“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??? 

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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.

Connectivity-the universe, people, and whatnot

Last Sunday I was invited by a lovely Sista  to an awesome event at a nearby park that included gardening, fellowship, then yoga. The kids played on the playground in between running down the aisles of the lush, somewhat overgrown community garden, while we pulled weeds, turned soil, harvested, and chatted. All of the sistas were naturalistas and the brothas were health conscious kings with tattoos and calm demeanor. Conversations ranged from what to do with the squash and eggplant we’d just picked to gentrification of the community, from great parks in our area to world travel. After gardening,  we dusted off and found a wide grassy space. Trading our shovels and dirt for yoga mats and incense, we setup in a circle and joined hands. The yoga instructor who’d been invited by the event coordinator was a mahogany skinned, toned sista with a mohawk and brilliant billion dollar smile. Yoga was the best part of the gathering!!!

Let me tell ya, I’m no real “yogi” per se, but I enjoy meditation…..and yoga…especially outside. This was better than the usual clean studio with hardwood floors and mirrors . There was light traffic passing by, other families in the park, shade from the trees, a breeze from mother nature, and warmth from the sun…all in perfect portions to provide a harmonious balance of real world and spirit. Such a positive energy flowed through the circle. Afterwards, we all felt so connected that we left wanting more of each other and made plans to do this on a bi-weekly basis, at the least.

It was nice to disconnect from the hustle bustle and connect with nature and other people. I think we left wanting more because this is what we crave as humans. Especially those of us who vibrate higher. I found my people! 🙂

Finding my Zen in the midst of crazy

I swear it seems that over the last few weeks, everyone has completely went nuts. We are constantly bombarded with an overwhelming amount of emotionally charged imagery and rhetoric. As it stands, we are engaged in a war on terror abroad, a race war here in the US, a war with police, the government is about to declare martial law, the NWO is in play, and at any moment our lives can become a living reflection of the Hunger Games (fortunately like Katniss, I am an excellent archer, however I’d be dead bc I wouldn’t harm a fly). This is an election year and the inauguration of a new president will introduce a new annual custom known as “the purge” and many of us will  not survive. The conspiracy theorists are literally salivating at the very notion of their claims finally becoming validated. Their moment of “I told you so!!” is a fingertip touch away. Bottom line, it’s a jungle out there and jungles are scary, not peaceful.at least for most humans anyway.

I have several opinions and plenty to say about what’s going on, just as everyone else. But for right now, my desire goes beyond just wanting to let it all out. I want an escape from the sensory overload. I was asked by a few friends how I was sleeping. Honestly, like a baby. How? According to http://www.operationmeditation.com, there are 5 main tips to finding your peace. I have applied these tips to my life, and even more so recently.

  1. living in the right now: this for me includes letting go of the past as well as welcoming the future without fear of what it contains. in addition, it is also being flexible, enjoying the impromptu playdates and games of tag with my children at the park. If nothing else, a crazy world makes you stop and appreciate the simplicity of enjoying those moments as they happen, rather than checking your watch in order to stay on schedule.
  2. acceptance: of who you are, your own abilities (or lack thereof), and once again, the craziness of the world. The serenity prayer comes to mind. we know that as much as we’d like to rid the world of evil, there are just some things we cannot change. There is great liberation in simply letting go. Trust me.
  3. forgiveness: to me this coincides with #1 and 2. Forgiveness is a like a balm for thehealing-yoga-picture soul as it cleanses you of negative energy. Holding onto past hurts and a grudge will weigh you down like a grocery bag full of rocks, the heavy, boulderesque kind. it ain’t fun to carry, it’s useless, and it’s nonprogressive.
  4. MEDITATION!!!! This is one of my favorite things to do. in our world of sensory overload and over-stimulation, if you’re like me, your brain is working over time overprocessing and over analyzing. my wheels are constantly turning, pondering the why’s, I find myself thinking about thinking and it gets pretty loud in there (I swear I’m not really crazy). meditation allows me to quiet those intrusions of peace, process them calmly, find the peace within and gain clarity of thought. All of the above usually happen once I’ve meditated. My meditation time is usually accompanied by crystals, tea, and sage or incense. (I’ll post about this later)
  5. journaling: This tip is awesome! I like writing but for those of us those that don’t, consider it not writing per se, but talking to yourself in page form. I started years ago when I was in high school as just a place to tell my secrets and vent, but eventually it became not only an escape for self-expression, but also documentation of my progress (if any). The fortunate thing about journaling is that the pages are unbiased and they accept your truth without judgement.
  6. this is my bonus: UNPLUG! As I mentioned before…sensory overload. give yourself a break. Logoff. Disconnect. Simply shut it all down. I go long periods without turning on a single tv. I can go even longer without social media (which I keep to a minimum anyway). I understand the need to remain informed, but when you find yourself drained yet still can’t pull away, waiting for more info that isn’t coming (and really doesn’t make a difference in your here and now), it’s time to shut…it…down. (i’ll post about the joys of unplugging in another post)

I hope this helps someone as it has helped me. Don’t let the outside world rob you of your inner peace and positive energy. Take it back!

Peace & blessings

 

5 Tips to Finding Peace retrieved from http://operationmeditation.com/discover/5-tips-to-finding-peace-within-yourself/