Horwitz: Listen … If you was a fish, Mother Nature‘d take care of you wouldn’t she? Right? You don’t think them fish just die when it gets to be winter, do ya?”
Holden Caufield: No, but—
Horwitz: You’re goddam right they don’t!
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. He has no past; he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist. He usually has some sort of magical power, “rather vaguely defined but not the sort of thing one typically encounters.” He is patient and wise, often dispensing various words of wisdom, and is “closer to the earth.”
-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:
and I’m like:
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.
Now go laugh at racism’s sting dammit!
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.
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,
I’m delayed in posting this as my New Year began with me a little under the weather in body and spirit, but I’m back (for the most part) and ready to take on 2013. Here goes … A wise man, and quite a few yoga instructors hipped me to the concept of setting an intention. Setting an intention in yoga practice has more to do with giving me a “focus” for my practice. That goal may be something that I’d like to see fulfilled in my life … say … “happiness” … “financial stability” … or “getting laid”. Ok, so I never really set getting laid as the intention of a yoga practice, but BOY have I been tempted.
Anyway … In life intention, at least for me, is similar but magnified to the level of day-to-day living. I set a tangible goal(s) and practice my life in that direction. The trick is, the goal is not the goal, make sense? No? Maybe? Well here’s an example from my life:
Last year applying to and attending grad school was on my “Goals for 2012” list. If you’ve been following me at all over the year you know that I meant business about that shit. I threw all my energy into applying, getting denied, continuing to apply, continuing to get denied until I was ultimately accepted (to a school I technically didn’t even apply to I might add) and ultimately ending up at the school I wanted to attend in the first place.
The gift of that experience, while it was quite unexpected and TOTALLY awesome, was not getting what I wanted but all the hard earned insight and personal growth. The real rewards were:
- Understanding that I need to pay my damn bills because bad credit isn’t going to simply go away.
- Growing a thicker skin when it comes to my writing/understanding that I’m not the best, but certainly not the worse writer there ever was.
- Patience is a virtue … and will mature the hell out of you if you let it.
… and really a whole host of other things if I sat and thought about it.
With all this in mind, I sat down and created my goals/intention list for next year. It was a very forgiving process as there was definitely room for things I did not accomplish last year. It was a joyous process as there were quite a few new things that were added to replaced things I did accomplish in 2012. There is balance, and that is always the goal for me, miss it though I may.
I’ll end with a prayer of confirmation. Yes, I said prayer. Heathens pray too.
I first want to give gratitude to whatever universal forces, ancestors, or beings that guided and protected me into a new year of life. The other night at work while I rushed through unfocused, eager to get off and go about my evening, a patient said something that stopped me in my tracks.
“I count my blessings before I pray for my wants.”
I am abundantly blessed in my life. I am relatively healthy, as are my son, and family. I have an amazing network of friends that love me unconditionally as I do them. I am gainfully employed at a job that I genuinely enjoy. I’m a thriving theatre artist about to embark on an amazing opportunity of a life time at NYU. Now the real miracle: Despite any circumstances that came down the pipes I did not use drugs or alcohol as a means of getting me through the problem. I celebrated 3 years clean in 2012!
There are so many other things I could have listed, but this post needs to end at some point (and besides … G.O.D. knows my heart right? 😉 ) Now, my “wants”. In 2013 I want to be: A better mother, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister, a better lover (of self), a better love (of others). I want to create healing in the day-to-day practice of my life through art, healthier relationships, and open honest communication.
I want to continue to be able to grow through recovery, face my fears, hell maybe even embrace them. I want to continue keeping the faith when it feels like nothing is going right. I want to continue keeping the faith when everything is going right (because for me these are the hardest times to be faithful.) Most of all, if it is in a higher will, I’d like to be here this time next year writing about how I got through it. If not, I will like my life to be a testimony on how it is quite possible for a poor girl from the mean streets of Elizabeth, NJ to get over.
All this I pray in Sweet black baby Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, The Ancestors, and whoever else will listen’s name …
Happiest and most prosperous New Year to you and your folk!
Rosie.*in recovery we sometimes call GOD, Good Orderly Direction. ever stir my soul quite like Mahalia
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:
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:
I will address the rest of this post to Mr. Johnson, the kingly sage of his generation:
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.
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 ;).
So much to aspire to, so little time.
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 ;).