I wonder why do women…

I attended an event recently with several other women, which as a gal’s gal, is something I enjoy. I love when women get together! It was a great gathering and opportunity for not only networking, but just hanging out in an estrogenically charged atmosphere. But there was sonething else amidst…a negative vibe circling, waiting to spark a petty flame that would lead to catty behavior. 

In a conversation, a woman revealed that she’d been having an affair with a much younger man, whom she was also offering financial assistance for school. She became a joke, almost instantly. A discussion with a another group of women revealed that one of the ladies was a stay at home mom who had 5 children and rarely ever had time to herself. This event was her first time out in ages. She also stated that her husband was in charge of ALL the finances and she didnt ever have to worry about bills. She was pitied. One lady who spent most of her time at the bar was ostracized the minute she got there due to her tight fitting attire that barely covered or supported her voluptuous body. She joked that she was on the hunt for husband number 2 and needed to “dangle a lil meat to attract the lions”. 

Why do we women give each other such a hard time? Why are we so quick to judge one another? Lady #1, the cheating cougar…what if I told you her so-called husband has been living in their basement apartment for the last 3 years, refusing to move or give her a divorce even though he’s had multiple affairs and even impregnated one of his side chicks. As the true earner, divorcing him would cost her more making it not worth it, so she stays. For the last year, she’s been dating this young artist who has,completely brought her back to life and lifted her spirits, offering her the happiness she deserves. 

What if I told you the 21st century June Cleaver is actually a published author, has 3 degrees including an MBA and law degree, and does consulting from home? Shes not home because she doesn’t have options or a career path. But because her roles as wife and mother mean more to her than her corporate job and she chose to make herself more available to care for her family. Does her accolades make her more valuable as a woman? Apparently she wasn’t worth talking to until that info was shared. 

Our hoochie…what if I told you she’d just gotten out of a 12 year verbally and emotionally abusive marriage with a total jerk who constantly bullied her and taunted her about her weight. Her self esteem was at an all time low, when he left her “fat ass” for one “that could actually fit in a chair and not be an embarrassment”. His hurtful words drove her to make changes and she lost 70 pounds. Wearing fitted, revealing clothes fir the first time ever, she felt sexy and confident. 

The reasons shouldn’t matter. We shouldnt judge but we do. We fat-shame, slut-shame, mommy-shame, career-shame, body-shame, success-shame, money-shame, bash, hate on, gossip about, compete with, antagonize, and fight against one another. We talk shyt about the woman with tight clothes just as we clown the one with the righteous turtleneck. We fat-shame our fluffy sisters and call the skinny ones anorexic even when they aren’t. We shame the woman who doesnt want children while criticizing the one who wanted 5. The career driven woman is shamed by the moms. We are never good enough in our eyes. Perhaps because we ourselves as individuals aren’t good enough in our own eyes. We find fault in each other as we find fault in ourselves and our lack of sisterly love is a reflection of our self doubt and self hatred. The love we fail to show each other is only an extension of the cold shoulder we offer ourselves. Think about it…we fat, slut, and success shame ourselves. Why wouldn’t we do the same to another woman?

How awesome would it be if we as women just stopped the shaming and loved, supported, and empowered one another? My inner goddess is charged when I’m in the presence of femine energy. Something happens when we come together, something electric, magnetic, cosmic even. We should strive to operate in that goddess energy, and that only. When we learn to 

love ourselves unconditionally, collectively, the world will know. Bc we will start loving each other the same way. 

Why I Don’t F@#% with Disney princesses…

Apparently, the “normal” aspiration of little girls all over the world is to some day become a princess. However, me being the weird I am, never had any ounce of a desire to become a princess, especially thanks to Disney’s misogynistic portrayal of princesshood. The classic tale of a troubled but sweet girl clothed in innocence, dangling from the lowest hanging branch of the family tree, trying to find her place in a world in which, 9 times out of 10, she doesn’t fit. I can appreciate the story of the odd female out’s empowerment and a rise from gutter to gold, and even the occasional I finally found the man of my dreams love story. BUT, why I don’t eff with Disney princess stories is because they make it a point to reduce the story of new found self awareness and appreciation to a man fixed me (and usually it’s a man at the center of the problem). They have consistently, and in my opinion very intentionally, opted to eliminate the powerful influence of a strong woman or mother. Each conflict is paternal and the mother is either deceased or so quiet/passive she’s invisible to the plot.  Let’s take a look so you know I’m not crazy and just another Disney hater. 

1. One of our latest crazes: Frozen. Let me kust say, I love the message of the power of sisterly love. BUT did you hear their mother say a word? Wasn’t it Elsa’s father who locked her away and convinced her that her powers were something to fear? Separating her from her sister and the world? Imagine if he (or better yet her mom) had empowered her to learn to control her power rather than try to hide from it? It was daddy’s fault things got jacked up. Yeah…next

2. Sleeping Beauty….did you hear her mother speak? Her father was dumb enough to beef with Maleficent which ultimately caused his daughter to be in her slumbersome situation. And even with the help of 3 fairy godmothers, only a kiss from some random dude on a horse in the forest who she met years ago could wake her up. I call BS. According to the actual folklore, the boy’s kiss wasn’t what woke her, it was one from Maleficent herself. Of course disney changed the story to suit their own need to prove that if a woman is powerful, she must be evil. 

3. Snow White…where was her mama? Her daddy married some crazy evil woman with a bad case of two deadly sins, vanity and jealousy which she poured all over this poor unsuspecting child. All she wanted to do was sing to the animals and skip though the forest freely. She shacked up with 7 strange lil men and immediately committed herself to servitude while she waited for a prince (some dude she’d barely just met at the well with a serious bravado) to come for her. In the end, he was the only one who could save her (again a kiss from a stranger) and he whisked her away to what appeared to be his castle just beyond the pearly gates of heaven. 

4. Cinderella….who names their daughter “cinder”-ella? Like she was born to remain among the cinders, cleaning. No mama, instead an evil step mother and 3 nasty sisters. The prince had to swoop in and give her a better life. See how that happened. Abused by women, saved by a man. Ok, granted, the fairy godmothet stepped in. But did she empower her to fight back or stand up for herself? No, she made her pretty for the ball and provided tranportation. Thanks. 

5. Belle….of course as an avid reader, she was my fave for a while. But where was Mama Belle? She had a great relationship with her father, “crazy ‘ol Maurice” and that’s how she ended up with the beast. She sacrificed herself for her father. A friend of mine argued that had she not done so, she wouldn’t have found love. To that, I would like to point out how dysfunctional and stockholmish that sounds. She fell in love with her captor. The same one who had her father locked away. Aint nobody that thirsty. 

6. Except maybe Ariel. Aside from the fact she married prince Eric at 16 (not sure how old he was), there were several things wrong with this story. Where was her mama? Like Aurora, the strong female presence in the movie was vilified. Accoding to the tale, sleeping beauty’s dad took Maleficents wings but we dont know exactly why King Triton and Ursula were beefin so hard. And what about all her sisters??? Her closest friends were a seagull, a flounder, and a crab, all male. You got like 20 sisters and you don’t rock with any of them???

7. Mulan. Wasnt a princess but still, sacrificed herself for her father. A father who’d initially expressed disappointment for her inability to act normal and obtain a husband. Her mother and grandmother were both present but in the usual context, not empowerment, but educating her on how to make herself desireable wifey material. Granted, her actions did bring honor to her family and eventually a fine man to her, but look what she had to do. Smh 

Two movies I will give Disney props on are Brave and Moana. Aside from the fact they both made me cry, they made sense and for me, were relatable. Merida, in all her Scottish badazz glory, donn-

ing a mess of untamed red curly hair, was a fighter and a gal who sought to control her own destiny. The scene where she decided to compete for her own hand in marriage was awesome. Not just the fact that she beat all of her would be suitors, but her arrow ripped through that of the finalist, the message of feminine independence resonating for generations to come. Same as Moana when she took off on that boat. Fueled by the wisdom and spirit of her grandmother, she fulfilled her destiny and restored her people to their true selves. These are the messages I desire for my girls. The damsel in distress narrative is so played. We live in a time where women are proving themselves as forces to be reckoned with yet are still having to fight for equality. Those among us who are too strong, are called manly (Serena). Too smart, cunning, or powerful are vilified (Hillary). Too sexy, talented, and proud are slut-shamed (Beyonce). Too vocal and right, are silenced (Elizabeth Warren). When we display our independence, the world hones in on that which liberates us and uses it to strike us down. Our words, our bodies, our minds, our deeds. Disney should utilize its global platform to combat this and stop minimizing our contributions and power of our presence. Our very loud, feminine, strong, presence. 

“Get Out”

Everyone and their mama are talking about Jordan Peele’s film “Get Out”. I know I said I wouldn’t do movie/show reviews but I couldn’t resist this one. My friends and I went to check it out one day around lunch time and to my surprise, the theatre was packed. I thought “it better be good. Only marvel gets this type of turnout mid work day”. 

First, the opening scene I found interesting for a few reasons. It gave us a look at Chris’ apartment with Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” playing (which I’ll discuss in another post). The camera panned over an array of photos that Chris had captured, black and whites, in what appeared to be an urban area. This gave us an idea that he was possibly a photographer (with a good eye), obviously something that would later have some significance.

Since everyone has already weighed in, I’ll keep my interpretation short. Ultimately, it is everything that we as blacks in America feel and experience. It’s presented in both subtle and obvious ways. Even the boldest among us are, if not fearful, at least feel some sense of anxiety when dealing with our pale counterparts. We’ve seen what heinous acts they have historically been capable of so there’s no limit to their level of evil or ability to dehumanize. For many of us, upon hearing stories of white men hiding behind bed sheets, riding around with their homeboys of hatred, burning crosses, the white American has become the boogeyman. He’ll catch you sleepin, so you gotta stay woke. 

In addition, the ever alluring white woman. The temptress beckoning our black men to a fate that involves being cast into a sunken place, a horrendous demise. Any interaction with one can result in torture, the loss of freedom, and/or life. We’ve seen this many times. Emmitt Till comes to mind. I know many white women married to black men who have a beautiful family and are totally happy. But, in the back of every black woman’s mind is this throbbing reminder of what has happened in the past when our men partake of that forbidden fruit. Mmm,hmm.

Lastly, is it true? Do white people look at us and desire our presumed genetic superiority? We are magically melanated so I don’t blame them, but is this the true source of the hatred that fuels white supremacy and racism? People do often hate what they envy, detest what they can’t become as it serves as a reminder of shortcomings. What do yall think???

I’m a punk, yeah I said it. I rarely do horror or anything remotely scary. So my experience with horror films to relate this to is scarce. What it does remind me of is the Skeleton Key, starring Ashley Judd. Yall remember that one? It was a black couple who basically did the same as the white people in Get Out, only they took the entire body, swapping out an old worn one for new and vibrant in an attempt to stay young forever, making them essentially immortal. Is this what the bingo players in Get Out seek? Some form of immortality? Does their preference indicate that greatness is best achieved with black skin??? 

Happy New Year, or Scary New Year!!!

It’s 8:35am, January 1, 2017. The morning after the new years celebrations. As the ball (or acorn in my hometown) is dismantled and the remaining bits of confetti are blown in the wind or settling in sidewalk cracks, we as the human race all share the same feeling of anticipation for the year ahead. What will it bring? For me personally 2016 was an emotional roller coaster ride. Wait, roller coasters are fun, it was more like being caught in a violent vortex caught in the Twilight zone. I lost a child, yet attained another degree. I took the final steps in distancing myself from religion but grew immensely in my spirituality. My grandmother spent over a month in a hospital after nearly burning her house down. Ali died. Prince died. Princess Leia died. And so did lord Voldemort, Willy Wonka, and many others. Terrance Crutcher and Alton Sterling were both were murdered by police on film and as usual, justice was redefined as “paid leave” and the desensitivity to police brutality deepened. I watched in horror and disbelief as America elected the orange faced poster boy for white supremacy, misogyny, intolerance, and the epitome of all that’s wrong, as president. I think in that moment, we all died a little. Ha! 

Heading into 2017, I imagine alcohol sells have increased. An upside is that Marijuana is legal in many places and I’m sure those sales are up as well. Gun sales certainly have increased, which is a scary thought. It’s difficult heading into a year where the only thing certain is uncertainty itself and that we are indeed on the cusp of a shift. I would say we need to be prepared, but how do you prepare for the unknown? Buy more guns? I can’t lie, they make you feel safe, but they don’t protect you in every situation (like say nuclear war, an alien invasion, or global warming). Buy more stock? Invest? Create more financial cushion? Perhaps. My response to the threat of the unknown (particularly when that unknown seems to be of evil or dangerous origin), is to connect. Connecting to others improves my hope in humanity. I feel that together we are stronger and can change those things that are unjust and fight evil. Collectively, unified we the people are stronger. When we allow ourselves to come together as one race, it delivers a blow that leaves hate on the ropes and clinging to consciousness, desperate for the bell to ring, like Nunes had Rousey (I’m sorry that was easy). In addition, connecting to the universe helps me realize and hold on to the notion that everything happens for a reason and in the end, it will be as it should. Getting to the end, or what the end actually means is the conundrum that gives me pause. My hope for 2017 is to simply be better. And I think that is all we can do as individuals here on this beautifully flawed rotating rock, take each day as it comes and be better than we were the day before. 
Peace and blessings!

The Get Down

I don’t usually do reviews on shows but I couldn’t resist. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of this new show on Netflix (which by the way is on a roll with the release of countless super cool new series), but The Get Down is an illustration of the birth of hip hop on the dj scene highlighting the 1970’s Bronx as the backdrop. I have to admit, the first episode was so action packed that I spent it confused but at the same time, intrigued. It appeared that in all the action, the plot was lost (or maybe I’m just getting old). Fortunately, episode 2 brought it all into focus and I was able to recognize it for the ode to the mastery of turntable artistry it is, the realistic depiction of the socio economic struggles of urban life, politically driven gentrification, sense of community (or at times, the lack thereof), and of course, the element of a love story. Young love at that. Which initially I thought would get lost in the main characters’ ambitious fight to find themselves and their place in the midst of a community that teeter totters between charming streets of diversity and NYC’s political trash heap. The landscape of  graffiti ridden, partially demolished buildings serves as the playground of these young souls as they emerge from the wreckage of mirrored abandonment, into stardom and one main point that you don’t see until the end…..hope for something more….their way out. Grandmaster Flash not only bestows his legendary table skills onto his eager young “grasshoppers” but lessons of the party which double as lessons of life. The dj booth becomes a classroom, and it is on that stage that they are liberated from the boundaries of their reality. It is there that they all adopt the belief that they can go anywhere!

In a nutshell, I loved it! The hip hop head in me loved the developmental process that went into making music, mixing, as well as the appreciation of the forgotten art of lyricism. Zeke, the “wordsmith” was the quintessential young poet. Shy, in love, orphaned, and gifted. He had a story and to watch him grow in his genius was the highlight for me, in addition to his budding friendship with the ever insanely dope, sword yielding, ghetto ninja, Shoalin Fantastic (that name alone brought a giddy grin to my face). Shoalin was beyond fun to watch. These two became the dynamic duo and could rule any party.  They both did more than just exist in their individual realities, they elevated. And to top it off, in the end, Zeke not only got a new friend, he got the girl. 🙂thegetdown

Summer’s end for the helicopter mom

This summer flew by like the wind. If you blinked, you missed it. At the beginning I had so many plans and was mostly happy to have the children home and not having to shuttle them back and forth, and to and fro (which I ended up doing over the summer anyway). We planned to enjoy a day at the bay, visit relatives down south, make tie-dyed shirts, go to a few museums, you  know, the usual. But we ended up spending our days keeping cool, staying up late watching Steven Universe, and eating poorly. They attended a few weeks of camp, enjoyed the pools, and took advantage of our Six Flags passes. Right before school started, we spent the week at Myrtle Beach. Watching them bury my husband in the sand and collecting shells, it hit me, summer would be over in a matter of days. My baby would be going to kindergarten, and I’d have an empty house during the day. The sadness I felt that can only be described as a cold realization that some day, sooner than I would like, I’ve got to let go of those small hands and let them explore the world for themselves.

As they hopped waves, I was there. When they collected shells, I carried the bucket. At no point were they out of my sight. While at school, they are out of my sight for just a little more than six hours, under the care of people who are not relatives. People who could never love them the way I do. This same thinking is what prompted me to consider homeschooling a couple years ago. It’s also how I came to realize my control issues.

I took my children to school for the first day and was met with chaos (which is to be expected) and a school administrator telling me I had to drop my kindergartener off at the cafeteria and not walk her to class. I was incredulous, said what I needed to say, and walked right on past him. The nerve. It confounds me why some schools act as though they have more say in these situations than a parent. Those are my kids! Period. For me, the hardest part of my children going to school is not the homework, nor the science fair projects, PTO meetings and events. It isn’t the weekly folders, field trips, nor stupid standardized testing. It’s the relinquishment of not necessarily control, but of my post. As mom, mother, mommy, I am charged with their safety, both emotional and physical well-being. Handing it over does not sit well with me. But as they grow older and require my hand less, I realize that in order for us all to live…and grow, I must get right with that. I have to let go. For now, I still hover. I will let them walk to class alone, but I remain at the door. I am late to leave and early to arrive in the carpool line. I volunteer more than asked and strong arm my way to chaperone EVERY field trip. But eventually, those attempts to hang on, won’t matter. It won’t be the rules pushing me away, it may very well be those tiny hands…that’s a hard thought for a mommy who hovers, the helicopter mom who is always there. For those 6.5 hours, there is no total peace, I can’t fully relax, and I’m sure my blood pressure is elevated. Once I have all of my babies back in the nest, despite their bickering, whining, and shouting, my peace returns. The harsh reality is that I have a long road ahead filled with more of the same. Basically, unless I get it together, I’m screwed.

So Dramatic…

I had all four wisdom teeth pulled on Wednesday, and now, I have no wisdom, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t smile, life as I knew it has ended, and I’m pretty sure my oral surgeon is laughing at me.