As the curtain closes.

“…twilight is that time between day and night … limbo … I call it limbo.”      – Twilight Bey (Organizer, Gang Truce)

Tonight will be the last time I perform with the cast of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 and likely the last time I perform in Charlotte, NC for a long while.  In a few months I’ll be relocating to New York in preparation for graduate school at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. It seems so unreal  that my theatre career has brought me here when all it was initially was refuge from the emotional baggage of my divorce.  I’m beyond grateful.

As I mentally prepare to take the stage this evening I can’t help but to think about the process that we as a cast and crew went through to bring us to this night. It has been far from easy.  There have been  things said, done, and not done that has caused friction along the way.  I would like to apologize for anything that I may have said, done, or not done that has contributed to conflict, confusion, or hurt feelings.  The last thing I want any theatrical processes I’m a part of to do is leave a participant hurt and/or disillusioned. I understand that sometimes this is unavoidable. How fitting that the cast and crew of a show about human conflict, anger, and miscommunication have become a self fulfilling prophecy.

This is why I’m a theatre artist.  It’s so healing and therapeutic. It’s an opportunity for me to look at myself within characters and their situations and gain insight on life that I might not have gotten any other way.  The best part is having a gang of people as crazy as I am to do it with!

Twilight folk:  I love you all so much and wish you love and light moving forward. I hope life decides to give us another opportunity to work together. Maybe next time it’ll be in something lighter, like Noises Off or some shit, because honestly … it was fairly unrealistic to believe that we could give birth to a baby as heavy as Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 and not have to have a few stitches ;). (Okay that was gross.)  Anyway … One more time people! Let’s make Anna Deveare Smith proud ;).

Rosie.

 

Unseen.

I wish there was a way to “unsee” everything that I’ve seen in my career as a therapist. Well maybe not everything, as there has been a large amount of good. It’s just that there’s so much that comes with knowing.  If the story of Eden is true, then this is how they must have felt. Overwhelmed with the beauty and ugliness of the world, with each bringing its own type of pain. Beauty, no matter how beautiful in the end we know is as finite as our lives. Ugliness, when in the midst of it, seems to have no end.  I’m sleepy, and perhaps in a state of exaggerated emotion after a long night, but no matter how long I’ve done this it still doesn’t seem fair that babies should die and old folks are kept alive to suffer because “we just aren’t ready to let them go.”

Rosie.

You B**** You!

*the following is a reflection of my experience as a triple minority (black/fat/female), any similarities to your experience(s) or that of your loved ones is purely coincidental. Yes, I do realize that my views may be irrational to some, but this here is my blog … I write what the hell I want.

Some folks make we want to draw the purse strings of my human decency closed … Around their neck … Until they are dead. Case in point (and keeping it one hundred, the reason for this post): My dearest friend Eric and I arrive at a high end apartment complex on the high end side of town. We unemployed/lower middle class plebes actually have a friend that lives there. Upon entering the building, walking past an intense argument between a young Asian gentlemen and a female building attendant bickering over the gentleman’s squatters rights, we approach the elevator. The doors open. Dog. BIG dog. REALLY big dog, one of those sombitches that could stand taller than a human being. I don’t know dogs (i.e. breeds, temperaments, blah, blah, blah), but I do know my history with dogs. It’s dicey at best.

Upon seeing the beast my knee jerk reaction came in words:

“That’s the biggest dog I’ve ever seen in my life.” (a slight exaggeration, but it was preeety damn close to accurate.)

Then came an unexpected rebuttal:

Really?” (dripping with sarcasm)

Pan up from the annoying shoe gloved feet, to slender frame draped work out couture, to JINORMOURS diamond encrusted left ring finger, to almond colored skin, to oval face, to the jenkiest weave I’ve seen in three months.

again, in that bitchesque tone she says:

“Really?!”

As if I were her child and I was carrying on over some non-existent ghost under my bed.

“Yes, really.” I managed.

“He’s a Golden.” she quips …

…like I should have known that at birth, when I honestly didn’t give a fuck what breed it was and didn’t in fact own a pet of the furry variety until I was 22. It wasn’t long before I realized that the dog should have been the least of my worries.  It’s master had already proven herself to be a bigger bitch than it could ever dare to be.

Already exasperated by a day full of assorted strangeness we board the elevator.

“Two, please.” I says.

*blank stare* (I mean blank fucking stare, as if I’d been speaking Mandarin.)

Now, regular well adjusted human beings on an elevator standing next to the buttons will often extend the courtesy of pushing the button for the floor(s) others will be heading to. This bitch was not a regular well adjusted human being. The dog actually had a better shot at being one.

“Oh, I don’t work here.”

In that instant I became more disgusted with her than I had been with any human being in a very long time.  Her snobbish tone and don’t-you-know-who-the-fuck-I’m-is glare made me want to break something … like her face, her fingers, her legs, well you get it.  And I’ll be straight up and say that it’s mainly ego that made me so furious with her.  Nobody likes to be belittled openly or covertly and this is what this chick was doing.  Somehow the circumstances of this … woman’s life had lead her to believe that extending common courtesy was grossly beneath her, and I’ll go further to say she believed that my friend and I were beneath her.

And … I’ll go even further in my attempt to be honest with myself about the situation and say her impudence carried an extra sting because she was black.  There is an implied sense (at least in my black experience) that we are all in this together.  This implied sister/brotherhood was grossly violated, and I resented the hell out of her for it.  I’d come to expect this type of behavior out of certain types of white folk, but I’d venture to say that even their sense of superiority wouldn’t have prevented them from pushing  a damn elevator button for another human being.

During that small exchange  some small part of me knew that I probably had more grace and character in my toe nails than she had in her entire self-centered frame. Me having the common sense that God and my Nana gave me I knew the truth, but my ego didn’t.   Thus this passive aggressive post, because sometimes I just have to allow myself to be fully angry. Now I have been, and since carrying resentments are like eating rat poison and expecting your enemy to die, I’ll let it go. I’ll move forward knowing that in the not so distant future when I am a filthy rich and famous writer standing by the buttons on the elevator of my exclusive condominium complex, when someone boards and says:

“Two, please.”

I shall not hesitate to have my well trained, denim clad chimp press 2. 😛

Rosie.

ok … I’m done for real.

A is for African-American, B is for Black … hell yes it matters.

Given the history of race relations in this country I find it 100% absurd that black Americans are often silently requested to mute their pride in America’s first black president.  At the same time we’re also asked to ignore the fact that every president before him was white and male.  God bless America and it’s bottomless self-denial. God bless America’s blissful ignorance that allows people to ignore the air of bitterness, resentment, and out right hatred have supposedly has nothing to do with the color of our president’s skin.

I refuse to hold my tongue a second longer.  The fact that Barack Obama is our president and black at the same time does my heart good. Something that was deemed a mission impossible that quite frankly I’d given up hope of ever seeing happen, happened in 2008.  I was proud of our country’s ability to galvanize behind someone that more closely represented what we’re supposed to be as a nation, and it’s tragic that some don’t see it that way.

As much as I disliked George Bush, I never hated him.  I never wished ill on him. Did I question his decision making skills?  Yes. Did I or anyone I knew for that matter create racist bumper stickers lobbying against his re-election … No.

Well, wait. I’d have to be in a position of power or a member of a dominating majority, thus enabling me to withhold certain rights and privileges from another group to in fact be “racist”. So umm no, couldn’t have done that effectively if I’d tried … moving on.
 

There is a dialogue about race that bubbles under the surface of this country that longs to be had. That erupts in groups like the Tea Party that call for a return to the America of our “Forefathers” who may I remind,  grew this country on the backs of slaves.  It’s the continued perpetuation of falsehoods about President Obama’s nationality and what religion he practices. Really? Like any of that nullifies that he’s probably one of the most intelligent presidents this country has had and that his story and that of his wife are walking interpretations of the “American Dream”.

The story of blacks in America is a story among many thousands of stories about people who endure adversity around the world. It begins and ends with race for black people in America. Period. To deny the story of  race in America would be like Jews denying the holocaust. We would never dream of asking Jews to forget the atrocities of the holocaust, so why then does it seem within reason to ask that blacks in America forget, deny or (my favorite) “get over racism” when it penetrates every facet of our lives? You don’t see it?  Then there’s a great chance you’re not black.

My race is not ALL that I am,  but it has played a major role in making me who I am. Why am I playing the race card? Because it is the card I was dealt, and dammit  we have to play the hand we are dealt.  Barack and Michelle Obama played the  hell out of theirs and they inspire me to achieve despite any circumstances that are in my way.  That lesson applies across race, creed, sexual preference, physical ability, you name it … it applies.  Republican or Democrat you can’t deny that.

Barack Obama’s success can be our success as a country. We as a nation have to “call a spade a spade” when it comes to the underlying rage displayed by so many at the mere mention of the Obama name. We’re better than this. We must allow ourselves the opportunity to see the significance of who Barack Obama is and what his story means outside of our feelings one way or the other about his politics.  And after that damn speech Willie Clinton laid down, I don’t know about you, but I am FIRED UP and READY TO GO!!! I’m ready to believe, like a five year old in the tooth fairy, that this country can be a nation united.

Rosie.

My President. My Inspiration.

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!

Uncle 2.0 (A kinder gentler surrender.)

When I began the graduate school application process I tried to maintain the belief that no matter the outcome, “good” or “bad”, that it had nothing to do with my ability to write or my value as a writer. I probably should have taken it to the next level and said that it had nothing to do with my value as a human being, because ultimately it doesn’t.

Grad school was to me was about what I valued.  I value education.  I enjoy becoming educated. Academia is my home girl.  However, I do realize that there are non-conventional ways of receiving the education I desire, and if it ends up that those are the avenues I have to stroll down that it is okay.  The sting of my experience comes from valuing the means of getting my education more than I do the education itself.

There is a balance I seek to find between my desire to achieve and the realization that my achievements do no supersede my humanity. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me wanting to succeed, but that success should not come at the expense of what really matters, my life and happiness. Looking back over the last few months I can see that I have been highly driven, but not exactly enjoying my life, even during times that were intended to be enjoyable.

I’m entering an easier phase of surrender as I continue to raise my white flag and wave it at Tisch Asia (the game is not entirely over, but it appears to be a blow out). At this point, I’m not too clear on “what’s next”.  I’m still feeling some residual yuckiness, but I know it is dangerous for me to live here.  I want to hide because I am embarrassed and ashamed, but I won’t.  Instead I’ll volunteer to be the fool that is brave enough to fail fantastically and be willing to tell the tale.

Rosie.

Uncle: (an angry rageful prayer of surrender not intended for the faint of heart.)

I am utterly defeated. I have nothing else to give to the cause of me attending Tisch Asia.  I have hustled, planned, acted as if (I quit my fucking job! Great!), prayed, meditated, and burned incense. I am tired. I have a $20,000 per semester gap in funding.  I do not qualify for the Grad Plus loan.  This morning one of my final doors/windows of opportunity closed. My white flag is waving.  I don’t have anymore to give this cause emotionally, spiritually, or mentally. Right now, I don’t give a shit what the lesson is.  It hurts too fuckin’ much for me to care. I know it won’t always, but today it does.

Being hopeful about this situation has only intensified the shitiness of my feelings and fueled my desperate actions to force this thing to happen.  These are the times I don’t want to be in recovery.  I want a license to be completely reckless and unconcerned about the damage I leave behind, but fucking recovery. Fucking spiritual principles won’t even allow me to indulge. Because underneath this raging heap of fuck the world I have going on I know that the shiny happy recovery Stacey would suffer in the long run along with those she loves.

If you have donated to my noble cause, know that your funding will now be re-purposed to cover my ass as I eat crow and I slither back into my life as a Respiratory Therapist. Universe … I turn it over to you, because I have not shit else.

Rosie.

This Old House.

Recovering from co-dependency is being ripped away from everything you once knew to be true and being shoved out into the cold to figure out a new truth on your own (seeking outside support is highly recommended from my experience). Each step I take toward my new truth leaves a trail of uncertainty, fear and regret on my heels, just waiting for me to slip and fall back into my old ways of operating. The misconception I’ve had is that I can’t make mistakes. If I did –– I believed –– it would mean I was completely wrong and should never have left the comfort of my mother’s strangling skirt strings.

Thankfully, my beliefs are growing. They are the tiny multicolor buds in a flowering garden of possibility grown out of determination to do something different, and the desire to find out who I was really put here to be. In my heart I know I was not meant to be ordinary. Not that there is anything wrong with ordinary, it’d probably be easier on my tiny co-dependent soul if I were. I know I’m not though, in the same way a dog knows it’s not a cat, and a transgendered person knows that there is something not quite right with the body they were born into. So the work I’m doing now, is necessary.

The most difficult part? Not having the full support of the people I love, my family. While some members have supported my transition into being a full time artist from day one, others have been a harder sell. Now with me doing something as “impractical” as moving to Singapore to pursue a degree that I can get in the States, it feels like the bottom is falling out. Those that were supporting me are wavering and I’m in a revolving non-verbal stand off with those that don’t. It hurts. It hurts like fucking hell, but if I look back now I don’t know if I’ll ever get the courage to move forward again.

Building on a shifting foundation is rough. It feels like I’m flipping an old and rusty house. With every repair I make I find a new issue, like termites or a leaky roof. Termites and roofs be damned, I’ll build over, under, and through if I have to because I’m sick and tired of the rickety old abode of my life. There is a garden out there, that’s waiting to wrap itself around a regal brick home on a solid foundation to compliment it’s beauty.

Rosie.

Black Mom’s Burden.

I am the mother of an intelligent, articulate, talented rambunctious 13-year-old boy.  As a mother my natural expectation, barring any unexpected illness or accidents, is that I will see him grow, get his heart broken, break hearts, learn to drive, graduate high school, go to college, start a career, get married, raise a family, raise children … in short my son should bury me; not vice versa.  An inconvenient truth in these great United States is that as a black mother of a black son there are other things I have to factor in like:

1. Getting him through a public school system that does not instill in him any cultural sense of self and within which I have to do battle to ensure he receives the basic knowledge he needs to survive adulthood.

2. Teaching him the realities of institutionalized racism.

3.  Keeping him out of the back of a cop car.

4. Preparing him  for the reality that he may end up in one any way because he “fit the description.”

5. Keeping him ALIVE in a society where black boys like Trayvon Martin can be murdered simply because he fit the fear based convoluted description in someone’s head.

… and this is the short list.  I have to fight this fight within a society that refuses to acknowledge any of it or either chooses to lay the blame at the feet of the “black community” and its “leaders”, whoever the hell that homogenous group of folks might be; this society that views the election of a black president as a “game over” for racism, all the while ignoring the rise of neo-racism in the form of “ultra conservatism” that has resulted from that election.

One foot in front of the other, one day at a time; I’m am raising a self sufficient, independently thinking black male that can not only be a productive member of society, but who can also be a vital asset to any community he chooses to be a part of. I pull from as many resources as I can to make sure he gets what he needs. I do everything in my power to instill in him a base sense of morality. Damn it, I am doing my part. It is so fucked up and utterly frustrating that I cannot rely on the society within which I live to do its.

No matter how  hard we as black moms of black sons try it seems we’re still behind the eight-ball. It’s the reality of our situation, but it is by no means a reason to sit in victimhood.  We have to continue, along side our men and any others who would chose to be a part of the solution, to engage and empower our boys. We can only hope and pray that one day society will catch on.

During our ride to school chat yesterday I asked my son how he felt about it all. Unfortunately this type of racism did not shock him. What did bother him, and me for that matter, is the rising level of “anger” and threatened violence surrounding the situation.  To use his words, “What is fighting gonna do? If they wanna get angry and do something there are plenty of other things they could do besides fight somebody.” So true.  I cannot begin to fathom life without my son. Today, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin have to.  They have my deepest sympathies.

Rosie.

 

T’was a necessary day.

I’m not even sure what I want to write here, but here goes.   In recovery I’ve heard it said that we have good days and we have “necessary” days. Necessary days are days where the not-so-great things come up that challenge all that good shit you think you believe. Today was “necessary”.  I took a verbal battering from someone very near and dear to me simply because we disagree on something. Something that in the end is my business.  I listened to a barrage of insults, accusations, and ill premonitions while saying little or nothing. I was called a “monster”. I was told that I needed to pray and rely on God in the same breath.

The entire time I felt like I was physically being slashed to pieces. I couldn’t breathe. My mouth went dry, but I continued to listen and actually maintained my decorum. I casually began to pack up my things, all while continuing to listen. That was my mistake.  I continued to listen. I knew that what was being said about me was in no way true, but I continued to listen.  I took on this person’s shit.  It danced with every bit of self doubt, shame and  guilt I ever had.  It rented property in my head, and affected my mood all day.

By 4pm (this happened at 11am) I wanted a drink in a way in which I hadn’t in a very long time. Me drinking doesn’t equal going to a bar, having a cocktail and taking it to the house.  Me drinking means me finishing a fifth of whatever, asking where the party’s at, getting in my car to drive to it, and blacking out.  Even though I had no intention of going out and getting a drink, this is a dangerous head space for someone like me to be in, or anyone for that matter. There is nothing a drink or drug can do for anyone (much less an addict) to solve a problem or fix a feeling. After today, I know I believe that at my core and I’m grateful.

I did all the healthy things I could to take care of myself like: talking to folks, making a meeting, praying, cleaning my space,  taking a shower, and writing about it. It’s 9:19pm, and I’ve officially gotten through this very necessary day with the bonus of seeing where its lessons fit in my life. Going forward, I know I must work on certain things so as not to continue to have the same “necessary day”. The main thing is developing the ability to give people their shit back.  Yelling, accusations, insults, and ill premonitions are sure fire guarantees that somebody is trying to give you some shit that ain’t yours. Run like your life depends on it.  It just might.

Rosie.