October 25, 2016

The Science of Taylor Swift

I don't know what's more disturbing: The fact that I can still relate to 16 year old Taylor Swift or that I still wish I had an acoustic guitar to lay in bed and cry with. BTW - I couldn't come up with a catchy blog title, so it's random and weird, I know. 

It's hard to believe that it's been TEN years since Taylor came onto the scene writing about what it was like to be uncool, lame, and passed over by all the guys for the popular pretty chicks. 

The formula was nothing new, it has played out in numerous teen flicks and coming of age stories. In music though, many of the young stars were people you wanted to be because they were so beautifully cool and unattainable. Swift switched the game up to the point where you didn't aspire to be her, you were already her! She wasn't a perfect star or figure, she was below average just like the rest us dweebs. It was truly life altering for a lot of the teens my age back then. We were past the Disney Princess age and realized love wasn't as easy to gain as TV made it out to be. Taylor gave us hope and made us believe in real life fairytales again. That we, too, could end up with the great guy and live happily ever after. If Taylor could, so could I. The marketing science was quite genius! She was a mixture of Avril Lavigne (melancholy) and Carrie Underwood (sweet country twang). 

For a few years, I was a die hard Swifty. I have acted out her music videos far too many times in my bedroom. Oh, if my walls could talk! Now the times have changed and she's no longer the Taylor I fell in love with. Today, any new Taylor gets an automatic skip from me and after 2011 I swiftly gave up my Swifty membership. Adult Taylor grew up and became something else that I just don't care for. She's not a 16 year old anymore but I'm still stuck in a time capsule, per usual. Anyway, here are my favorite Taylor Swift songs:

You Belong With Me - At the end of the music video, Taylor takes off her glasses, puts on a fancy dress and wins the guy who she's been in love with forever. Can you say superhuman?? When I take off my glasses and I'm blind. If I put on a fancy dress my brother would look at me and ask "WTF are you doing?". 

Love Story - Taylor tackles Shakespeare AND Hawthorne, can we appreciate how literary and well read she is? Romeo, Juliet, and The Scarlet Letter wrapped up in one. Forget English class, the point is Taylor fought against her parents and society for her true love. Why did Bob Dylan win the Nobel Prize for Literature when there's The Swift? Seriously, I remember crying my eyes out when I first heard this song. The feels. All the teenage feels. 

Back to December - Truly her best song, in my opinion. It reminds me of autumn/winter and running away from relationships. Two of my favorite things! 

I'm still trying to master the legendary perfect single tear drop cry, but then I lose it...

October 24, 2016

Not Fitting In and Other Things I'm Good At

I’m in a mid-20’s crisis. I’m avoiding the word millennial in this piece because of the rampant controversy and judgement that comes with it. I digress...I feel like I’m 14 all over again because I don’t know where I belong in the world. If I had to pick a clique to eat lunch with, all the 20 somethings would passive aggressively flash their “You Can’t Sit With Us” coffee mugs at me during their conversations about intersectionalism and world peace. Once I became a true and seasoned 20 something this past June, I thought things were going to be sweet. I’d get to mingle at Trader Joe’s, peruse the aisles of Whole Foods while munching on exquisite cheeses from exotic places called Mozzarella, and buy one of a kind stuff from Etsy...But, broke! I have never set foot in a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s and Etsy gives my non-existent bank account heart palpitations. Did I truly believe this would happen? Nah, but it was nice to dream about it.

I’ve tried to stop by Panera Bread’s drive through on my way home using my iPhone’s GPS (even though I already know the way home). I’ve tried to sit at home for hours on end binge watching whatever seemingly deep TV show on Netflix. Excluding Stranger Things, I binged watched that awesome shit, so what? I have tried pondering life while listening to NPR and feeling like a conscious intellectual. Honestly, it’s just not me. To be fair, these are all stereotypes, of course not all 20 somethings are like this, but many of the ones who I’ve met are. After a decently pleasant conversation I get, “So, do you watch Dr. Who? Are you on Tumblr? Anime??? NPR??? The Office???? Cats??? Mason Jars??? Obscure movie references??? VEGAN??????” and when I respond no, they seem disappointed.  I guess we don’t have much in common afterall. I feel bad, because then I feel subpar. I feel like I’m not as stimulating as other 20 somethings, I’m not up there with the elites. Oh, look here I am whining about my place in the world, another stereotype!

I love nerdy people, their quirks, their intricacies because I, too, am a nerd. But what kind of nerd am I? Eye.Dee.Kay. I just like being me. I like to sing and dance badly in my car, I like to make people laugh, I enjoy good, thought provoking conversation, I love learning, imagining, exploring people and ideas. I love my blackness, my hair, my speech. I like short fiction and essays, I can read a couple books per year and be content. I like ‘low class’ shopping at Walmart. I feel like many of the nerdy 20 Somethings have formed this force field against society. Nerdy adults were probably nerdy children who were deemed outcasts due to their lack of interest in popular things/hobbies. In order to protect themselves, they have created their own little world to be with like-minded nerdy people where they can be themselves and enjoy similar interests. As with all social groups, at some point the minority becomes the majority, even if it’s only temporary. I believe people have noticed this sub-culture and are beginning to latch onto it. The nerdy, quirky, Dr. Who-ligan is the average 20 something these days. People seem to be latching on to “otherness” to feel or seem unique, in reality, like I said, the minority is becoming the majority.

I said all that to say, I’m looking for a place to belong. People say it doesn’t matter about belonging and it’s ok to go against the grain and be an individual, but at this point in my life, I want people to relate to. I can’t say I truly want more  friends because that would mean maintaining relationships, and I’m not sure if I’m ready for that commitment! I just want to be around people who are not like me and we’re ok not being like each other. Just because I'm not into something you're into doesn't mean we won't get along! Teach me about you and what makes you different, I LOVE THAT! Let's build relationships where we respect one another and don’t think differently of one another if we’re not on the same page. At least we’re still in the same book. Romantically, I’m always attracted to nerdy and corny guys, but I always fear I won’t be interesting to them because of all the reasons above. Sigh.

I know the young folks of America are an eclectic group, most of this in jest. Young people have a bad rep enough as it is, even though we are wonderful people. There’s so many different kinds of 20 somethings, I’m sure there are some that are like me and enjoy differences...I guess we’ll have to leave the comfort of our laptops and Netflix accounts to discover one another. Welp...

May 9, 2016

All Black Women Are Broken

A co-worker of mine sent me something called The Lemonade Syllabus. When I first saw the cover, which featured Beyonce and her signature blonde cornrows and furry top, I thought about how even though I am a Beyonce fan, this is just overkill. I always think a lot of the things involved with Bey are just too much until I really look into it and discover that it’s usually not. I think lots of people have associated her name with over the top-ness. Truthfully, she has one of the most recognizable faces in the entertainment industry, so usually it’s just a nice bait and hook. The Lemonade Syllabus is basically a composed list of artworks (novels, literature, music, film, etc.) that are about the subject of black womanhood. In the introduction, the writer ended with “To glorious healing!” which is reference to a line on the Lemonade album, a line that I found quite problematic.

When I looked at “healing” I immediately thought ‘to heal’ means that something is broken. I’m not broken! Or so I thought. When I thought of brokenness, I thought of a battered woman who has been beaten to the lowest physical and mental level of being. I thought about women who have been abused at the hands of a lover or a family member. I thought that brokenness stemmed from the hands of a person, brokenness is cut and dry. I was wrong. Upon further thinking, I realized that becoming/being broken is more than just being torn down at the hands of another person. It’s also being broken by a system, a belief, or a society. I am broken.

When I was younger, I would tell my mom that my skin tone was caramel. She would say “No, you’re black” and I would retort with “No, I’m caramel.” We didn’t argue  and she didn’t seem to be angry, she just seemed to drop it and I continued to call myself “caramel colored” for a long time. I never wanted to deny my blackness, I just wanted to deny that I was dark-skinned. I had an uncle who would constantly remind me that when most babies come from the womb, they’re really light colored or fair skinned, excluding me. He would always tell me how black I was even as a newborn. He would say it jokingly, but it affected my psyche. I didn’t want to be dark, why was I so dark? Even though my uncle ridiculed me for being dark, he didn’t break me. The idea that lighter is better or prettier has been reinforced for centuries. The media is set up to highlight lighter skinned women and worship those European features. We’re making progress but the damage has already been done.

In addition to colorism, there are other things that break black women including violence, lack of adequate healthcare, rampant black male incarceration, homophobia, lack of adequate resources, antipathy, anti-blackness/white supremacy, micro-aggressions, and the list goes on and on. Every negative issue that black people have to deal with falls on the shoulders of black women. We are the support systems, the mothers, the daughters, the aunts, the grandmothers who carry the burdens of everything this society throws at us. Black men often face the brunt of these damaging things but we are the ones to pick up the pieces and keep pushing. During most of our existence here in America, strength was the only tangible and valuable thing we had. Strength made us neglect ourselves to be strong for others. Strength made us self-harm, made us go to extreme lengths in order to have some sense of control and purpose.

All black women are (or were) broken in some way or another either from the hands of a lover or at the hands of oppression. We’ve always had to be three or four steps ahead of the losing game. We are resilient but resiliency can take it’s toll. No one is above being broken, the system founded by their fathers have us set up with dilapidated foundations. As a collective, we are all healing from things that have broken us whether it’s personal healing or from being broken by the heavy burdens we’ve been carrying all along. Let’s try not allow the struggle to continue make us bitter (easier said than done), let’s treat ourselves as if we are whole and nurse our wounds in the beauty of the glorious sun.

May 3, 2016

Introvert Thoughts (1)

I'm naturally interested in people, but one person always seems to hold my attention more than others. At any random moment in my life, I'm into someone heavier than just a simple friendship and this time is no different. I'm still wholly ruined by the Disney Princess Syndrome. My knight in shining armor is the one who has been there all along and I've been looking for him. It's going to be so obvious when I find him because that spark will light up your heart in a peaceful yet furious way. I guess. I feel things so intensely and I've been trying to convince myself to stop caring, stop feeling. Numbness is sometimes good for the soul.

I'm in my head.

"You're in your head so much, I worry about you"

I toss around minute ideas around back and forth all day and turn them into excessive (obsessive?) thoughts. My brain is a sculptor, an artist, an illustrator. It blows shit way out of proportion by painting images and carving things out into elaborate crazy ass masterpieces. How did we get here? I'm afraid to show and tell. My brain can paint an image to make even the most heartless and stoic being fall to his knees in emotional agony. I'm not heartless nor stoic.

He picked her over me. I don't care. He was never mine, he doesn't care. The rage of my jealousy did not manifest in anger or spite. I huffed and I puffed and I cried. But he is not mine, why waste tears on such? He picked her over me. Me. Who is attentive? Who is funny? Who listens? Who entertains? I care. Me. Who is not into TV, movies or obscure musical artists? Me. I love myself but I feel like I'm not well enough. It hurts when you wonder where lies the faults that make you unwanted. When Men, women or children, it doesn't matter. But I had been building this. My brain is not negative, it's a positive place, an amusement park. A Jazzland. I get these ideas of ideals. I thought he was different, I was different. The latter just not different enough. Don't convince anyone to like you--my life motto.

I'm not like her. We don't look alike but he prefers her features. Is it possible to be confidently insecure? I don't want to be her, but I want him to be the man I painted in my dreams, my thoughts. When will someone see me before they view me? I'm not sure. Life is not about men you fancy, women you fell for, the bars you hop or thoughts that never exceed your brain. I stopped looking for my fairytale a long time ago but faith proceeds knowledge and logic.

"Well how do you know he doesn't like you?"
"He said he likes her"
"But that doesn't mean he doesn't like you...You gotta tell him"
I'm not witty, immersed in culture, fictional characters are the last things on my mind and what Ph.D? Sips from my multi-colored squirt bottle.
"Yeah, you're right. We have so much in common!"
We were both alive today. Commonality. Soul mates!

I want to express to you these artistic things in my mind but I'm not good at show and tell. You fuel my anger and I smile. I ran away into the stacks, the trees...Oh God, why did you give me this gift?

March 3, 2016

Funky Dineva vs. Michelle ATLien (Straight From the A)

Usually I’m never really on Facebook especially if I’m looking for entertainment, but I guess the Nessa Gawds were with me last night. I am an avid and longtime fan of Funky Dineva (FD). I am even a contributing writer for FunkyDineva.com so my love for him is overly abundant. However, I am a writer and the integrity of my name is important to me so being honest and fair supercedes love and everything else. Hear me out. So anyway, I happened to see that FD posted a new blog post about Michelle the “ATLien”. Now I don’t know Michelle and I have never visited Straight From the A until this morning, but I have seen her on a few of FD’s earlier Youtube videos. They seemed to be close from the videos and I would sometimes see him mention her on his social media posts so I knew of her existence in FD’s life. Much like everyone else, I was quite surprised to see him posting about her being “bitter” and owning a “raggedy” townhouse.

One thing I have noticed about FD over the years is that when he goes in, he goes in, let’s have and gives you some sauce on the side. Going in, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Like I said, I had always believed that him and Michelle were close. FD delivered an umteenth page document that read like a legal deposition. He provided facts, figurines, and even a video about the stuff that went on between him and Michelle. FD posted a blog about specifically what made the relationship between him and Michelle turn sour. See it HERE! It came not very long after Michelle decided to get on Periscope and make a 13 minute video and a blog post about how FD left her rental property dirty and dingy. She also mentioned his alleged drug problem and how she wants to see all of her friends succeed. Personally, I found the post very tasteless. If that’s your friend, you don’t go on your gossip blog and out him/her. If she was really trying to help her friend and uplift her friend in prayer, then I think she totally went about it in the wrong manner. I could understand her staging some sort of intervention IF he was really cracked out. But if you’re truly come from a place of love and concern, you would surround your friends with loved ones and positivity. Anyway…

On Straight From the A, Michelle posted pictures of how FD allegedly left her rental property. Quiet as it’s kept, that lil couch was nice. I wish it would’ve been left on my block, cause it matches my drapes and valances. Michelle provided this ‘Open Post’ which was supposed to be a revealing her soul tell-all, but it fell flat. She seems to want to come off as Iyanla Vanzant. In response to all the accusations, as I stated, FD blogged about it with screenshots, pictures, and receipts. He acknowledges that he was wrong on some accounts for lack of communication, lack of funds after the passing of his mother, and taking advantage of the friendship situation. If his landlord had not been Michelle, things probably would’ve escalated a lot quicker than it did, but probably without all the extra public drama. Sometimes it is better to deal with strangers than friends, ‘specially in regards to business. FD acknowledges that and he totally understands that he owed her money, his problem comes with the pettiness, which he describes in the video. He admits to his faults, where as Michelle is seemingly trying to come off as peacemaker and victim. See FD's video HERE!

Now let’s backtrack a little bit...A few months ago rumors were swirling around that FD had a drug problem which is why he had stopped posting on his blog and making videos. I put being a fan aside and used my own logic. During this time period FD announced that his mother had passed away after a bout with cancer. As a child of a parent who succumbed to cancer, I can truly say I understood. I wasn’t sure if FD was his mother’s caregiver or not but still the diagnosis of cancer alone affects everyone involved. Some days you’re up and some days you’re down and don’t feel like doing anything stimulating. Many people were saying that due to his mother’s illness and consequent death he was using cocaine to cope. Now I can only tell you my experiences with cancer, however, everyone deals and grieves differently. I’m not a personal friend of FD and I’m not in his household on a daily basis so I don’t know what FD was or was not doing to deal with the stress of his mother’s illness. I didn’t believe that FD was abusing drugs, I think he was depressed as most people who are affected by cancer are. When the rumors appeared, FD paid them dust and did not address anything pertaining to it. To some, silence is confirmation. I just didn’t believe it because FD was moving and shaking behind the scenes, which is something I know for a fact. He is always coherent, organized, and professional when it comes to anything regarding his brand, even in the midst of his mother’s death.

As FD would say, “Never tear someone down without building them up first”.I love FD and everything that he does. He is truly talented, funny, wise, and inspirational. Especially for anyone wanting to be a part of the entertainment/gossip blogosphere. However, I want to pose these questions to everyone, as it seems to be the most popular thing people are asking about this whole fiasco. When you see your friend doing other people wrong and down right dirty why do you continue being their friend? When you hear your friend talking about the person who they were just giggling with why do you remain friends with them? When your friend does something that makes you question their morality, why do you remain friends with them? I struggle with this personally with one of my friends who I should’ve let loose a long time ago. FD read Michelle for absolute filth and dust with pristine brilliance, however, I just can’t understand why you would remain friends with someone who you know is crazy and messy. It’s human and not just a fault of FD, we’re all guilty of it. He did admit that she often paid for the dining expenses and also said she mentored him in regards to blogging. He could have been tagging along either for the monetary/gift perks or because he felt obliged to stand by her because of her help getting him started. Either way, often times in friendships, we see problematic things that upset us but it’s easier to say “That’s my friend, at the end of the day, I know her/his heart.” and yes we do their hearts, and sometimes the truth is, their hearts are very much tainted.

All in all, FD said that this is his first and last time addressing the issue. I haven’t been on the site since this morning to see her initial post, but as of now there’s been no response on her end. According to FD, Michelle’s hair is laid like Chicken of the Sea. Michelle’s hair is laid like Flounder and Tilapia. Michelle’s hair is laid like Joe’s Crab Shack. I’m not taking sides, but if you read through the fine print, you’ll understand my sentiments exactly. At the end of the day both parties were wrong to some degree, but how it was handled is what really tipped over the the teapot, literally. Anyway while we’re at it, just for fun...What else is Michelle’s hair laid like?

All jokes aside, what do you think about everything that’s transpired? Who do you believe?

February 27, 2016

If You Come to My Wedding [Short Story]

If you come to my wedding...

Please don't cause a scene.

Don't sit in the front row, I don't want to see you. Don't sit too far in the back because I don't want to think about you being in the shadows. When the priest says, "Speak now or forever hold your peace" I hope you remain seated and quiet, you've had long enough to stand and speak. When my burgundy stained lips meet my husband's and we are Mr. and Mrs. don't leave in disgust and frustration. I need you to see the consequences of your actions, why did you run away from me? Why did you set me up to fall for you?  

When we do the symbolic jumping of the broom, I need to hear your applause, your cheers. I need to hear those rough, thick fingers that once caressed me, slamming together with rigorous force. I need to feel your presence. 

As we both walk out of the church and down the long concrete stairway, listen to the church bells chiming a triumphant tune. The bells always sound so angelic, I hope my Heavenly Father is proud of me. As we slowly walk down the stairs with a constant flow of rice raining down on us, smile and be happy for me even if you aren't. If you see my mother, my father, or my brother who all still love you very much, hug them as you always do. 

If we're close enough in proximity, I will be cordial, but don't take me into your arms and embrace me like you used to. Don't make me smell that earthy yet sweet cologne that you wear all the time. I'd be fine with a handshake and a brief introduction to my husband, even during the bustling moment, I want you to meet him. "This is my friend that I told you so much about, honey!" and that's the honest truth. I couldn't stop comparing him to you and telling him all the intelligent things you've said to me. I still dream about you almost every night, I still randomly think of your witty jokes and you still make me laugh. He is an amazing man but even after all these years he's still not you. How could I lie on the steps of a church? We were never just friends.

Once we step off the final stair step and wave to the crowd, please wave back. Even in a sea of people you know I will see your face above everyone else's. Don't do that thing you do with your striking brown eyes, the way your pupils adjust, the way you dig into my soul, the way you penetrate me without physical contact. I know you can't help it because you don't realize the way you look at me, it says everything. When it's time for me to toss the bouquet into the waiting hands of hopefuls, I truly pray it misses you by a long shot.

Copyright 2/27/16, this published work is owned by me.