didn't have any mind blowing sex in 2008. that trend will not follow me into 2009.
made some power moves to reclaim my body. gonna keep at it.
got a nose piercing & love it. one time for body adornment!
remembering that sometimes you have to let ppl think they're the bigger btwn you two, just to save your sanity.
realizing (again) that silence is no safer than speaking up in most situations.
lost a wallet (don't i do that every year?)
got a new apartment
almost cursed my mom out for being ignorant, which felt great (i turned it into a no-cuss-word explanation in a calm tone)
made some wonderful new friends
got hooked on twitter
fell all the way in love w/ peach bacardi
stopped believing in the myth of "he'll catch up to me"
learned that womanism can involve heterosexual men of color
realized that i'm a damn good dancer
took some artfully smutty pics of myself & loved them
took some regularly smutty pics of myself & loved (and shared!) them
accumulated some crushes
had a dream interaction w/ someone very special & gave thanks for it
came to the conclusion that the holiday season is, for me, better suited for reflection & remembrance
vowed to put the activity back into my activism
& most importantly
made a lot of good sangria.
here's to next year.
didn't have any mind blowing sex in 2008. that trend will not follow me into 2009.
This Is a Unique Solstice
by Patricia Diane Cota-Robles
The Winter Solstice is considered one of the most powerful times of the year by many cultures around the world. In the Northern Hemisphere this celestial event usually occurs on December 21st. The timing of the solstice this year will be Sunday, December 21, at 7:04 a.m. EST, 4:04 a.m. PST, or 12:04 p.m. Universal Time.
The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year, and it heralds the initial impulse of the annual return of the Sun, the Light, to the Earth. This year the spiritual effects of the solstice will be more powerful than ever before. This is due to the incredible influx of Light that is pouring into the planet through the heartfelt pleas of people everywhere.
Humanity is experiencing the most intensified purging of the economic system, and the various other social structures that do not operate with a consciousness of the highest good for all concerned, that we have ever endured. This is a necessary cleansing that is paving the way for the physical manifestation of the patterns of perfection for the New Earth. The difficult part of this process is that the masses of Humanity do not see the bigger picture. Millions of people see only the painful situations that are happening in their lives. As a result of this limited perception, they feel overwhelmed and hopeless. This is very hard to observe, but it is not all bad.
After our fall from Grace aeons ago, we became so numb to the discord in our lives that we just muddled through our Earthly experiences accepting mediocrity as a natural state of being. We fell into the terrible habit of using pain as our motivator. Unless we were writhing in agony, we did not feel that it would help to take action or to ask for assistance from our Father-Mother God. For millions of people on Earth, prayer and an invocation for Light from our God Parents occurs only when they are brought to their knees by their life situations. This is exactly what is happening at this time for millions of people all over the world.
The Company of Heaven is revealing to us now that more people than ever before are reaching a critical moment in their life experiences. Consequently, millions of people are asking God for Divine Intervention. Many of them are praying for the very first time. This powerful event, in unison with the millions of Lightworkers who daily invoke the Light of God, has created the greatest influx of Light the Earth has ever experienced during a Winter Solstice. This Heavenly assistance will greatly empower the patterns of perfection for the New Earth, and it will accelerate our individual hopes and dreams by leaps and bounds.
Beginning now, and continuing for the next 72 hours, focus intently on the vision of what you want to manifest in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Focus on your visions for the New Earth and the harmony and balance you wish for all Humanity. This is a rare opportunity, and we are being called to action by our God Selves—our I AM Presence—and the Company of Heaven. Be sure your visions and your intentions always reflect our Oneness and the Reverence of ALL Life.
This event will pave the way for a God Victorious New Year. 2009 is going to be a year of miraculous changes. These changes have been in the works for quite some time, and now we are going to experience them tangibly in the world of form. These changes will not happen by chance. They will occur through the unified efforts of Lightworkers all over the world and the Company of Heaven.
I know there are a lot of dire predictions regarding the global economy and the challenges Humanity is going through, but we are not the victims of circumstance. We are the cocreators of our Earthly experiences. If we do not like the way things are going in our lives, we have the ability to change our circumstances. This is what we have been preparing for aeons to accomplish—and now is the time.
As the Hopi prophecy states: “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
2009 numerically is an 11 year. Eleven is the master number that reflects the transformation of the physical into the Divine. The archetypes for the patterns of perfection for the New Earth were securely anchored into the physical plane in August 2008. In 2009, through our creative faculties of thought and feeling, we will expand these patterns into our daily experiences.
The purging and cleansing of the obsolete behavior patterns that have caused the maladies existing in Humanity’s lives will continue. But the wonderful news is, as these old archetypes crumble away, the expansion of the patterns of perfection for the New Earth will begin to manifest in ways that will bring joy, fulfillment and great expectations into the hearts and minds of people everywhere.
There is a new sense of hope flooding through the hearts of people around the world. Humanity’s hope is magnetizing Legions of Light from the Realms of Perfection into the atmosphere of Earth in ways we have never experienced. The Divine Intent of these Messengers of God is to assist Humanity to move quickly through the cleansing process so that the bliss of the New Earth will manifest in the twinkling of an eye.
2009 is going to be whatever we cocreate together. Do not let this opportunity pass you by.
so i'm kind of on blog hiatus.
getting back into crochet, maybe so i can do something other than scarves. (word to butta.fly wears, i may finally learn to make a crown!)
working on other stuff that will allow a pared down version of that imaginary resignation letter to stand as an official, all-the-way-live kiss off.
relaunched the bliss project, & damn happy about it.
basically lining the ducks up so that when i go into winter, i'm free to really work with my own rhythms.
i'm right where i need to be.
that is, i love people.
i love friends & family, twitter ppl, blog commenters, strangers on the bus . . . I LOVE PEOPLE.
but when it comes to personal space?
i like my space
to be my space. exclusively.
all the time.
yes, i'm broke cuz i'm paying bills & working for a pittance.
but i'm in here BY MYSELF.
i love space
i love walking around in various states of undress
i love listening to whatever music i want, at whatever volumes i want, with the same song on repeat for hours if i want to
& i can look at pictures of yul brenner's penis if i wanna
this post has been brought to you by procrastination, thanksgiving mayhem, & that dastardly bfp.
i know that i am in a position of privilege. i have a job that i can choose to quit in order to pursue my dreams; i have the time to dedicate my energy to those dreams & map out a way to make them happen. i am privileged, even by comparison to my mother and many of my peers. even when i'm so flat broke that all i can do is pray that i can stay afloat until payday, i am still privileged & living a blessed life. because people sacrificed, people died, people worked so that i wouldn't have to put myself through more shit to earn less.
i am thankful. i can't articulate it all. i don't even have full knowledge of all of the things that add up to my being here, afloat, & capable. there are ancestors, there are strangers, there are secret acts of support by people who know me . . . in short, my life is a blessing. i'm grateful. i know for a fact that i could be a lot worse off (that's all relative to my own life experiences), but i'm not! i'm here. i'm blessed.
i give thanks for so much, so often. anyone who reads this blog or talks to me with any regularity knows that giving thanks is just the norm for me. even in my blind rage or worry, i seem to find at least one thing (big or small) to be thankful for. so, every thanksgiving when people give their lists of what they are thankful for, i have to ask: what is it about all this food & family drama that pushes you to a point where you feel comfortable giving thanks? is there not something to be thankful for every day? or, are you so caught up in the day-to-day bullshit that is your life that a pause is necessary in order for you to examine gratitude?
whatever it is, i want folks to remember that each day we are here we can give thanks, and should give thanks. venerate your ancestors, if you'd like. hug your mom every chance you get. reminisce with siblings, cousins, aunts & uncles. call your best friend & say "you're an asshole sometimes, but i'm SO glad you're my friend." do something. be thankful, don't just say you are.
the celebration of thanksgiving is actually based on a celebration by early colonizers who celebrated the slaughter of pequot men, women & children in what's now called new england. all this talk of popcorn and cranberries and fun and love is a crock of bullshit. that doesn't mean that we can't be thankful. that means that we need to share truth with one another and inform honestly what the roots of thanksgiving are. we need to move past the lies & bullshit, the misinformation & passing on of untruths. (i strongly recommend that, if you don't already know, you click the links i just put up.) who wants to live a lie? haven't you, if you had the santa thing, ever wished that your folks had just told the truth from the beginning? lying to kids because they're kids isn't any different than lying to adults. it's still stupid and a waste of time. yes, it's a good idea to find a way to express truth in ways that meet someone on their comprehension level. but, be for real: simplifying the truth and flat out lying with glittery distractions are not the same thing.
so, be thankful. say yes to gratitude. appreciate the beauty & purity of the good things bestowed upon you, the things you've drawn to yourself. growing toward all of that beauty & wonder does open you up to the polar opposite. no, baby, you cannot escape the potential of hurt, pain, anguish and ugliness. it's the balance of the universe.
i choose it willingly, thankfully, becoming more grateful with each step.
(yet another stream of consciousness)
you know the one.
where you're disillusioned with just about everything, don't feel like pretending anymore, & can't even fathom maintaining the facade? that feeling. that if-you-don't-get-the-fuck-outta-my-face-with-that-bullshit feeling. that feeling that leads you to believe you're gonna come out on the other side of the coming week with fewer friends, more enemies & twelve new ways to tell someone to kiss your ass.
i've already written an imaginary resignation letter
already invited someone to put me on their personal do-not-call list
& next up is everyone's favorite: family drama.
i'm not gonna go into great detail about it here, because the more i discuss it the more incensed i become. basically, my mom has decided that it's my job to pick up the slack for her shortcomings -- which are not major in the grand scheme of anything but mean everything because she's trying to impress people -- & i'm not really having it.
& it's all culminating in my apartment.
i did not invite ppl over for thanksgiving (aka slaughter some indigenous ppl & call it a pilgrimage), yet the tired & huddled masses yearning to be fed are coming to apartment 3f like it's times square on new year's eve.
i'm between leaving and just locking myself in the bedroom & not allowing anyone passage through the bedroom into the bathroom. can't decide which just yet. because i'm too busy being mad.
it's a lot deeper than what i discuss here; my family is still my family, & if i were to type the whole sordid tale y'all would be paying for my shit as a .pdf on lulu.com.
but suffice it to say:
this time of year always kicks up shit for a lot of reasons
& every year i strive to be better at handling it. not functioning through a fog or haze
but more lucid, more transparent because that's how i wish to live my life overall
& it seems like the freer i get,
the more ppl try to pull me back into that shit
lie to make it look better
fake it 'til you make it
don't say anything inappropriate until after one year passes and the comfort level increases
be everyone's helpmeet
don't be so aggressive
. . . fuck that.
fuck the fronting
i'm not here for that
i've spent the better part of the last 10 years trying to find myself under the layers of shit other people have put on me, and now, because you want to impress someone else with some imaginary cosby-esque family that doesn't even exist, i have to participate?
i can't do it.
ppl start acting crazier the closer it gets to the winter solstice.
i personally don't give a shit how much you're going through, just don't make it my job to deal with.
next year, i'm going into hiding at thanksgiving and not coming out until after MLK day.
over these last 4.75 years i've had the opportunity to work with, laugh with, & occasionally cry with you all. i am thankful for the experiences i've had here, for without them i would not be the woman you have all come to know. it is after having reviewed these experiences that i must say that it's time for me to move onward and upward in the interest of my own sanity & safety as well as yours. you see, office staff, i hate this job & i'd rather contract scabies than deal with this shit beyond february 9, 2009 (my 5th anniversary).
i don't feel like we're a collectively highly functioning group of people. some of us are higher functioning than others, which is the norm everywhere you go. but a few of y'all are teetotal assholes who don't see past the ends of your own noses. in my 1.5 years of college & really expansively fly and dope 10 years of employment experience i have seen and done more and better than many of you. that is not to discount your life experiences, but simply to explain the stance i took when i began working here in 2004: this is not any place to build a career for someone like me. this job is, instead, a graveyard of dreams and hopes for me.
i am too much of a warrior to remain in a passive stance by working here. yes, we staff an agency that serves the public. yes, serving the public is important to me. but i believe that the bureaucracy and current structure of city government is a hindrance to giving the people what they need. while we're arguing over expenditures and waiting for the only person who knows the answer to the question to come back from vacation, folks are losing out. while we're trying to see who's gonna play along w/ the wonderful things the new mayor is trying to do, the ppl who're best-equipped to do the work are either giving up hope for change or just walking away from their "good city jobs" altogether. i don't have the patience to wait it out on this end. i'd rather wait while working. i'm more of a direct services kind of gal, i've remembered. i had to take some time after the heartbreak of working in the after school program w/ ppl who didn't care about the kids. i had to, after getting dropped from the ACLU, give myself the chance to say "no more temp jobs without benefits." it felt good. steady check, job security, no drama. i was able to pay down debts & move out of my mom's for good. yay, me! it felt great. but with the responsibility of keeping a roof over my own head came some massive epiphanies, the largest of these being my deep hatred of feeling caged. when i don't feel like i have options, i'm no good to anyone. i am an air sign w/ an air sign ascendant. you cannot contain air. shit. i am bigger than what you see, i am more dynamic than what you think and for crying out fucking loud i am better than everything you can try to saddle me with. no number of creative pet projects can satisfy me as long as i work here. you all don't seem to understand: i take community work seriously. it's all or nothing. after nearly 5 years of nothing, i'm preparing myself to give my all.
a few things i'd like to clarify:
doula work is not a novelty. it is serious, important, necessary work that improves the quality of birth experiences for women who need support during pregnancy, birth and a year post-partum. fuck you for calling it "cute."
becoming a midwife is neither a passing fancy, nor is it just some cute shit to do. there's a license involved & a fucking master's degree involved. not the same as your distance learning business writing courses, homie. respect my gangsta.
activism requires activity, regardless of how much i give to our truly awesome combined campaign program. financial contributions mean just as much as time invested.
covering my tattoos & dressing less like myself is uncomfortable. some days, i want to wear sweatpants. quit asking me why i'm wearing a dashiki. yes, those are suede ankle boots. yes, those are tweed sneakers. no, i don't think my earrings could be any bigger. kiss my ass.
talking shit about the food someone eats is not only disrespectful, but childish. it doesn't matter that i'm not indian but love channa, it's inconsequential that i'm not thai but live for green curry, and for the love of pete there's nothing wrong with vietnamese food. your asses might benefit from some daikon radish instead of the deep fried fuckery they serve at kennedy & crown fried chicken. grow up.
i don't have to explain to you how it is that i, a black american woman, have family in mexico. i do. quit meddling.
don't take for granted that everyone believes in jesus. i most certainly do not.
those with whom i've built friendships, i thank & appreciate you. you have kept me from certain madness on some days & been supportive to me from the very beginning. i will miss you, but you know i'm not gone from your lives.
the rest of y'all can kiss the pink part of my ass. i'm gonna go on down the list.
you, the meddling ass hater who copies what i do only after you talk copious amounts of shit about me to other people. you make twice as much money as i do, have a beautiful home & a husband who loves you. why does it matter if i'm following "god's orders" per the bible or the pastor of your church or your weave technician or whomever? i appreciate your came-up-from-nothing-i-was-a-teen-mother story. i do -- i know it couldn't have been easy. but try doing what my mom did with three kids, a terminally ill parent, a full time job and an accelerated master's program & then talk to me about what struggles are. then tell me my life should be a cakewalk because i don't have any kids. you insensitive, judgemental bitch, i edited my mom's papers & lit reviews because she was watching my grandmother die. try dealing with that & then tell me that i gave up on undergrad studies because i didn't believe in myself. it's called emotional exhaustion.
you, the sexist discipline officer: fuck you. you hate women, and i think it's despicable that you're the person who deals w/ sexual harrassment complaints. you are a phony asshole. whatever you're hiding can't be so serious that you need to act so terribly toward people. throwing tantrums is counter-productive if you do nothing with the feelings you realase. also: if you're gay, JUST COME OUT ALREADY. nobody cares if you are, i promise. you are too easily upset by the least consequential shit & that to me means something deeper is going on. fix it, cuz the next person might not be nice enough to deflect your shit. you do, after all, know that nobody has to entertain your shit.
former supervisor: jesus does not cosign your bullshit. your unwilligness to actually lend your energy to the people whom you feel are less fortunate than you speaks volumes about the kind of christian woman you are, versus who you tell everyone you are. get a life; nobody cares that you make greeting cards on the color laser jet at work especially when you aren't supposed to. stop wearing white opaque stockings with everything. nobody cares that your ill-behaved daughter won some bible verse regurgitation contest at school. you should be more concerned that she's so destructive, with no creative outlets for her energy.
there are some of you who just came on board. to you, i say: keep your eyes open. keep your ears to the ground. i won't even tell you not to get comfortable. just be aware.
i don't want a luncheon or a dinner party or anything, either. just make sure my last check is right & that you make my appointment at the pension board so i can get that good lump sum.
all over the world, people are saying prayers, lighting candles, speaking up & speaking out to remember the lives lost. i'm really not sure how to put the words together for my rage. every day, someone is victimized because of the fear, ignorance, and hatred faced by our transgendered brothers & sisters. every day, there are snickers & stares, snide remarks & downright hateful words that pepper the experiences of people like my transgendered friends. it's not fair. because someone dares to be him or herself fully & unabashedly, some other folks feel its their right (?) to chip away at that person's dignity? no. not buying it. if you're afraid, continue to stay in your scared corner. if you're confused, untangle your misunderstandings. anything else is a threat to the safety & sanity of transgendered people in our communities. at the end of the day, what did duanna, teish, sanesha, angie, or anyone else do to you except live their fucking lives?
there is no answer, because there is no excuse. there is no excuse, because there is no justification. there is no justification, because it's not right. period.
respect the lives of others.
respect yourself enough not to be that person who is complicit in the hateful speech and actions.
respect yourself enough to be brave enough to defend and create safe spaces for transgendered people.
in the names of those lost, those who struggle, those who stand to fight: i remind you all that safety is not a privilege but a right.
remembrance and action (angrybrownbutch)
a heart unites. a fear divides. (the unapologetic mexican)
ten years - 400 dead . . . and counting (transgriot)
the quick and the dead & shall not perish (taking steps)
for teish cannon (cripchick's weblog)
the united states has elected its 44th president; the first black president. wow. i'm feeling quite amazed by the fact. i have always doubted the united states' potential in the way of destroying systematic isms and phobias that loomed like specters over the very existences of its citizens. even now, it may seem that the united states will not ever move beyond the constrictions of the isms which it so clearly runs on. the glass ceilings exist at different levels in various facets of life for people who live in the united states and are oft-accepted as the norm by those who dare not even tap, let alone try to break them.
i have always lived with limitations on the possibilities of black folks.
in my lifetime, the legal measures that have hindered black people have not always been as plain as jim crow-era laws. instead, they impact black folks disproportionately (e.g. minimum crack possession laws vs. minimum coke possession laws) and don't get the same attention as police brutality cases, mistreatment in retail stores or discrimination regarding housing or jobs. socially, as i am certain we are all aware, the limitations placed on black people are numerous and have shown themselves in all possible arenas. i'm not alone when i say that i've been discriminated against for being black and/ or for being a woman. that is not to say that white people are sole owners of discrimination against other groups, as discrimination is a symptom of the root illness of binary thinking. the "us vs. them" paradigm is inescapable in this society. we see it in everything from sporting rivalries to our very own neighbors who may be the same race, but from a different nation (black americans vs. caribbean black folks vs. continental african black folks). the election of barack obama suggests, at the very least, that american voters have moved past the politics of exclusion when it comes to whether or not a black man could be elected to the office of commander-in-chief.
but, along with this major shift came the removal of and encroachment upon the rights of others. in california, florida, arkansas, and arizona, voters (who may or may not have come out to support barack obama) decided that openly gay people in their states should not have the same rights as persons who are or perceived as heterosexual. voters in california, via prop 8 (aka prop hate) repealed the law allowing same-sex couples to be married & receive all rights afforded to opposite-sex married couples. this was not a denial of rights, but a removal altogether. in arkansas, a ballot measure was passed preventing unmarried cohabiting couples (both opposite-sex and same-sex) from adopting children or caring for foster children. the florida marriage amendment defines marriage specifically as a union between a man and a woman, stating that no other unions would be recognized as valid by the state. arizona voters also passed a similar amendment to the state constitution, called the marriage protection amendment.
the fact that any voter feels that she or he possesses the right to restrict the rights of other fully-functioning adult members of society makes me sick to my stomach. barring legitimate threats to the public safety (e.g. those who traffic humans, persons who are physically violent within their communities), none of us has the right to go push a button or pull a lever (or check off a freaking box on a piece of paper) to limit the freedoms of others. these measures are plainly set forth to target the rights of same-sex people. i could blame right-wing evangelical socially conservative christians, i could blame the fact that the amount of money spent to campaign for the passing of these measures far surpasses the amount of money available to the opposition (specifically in the case of prop hate). but, there's no one cause. simply, those who voted in favor of these amendments felt that it is their right to limit other autonomous, contributing members of society.
i do not understand what the problem is with same-sex couples marrying or caring for children. i presume that it's because i never understood any arguments against being homosexual, least of all those attached to religious dogma. i don't believe that homosexuality is going to destroy humanity (either by lack of procreation or general 'moral corruptness'). i don't believe that it's wrong to love, or be attracted to someone of the same sex any more than i could ever say it's wrong to be attracted to someone who is not of the same racial makeup as you. long before i was aware of my own queerness, i always questioned how any hetero-identifying person could ever legitimately have a problem with gay people. how could it be anyone else's business what you do as a private citizen in your own home?
if christianity is one's basis for discriminating against gay people (and it is discrimination, don't get it twisted), i have to ask how that's a legitimate basis. i don't question the bible verses referenced in any argument against homosexuality; i question the whole book for reasons that can be discussed later. i question how it's anyone's christian duty to be less concerned with their own goodness as a person of faith than they are with whether or not their neighbor is gay. i question how it's christ-like to disrespect the law of the land by seeking to overturn a law that does not even apply to you; i was always taught that the christian thing to do is to respect the law of the land. i question some of the assertions made: that gay marriage would be taught in schools as normal, that children would be "indoctrinated" in homosexuality, & the outright lie that the obama-biden ticket has ever supported gay marriage. what's christian about making stuff up to win people over to your side? i need to know, most importantly, how one can justify the use of their faith practice as a reason to oppress others. for the people who are anti-racism and are christian: the bible was used to justify chattel slavery of africans in the americas as well as miscegenation laws (see: loving v. virginia). i do not believe that christianity automatically lends itself to oppression. i believe, instead, that some people will pull out all stops and use anything as a tool of persuasion.
i want to know: at what point do you simply understand all other humans to be worthy of the same respect you wish to have? from the teachings on christ i received as a child, the thing that stuck to me was not the miracles he worked, not the quotes that my christian day school classmates regurgitated constantly, but it was the idea that you are supposed to act lovingly towards others. it said nowhere in the bible that you had to be loving to your neighbors only, or only to people who share the same exact values as you. if this were the case (with any faith, not just christianity), i don't think that there would exist charity without verification of the recipients' worldviews. love is limitless, isn't it?
so, i must ask this: if you are willing to limit any of god's children, are you not limiting yourself?
all day, i thought about what i would write. some prolific, expansive, sweeping text that would move readers to tears and/ or action. i intended on changing minds and lives with some cleverness, something that even i could not anticipate creating. i was going to surprise and dazzle folks with my words.
but when i finally sat down to write, i felt like there were no words that could do justice to my feelings & thoughts.
i want us to be bold
& in that we can heal ourselves and begin to pull it all together.
i'm less open to the bullshit. every day, my tolerance is less.
that does not bode well for the following:
know-it-all judgmental dickheads
& general ne'er-do-wells.
i won't be laying with you, cosigning your shit, sitting idly by while you wreak havoc on the rest of humanity, or running interference for you.
your time is quickly drawing to a close.
i hope you got all your jabs in, because it's just about over.
tip your bartender.
jill scott, "sweet justice"
probably my favorite jill song. good for those days when you really do need to get your ass up & out, when you really need to motivate yourself, when it seems like whatever you're doing is going to kill you instead of making you stronger, etc.
climb the mountain
though your hands may be weary
swim the ocean
though your legs may be tired
run the extra mile
though your stride may be worn down
fight, fight, fight, fight
many sides to the same face
searching, wanting their hour
so many colors in the spectrum of life
with right lies the power
struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle
struggle only makes a man stronger
if he believes within his heart then he can find it
he will find it
freedom, the epitome of life
lay your down your burden, soldier
study, study war no more, no more
trust the soul that thrives within you
hold strong to your faith
continue, continue, continue on, on
well, they weren't legally wed, as far as i knew. but they had a baby on the way. they shared a lease. that was enough for me. i'm the product of a roaming dick of a father, and as such i've always felt like i had to respect others' exclusivity, even if they didn't. because that meant i respected myself. i prided myself on holding myself above and beyond all of that talk show shit. he said he did, too. but that began to unravel before long. he looked at me too longingly, was too quick to ask me out for drinks after work. he was entirely too quick, with the baby due any day, to ask me flat out, "when's the last time you had some good dick, girl?" i felt like it had to be the booze talking, we had been hanging out in a group setting, and he offered to drive me home clear on the opposite side of the city from where he lived, and we did decide to go cut a rug, and we both worked crazy ass hours, so why not take some time to ourselves to blow off steam? he'd just had too much to drink, and i needed a ride home . . . it was late. taking the bus home in january in philly . . . i wasn't really dressed for night time temperatures, just my work clothes . . .
but i knew he was wrong. he was wrong. he knew better. i knew better. at the time, i was a believer that anyone with 3 years of age on me and the vast life experience he had should have behaved like the mature one. above all, i felt like i had to remind him that he still had something/ someone to go home to. he had a reason not to be out with me at 3 in the morning, and it wasn't either of our obligations to work the next day. there was a baby that they had already named and prepared for. it was her possible entry into active labor. and what did i do?
nothing. let it progress. because i wanted, very badly, to feel admired. i am a sensation junkie. he stimulated my mind more than anything else, did a damn good job of it. most importantly, he represented an impossibly pleasant distraction (oh, the text messages, the myspace wall posts, the crazy ass emails!) from the madness surrounding me. at work. transitioning from my mom's (probably for the last time) to cohabitation with a girlfriend of mine. drama at work. there was so much to process, so much to ignore . . . the endless drinks (and nutritionally deficient "meals" at the bar) impeded the flood of madness that threatened to drown me. i had to move out of the old apartment in north philly and high-tail it to the land of trolleys and ethiopian restaurants. i was having what some may call a spiritual awakening in regard to my study of the yoruba faith. i was learning, growing, changing . . . and still shaking off the vestiges of old beliefs about myself. i don't say this to say that i didn't know what i was doing. i knew, but had no way of gaging the impact on myself. getting to know him was getting old, fast. but i wasn't quite finished. i have this thing where i always have to double and triple check even when i know i'm right in the first place (conversely, i never double-check the possible missteps or bad fucking ideas). so as i double checked and triple checked, it got uglier. things deteriorated.
i learned the hard way that a mutual friend (trust, i now use that phrase lightly) took my confidence in her and turned it into something it wasn't. all of a sudden i, the fiercely independent, perpetually single one was that bitch. hungry, needy, trying to get in anywhere i could for the sake of validation. it was a play upon fears and a major exaggeration of words that, in context, were more consistent with my real self than this skewed portrait she'd painted of me. at the time i wasn't even aware of the weight of it. but i became more clear on it after a while. a bunch of shit she was into, which is completely inconsequential to me at this point, had her acting like she had zero home training.
but, back to me. cuz this is my blog & it's about me.
i was in the early stages of picking the whole mess apart. i didn't wanna fuck him anymore. the one time we messed around left me feeling like anything further would be less than satisfying to me. i had already moved into my new place. i didn't need to vent to anyone anymore about the bobby & whitney ass shit my roommate was into. i didn't need him for the distraction anymore. just as i was figuring out exactly what purpose he served in my life, we had this mindblowingly unilateral conversation (i let it be that way, i know when to shut my mouth) & that was that, for the most part. some other shit popped off months down the line that is not even worthy of note here.
years removed, i've gained a lot of clarity. i've lost contact w/ most of the folks associated with that mess. and i rather enjoy the distance. i have no regrets. i know now: the first time should be the last when it comes to being offended. you can't trust anyone who's afraid of the hair that grows out of her own scalp (at least, i can't). if he's dumb enough to bring you up in his house after the fact, you need to make that the last interaction. follow your gut instinct; call a spade a spade.
above all: no matter what they say or do, they are only human & therefore no more important or special or favored or loved by the most high than you are.
(a stream of consciousness)
for every woman left alone to labor
for every child damaged by those who should be giving care
for every man who fits the description
for every person who's been watched more closely or ignored altogether for being brown
for the birth trauma survivors, mothers and children both
for every hottentot, jezebel, mammy, hot-in-the-ass teen mother and bust it baby
for every person who's simply trying to practice love, regardless of a religion
for every unnamed man with his nuts in his mouth and a noose around his neck
for every person who's ridden a train, hidden in a vehicle, or walked endlessly to come to this side
for every girl who aspired to become a boi, and every boy who ever aspired to become a gyrl
for every woman who couldn't rhyme along anymore because when they got to that part of the song, everyone was looking at her booty instead of ol girl in the video
para los antepasados (iba ara torun. mojuba awo egungun! modupe-o!)
for everyone whose life is worth it
whether they know it or not
i choose to fight
i wouldn't have it any other way
because the love motivates me
because the love is reflected to me
i'm a humble servant of the people
red black & green
these are the colors that don't run
him. the crush.
this time, there was lots of touch. some good jokes. skin-to-skin contact. we were sitting in my bed. a few times he climbed over me to get something off the dresser. other times he walked into the kitchen to get me something to drink or eat. i wasn't sick, but simply the center of attention.
and the last time my alarm went off, i was waiting for him to come back. i was expecting a kiss. anticipating our fingers to be entangled and our foreheads to touch, for there to be some whispered compliments and some sharing of extremely private jokes.
but i had to wake up.
to nothing but a wisp of a memory.
(before we begin: a cuddlejawn is just what it sounds like. a jawn with whom you cuddle. i'm from philly. sue me.)
1) cuddling is good for the environment!
if you're cuddling (fully clothed, nude, partially clothed, socks only) with another grown person, chances are that a considerable amount of body heat will be generated. you and your cuddlejawn will save money on energy bills! radiator on the fritz? call your cuddlejawn. afraid of your gas bill? holla at your girl/ boy. don't feel like playing with that space heater? pick up the phone! get a blanket, and you just might set the night on fire! rawr.
2) cuddling is good for your self-esteem.
because, you see, that 10 lbs you're still tryna shake won't have to come off. that extra body on your body needs cushioning! knowing that you're divine just the way you are will do wonders for you, dear heart. it gives your cuddlejawn an even stronger reason to keep coming back for more of your good old boolovin!
3) you get to show off your extensive knowledge of foods/ beverages.
everyone knows that there's nothing better than a good plate of tasty morsels or a glass of something fly AND arms that warmly await you. and if the mutually agreed-upon cuddlejawn arrangement is going well i believe that food items will keep things going along swimmingly. besides, who the hell wants to be the trifling motherfucker who invites people over and never feeds or attempts to hydrate them? especially a cuddlejawn? show your gratitude by making sure there are yummy and new snacks.
4) this arrangement may be one of the healthiest relationships you ever have.
so many of us go into situations with others hoping against hope that s/he doesn't turn out to be crazy/ clingy/ unreasonable/ looking for a husband/ looking for a wife/ looking for a parental figure . . . without making sure that everyone's pretty much on the same page from the onset. so, with your cuddle jawn arrangement being essentially about cuddling and not sexual intercourse (not at first. where it goes next is your business.), i daresay it's impossible to get caught up in a snare of emotional bullshit. sex might complicate things for some of us, while for others it brings clarity. your job as a cuddlejawn is to be precisely what your cuddlejawn needs. that means everyone gets their needs met within the parameters of the arrangement. no hurt feelings. who doesn't want to be held without the pressure of a bunch of shit that has little to nothing to do with them? think on it.
5) boolovin might save us from ourselves.
you ever encounter a motherfucker who quite clearly needs a hug and/ or some kind words? don't you ever think that they should get that hug? those kind words? something to help them feel less miserable and stabby? i bet if they had a cuddlejawn they'd be at least tolerable. yupper. watch, y'all, and see! the boolovin might make you think twice about slappin the fuck out of your coworker. it may make you more alert during the work day. i mean, there are studies done on infants who are touched lovingly/ receive infant massage that suggest that these kids grow up smarter than those who are touched only when it's necessary (or whatever the control is). i say go for it. who doesn't wanna be loved upon more often?
and, i'd also like to suggest that cuddling may lead to some very rewarding, fulfilling adult interactions. this is the foreplay of life.
go find you a cuddlejawn!
this post has been brought to you by buckwild apiaries, inc., purveyors of honey love and boolovin.
hard. because of this.
"i'm afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over."
you think "we" (like every black person is secretly united against your white asses and anyone who could possibly undermine our goals of world domination via newports and malt liquor) are waiting with baited breath for obama to win so we can come out in droves to destroy your pure christian nation of amber waves of grain and virgins? like, the second the inauguration ceremony ends, this man decides to paint the white house black for real? is he gonna pass a mandate that the new endangered species is listed as the educated black man? the fbi's ten most wanted list is changed to list folks who owe barack and/ or michele obama over 500 USD? are the darkies gonna take to the streets in celebratory dance like the big liberation scene in the wiz? oh, waaaaaaaaaaaiiiit. i know now: the bald eagles will all be caught and deep-fried like so many thanksgiving turkeys, then served on the lawn of the white house on paper plates w/ ronald reagan's coffin as a table. it'll be the takeover dinner.
"the blacks" are as varied in opinion as "the whites," "the latinos," and every other group in american society. some of us are for him. some of us are against him. others are undecided or not voting for either of the big-party candidates. ridiculous. dry that shit up. secondly, a good number of "us" are not thinking about you in middle america. we, like you, have normal and everyday concerns: bills, food, family, jobs, etc. i hate to even discuss my similarities to such simpletons, but we're all having very human experiences right now. nobody has any fucking money. you're worried about ppl who look like me taking over this country? booboo kitty, people who look like you have not been doing a bang-up job, i don't know if you've noticed. the system doesn't effing work -- who gives a hot wet fuck what color the top dog is or isn't? would the sheer pride of seeing "one of us" in the white house automatically mobilize ppl who identify as black in such a way that we decided to just magically pull it all together and start . . . doing what?
what does 'taking over' even entail?
and i won't address the "muslim thing."
i refuse to discuss what seems to be the prevailing anti-obama (or decidedly anti-democrat, possibly even anti-black) song & dance: these niggers got student loans and took too long paying them back! um, i'm sorry -- i had one loan and that was because i quit school after a year and a half. do you know how long it took me to pay it off? about 3 years, and i didn't even go to the ever-expensive harvard or yale. this is so dumb. are those who criticize michelle and/ or barack obama aware that the FAFSA is for everyone? are they aware that havard's law school site itself discusses the extension of loan repayment for graduates who do not go into six-figure jobs straightaway? come on. this is just plain ridiculous.
i won't dedicate much more time to this, as i need to go to bed.
but i genuinely do hope that the scales begin to fall from folks' eyes. if not immediately or in time for election day, then soon enough that they are able to save themselves from the madness that has engulfed this land.
but what do i know?
i'm just polishing my illegally obtained gun so i can "take over" on inauguration day.
mil gracias a nezua for posting this on umx, and reminding me to begin with!
Beloved Survivors, Warriors, Allies, Activists, Organizers, Artists, Healers, Visionaries, Sisters and Friends,
In October 2007 people all over the United States gathered physically and in spirit to speak out against violence against women of color. Some of us wore red all day and explained that we were reclaiming and reframing our bodies as a challenge to the widespread acceptance of violence against women of color. Some of us wrote powerful essays about why we were wearing red and posted them on the internet. Some of us gathered with bold and like-minded folks and took pictures, shared poetry and expressed solidarity.
This year, on the first anniversary of the Be Bold Be Red Campaign, we invite you to make your bold stance against the violence enacted on women and girls of color in our society visible. In D.C., Chicago, Durham, Atlanta and Detroit women of color will be gathering to renew our commitment to creating a world free from racialized and gendered violence, and this time, we’ll be using a new technology called CyberQuilting to connect all of these gatherings in real time. To learn more about CyberQuilting, which is a women of color led project to stitch movements together using new web technologies and old traditions of love and nurturing, visit www.cyberquilt.wordpress.com.
This letter is an invitation for you and yours to participate in a gathering in your city on Thursday, October 30th that will be webcast to similar gatherings in other cities. We are calling on you because we recognize and appreciate the work that you and the organizations you work with are doing everyday to make this a more loving and less violent world for women and girls in oppressed communities. Please join us on October 30th so that other warriors in this struggle can be strengthened and affirmed by the energy of our collective ferocity!
If you are not located in D.C., Chicago, Durham, Atlanta and Detroit for the webcast, you can still participate by wearing Red on October 30, 2008 and send us your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also we are asking once again that people wear Red on October 30, 2008 and send us your pictures to email@example.com
As we receive them we will upload your pictures under “Red Pictures Today.”
Also, as well as to share your stories of Red on this website under “Why are you wearing Red on October 30, 2008.”
So, are you ready?!
do something about that skin
try to find a style that makes your hair grow long and pretty
don't get seconds on that, you know you need to lose weight
sit with your legs closed, especially in skirts and dresses
learn how to walk in high heels
there are nice boys at church
if you never stop sucking your thumb how are you ever gonna smile pretty?
don't be so aggressive
you talk too loud
why are you always talking?
don't correct people, it makes them feel inferior
you should wear more dresses
you need a girdle
we aren't the kind of family that advocates that; we're christians
why didn't you just finish college?
you're too smart to be anywhere except school
okay, when are you gonna have babies?
why are you living there?
what's that food you're eating?
when are you going back to school?
you don't live here, you can't do that
you can't afford that, can you?
why would you spend $12 on breakfast? you too good for the cart or mcdonald's?
i didn't know you spoke spanish, you just be spittin that shit like [unintelligible]
can you tell me where to find a poetry reading? why not?
why don't you smile more?
girls don't dance with girls around here, no matter what
no, i know what you're trying to do
my mom said you're not as cute as you think you are
do you sing? why don't you sing something?
why do you always have to be right?
why don't you fight back?
why don't you have a man?
are you gay?
_____ is weird; you probably know him/ her.
turn the music down, nobody wants to hear that foreign shit.
who ever told you that you can have whatever you want just because you want it?
do you and your sisters really all have the same father?
why are you so preachy?
you can make money being a doula/ midwife/ crafter?
you're high maintenance
you must come from money w/ an attitude like that, cuz if you don't . . .
i don't know where you get these airs from
why do you switch so hard when you walk?
you know you want this dick, girl
i'ma pray that god changes your mind about that
happy birthday (via text, when i call you all the time)
you sure you gonna wear that?
you always got some weird -- no, i'm sorry, different -- shit on
you talk in circles. all women do, actually
you use your feelings to navigate the world; that's illogical
don't do that, that's not what nice girls do
what do you mean you don't believe in jesus?
you gave up on moving to new york, didn't you?
get outta here w/ that boho shit
you don't know a good thing when you see it
what made you think you could fuck him too?
i mean, you could be my girl if you . . .
oh, no, we're not exclusive . . . where'd you get that from?
you're trippin, this could never happen
why aren't you writing?
what are you writing about?
stop writing about me
you'll never have a man
can't you just be normal?
when can we expect payment?
you aren't any different from anyone else, get that idea out of your head right now
this post is the result of attempting to empty my head of any and everything that's ever stuck to me and made me feel like i'm not a divinely blessed being. may every last bit of it be removed from my mind and set free on the wind, never to return to me.
i am simply tired of the shit i am surrounded with.
the entitlement-sparked intrusion by overgrown toddlers with full beards and pubic hair. i am sick and tired of having my confidence assaulted and chipped away at by this sick bullying disguised as health care. i do not believe in the innate "need" of women to be taken care of or give care to their male mates. it is my contention that crying babies should not be dismissed or shushed because holding them "spoils" them. i cannot allow myself to be convinced that my responsibility to the world is tied specifically to my having a functioning uterus. i will never, ever, ever find myself legitimizing the notion that just any old thing is better than nothing; this applies to food, shelter, and especially persons in my cipher. i do not subscribe to the idea that children (especially girls) have "no business," no opinions worth considering, or no rights. i will never, ever, ever take lightly the implication that transgendered people are ever anything less than humans.
i could go on endlessly about the million and one ways in which i go against this grain, this current of hate and destruction, self loathing and miserable dichotomy. i won't. i just had to get some of this shit off my chest.
this is all nezua's fault. there. i said it. IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT, MAN! i'd shake an angry fist at you but i'm too.busy.dancing.must.stop.dancing.CANNOT.STOP.DANCING.
i can't get this song out of my head. i will be dancing to this whenever i get married to whomever is perfect enough to want to wake up to this very song at least once a week (and me, but the song is just as important) . . . holy shit.
i love it.
turn it up LOUD if you're not at work. or if you have headphones. hell, just turn it up anyway. chair dance, cubicle refugees!
prepare yourself to fall fully in love with the synth of it all.
the knife, "you take my breath away"
(and homegirl on the right? her makeup is killing it. don't think i won't do some shit like that. cuz i will.)
** TRIGGER ALERT * *
if you are sensitive to mentions of rape, molestation, or other violent acts you may not want to read this post.
he was her first boyfriend. she wasn't really a fan of the boys we'd gone to high school with, so college created a new opportunity: an abundance of black men to admire and possibly date. but she didn't even take it that far. this one was a neighbor. we grew up jumping rope with his sister. i didn't like him. thought he was a know-it-all dickhead with poor fashion sense and no knowledge of when to shut the fuck up. but she's my sister; i'm never gonna like anyone for her.
so they dated. she spent lots of time at his father's house across the street, walked with him to his mom's house about a mile away, and i tried to ignore the whole fucking thing. i told our friends "i don't like him," but they just assumed that i was being protective as big sister. i wasn't. i genuinely did not believe that anything good could come from the two of them dating for the year or so that they did.
i was right. i didn't know how right i was until this past december, when my sister told me that this foolish boy raped her. i stopped dead in my tracks and started crying. it all made sense: her uncharacteristic and constant uneasiness, the brooding, the slight touch of OCD, the near-fundamentalist ways in which she worshipped christ, flying headfirst into work instead of allowing herself to kick back or goof off . . . my loving, bright, kind, just, fair, beautiful sister . . . shattered
by someone who himself was the product of abuse & dysfunction, someone who did not respect the safety of another human being enough to leave well enough alone and believe in no when she said no.
i was livid, hurt, sad, tired, angry, shocked . . . all those things. and i still am. i never felt inadequate as an elder sibling, not through my college dropout situation or my towering financial woes, not through the shacking up w/ an ex-boyfriend to the chagrin of my entire family . . . none of it. but i wished at that exact moment that she had reached out to me 7 years ago. i wished at that exact moment that i had been able to read the terror in her face when she could not speak of it. i wished at that exact moment for the chance to travel back and take her out of that equation -- not to share the pain with any other woman, but simply to save my sister. i never had to defend her, she always fought for herself
and here she was telling me that her light was nearly stomped out.
i told her she didn't ever have to apologize. "i haven't told anyone except my therapist because . . ."
in my head, i was screaming. no. fuck the therapist. call mommy. call every grimy person you know. let's do this. his ppl still live across the street, all we need is to catch him coming out of the fucking house . . . . so what he's got a girl and a baby -- they ain't got shit to do with it! i want to kill him with my bare hands. he doesn't deserve air in his fucking punk ass lungs! why should this piece of shit have the luxury of going unpunished for raping my sister? who else has he done this to? why is he alive?
i resigned myself to doing and saying nothing. i nodded and told her i loved her. i went to the house that night. she asked me to come over, because of something else that happened to her which was a trigger. i was thankful for and resentful of the situation all at once. i stood beside her as her sister, and played the role she wanted me to. she never made a rumble for fear of upsetting something/ someone. she didn't want to have to explain that she had already had sex w/ this bastard and that he didn't understand her desire not to do so; she didn't want to be blamed; she didn't want the weight that often comes with speaking the truth. she thought she would have to stand alone. she did not know that she could stand tall and strong. she didn't know . . . my sister did not know that coercion was the source of my first sexual experience with a man. she didn't know how many women experience that (as adults, adolescents, as elders and especially as children) and swallow it up . . . and how likely it was that she'd not be shamed for something that was not in any way her fault. that she was not less of a woman or less of a human being because of something she could not stop, that she is not presently less of a woman or human being because of his wish to destroy the part of her that shone brightest.
and it is because of her story, the stories of so many women i do and don't know that i say safety is neither a luxury nor a privilege. it is a right.
every time i get ready to start writing, i get bashful and quit. i'll erase it all or save it as a draft . . . all because i'm not even sure i'll like or be comfortable with what's gonna come out. maybe i remembered that people read this blog, and i considered folks' feelings before my own. not gonna work. whatever's swirling around in my head has to get out. somewhere. somehow.
i need to put pen to paper.
i'll be back, probably within the week. got some shit to let out first.
youtube is gonna be the death of me.
feist on sesame street (feist + puppets = awesome):
stevie wonder on sesame street (even MORE awesome):
jill scott, "gimme"
the enbedding was disabled, so go here. LOVE this song.
now i'm off to prepare for a debate drinking game thought of by mos def's other other wife, lauren.
i was talking to a friend this evening about otherness, even within groups oft-marginalized people. that is, if you're black and bisexual (or latino and homosexual, or of caribbean blood and heterosexual, or asian and gender-neutral or whatever), it's almost a given that you're going to be exotified as the other other by someone you deal with. it's wack. cuz you're being made into the other other, possibly by someone readily identifed as the other. it got deep. it did.
i had a point. i did.
too much wine. not enough time to formulate thoughts.
i'm frustrated, though. it doesn't even have to be a sexual or romantic interaction. it's as simple as folks laying their shit at your feet and deciding that you've got to fit into that. it's a long drawn out mess
when i sober up... maybe i'll take another crack at this.
you have been warned.
and now, onto my wishlist:
a 120 gig ipod classic. black. with dope girl fresh engraved on it.
a day of total leisure, doing what i feel like doing
a new tattoo*
perfectly arched eyebrows
the perfect pair of jeans
a delicious plate of awesome food (paging tia clara! i'd like some mole, pleeeaaaaaase)
birthday cards hand-made with glitter and tempura and other preschool sort of things
a chocolate cupcake with hazelnut-praline icing from flying monkey patisserie
a day free of unnecessary fuckery
a great big old bottle of malbec
a manicure and pedicure
a great big old sloppy wet kiss from my favorite baby
an ear cuff made of copper and peacock feathers
a happy birthday for each person under my sun sign (insert libra dance here), especially my cousin crystal, dia, malaika, mel, jess, amal, lauren and that dj guy
a few spectacular orgasms
bliss, bliss, bliss
a really lovely dinner date
and for the crush i dreamt of the other night to, like, make a move
* a fly henna tattoo will be an acceptable substitute for a new permanent tat.
i finally learned to love this face of mine
after 27.9 years of wondering why i didn't have a "more black" nose or fuller lips like my mom
after learning late in the game that there's nothing better than fly spectacles
i look like the moon, lol
and that's kinda dope.
to be dreaming about him.
barely three conversations, and he's traipsing through my REM?
we're in this dream, talking about learning portuguese and what we felt was the presence of yemaya in favela rising
and i'm all kinds of twisted about this
maybe it means something
maybe i should just get some fucking sleep
i don't know.
but what i do know is that the feeling has been with me all day long.
when a friend falls down
falls out w/ someone they love
needs to scream
needs to cry
needs to use expletives excessively, in succession, making little to no sense
that's when you know you trust them
that's when you know they trust you
that's when you honor that space & that event
i give thanks for the opportunity to do that and be on both ends
and if i count you in that number
please know that you're more than welcome, as long as i have the ability to provide for you the arms to hold you up or the hands to piece you back together
the back to carry you
the courage to see that you are not a burden, but a reflection
i will love you
i will support you
i will honor and respect you
let this be my pact
from now until the last blink.
ashé + amen
(disclaimer: i really don't trust black dudes w/ chemically processed hair as a general rule. but this motherfucker takes the cake.)
i present to you, lovely blog readers, michael warns who appears to be the leader of of a group called blacks against obama. some things i notice:
this man relies heavily on scripture to explain why obama's not worthy of the vote.
the scriptures referenced paint a catastrophic picture of death, destruction, and general mayhem as the fault of some mystical satan woman named lilith (i'm presuming this is the lilith who was adam's first wife)
the cover of michael's book entitled satan revealed her name is lilith she is 33% of the black women in america contradicts the sidebar on the right side of the second index page of the website, where he refers to one-third of black women in america as 'jezebel.'
the artwork of the book very clearly plays upon the binary thinking typical of the west, of which the united states of america (refered to by michael as babylon) is a part.
the artwork very clearly displays oprah on the side of evil/ wrong/ the devil/bad/ black (note the black text describing things that this dude is purportedly against) . . . even down to the photo of ms. winfrey (open mouth, hands at the side of her head, not smiling, possibly exclaiming something at the top of her lungs).
in brief, the ideas put forth by the man who calls himself michael warns remind me of every person i've ever known who has required treatment for schizophrenia. i'm not saying this to be mean or to have a laugh at his expense (that's what the relaxed hair comment was for) -- it's apparent to me that something is wrong. following what he's saying, am i to believe that oprah gail winfrey is the devil and that she has chosen barack obama to do her bidding and lead us all . . . to hell?
i'm sorry, but there's no fucking way. none. and i'm disappointed in anyone who buys into this. it makes zero sense.
if this dude were on the corner in any major urban center talking about this stuff (in the same way, speaking in abstracts and everything), who'd listen to him? who'd take him seriously? because he has a url and a self-published book and a ustream.com account he's legit?
i'm not saying that this dude and his crew (who interrupted a barack obama campaign speech just the other day) don't have the right to talk about what they want
but exactly WHAT the fuck did this dude say/ do to get support from these cats?
they're anti child support (why?)
they're staunchly christian, from what i gather (if the men in the group are in alignment with the head of the body, then that'd more or less be the case right?)
they believe in something "traditional," which from what i can tell is rather ambiguous (they haven't got a lot of presence on the web and seem not to have put forth any manner of a mission statement) but involves women not voting (suggested by the preface to the book)
it's just too much like un-set jello
i daresay every last one of these fuckers is out of his mind
i wanna thank renee at womanist musings for posting about this
and implore any of you who come across this kind of shit to dismiss it as what it is: a h.a.m sandwich with a thick slice of bullshit cheese, on par with youtube "star" reh dogg's video showing viewers barack obama's "true colors." nonsensical, at best.
thank you, and good night.
i'm always hungry at 8:30 pm, even if i've had dinner already. i think it's the pangs of unfulfilled desire, not legitimate hunger. still, i'm about to get into some raspberry sorbet, cuz why not? i bought it to be eaten.
soaking fruit in peach rum for 3 days = yum
changing the lighting in my apartment is doing wonders for my mood
autumn is when i'm most on point
soy really is not my friend. i can't even do a soy latte these days without some rasclaat fuckery popping off. insert sad face here.
i love chocolate and raspberries together.
i made some potato & kale soup, but had the wrong ratio of greens to liquid. secret weapon: pureed cannelini beans & vegetable stock. HOLLA!
i consistently heart nezua's blog. such a wealth of good ol unabashed chicanoness. yupper.
it's about to be hoodie season. joy.
do not look a gift horse in the mouth
do not . . .
these white ppl who live somewhere in my building or the building next door (same landlord, same big ass back yard) decided they wanted to celebrate the full moon this morning
. . . at 5
by climbing up and down the fire escape with beer and food and shit
why the fuck are you thisclose to my bedroom window
yelling "yoooo" to your friend
like it's 5 pm
like you're the only motherfuckers who live here
like nobody matters except you
fuck your over privileged, bratty sense of entitlement
i called the landlord
i hope he tells you to stay your ass off the fire escape up here unless there's a fire, especially since you do not live on my floor
i hope you fall and break your leg or drop your iphone
or get locked out of the building and nobody comes to help you and you get stuck out back w/ the gangs of raccoons and possums who dominate the trash cans in this part of the city
i prayed for this apartment
i work hard to keep my rent paid
i just took a serious blow financially trying to get in this joint
i will not allow some inconsiderate dickhead white boys to fuck it up for me
i'm (totally not) sorry
but i gotta pull your coattails on this one
it is not okay to abuse the amenities of this property
not as long as you have neighbors like me
and the next time you have a loud balcony party i'm gonna let the cops into the yard
cuz thursday nights are not the same thing as friday nights. dickheads.
this morning's rant was brought to you by our sponsors, the full harvest moon, the impending autumnal equinox, and fela kuti's "water no get enemy."
olaomi says that the elders told her to give thanks @ full moons, to observe what has come to fruition.
so let me share my gratitude some:
random warmth this close to autumn
two legs, feet to carry me
bright green nail polish
my own intuition
being able to walk away
serendipitously meeting my (two!!) black neighbors
clean clothes & the laundromats to make them happen
my gift of gab
the calm of night
casa atabex aché
ppl who don't return calls (they are a gift, trust me)
ppl who call out of nowhere
making my own toothpaste
home made florida water
the women who stood up
those who refuse to apologize
when i have a new commenter.
glad you came to visit. i love your blog. deeply. thank you for coming to visit!
for those who aren't familiar w/ nezua's blog, go forth and read, especially this entry:
a september remembered
i was reading the healing black womanhood blog (which has some dope stuff, y'all should check it out) and something kinda bothered me.
the blog owner writes about black men in two out of the (as of this date) seven posts on the blog, and though i think understand her efforts as to not only heal black women but the community as a whole, i take something of an issue with this. not because black men don't matter. it's the posts themselves. if we're healing black womanhood, wouldn't honoring black manhood and discussing why we love black men come towards the end of the steps towards healing?
i cringed while perusing the blog. i am all for healing. i genuinely believe that healing work has to be done in the lives of a lot of women (not black women exclusively). but what some of us have come through and have yet to work through, though it may be or is tied directly to dealings with men, needs to first be discussed in depth and candidly before we jump on the celebration bandwagon. yes, positivity is necessary -- but before we give thanks don't we sometimes have to look at all the fucked up stuff that has gone/ is going on? where's that part? where's the part where we say "i don't like when brothas do this" to ourselves so that we are perfectly clear about what we do not want and are more capable of seeking/ naming what we DO want?
it's about process for me, not so much content.
i understand that negativity can kill and destroy us. but there's a difference between expressing genuine facts about the experiences some of us have had so that we can fully release those things to our pasts, so that we aren't carrying that crap around inside of us. so that we aren't apologizing needlessly for others.
why is it that so many sistas who want to help us womenfolk in virtually the same breath express adoration of black men like it's a fucking disclaimer?
i love my sistas, BUT BROTHAS I HAVEN'T FORGOTTEN ABOUT YOU, I PROMISE
it's a lot more complex than that, and no disclaimer makes it any easier to swallow: we have all hurt each other and are hurting now
there is no magical salve to lay on all of us at once, cuz we all need different things to different degrees
and most importantly
if we ladies are continually trying to rebuild ourselves, how healthy can it possibly be to stop every few minutes and speak on the men, who should be fixing their own shit?
maybe i look too deeply into these things, but analysis has to be the name of the game when you're talking about fixing broken folks.
ppl tell me what i need to do.
taxes, payin bills, etc -- totally not the same thing as "instruction" or "advice" from someone who has zero clue about me, where i am, where i'm going, who the fuck i actually am.
so with this, i say a hearty fuck you
to anyone who thinks they can herd/ bully/ talk me into whatever is safest for them
to anyone who thinks they can figure out what my "problems," "issues," or "shortcomings" are (and can lead me to the "righteous" path they're on)
to anyone who thinks they're gonna see me fall, fail, lose, or otherwise land any way other than on my fucking feet
to anyone who loves her/himself so much that sharing that self love with me is actually an effort to influence me to emulate their monkey ass
basically, thanks, but no thanks
i came here with a mission
god and i have planned some thangs and they're being put in motion even as you talk shit
i understand, baby, that you think you're being helpful
i get it, dear heart! you wanna share cuz you think there's something i'm not seeing
so keep talkin
that'll be nice background noise while i do my thug thizzle
maybe i can get karas to remix all the nay-saying into a song for my get up in the morning and knock this shit out mix
at the end of the day, though i've got me
i am favored by the most high god/dess and there isn't shit that's gonna stop me
i am stepping into the place that's meant for me
so fuck you very much
thank you so much for your commentary
it's reminded me of why i never took you seriously to begin with
i posted that list because it was important that i share with those of you who read (or may stumble upon) this blog. i feel that it's important to share the feelings/ thoughts of more pro-feminist / pro-woman/ men, especially non-white men.
it's a good start.
i'll be picking it all apart at some point, and re-posting with my own notes. there's a lot to digest. some of the privileges listed trigger me strongly.
i'm glad to know someone's at least trying to break this mess down, even if it is brick by brick.
you read that right.
The Black Male Privileges Checklist
By Jewel Woods
© Renaissance Male Project (2008)
What does "privilege" have to do with Black men? We understand some kinds of privilege. The privilege to call a black man "Boy", even if that black man happens to be 60 years old or older. The privilege to drive a car and never have to worry that the police will racially profile you. Privileges that have nothing to do with what a person has earned, but rather are based entirely on who a person is, or what color they are.
As African Americans, we have the ability to critique and condemn these types of "unearned assets" because we recognize that these privileges come largely at our expense. We have also learned from social and political movements that have sought to redress these privileges, and academic disciplines that have provided us with the tools to critically examine and explore them.
However, there is another type of privilege that has caused untold harm to both black men and women but has not had the benefit of being challenged by a social and political movement within our community, nor given adequate attention within our own academic community. The privilege that I am referring to is male privilege.
Male privilege is more than just a "double standard", because it is based on attitudes or actions that come at the expense of women. Just as white privilege comes at the expense of African Americans and other people of color, gender double standards come at the expense of women.
Given the devastating history of racism in this country, it is understandable that getting black men to identify with the concept of male privilege isn't easy! For many black men, the phrase "black male privilege" seems like an oxymoron -- three words that simply do not go together.
While it is understandable that black men are hesitant or reluctant to examine the concept of male privilege, the African American community will never be able to overcome the serious issues that we face if we as black men do not confront our role in promoting and sustaining male supremacist attitudes and actions.
Inviting black men and boys into a conversation about male privilege does not deny centuries of discrimination or the burden of racism that we continue to suffer from today. As long as a black man can be tasered 9 times in 14 minutes, shot at 50 times on the morning of his wedding night, or receive less call-backs for a job than a white man with a felony record, we know that racist sexism that targets black men is alive and kicking.
Examining black male privileges offers black men and boys an opportunity to go beyond old arguments of "personal responsibility" or "blaming the man" to gain a deeper level of insight into how issues of class and race are influenced by gender. Gender is one of the most important tools in the production and reproduction of power because it relies on consent and not just coercion.
The items represented on the Black Male Privileges Checklist reflect aspects of Black men's lives that we take for granted, which appear to be "double standards," but in fact are male privileges that come at the expense of women in general and African American women in particular.
I offer this checklist based on years of experience working with men, and with the faith that we as men have far more to gain than we have to lose by challenging the privileges that we take for granted.
I believe that there are more similarities between men than there are differences. Therefore, many items on the Black Male Privilege Checklist apply to men generally. However, because of the specific privileges that black men have in relationship to black women; there are specific items that apply only to black men. I will leave it up to you to determine which items apply only to black men, and which items apply to men in general.
The Black Male Privileges Checklist
Leadership & Politics
1. I don't have to choose my race over my sex in political matters.
2. When I read African American History textbooks, I will learn mainly about black men.
3. When I learn about the Civil Rights Movement & the Black Power Movements, most of the leaders that I will learn about will be black men.
4. I can rely on the fact that in the near 100-year history of national civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League, virtually all of the executive directors have been male.
5. I will be taken more seriously as a political leader than black women.
6. Despite the substantial role that black women played in the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement, currently there is no black female that is considered a "race leader".
7. I can live my life without ever having read black feminist authors, or knowing about black women's history, or black women's issues.
8. I can be a part of a black liberation organization like the Black Panther Party where an "out" rapist Eldridge Cleaver can assume leadership position.
9. I will make more money than black women at equal levels of education and occupation.
10. Most of the national "opinion framers" in Black America including talk show hosts and politicians are men.
11. I have the ability to define black women's beauty by European standards in terms of skin tone, hair, and body size. In comparison, black women rarely define me by European standards of beauty in terms of skin tone, hair, or body size.
12. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of having my hair conforming to any standard image of beauty the way black women do.
13. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of being terrorized by the fear of gaining weight. In fact, in many instances bigger is better for my sex.
14. My looks will not be the central standard by which my worth is valued by members of the opposite sex.
Sex & Sexuality
15. I can purchase pornography that typically shows men defile women by the common practice of the "money shot.”
16. I can believe that causing pain during sex is connected with a woman's pleasure without ever asking her.
17. I have the privilege of not wanting to be a virgin, but preferring that my wife or significant other be a virgin.
18. When it comes to sex if I say "No", chances are that it will not be mistaken for “Yes".
19. If I am raped, no one will assume that "I should have known better" or suggest that my being raped had something to do with how I was dressed.
20. I can use sexist language like bonin’, laying the pipe, hittin-it, and banging that convey images of sexual acts based on dominance and performance.
21. I can live in a world where polygamy is still an option for men in the United States as well as around the world.
22. In general, I prefer being involved with younger women socially and sexually
23. In general, the more sexual partners that I have the more stature I receive among my peers.
24. I have easy access to pornography that involves virtually any category of sex where men degrade women, often young women.
25. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where "purity balls" apply to girls but not to boys.
26. When I consume pornography, I can gain pleasure from images and sounds of men causing women pain.
27. I come from a tradition of humor that is based largely on insulting and disrespecting women; especially mothers.
28. I have the privilege of not having black women, dress up and play funny characters- often overweight- that are supposed to look like me for the entire nation to laugh.
29. When I go to the movies, I know that most of the leads in black films are men. I also know that all of the action heroes in black film are men.
30. I can easily imagine that most of the artists in Hip Hop are members of my sex.
31. I can easily imagine that most of the women that appear in Hip Hop videos are there solely to please men
32. Most of lyrics I listen to in hip-hop perpetuate the ideas of males dominating women, sexually and socially.
33. I have the privilege of consuming and popularizing the word pimp, which is based on the exploitation of women with virtually no opposition from other men.
34. I can hear and use language bitches and hoes that demean women, with virtually no opposition from men.
35. I can wear a shirt that others and I commonly refer to as a "wife beater" and never have the language challenged.
36. Many of my favorite movies include images of strength that do not include members of the opposite sex and often are based on violence.
37. Many of my favorite genres of films, such as martial arts, are based on violence.
38. I have the privilege of popularizing or consuming the idea of a thug, which is based on the violence and victimization of others with virtually no opposition from other men.
39. I have the privilege to define black women as having "an attitude" without referencing the range of attitudes that black women have.
40. I have the privilege of defining black women's attitudes without defining my attitudes as a black man.
41. I can believe that the success of the black family is dependent on returning men to their historical place within the family, rather than in promoting policies that strengthen black women's independence, or that provide social benefits to black children.
42. I have the privilege of believing that a woman cannot raise a son to be a man.
43. I have the privilege of believing that a woman must submit to her man.
44. I have the privilege of believing that before slavery gender relationships between black men and women were perfect.
45. I have the privilege of believing that feminism is anti-black.
46. I have the privilege of believing that the failure of the black family is due to the black matriarchy.
47. I have the privilege of believing that household responsibilities are women's roles.
48. I have the privilege of believing that black women are different sexually than other women and judging them negatively based on this belief.
49. I will make significantly more money as a professional athlete than members of the opposite sex will.
50. In school, girls are cheerleaders for male athletes, but there is no such role for males to cheerlead for women athletes.
51. My financial success or popularity as a professional athlete will not be associated with my looks.
52. I can talk about sports or spend large portions of the day playing video games while women are most likely involved with household or childcare duties.
53. I can spend endless hours watching sports TV and have it considered natural.
54. I can touch, hug, or be emotionally expressive with other men while watching sports without observers perceiving this behavior as sexual.
55. I know that most sports analysts are male.
56. If I am a coach, I can motivate, punish, or embarrass a player by saying that the player plays like a girl.
57. Most sports talk show hosts that are members of my race are men.
58. I can rest assured that most of the coaches -even in predominately-female sports within my race are male.
59. I am able to play sports outside without my shirt on and it not be considered a problem.
60. I am essentially able to do anything inside or outside without my shirt on, whereas women are always required to cover up.
61. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where the mutilation and disfigurement of a girl’s genitalia is used to deny her sexual sensations or to protect her virginity for males.
62. I have the privilege of not having rape be used as a primary tactic or tool to terrorize my sex during war and times of conflict.
63. I have the privilege of not being able to name one female leader in Africa or Asia, past or present, that I pay homage to the way I do male leaders in Africa and/or Asia.
64. I have the ability to travel around the world and have access to women in developing countries both sexually and socially.
65. I have the privilege of being a part of the sex that starts wars and that wields control of almost all the existing weapons of war and mass destruction.
66. In college, I will have the opportunity to date outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women will.
67. I have the privilege of having the phrase "sewing my wild oats" apply to my sex as if it were natural.
68. I know that the further I go in education the more success I will have with women.
69. In college, black male professors will be involved in interracial marriages at much higher rates than members of the opposite sex will.
70. By the time I enter college, and even through college, I have the privilege of not having to worry whether I will be able to marry a black woman.
71. In college, I will experience a level of status and prestige that is not offered to black women even though black women may outnumber me and out perform me academically.
72. If I go to an HBCU, I will have incredible opportunities to exploit black women
73. What is defined as "News" in Black America is defined by men.
74. I can choose to be emotionally withdrawn and not communicate in a relationships and it be considered unfortunate but normal.
75. I can dismissively refer to another persons grievances as ^*ing.
76. I have the privilege of not knowing what words and concepts like patriarchy, phallocentric, complicity, colluding, and obfuscation mean.
77. I have the privilege of marrying outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women marry.
78. My "strength" as a man is never connected with the failure of the black family, whereas the strength of black women is routinely associated with the failure of the black family.
79. If I am considering a divorce, I know that I have substantially more marriage, and cohabitation options than my spouse.
80. Chances are I will be defined as a "good man" by things I do not do as much as what I do. If I don't beat, cheat, or lie, then I am a considered a "good man". In comparison, women are rarely defined as "good women" based on what they do not do.
81. I have the privilege of not having to assume most of the household or child-care responsibilities.
82. I have the privilege of having not been raised with domestic responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and washing that takes up disproportionately more time as adults.
Church & Religious Traditions
83. In the Black Church, the majority of the pastoral leadership is male.
84. In the Black Church Tradition, most of the theology has a male point of view. For example, most will assume that the man is the head of household.
85. I do not have to worry about being considered a traitor to my race if I call the police on a member of the opposite sex.
86. I have the privilege of knowing men who are physically or sexually abusive to women and yet I still call them friends.
87. I can video tape women in public- often without their consent - with male complicity.
88. I can be courteous to a person of the opposite sex that I do not know and say "Hello" or "Hi" and not fear that it will be taken as a come-on or fear being stalked because of it.
89. I can use physical violence or the threat of physical violence to get what I want when other tactics fail in a relationship.
90. If I get into a physical altercation with a person of the opposite sex, I will most likely be able to impose my will physically on that person
91. I can go to parades or other public events and not worry about being physically and sexually molested by persons of the opposite sex.
92. I can touch and physically grope women's bodies in public- often without their consent- with male complicity.
93. In general, I have the freedom to travel in the night without fear.
94. I am able to be out in public without fear of being sexually harassed by individuals or groups of the opposite sex.
The Black Male Privileges Checklist was born out of years of organizing men's groups and the numerous -- often heated -- conversations I have had with men while utilizing Barry Deutsch's The Male Privilege Checklist. In my experiences, most men would object to at least some items on the Male Privilege Checklist. However, "men of color", and especially African American men, often had the sharpest criticisms of the Male Privilege Checklist and the most problems relating to the idea of male privilege.
There are many reasons why black men would be reluctant to identify with the concept of male privilege. One of the most important reasons is that our experience with privilege is based on a history of political, economic, and military power that whites have historically exercised over black life. This conceptualization of privilege has not allowed us to see ourselves with privilege because the focus has been placed largely on whites. Privilege is not restricted to economic, political, or military areas of life. Privilege is also social, cultural, sexual, institutional, and interpersonal in nature. Our inability to have a more expansive understanding of privilege and power has foreclosed important insights into virtually every aspect of black men’s lives and other "men of color".
As black men, we have also been skeptical of pro-feminist males, most of whom were white and middle class. Black men who fought for freedom during the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movements were suspicious- to say the least- of the motives of white men who were requesting that black men give up the privilege they never felt they had. Given the timing of the pro-feminist male movement and the demographics of these men, it has not been easy to separate the message from the messenger. Black men had a similar reaction to the voices of black feminists, who we saw as being influenced by white middle class feminists. Alongside this, there has long been a belief among many black men that racism provides privileges to black women that are denied to black men.
In addition, many of the items on The Male Privilege Checklist simply did not to apply to black men and other men of color. As a result, many black men argued that the list should have been called The White Male Privilege Checklist. In light of these considerations, the Black Male Privileges Checklist differs from the Male Privilege Checklist in several respects.
First, It departs from an “either/or” view of privilege that suggests that an individual or a group can only be placed into one category. Therefore, the focus is on privileges and not privilege. It also highlights belief systems that often serve as the basis for justifications and rationalizations of exploitation and discrimination. Second, The Black Male Privilege Checklist takes a Life Course perspective, acknowledging the fact that privilege takes on different forms at various points in men’s lives. Third, it takes a Global perspective to highlight the privilege that black males have as Americans, and the privileges black men share with other men of color. African American men rarely acknowledge the privilege we have in relationship to people in developing countries -- especially women. Too often, our conception of privilege is limited to white men and does not lead us to reflect on the power that men of color in Africa, Asia, and Latin America exercise over women. Finally, it calls for action and not just awareness. We need “men of color” to be actively involved in social welfare and social justice movements.
Invariably, the Black Male Privileges Checklist will inspire some men to create their own list describing the list of privileges they believe black women benefit from. What men need to understand is that paying attention to male privilege does not mean that women are without faults. Rather, it means that black men cannot be blind to the facts that black men earn more than black women do, black men continue to dominate most of the political, religious, and cultural institutions within the black community, and that black men continue to dominate black women in areas of physical and sexual abuse.
As “men of color”, we have a responsibility to acknowledge that we participate in this system even though it offers us little rewards. Most African Americans, for example, take for granted the system of capitalism that we all participate in, even though we know that it does not offer us the same rewards that it does for whites. The sex-gender system, which privileges men over women, operates in similar way for all men. Black men and other “men of color” can participate in this system even though it does not offer similar rewards.
Finally, the Black Male Privileges Checklist is a tool that can be used by any individual, group, organization, family, or community that is interested in black males having greater insight into their individual lives and the collective lives of black women and girls. It is also a living tool that will grow and be amended as more discussion and dialogue occurs. This is the first edition of the Black Male Privileges Checklist and will be updated regularly. This checklist was created with black men in mind, and does not necessarily capture the experiences and cultural references of other ethnic males. I would welcome dialogue with others who are concerned about these constituencies as well.
Please visit our website at http://renaissancemaleproject.com/ to view our Teen & Male Youth Privileges Checklist. An historic tool for all young males, schools, community organizations, youth groups, sports teams, and families that can be used to assist our young males in becoming the type of adult men we want them to be.
Jewel Woods is a gender analyst specializing in men's issues and executive director of the Renaissance Male Project . He is also the co-author of 'Don't Blame it on Rio: The Real Deal Behind Why Men Go to Brazil for Sex.'