You Are Here: The Summer of My Discontent

For the last week or so I’ve been letting it all soak in (that and panicking over whether or not I’d receive a Grad Plus Loan). After nearly two years of highs, lows, breakthroughs and disappointments I am now poised to take my seat in one of the most prestigious MFA programs for dramatic writing in the world. Any doubts that I had about deserving to be here have been obliterated. Fuck. That. I’ve worked my ass off, paid dues, took praises, and people’s  slick shit talkin’. So why do I still feel like a pimply faced 16 year-old most of the time? As the old adage goes: No matter where you go there you are.

One truth that my experience thus far has drilled into me is human nature’s constant state of flux.  The irony is we seem to be born equipped to detest even the slightest changes and will often do the strangest things, e.g. self sabotaging (my go to strategy btw), to avoid it. I at times literally have to be dragged kicking and screaming into transition. Sometimes I’ll put a toe in the pool of transition only to have Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed shove me, lovingly, all the way in.

And shoved I was this summer. Nothing, and I do me NO. THING. Has been constant since I’ve left the safety of my job, family, and friends in sunny Charlotte, NC.  I have been living a little of everywhere.  I have been jobless since July 20th. Now … in the grand scheme of joblessness, I know this is no major deal but going from knowing exactly where your next dollar is coming from for fourteen years to not knowing when the hell I’m ever gonna work again, for me is terrifying. Calculate in my baseline fear that this shit was gonna fall apart in any second and I would be headed back to Charlotte with my tail tucked firmly between my legs, and it seems that I should very well be a basket case. These are the times that I give thanks for my grounding practices.

Recovery, yoga, meditation, great friends, supportive family, arts, and culture have collectively saved my life this summer. The abundance of it to be found for free is proof for me that the universe wants to love us through the changes that we will inevitably go through no matter what we have or don’t have. More often than not this summer I’ve felt like the kid who’d ventured out to the middle of the monkey bars and lost faith that he could get to the other side. Then I’d call or text someone and find the courage to extend my hand to the next bar.  I got my heart broken. I headed to a meeting, and was off swinging again. My job hunt was essentially fruitless. I dangled wanting very badly to let go, but then I go to yoga and listen while Amy (the most amazing yogi I’ve met thus far) tells me to “root my tree”  and just like that, I am here,  on the other side of the monkey bar … only to realize that there is a playground called life that’s full of them.

The gift of my summer of discontent is my enhanced ability to thrive through unpredictability. Finding peace within while my clothes are scattered to the four corners of Newark, centering when in the midst of the realization that I may not accomplish what I came all this way to do, and taking the next required action with my hands shaking and the tears falling has served to make me ready for whatever is next. Even if I’m not, I know help is available for the Bible, Quran, Yoga Vedas, Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, and my Momma tell me so.

Rosie.

800px-You_are_here_-_T-shirt

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That’s just how I feel.

  • There is a polio outbreak in Somalia
  • There are comparisons being drawn between the conflict in Syria and the genocide in Rwanda.
  • George Zimmerman got off scott free for killing an unarmed black teenager. 
  • Stacey Rose is struggling to find gainful employment, has a mere $70 in her bank account and only one more paycheck from her last job coming.

Guess which one of these headlines is keeping me up at night?  As self-centered as it is I often have my head shoved securely up my own ass that I’m unaware the world has bigger problems than mine.  Hell, people in my life have bigger problems than mine.  At times I feel incredibly guilty about my tendency toward self-centeredness until I remember:

  1. I’m human.
  2. I’m not ALWAYS self-centered and actually have times when I am incredibly generous.
  3. The world doesn’t need me to help it rotate more than it needs me to participate.

When the stench and hot of being lodged into myself gets to be too much I am often rescued by an opportunity to volunteer or be of service to someone  else. For the time I’m listening to someone, helping them with a task or otherwise engaging a situation that’s not my own, I feel better.  My finger is off the panic button and I feel like a member of the broader human race.

When those other times return, I try to be conscious of when they arrived. I do what I need to ride them out, the most import part is knowing that despite whatever else is going on in the world the things that are going on in my life are important too.  Does the world need give a shit because I have to have a varicella titer done and paid for out of my own pocket? Probably not. Do I need to? Yes, because caring for my own well being ensures that I’m contributing my very best to the world around me. What I can’t do is stay stuck or react in ways that will move my situation from bad to worse. I must acknowledge the fear (or whatever else I’m feeling) jump into the solution if there’s an immediate one, and accept the situation in it’s entirety. Being a self-serving dick head works in small spurts, no guilty trip required. That’s just the way I feel.

Rosie.

Unity Mobs and other side effects of xenophobia.

It was the 80s. Cyndi Lauper was reppin’ Cap’n Lou Albano hard.  The then WWF was in its golden age and was the happy ending to many children’s (and adults) Saturday morning brain freeze. There were the rivalries. Oh, the rivalries! Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Superfly Jimmy SnukaRandy “Macho Man” Savage vs. The Ultimate WarriorGeorge “The Animal” Steele vs. any turnbuckle he encountered. The rivalries that really made you lick your chops though … I’m talkin’ the ones that would unite the neighborhood bully with the lithe bookworm whose ass he’d just kicked the Friday afternoon before; were the USA vs. the “Evil Foreigner” grudge matches .  The USA would usually be represented by the Sergeant Slaughters or  The Hulk Hogans of the world. The  “Evil Foreigner” would be represented by some one like say, The Iron Sheik. The shit felt real as hell too. It felt like the world was going to end and evil would run rampant throughout the planet if Sergeant Slaughter got snared in The Sheik’s deadly Camel Clutch.

This sort of sentiment is not new and it echoes throughout American life. It’s like the US can’t find shit else to unite about except a tragedy reigned down upon our innocent souls by a real or imagined demonic boogie men (exclusively from somewhere else, because you can’t honest and for true be American and evil simultaneously) or our hatred of other countries/races because of their refusal to bow down to our natural superiority.  I don’t say this from an “above it all” place either.  I was sitting on my couch, crying uncontrollably, and singing God Bless America on September 12th 2001 like many other Americans. As far as I was concerned, on that day, “W” coulda rendered the entire middle east dust. The fact is, at that time,  that level of violence on American soil was extremely foreign, at least to my generation. It felt like a complete violation of who we were and something had to be done, right  then, right there,  no matter the cost. America … FUCK YEAH.

Over ten years of hindsight has removed the rose-colored glasses that allowed us to continue the view of America as “Police Officer of the World” … well  some of us anyway. Many now recognize that we  may need to sweep around our own proverbial front porches before we go about taking on the liberation and democratization of nations around the globe.  However, lately when it seems every week POTIS is headed to another American city to give a speech of condolence and empowerment, the Unity Mob mentality seems to have grown and mutated (with the help of social media of course) into this beastly caricature of stock American values that rages like a new pimple for about a week, but is salved by a healthy dose of baby KimYe coverage.

As horrible as I felt about what happened in Boston, I could not help but cringe while listening  to the post capture rhetoric that began to sound like Oscar speeches. It’s fantastic that they caught this guy alive, and that we’ll  hopefully be able to peek into the mind of people like him to find out why they carry out horrific attacks like the one at the marathon, but does there need to be an exaggerated sense of celebration in a major American city being on lock down (to the tune I’ve heard of $33 million a day?!)  There were Lock Down Parties.  Jesus M. H. Christ what does it all mean?

At this point, I’ve become a little unpatriotic to some, sacrilegious to others,  and probably both to Newt Gingrich who would probably call me an ungrateful black slut if I ever made it onto his radar, but I would really like to know where the extended man hunts are for the crime trodden streets of the inner city of Chicago? Do they  not occur because you can’t encapsulate the issues of the inner city into a neatly boxed media package that can be consumed and shat out in under  a week? Where are the Unity Mobs when our kids are being fed directly from schools into prison by a sub par education system? Where are the Unity Mobs when young black and latino teens are privy to being target by NYPD on a whim because the police have carte blanche to determine who “looks” like a criminal? Is it that these segments of America not worth getting fired up over to  the angry masses?

Or are they so busy warming up their typing fingers for the new big “it” tragedy? Maybe they’re somewhere wracking their brains trying to figure out where the dreadful folks who do this type of thing come from? Well I’ve got a theory. I believe they come from Us. Yes, the great old US of A that has been creating sociological problems and ignoring the repercussions since inception.  We made these monsters, and instead of chasing them down desperately trying to connect them to the “other” via religion or race, maybe we should be trying to figure out and take action to heal the parts of our system that is creating such beautiful minds with a propensity for death and destruction.

Rosie.

Rosie’s CIAA cautionary tale.

Let the record show that I have not, in the time that it has been hosted in our fair city, chosen to participate in the activities surrounding the  CIAA’s (Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association) annual tournament.  The reasons are varied, but not limited too: Hating crowds, Hating myself in crowds, Hating crowds of drunken black people , Hating crowds of pretentious black people, and MOST important – I hate being in crowds of black people who’d spend $75-100 on a day party, but who will hem and haw about financially supporting local programming for children. This year I waxed sentimental and decided to go because all the buzz seemed so exciting, that one party sounded like what the business is (it was dope as hell, I won’t lie) and I won’t be here next year … so what the hell, right?

The night started out well enough. I did somethings to ground myself in sanity (prayed, burned incense, listened to the ATLien’s album), then headed out to an event called Grits & Biscuits. All southern hip hop, all night. Yessir! After I had sufficiently twerked away my cares, I exited the party into a sea of half naked self proclaimed “bad bitches” and the men who loved/lusted/thirsted after them.

As awesome as all of that was, my friend Danielle and I were ready to go and process the levels of ratchet debauchery we’d just taken in over artery clogging food stuffs. We’d ran across a group who was in need of a jump and I was glad that I was able to be of assistance (being the ever faithful good Samaritan I am) with jumper cables I had in my car.  However … when I got to my car I realized … I was actually in need of jump, as my car wouldn’t start.  Things promptly went to hell from here.

With the help of two eager young gentlemen I get the car started again, and head out into the mean side streets surrounding the NC Music factory that at this point looks a lot like Juicy J‘s rendition of Kolkata. I’m visually overdosing on bare tri-fold midriffs and men doling out piggy back rides to colored girls who considered crawling with them rainbow pumps became too much, when … my car stops in the middle of the street. Just stops. Right in front of this dude who is drunk out of his fucking MIND and believes, somewhere in his delirium that my car has arrived to pick him up.

I, distracted and disgusted, could not process why this man was getting in my car, and before I could say two words, he was in there. CHILLIN’.

I’m like:  Sir … get out.

No response.

To add to the fun, his drunk friends get into the act,  facebooking  and tweeting videos of all the festive shenanigans as I sit, mouth agape, looking on. The good times were soon to get better, when the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department gets involved, those champions of justice.  They actually SWEAR that my new friend is actually my estranged boyfriend/hook up and that I need to attempt to manage the situation.

This is when drunk man in my car starts flexin …
… like he’s on Instagram
He’s angry now …

He’s all: Get the fuck off me yo! Get the fuck off me son!

I promptly exit the vehicle, cause I wanna live and shit. There are now 3-4 officers in a heated debate with the drunken gent in an attempt to get his drunk ass out of my car. The officers are STILL swearing I know said drunk and disorderly negro, a fact I adamantly deny. After realizing the real possibility that their friend/brother may be tased or shot they beg the police officers to let them remove him from my car.

Negotiations are successful, the drunkard exits my vehicle.

CMPD: Ma’am I’m gonna need you to get back in your vehicle and move along.

Fuck. My. Life., I think to myself and am surprised by my ability to remain calm (probably had to do with my own non-desire of being tased or shot) and tell the officers that the reason why I didn’t take off and drag the dude down the street when he attempted to get in my car in the first place was because it would. not. start. (SIGH).

The officers FINALLY realize that hey … she really didn’t know that guy, and wait, her car won’t start! That’s why she was in the middle of the road! They determine that they will  offer me the assistance I need to get to the side of the road when just then, a clutch of ratchet pussy decides that my predicament is funny …

“Aw sheet that bitch done ran outta gas!”

“Ha. Ha. She slippin’!”

I verbally abuse the shit out of them.
It was quite satisfying.

The rest of the evening, that did not end until 5:30 am, ended with little more event than: me coming to the aid of two scantily clad “bad bitches” whose phone was dead and ride “had done gone” by allowing them to sit in my dilapidated vehicle, and me thrice having to give a Charlotte based tow truck driver direction to a major Charlotte landmark.

The lesson: I’m not sure there is one. Just a lot of individual shit that could have happened on any other day happening to me at the same damn time.

To all CIAA in CLT visitors: I enjoyed you, now please … go home. ❤

Rosie.

*Warning: The preceding song should only be enjoyed in controlled environments and under the clear understanding that you are probably not now nor will you ever be a drug dealer that … enjoys … two “bad bitches” at the same damn time.

Wait … Am I Your “Magic Nig -ga -ger -roe”?!

Start here:

This, by the way, was and still is some of the most potent realness I’ve seen in a film. Ever.

Now on to the:

Magical Negro: The Magical Negro is typically but not always “in some way outwardly or inwardly disabled, either by discrimination, disability or social constraint,” often a janitor or prisoner.[7] He has no past; he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist.[8][9] He usually has some sort of magical power, “rather vaguely defined but not the sort of thing one typically encounters.”[8] He is patient and wise, often dispensing various words of wisdom, and is “closer to the earth.”[4]
-courtesy of Wikipedia

Now the post:

This morning as I  nodded in and out of post third shift consciousness, I perused the good old face space to see what the people in my virtual (and a few in my real) life were up to and I see friends of mine “liking” shit like this:

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and I’m like:

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I pride myself in knowing and embracing a wide variety of people who represent varying racial and ethnic backgrounds, and political ideologies. It is, however, becoming increasingly difficult to understand how it is that people who I work and socialize with can be so unwavering in their “conservative” views,  “conservative” views that have them peeking through the curtains of racism, sexism, and classism’s bedroom window if not sitting in their living room, but still “love” me in the way they say they do. Then it hit me … am I filed away in the minds and hearts of these folk as not being one of those kinds of blacks?! Am I their “Magic Nig -ga -ger -roe” like the Magic Johnson’s, Prince’s, and Oprah’s that have come before me?!

I simply cannot understand how people who show me so much genuine love, concern, and camaraderie can co-sign policies and ideologies that are aimed square at the disenfranchisement of people just like me.  YES, as magical as a nig -ga -ger -roe as I may appear to be, I am or have been the 47% at some point in my life. Let’s check my qualifiers shall we?

Rosie’s top ten “those” people qualifiers

1. Grew up in low-income housing to …

2. A single mother who …

3. While working and during brief periods between children received food stamps.

4. I am a single mother who had a child …

5. Out of wedlock! O_O (no dead husband, no failed marriage [that came after the kid … and he wasn’t the father x_x] , just good old fashion fornication with no intention of extended dedication.)

6. I have immediate family members in jail (that I actually maintain contact with and love very much because contrary to what your “conservative” media outlets would have you believe, people don’t cease being human because are incarcerated! … take all the time you need to process that one.) hell I’ve even …

7. Been arrested! (no jail house tats though, but my street cred is up and that is GOOOD), Oh and I …

8. Don’t like working! (for other people, that is), and I …

9.  Have been on Medicaid as an adult (quite shamelessly, I paid into that shit for 12 years prior, what?! So know that when I was on it, you’re conservative dollar was technically still free willy), but worst of all I …

10.  Voted for Obama to ensure my continued leaching from the great America built by the Founding Fathers off the backs of my ForeFathers!

Again, take a moment, a day if you need to process.  There are more qualifiers, but those may bust your heart wide open and leave you with no hope for savage… I mean American minorities. Think I’m overreacting and “making it racial”? Stop and take a look at the “conservative” base and tell me what you see? I may be going out on a limb, but I think to some point I represent some type of saving grace to my conservative friends (who I actually love and accept despite what their views are). I am, I believe, in their eyes “a credit to my race.” I am well spoken, fairly well read, and goddamn it I make them laugh! What they don’t realize is that it’s not always comfortable for me to be the funny nig -ga -ger -roe. What they don’t realize  is that there are many times that their sweeping indictments of  people who “leach off the system”, or how their tax dollars are paying for this ones healthcare, or the cadence with which they say our president’s name … as if trying to scrape shit off their tongue, often leaves me hating their asses for brief intense periods.

But then I let it go, because my intense hatred will do nothing to elevate the their mind state about the broader reality of minority life, and it’ll run my blood pressure up which we know all black folks suffer with anyhow. So, I just try to live honestly as possible, calling “bullshit” when I see it … when I have the energy to do so,  and serving as an example of the many varieties of  “those people” who exists.  I know I seem angry, well fuck it, I am, but underneath this anger is a pressing need to be understood in the same ways I seek to understand.

If I can manage to separate the political ideology from the living breathing person that I know, then why is it that so damn hard for some to conceive of the fact that I might not be that magical. Maybe, just maybe, blacks and other minorities are not just some mass of bottom feeders that seek to drain an innocent America of all its xenophobic glory. Iono, one day it’ll all make sense I suppose. In the meantime, for those who are ready, consider this an open call to conversation. It’s a call that I will continue to make until I’m no longer able to speak. If we want change we can believe in, we have to believe we can change, and speak that change into existence.

Rosie.

Now go laugh at racism’s sting dammit!

I see you, you see me … and that’s cool.

I see you, you see me … that’s cool.

You’ve read my stuff, or you haven’t but surely may after this ;) , I goodly suck at relationships of the romantic variety. I know all the issues behind why and I have prayed the prayers, cried the tears, and burned the effigies.  There remains nothing left for me to do but do the work.  In the process of this work doing I’ve come across a book that I’d actually be given about eight years ago called If The Buddha Dated.  I won’t get into the particulars, but one thing I noticed, and which actually tickled me a little is that old adage “you attract what you are” is kind of true, but not in the negative douche baggy way people tend to dole it out.

While reading about compassion, unconditional love, mutual understanding, and facing fear in relationships I realized that these things are often very difficult for me to practice with the men I date because I often can’t practice them with myself. I attract people that I generally want to take care of in someway or another.  They’re usually creative types (me), who are great at what they do (Me), who seek out affection/satisfaction from multiple and usually self destructive outlets (ME), and who are often resistant to any healthy/balance/positive change or growth (MMMMEEE!!!)

The issue has been established.  Now what’s the game plan.  First and most important I continue to fight bravely for my sanity and overall well being while looking at myself with a compassionate eye and speaking to myself in a compassionate voice. I stay OPEN but VIGILANT in my dating situations.  I kindly refuse the literally attached, because they have been the worse type of self inflicted pain in my experience. The rest is just about learning. What my likes and dislikes are, and honoring that. What’s comfortable, what isn’t, and honoring that. And moving through fear!  There’s an excellent passage in the book that goes a lil something like this:

Dating with a Buddhist consciousness means a willingness to confront anything inside that kindles fear or anxiety.  When we start wanting to run away, be deceptive, tell lies, or put on a mask, we need to walk right into our fears, sit down, and talk to them until they become our friends.  This doesn’t mean we have a goal of getting rid of fear; rather, we accept it as a part of our unfolding journey.

Boom.

Just last night I found myself entangled in a conversation with a man that fascinates me beyond words, but rather being IN the conversation and enjoying his company, I kept trying to find ways to make him more fascinated with me out of fear that who I am isn’t enough. I fall into that pattern so often it’s like breathing.  What’s crazy is he was clearly just as uncomfortable as I was!

Last thing, and I’ll step off my makeshift soap box. Landing the man isn’t the goal. There will be no prize, no acceptance speeches to make, and no academy to thank when you have landed said man or woman. In fact, the prize will come in finding out that they are just as fugged up and human as you, and you still wanna stay. As my friend Antoine told me, “Don’t romanticize that shit, relationships are work.”

They damn sure are, and as my experience bears out, can break you in half  if you don’t go in without your priorities straight and your expectations low.  From observing relationships of people close to me I notice that the best ones are ones where people have and retain a strong sense of self and enhance their mate. It gives me hope, that if I pick up the pieces of my enfeebled soul that I will have an equally enfeebled soul to bang life out with … or not.  Either way through my continued engagement in seeking out a relationship I am given the opportunity each time to form a more “perfect” union, with self.

Saying this to self as I say it to you,

Rosie.

PE: The Unseen Enema!

I’m not sure if I ever feel “special” or “wanted”. I have determined the reason for this is an undiscovered birth defect that children in the future will be tested for.  They may even develop a vaccine.  It’d play out something like this:

(A happy couple with their new baby in tow, walks into a pediatrician’s office for baby’s first appointment. The doctor sits behind the desk, shuffles mindlessly through papers. It is apparent that all tests and labs are normal. Then he stumbles upon a piece of paper that causes him to stop and furrow his Andy Rooney like brow.)

Doctor:  Mr. and Mrs. Happy?

The Happies: (anxious) Yes?

Doctor:  I’ve got some difficult news.

Mr. Happy: What is it?

Doctor:  There is something terribly wrong with little Johnny.

Mrs. Happy:  Oh no!  But I did all the right things during my pregnancy! I exercised, ate the right foods, kept my pot smoking to a minimum, and refrained from contact with undesirable societal elements.

(Mrs. Happy dissolves into tears.)

Mr. Happy: (stiff upper lip) Alright doc.  Lay it on us.

Doctor: Little Johnny has PE.

Mrs Happy:  Oh My God No!!! No no no no no no no nonononononono! aaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!

(Mr. Happy slaps the shit out of Mrs. Happy)

Mrs. Happy: (to Mr. Happy) Thanks Honey. (to Doctor) Um, what’s PE?

Doctor: Perpetual Emptiness. No matter how much or how little love and affection you shower that little sonnovabitch with, he’ll still feel like a useless sack of shit, and act accordingly.

Mr. Happy: So, there’s a name for that now?  Thanks modern science!

Doctor: Yes, there is a name, and we are mere decades away from a cure!  Aboriginal children at a camp in a remote area of New Zealand are currently being used to test the vaccine.  When those little bastards stop bouncing off walls and spontaneously combusting we’ll know we’re almost there.

Mrs. Happy:  What do we do in the mean time?

Doctor: (ponders) Well it’s too late too abort.  There’s always abandonment or general disinterest in his life.

Mr. Happy:  Does that work?

Doctor:   I don’t know.  Go ask your father.

(Mr. and Mrs. Happy share a puzzled look.)

Doctor: Go on, get him out of here. There’s nothing else I can do for him.

(Mr. and Mrs. Happy leave with Little Johnny in hand.  Three months later, they divorce.  Six months later, Ms. Happy, under the assumed name of “Thunder Clap”, begins a lucrative career in striptease.  Little Johnny?  I’m not sure, but it is likely that he’s well on his way to becoming the savior or condemnation of modern society.)

The End.

(Cue Cape Fear theme music.)

I may suffer with PE, and we may be saying hello to my son’s great-grandchildren before there’s a cure, but dammit I know you like me! You really like me! (Please say you like me 😦 … and want me :/ .)

Alright I’m done being a jackass.  Happy Valentine’s Day to the all the lonely hearts!

Rosie.