The green-eyed monsta.

Today has been good.  I would venture to say, great.  It’s my son’s first day of 8th grade (Yippie!)  I worked out for a recorded breaking 90 minutes! I actually enjoyed every bit of it, finally overcoming the suffer-the-workout mentality that usually plagues me.  I ate a healthy lunch see:

 

 

 

 

 

Then … BAM! just as I’m trynna get my snooze on before work this guy shows up:

the green-eyed monsta

Yep, Envy/Jealousy shook me up out of my light doze with social networking notifications which were just too tempting to resist a peek.  No sooner than I’d gotten a gander I began to wish I hadn’t.  By the time I finished scrolling through my eyes began to well up.  I saw pics of my would be classmates at Tisch Asia enjoying their new adventure in Singapore and beginning their school year.  I saw pics of people’s “honors children” and felt inadequate because I felt I had failed at parenting because I don’t have an “honors” kid.

I could go through and list all the wonderful things about my life, and their are a great many, but I think what matters most in this moment is that I’m comparing my existence with someone else’s to my detriment. This is a pattern with me which often leads to self destructive thoughts, or worse, self  destructive behavior. SO, before that train leaves the station.  I’ll do this:  Pet and love on the green eyed monsta (sort of like those annoying e-pets from the 90s).  I’ll do this by pulling my head out of my ass and sending love and positive energy to others. Ready?  Here we go!

To the NYU Tisch Asia 2012 students

You are a group of incredibly talented individuals whose work I greatly look forward to seeing in the years to come.  Please enjoy this time in your life. Savor it like a good meal. Create boldly and fearlessly.  You are there to tell a story that no one else but you can tell. Instead of envying you, I’ll be hopeful that our paths will cross next year.

To the child that I honor

Zion no thing or no one has enhanced my life more than you.  While I will always ask that you strive for the best, I also understand that you are NOT your grades.  Middle and high school can be such awkward times.  I promise to stay out of your way as much as possible and let you grow. Instead of envying other parents for having honors students, I will wish that every parent has a child as loving, funny, creatively gifted, and charming as the one I have.  I love you.

To my e-friends

It is very difficult for a self-centered, co-dependent, recovering low-self esteemer like me to be in the newsfeed of social networking sites.  Everyone is  a rock star on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram … or at least it seems that way.  Know that first and foremost we are living breathing humans with lives offline that are sometimes wonderfully complex, sometimes sad, and sometimes nothing short of miraculous. I admire you ALL so much, and while I may not speak to all of you each and every day, I do suppress my inferiority complex long enough to peak in every now and then to see if you’re okay.  Sometimes things are great: marriages, babies, new careers. Sometimes things aren’t so great:  death, illnesses, break-ups.  Without our permission life is happening. Let’s let it. (I for one would like to “let it” more offline than on … I’ll work on that) Either way, Instead of envying you,  I’ll wish you the best, fullest life you can possibly obtain!

There.  I think the monsta is full, and it is about time for me to head off to the best job I’ve ever had (and I’m actually not being sarcastic!)  Life is good just where I am. Yep. It is.

Rosie.

…and a little musical for dessert for you Mr. Monsta!

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Drowning in tears vs. Water for growth

I could have baptized a small village with my tears today. I guess sometimes it just has to go down like that.  I’m in the middle of a written self discovery process that would be kindred to shoving a sharp instrument into your gut through your navel and emptying your abdominal contents on the floor for you to then examine and analyze. (Next, I get to examine them with someone else!)  Sounds harsh, but at certain points I’d rather opt to literally shovel my guts out.  Emotional pain is  horrible, but the pain of me being stuck repeating the same stupid shit over and over again is a fate worse than death.

Good news is I have a lot of love and support, and every time I have a day like this the universe sees fit so send me a silver lining.  Today it was:  THE AFROBEATLES! When I came across this ingenious mash up situation, my tears dried, my ass shook, and the world … if only for 1:47 … became a better place.  Enjoy!

“Water no get enemy.” –Fela Kuti

“The farther one travels, the less one knows.” – The Beatles

Rosie.

More here!

http://www.jumpnfunk.com/#11435

To be precious.

It was instilled in me at a fairly early age by our dear friends in the American media that to be considered beautiful or precious in these great United States a girl had to be thin, petite and preferably Caucasian. (None of these obviously, described me :p). As a little girl, I watched an ungodly amount of television and poured through mountains of fashion magazines. Rarely did I ever find someone that looked like me (that was until the Cosby Show came a long, but that would be way later.)

My adult perspective mostly allows me to look past the often intentional transgressions of the American media, but every now and then when triggered by certain  forms of fuckery, my childhood inferiority complex is shaken back to life. For instance, when the tea party was in full on post-election  “take back our county” swing in 2009; I couldn’t turn a corner without seeing a billboard with some doe eyed cherry cheeked cherub staring at me.  The message was typically something having to do with protecting her future from “big government”.

Every time I saw those damn things, I’d become enraged. It wasn’t the the child’s image that set me ablaze,  but rather what the imagery implied.  Not once did I see one of these brazen take back America manifestos with a Black child, or a Latino child, or an Asian child … hell I never saw one with a boy on it.  Just a small, White, “innocent”, “fragile” female.  As is usual when I am highly pissed off, my creative juices began to flow.  I’d already been gathering ideas for a play about the black female psyche called Oppression Pop. 5. I knew right away that my anger about the limited view of what it means to be “precious” in the eyes of some Americans had a place within it.

The subject matter of the play is not easy, but definitely warrants  an open honest dialogue.  In Charlotte?  Open of mind and empty of stomach?  Join Kendrea Mekkah and I next Sunday for Dinner and A Reading, where we’ll be reading Oppression Pop. 5, enjoying a delicious meal of soul food, and discussing themes from the play!

Rosie.

Here’s a word from me and Mekkah!

Eat This!

As I sit here near the point of copious salivation in a manor reminiscent of Pavlov’s dog, infatuated with my friend Mekkah’s ketchup laden fries,  my thoughts drift back to my younger years.  When my relationship with food was cast in the annals of my psyche.  Food was and at times still is my constant companion, my lover, my friend, my enemy.

In processing my relationship with food with my therapist, my friends, and anyone else who’ll listen (thanks for reading in advance), I’ve stumbled upon some long forgotten stories that have helped me make sense of my strange love of food. I’ll share a few here.

Food as a the spoils of war.

To say my brother Curtis and I fought as children would be severely minimizing  the fact that he saw my birth as an official act war, an affront to his very existence.  Curtis’s disdain for me probably lay in the fact that he’d been the “baby” for five years before I brought my unexpected ass along.  Our battles varied in intensity, but there was no other area where the battle got quite as hot as when the source of conflict was The Cap’n.

exhibit A: The Cap’n

In our desperate need to get “crunchatized”(which I don’t think was even a term back then), we would outwit, steal, hide and any other unsavory act we had to commit.  Alas, I was often at the losing end of this battle, but there was one triumphant morning that me and Alteric (our brother from another mother) got the jump on Curtis the sleeping dragon.  We beat him to the freshly purchased box of Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries and proceeded to remove every crunch berry in the box.
Saturday morning  cartoons were funnier, the sun was shinier, and our bellies were stuffed  full of crunchaliscious crunch berries.  This state of rapture lasted for maybe thirty/forty minutes. When Curtis awoke to find a severely misshapen  box of Cap’n Crunch sans any sign of crunch berries save for tell-tale red dust, There was hell to pay.  Quite honestly, I forgot what happened. I think I blacked out. Hell,  I probably repressed it. If I had to guess, I’d say I got the natural hell beat out of me, then he probably turned his rage on Al, sitting on him and punching him in the chest until he ran home.  I still had the day though, and as you can tell I relish the victory to this day.

The Lesson:  Food obtained through violence, aggression, or Machiavellian scheming is the best kind.

Food as an analgesic.

It’s funny how other people remember your childhood.  When the facebook revolution began and I reconnected with some of the folks I went to school with, I kept hearing stories of how funny and well liked I was.   This was odd to me as I mostly remember feeling isolated, fat, unattractive, and picked on.

Exhibit B: Rosie c. 1990

One particular year of school, my 6th grade year, I had a falling out with a group of girls that had been my “friends”.  I was tormented for the entire year. I was called fat.  They talked about my hair and my clothes. They took “children can be so cruel” to new heights.  I spent most of that year feigning illness not to go to school, on the guidance counselor or nurse’s couch, and of course eating.

I would bolt home drop everything and head straight for the kitchen. Twinkies, Krimpets, Devil Dogs, Cereal (Cap’n or otherwise), pizza … essentially anything that wasn’t tied down, locked up.  After eating I always “felt” better.  None of the things I had endured that day mattered. My addict gene mutated that year, and became something that in my adulthood would nearly kill me.

As can be seen in the photo (taken only a year or two later), I’m wasn’t nearly as hideously fat and ugly as they made me feel or than I came to believe. I can’t say I lay any blame at the feet of the children who picked on me.  It could have very easily have been me on the giving end had the circumstances played out differently. I don’t hate them, but I do hate what the situation did to my relationship with food and essentially anything else that was pleasurable that allowed me to escape.

The Lesson:  You’d better not stop until you’ve eaten all your feelings young lady!

Food as the enemy.

I have the good fortune of having a great many food snobs in my life.  They challenge me (sometimes successfully) to experiment with new tastes and textures.  You see, my brother and I were and to some degree still are very bland eaters.* We barely did veggies, and while I would indulge in fruit fairly regularly that was about as far as it went.

Exhibit C: The Food Saboteurs!

Case in point:  My mother was a single working mom of four. She worked long hours during the week which left us on a lot of evenings popping tater tots or fish sticks in the oven and Steak Umm’s or other ‘easy’ foods, on the stove.  There were some occasions that Ma would get a wild hair and decide to fix us something “special”.  Curtis and I  had an “exit strategy” prepared for  these times: a strategically cut hole in the kitchen screen.  The undesirable food stuffs were simply shoveled out onto the grassy knoll outside our window.  No harm, no foul … that is until we were finally caught.

Ma, for some ungodly reason, decided that it would  be a great idea to prepare a tuna casserole.  The foreign smells had our guards up already.  We already knew what needed to be done.  Time came to sup, and before us sat generous portions of  Ma’s experimental meal.  We waited. Sifted forks around.  I even became brave enough to take a bite (either that or I’d been threatened. Can’t remember which.) Eventually the coast became clear and we proceeded to the window with our plates.  One after the other we scraped the ill fated casserole out of the covert slit.  Things would have went fine, except most of the casserole ended up on the window sill.

The next morning my mother was greeted by a swarm of pigeons devouring the meal we had so generously donated to them the night before.  Our cover was blown. Needless to say we never dared dispose of another meal in this manner.  We just found other ways. >:)

The Lesson: New food bad. Old food good.

Thirty-six years of practicing this and other kind of “bad” food behaviors can’t be undone overnight, but I’m working on it.  The hardest part I’d have to say is adding new food. My brain goes into resistance mode, and even when I manage my way through the meal, it tells me I’m not full :/.  Odd indeed, but I have managed to introduce some new items that I’ve found quite delightful like: Hummus and Sushi … the cooked kind. I’ll keep eating,  you keep reading (hopefully), and maybe one day I’ll be a certified food snob … MAYBE.

Rosie.

Exhibit D: In Gorton’s we trust!

 

 

 
*I’m gonna go ahead and say that my brother was probably the source of 85% of my hang ups with food. (Sorry Curtis, pero es verdad). 

i want me to want me.

Phrases like:

“The only way for someone to love you, is for you to love yourself first.”

or

“To thine own self be true!”

OR

“You’re special just the way you are! God don’t make no junk!”

Make me want to strangle the well meaning sages that deliver them unto me with a recently ripped off chain of kitten tails, and  I would two except for two things:

1.  I love kittens.  Oh how I love kittens.

and

2.  I know, as hokey as they may sound, all that bullshit is true.

Where does one start though? Regular mani-pedi’s?  Dinner for one? Movie dates with yourself? Meh … while that stuff helps, my experience has led me to believe that it’s best to start here:

Sarah Baartman a.k.a. The Venus Hottentot.  (It is strongly advised that you click her name to gain a broader … pardon the pun … perspective on the history of black female sexuality and the western world.)  Sarah, which is ironically my grandmother’s name, could be my butt naked body double (or I should say, I hers).

Sarah (B), is definitely where I’m at.

The hardest part of  accepting myself has been getting past my body image.  I have lost tremendous amounts of weight.  Gained part of it back. I have cut, pasted, prayed, and starved in an effort to deny my Sarah Baartman body.  She will not be denied.  I have to accept what most diet/exercise programs don’t tell you … your body type is your body type.  I will never diet away my thunder thighs or the delectable craters found within my ass cheeks.

Now maybe your issues have nothing to do with good ole Sarah, maybe it’s your nose, or your relentless uni-brow. No matter, it’s not about what the thing you dislike about yourself is (at least not for me).  It’s the fact that it exists.  It’s the fact that my feelings about my weight , are a parasite that has drilled itself into my psyche and taken up residence.  It is with me of every moment of everyday whispering gems like:

“He couldn’t possibly want someone that looks like you, don’t even embarrass yourself by saying hello or even looking at him.”

or

“You look terrible in anything you put on,  so what’s the point.”

…and some that are just too unbearable to write here.

The only way that I’ve found to battle back the parasite that works (as alcohol, mani-pedi’s, and self-dates proved to be dismal failures) is facing that sonofabitch head on. There ain’t a quick fix on the market that trumps honest, loving self appraisal.  It’s a journey that I’ve been on for most of my life, but the honesty part just crept in about two years ago. Needless to say, it’s been a rough, albeit rewarding, two years.

More recently, as recent as this past Wednesday, I had another … break through? break down?  Hell, I broke … and had to come to accept that a man that I’d endeared myself to, for far longer than I should have, would likely never be able to give me what I needed or wanted from him.  I had been holding out hope that somehow if I proved how awesome I was to him that he would have some type of miraculous epiphany, look past my misshapen body, and “pick me” giving me a chance at the relationship I’d so desperately wanted.*

*Yes, on an intellectual level I know this is bullshit, I cringe as I write it, but it’s what my inner dialogue had been.

If I’m honest, and again I try to be these days, I’ll have to say that it wasn’t necessarily him, but ALL of the “hims“.  All of the men and the shitty situations that came with them, that I settled for because on a gut level I assumed that no one else would want me. It’s the parasite, the disease, my thinking (call it what you will), that had me believing that one sided situations with emotionally or otherwise unavailable men were all I could hope for. Now?  I’m just too exhausted to give a fuck.

The prospect of being sans a partner for the rest of my life is no longer terrifying.  The prospect of wasting my life lying in wait of what might be, is.  So if being single is what it is for me right now (or longer) I need to continue to do the work of being okay with the person I wake up to everyday.  I have to take care of me which for me includes:

-Taking care of my emotional and spiritual self by continuing do the work of recovery.

-Taking care of the one and only body I will ever be given by eating right and exercising, not toward any magical goal weight, but because it feels good.

-Getting enough rest.

-Setting healthy boundaries in my relationships, which include running in the opposite direction when I see the red flags.

-Taking care of my responsibilities (having bad credit is no longer “cute”).

-And most important, CONTINUING TO WRITE!

Despite all my emotional ups and downs I do feel a shift happening.  With continued hard work and perseverance,  I might just fall in love with myself, Hottentot table top ass and all, at some point before I’m dead ;).

Rosie.

Oh the irony.