This is 2016, Get With It!

Your Opinions Are Just As Important as Mine.

Tri-weekly feels like a strong thing. I may stick with it! This week I discuss Beyonce, Kesha, Kendrick, Taylor Swift, and what they’re actually doing for our society. I’ve gotten into a few Facebook discussions lately, and have desperately stopped myself from re-sharing the blog I wrote about it being ok to be wrong, and to accept knowledge from others, but will just mention that if you’re ever in a position where you may be wrong, deciding to just “disappear” and not acknowledge the issue of your inaccuracies is not the appropriate approach. Let’s all get with the picture and accept that we can receive knowledge from MANY different aspects and types of people. Next issue I’m talking about life post an eating disorder, and continuing with the Love Letters. If you have anything you’d like hear or add, feel free to shoot me a message!

Why The World Was Okay with Kendrick Lamar at the Grammy’s, and Not Okay with Beyonce at the Superbowl (and why it’s bullshit regardless)

Lets get some things straight. What Beyonce actually said at the Super Bowl was this ”

Okay, okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation
Okay, okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation
You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making

My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana
You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama
I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils
Earned all this money but they never take the country out me
I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag

I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it
I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it
I twirl on them haters, albino alligators
El Camino with the seat low, sippin’ Cuervo with no chaser

Sometimes I go off (I go off), I go hard (I go hard)
Get what’s mine (take what’s mine), I’m a star (I’m a star)
Cause I slay (slay)”

So lets be clear, she didn’t SAY anything anti-police, pro universal black pride (this is debatable, but at face value she’s only saying SHE likes these things, she isn’t say WE), or anti-white privilege. She makes an homage to her parents upbringing and how they’ve created her, then identifies those crude comments people were making about her babies looks by pointing out that she likes her babies natural hair, and her husbands large nose. That is all. She also had her dancers in black panther uniforms, which easily could of been seen as reverence to Michael Jackson who did the same thing at one of his Super Bowl performances, but instead was viewed as a promotion of anti-police activity. Well lets talk about the kind of activities the police were doing during the Black Panthers most aggressive period: horrible horrible things. Like really, this is the time where innocent marches would have dogs released on them and hoses fired on them. People were burning down churches where groups of black people would meet to discuss ways to better their people and fight a way to equality. COPS were raping black women AND DOCUMENTING IT! [3] This isn’t to say that cops are great right now either, but there is no reason to immediately assume she’s connecting it to that AT THE SUPERBOWL! In her video, she says a few more lowkey things, but still, nothing really obscene. And the officiers in the video are dressed as the officers from Ferguson and then they lift their arms in a head nod to Eric Garner, but lets be clear, these are items from her video. As an artist, in her own video she has the right to promote whatever she wants, especially if it isn’t immediately harmful to anyone. Kid Rock and MANY others have done the same. (and lets not also mention that Kid Rock brought his confederate flag [which is linked to the KKK] to the Super Bowl not too long ago…) But then! Kendrick Lamar came to the Grammys, and said something. Like really made a statement. And the world LOVED him for it. As they should have, he made statement on how capitalism and our government have continued to enslave black people through private prisons, letting off officers who kill without thinking, and using environmental warfare to get rid of them. I’m going to be honest and say that his diction and clarity with vocalizing words could use some work, so I’m not entirely sure of everything he said, but I got the message loud and clear. How did the media take this? They loved Kendrick! In my opinion, its because he’s a man. Because a man got on our TV’s and told the world about the struggle of black people, he was excused, as if someone just went “eh, he’s an angry black man so, whatever.”. How could I stand for such outrage? Well I didn’t really. Kendrick Lamar is not just another black man vocalizing the black struggle, he is a part of a group of people using their positions to say something! Beyonce used her music video to say something, and then used the Super Bowl to tell people how she felt, in a light and gentle manor. Men (and some women) were outraged that shed use this moment to share her opinion. Well let’s just note that MORE PEOPLE watch the Super Bowl (111.9 million) than the Grammy’s(24.5), so there is reason to suspect that Beyonce was trying to brainwash the masses. But that’s not what was happening, and that not what we seem to be missing. In the grand scheme of the racial binary that puts black people at the bottom of the hierarchy, black women live at the base. A black woman can say less than a man and still receive backlash for speaking IN GENERAL. All people of color go through a struggle, and it’s great to hear Beyonce come out to the world as Black (because she’s oddly only gotten lighter as her career as gone on, which isn’t exactly how melanin works, but regardless she’s kept color) and proud of living her life and rising her child in a pro black lives environment. Kendrick Lamar did an amazing job and truly deserved the respect he got from his performance, but lets no longer allow people to promote Beyonce as anti-police, or say things like “the Super Bowl is a time to come together, not isolate people.” because she did not isolated white people, she’s removing black people from their isolation within the world.

 

No It’s Not Just Taylor Swift Faking Feminism, and We Should All Set A Better Example

While this topic is so fresh in everyones mind, let me start this by saying by no means should this take away from THE ACTUAL PROBLEM which is that Rape and Misogyny are still at a high in the world, and you don’t escape the deeper emotional cuts by having fame or money. And while rape is detrimental for the victim, how we approach and deal with it as a society is also crucial. I am not a part of the TOP 1000 Kesha Fan Club, but I’ve enjoyed her music, and I’ve DEFINITELY followed her case and supported her (in the small [grand scheme] ways I could). So I was soo happy to hear that she won in the case of Dr. Luke suing her for defamation and breach of contract. But then, just as the world so frequently does to my poor, gentle, sensitive, little heart, I learned that she lost in her case in her release from her SONY contract. [Side note; isn’t Sony supposed to be all capital letters? Or did I make that up? I don’t know if I want my google search history to know that this is what I’m indecisive on. I did it. Google didn’t really say no, but it didn’t say yes. I’ll conform to just the personalized capital for conventional purposes, and so people stop thinking I’m screaming at them] The Judge basically said because your [accused] rapist has invested so much money into you, you can’t possibly expect to not give him what he wants. Which is the equivalent to “if he buys you a drink, then you’ve gotta sleep with him.” and its crazy that the law just justified this by saying the contract was “heavily negotiated and typical of the industry.”* The world, the justice system, and a bunch of people, have just failed Kesha. And not only have they failed Kesha, they’ve shown women and girls, yet again, that a mans investment in you is worth more than your ability to be in control of your body and life. A MANS approval of your body, your life, and your livelihood. This leads me to a woman who has gotta split reviews on her very conservative views on how a woman should dress, Ayesha Curry. Mrs. Curry tweeted “Everyone’s into barely wearing clothes these days huh? Not my style. I like to keep the good stuff covered up for the one who matters.” & then “Just looking at the latest fashion trends. I’ll take classy over trendy any day of the week”. My very own family member supported this statement by saying something along the lines of dressing a certain way for her boyfriend. *dramatically fans self as if depleted* I’ll say I mostly blocked it out of my memory, but I think I maybe kindly mentioned something about how ancient African Women wore no clothing until they were married because the man forced them to. Nudity was a form of freedom and expressed strength, confidence, and availability to work. And after further research, nudity was a think everywhere until men decided the world should be more moralistic, antisexual, and use more of the body-shaming edicts of the Victorian period. But even in modern society women are fighting back their ability to control their own body and what they wear on it “there is an independent Republic of India, the jains are again unhampered in their religious practice of nudity. In India today, some women have also joined the ranks of the naked Jain ascetics.”*1 So Mrs. Curry, you have the right to dress however you’d like. But you may not shame anyone for deciding they’d like to wear less clothing. The body belongs to the individual and promoting a man approval for our bodies isn’t beneficial for society.[2] It leads men to make decisions like “well she dressed like a slut, so I raped her.” and feel justified. Or judges to say thing like ” granting the singer’s request to nullify her deal would undermine the state’s laws governing contracts and the court couldn’t do that.” When asking to be completely disassociated with someone she is claiming raped her. Tragic, truly. And we’ve heard our other celebrities opinions on this matter. I won’t list them, but here’s a look of supporters from Lady Gaga to Halsey to Lorde. And Taylor Swifts first issue of support comes from a representative of hers letting the world know Swift donated 250K, “In a show of support, Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time,” a representative for Swift wrote in a statement.* So publicly, Swift has made no actual attempt to support Kesha, or talk about rape victims. Instead she’s given an ABSURD amount of money to Kesha, to help her with her legal issues. Earlier today I made a list of more effective, and caring ways Taylor could of shown real support, and not just show face (to use a slang phrase) and thrown money at Kesha. Here it goes; 1) allowed Kesha to sing covers and duets of Taylor Swifts music. (not a breach of contract, gets double coverage so if she did have a different rep with Sony they wouldn’t be able to completely deficient the album and she gets to immediately get back into the performing game)
2) talked about her own interactions with negative/abusive men within the industry and let her fans know that not only was she not standing for it but they shouldn’t either (someone mentioned that Taylor Swift has been sexually assaulted. I haven’t heard of this before, and have yet to look into it, but if its true it would of been way more forthcoming to relate than to have you PR person communicate with her and the public [and she doesn’t have to be public about what she’s doing, but she choose to be public about the very specific amount of money she gave out. She could of just said a large sum. We needed to know just HOW much Taylor cared. And the only way we could know that was by knowing how much she spent. I assume is the rationale there…] and also let her fans know that they should also speak up of these incidents. She literally said nothing and just gave money.)
3) reached out to Kesha personally, asked her if she could assist in any legal fees or if she needed help finding a better lawyer. (so I don’t know that this didn’t happen. But again, think about the very selective amount of information she’s chosen to let us know. It’s not like this just slipped out)
4) donate $250,000 to someone willing to start a record company that avoids this misogynistic bullshit. (this is so real. First! I’d like to mention that all of those fans that Taylor Swift has ever helped/visited are white. I don’t think that her whole fan base is white. but maybe those are the people she notices the most. I don’t know. I’m just saying I did the research. Second, money fights the problem, which benefits the victim. To just give Kesha all that money and not go the step further with your belief and make the true difference, you are again not saying anything. Just hoping the money will either hold her over until someone does something, or keep her quite for awhile. I don’t know. She doesn’t seem like a terrible person, but the terrible ones sometimes don’t seem half bad.)
5) actually use the words that not only was Sony wrong for forcing her to stay in her contract but that the LAW was wrong for forcing a rape victim to be owned by her rapist. (again, USE YOUR VOICE! USE YOUR PLATFORM! YOU ARE AN SELF PROCLAIMING FEMINIST!)
and not just taylor, but since she’s really trying to use her feminist platform and claim to want equality for all women, I’d like her to be a little more educated on how genuine feminists behave. 

that last part was just a little push for my point. I’m not anti-Taylor Swift. I’m Anti-bandwagon feminist who don’t get that feminism is a hands on, down and dirty, kind of task. It’s not sending a PR to give your regards; Its walking up to your students parent who you know knows their child is getting bullied and asking them what they plan on doing about it. It’s releasing a video explaining that you will never understand exactly what its like to be a rape victim if you are not a rape victim, it is letting all of your fans know that “Our focus should be on the topic of victims of sexual and physical abuse being afraid to come forward with their stories. They’re more likely to face retaliation and harassment than to see justice being served. Especially women. It baffles me that when it comes to serious issues like equality and abuse, too often women are not taken as seriously as men. All I want to see is women coming together and actually making a difference. A real change and shift in society. Everyone has their own way of giving support to others , and at the end of the day, helping victims is all that matters. Ultimately, the message I want people to hear is it’s okay to come forward with your abuse and if you do decide to take action, you are not alone”- Demi Lovato. We all need to be doing our part in supporting women. And supporting Kesha. No, I am not saying helping someone financially isn’t supporting them. I’m saying only giving someone money (and doing it through the grape vine) isn’t a very feminist way of approaching a matter of such misogynistic and victim shaming matters. It doesn’t help others come forward, and it doesn’t make a difference for ALL women, just that one.

*I’m actually going to a panel discussion with men who are victims of false rape accusations and anti-rape activist who support the right to make an accusation, but not the ability to ruin a persons life on a false one. I’m excited for this panel because it’s not a common voice to be heard, and I hope its not aggressive. FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES if Kesha is lying, there are ways for Dr. Luke to regain views in the eyes of the world. I’ll talk more on this when I know more. But know that I’m not for viewing anyone as guilty before proven, I’m just saying if someone is claiming they have been sexually assaulted, it needs to be taken care of as the first priority and not after a defaming case & a contract case, and that she shouldn’t be forced to work with that person. IF it was false though, that person wouldn’t want to work with her either, ya know? Its not all about the words that are written, but the context they’re written in.

Love Letters To Yourself. (continued)

I hope that each issue I can post a new poem (or two) here, adding to the list to make this one giant love letter to yourself. I’ll start us off, but I’d love for some more outside writers!

~Dear Self,

Don’t. Just Don’t. Its probably not as bad as it feels right now. And in a few years from now you’ll be reviewing this moment as the small fears that didn’t hold you back. You are worth everything, and so much more than that fact. You are your own rock and you don’t need to try to break yourself. You will recover from all things, as long as you can believe your way through it. You may never love again, but you will always love yourself.

Jay<3~

~You can wash windows your whole life and never see things clearly. You can demand change from the coinstar but never feel the cold, heat. You can love someone forever and only get to be with them for a moment. You can love yourself enough, but always need more. And thats okay. You can never be satisfied, and continue to exist. Look at a perfectly blue sky and wonder why there isn’t a hint of pink. Walk through the forrest without shoes on and step on a twig. Touch the fire. Feel the burn. And challenge yourself to make a difference every day.~

 

[2]- I good (not discrediting it, but I can imagine there are better articles out there as well, this just happened to be a mildly personally opinionated one that I read) article on why it isn’t appropriate for women to frown upon other women wearing more or less. It also shows some other female opinions.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ayesha-currys-tweet-on-dressing-modestly-sparks-debate-on-feminism_us_56659be0e4b08e945feff951

[3]- read this, then go hug a woman, just because you’ll realize that with these numbers, this sort of abusive has happened to SOMEONE in their or your own family.

http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CAT/Shared%20Documents/USA/INT_CAT_CSS_USA_18555_E.pdf

Here are also a few places to look for what the industry (is just assault in general) does to victims, and what other celebrities are actually saying about it (and willing to actually do something about it)

Jack Antonoff Offers to Produce for Kesha

JoJo comments on her personal struggle with contracts in the industry

Lady GaGa releases video from a victims point of view

Lena Dunham releases an essay about how Kesha’s case is about more than just Kesha (I enjoyed this essay, mine is a little more broad, and covers another important topic, but her’s is a great key in

Reese Witherspoon Starts her own company to avoid misogynistic practices

 

Don’t Call It A Comeback!

Because I’m well aware I’ve been gone for three weeks. BUT I’m transitioning back into college life which is 1 paper per class, per week. So I do a lot of writing. But I genuinely love my blog, and my readers, and the process of writing, so I knew I had to get something out this week. This week I talk about accepting all people for what they are showing us, and not looking into the outside things or applying our own wants on them, a small anonymous memoir about living and dating post rape, and a section I’m starting for February called Love Letters to Yourself. Enjoy, share, and join in the creation!

 

I Accept You for What You’ve Shown Me You Are

I have touched on this topic a few times in previous posts, but I’d like to relate it full circle. First, I’ll observe my friendships. Friendships are intricate, delicate, relationships. They require so many little things, and so few big things as time goes on, which can’t be said for other types of relationships. (I’m going to re-disclaim, like always, these are my personal opinions and observations and may not be applicable to all people.) When I first decide that someone I’ve met would make an awesome friend, I normally take the first few weeks to dive into who they are and get to know them. This involves spending time together, communicating via some technology, and honesty. If you’ve ever tried to make friends with a person who was dishonest, you can normally feel its destruction from the beginning. As I say this I realize that there are many people with friendships based on dishonesty, and if you’re happy that way, do you. But the best of my friendships are based on honesty. At one point or another in our friendship I’ll find myself so engulfed in your life, I’ll consider if I have romantic feelings for you, and more than likely, I’ll discover that I just love the process of getting to know an honest-open person. I’ve been known to make some interesting friends. In my attempt to be impartial and allow people to present themselves as they truly are, I find myself friends with people that some people would have not so nice things to say about. Terms like “bitch” or “two-faced” can be loosely thrown around without realizing the extremity of those depictions. Some people think people who are overly honest are “bitches”. I occasionally find myself friends with those people, and appreciate everything they have to be overly honest about. I also point out the moments I think they’re being insensitive, and normally, those people either DGAF, or don’t even realize they’re hurting someone. The people who DGAF I politely debate with and then normally come to a standing around terms like “well I understand that you have the right to point out and express your opinion, but if its not going to better a person BEFORE it takes them down, then you’re not only waisting breath, but you’re putting bad energy into another persons life.” (I have a very liberal therapist like approach to these sort of conversations) Good friends keep their friends knowledgable by pointing out things like that (being insensitive) while considering that some people just don’t intend to hurt people, but actually accidentally can go about life leaving bad ripples with people on misread and misinterpreted conversations. This doesn’t work for everyone. Some people do just kind of suck. I’m not quite strong enough, or smart enough, to figure out how to get through to those kind of people. Now I’ll take this further, to a Facebook debate/conversation I had over Hilary Clinton. I’m just going to post the breakdown here and I’m OBVIOUSLY leaving out the persons real name because this is just an example of two things 1) how we sometimes look for things in our presidential candidates that they aren’t actually advocating for, and 2) that sometimes it takes really breaking things down with a person, and its not about “winning” but about informing.

Janelle: (in response to this article, which discusses why Hillary hasn’t stood her ground on certain topics) i’m not pro-bernie, or anti-hilary, but I don’t think this article should convince anyone to vote for her, but should explain why Hillary leaves us wanting more from her and expecting more than she’s giving us. Her husband had so much more to stand for than she is showing us, she’s not really FIGHTING any battles, she’s just trying to ease her way in quietly. If she felt that she was being pushed against as a women then a strong president would make that known, and would shut that down, as to not set that example for ours and younger generations. Get up there and say that scary things that will cause people to think you’re crazy, and then DEFEND YOURSELF. She’s been so passive and nonactive this whole campaign. its like she’s running for president as the enabling mother as opposed to the leader ready to make a difference.
Friend I didn’t say this should convince people. Or give actual reasons as to why I’m personally voting for her. BUT, it is written as if taken from my mind. Everything that is said is exactly how I feel about her and the situation. That’s all. The fact you said she is “easing her way in quietly”..you’re right. Huge issue. Her husband got to fight his way in. Because he’s a man. She CAN’T make that known or she’ll lose. That’s the whole point of this article! She has to walk with a big stick quietly. I would be doing the same if I were here. Then again, none of us are actually running for president, so no one can really say what we would actually do in that situation. But again, you thinking she should defend herself. Be less passive. I get it. But therein lies the issue. She CAN’T. But I bet if she’s elected she will.
Janelle: not saying you said it was there to convince people, but you using this as an example as to why you’re voting for her isn’t exactly cohesive. She CAN make it known. WOMEN CAN DO THINGS. And thinking that we can’t is why it’s taken us years to get someone close enough to getting into the house, and what? we’re just supposed to HOPE that when she comes into office she’ll finally speak up and have a feminist mentality. If the prominent feminists in history didn’t do things because they didn’t like how people would make them seem we’d go no where. Obama couldn’t “hide” his race from the public eye, why is it acceptable that we consider that Hillary is “hiding” her opinion because she’s a women? this brings me back to my point of Hilary setting an example. Our presidents should be setting an example. I don’t disregard the articles points, I just think they’re weak excuses. She’s loosing right now because she hasn’t made anything known. And to me that is Hillary’s problem. She’s not running for president to make the differences that need to be made, she’s running for the security of the position, and then we’ll PRAY that she makes the differences that need to be made. And we’ll PRAY that she gets into the white house (in a place where not only will she be extremely out numbered by men, but held to even MORE difficult positions where her gender could be used as a retort against her) and decide that she can finally start standing up. People who play it safe aren’t suddenly going to put their neck out on the line, people who play it safe are going after their OWN goals. Think about Aaron Burr (to end on two of the best Hamilton the Musical quote) “If you stand for nothing Burr, what’ll you fall for?” AND “when all is said and all is done Jefferson has beliefs. Burr has none.”
Janelleand this isn’t to tell you you shouldn’t vote for her, its to make you aware that you shouldn’t HOPE for a president to do things that they’re not saying they’re gonna do. That’s just setting yourself up with false hope.
Friend: Well, again, I didn’t post this to start a debate or long discussions. I respect your thoughts and opinions on it. But we’ll just have to agree to disagree and hope for the best
Janelle:  I don’t really see why we’d have to agree to disagree. I’m stating complete facts. If this was a debate, your job as an advocator would be to present facts that Hillary is standing up for true change for women and people. If you’re not willing to look into facts and actions, then why are you really voting for her? Long discussions are healthy, the same way reading articles are healthy. and true knowledge is power. Just saying.
Friend: I personally don’t believe that. I understand what you’re saying about change, and women CAN do things and whatnot. But in this particular situation I don’t agree. I would be doing the same thing in her position. Playing the game. Doing and say what she needs to to get into the primary. And then standing up and advocating harder. I’ve looked into her facts and actions. And that’s why I’m voting for her. Long discussions are healthy, sure. But not what I posted this for. And not something I’m in the mood for.
Janelle: Why don’t you agree? You don’t think that president Obama had a lot to fight against? If you’d play the passive card in this situation then you ALSO aren’t in the position to be president. Presidency isn’t a “let me sneak in” game. Its a game of this is my position. This is what I stand for. This is what I’ll do for my people. If you’re not in the mood for clarity on your opinion than I’m not going to push. but ignorance is the reason our world is in the place its in now. just hoping that things will get better when someone is in the house isn’t helpful when we have real issues we need to know are going to be addressed and dealt with. I don’t want to “guess” or “hope” on what my president will do. I want them to put their name out there that they’re going to make a change and a difference. I want a president who’s ready to actually take a stand.
Friend: Well it seems like Trump has the take a stand mentality down. But okay. Bottom line is we have different thoughts and time will tell what’ll happen.
Janelle: Good lord, Trump scares me. But at least I know what to expect from him. But yes, we do have different thoughts, and I hope time tells us that the BEST things will happen! *shakes hand* ❤ & I’m glad we talked
Friend: Trump scares the SHIT out of me haha. But he sure is a fun satire talking point in conversations! But I agree! Hoping for the best EITHER way ❤
People aren’t “bitches” or “difficult” they just need to be spoken to sometimes. That goes for me, and that goes for my friend. We educated each other. And I accepted her for exactly what she had shown me, so I knew we would make it through the conversation with a friendship in tack.

Living and Dating Post Rape by Anonymous

A rape victims trauma goes past the actual encounter. A rape victims trauma leaks into their daily ritual with phrases like “check the corner before you go.”, and “don’t walk down that street, the light doesn’t work.”, or even”if you’re going to be out late you should wear something a little less provoking.”. As you heal and grow, some of these ween their way out, some of them take less aggressive turns, but the trauma still ripples. The scariest place it ripples into, is dating. The questions become “will I ever trust someone enough to go back to their place?”, “can I trust this person to respect my body and my opinion.”, and a scary one is “is this person a rapist?” To some, like me, your rapist was a friend, a person you thought you knew, a person you NEVER thought was a rapist. Well you can’t crawl under a rock and masturbate for the rest of your life, so you’ve gotta figure out a way to make yourself comfortable in the dating world again. There are a few steps that I’ve taken that have helped me out a ton. 1) I only do things I’m completely comfortable with. Gut instinct and all. 2) I’m forthcoming with all of my interest. “I don’t like it when someone grabs my wrists.” and am always very polite about bringing up sexual things I’m not into “I don’t do anal. I don’t try anal. And I don’t want anal. Ever.” 3) I decide when sex is appropriate and I make the decision before I’ve had a drink. I clarify that decision with the person I’m out with before we start to drink. That leaves no indifference later, and if it arises, I know that that person has no regard for my person requests. and 4) I let people know when I’m going out. This sounds silly, or maybe like a dramatic thing, but I let people keep tabs on me when I’m out. I tell a best friend I’m going on a first date and let them know to check in periodically, if they sense something is up give me a call. Even post first date, some times we’ve been dating for awhile, and I’m ready to go back to their place, I let my friend know to check on me the next morning (and that I’ll possibly give great juicy details if they get me at their earliest convenience). I take precautions that seem natural to me know. And I live with my trauma. And I date with my trauma. Because my trauma doesn’t make me any less than someone else.

Love Letters To Yourself

I hope that each issue I can post a new poem (or two) here, adding to the list to make this one giant love letter to yourself. I’ll start us off, but I’d love for some more outside writers!

Dear Self,

Don’t. Just Don’t. Its probably not as bad as it feels right now. And in a few years from now you’ll be reviewing this moment as the small fears that didn’t hold you back. You are worth everything, and so much more than that fact. You are your own rock and you don’t need to try to break yourself. You will recover from all things, as long as you can believe your way through it. You may never love again, but you will always love yourself.

Jay<3

Dates, The Best You, and The Best Friends.

Its Friday, Friday, Gotta Get Down on Friday

Hello Friends 🙂 Happy Friday! If you’re like me and work every day, Friday is just really another day, its not even pay day sometimes. But this Friday I’d like to chat a little about our current dating scene. Not so much into statistical research as Aziz Anzari in Modern Romance, but with deep insight on the human development and using that to asses and organize my own dating and relationship preferences. I also go into my own philosophical theory that instead of making concrete on its on, I like to throw up against other philosophers work and use it to fill in the holes to their own theories. And then! I talk about friendship. And Aristotle. I discuss what is acceptable to view as a balanced friendship. And what I believe are true #squadgoals. I also have added links to music you can listen to while reading each article. So read um’ and reap ♥

Dating Your Mother and Newer Forms of The Oedipus Complex.

The world of dating seems to be one we enter before we’ve even realized dating is a thing. It starts in boys we like to spend time with at recess, maybe the sleepover with your group of friends and you decide that one has a spectacular life and you’d love to spend every day with her (not really understanding that is what marriage is), and for some, even the Liberian from your childhood library that “just gets” you. All of these are our first memories of dating. But our first memories of love, come from our families. Our love for our single parent or both of our parents, the sibling love that causes you to hate them for small periods of time, the grandma and grandpa love which seems to only ever be giving. We learned love from our family, dating from our random encounters, and literature from our schools. So lets hope we’ve all read Oedipus Rex: The King. The basic take away is that Oedipus’s mother really wanted to be a Queen, so she married her son without anyone knowing. Oedipus loved his wife, so he went crazy when he realized that his wife, was actually his mother. While freaking out he killed a lot of people and made some bad decisions and in the end, made a long speech, and died. (Sorry to any dramaturges that are going to hate my short edition of Oedipus. This is for essay purposes, I do realize how deeply important and complex the actual play is.) So Sigmund Freud decided to use this situation in his theory of the psychosexual stages of development. “the Oedipus complex refers to the child’s desire for sexual involvement with the opposite sex parent, particular a boy’s erotic attention to his mother.” Though Freud believes this development happens in the phallic stages of three to five* , I believe that this resurfaces at another (and possibly SEVERAL other) stages in a life. The first stage I can recount is probably 6th/7th grade, where most people enter Middle School. This is the stage where during my generation, boys rediscovered how much they like boobs. With an unexplainable attraction, boys suddenly can’t help their hormones and boobs are all they can truly focus on. (I do not know what the current generation is losing their shit about, could be butts? could be collar bones for all I know. So this is my disclaimer that this is viewed from my own generation’s journey). I lacked my friends ambitions for male sexual attention until I realized how behind it made me in my group of friends that I wasn’t truly interested. I had started my journey down the ‘Mothering Friend’ path. When all my friends decided to finally let boys touch their boobs, I decided what the hell, I’ll go for it. I can actually remember a moment in my Middle School hallway where a boy was touching my boob (mom, don’t read this, or do and understand how weird my life was) and all I could think about was if other people actually liked this; what could they possibly enjoy from someone being too rough, awkward, trying to look you in the eye so he can kiss you and all you wanted to do is pretend you’ve never noticed the walls of your hallway, when clearly, you had. I remember that feeling too well. It was something I knew too well how to put aside because I “needed the experience”. I at some point believed that experiencing things was the only way to learn, and that I would learn to like these things, if I experienced them. I had a very existential view of life as a child. Existentialism is the notion that our view of life should focus on the experience of human existence in this world. One of the most important things about this theory is how it feels about choice. “It is in moments when an individual fights against his very nature that he is at his best.” -Paul Kleinman. This small detour of thought should also explain WHY boys seek out boobs. Most children are existentialist. Boys like boobs because their moms have boobs and their dads must like boobs because they’ve probably seen their dads porno stash or accidentally walked in on their parents. Or they have a younger sibling coming or around this is definitely drawing a lot of attention to boobs. Curiosity is driving and Experience is knowledge to the 7th/8th grader. By 9th grade I figured out that it was mostly that I wasn’t into boys, so I dropped that and came out. But lets talk about the NEXT stage of development for boys (and kind of girls, but girls also have a ton of other complexes at once going on, and they’re probably contradicting), College. After all the curiosity and experience you’d developed in high school, you are now operating in a whole new breeding ground. They’re fed information like “girls are weak”, “freshmen are easy”, “no means no, but the first two take value away from any no you truly receive.”, “sophomores are experimenting. try a three some.”, “juniors are depressed and crazy, avoid them at all cost.”, “seniors are easy again because they realize none of these relationships will last. fuck them.” (their words, not mine.), and with all of this floating in their heads, they realize that the girl that they actually want to DATE has the qualities of sophistication they can find in their mother, whom they begin to miss terribly since this is their first time spending this much time away. (again, these are not exact guidelines to every boys development. For some only pieces of these can probably be traced in certain ways.) But, college is for sex and education, curiosity and knowledge, NOT for lifetime dating. [things I should have reminded myself in my college career, but took a different existentialist path and decided that trying marriage was appropriate.] So we enter post college life, which has a ton more of new territory, and the sex seems to fade and the education is on your own terms. Here is how the Oedipus complex begins to truly show its ADULT face. You start to date. You like girls that can cook, and clean, and look amazing, but don’t have any kids (because a fresh family is a fantastic family), and she has to be independent (because you mother was in her own special way), but she’s got to need you (the way it seemed like your mother always longed for something or someone). These are qualities I’d find myself looking for, these are qualities I’d find my friends looking for, and these are qualities I’d find my partners looking for. Here’s where being the ‘Mothering Friend’ of my group comes to importance. I am that person. And I’ve ALWAYS resented it. I don’t want to clean up after you, I barely want to clean up after myself. I hate mess, I hate unorganized things, but I can live that way in my own doing for days before I want to clean in it. If you’ve made the mess, I will clean it that same day. I love to cook! You’re hungry, let me feed you. Someone always fed me. Even though I’ve always been shit at completing meals and eating in general, my mother has always made sure if I was hungry, I had the ability to eat. But I don’t want you to just expect it, I want you to ask and constantly appreciate it. You want to be needed? Oh I need you! I need you more than you realize. I need you more than I realize. But I can’t let you know that. You know why? Because I don’t trust you enough. So I’ve got all the need you could ask for, but for some reason you’ll always feel like I’m not giving you enough, I’m not needing you enough. Why? Why do we feel this way? Because I’m not your fucking mother. (again, sorry mom. but being honest and forward works for the inattentive). I’m never going to give you things at the same level she did. I once dated someone where I knew they had mother issues and instead of behaving less like their mother, I turned into their mother, whom I hated. We want these people to fit these molds. If its not our mothers, it could be our favorite celebrity, or our favorite teacher from elementary school. And we’re not satisfied until we’ve found the person that fits our very specific mold. Its crazy! We’re crazy! And I’m watching my generation go crazy trying to look for people in this mold. Growing up I never had a type and everyone thought that was so bad. “You need to have standards or you’ll fall for anyone.” and that is true, so much of me can still fall for anyone. But they weren’t asking for standards, they were asking for a mold. A criterial to follow when dealing with possible partners so that I could get rid of a group of people without needing to get to know them so well, to hypothetically make it easier for me to find “my true love”. This. Is. Bullshit. Standards are great! Don’t date someone who treats you like shit: Standards. Don’t date someone who kills cats for fun: Standards. Don’t date girls with really skinny legs: Bullshit. Don’t date girls with really dark skin: Bullshit. And we so frequently think that our “Standards” are what make dating easier, but then we feel like idiots when we push away someone who fits into our standards and we still don’t want them. We’re putting too much pressure on dating and loving, and forgetting what we learned from literature; That that short of lifestyle is catastrophic. The love we need to want should be accepted in its true form, and not to fit into a love you once received from another. My relationships can no longer represent my crazy desire to be the anti-mother, anti-clingy, anti-readable, girl I tried to hard to create or maybe just the girl someone projected on to me. The person that loves me will love the nurturing side of me that loves to wake up really early and make breakfast, and the clingy side of me that’ll expect you to see my show at least once, and love it, or love me in it, and the side of me that will actually tell you exactly how she’s feeling and sit in silence until you’ve come to a conclusion about how you are feeling. With that being said, I release all people with an Oedipus complex, because I will not be YOUR mother, but some day, A mother. And I release any person who wants me to fit a mold, because I’ll break that shit. And some people aren’t ready to have their eyes opened. But I hope you are. * I came back to this essay later in my day and decided I REALLY wanted to note how important it is to realize your own complexes and work on yourself. And that if you’re left because of your complex, and its a complex you want to keep, then find someone who is willing to accept your complex, someone who’s mold fits you exactly. But I want you to know its hard, and it can be a lot of lonely nights and a lot of crying and some days you’ll wonder if you’re a bad person, or if everyone hates you. These bad things aren’t true, and as a person who is working on yourself, you are currently the best version of yourself and will only get better. You can love you mother, you can love your girlfriend, but you can’t love your girlfriend like you love your mother.

 

Living The Best Truth You Can Conceive.

My best friend is reading a book called The 12th Insight, and he’s sent me a quote from it or talked about it every day this week. This infuriates me, because all I want to do is read it now, but am currently drowning in three books I “promised myself” I’d finish before I went back to school. Ironically I HAVE finished three books, all new books that once I started I couldn’t really put down, so I mostly didn’t prioritize well. My infuriation for my own bad priorities didn’t take away my interest in this book. The quote he’s most moved by is “Once you begin living the best truth you know and see that being of service to others and setting a good example are the best things you can do for yourself, everything changes. You move into alignment with the way the Universe is designed to operate. You stop manipulating, and so you no longer draw manipulators into your life.” I have to admit this quote has so many appealing parts. Living in the best truth will allow you to see your actions as universal (this appeals to the Immanuel Kant lover inside of me) and you are elevated on your own path because you are setting an example for others. But this also has a lot what I’d like to refer to as moments of “euhhhh”. The part that implies that living your best truth is living to please and “put on a show” for everyone is horrifying. Its saying that I should base my truth off of the perception others have of me, and I can best the perception by making sure they are pleased. But there are so many instances where this could be detrimental. If in order to please one person I had to water their plant, and the plant dripped on to another persons head who only sees me with the water in my hand and they have perceived me as being a crappy person. So am I crappy? Do I have to then do something for this random person to make them think I’m not crappy? What if chasing them down and explaining doesn’t work? I have officially lost my best truth, on an accidentally plant pee. Clearly this is dramatic, but my point is my truth should actually be based on my soul. Lets visit Plato’s theory of the soul**, which he breaks down into three parts: reason, spirit, and appetite. Reason: responsible for thinking and understanding when something is true versus false, real versus not apparent, and making rational decisions. In short, Reason is the big picture. Spirit: responsible for all desires that want victory and honor. Frustration of the spirit will lead to feelings of anger and feeling mistreated. In short, Spirit allows us to have some weaker moments, which also allows us to realize our empathy. and Appetite: the very basic cravings and desires. Appetite also features unnecessary and unlawful urges, like overeating or sexual excess. So appetite explains why we can get a little passionate and taken over by our desires. If we based our truth on our own soul, we’d have a lot more leeway in moments of decisions and actions and even feelings. So with a small edit, I’m on track to agreeing with this quote. The rest mostly fits in now, until we get to the manipulation part. This sounds like a passive persons reason for suppressing their frustration with being walked over. The victim claiming that their taking the higher road by just pretending their not a victim. To avoid manipulation, your best bet is to identify the ways you (and people in general) can be manipulated. And to be honest, not all manipulation is bad. Sometimes people would manipulate a wire to receive better quality TV. So the best truth you can conceive could actually be reflection of your soul AND could believe that some forms of manipulation are ok? How does that make you feel? Are you feeling imperfect? Possibly, more human than ever? Thats ok! We as people replaced our desire for perfection with our desire to be static. To flaunt our faults and say view me as they are and take it and change your reality to accept it. As opposed to admitting our faults and continuing to work on them, and asking someone to accept you as person who is working to be their best version. I must clarify that being curvy, or larger, or shorter, or thiner, is not a fault. But being so modest you can’t accept a deserved compliment or getting angry really quickly and blurting out the first most hurtful thing you could think of is a fault. The best truth I can conceive admits that I can be angry and difficult, but knows that I should control those qualities; they can exist, but they can’t ever be in control. I am manipulating myself to be my best self. And in being my best self I am telling someone to accept me for being in the process of creating the best me and to develop with me. Together, we can discover our own greatness.

Friendships That Lack in the Friend Department

I talk a lot about the different types of relationships we have. But mostly because though they can fall into three categories: Romantic, Platonic, Familial, their sub categories leave so much to cover within. Before I get into how to identify and deal with a friendship that doesn’t quiet feel balanced, I will give you Aristotles description of friendship***. To Aristotle, friendship is an activity, not a feeling, meaning it takes both people being active members. There is a mutual love between the two people. According to Aristotle there are three different types of love: Utility- a relationship where only one person benefits, Pleasure- these are for sexual pleasure, or comfort, or safety, and Perfect [or balanced]- which is full of virtue, personal excellence, conceived with good intentions, and the participants share qualities and virtue. In loving a friend, one is loving the good for and of themselves, which promotes a self love with the support of your partner. A good friend wishes to do good for a friend, wishes for the friend to exist [and continue to exist], spends time with that person, chooses the same things, and grieves and rejoices in sync with the other. In short, you friend is a replication of yourself, and your relationships with your friends represents your relationship with yourself. These are Aristotle’s words, not mine! Well this is my summary of Aristotle’s words. But in using these words, I’ve configured a lot of my own beliefs. I completely agree that friendship is an activity, therefore if we were once friends, and have had zero contact for a very long period of time, we aren’t really friends anymore. Our friendship is inactive. Thats not to say we won’t/can’t be friends again, thats just to say I can’t consider you a friend if you’re presence in my life is not active. So this goes hand and hand with his statement that friends must spend time with each other. It is almost impossible to spend a significant amount of time with someone and not learn from or about them. You must love your friend. As I talked about how important it is to love ourselves earlier, and the different types of love, having a friend love is so important. Friend love can share a bed with you millions of times and it never matter what actually took place in that bed, only that they made you feel so comfortable, that you felt you could be yourself. As he goes on to state, your love for your friend replicates your love for yourself. To finally connect this I’d like to point out that your friend should rejoice and mourn with you. It is so important that we feel for and with our friends. This involves being active in their lives, present for them physically when necessary, and being able to access your own emotions for that person by placing yourself in their shoes. With this being said, I know a lot of people that probably still refer to me as a friend, though they have be inactive in my life. This confuses me. This makes me feel like real life has become our Facebook life and the amount of people we refer to as friends is what truly matters, as opposed to the value of those we call friends. On Facebook, this is weird, but acceptable. In real life this is desperate and self harming. We begin to wonder why we feel so lonely when we have so many “friends”. But those “friends” we’re referring to aren’t actually active friends, they’re more like black spaces that have become extremely difficult to make out, but feel like they are taking up too much space. This scary example of friendship, is what we’re doing when we consider a person a “friend” who has given us their 11th excuse as to why they can’t hang out, and have NEVER tried to make plans with you, but if you saw them in a bar, they’d introduce you to their date as their “friend”. Its confusing. I’m not your friend. And though I still find myself in situations where I’m inviting someone out who I know will give me some sort of excuse, I view them differently. I’m not asking for a friend to hang out with me, I’m letting you know that you have the opportunity to give that black space some value again. I’m letting you know that soon, your black space will be removed to make space for some fresh new lively spaces. I’m being respectful, in a way I think people can some times think they’re taking me for granted, I view it as that person taking their value in my life for granted. To me, all of my friends are important friends. All of my friends are excuses to drive hours to get to them at hours of the day and night I do not suggest people to, because they have simply been asked. And I expect the people I call friends to do the same. A friend relationship.

“and with these words, I release you on to the world in hopes that one day you will find the love and joy in yourself, as I once did in you.”

**Platos Tripartite Theory of The Soul

*** Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

Views From Outside My Head.

Happy Hug Day!

Get all the hugs today. And welcome to Janelle’s very late release of her blog. The story as to why I’m late doesn’t matter, but I do hope you noticed. In another attempt to explore all of my interest, today’s blog is one essay on how we connect with other people, and then a Poetry and an Art segment. Poetry has always been a trade of mine. I’ve always written, even when my spelling was terrible. Now it’s better, even without spellcheck, I’ve progressed. But I’ve loved poetry for it’s ability to reach the masses in ways that not all forms of art can be translated. It puts words in places I’d never expect them and in orders I’d never even find practical. Recently, falling in love with Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs started my transition into the depths of poetry. I’ve brought you two poems by poets that I follow, and really do want to open up the form for more poets to send me their work. Isn’t that what matters? We write, and we write, and we bleed, and all we want is someone to read our work. So send it my way, I’ll read, I’ll respond, I’ll request more, and if you’d like, I will share. I also went into some modern artists that I follow. My true love of art came from Bette in The L Word. I remember the episode where she cries at the painting with Ms. Peabody, and I remember looking at that painting, and looking at Bette, and saying “I want to find art that does that to me.” I still haven’t cried at a piece. But I’ve viewed and thought and felt from so many pieces. A women who I’ve watched as a NYC native is Chitra Ganesh. Her paper work is phenomenal and the way she views the human body and human outlook is so complex that it actually can speak the basic (and there aren’t many things that do that). Her work has always caused me to think. So I continued to look for art to present to you that caused me to think. So I hope you enjoy this edition, I hope you think, I hope something moves you. And if you need a hug, I’m around.

What Do Souls Look Like?

This topic stems from a question my mother asked me. This question isn’t like many of the millions of questions my mother asks me, so it felt big enough to speak on. My mother asked me “Do you see people for their physical traits or for their souls.” and my obvious and immediate response was “souls.” A soul is a complex thing, just like a human being; A soul has depth, it has failure and disgrace, but there is also pride and honor. When you begin to view a person for their soul, you begin to understand that there will be “bad” parts of a person, but that is possibly a small part of who they are on the grand scale. While reading an article by Mary Midgley*, I came across a sentence explaining what she refers to as “Descartes’ highly abstract soul”, and explains why it is actually more accurate to view a soul to determine the type of person (or if this was a philosophical statement I would claim a ‘moral person’). “Human beings are not loose combinations of two ill-fitting parts. They are whole, complex creatures with many aspects that have to be thought about in different ways. Mind and body are much more like shape and size than they are like ice and fire, or oil and water. Conscious thinking is not, as Descartes said, a queer kind of extra stuff in the world. It is just one of the things that we do.” I constantly find myself basing my attraction to someone on their personality and the immediate qualities I’ve gathered of their soul on the pure fact that it is much easier to distort your appearance than it is to honestly distort your soul or personality. So, what does a persons soul look like? How do you discover a soul, as opposed to someones representation of themselves? Souls are not discovered in your everyday conversation. You must catch someone completely off guard, right after they’ve eaten, in the middle of netflix and chill, and be like “if you noticed a lot of dead birds around your neighborhood would you call animal control and just let them handle it, or would you look into what kind on anomaly would cause that.” These completely random, very specific, and detail requiring questions tell you the most about a person. Their initial reaction is key, if they don’t freak out because you’re talking during a movie, you know that they genuinely have an interest in hearing whatever it is that your talking about. If they laugh, you know they’ve got a good sense of humor. If they take some time to ponder it, you know they’re willing to go just as far in depth as you are. And then the actual answer itself will tell you what kind of humanitarian that person is. And could maybe lead to a conversation about that time they went bird watching with their father and had an amazing bonding experience. Maybe they’ll take you somewhere you wouldn’t of gotten to go if you had asked them about experiences with their parents. But those are the ways to a persons soul. Those are the ways to identify the true qualities in a person. As I bring this essay to a close, I’d like to mention that vibes, and souls, are different, but intertwine. A vibe, is an energy a person gives off. In my personal opinion, the energy you give off is derived, and determined, from the soul. The soul is developed throughout the life through conscious and unconscious decisions and disasters. Also, vibing is a social thing. Even when you’re vibing with yourself. I read a funny article on how vibes are important to social interactions. “When socializing, a good vibe will be set when the reason for being there is to enjoy each other’s company.”- Tyler Durden

“If the soul is not the product of intelligent design, then there is no teleological function that it is designed to fulfill, no raison d’eˆtre to explain its existence beyond human attributions of purpose.” -**Jesse M. Bering

Poems.

dance naked 

from After Assault

Like a wave on still water
wind through frozen branches
how can I be silent?
how can I stay?
If you try to hold me
I will snap the strongest trunk
howl darkness at the moon

 

and dance naked
far from the forest of your lust

#87 by Adrianne Madison

privileged perspective
blankets like snow
heavy
cold
and white
smothering
the roots
the soil
the rocks
the bugs
the minerals
and all the creatures
big and small
that make our earth
diverse.

*These next few poems are all by me from different points in my life.

One: non-named sexual character 

I see myself in a drug store window.

Tall.

Wearing big boots that make me feel like I’m strutting

everywhere I go.

 

1.

I sang to you

like the song bird of healing

I’m dealing

fine

I looked at a sunset

and it read my mind,

it said to

shine. shine. shine

So I walked away

Sat down at a table

and thought about the days

the months

the triumphs,

that girl with the hair

the crazy smile

and the counter boy with chemistry eyes

and finally I say

“Yes, you can help me.”

 

2.

There was a time

tick. tock.

A limit until the units were seen

flick. stop.

I don’t like it when you touch me there

Just. watch

I like the way you

wear you hair.

 

Insides.

Molecules, ever exchanging

My ideas, are poison, plainly

I think flowers

and it comes out as flames

I keep secrets

and then forget names

 

3.

I am the movement

the desire of equality

we walk miles

for what feels like eternity

my city. my state

my subway is in a destructive state

I pride, in my ability to wait.

 

4.

I caution.

I start and then stop

never scared to leave,

but i always worry about the drop

I always scurry

back up to the top

because good burns like evil

drugs blow, avoid those people

talk slow

my ears are feeble

am I sure?

fuck no.

who knew healing

could feel like a chore

 

Summer

I fell in love with summer

like the feeling of flying

while standing on a roof

or feeding a stranger

and then bonding over books

see summer wasn’t welcome

but i never brushed him off

like a yoga mat

i wanted to stick to you

but you fell through

like a fad

I barely remember what we had

but summer, my dear

always comes back ‘round.

 

What It?

The name

The word

Say it!

You want

You think

So fucking do it

go go go

don’t.

what if

we just talked

what if

there was no edits

no censors

no creatures with scissors

not cuts. backs. or sotolice

just

what if

The stars begun to move as I closed my eyes

and pretended I

could be smooth

dude

what if

I’m not ok?

but I’d never

say to you

what if?

Art.

 

10548245_964549746907516_2721205608533806584_o
Oil Landscape by Pavel Sokov

Pavel has some of the best Oil Landscape paintings I’ve seen. I like this piece because it reminds me of my happy place. Not all happy places have bright blue skies, full green trees, and medium length grass that doesn’t itch. For some people, the happy place is where the trees are transitioning from full of life, to dead and dry; where the only time the transition from light blue to dark blue can seem purple/pink/orange; where life doesn’t have to be blooming because you know there is so much more to death than an ending.

12120076_1632817573672278_7513943131806321022_o
Pieces Of Her by Aliyah Zoe

This is a collage created with water color textures and text film. Aliyah attends Manhattanville College and was in a philosophy class with me, so seeing her art was definitely personal to me (and not so much because  of the tiny crush I had on her). The piece is called Pieces of Her, and I thought it was so fitting, especially as I discuss souls, because of the contrast. These bright pieces of water color stand out to us and we realize how lovely and enticing the person is, but you also see the film with its dark features and you realize that this soul has a dark twist to it. But like a soul, the dark parts don’t change the images overall bright feeling. The pieces of film fit so perfectly with the watercolors that you’re your still intrigued by the whole piece.

bubblegum_by_kazelisa-d9mx2rx
BubbleGum by Shih Chin

I liked this sketch because it says so much about communication. Within that bubble feels like a dirty secret. A part of her she’s held on to for years and is finally ready to just let it pop and tell someone. But then you see the flush of red and the pinned eyes and you realize how horrified she is to tell that secret. Will it hurt me to see it go? Will it no longer be a part of me? Will it blow up in my face? What if the other person changes how they feel about me because of it? What if they don’t like the secret? What if they share it? Am I actually ready to release my bubble gum? Am I ready for it to pop?

p39_paparoni.jpg
Untitled 1989 Created by Keith Haring and Herb Ritts

Keith Haring is an amazing Graffiti artist from NYC. I like the mix of Madonna’s “look into my soul, I dare you not to fall in love.” look and then the clear intrusion of masculine perceptions. You’ve got some on lookers, but one person willing to try. Also it feels like a game of find the hidden phallic symbols!

cosmos_6_by_redstarcarrier-d9mx56p
Cosmos 6 by Silvio

I love galaxies. Images, ideas, stories, I love them all. I once asked someone to paint me a galaxy and it accidentily ended up looking like a turkey vagina in the sky. I still own it. I think it’s pretty cool. I would also own this piece. That little purple blob in the center looks like a person, and I’d like to imagine that that person knows more about everything than anyone.

ma chitra ganesh
Ma by Chitra Ganesh

Sometimes you’re drawn to a piece and you don’t know why. Maybe it represents a piece of you. Maybe it is a version of you you don’t normally see.

wp10.bushra'sdrawing
Bushra’s Drawing by Chitra Ganesh
06_013_Untitled_Tumors-1100x698
Untitled Tumor by Wangechi Mutu

Someone mentioned this looking like a brain to me last night. I can see that, and I even like that thought, but when I first looked at it I saw faces on a tree. It made me think of the amount of people that are effected by cancer, besides the actual person. The person is actually the truck, the branches are relationships, and the “leaves” are the people who are already entangled in that persons life.

ghost-children-606x845
Ghost Children by Wangechi Mutu

This piece felt so important with the amount of black children dying lately. You have a hard working women, trying to get a better place, knowing its a long road, and letting her child take a rest on her back as if to say “you will be exhausted and thats ok, but no one can carry you down this road. the best I can do is be there with/for you”

 

*this is a good article on Mind, Matter, and the application to the human process. I’ve only read the first installment, but feel free to read more and let me know how it is!

https://philosophynow.org/issues/47/Souls_Minds_Bodies_and_Planets

**this article is long. But if you’ve got any interest in the afterlife and how it pertains how the operation of current life, its pretty interesting. I would definitely suggest taking your time and highlighting or thinking on things before going on because it’s a lot crammed into one.

http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/dwegner/files/bering_2006_in_bbs.pdf

Being Real, Being Powered, and Being Drunk

Hello beautiful people.

I once did a dance to a song that said that and now every time I say it I hear it in this dark scremo voice. Never-the-less, I mean every word. It has been a week since you’ve heard from me, I haven’t tried a thousand times or anything, but I’ve comprised two essays and a little mantra list for you this week. I promise I wrote my essays without any alcohol, but the Mantra was definitely tainted with red wine. If you don’t read Lenny, I would most DEFINITELY recommend you read this weeks edition, its the poetry edition and it featured two of my favorite modern poets.

(Dear Philip, I ask the poet in you:
What is worse? Being in love
with someone you can’t have
or being in love
with someone you can have
only in secret?)” – Amber Tamblyn

The Fun in Taking Power from Words

My friends love to call things “savage”. Minimal behaviors, extreme behaviors, silly behaviors, anything they want to call savage is savage; The True American Way. When they first did it I obviously thought it was funny, but a large part of me was like “ahhh the Ideology of Savagery” and the depression of minorities! But then I realized that using it for so many things, and so many times, in such an obviously obnoxious way, is actually the opposite of the Ideology of Savagery. It actually takes the power away from the word savage. This humored me for a little while, so I thought a little further. I started with the extreme, gay. Now lets be clear; I was in a fancy gay club called PRISM in highschool and we went to Common Threads each year and I learned how terrible it was when people would use the word gay for negative things and to bring people down. I swear I learned, and I would never betray my LGBTQ family. That being said, because of the extreme use of gay lately, I think it’s lost a lot of it’s power. It no longer feels like an insult. Because its worn as a badge of honor, its written all over the world, its used in its original manner (happy) for fun and humor, and its been made public that using it negatively is a bad thing. Because of all that work and usage, saying something is gay is kind of like not saying anything at all. Its a nothing statement. It normally and naturally demands clarification, like what does that mean? were there homosexuals? was it super happy? What? It’s filler, its sentence filler. So it’s not really negative. So now I’m thinking, we should just do this to a few other words. And we should all accept it. Like Bad Bitch (or even Bitch in general). We used to (and some still do hear) bad bitch, and think it is a demeaning statement. Like some man calling you attractive and out of your name. Or some guy saying she was bossy or had a personality type he didn’t like. But now we see people like Beyonce and Nicki Minaj using it in a empowering form. I can’t really see what the harm is in taking the negative power away from that word. And Feminist! Definitely Feminist! People used to view that word and think it was a person who hated men. But we’ve taken the negative power away from that word and are explaining that a feminist is just a person who believes in equality for all. If we take the power away from the word, we can keep the power in the individual. Native Americans aren’t savage, because my friend just called a commercial savage, and Native Americans aren’t commercials. Bitches aren’t annoying women, because Beyonce said she’s a Bad Bitch and I don’t think she’s annoying. And a Feminist can’t be a person who hates men, because I know plenty of heterosexual Feminist and Feminist men.

It’s Okay to Be Wrong

The best beings have opinions. I say beings because my dogs definitely have opinions; I know this because they pick and choose who to bark at. And my friends cat has an opinion, which is something like “this whole house is my place and I hate you” and though I don’t like her opinion about me, it is very evident, so I respect it. And the best people I’ve ever met have opinions. I’ve had the most frustrating conversations with people who have strong opinions. I’ve had the most fulfilling conversations with people who have strong opinions. I have strong opinions. Now here comes the hard part. You’ve got an opinion, or have said something, and you’re wrong. *drops jaw*! How could that be? “Have I done any true research on this topic?” probably not. “but I totally thought that felt right, or maybe I heard someone say it and they felt right” but honestly, what can you do? You’ve some how been put in a position and it has been proven that you. are. wrong. I want you to take a second, breathe, and smile. Smiling is the best  way to tell yourself you’re about to make the right decision. And smiling also tells the person that just proved you wrong, that it wasn’t as painful to be wrong as they probably (and not even maliciously) wanted it to be. And say “You know what, I think you’re right.” those crazy words are the best way to phrase “I’m saying its okay that I’m wrong” out loud. And if you’re still content with that internal battle thats saying nahh I’ve gotta be right, say something like “you’re making sense right now. but I’m going to look into this more.” Thats not even admitting defeat, but it doesn’t denote the other person. At some point we took fear in being wrong and it’s translated to making us true assholes in situations. Say you grew up in a household and your parents were conservative republicans? And you struggle with transitioning from a lot of the instincts and morals your parents instilled in you. And maybe you’ve kind of got it, because you grew up in the 90’s or the 2000’s so you think you understand what people are going through, and you say something like “well I see plenty of white families living in poverty, so you can’t really say its white society making it a black structure thing*.” And then, this person informs you of redlining and bank interest being higher on people of color, and then the difficulty of finding a high paying job for people of color post grad**, and then they mention how difficult it is to manage those both, and if they’ve been living in Brooklyn or something they’ll add that they just keep raising the rent on their apartments so they’re finding it difficult to even live. You’ve put a foot in your mouth, and there is a decent way to take it out. Even if you think there is more to your point of view, there is a way to justify that persons opinion, and take time to strengthen yours. It’s okay to be wrong. You will survive! YEEEAYYY.

“Based on this statistic alone and the greater in- cidence of poverty among Blacks is sufficient to conclude that the income disparity be- tween these two groups plays an important role in poverty in general, as well as Black poverty in particular”- Gregory Jordan

Drunk Mantra’s For New Years!

Sooooo! Tomorrow is New Years Eve, and I thought, what can I give people to help them through the intoxication? How about a list of Drunk Mantras! Here are 26 phrases you can tell yourself while making drunk decisions, having drunk conversations, and living your wild free and drunk life. But to appropriately give you some Mantra’s, I have prepared, I am mildly drunk 🙂 I am also watching my favorite episodes of Amy Shumer, Broad City, Kroll Show, Key & Peele, and Bobs Burgers. Let the Mantra’s begin! (this ended in an accidental 2 hour nap! Look at what I do for you!)

1. No one can tell me what to do with my body or my heart. but beyonce.

2. I knew that was my drink, but since I’ve questioned it I’m going to ask the bartender to give me a new one. I’ll politely let him know that the $10 drink is better than the lawsuit I’d file if I was drugged.

3. “NO MO FO MO” Iilana Glazer

4. If (s)he’s not a yes on your first drink, don’t let them be a yes on the 5th.

5. “Reuse, Recycle, Rhianna.” Iilana Glazer

6. “Everyone’s chasing a good time and it’s always a disappointment … I always end up drunk and disappointed.” Jennifer Lawrence

7. We should meet as many people as possible. We don’t have to like them all.

8. Biting of lips is pretty much normal so if they’re not into that they’re not normal.

9. wine before beer, you’re in the clear, or don’t drink beer, because you’re a respectful adult and classy as fuck and beer with give you a useless gut.

10. If you’re on an adventure, and you see a bunny, 9 out of 10 times you should follow it. That 1 time is in the case of that bunny looking like it may be setting you up. mostly suspicious behavior. Like Alice’s bunny, she shouldn’t of followed that bunny.

11. You can’t fly. Don’t jump off of things.

12. You are the most attractive version of you in your whole life because you are the most developed you’ve ever been. You are a priceless antique and will only grow more worth with age.

13. Bathrooms are acceptable places for 2nd base if they are clean and you won’t be holding someone up.

14. If you are asked a question and don’t know how to answer, respond with a question until you figure out whats going on.

15. If you can tell your words are slurring, you can have one more drink before you mustn’t speak again.

16. Guys that are attracted to girls who don’t talk probably have something they don’t want told.

17. Always gauge your body temperature to decide of a part of your clothing has gone awry.

18. DONT MIX DARK AND LIGHT. Just don’t. You don’t need to.

19. Throwing up is a totally ok human act. Just be considerate of where you throw up.

20. If your best friend is about to make a mistake (S)HE’LL regret, you may call a small intervention in the bathroom, but don’t make a scene in public.

21. Don’t put your card on a tab. Open a tab with cash. Close your tab with the card if need be.

22. If you push someone, say sorry. It was probably an accident.

23. If you spill your drink on someone you have to buy yourself another drink and the other person a drink. KNOW THE RULES!

24. Drunk friends don’t turn down other drunk friends, if you don’t want to be the person that comforts them, find someone that will. Don’t let your friend have a shitty night. And don’t have a shitty night because of a friend. (that should probably be a separate one but whateva!)

25. Life is full of moments you can’t get back, do the things that make you happy in the moments you have, so that you can always look back to happiness and forward to positive potential.

26. Live and let live, Love and let love.

If you celebrate Kawanza, enjoy Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith)!

 

*http://www.asu.edu/mpa/Jordan.pdf

This is a scholarly article by George Jordan and it does a great job of explaining and giving you graphs and stats on some of the reasons as to why Black poverty is structural.

**http://www.nationaljournal.com/next-america/education/african-americans-with-college-degrees-are-twice-likely-be-unemployed-other-graduates

This is a great article by a woman who’s name is very similar to mine, but not me.

There is always fear in a first…

I’m not sure if thats the best, or worst way to title your first blog entry, but it’s the most honest one I could think of. When I decided to start a blog I feared I’d become one of those people that everyone hated. So I kept it in the closet longer than I kept my sexuality there. And finally, after being the annoying friend that goes “would you really read my blog if I wrote one?” as if my friends had the most selective eyes and would go through a great deal to have 5 or 10 minutes to read my entries. They love me though, so they’d agree even if they did. But then I struggled with what one does with a first entry? Before I had time to search and look at other blogs (which I must admit, I don’t do much of) I decided I wanted to do it in the style of Lenny, which I try to read every time they send one out. I have a love/hate relationship with Lenny; I love the creators, I loved I’m Not That Kind Of Girl, I think essay format is personal and straight forward in a way most people think is annoying, and I like that I get content from outside writers. The things I hate are truly unimportant, because I’ll just hope to avoid them in my own blog. So here I go, three topics I felt were important enough to dive into, and three essays for you to truly get a feel from my POV.

sometimes we don’t do things we want to do, so that others won’t know we want to do them.

– M. Night Shyamalan, The Village

What is a Friend For?

Not just a song from my senior recital, but a true question I find myself asking. Sometimes I’ll scroll down my Facebook timeline and see that post that says “Shout out to all those friends low maintenance friends that don’t talk to for months because we’re both living our lives but know we’re there when we need one another.” Why is that an ok thing to agree with? You are basically saying its cool to only talk to me when you need me as long as we can still call each other friends, which we aren’t really. Its this whole “If I admit I’m a shitty person, then you can’t expect me to be a better person because I told you I was shitty” idea. Thats absurd! I get that you are a shitty person, for some reason you’ve developed those qualities, but you should not just want to be a shitty person your whole life. You should be trying to be a better person in general. So you don’t just get to go on being a shitty friend, if you want to have good friendships. I’d like to quote Aristotle, who believed that friendship was VITAL to The Good Life “for virtuous people are enduringly virtuous in there own right, and enduring [friends] to each other. They neither request or provided assistance that requires base actions, but, you might even say, prevent this.” So you’re not going out of your way or forcing yourself to speak to someone, but there is a natural and balanced form of communication. Thats a friend. And thats what they’re there for. Friends are reflections of ourselves so that we can live in a kingdom of reasonable and respectful beings. You can’t be reasonable and respectful to a person who just keeps treating you like shit. And you can’t call someone a friend if they only show up when THEY need something. We should stop thinking of the World as these isolated pieces of land that interact, but as a community where we all have to exist together and dependently.

We Are the “Culture of Demanding Apologizes” and You Were Totally on Board With That at One Point…

If you aren’t sure what I’m referring to, you may want to click the link, but basically Tina Fey (the feminist) refused to apologize for casting a White American to play a Native American role in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and then continued to say she wouldn’t buy into our Culture of Demanding Apologizes. For the most part, I like Tina Fey. I mean I’m more of an Amy Poehler fan ( I loved Yes! Please and read the book 3 times, yet only listened to the audio version of Bossypants) but still, I enjoy her, and her opinion most of the time. Until I came across this statement. As a person who has put her foot in her mouth many-a-times, I will say here, that my disagreement with this statement and what it glosses over does not change my fairly positive feelings towards Tina Fey. What we have here, is Tina Fey using her White Women purity*/privilege to pick and choose when she stands for equality. Ms. Fey recently commented on her Co-Star calling her a cunt because she was a writer on SNL and was totally on board the “Culture of Demanding Apologizes” band wagon. But then I remembered getting this weird white-washing/colorblind view from her book.

 “This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel that you are in competition with one another. “You’re up for a promotion. If they go for a woman, it’ll be between you and Barbara.” Don’t be fooled. You’re not in competition with other women. You’re in competition with everyone.”

So here is my imaginary conversation with Ms. Fey, who I hope is just as reasonable and smart as I’d imagine.

J: Ms. Fey, do you understand that in a time where children are marked with the wrongs of this world as early at 5 in ways of photoshop, an uncles hand, or even parents that aren’t there, we need to be a Culture of Demanding apologizes, so we can hold these people who damage our society accountable?

T: You know, in hindsight I see that my statement was a little careless. But I stand by not apologizing for my casting choice. Writing is still a form of creative expression and in a world where we CONSTANTLY say we should have colorblind casting, I felt that Jenna was the best person for that role.

J: I completely agree with you that writing is a form of creative expression and I believe in dramatic liberties and all of the reasons you could of overlooked the fact that Native Americans are the LEAST represented minority on TV**, and that in incorporating the American assimilation process and how difficult it can be in to your storyline, you felt you needed an actress who would hold that weight well and still portray the comedic aspects. But lets not hide behind the colorblind casting to dismiss the fact that maybe you didn’t truly look for a Native American actress to play that role, and you just went with you method of making sure the hard working women you know continue to work.

T: Men do it in our industry all the time…

J: That is so very true, but maybe in acknowledging your true position, as opposed to saying you picked the best actress and that the Native American community SHOULDN’T be offended by your statements, you should admit that you didn’t even notice your backpack of white privilege that you dug into and came out with an excuse for keeping Native Americans off our TV screens, out of our Sitcoms, mis-represented, and continuing the white-washing of all minorities.

T: Well in admitting that would good would it do? Why would I even admit something I didn’t realize I was doing?

J: Because admitting that you didn’t realize you were doing it is a part of admitting that society STILL fucks up, and that people STILL deserve apologizes.

I’m sure things would be awkward for a moment and we’d end by agreeing that it is really hard to be culturally appropriate without babying society. Then hopefully go get drinks with Amy, who was hanging out with the Broad City girls and have an amazing night. But it’s not just Tina Fey that we need to be having these civil conversations with, but ourselves sometimes. It is really hard to try to be culturally appropriate when a lot of culturally inappropriate things are hegemonic to us. Existing peacefully and respectfully takes constant work and acceptance.

Why Women Shouldn’t Slut Shame Other Women

This feels like it shouldn’t need to be spoken on, but lets talk about it. Ms. Curry made a statement about how women dressed and we met two ugly sides of the female opinion. FIRST) We met the side that has been so dictated by man’s approval that brought women to say things like “thats why my man choose me, because I keep my clothes on/dress a certain way” and SECOND) We met the side that believes that their power comes from how well they can put down others. Those were the people who say things like “girls who go out half naked don’t love themselves and are looking for attention”. You don’t know that girl, you don’t know her life, you don’t have any right to say anything about her. When women say these things about other women, the appropriate it for men to feel that way. And if its as easy as wearing the wrong outfit that can have a person assume you think less of yourself, why would one even bother working on their actual self if they could just make their appearance good enough to get by. What goes on my body is my right. If you believe I should be allowed to breast feed my child, you believe I have the right to make the best decision for my body. Not to mention we see men who are in basketball shorts with no shirt on all the time. LET A GIRL WHERE A MINI SKIRT AND A TANK TOP! Stop Slut Shamming. Love each other. And teach people how to love themselves.

 

*Here are some articles on White Women being an excuse for racism: https://newrepublic.com/article/122110/i-dont-want-be-excuse-racist-violence-charleston

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-06-18/church-shooter-told-friends-he-wanted-start-civil-war

** Pop culture freaks: identity, mass media, and society by Dustin Kidd

or his essay “The Revolution Will Not Be Available on iTunes” -Vickerman, Milton and Hephzibah Strmic-Pawl, Race and Ethnic Relations