My Uncle is in the hospital. My Mom is handling it as best she can.
I just got the phone call tonight. I could hear in her voice before she explained the situation how bad it was.
He’s in a lot of pain.
My Uncle and I have never gotten along. We are the antithesis of each other. Once, in an offhand comment, he warmly called me a racial slur. For three years out of my life, our bedrooms shared a wall. Late at night, I’d hear him preaching to someone on the phone. Trying to fall asleep to that was…difficult. His life is based in the Bible. I am a loose Christian.
My Uncle was born with cerebral palsy, we think. Or he contracted polio. Health systems for black folks have not been ideal. He walked with a hitch, his hip cocked to one side due to whatever illness he has/had. Some years ago, he fell down the stairs in the house and broke his hip. My Mom didn’t get home until hours after the incident. He was there, alone, in pain, and could only wait. He’s used a walker ever since.
I don’t want my Uncle to die. My Mom and my Uncle have lived in that house for years with just the two of them. For most of my early years, I lived in that house. It was me, my mother, my uncle, and my Granddaddy. Then my Grandfather died my senior year in high school. And I moved away for college. So, for fourteen years, it’s been just the two of them.
My Mom is the closest thing to a matriarch in the family. She’s kind and sweet and tries as best she can for her siblings. But she is just one person. And our family has never been well off.
I don’t want my Uncle to die, but I don’t want him to suffer either. I don’t want my mother to lose her brother, but I know this ordeal is tearing her up inside.
I don’t know what is going to happen. I do know I have been through this before with other family members and, either way, I never like how this ends up.
So, I wrote a script for myself for a phone call I was going to make to my governor’s office concerning the Executive Order banning immigrants, refugees, and green cards holders from seven majority Muslim countries. When I went to look up my friend’s original Facebook post with the office’s phone number, I found a comment linking to the governor’s statement on the matter. He sidestepped, saying the issue is a federal matter. I didn’t make the phone call. (I literally just wrote my script and just read it was too late.) Anyways, here is what I wrote:
Hello, I’d like to give my comment to the Governor concerning the Executive Order banning the immigration of refugees and green card holders.
I believe the ban is unconstitutional, immoral, and wrong. I am quite against it. I believe our nation is made better by immigrants and refugees, and the President has made a grave and illegal mistake. Frankly, it shocks and scares me that he would deny re-entry for green card holders; they are legal residents who have built lives in this country. It also angers me that he would deny immigrants and refugees with visas. These people went through long processes to even earn their visa to come to this country. For refugees, the average is two years of vetting. This, coupled with the time spent running away from the conflict in their original homes, is a trial much more thorough than most people experience running for elections. These people have applied, answered MANY questions, waited their turn, and are finally able to breathe sighs of relief, only to be turned away at the very last moment. It’s cruel. It’s not how I want my country to be.
Also, as it concerns the Governor, I see this moment as an opportunity for him to try to persuade many of his constituents that didn’t vote for him that he is worthy of another look. Since he’s in a majority liberal state, his opposition to the ban could show moderation. I’ve heard some heartening things about his policy proposals lately: ethics reforms and fixing the state’s gerrymandering problem. If he is able to push those policies forward while also standing up to the President, I suspect that would convince those of us who doubt his leadership that he may be different than we previously imagined.
Thank you for your time and listening to me on this subject. Have a good day.
With every drink, every bite of food, and every alien slaughtered, one thing was on my mind: REPARATIONS, bitch.
I make a point to go to at least one company holiday party every year. As I’ve mentioned before, all the companies I work for are owned by white men. (Side Note: This just changed in the past month. One is now owned by a woman; progress.)
This year, one party was planned for the end of January after the big push of gigs for the inaugural season. At this party, there is always free food and free booze. However, the venue was a Dave & Busters. I was not going to miss out.
To hedge my bet on having fun, I asked a black female friend to be my plus one. I am already surrounded by A LOT of white people for work. Being social with them was going to be a bit much. I chose correctly. When we arrived, we doubled the number of black people in the room.
Food was buffet style and okay. We got drink tickets we could use for our own private bartender for the party. It was on. Two hours into the four hour party, we smoothly asked the office manager for more drink tickets. She still had a large stake and we were not going to miss out.
Venturing onto the gaming floor, we found a cornucopia of shooter games. There was also skee ball and movie themed fun. There is just something so empowering about walking around with a drink in one hand and loud noises and bright lights inviting you in.
Last call was fifteen minutes before the end of the party. There was a long line of folks trying to cash in the last of their drink tickets. With mine, I received four kamikaze shots and was on my way. Back in the dining area, we discovered there were to-go boxes. I loaded up on bread and meat. Then the wait staff kindly pushed us out. They had yet another party to setup for.
Next there was more games and a trip to the ticket redemption room. I opted to keep my tickets for next time. They had run out of Minion dolls.
All told, our collective company tab was high and we ate well.
I will take whatever free things I can from the white man. These parties may be my only chance to claw back just a little bit for the ancestors.
Saturday night was not good for me.
First I drove my longest Uber drive thus far: Dulles Airport to the northern tip of Delaware, 122 miles in two hours and ten minutes. When I finished my ride, I turned on NPR. That’s when I learned the shit had hit the fan (and why security seemed extra tight/hectic at the airport). I was heartened to hear about the protests that had sprung up due to the Executive Order travel ban.
I finished the long drive around 8:30pm. I got home at about 10pm. I ate dinner, tried to relax. I went to bed.
Funny thing about me: I prefer to listen to the radio when I go to sleep. Lately, I’ve left NPR on. I liked hearing stories from around the world as I drifted off. However, on Saturday night, all talk was about the ban. Rally chants echoed in my head.
Before bed, I decided to go to a protest on Sunday after my early morning shift but before my company party that evening. But I just couldn’t sleep. I tossed. I turned. Commentary about the EO and reactions by others around the world filled the air. A rally chant wouldn’t stop banging around in my brain. My head started to hurt. I got too hot and shoved off the covers. I got too cold and pulled them back up. Sleep would not come.
At 2am, after fighting with my bed and body, I figured it out. I turned the radio to a local hip hop station. I grabbed my stuffed animals and held them tight. I took deep breaths and made myself think about something else. I finally fell asleep around 2:30am, and then woke up three hours later for work.
On the way to my gig, I caught a conversation I needed to hear. Rep. John Lewis was the guest on the NPR spirituality show On Being. I love Rep. Lewis, and, though I did not agree with everything he spoke about that morning, one thing he said stuck: Be a pilot light, not a firecracker. Be steady and dependable. Used your energy in a way that is sustainable, instead of bright and then burnt out.
I didn’t go to the protest. Instead I went home, took a nap, and then had lunch with a friend who couldn’t go to the protest. We commiserated about the current craziness of our country. I start knitting a hat and put my phone far away from me.
The next four years are going to be difficult. Pacing oneself to withstand the long haul is key to the success of our resistance.
Be a pilot light, not a firecracker.
~ a poem ~
Every time I see them
on the street,
or when they get into my car,
How did they do it?
How did they meet?
Do they get along?
Are they secretly at each other’s throats?
Or are they actually happy?
Couples baffle me.
Looking back on my love life,
I can solidly say
I’m pretty bad at dating
I know this stems
from the example
I grew up with.
Being the product of an affair,
seeing my mother visit my father
once a week,
left a lasting impression.
It’s how I viewed my relationships.
It’s why things lasted
with my last Ex.
Seeing each other once a month,
Being second fiddle
to some other person,
though inside I was hurting,
It’s what I knew,
what I know.
It’s why I stayed with another
for three years
while we lived together,
he’d randomly say things
we wanted vastly different lives.
When I see couples,
Will that ever be me?
Am I ever going to find someone
who wants to be mine
Am I destined
to be alone?
I’ve been repeating
a random Zen quote
I got from Twitter:
My current situation
is not my final destination.
It’s a mantra for my life.
I have to believe
I’ll find someone,
or they’ll find me.
I have to believe
I will fall in love,
and have my three children.
We’ll live in a small
but nice home.
I have to believe
the life I want,
the life I dream of,
even though my model
wasn’t the best.
I don’t ever want
to be the other woman
I want to be the wife.
When that happens, though…
~ a poem ~
Lying in bed, mind
racing, worrying about
work; napping failure.
Thoughts drift aimlessly;
trying to quiet my mind,
I turn to dark dreams.
My fantasy: their
lips on my naked body,
their hands everywhere.
Dirty talk, requests
and demands. I oblige all.
I am their fuck toy.
They fill me, push me,
surging me higher, I cum
Alarm sounds. Grumbling,
I get out of bed, dress, and
miss sleep already.
– Today I started binge-ing A Different World, beginning at Season 2. It is still fabulous. I am a lot like Freddie, so much so it almost hurts. Except she is way louder than I am. Everything that she says and feels lines up pretty close to my personality, but, like the Birdcage, I keep it all inside.
– Every time Eryka Badu’s Tyrone comes on my radio, I feel like I am going to church. There are usually exaltations and finger snaps interspersed with my singing along. Preach, Sister Badu, preach.
– In a little over a week, I’m heading out on another Broadway road trip. Two of my black friends and I are going to NYC again. We’ve got tickets to see Mel B in Chicago. We’re also going to enter a bunch of lotteries to possibly see other shows. [Hamilton, of course, as well as Aladdin, Lion King, Great Comet, Dear Evan Hansen, Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots, and On Your Feet are my current list of possibles. (BroadwayForBrokePeople.com; I do my research.)] I’m really looking forward to the show, but I’m also stoked to be around black folks for an extended period of time. It’ll be exciting and relaxing; it’s how we do.
– Much of my day is spent around a lot of white people. Like, a lot. The majority of my coworkers are white. The majority of my fares when I’m driving are white. So much whiteness throughout my day. That shit is exhausting. The thing that angers me about it is they have no idea because for them it’s normal. Of course everyone looks like me. That’s just the way it is. To sort of paraphrase James Baldwin, to be black in America is to be in a constant state of anger, exasperation, and exhaustion.
I love Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Here is a list why [(and also reasons you should binge it (If you start, you probably won’t stop. I got through all four seasons in about three weeks.)]:
The casting is fucking awesome. The two people in the most senior positions are black men, one of whom is gay. The other is happily married with a set of twin daughters named Cagney and Lacey. He is a great husband and super sweet Dad.
The four main detectives include two Latinas and two white guys. The heritage of both white men is a part of some running jokes (not their whiteness). The two lesser detectives are both older white guys who spend their days eating, doing paper work, and generally being disgusting. I love this if for no other reason than the trope of old school white detectives being the end all be all is flat out defied in every episode.
2) Countering Traditional Tropes
This show is brilliant because of the way it doesn’t play into normal cop show clichés. Yes, the young white male guy in the first episode is considered the “best detective”, but not in every aspect of his job, including things that really matter- paperwork and proper cataloging of evidence. From the beginning, the Captain is on his ass and you actually see personal growth from a guy who is kind of a dick but not in a way that makes you hate him.
If anything, Jake is the best example of playing opposite of type when it comes to his emotional relationships, both romantic and fraternal. He is genuine and kind, especially when it comes to the people he loves. There is constant banter and making fun of others, but it’s never vicious or from a dark place. If anything, he is like an older brother teasing his siblings.
By contrast, Rosa Diaz is a tough as nails hard ass and I love her. Instead of casting the no nonsense detective who says little but gets the job done as a man, Diaz is the person who rocks a leather jacket and a 100 yard stare, rides a motorcycle, and can maim you with one finger.
Also in the less-talk-more-action vane is Captain Holt. He is drier than toast, but the jokes he lands knock me right over. He is also unreadable. How Andre Braugher can keep a straight face when delivering his lines is beyond me.
My 9-9 patronus, though, is Amy Santiago. She is a brilliant bookworm whose addiction to binders and knowing everything touches my heart. She is a great detective because she does her homework, which I love. Her goal is to be mentored by Captain Holt (read: teacher’s pet), and I am right there with her.
Rounding out my favorites is Gina Linetti, Captain Holt’s assistant. Lest you start to worry, let me assuage you. Gina is not some boring random secretary. She is wondrous and crazy in all the best ways. Along with Holt, she gets most of the best one-line jokes, delivered with calm assurance and conviction. “Somehow you were elected Snow Princess.” “I told you: I am royalty.”
& 3) It’s Fucking Funny
I’ll close with the most important point of all. This show makes you laugh. Hard. Each episode starts and ends with a moment that often has me laughing out loud. Occasionally, I will slip into a giggle fit. From sight gags to role reversals to gross yet hilarious bits, this show starts and ends with a bang.
In between, story lines build to wonderfully comedic crescendos, including running arcs with guest stars who bring their A game (Kyra Sedgwick, Dean Winters, Nick Offerman, and Craig Robinson, to name a few).
Do yourself a favor. Set aside a few hours. Pull up Hulu. Search for Brooklyn 9-9, and enjoy.
There is so much to love about this movie.
First, it’s depictions of black excellence brought tears to my eyes. Educated brilliant black women were front and center of this movie. Their brains and grit pushed their lives forward, earning success for themselves and their country.
Along with black excellence, the portrayals of black love were food for my soul. Each of the three women were in loving relationships with partners who support their intelligence and their work. There was no exploitation or crudeness, just black folks loving black folks.
Parts of the movie that struck me, even though they were period appropriate, were the casual racism, sexism, and misogyny. Costume choices subtly highlighted the otherness of women, and then the otherness of color. Strict expectations on attire, and then on nonchalant office habits, were given the weight of worlds. So much of the hardships of the movie were told in looks, stares, and reactions to the ever present wet blanket of the system these women navigated through. That anyone was able to succeed when so much was stacked against them was awe inspiring.
I saw Hidden Figures for the second time today; in this instance, I took my mother. I’ll probably pay to view the film again at least once more. This movie is fabulous. Go see it.
[SPOILERS TO FOLLOW]
(You have been warned.)
Today I randomly binged watched the first seven episodes of Sense8.
First off, I have to thank my friends for warning me about the first few episodes. Nomi’s story line is dark and jarring and, for some, downright triggering. But, and this is a huge but, how she comes through it, and how she fares afterwards, are worth the heartache.
I love most of the female characters on the show, but I especially adore Sun and Priya. There is this well written and performed scene where Sun is going through emotional turmoil but Lito, an actor, is sensing her emotions. Sun is stone faced for much of the show, but to see the depth of emotion she holds at bay through the eyes of a flamboyant gay man is at once hilarious and touching.
In my humble opinion, Priya is obviously a virgin. Like, obviously. And it’s not in the feel-bad-for-her way or the religious-stranglehold way. It’s the I-just-want-to-wait-cause-I want-to way. Though there is this great line assuring her Auntie she knows about “what happens to a girl on her wedding night.” “Auntie, there is the internet.” “Yes, I knew it was good for something.”
Side Note: The chemistry between Priya and Wolfgang is incredibly hot, yet they still haven’t kissed. I’m hoping by the conclusion of season one there will be Wolfgang-Priya action. Also, she wasn’t a part of the orgy, which lends itself to my virgin assumption.
Speaking of Wolfgang, that dude is pimp. Not pimp in the sense of he peddles women for money. Pimp, as in how confident and chill he can be. During the orgy, how he just hangs out in the hot tub having mental group sex while other people freak out from having the best sex of their lives. And that ass. Thank you Netflix for featuring the naked German man multiple times, especially that early on fucking scene that displays his butt so perfectly.
I was supposed to go to bed hours ago, but I couldn’t stop watching. I’m sure I’ll end up finishing the rest of the season by week’s end.
Netflix, you’ve done did it again.