Thoughts of the Day

Making Changes

It’s been a while, I know.

For once, the reason for my absence isn’t due to writers block. In fact, the last few months have lead to more time spent writing than usual.

And that makes me happy. As writing tends to do.

I’ve been reading a lot. And as every good writer knows, the more youread, the better you write.

I’ve had several ideas in my head for new posts but none of them ended up with that feeling I wanted.

images.jpegSo the “publish” button went unpressed. (Who knows, this one might not even make it to the published page)

But I felt like I needed to come back.

And I am. Back, that is.

And I’m making some much needed changes.

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Story Time · Thoughts of the Day

Love in the Time of Hannibal

*** when in doubt, aka writer’s block, write what you know. And what I know is Hannibal***

Of all the television that I’ve watched in my day, not a single show has stuck with me the way NBC’s Hannibal (2013) has. For those unfamiliar, Hannibal, based on the characters by Thomas Harris, tells the story of Hannibal Lecter, the renowned psychiatrist and his patient Will Graham, an FBI criminal profiler, who struggles with his ability to empathize with serial killers. However, this isn’t your typical “Hannibal the Cannibal” tale about a man who kills and eats people. In creator Bryan Fuller’s (American Gods, Pushing Daisies) world of Hannibal, it is so much more than that. For you may find, as time goes on, that it’s nearly impossible not to develop an ounce of affection for the one person who truly understand you, regardless of those sticky predilections.

This, instead, is a story of two men trying to make sense of a world in which they cannot redraw their hand. While one lives his life through the lens of pure ego and narcissism, the other lives his life, and is haunted by, the simple fact that his empathy overpowers him. Hannibal Lecter, the sociopath who has no empathy at all and Will Graham, the young profiler who has too much.

In the early episodes of Hannibal, the task is an uncomplicated one: to catch a killer. But in order to do so, we must bring in elements of the complicated. Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), on a good day, is anything but uncomplicated. As a young man who empathizes with serial killers, his job becomes a dangerous one. For fear of getting too close to the cases he’s been brought in to solve, Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishburne), head of the FBI Behavioral Science Unit, sends Will to see Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelson) with the hope that the good doctor can help ease Will’s stress and therefore help Jack get the job done.

And it works. For a time.

Will and Hannibal’s relationship is one that supersedes the most common notions of what it means to care for another person. Usually, when we have feelings for someone, platonic or otherwise, we find that their best interest also becomes our best interest. We want for them what they want. Happiness, success, joy, comfort, and above all, love. But what happens to a relationship when your deepest desires overpower theirs? And when you can’t help but feel as though they would be much better off doing as you do.

That’s when it happens. That’s when murder happens.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter is anything but ordinary. He’s suave. He’s charismatic. He’s charming. And he’s an exceptionally good cook. But underneath the expensive suits and grandiose language is an overwrought imagination. An imagination that extends far beyond the realm of decency and hope. To Hannibal Lecter, death, is the only significant thing life has to offer.

Hannibal is a man who feels very alone in his extracurricular activities. Yes, there are those out there who seek to emulate him, but there is no one quite like him. And it’s in this isolated state that Hannibal finds himself a tether in one Will Graham. Will’s overwhelming empathy and Hannibal’s lack thereof, makes Will the perfect candidate for sculpting. And sculpt Will Graham, he does. Into the very man Will has always been so terrified of becoming.

If we are to think about love in the time of Hannibal, one thing comes to mind: tolerance.

As the series goes on, the eventual discovery of Hannibal’s true nature comes to light. And it is a bloody discovery. However, the empathetic man that is Will Graham comes to terms with this truth in the only way he knows how.

He tolerates it. He doesn’t sympathize with it. He doesn’t feel compassion towards it. He tolerates it because he understands it. The urges, the impulses, the desires. He sees these inclinations as what truly makes Hannibal, Hannibal. And it’s through this understanding that Hannibal, for all his faults and misdeeds, finds himself enamored. Regardless of whether or not you agree that a sociopath, devoid of all conscience, even has a capacity for love, the show Hannibal reaches out through the dark and pulls you in, making you question everything you ever thought you knew on the subject.

And then twists it into something unrecognizable. And although most relationships are built on trust, in this case, simple truth will do. When you find you can be honest with someone, you find that you can show them your true self. And Hannibal finds that in Will Graham. And by the end of the series, Will Graham, not only sees Hannibal, he finally sees himself. His true nature and what Hannibal has always believed Will has been capable of. And it’s in this discovery of their true selves that they find comfort and solace in each other.

But if love is wont to destroy Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal will not go down without taking Will Graham with him. After all, the deeming of the term “Murder Husbands” does not go without merit.

But whether or not they survive this free fall is a story for another season.

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.