Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Convalescent Leave.

I might love this.

Rape Video Games?


Do we really need to discuss why a game that simulates sexual violence is NOT okay? Seriously? You stalk a girl of your choosing (that you can dress to your desire), rape her, even gang rape her and "suggest" she get an abortion, and the way to win the game is to rape her? And the rape, by the way, is a "revenge rape" -- which was motivated by accusations of molestation by the character in the game? And this is all okay because it's a video game? Are you f@*#ing kidding me?

And I can see a counter argument for this being violent video games being accessible and legal. And I think that while they are similar, it is a poor argument. This isn't new; I've expressed a clear disdain for Hentai and rape fantasy pornography in the non-internet-world before. It's sick, degrading, disgusting. Sexual violence is a whole 'nother ball game, folks.

Be Righteous.

Dream a little dream...

To see a spider in your dream, indicates that you are feeling like an outsider in some situation. Or that you may want to keep your distance and stay away from an alluring and tempting situation.

To see a dog in your dream, symbolizes intuition, loyalty, generosity, protection, and fidelity. The dream suggests that your strong values and good intentions will enable you to go forward in the world and bring you success. Alternatively, it indicates a skill that you have ignored or forgotten. If the dog is vicious and/or growling, then it signifies some inner conflict within yourself. It may indicate betrayal and untrustworthiness.

To dream that you are chased by an animal, represents your own unexpressed and unacknowledged anger which is being projected onto that animal. Alternatively, you may be running away from a primal urge or fear.

All according to

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Political Bullshit.

I've been limiting my political commentary to the confines of my home and telephone just based on the fact that I get so riled up about it that I'd rather not ruin my laptop in the heat of the moment. I have so many opinions and my political opinions are among the ones best expressed vocally by me for whatever reason. Could simply be the fact that it's much easier for me to express my convictions offline, or it could be the fact that I get so physically expressive in my opinions that the other party becomes intimidated. In the last few weeks, I've been tearing my hair out in expressing my opinions to people who aren't very politically informed and complacent. I want to encourage people to develop well-rounded opinions, and with all the bullshit thrown at by the different media outlets it isn't easy. I'm not an expert, but I am thorough in developing opinions and becoming active in causes related to said opinions.

First thing's first, let's view this treat:

Now, I have a theory that I'll stand by until the end of time: I'd like to think that the Conservatives keep a Negro or two on their annual payroll for instances like in the above video. For their defense, they need a face of color (or a woman) to defend the bullshit that they are continually looking to feed the public as a harsh reality of circumstance. I don't even know if I want to address what he was saying because after a while, it started to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher: Wompwompwompwompwompwomp. I don't even know if he believed the things he was saying. I mean, how could he? Is he serious? When I first saw the above video, it was in real-time. I was having lunch at a restaurant I stumbled upon, and I looked around the restaurant and said, "is this MSNBC? Or Punk'd?"

Then, there was last night. Last night, I was flipping through channels and stumbled upon The O'Reilly Factor. I don't usually stop to listen to the talking heads, but I saw Reverend Al Sharpton handing Bill O'Reilly his ass, and I thought to sit in on the discussion. The discussion concerned whether or not the tea party is racist in ideology and action. Now, I am of the opinion that there is and will always be far right radical assholes around to defend the bullshit that goes on within the confines of white conservatism. Here's Rev Al and Bill O'Reilly's spat:

I wasn't entirely that riled up at their argument, because I think they were mainly fussing with using semantics to make their arguments stronger. I am concerned, though, with the fact that Brit Hume followed Al Sharpton's piece and, in so many words, argued about how unfair it was that white conservative people cannot get together and do racist bullshit together without being called racists. As a matter of fact, his words were that allegations of racism (by the tea party) were being thrown around "wrecklessly". Following Brit Hume was Bernie Goldberg, who said to quote, "no democratic candidate can have office without kissing Al Sharpton's rink." Of course, the only video clip I've found of last night's O'Reilly Factor was of Rev Al Sharpton. I guess the Conservatives throw the bullshit out there and then work really hard to make sure no one can sit and analyze it.

(Aside, I thoroughly enjoyed Tavis's discussion on the Black Agenda, but I do understand Rev Al's beef. There were so many powerful brothers and sisters in the was DEEP!; my favorite part of it was the fact that it wasn't an attack on President Obama. Instead, it was a way to discuss pertinent issues and hold President Obama accountable -- like we do for every other President. I understand President Obama has a lot to work on right now, even after accomplishing a major feat in American political history just days ago. It's now or never, Pres. We support you.)

That aside, I'd really like to discuss the Republican Conservatives that are so caught up in battling anti-rape legislation and then want the people to sympathize with offensive bullshit from their mini-mes that depict the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES as a RAPIST? I hate directly linking bullshit to my blog but I really think I owe this to the internet world. And so, below is the cartoon I am referring to:

Not funny. Completely inaccurate. Not even the sentiment behind it is understandable. Completely distasteful. And while conservatives have fought against anti-rape legislation and even participated in victim-blaming, they want to use rape as a means to get the message out? I don't even have the words. Bullshit. And it isn't the first time President Obama has been depicted in a most degrading fashion in a doodle. #imjustsayin.

I had a former coworker/friend (white woman, for disclosure) from home contact me tonight and she told me that she received craziest phone calls at work tonight. Some red neck called threatening her boss, a Black man, multiple times -- called him every racist name in the book (and some shit I'd never heard of!) white women?

To all yous out there that are so convinced that this is post racial America, think again; it's 2010 and this is some ol' bullshit! Don't even get me started on the twerp that decided to post threats to President Obama's life..on Twitter. See above theory on Black conservatives.

Be Righteous.
And in the words of Dap, WAKE UP!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Window Seat

Well, I wrote a whole post on the "Window Seat" video, and in expressing my disdain for posting on what the rest of the internet universe was buzzing about, my draft did not save and I lost the post! I don't want to drone on about my opinion of the video, because needless to say -- I love Erykah Badu and I think she's beautiful, deep, and raw. I didn't want to do a post on the video, but I felt like people needed to see it. And if they've avoided Erykah's video until, somehow, stumbling upon my blog...I feel obligated to share. So, there.

I would like to commend Erykah for encouraging dialogue on twitter (yes, I'm following her on twitter) about the true meaning of the video and "group think". As someone who minored in Sociology, I think it's awesome that real artists are willing to try to deliver the message. My favorite part of the video is the dialogue at the end of the video about the assassination of the individual.

Be Righteous.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spare the Rod...

Well, for some reason stranger than the fact that I live with two tweens, children and child rearing have randomly been on my mind. As a post-college 20-something, my friends and classmates are beginning to marry and have kids. I can't sign on to facebook without seeing someone's status about how much they love being a mom. And that just plum weirds me out.

As a matter of fact, in my quest to meet people and make friends, I had recently begun speaking to the village idiot a guy who has expressed a strong interest in getting to know me (even though I stated that we wouldn't date in a million years I wasn't interested in romance at this point in time. See, I've got tact. More specifically, this guy asked me, in our first series of conversations, if I wanted children. I replied as earnestly as I typically do as such a query: "I don't see myself as a mom at this point in my life. [That is] One of those bridges me and my potential mate should cross together when we get there." He, himself, has four children (by the same person, from a previous marriage) and expressed that he wanted more. When I asked why he would want more, he said that he didn't know...*confused face*

I also have a good friend who I've discussed children with on many occasions. He's incredibly intelligent (and has several children himself, including a son that is older than I), and he believes like most wackos in certain aspects of eugenics. And while I'm not entirely certain that I'd be willing to buy into all of nature having control over the type of people your children will become, I can agree that I'm less than willing to donate my genetic material to someone I see unfit (..but isn't that what the courtship is about -- determining whether or not a person would be a good person to build a life with?).

At any rate, I had a very serious and sincere conversation with my Sula about child-rearing and the fact of the matter is -- the thought terrifies me. I'm admittedly very unnecessarily analytical most times, and I think that having children is something that people should be analytical about. And while she assured me that I wouldn't be a bad mom at all, I get terrified wondering if I will. Or, even, if I'll get bored or "over it" after a week's time and not know what to do after that. When I was younger, I was sure I wanted a gigantic family with a dozen kids. I even knew that I wanted to have a medication- (and possibly hospital)-free birth, which might sound strange but chalk it up to being too far into my natural-lifestyle and TLC/Discovery baby shows. And while they aren't infants, living with pre-teens has become rough a little difficult for me.

At the suggestion of one commenter I began reading "For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence" by Alice Miller. So far, I am very interested in the concepts presented. I'm sure I've mentioned not being a fan of spanking children a time or two before; I've also pointed out that my being a non-parent makes me easy to say such a thing. Yet, while I've not experienced being a parent (yet?), I have been a child who has spanked and I've seen the different effects and outcomes that it has had on me and my two siblings. I'm quite sure that I'm getting too personal in sharing, and that's because I'm raw(!), but I think that spanking did more negative in my life than positive. My boofriend will argue this point since he works with and "knows" kids in a different (and far deeper) capacity than I do, and I'm cool with other opinions. I just don't think I'd spank.

Yet, back to my life in the present, I've found that my tween cousins are having a difficult time respecting me as an adult. I would like to believe that this is because they knew me when I was youngerthananadult(as I'm not that much older). At first they were cool with it, as I'm like the cool older sister they never had. Yet lately, since I've been here a couple of months and the newness has worn off, they've turned into Satan's offspring developed different attitudes.

I try to correct them when they say wrong. They don't care. I ask them what they learn in school, they reply "nothing". They aren't excited that I live in their home, and as a girl who grew up with many surrogate siblings (because my parents thought they were the foster home), I can sympathize. Yet, when they get mouthy and disrespectful, their parents encourage me to beat them. The oldest has a horrendous attitude problem, and I can't lie, I popped her once, and thought, "why am I doing this?" I couldn't do it. And while I want to believe that they are only children; though knowing the difference between right and wrong, they will behave as children. Adolescence is a difficult time. I mean, the oldest just had her first menstrual cycle and I remember the changes. I can imagine how difficult this time in their lives must be for them; but again, they know the difference between right and wrong and while they might misbehave often and cut-up to the point where I have to remind myself of their ages and fight the frustration within, they don't mouth off to other adults like they do me.

And it is because the other adults (parents and other relatives) beat them. And I just can't. And I have no clue how to gain their respect (and, hopefully again, their admiration).

And I'm pulling out my hair in frustration. How can I get them to look at me as a person, and not someone they can mistreat, without having to physically discipline them? I feel as though it is my responsibility (and every other person's) to be a positive influence in other people's lives -- especially children's. How can I keep them positive, motivated, encouraged, and respectful individuals? And having been raised and "beaten" (the Black term for spanked), am I too late to gain their respect without corporal punishment?

Be Righteous.

Let's Discuss: Robin Quivers!

While I was a little perturbed by Jamie Foxx's comments about the "Notorious Precious", especially in the wake of Howard Stern's verbal attack on Gabourey Sibide, I thought it was less malicious than Howard and Robin's comments. While not justified (or funny, really), it didn't seem to be fueled by hatred, just miseducation.

I have my feelings about Robin Quivers, Howard's token sidekick who happens to be a Black woman. I can sympathize with the idea that she has a "house n^#%a" personality: rejecting her own cultural identity, appearing to do whatever to please the master. I can see that. I understand that point of view and I am even willing to cosign.

What I am not willing to cosign is the below video of Jamie Foxx and co on "The Foxxhole" taking the disrespect to another level.

...of all the things to "joke" about, continual molestation jokes? Corey Holcomb, an apparent regular personality on show, was the main issuer of such jokes. There's nothing funny about molestation. Also featured in the video is slut-shaming and lesbian bashing and tran/gay-bashing toward the end (after the caller).

You know, I don't really have a problem with "counter attacks" that are justified and logical in approach, but this was just distasteful.

I'm not sure how much Robin Quivers acknowledges her black/womanness, but it just illustrates, to me, that these things aren't invisible to others, no matter how much you are willing to ignore them; Black women are attacked on all sides. Even as a survivor of child sexual assault/molestation, she is being shamed for someone else's actions.

Shame on The Foxxhole. How distasteful.
Be Righteous.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

World of Grey.

Not very long ago, my car was broken into while I was working at a supermarket. I was inside working all night, and when I walked outside with my coworkers, I noticed my back door was open. My cds were thrown around the front seats. My items were dishoveled. I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach. I checked for anything missing and called the police, beat after worked something like twelve hours. While I didn't immediately notice anything missing, but then I contemplated the fact that I carry things close to my heart with me at all times.

Having recently graduated college, I moved back to my hometown and lived in my grandmother's house, she was sick in the hospital; when she passed away a month later, my only option was to move in with my parents while the details of the home were being worked on. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing; my parents kind of respect my independence, and when they don't, they know to expect me to continue living my life. They don't snoop in my belongings or anything, but for some reason, I decided to keep my writings in my car. I had a box filled with journals of poetry, prose, and personal narratives in my back seat. There were at least five of them, and they spanned from the time I was thirteen until I was 19.

And they were stolen from me.

I was heartbroken. These were writings that weren't backed up on any computer. My innermost thoughts. Besides the sheer upset I found in the fact that someone would steal my personal belongings (and not even my music, but my journals!), I felt violated.

I've been told I'm a mysterious type of person; the person that people constantly want to figure out. While I'm not entirely sure if I cosign that idea, because I'm not intentionally "mysterious", I certainly have a problem sharing my thoughts, my feelings. I don't like people in my head.

And some person, who probably tossed them in a sewer somewhere upon realizing there was nothing worth money in the mystery box, will always make me wonder: who is reading my mind?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Black Woman.

Before I begin my post, isn't Alek Wek (pictured) gorgeous?

I love poetry. While I've always wanted to be a writer, I am typically too long winded for what people consider "poetry" to be. I used to perform (and did so on one occasion at an event with one of my poetess idols Queen Sheba when I was 14..and maaaaaaad nervous). I love words, I love being able to express myself in words. I love slam poetry, but somehow lost my voice for it along my growing process.

At any rate, I was doing some African history reading (because that's what I do in all of my new-found free time) and I started thinking about one of my all-time favorite poems: "Black Woman" by the former President of Senegal, Leopold Sedar Senghor. I had an ex-crazy-boyfriend recite this poem to me and while memories of him make me want to vomit tend to be unpleasant, it's a deep poem.

It was originally written in French, but the English translation is moving.

Naked woman, black woman
Clothed with your colour which is life,
with your form which is beauty!
In your shadow I have grown up; the
gentleness of your hands was laid over my eyes.

And now, high up on the sun-baked
pass, at the heart of summer, at the heart of noon,
I come upon you, my Promised Land,
And your beauty strikes me to the heart
like the flash of an eagle.

Naked woman, dark woman
Firm-fleshed ripe fruit, sombre raptures
of black wine, mouth making lyrical my mouth
Savannah stretching to clear horizons,
savannah shuddering beneath the East Wind's
eager caresses

Carved tom-tom, taut tom-tom, muttering
under the Conqueror's fingers
Your solemn contralto voice is the
spiritual song of the Beloved.

Naked woman, dark woman
Oil that no breath ruffles, calm oil on the
athlete's flanks, on the flanks of the Princes of Mali
Gazelle limbed in Paradise, pearls are stars on the
night of your skin

Delights of the mind, the glinting of red
gold against your watered skin
Under the shadow of your hair, my care
is lightened by the neighbouring suns of your eyes.

Naked woman, black woman,
I sing your beauty that passes, the form
that I fix in the Eternal,
Before jealous fate turn you to ashes to
feed the roots of life.

The Light

I might intentionally be avoiding discussing the drama with health care and other politics. I'll leave that up to my good buddy RiPPa at The Intersection of Madness and Reality. I'm tweeting plenty about it though, and other random banter (@iamMEchelle).

As a hip-hop head and all around music lover, I sometimes sit back with my feet up, listening to the jams that people hardly think about until they're thrown in some random mix on the radio. Today was a day that I turned on Common -- and turned it up. I have all of his albums. As a matter of fact, when I mentioned this fact a few years ago to my brother (who is as much a hip-hop enthusiast as I), he replied "he only has like two albums out." I was embarrassed to claim him as my brother after that. This, of course, meant putting him on to early 90s Common Sense: "Can I Borrow a Dollar?", "Resurrection", "One Day It'll All Make Sense", and the other albums that aren't "Like Water for Chocolate". After that, we moved forward to what the mainstream now knows as the man named Common.

I did recently become giddy in a movie theatre when I saw Common is going to be in two new films in the near future. My favorite thing about him, besides the fact that he is soooooo fine, is his rhyme style. I can't say "The Light" is my favorite song of his, but it is certainly one of my favorite non-ballad love songs.

No doubt, "The Light" might be the only song of his that most people that have heard of Common (the rapper, not the foinnne actor) know him by. It's so sincere to me; it's the letter that women like me crave to hear, put to the beat. It doesn't seem like he's trying hard...we can relate to it. It's deep. It's how I want someone to feel about me one day. Have a listen.

I never knew a luh, luh-luh, a love like this
Gotta be somethin for me to write this
Queen, I ain't seen you in a minute
Wrote this letter, and finally decide to send it
Signed sealed delivered for us to grow together
Love has no limit, let's spend it slow forever
I know your heart is weathered by what studs did to you
I ain't gon' assault em cause I probably did it too

Because of you, feelings I handle with care
Some niggaz recognize the light but they can't handle the glare
You know I ain't the type to walk around with matchin shirts
If relationship is effort I will match your work

I wanna be the one to make you happiest, it hurts you the most
They say the end is near, it's important that we close..
.. to the most, high
Regardless of what happen on him let's rely

There are times.. when you'll need someone..
I will be by your side..
There is a light, that shines,
special for you, and me..

Yo, yo, check it
It's important, we communicate
and tune the fate of this union, to the right pitch
I never call you my bitch or even my boo
There's so much in a name and so much more in you

Few understand the union of woman and man
And sex and a tingle is where they assume that it land
But that's fly by night for you and the sky I write
For in these cold Chi night's moon, you my light
If heaven had a height, you would be that tall
Ghetto to coffee shop, through you I see that all
Let's stick to understandin and we won't fall
For better or worse times, I hope to me you call
So I pray everyday more than anything
friends will stay as we begin to lay
this foundation for a family - love ain't simple
Why can't it be anything worth having you work at annually

Granted we known each other for some time
It don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine

There are times.. when you'll need someone..
I will be by your side, oh darling
There is a light, that shines,
special for you, and me..

Yeah.. yo, yo, check it
It's kinda fresh you listen to more than hip-hop
and I can catch you in the mix from beauty to thrift shop
Plus you ship hop when it's time to, thinkin you fresh
Suggestin beats I should rhyme to
At times when I'm lost I try to find you

You know to give me space when it's time to
My heart's dictionary defines you, it's love and happiness
Truthfully it's hard tryin to practice abstinence
The time we committed love it was real good
Had to be for me to arrive and it still feel good
I know the sex ain't gon' keep you, but as my equal
it's how I must treat you
As my reflection in light I'ma lead you
And whatever's right, I'ma feed you
Digga-da, digga-da, digga-da, digga-digga-da-da
Yo I tell you the rest when I see you, peace

There are times.. when you'll need someone..
I will be by your side..
There is a light, that shines,
special for you, and me..

(I'll) take my chances.. before they pass..
.. pass me by, oh darling..
You need to look at the other side..
You'll agree..

Thursday, March 25, 2010

...then YOU must write it.

Sunday, I set out to the bookstore to pretend interested in applying to work, all though I was most excited about checking out new reads; I know this seems like backward logic for the passive aggressive, who tend to masquerade as shoppers and then seek the job, but those things where words are stored, books, are among the most wonderful objects the world takes for granted.

When I arrived, I noticed a lady promoting her book and I scooted past her, marching onward to the sociology selection. After browsing through cultural studies, I literally stopped at every single section to see if anything tickled my fancy and then, in another backward notion, hit the bargain books. After grabbing too many items for my quick-shrinking budget, I put some things back, settled on one bargain book - mainly for my collection - paid and stopped at the author's table to speak with her.

She was fairly young, and I will say that part of the reason for my stopping was because her purse caught my eye. We talked.

I asked her about her book; whether it was her first or not. What it was about, what inspired her to write. About her publishing company, which immediately gave away my ulterior motive as a writer. We talked about my book.

I told her the premise for the book that I have written and yet to publish, and how my thought process did a reverse-and-back-peddle upon speaking to other (published) authors and publishers. I am a very determined individual, and it is not discouraging to me that no one will read my writing and thoughts; however, it intimidates me that people may read my thoughts, my feelings, my stories whether true or false, and not understand. (Tell me that ain't insecurrre) Given my activism and internet writing (on my blog and commenting on other people's) I know this sounds like a silly insecurity, a worry of the weak, and I have no "but..." that will justify it beyond my writing being my experiences and inner-most feelings.

The author gave me information, immediately facebook-friended me, and introduced me to the book store's manager who knows people like she knows people. I was encouraged by these strangers who don't know me, but my passions and goals in a ten minute talk. And, in the final words of the conversation, they both agreed that they would see to it that I put my work out there.

Toni Morrison said "if there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." I've written it. I've lived it. And maybe, just maybe, I'll share it.

Uplifting. Be Righteous.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Act 1. Scene 4.

Cotton-candy cloud love
We are the lavender smelling sound, love.
In the deepest gulp of air, I am crying, "love!"
Itching and breathing, dying love.
The taste of heat, like summer air.
Orange-green afterglow.
Dreamers often lie, says the prophet's mystic soul.
Stretch my love, have your wishes.
Love doesn't ask for much, and yet it does.
but, in bed while they're asleep was the gazer's reply.
Darkened roots, sweet crimson fruit.
Depth and darkness, paradox.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Your future?

As a little girl, we played these silly MASH games to predict our "futures"...and the game still lives. Home sick, my cousin wanted to love up on me and play MASH to predict my future. My results?

"You will graduate from UNCW, marry and settle down in the DMV, and live in an apartment. You will have 16 kids, thirteen boys and three girls; spend your days as a baby-sitter, and you will live happily ever after.

That doesn't seem like a happily ever after.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fresh Air.

Did you inhale that? It's fresh air. I'm sharing it with you. Yes, you. Because my breath of fresh air moment earlier today made me so proud to have some kind of influence some where.

I've mentioned my younger cousins with whom I currently live, and the fact that I'm trying my best to be a positive Black woman role model for them. Their mom is around and very sincerely, she is one of the most wonderful Black women I have ever encountered. My aunt is certainly one of my major influences, and they are very lucky to have a mother like her. However, she is their mother and I certainly remember being a young tween and being more open to hearing things from anybody but my mother when it came to certain topics.

However, sometimes there are those "I'm-not-even-grown-but-i'm-growing-and-i-think-i-know-everything" attitudes that tween girls (and boys too!) can have. Majorly, I've had to talk time and again about how Nicki Minaj is "entertainment" if you'll call her that, and there are a million other enriching activities that one could participate in rather than babbling her lyrics without true knowledge of their meaning.

So anyway, in my Sophia Petrillo voice, I say, "picture it...": I'm downstairs in my quiet space folding clothes, and my youngest cousin (11) comes down. We are cleaning, and so she's wearing shorts and a tank top and her training bra is showing. She looks at me, "do you like my shirt?"
I reply, "Honey. Are you trying to look like Nicki Minaj?"
She says, "No! I don't wanna be like her! She's so fake!"
I had to take a deep breath. Was she saying what I tried convincing her of the last several weeks?
"You're right, she is fake."
She continued, "she always wears the same outfit. And she's not real. Her boobs are fake! Her butt is fake! Her nose is fake! And she wears her hair the same...she ain't even natural!"

I was a proud cousin. The youngest one is also the one that stated, when her older sister relaxed her hair, that she "wants to be natural like her cousin!" Her natural cousin is me. :)

Be Righteous.

Hip Hop Rationalists?

As a serious hip-hop head, a lover of words and lyrics, and a fairly rational individual, I was thoroughly impressed when I came across this gem upon waking. I'm still spinning from last night, and I don't think the point of my last post came across as anything but a blur that I'll have to clear up at a later date. I don't care what Snoop Dogg claims, gin and juice is a dangerous concoction.

Anyway, for the non-religious sitting at home on Sunday morning...enjoy this!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

All My Single Ladies...!

I promise you that this is not another Beyonce post. It looks like I've mustered up the motivation to do a follow-up on the former posts I've worked on about love and relationships! I'm no expert and I can only express the thoughts that swirl through this mind of mine (and I have a five-head, so there's room for many thoughts). I woke up feeling ultra-inspired when I was speaking to my aunt about how self-accepting I have become since my younger years. Yet, in my "this is who I am" rant, I began wonder silently if my uniqueness makes others perceive me as a diamond or a black sheep?

It would seem that as of late, everyone is concerned with strong and successful Black women; our dating habits, our success rate in relationships, our so-called "sacrifice" of a family for a successful career. I don't think this scrutiny is necessarily "new", but I think the focus of it has shifted. Instead of media outlets having Black women discuss how a "good (Black) man is so hard to find" and essentially demonizing my brothers (and this has been done for hundreds of years here), it's turned the page and made Black women into victims and, essentially, given a nudge that we should become more open to interracial dating. I don't necessarily see a major problem with this beyond the fact that it seems to be a major worry of members in other communities, and the fact that my conspiracy theorist mindset has noticed that this increase has only been since we have a Black/biracial President and Black first lady.

At any rate, I've expressed who I am in regards to relationships here and there and every where. I'm single. And I enjoy being single. I'm very focused on so much more than love, and while I've not entirely been busy here lately, I'm certainly used to having my very special form of organization going on in my life (many people refer to it as chaos though). I know I have a lot of positive attributes: I'm intelligent and free-minded, perfectly capable of forming my own opinions and able to vocalize an "I don't know" where necessary. I don't have children (not that that is a negative attribute at all), I'm interested in so many different things and I love to do a lot. I enjoy learning, I enjoy working, I enjoy being happy and loving myself. I don't have a problem with relationships. The thing about me that most people interested find appealing is this: I am not perfect, and I don't try to convince people that my positive attributes are the entire me. If a great guy comes along and is interested, I am open to seeing where it goes (even if that's unbelievable from my encounters I've documented in my new city thus far).

I know that people don't always "mesh" no matter how much you want. I'm not into genderalizations, but I do know that the human thing to do is to shape opinions based on the experiences that we have. F'rinstance, I was seeing a guy that I thought was pretty amazing. I do still think he's a great guy, though my girlfriends may be a little less forgiving than I. Everything was going great, and he just disappears without notice for a week. Come to find out, he also thinks I'm pretty perfect for him but the long and short of it tends to deal with the conditions in either of our lives: he's very busy and has things going on so it's poor timing for him, and I'm currently in a huge state of metamorphosis. But, many times does someone find their counterpart and are able to maintain something genuine without (many) qualms? Further, are there ever "perfect" conditions for a relationship, despite whether or not the other person is the "perfect" mate for you?

Another issue that I feel plagued by is my overall (lack of) a religious situation. Being a Black Woman non-theist is difficult; I've met many good guys, interested or not, but they all seem to have in common one major desire: a belief in God. Or, more specifically, Jesus. I've dated Muslim men, Jewish men, and even a Christian guy who was a son-of-a-preacher-man. Sadly and very sincerely, religiosity has, historically, played a major role in Black America. And you know, from a historical stand-point, I can totally respect that. I don't harp on a good man being hard to find because I'm not looking for a good man; I would like to think that good people get the love they deserve eventually. But I have to admit, I've not met or dated any Black men who were non-theists, and only a handful I've met have been open to dating someone with a different religious affiliation.

So, two major issues are questions concerning the difficulty of Black women who are non-theists/non-religious finding "true" love, and why even the good guys tend to move away from good women -- even if they find them to be perfect.

Be Righteous.

Also, side note: I began this post wanting to elaborate and "go in" on aspects of relationships and other factors of Black dating that the media has yet to identify, but I took a break in writing to do real-life stuff. I typically create my posts in one sitting, as it is less difficult for me to stay on task, and I lost track of my original point (can't you tell?). And I'm currently under the influence of alcohol. Surprise.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Just Wanna Know Where Da Gold At?

I don't do St. Patrick's Day. I don't mess with it at all. And I'm very vocal and clear when I express my lack of desire to wear green one specific day of the year. All though, while being brainwashed in elementary school, I was convinced that one year I saw a leprechaun in my bedroom (which probably resulted from misplacing my glasses and having dust built up on my ceiling fan). However, ever since I was around 15 or so, I've opted against "celebrating" St. Patty, even though I do enjoy a party - especially after a few drinks.

My last name is typical of Northern Ireland. While it could be Scottish, linguistically it is Gaelic, a language originally spoken by people in Ireland and spreading, eventually, to Scotland. Now, the origins of St. Patrick's Day are religious, but many people see it as an excuse to get wasted and pick four leaf clovers. I don't want to bore with the details of Saint Patrick, or the rebellion, or even how it warped in Irish History, as a day-long break from fasting and Lent. Let's talk about the Irish.

The Irish, like many American immigrants, came to this land of ours on a boat with hopes of opportunity sometime in the 18th century. Many of the Irish farmed until the Industrial Revolution in America, around the 19th century. Now, of course this is an abridged version and a huge chunk of history is missing. Many people know that the Irish, especially New England to Mid-Western ones, were treated like crap and, well, systemically fucked. Besides contributing largely to the development to police agencies, the Irish lived in shanty towns and were not provided educational opportunities, especially with poor health care and a high infant mortality rate. They were even hit with a specific kind of segregation: many places had what were referred to as NINA signs up: "No Irish need apply". I'm very sympathetic to that, and while it might sound like contemporary America familiar, many people do not know that there were Irishmen in the South.

A substantial number of Irish in the South were slave owners. Heck, not saying all Southern whites were racist, but the only non-colored person I've heard of not owning slaves was named Atticus Finch. Where is the cohesion, you ask? Heregoes:
From what is known of my family history on my father's side, my grandfather was the grandson of a slave. As a matter of fact, he had one of the best memories I know. He could tell you where and when something occurred down to the hour and never second guess himself. As such, we very thankfully know from our oral tradition of this bit of information about our family. This is not typical of Blacks in America; many of us have no idea where we came from and I am grateful that, while it does not take us to our African roots, we have a piece of history that we don't have to guess or assume. As such, my Irish last name that has been passed down through generations of men on my father's side is a legacy that feeds the possibility that the people who owned that side of my family were, indeed, Irish immigrants. Now, the Irish mostly favored the Union over the Confederacy, but this changed sometime in 1861. However, in the early 1800s, there were Irishmen in the South that sought to help coloreds, Blacks and natives if there were any left, become better educated; however, angry anti-abolitionists fought against the gesture.

My over-active imagination theory makes me want to do more research, but sadly, I never really think about Irish history until Saint Patrick's Day. I suppose this makes me like most other people, but I'm only human after all.

Be Righteous.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Keep on Dreaming.

I think I'm back at writer's block. All though, I will say that many times, writer's block is not so much my not having words to say or emotions to express as much as it is not knowing how to appropriately vocalize the thoughts. There are some very specific situations running free through my mind, both conscious and voluntary, and it's beginning to frustrate me (and I definitely don't get to that point very easily). Admittedly, a combination of situations have me feeling discouraged, as though I've been slighted by a few different players in my life. Being the person I am, though, I have no desire to express sentiments to anybody but the parties involved if an opportunity ever presents itself. And so, the writer's block is back to run the show.

I love this song. And on vinyl?..That's what love is.

Be Righteous.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Early/HyperSexualization of Children

I decided upon sleep early tonight, once again, and at 12am I woke up and started flippin' out like I slept til 12pm and missed something! It was a much funnier scene than I could describe, and since everyone in my home was in their respective quarters, nobody was around to share the giggles with me.

At any rate, once awake and unable to go back to sleep as a result of my foul mood I decided to go to the computer and catch up on some blog/news reading. I came across an article over at Alternet entitled "Is Our Sexed-up Society Creating Prosti-tots?" It reminded me of a conversation that I was having with someone, otherwise an incorrigible asshole, about pageant moms and the children victimized and dragged into a world that they don't understand (or really need to). Aside, it also reminded me of the several conversations I've had to force upon have with my pre-teen cousins about maturity, image, positive female role-models, and - well - Nicki Minaj. They're crazy about her, and this, in turn, makes me crazy. Also, very recently the oldest began listening to "Tik Tok" by Ke$ha (she's so 2000-and-late) and I'm positive that she doesn't know what a "bottle of Jack" is. This peeves me because I've never been the person to say things that I don't understand (or haven't researched thoroughly in my analytical nature), so naturally, it's another unrealistic expectation I have of people. I guess if sense and courtesy were both common...

Snippet below:

Last week’s YouTube sensation was the adorkable 12-year-old Avery, all haystack hair and crooked glasses and giant Bugs Bunny teeth, lip-syncing in her messy bedroom to the Ke$ha mega-hit "TiK ToK.” (Sample lyrics: “I'm talking about everybody getting crunk, crunk / Boys tryin' to touch my junk, junk.”)

What’s awesome about Avery is that -- especially given the other sagaciously smart-ass material on her YouTube channel -- it’s safe to say she is totally in on the joke. (Doofy kid + “brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack” = funny!) She’s not trying, pathetically/disturbingly, to be grownup “hot.” She’s letting her creative eccentric ironic sarcastic confident dweeb flag fly. “I’munna fight!” indeed.

But much of Avery’s charm comes from the fact that she embodies a refreshing counterpoint to (if not commentary on) everything that is disturbing these days about pop culture for young girls. In other words, she’s not Azucena Diaz, the Peruvian 9-year-old who remade Britney’s “Toxic” video shot into terrifying soft-porn (and was then applauded for it, when she wasn’t being enthusiastically slut-shamed, slash, threatened with sexual assault). Diaz is not just shaking what God gave her. (Though God did appear to give her an unusually large budget.) She is shaking what we gave her and her tween peers: the super-sexualized "prosti-tot” culture that re-packages porn as mainstream "sexy" and posits “hotness” -- as opposed to, say, math -- as a girl’s highest attainable goal.

Be Righteous.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Feeling Uneasy

...and I am. What exactly are you supposed to do after you've jumped over the moon?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Twitter Alert :)

Well, my sister-like-cousin/bestest bud/other half/co-writer of this blog(ifsheeverdecidestodoapost...yeah, I shot out!), Sula has talked me into getting a new twitter account. Yes, this is my second go round with twitter. I hated it the first time around, but she's convinced I'll love it this go round. So..why not?

If anyone is interested in following, you can send me a request @iamMEchelle. Sula also has a twitter - @igetwhatiwnt. It'll be a more fun version of the other-womyn-ism tag team.

Get to following!

Be Righteous.

The Multiple Blind Sides

I did not see the movie "The Blind Side". I also don't follow football; I don't understand it and I cannot sit still long enough to watch it. As a matter of fact, my grandfather explained to me not long ago that I can't expect to find a boyfriend or husband if I'm not willing to learn football. Aside, despite one of my interns pleading with me to meet Michael Oher (who I didn't know existed until after that movie) and fall in love, and then get her tickets to football games, I try my best to avoid passe bullshit -- and it's hard when it's every where I look.

I had no desire to see the movie, not even after people told me how good it was. Why? Well, we can let Vanessa Williams try to explain it, but she doesn't get too far before Barb Walters gets crunk and, well, pretty shut off at the ideas that she is presenting. Press play!

I understand the desire to see things as they are on the surface (ex, "ohhh, it's a story of closeness between two races"). I am not denying the truth that is in the story. I think that maybe it's touching, even though all I know about it is this: Black kid has a bad Black mother, is homeless or undergoing some major struggle within and without the system, and is rescued by the great white hope. I'm not knocking any of the actors/actresses but I'm not interested in that because how many stories depict healthy Black families, or even positive Black role models uplifting at risk kids? I'm tired of Hollywood making it seem like that's not real. I'm not even saying that isn't depicted, but is it illustrated the majority or heck even half of the time?

I wish I could be closed off enough to just see things on the surface without looking deeper and analyzing things more than a lot of people. Sadly, blogworld, this monkey on my back doesn't just affect my level of amusement in movies, it spreads every where. Unfortunately, white people Barbara Walters may wish to get to a level of understanding where we don't "see" racial differences, but I think those differences should be acknowledged.

Can I post the same video twice in the same month? Sure I can. Here are the reasons why...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fat Black Chicks

I felt obligated to respond to this as a fat Black chick as defined by..all of America and, apparently, Howard Stern. I loathe Howard Stern. I had a really good friend in college who loved Howard Stern and whenever we'd hang out or go some where, he'd turn it to Howard Stern for whatever reason, and it would frustrate me greatly.

Now, I didn't see Precious for many reasons, including but not limited to trigger warnings. I fully intend to see it at home, but it's difficult for me, I suppose, because the themes presented are very real despite the fact that they're "entertainment".

I did, however, sneak and read "Push" trying to be grown when I was 13 or so, and even though it was graphic, I got it. I understood everything that was presented and I thought that it was a great read. I even suggested my mom read it, without fearing punishment, because it was so real. I plan on purchasing the movie and watching it alone.

Add ten years, a movie is made of it. Some people are boycotting it because of racist themes. Some black men people even just recently posted on facebook about Monique's appearance, and unshaved legs, and losing weight. It's frustrating to know that no matter how successful you may become, people will continue to define beauty not by how real or successful you are, but by fitting into the box that "real", non-Hollywood people struggle to fit.

Beauty has always been more than physical for me. People always say that, but when they are tested they don't really own it, sadly. That reminds me of something I saw once, I can't remember which television show or movie said it, but there was something about no matter how "attractive" (read: skinny) a fat girl becomes, she'll always internally be the sweet fat girl who let people walk over her because it's all she's always known. Let me reiterate a point in another post I made: I've always thought I was cute, self esteem issues seldom rooted from what people said to me (or not to me) about my appearance once I got older, say fourteen or so. I have some pretty high self esteem and I'm probably as big a jerk now as I'll ever be (if that's what being direct and clear with people is called), whether I change the way I look or not. I guess being the big sister to an all-star athlete brother and a light skindded with good hair sister made me the least attractive of the three by conventional standards, but not unattractive.

Anyway, enter Howard Stern (and his Black woman sidekick Robin, and I will reserve my opinions on her):

Now, I personally think the girl is lovely. Fat doesn't mean ugly. Fat doesn't mean ugly. FAT doesn't mean UGLY. Neither does dark skinned or nappy headed or any other adjective you want to throw out. She's a human being.

I was going to write a post similar to this days ago about good old Mediatakeout posting awful things about Gabourey. If we can't congratulate and uplift one another, how do we expect this dude (or anybody else) to?! Sheesh.

Aside, I even watched Oprah extend congrats to the winners, even though my feelings are a little more love-hate with her than other people in the industry. And Monique paying homage to Hattie McDaniel was incredibly moving. So, my dear "fat Black chicks", in the words of Mr. Stern, I just want you to know that I know how frustrating it is to be torn down, being a woman and Black, but also being overweight. It's silly that, in many cases, people will not even want to get to know you on that basis alone. But remember that beauty goes way beyond that, and keep your heads up. It isn't losing weight that will make you beauty. If it were, there wouldn't be so many skinny people searching for ways to be pretty. This isn't about losing weight, it's about loving yourself and doing big things (no pun intended) regardless of what the nay-sayers say.

Isn't it bad enough that we feel forced to relax our god-given hair, or wear weave, and have big butts, and lighten our skin. I was really going to go in hard on Mediatakeout once more, but then I thought of a question that Malcolm X often asked: Who taught you to hate yourself?
Be Righteous.

Another Beyonce Post

In my False Dichotomies post, I wasn't intending to "go in" on Beyonce as much as I did the images that Black women artists feel forced to convey as a means to success. In all seriousness, I really like Beyonce/Sasha(?)/Mrs. Carter. I believe that contradiction is a human quality, even when unintended. Heck, I have several conflicting characteristics, and they each make me unique. Beyond Beyonce's money, fashion sense and external beauty, there really is something else to her that comes out when she speaks and performs: passion.

Last night, me and my Sula (who will begin posting here in the very near future..hey girl!) were speaking about passion and agreed that if someone cannot find one thing to be passionate about, what is the point of living? Of course, it's a stronger point in the context of dating and relationships, but all the same, I believe everyone should have, at-the-very-least one thing they are passionate about.

I hear you, Beyonce. My mother influenced a lot of who I am (in the positive and negative) without even realizing it until I make her aware; she absolutely is the fire behind my interest in Black feminism/Womanism, even if her passionate doesn't go as deeply as mine. I think it's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Deep Purple Ride

Your kisses taste like the pale violet blues
of midnight on a city street
It reminds me of the Renaissance in Harlem
I move, motivated, migrating to the north
The northernmost point of my affection, directly
Deep, and meaningful, and precise. Black.
Black as in deep, long. Juicy.
And sweet. Honey-like, mellow sounding
Let's take our desire, delight to the Cotton Club,
Let's get dark, darker than the blues
Warmer than jazz dipped in chocolate
My soul scats, stronger than Satchmo and Ella,
the near perfection of
Our flavor's motivation enough
for the tangled rhythms of romance.
Let your naked mind paint shaded pictures
of me
with purples undiscovered
and deep strokes.
Our hearts are the art of our own culture
Our individual dark-skinned selves
a dancing spirit.
A new route, old fashioned
Let's both take the A Train! To
a new root
a revived Renaissance.

Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

So, today is International Women's Day and I wasn't going to (/still am not) going to do a post on it. I did want to make reference to it, but I feel slightly ashamed having not done a Black History Month post at all like the rest of the Black blogsphere. I did contemplate it, but decided against it because I enjoy, study and make reference to Black history 365 days of the year. That doesn't mean it isn't important and that I should not have. It might seem jacked up and I'm waiting on Black men people to come out of the bushes and tell me what a traitor I am for acknowledging one and not the other. Women's History (March is Women's History Month) is certainly not more important than Black History and I am regretful that I didn't take the time to properly commemorate Black History Month (but if I had more than 28 days to do it, I might have - wink).

At any rate, I wanted to share some two of my favorite songs that relate to Women's History and Black History (to do more than absolve my not making reference to Black History Month).

People who know me, know how I feel about Yoko Ono: I'm absolutely crazy about her.

I saw the following videos when I was younger. My father used to get these VHS tapes in the mail with music videos on them and I played this song over and over and over at the ripe young age of 9-and-a-half. Again, thanks Papa for giving me the fire, regardless of how well we personally get along. (Note: song has two versions - a rap one and an R&B one. I had both, enjoy)

Happy International Women's Day and (belated) Black History Month. Very important to make note in our daily lives.

Be Righteous.

Short and Semi-Personal

I've never dropped acid before, despite owning Pink Floyd's entire collection. I've never even considered it before because I love my brain far more than the lulling excitement behind discovering what purple tastes like when mixed together with red and yellow and being so thirsty that you drink jazz while trapped in the same minute-of-the-hour for two-and-a-half days straight; I might be a square for learning that "drugs are bad" in school and I'm perfectly fine with not turning my brain into split-pea soup. Anyway, I had a heck of a dream the other night that I wanted to share because (1)it made me think of something a little further beyond the surface, in my analytical nature, and (2)the only thing I can compare it to is what I'd imagine a bad acid trip to be like. It seemed scary and dark and swirly; beginning in technicolor and transitioning to black and white with colorful strobe-like flashes. I was actually thinking of writing a poem about it (the previous sentence was a little poetic, eh?) but I mainly want to analyze the sequence.

I do think there is symbolism in aspects of life that people rarely consider, especially when the subconscious mind is left to roam free; it's beyond the realm of imagination because it is effortless and involuntary. Amusingly enough, people often think that believing something different (or not having their religious affiliation) means you believe in nothing, and aside from activism and advocacy, I believe in several things that may seem more ridiculous than religion, even.

I think the dream was supposed to be nightmarish, but it didn't really scare me once I was awake. I only remember a few key things: hundreds of men with guns holding up people that were standing in some line outside of their cars in bumper-to-bumper traffic, running away with a few other people, the world being completely black and falling apart like when Joel was asleep and erasing Clementine from his memory. Well, it was similar with objects but not with the characters; the ground was crumbling and the people (/creatures) fell into what was previously the earth, into a dark pit of nothingness to the depths of human absolution as a result of their disappearance toward death. Toward the end of the dream, there was only a piece of something left and I was the last of two people to go. The person, though, turned into a cross between a waterless killer whale and HR Puf'nStuf, black and white with my mind's poor special effects; this literally made my stomach feel like a microwaved marshmallow, dizzy and like I was floating or had been bounced too high on a giant trampoline. I was trapped in a kaleidoscope of destruction and the world I knew was falling apart like an over-hyped Armageddon. As I was upset and offering comfort toward the creature, it cried out to me that maybe they were just in the wrong universe or born of the wrong time and place. I replied to them one of the more labyrinthine statements I've ever uttered, asleep or not, regarding the abstruseness of death: " Maybe death is like awakening from a dream." Then I opened my eyes in the conscious world, and it was over.

...not really sure where any of that came from. I don't eat right before bed and I stay away from medicines unless it's the very last resort; I'm quite sure I did not take anything before bed.

I've got to keep it real: one of the more frightening realities about living, to me, is dying. I avoid thinking about it, even having dealt with death a lot in my lifetime. There aren't many things that scare me beyond my fear of drowning and/or suffocation (and not largely because of the dying aspect that comes with it), having gone through so much from childhood on. Death, though, is a scary thought to me and it isn't even just dying young or prematurely...everybody has to die and that is a fact of life. And it's terrifying. I've experienced a lot, even before I did a lot of living, and I'm less than frightened by many human situations beyond the possibility of failure. Death is absolutely one of several qualms I have with religion. I know people claiming religiosity that have personally said to me that they'd rather err on the side of caution, that if there is more to death than the nothingness by the end of life, they'd love to experience that. Not knowing any one who has died and text messaged me from the other side, I'm not sure what happens, and I'm cool with not saying either/or because I can't speak to it; I'm no authority on the matter and I will never claim to be. I like being able to say "I don't know" and feel comfortable in it.

Weird dream. It was like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" crossed with "Enter Sandman."

Be Righteous

Female Condoms (and another anecdote)

Snippet courtesy of the Washington Post:

The District will become the first city in the United States to distribute female condoms free, part of a project that will make 500,000 of them available in beauty salons, convenience stores and high schools in parts of the city with high HIV rates.
City officials said the distribution could begin within the next three weeks in parts of wards 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7, where a study showed that large numbers of African American heterosexuals engage in risky sexual behavior that could easily lead to infection.
The move is an official acknowledgment of the futility of relying solely on the use of male condoms, which have been distributed citywide for nearly a decade, to stem the District's epidemic of HIV and AIDS. Officials said they are turning to female condoms to give women more power to protect themselves from HIV and sexually transmitted diseases when their partners refuse to use protection.
HIV/AIDS infection is the leading cause of death for black women 25-34 nationwide. A 2008 report showed the District's HIV/AIDS rate at 3 percent, or about 15,100 adults, a major epidemic.
"Anywhere male condoms are available, female condoms will be available," said Shannon Hader, director of the D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration. "We're not saying that if you're a school in this area, you can't get female condoms. We're trying to make every effort count to build on what already exists . . . to expand options rather than limit them."

When I began high school, my second job ever was working for an HIV/AIDS advocacy group as a peer educator. The parent organization was the one that my mother worked for and looking back, I think both of my parents appreciated the fact that they never had to have a sex talk with me because I learned all the educational stuff from work. As a matter of fact, they never had to have any kind of talk with me about anything except "becoming a woman" further details on that.

Anyway, it wasn't just a job for me. Nothing is ever just a job to me. It was a passion; educating kids my age (and college kids, and younger kids) about peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, sex, STDs and AIDS? Knowledge = power, man. Seriously.

Anyway, as a project all my own, I was in the drugstore with my mom, and asked her why they don't carry female condoms. She didn't have an answer for this and I'm sure the thought of her daughter wondering about condoms was as gross to her as my even considering the fact that my parents are intimate. Hey, call me what you will. I know we're all grown, but I really would just rather not...

So, one day, I had my mother drive me around to just about every drug store in my hometown so that I could speak with the pharmacist/store managers and inform them that there is a female condom (made of polyurethane for all those guys that claim they're allergic to latex, wink) and it can be inserted up to eight hours before sex, and it is easy as putting in a tampon. The fact that drug stores didn't carry female condoms, or even dental dams, while my organization handed them out for free and demonstrated them on plastic sex-ed models was just plain appalling to my virgin fourteen year old mind; the only resources available were geared toward heterosexual men! Balderdash! I even mentioned these facts in school to my fast in the ass sexually active peers, because I think that many young people aren't educated on the resources available. I was a mature fourteen, folks.

At any rate, I got run off by more pharmacists and store managers than I made progress, but I was at least proud of myself for the effort. I told y'all, activism was just always there for me (smile).

Anyway, good for you DC. I hope everyone else follows your lead.

Be Righteous.

Lady Exercises..

Many people don't realize until it is mentioned, but I'm very discerning about the foods that I put into my body. I'm really conscious about that; I don't eat beef or dine on swine (or any mammal/creature that gives live birth/thing that menstruates...shudder). I have my reasons and I stopped eating those things (though I had never been much of a fan) when I was fourteen years old and haven't looked back! I don't really eat/prefer much poultry even though I'm Black, and I love seafood. I do consume organic cow's milk, though I alternate between that and almond milk, and I love goat cheese. Mmm. Some things I very much prefer organic and some things it doesn't really matter to me as long as it doesn't have certain things in it. I try not to consume high fructose corn syrup, despite recent commercials from The Corn Refiners Association attempting to make anti-HFCS folks look ill-informed by stating that it isn't bad for you. None of this makes me better than any one, I just have my preferences. I wish I could say it was to slim down and look like Beyonce (she has a cute body, I can't even front); unfortunately, I've always been somewhat health conscious. And I love myself, I think I'm cute whatever size I am...*Kanye shrug*

Aside, in moving to a new place and knowing I'd be on a budget, I canceled my gym membership before moving and decided that I'd have to compromise with the cutback and do some neighborhood (or nearby track) walks, and some Fit-TV, even though I hate it because of the stupid commercials (and the fact that they show women that I'll likely never look like, I'm not hatin'..I'm just sayin'..). Truth be told, this isn't anything like jumping on the treadmill and blasting my ipod, but I'm trying to like it. I haven't even actually been able to go out much as a result of the snow and cold (and being sick) until last weekend.

So, speaking of stupid commercials, riddle me this: why are the "exercise"(?) products advertised toward women somehow borderline sexual and inappropriate-looking? I mean, what exactly are these products trying to teach women about their body images and what type of exercise we actually need? Wondering what I'm talking about? Let's check out these commercials (that made me laugh hysterically a time or two; the second is significantly funnier than the first in my opinion). Roll 'em!

Now, the Shake Weight apparently has a men's commercial, and it somehow still seems like a gym gang-bang porno inappropriately sexualized to me. Is it just me?

I love how the first video uses an arbitrary age as their strong point ("these women, all over [age] 36"). I do have a theory that they advertisers of the first commercial threw a random man doing the neck exercise(?) in the end to make it seem less gender specific, and that the handjob moving weight exercise(?) added a men's video so that it didn't seem like it was sexualized, and I'm blaming it on The Man.

No, but in all seriousness, note the gender specific advertising: women do it to look fabulous in the latest fashions and men do it to get their "arms ripped, chest pumped, and shoulders sculpted" and to cut down on gym time and using the "heavy, bulky equipment". Of course the second is also geared toward your "typical" straight woman as seen in the beginning, and gym equipment is for men only (which is another reason why women need this product to use at home). Also, I'm not sure if the advertisers realize the contradiction they put in place: for a lady, the Shake Weight will make your arms lean and defined (because the bulky gym equipment are designed to "create bulky muscles" but in the men's video, it's saying that the Shake Weight is comparable said gym equipment. They even have the same snippet in both videos of the guy at the gym.

I personally enjoy the heavy, bulky the gym. I'mjussayin'...

Be Righteous.

Friday, March 5, 2010


She's Just Not That Into You...

Happy Friday!

So far, however, in my newest adventures in wonderland, I've met a few guys. Well, more than a few: wherever I go, I get some guy, sensing I'm not originally from the area, looking to give me their number. Having been kind-of seeing someone for a little while though (and guessing the depth of our relationship all the while), I haven't called any of them. All though, even if I wasn't involved-ish, I'd likely not call any of the competing contenders, for the following reasons:

Guy at grocery store: you can't follow me around the specialty market that I drive twenty minutes to and follow me around attempting to get personal information from me. I don't care if you choose to share information about you and your ex-wife, or not wanting to live in the area that I currently live in because of your disdain for Black people. I'm not calling you because I've only met you twice and you've come on way too strong. Waaaaaaay too strong. Now I have to find a new location to go to.

Guy who repaired my computer: you kept asking awkward questions about who I am, and every time I tried to ignore you (taking phone calls in another room, turning the TV up) you just kept trying. While you did a heck of a job on my computer, you told me it would take two hours. You stayed an extra three just trying to talk to me...and I needed my computer to handle business.

Guy at gas station: you were really cute. I walked to my car, you honked the horn and I got in my car...and you walked up and said "Oh, I'm not gonna hold you up, you can just take my number." Charming. I must confess, I considered calling you. Okay, I did...and didn't get an answer. I wasn't sweating it since it was two days after I moved; but since my call wasn't returned I won't call back.

Guy at 7/11: every time I walk in, you ask if I'm seeing someone. And every time I say yes. To which you reply "well, just stop seeing him." Uhh..that's respectful..

Guy on train: You started the conversation with "I didn't want to interrupt you, since you were listening to music..." Well then, why are you interrupting me while I'm trying to listen to music?

Guy #2 on train: "Damn you're sexy." You look like you're twelve, and you're drunk. Please stop looking at me, it's making me uncomfortable.

Guy I talked to last night: I asked what you did for a living. You said "I'm a mack." Uhh..insert nervous laughter. You said, "you're laughing, I'm serious; I can put you to work." Please don't talk to me again. Ever.

This post might seem jacked up, but it is for sheer amusement, and I'm human. Dating is funny because people have certain standards, and I'm really patient with my own standards. I'm also equally patient while in a relationship (or something like it) and am always willing to compromise. I love myself enough to be firm in knowing what I deserve, though. The person that I've taken a liking to isn't included in this post because I do actually like him.

I'm not one of those girls that gets bitter and swears off relationships. I've opted to be single for a couple of years to strengthen the relationship with myself, and I'm glad I did because I've learned that I can (and am obligated to) fulfill myself in ways that another human being cannot. Still, as alluded to in the previous dating posts, everyone wants love. I met a guy in a club not too long ago and we began corresponding shortly after and he told me that the odds are against me with finding a mate because I bring too much to the table and it's intimidating to men and that was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. I don't have any gripes with where I am currently; I really can't wait to start working again though.

Be Righteous.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

RIP Sasha

Dear Beyonce,

Thanks for clarifying your intent behind Sasha Fierce (and ultimately murdering her). However, my opinion still stands; too many female stars have to create imagery, and real-life females feel forced to fit into some false dichotomy as a result of the different expectations placed upon us by the entertainment industry (which is arguably fed by real-life expectations - which came first: the chicken or the egg?)...Don't believe me? Have you ever heard a guy say he wants a lady in the street but a freak in the bed? Yeah, me too. Not in Hollywood, in real life. Before Ludacris and Urrrsher.

Be Righteous.

"...the dude that makes family movies?"

I wanted to begin a post entitled "Matters of the Heart, Part Deux", which was to be a follow up to two posts I've done about love and the single Black woman, but decided that it would be premature; the idea is certainly not ripe enough.

Anyway, I woke up this morning listening to Public Enemy, which isn't entirely uncommon for me since I was ten years old or so (I blame my father...that probably says a lot about my overall mentality, hmm?), and I turned to my favorite PE song (Besides "Revolution Generation"), "Burn Hollywood Burn". I love Ice Cube, but listening to the song always makes me think about one episode of The Boondocks.

In The Story of Gangstalicious, some goons snatch up Gangstalicious and his avid stan, Riley and put them in the trunk of a car. Riley is so disappointed to find Gangstalicious is a fraud; he isn't a real gangsta, he just raps about gangsta stuff. While in the trunk, Gangstalicious says to Riley that when he was growing up, Ice Cube was his favorite rapper. Riley says to Gangstalicious, regarding Ice Cube's gangsta, "...the dude that makes family movies?" [Scene at 1:20]

A while ago, I was talking to a guy that disputed the necessity and relevance of Womanism. Much like the post I wrote yesterday on activism, I explained my burning passion for revolution, and he just laughed at me and said that I was immature. That, when you get older, you have to become more conservative, and that being so wound up in convictions is ridiculous.

I know that there are bills to be paid in the real world, and that you have to get money to support yourself and your family. I don't think that means you have to abandon your beliefs in order to do so. So why has Ice Cube done twelve "Are-We-There-Yets" and Flava-Flaaaaaav has that god-awful show?

Am I wrong? Does becoming more conservative = growing up? Is it all just an act because they've already been established? Is it simply all about the benjamins, and not about the message?

In Cube's defense, he had some rightous Black rage back in the day (as did Flava Flav, the world's most famous hype man). It wasn't even just about "gangsta rap" was about the message. I mean, the brotha has dropped some gems long before "You Can Do It Put Your Back Into It"...ugggh. What happened?!

I guess it goes back to my major point about entertainment and reality.

Sigh. Be Righteous.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stand Up To Live

I was recently asked where my interest in activism originated. I never really thought about it, but I replied my thoughts on the fact that, I think, some people are just born with an activist's mind and spirit. I know the things that I am passionate about, and I am very firm in my convictions, but a lot of my beliefs are very different from those of my family members, and even some of my close friends. And they've always been.

I've always been interested in Black leadership and human civil rights. I've always been crazy enough to believe that if enough of us wanted to make change happen, it will happen. I've always believed that if you aren't willing to speak out and against wrongdoing, then you are silently allowing it to happen. I've constantly spoken about my proud roots in nerdom; but I think that intelligence without the willpower to motivate any form of change or without the slightest bit of social labor is meaningless and selfish. Henry David Thoreau said: "How vain is it that you have sat down to write when you have not stood up to live." This is one of my favorite quotes. I love applying it to politics and the rule-makers, especially in the ongoing debate on health care, because many of the people who are in charge don't know the needs of the people because they've not been there. I do think that writing is a beautiful form of activism; blogging is still an evolving process. To inspire people who have traditionally cared little about moving forward in resolving the issues of the world is one of the most fantastic things about the internet. Sure, you have to push past a lot of bullshit before you get down to the good stuff, but it's there and people are, at the very least, becoming advocates in their minds; delivering words of encouragement, motivation, revolution. People should do what they can, and if writing is all that they are able to do, so be it.

In the last year, I met two of my sister-inspirations. On separate occasions, I met SisterLegend Angela Davis and SisterWarrior (heh, I stole that from her) Aishah Shahidah Simmons. Over the course of my life, several other sister-inspirations that aren't "famous"(?) for their social activism have come into my life and I've always been attracted to forcing change and balance into a world that has, for too long, lacked both qualities. Many people don't know that I was considering studying History in school (after my stint as both a Music and Creative Writing Major). I always enjoyed learning about slavery and civil rights in school, and you know what? I've never had a problem arguing with my teacher about the supposed "truth" that they fed me versus what my Dad schooled me on at home.

I wish I could say I developed this spirit in high school or college like most people I know (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that), but the truth is I've thrown my fist in the air without regard to when and where; I've burned a bra before I wore one. Even though my mother chose to straighten my hair when I was young, I've eternally internally maintained the spirit of my nappy roots (and proved it when I cut my long, straight hair off in high school).

Why should anybody else care to be an activist?

1. It not only helps the people who need it, but it improves the quality of life for people who do not directly benefit from it.
2. It's a challenge, and something that people can commit to for the rest of their lives.
3. For the next generation.
4. For the generation that has yet to be born; who wants to bring children into a world stuck in social desolation?
5. Because Black people/women people/bi-gay-lesbian-trans(sexual AND gendered) people/Immigrants (legal or otherwise)/Native Americans (who were here before any of us)/poor people/abused persons/children/victims of crime/people who are looking to change their lives after committing crime/the religious AND secularists/atheists/religious minorities/any other disadvantaged group of people are still people. It doesn't matter if you "don't agree" or think it's "okay as long as they keep _____ away from you"; disagreeing isn't your business and by contending that someone else can live a certain way as long as you don't have to see it forces people into boxes and closets.
6. It could always get worse.
7. If you allow it to get worse, you could be directly affected.
8. Being complacent in a situation where you have and always directly benefited only makes you a perpetrator of the wrongdoing.
9. If you don't care now, will you care when things get drastically worse?
10. What did the historically disadvantage fight for? For THIS?! Would they be disappointed?
11. The progress that has been made is great, but is it enough?
12. Your great-great-great-grandmothers were slaves , Black people (not even that many "greats" for some people). And white people, you are also related to this slave; you know why? Because your direct great-great-great-grandmothers were nursed by her and your great-great-great-grandfather raped her and had kids with her too.
13. Because people are still discussing whether or not the first Black President is a citizen, only to avoid saying flat out that they don't think he's capable because of his skin color.
14. Because no great movement is a movement of one person; they have to have back-up to move forward against the people who don't want them to.
15. Because there is a Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
16. Because far too many people are unaware of their rights!
17. Because the media disproportionately reports crimes occurring to young, single, white, females far more than they report Black women that have gone missing.
18. I know if feels safe to not be involved and not feel obligated to question what is spoon fed to you, but I know seven words that should dissuade any person's complacency: Who is in control of your mind?
19. The "big" movements were not that long ago; my mother was a young child when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
20. We take for granted the little things that we have in life, like clean air and water.
21. The world's natural disasters are scary enough without having to be concerned about whether or not people respect you behind closed doors.
22. To teach someone who "doesn't know better" to feel, think, and act better.
23. Because hate speech motivates hate acts, especially among those who aren't able to distinguish the difference between reality and entertainment.
24. Because if we continue to fight each other, the job of the person that expects failure from us is done without much effort on his/her own part.
25. Because far too much bullshit gets taken seriously (and as such, serious issues are regarded as bullshit and, eventually, ignored).
26. The people who are really in charge (forget all that official stuff) are more concerned about their money than your rights.
27. Because people are ingesting toxic food daily, and fast-food chains and supermarkets are allowing it to happen.
28. All people are still not regarded as equal in the eyes of the law!
29. For the people who have died on death row before advancements in DNA evidence, and for people who are STILL being exonerated. I met a death row exonoree two years ago and it changed my life. How the fuck would you feel after you've been on death row for over 18 years for a crime that you had absolutely nothing to do with?
30. Because people still use religion as a reason to harm other people.
31. Female genital mutilation.
32. Because so many people don't even know that there are conflicts and civil wars currently happening that people do not know about.
33. People still think that only gay men can contract and spread HIV/AIDS.
34. Because I have been called a nigger in my lifetime. I was three, and it was by my three-year-old white best friend who, by the way, was the daughter of a preacher.
35. Because even if I didn't know gay people, I'd still have sense enough to know that they are people.
36. Because minorities are disproportionately affected by the recession.
37. Because when I began typing "Black people" in my google search, the first prediction was "Black people jokes". Word?

38. Women only gained the right to vote in 1920. That's less than 100 years ago.
39. Rosa Parks was not the first or only arrested for refusing to give her seat up to white people; she's just the most famous. If it weren't for the others, though, Rosa wouldn't have become such an influence. Believe that.
40. Because of police brutality.
41. Because people who take rape jokingly are laughing all the way to to bank, while you're broke and laughing at their tv shows.
42. Violence against women starts young and often goes unreported.
43. Because being involved with something positive is the right thing to do.
44. Activists and advocates live longer because they feel as though they have something to stick around for.
45. Thousands of people are killed by drunk drivers every year.
46. Because life is beautiful; how do you know how good yours is if you don't know how bad it has the potential to be?
47. To be someone's role model. I love feeling like I've inspired someone, and it's an even better feeling when they tell you that you have.
48. To be remembered when your time is up.
49. Because democracy is defined by nearly every source who knows the word as: a political government either carried out directly by the people or by means of elected representatives of the people.
50. Because if you don't stand for something, you're bound to fall for anything. And fighting doesn't have to be physical to make an impact.

Be Righteous.