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.
that is, i love people.
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?