore as another example: She’s smart, dedicated, and reads more books than anyone else. Those are all things that I believe to be true about myself. And yet, at times, I find myself at odds with Rory. There have even been several occasions in which I’ve found myself hating her. But that begs the real question: If I see myself in her, does that mean I also hate myself? That’s something I still don’t have a definitive answer to. And maybe I never will.

But until then, take Felicity Porter as a last example. Felicity is so outspoken and unapologetic about who she is that it almost makes me sick. She always speaks her mind and she always goes after what she wants. I’d love more than anything to say that I’m like her. But having insanely curly hair that doesn’t know how to handle humidity is where our comparisons begin and end. I am, unfortunately, also not Felicity.

So, if I’m not a Tina or a Rory or a Felicity, then who am I?

I know one immediate answer to that.

I am Liz Lemon. I am Liz Lemon in all her night cheese glory. In all her desire for a guy at a bar to buy her mozzarella sticks instead of a drink. I’d rather sit on the couch and watch tv by myself in my pajamas than go out and party. I’d rather eat things that are terrible for me instead of torturing myself by eating a salad. You’d find me flipping a table simply because someone stole my mac and cheese.

The first one wasn’t hard. In fact, it was blindingly obvious.

The second one wasn’t too hard either.

I am Liz Lemon and I am also Chandler Bing.

I am sarcastic and pride myself on my ability to lighten the mood with a joke. I’m unlucky in love and have a hard time always knowing what I want. And like Chandler, my humor is my defense.

But if I already know these things about myself, why is it so hard to come up with another character who I believe to be like me?

I thought about this for a very long time. And I mean, a long time. So long, in fact, that I started feeling a crisis coming on. Maybe I don’t really know myself as well as I had hoped.

When I finally did come up with a third character, I was hesitant (and still am) to place this person in comparison to myself. Am I actually like this person or do I just wish I were?

The person I ended up choosing was Peter Petrelli from Heroes. Peter is a good person. He’s kind and wants to help others. He is one of those people who truly cares. Now, you may be wondering why I would be hesitant to put such an inherently good person on my level.

But that’s just it. Peter is inherently good. But am I a good person? I could have just as easily gone the route of self-deprecation and put a bag of trash as my third character and it would have described me fairly well. But instead, I chose a person who wants to change the world.

I suppose this is where my crisis truly came into play. And I guess, even as I’m writing this, it’s still playing out.

I’d like to think of myself as a good person. I want to be a good person. I want to make a change in the world and I want to be happy. Maybe I just have to keep reminding myself that those are things that I can choose to be.

Daily Post Challenges, Poetic Bends, Thoughts of the Day

11 Blocks…

We’re all on our own journeys. But sometimes when your mind won’t stop, you just need to take a minute and listen to someone else’s story…

11 blocks from my door to your doorstep

Three years later and it feels too close

Daily Post Challenges, Thoughts of the Day

Tourist

Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own mind. I don’t always like what I’m seeing or hearing but I have to remind myself that I volunteered to come here.

Sometimes I feel like a tourist in my own body. It feels familiar yet unf61166-short-quotes-about-lifeamiliar at the same time. Like the people on the streets or the lights overhead.

I don’t want to feel like a tourist in my own life. I came here for a reason and there’s no going back. I’ve gotten where I am because I worked for it. Because I wanted it. I’m not just spending a few days or a week or a fortnight in this life. I’m here for the long haul. For every challenge and every experience. This life is mine and mine alone.

And what I take from this life won’t just be souvenirs left to gather dust on a shelf.

Thoughts of the Day

Something I Need…

A lot has been happening lately that directly affects the person that I’ve come to be and I can say I’m proud when someone, no matter who that person may be or what kind of influence they have, says what needs to be said.

Because no matter what community you feel you belong to, whether it’s the black community, the LGBT+ community, the feminist community, etc., it’s important to stand up and make your voice heard. Your life is important. You are important and you deserve equal rights.

Over the weekend, Activist and Actor, Jesse Williams, gave an empowered speech about racism in the US and the #BlackLivesMatter movement while accepting BET’s Humanitarian Award.

His speech moved me, empowered me, reminded me and stuck with me. It’s important to talk about these issues and to keep them on the forefront. It’s also more important to do something about it.

Here’s his speech in full:

This award, this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students, that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

All right? It’s kind of basic mathematics; the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize. Now, this is also in particular for the black women…who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people everyday. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function in ours.

Now—I’ve got more, ya’ll. Yesterday would’ve been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday, so I don’t want to hear about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on a 12-year-old playing alone in a park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better to live in 2012 than 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Darrien Hunt.

Now, the thing is though, all of us in here getting money. That alone isn’t going to stop this. All right? Now dedicating our lives to get money just to give it back for someone’s brand on our body, when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done, there’s been no tax they haven’t levied against us, and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would’ve been alive if she hadn’t acted so… “Free.”

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter. But, you know what though? The hereafter is a hustle. We want it now. And let’s get a couple of things straight, just a little side note: The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, all right, stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique for our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credits for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind, while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil, black gold. Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is, though, the real thing is that just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you.

-Jesse Williams

Here’s a link to the video. I highly recommend not just watching, but listening and taking action.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2016/06/27/actor_and_activist_jesse_williams_gave_a_fiery_speech_at_the_bet_awards.html