It ain’t about Django …

I and apparently thousands of other Americans went to watch Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchanged over the Christmas holiday.  This post is not about that film … really.  It is about why the film, like it or not, is an important move forward in the discussion of who tells the stories of blacks in America and at what cost.  Hollywood (film and television) for better or worse is how many people globally are exposed to African Americans and/or African American culture.  If one keeps in mind the images of African Americans that are put out through these vehicles it is no surprise that we are highly misunderstood by the much of  world at large. The fact is the “African American Experience” is as broad and diverse as the people who live it. This is a fact that is often over looked or blatantly disregarded to the detriment of Blacks in America.

Our story is this country’s dirty laundry, shoved aside, hid under humor, rage, and stock characters but never fully exposed or wholly understood.  Whose responsibility is it to tell the story of blacks in America?  The most logical answer would seem to be the people that have walked through it.  The next questions could then be:  “which” people?  Black people, white people, hell the entire country for that matter has some level of interest/perspective in African American history.  There are as many “truths” as there are people, but what I feel cannot and should not be discounted or disrespected in the telling of any  story of Blacks in America is the ugliness of the past and it’s legacy that bleeds into the Black American existence to this day.

Even then the question of what counts as “disrespect” lingers.  It’s all too sordid and was the main reason I left Django Unchained mildly enraged and only vaguely entertained. For me it just leaves the flood gates open for random violation of a history that has already been looted and pillaged beyond recognition. (See shit like this:

DjangoGame… *sigh*)

I wanted lay into their asses something awful, but what would be the point? There is no united front of black folks that are prepared to shut down the Hollywood machine on the strength of disrespect of our culture. (see: Jews vs. Mel Gibson‘s career)

What is there to do if anything about protecting, preserving, and presenting a diverse view of what it is to be Black in America?  Well from where I sit there are a few options:

1.  Tell my own Black story as open and honestly as I can and do my best to ensure  it reaches somebody then somebody else then somebody else …

2.  Stop depending on/expecting Hollywood to tell your, my, our “truth” (see: Awkward Black Girl)  They don’t give a shit bout nothing but a dollar, period.  If they think it’ll put asses in seats … it’ll get made.

3.  Stop feeling like it is our responsibility to make people out side our race and culture understand us. Fuck that.  We have no control over how people are going think or feel about us. If they really want to understand “the black community”* then they better damn well get off their asses and do the research.

Okay, I think I got it all out. At least for now … until the next bit of unintentional bigotry surfaces … which is probably goin’ down right now at some hipster drinking establishment in Williamsburg. (ugggh!)

Rosie.

* this term should be outlawed and those insisting on using it systematically tortured … but that’s another post all together.
 
http://youtu.be/aAthMi5Kz5g

fat and insecure: egads i’ve been discovered!

A few minutes ago I was accosted on my own facebook page by a gentleman that felt he just had to respond to the following post:

photo copy

I believed the photo to be “cute” and by no means did I intend it to be a declaration of war on men who are not into big women. However this gentleman, whose name I won’t withhold because fuck it — he’s bold enough to pop up on my facebook wall talking unsolicited shit he’s good money with getting written about — did:

dumbass

I will address the rest of this post to Mr. Johnson, the kingly sage of his generation:

Mr. Johnson,

I have been alive long enough, and experienced enough to know that men like what they like and for that matter women like what they like.  And honestly, it is down right pathetic that there are still living breathing men with a shred of intelligence that believe that women stake their entire self view on what a man thinks about them.

… wait, there are those women, I just don’t happen to be one. No, Mr. Johnson the things that I say to make me feel better about myself when I find the old self esteem ship is sinking are usually related to:

1. The dopeness of my theatre artistry.

2. My phenomenal skills as a parent.

3. And the fact that I’m an honest to god “decent” human being who doesn’t see the need to maliciously belittle others to feel okay with myself.

I’ll cop to it Mr. Johnson, what you said hurt my feelings. I will not put on a brave face, and hide behind wit.  It was a throw back to play grounds and that shitty year I had in the sixth grade, but I will let your words stay right where they are because they are a reminder that I am bigger than that.

Yes Mr. Johnson, I’m  BIG.  A fat woman, if you will. I’m about two and a half of your girlfriend. I’m also BIG in mind, BIG in spirit, and BIG in aspirations (usually achieving whatever I put my mind to), so indeed there are going to be a lot of men I’m too BIG for in many more ways than just the physical. And I am quite alright with that. I bid you and all 100lbs of your girlfriend, adieu.

Rosie.

Tick. Tock.

Mortality knocked on my door today, utterly uninvited … that bitch.  I mean how rude. Here she is showing up as I am drifting happily along in the cheap hotel jacuzzi of my denial.  She hides her house warming gift in the middle of the thicket that is my pony tail. A gray hair. SONNOVABITCH.

And now some context …

We gray very slowly my family.  My mom at 64 has very few grays.  My Nana passed away at 78 still salt and pepper.  It was my expectation that my hair would stay brown (or whatever the hell color it is) until I was at least 40. But alas no. “Fuck you lady.” says The Universe.   “You gotta get old too.”

Heartless.  Just heartless.  I was able to get on with my day fairly well, although I could not escape the feeling that I was being chased by something, like … my future.  Visions of crumbly bones, sagging jowls, and Depends had me on the run.  Granted some of these fates are avoidable with dietary changes and an increase in exercise, but the water in this denial jacuzzi is so blasted warm and comfy that I don’t know if I feel like …

It’s not the dying part I’m worried about. It’s the growing old and “losing” the things I do like about myself. Like my taunt, clear skin.  Hell, I just started liking my fat ass and eventually it’s gonna get to looking like an empty trash bag.  It’s another one of those universal lessons on the impermanence of things I s’pose. “The only thing that is certain is uncertainty”, I hear Eckhart Tolle whisper in my head as I sob quietly into my youth rejuvenating tea.

It’s like 50 First Dates.  I have to keep finding ways to fall in love with myself everyday.  It’s a challenge that I’m up for most days, but others … well that’s where my jacuzzi comes in.  Join me.  The water’s nice ;).

Rosie.

So much to aspire to, so little time.

All of my possessions.

I’ve been a lil slow on the key stroke lately because I’m currently acting, and I have to say it’s been a strangely and wonderfully odd experience.  Each night I leave the stage I am utterly drained.  Think about Swayze in Ghost … okay well think about his situation in reverse. Every time he jumped into Whoopi‘s body (umm … yeah), he was completely drained afterwards.  For 2hrs four characters that were and are honest to God human beings inhabit the inside of me.  It’s like slicing the pie of my conscious self into four pieces, four very different pieces.  I try my best to have each “spirit” tell a 100% honest story  that usually begins in a place that I can personally relate to on some level.  It’s been like an exorcism sans the pea soup and holy water.  I never thought that I could love acting this much. Who knows, this might just be habit forming ;).

Rosie.

Coming Out.

Once upon the time in the ghetto, there was a little girl whose mother had taken very ill in her lumbar spine.  Her mother would be restricted to bed for at least a few weeks, this making for the most terrible of living conditions as there was, no interweb, no DVR, No TiVO … hell there was no cable in this particular ghetto (not until the mid-nineties anyway). The little girl was in a state of deep despair.

“How,” she pondered “will I save mother from a fate worse than death … BOREDOM!”

She wouldn’t ponder for long before an idea came to mind.  After gathering bed sheets, shoes, kerchiefs and anything else she felt might be useful the girl mounted a one woman show: Gone with the Wind Redeaux! With pain staking attention to character movement, vocalization, and wardrobe she seamlessly became:

Scarlett O’Hara –

“Fiddle-De Dee … I will never go hungry again!  Tara!”

Mammy –

“You ain’ spose tuh show yo bossom fo three’o clock Miss Scarlett, but go’on since you’s a hoe anyhow!”

Ashely –

“I would love you Scarlett darling, if I weren’t a homosexual married to my cousin, and if you were a man.  A hot, hot man.”

Melanie –

“Oh Scarlett. Sweet Scarlett.  I’m Ashley’s beard.  Besides, only a woman can give you what really need.  Ooo look there between my thighs, I think I’m having a baby.”

and

Rhett –

“You ought to be kissed, and often, and by someone who knows how! And I don’t give a damn!”*

*which oddly explains why the little girl as an adult often fell in love with emotionally unavailable men who screwed like champions.
 

Guess what?  The heroine of this trite and tale, is yours truly.  I never conceived of my childhood shenanigans being anything more than me being silly to get people to laugh, and more important, like me.  What I was being though, was an actor.  In the last few years I have sheepishly studied the craft  particularly enjoying dialect and character study.

Despite being officially learned, and pretty good at it by the assessment of others, I’m often too intimidated to put myself on stage. I have forced myself through here and there, but now I’ve committed to do the first honest to God play  that I’ve done in years. There are multiple roles that will force me to flex every acting muscle I have, to utilize every drop of dialect training I got and …

I LOVE IT!!!!

I’d forgotten how much I love it. There is a reason why I choose to consider myself a “theatre artist”.  It is because while writing is and always will be my first love, I want it all. I am theatrically poly amorous.  My attention starved inner child – you know, the one that parodied one of the most racially inflammatory movies of our time for my bed ridden my mother – craves the adoration that only a live audience, captive or liberated, can provide.

I shall not deny myself that pleasure a moment longer.  Why did I wait so long to embrace this side of myself?!  No matter. It is here and now that I make my confession to the world: I. AM. A THESPIAN!

Rosie.

P in pretty.

“Yo!”, I  was thinking as I heard this song on my drive home from work this morning.  “This song used to be the SHIT!”  I was about 19 when it came out and as about self-conscious/self-loathing as I could get.  Outwardly, there was no good reason for me not to think I was “thebomb.com” (I hate Tamar. Why then, am I quoting her ? Anyway …) I was gorgeous, had all my teeth, a bad ass shape, and flawless skin.  My insides however, were about as ugly as they could come.  I had blinders on.  I could see little of my external beauty and none on the inside.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Awareness is a BEAST.  Looking back it’s utterly amazing the shit I did not know or could not see.   If I could’ve see myself then as I see myself now the world would not have been safe.  Either that or I wouldn’t have depending on how the other variable in the equation, my incessant need to self-destruct, played in.

It’s cool though, we “see” when we’re supposed to “see” and are never too old to shift our perspective.  As of right now though, to quote Yeezy : “Goddammit, I’m killin’ this shit!” and I’m killin’ it despite a few less teeth, a larger body with rickety bones, and the onset of adult acne (that apparently only I can see, which might mean I have dementia :/.)  All of my good feelings about me are beginning to originate on the inside and spill outward.  The foundation for my new attitude is my growing ability to accept myself just as I am. Thank God for moments of clarity like this.  Every now and again I throw the blinders on, but Awareness eats through them with the ill x-ray vision pretty damn fast these days. Life is beautiful, and so am I.

Rosie.

Speaking of songs that make me feel hot over 30 … 😉 yowsah!

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.

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!

Pushing the car.

Best Advice
I used to have horrible cars, because I never had money, so I’d always end up broken down on the highway. When I stood there trying to flag someone down, nobody stopped. But when I pushed my own car, other drivers would get out and push with me. If you want help, help yourself—people like to see that. –  Chris Rock

 

I read the above article around the time I suspected my Singaporean goose was cooked.  What got me at the core was the bit about the car.  Was I doing enough on my own behalf?  I can honestly say, I wasn’t.  That’s even hard to write, but it’s true.  I could have worked more hours, I could have dedicated more time to fleshing out more feasible better planned fundraisers.

Would these things have made the financial difference that landed me in school this year vs. next year? Probably not, and since I’m drinking from the fountain of self honesty, on my gut level I knew this.  My credit rating, an F.  My current student loans, while not in default, are a reflection of my youthful (and not so youthful) wastefulness. Add what I owe in taxes, and my day to day bills, and making it over without a wealthy sugar daddy or a co-signer (which would have been an incredibly irrational direction) was going to be highly unlikely.  Even with all this reality lying in wait I prayed that somehow my effort (albeit half-hearted) would part the heavens and allow for some Dickenesque Christmas Carol resolution that would allow for my passage into all that I’d wished and hoped for.  But, a wise man did once suggest that I wish in one hand, shit in the other and see which one fills first.

I could see this experience as one of the most humiliating in my life (and it probably is), go hide, and give up on the idea of grad school in general, let alone on the other side of the world, but that would make me a quitter. Quitters suck (unless it’s self defeating behavior then by all means quit dammit!). No, I shan’t quit, and while I appreciate all the support I’ve been given, the reality is that I have to push my own car.   I have to take this year to get my shit together financially, physically, and emotionally … basically shit I need to do anyway. I have to go back to working night shift (bleh), pick up extra hours (bleh!), and many other things savory and unsavory … all legal I assure you. In short,  I gotta know on my inside space that I gave this shit everything I got before I’m willing to give up.

So here we go world. With the help of a HP with a fairly wicked sense of humor,  I’ve got 365 days to make this thing happen. Help is still appreciated, but it’s time for me to get out and P.U.S.H.

Watch me work.

Rosie.

 

Mom too much?

When I gazed upon the recent cover of  Time Magazine, my initial urge was to vomit.  The churning of my guts was not however due to the overgrown child latched firmly to his mother’s teet.  That was unsightly enough. No, my disgust was brought on by the title of the cover story “Are You Mom Enough?”

Hell, on most days I wonder I’m human being enough, now I have to worry about if I’m mom enough?! Geez!  Okay Let’s see:

  • I don’t cook for him nightly.
  • I DO provide unhealthy fast food substitutes. (*wonder if I should just breast feed :/ )
  • I use foul language around him.
  • BUT I use that language in complete sentences.
  • I’m short tempered with him.
  • That temper usually flares up when he’s not doing what he should in school.
  • I’m ALWAYS busy.
  • I’m ALWAYS willing to drop everything when he needs me.

Well mom judges,  How am I looking? Did I mention I’m a single parent?! That’s gotta get me a bye!

Dammit! Motherhood has been turned into a high stakes game with no clear winner. Do I win if my kid goes to college? If he doesn’t go to jail? If he does both? If he goes to jail, but comes out and is a productive citizen there after? If he goes to college, but his entire life is meaningless? There are just too many damn variables.  I love my son dearly, but I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this Motherhood Hunger Games shit.

So here’s what, I hereby advocate for self honest guilt free parenting (okay… maybe guilt lite).  I don’t need detailed instructions from a some highfalutin MD either.  I’m going to raise my son to the best of my abilities. I will make mistakes, but try my best to avoid the biggies (e.g. neglecting to feed, clothe, or nurture him). Even if I fall on my ass I will vow to get back up and continue giving him all the love and support that a selfish self centered letch like me can :).

Rosie.