baby makes me.

i got this from the lovely tiona via facebook. check it:

PLEASE POST ON YOUR BLOGS, SITES, LISTS etc. Help us reach the folks we need.

Many of you have already heard about our film, Baby Makes me. For you, this is an update. But for the folks who have not heard Tiona and I are making a documentary together.

For years, I have wanted to become a mother. But the timing has never been quite right. Either my partners weren’t ready, or I was scared, or I couldn’t find a donor or something. There was always something. By the time I rolled into 35, I was tired of being afraid, tired of waiting for the right woman with whom it would be the right time, tired of watching every Christmas roll over another Birthday, tired of watching my peers get knocked up and months later appear with the most amazing little bundle of potential—I was tired of waiting and ready to make the leap, and I was ready to make it alone.

I began the research with great heart—only to discover that there were little no resources for women who either wanted to, or had to embark on the journey of motherhood in the solo. There were one or two essays and a few books on artificial insemination, and some were even directed at lesbians—but most, if not all assumed that the mother would be operating from inside of a partnership, be that partnership heterosexual or homosexual.

The idea for the film came out of a conversation with Tiona to film the pregnancy/labor, assuming that there would be one—because no one, least of all me, knows if my body will cooperate in doing such a thing as conceiving. I envisioned Tiona asking a couple of heartfelt questions and spinning the light to create a high-end home-movie I could show my child at eighteen. She agreed and we began to flesh out some ideas. That conversation, coupled with the lack of resource material out there spurred the project now known as Baby Makes Me.

Baby Makes Me, a feature-length documentary, will explore the challenges and triumphs of Single Motherhood, particularly in the lives of women of color, lesbians and women who make a conscious choice to be mothers in the absence of intimate/romantic partnerships with men.

The film will use as its narrative skeleton, the journey of activist/writer/performer, Staceyann Chin, as she navigates her personal choices with reference to motherhood. Author of the memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, Chin now brings her talents to the medium of film as writer and Executive Producer.

The Director, Tiona McClodden, is a champion of promoting positive images of women in media. Her last film, “Black./womyn.:conversations…”, garnered much respect in both accolades and awards. She now brings her attention to the issue of women and motherhood.

It is our intent to interview a series of women from all the demographic cross-sections. Issues of financial, ethical, medical, cultural, and political relevance will be fore-grounded. We hope that clinics, hospitals, families, children of Black lesbians, straight Black women who want children, mothers of gay women who lament the loss of grandchildren when they discover their daughters are gay, and anybody who seeks to have a clearer picture of the family that includes gay women will see that our lives go on, that women who are single, be they lesbian, or Black or poor, can and do have babies, and that we are simply another group of people who live and laugh and grow. We hope to paint the subjects in the film as human and likable characters who, though they are dealing with slightly different challenges than the women we traditionally see as mothers, are not very different from any other group of people considering parenthood.

We are going to need all the help we can get. We need help in reaching out to folks who would like to be interviewed; other single mothers, women who have been inseminated, women who are thinking about it, women who work in the medical field, women who work in the administrative world of policy etc. We are on the hunt for the all the voices that could represent our story in the film.

We have recently been awarded a grant from ASTREA Lesbian Foundation for Justice and are set to move forward. We write to you now, in the hope that you will want to be involved in this groundbreaking project in whatever capacity you choose: we need space to host fundraisers and screening and other events connected to the film. We need people to fundraise, to promote the film, to host community talks, to suggest topics for discussion in the film—we need to secure additional investors, we need the help of people who are experts in the business of making films, and we need the counter-perspective of people who have never made a film. We are hoping to make this a community effort; from start to finish we want the ideas to be representative of the various factions in our diverse village of the women who mother our children. If you are sure you are unable to do any of the above, we only ask that you make room for our fliers, questionnaires, invitations, and other promotional materials for the film.

We would be honored if you would join us as we attempt to break more ceilings, level more walls to make room those of us who are too frequently left out of the history and imagination of the world we live in. We look forward to a spirited journey with you, from the opening shot to the ending credits—complete with your name listed among the most stalwart of our supporters.

Thanks again to the women who have already offered assistance. We look forward to your being a part of our process.

Staceyann Chin
Executive Producer/Writer, “Baby Makes Me”
Tiona McClodden
Director/Producer, “Baby Makes Me”

Please send all inquiries and requests to: babymakesme@gmail.com

help a sista out.

this post is not about me, but some women who need my/ your help: donna, angeline, and tatjiana.

the best words about donna’s situation come directly from her (link here), but also joan’s post is excellent and sums up most of my feelings.  as far as i know, nobody’s heard from her. i’ve been praying and holding her in my heart, above all. i ask you all to do the same, or more if possible.

also: a child in the DC area is missing.  i’ve seen posts on speak up and raven’s eye.

in NYC, a sista named angeline’s daughter has been taken from her. info here. do what you can; show up, show out, SPEAK up, and SPEAK out.

silence does not protect anyone.

more on food stuff.

i read the comment left by ‘the vegan’ yesterday. and i read it again and again. i was going to respond directly to the comment but felt another blog post brewing. it’s ranty. it’s emotionally charged, because this is my life — and the very real lives of other folks — that i’m talking about here. so, here goes.

i don’t know if i wasn’t clear enough in this post to begin with, but, thanks to lovinginthewaryears’ comment i’m reminded that i never said once in this entry that i am as anti cruelty as i possibly can be. i’ve been ruminating on anti-imperialist action in my life. as a woman of color, my body is considered territory more often than not (ppl trying to decide how/ when/ where i ought to reproduce, for instance). i see similarities btwn the colonization of brown bodies and the functions of industrial farms — not just on the reproductive tip. i don’t agree with unnecessary brutalization of any being. however, if an animal has to die because its flesh feeds me — and anyone else — i can’t say it’s not necessary. i believe that less torturous methods can and should be used in farms, but because agribusinesses are running things, it’s not as likely to happen in the states. it’s just not. the work needs to be done by ALL people who are concerned to change he face of farming here. the same ppl who approve and encourage these practices — for they can hardly be called animal husbandry — are likely the folks who approve & encourage GMO plant life being part of the foods we eat. given that corn, soy, and wheat are the most used grains — and also have the highest percentages of GMO specimens — wouldn’t it be safe to say that we can’t eat the grains either? what about the farms that spray their tomatoes w/ salmon cells to protect the tomatoes from cold temps, so that they’ll grow when said tomatoes are not even in season? maybe i’m rambling. but, i feel that the whole system functions the same way. the prison system, these jobs, the government — it’s all the same shit to me. same cycle. so, to that end, i suppose we’re all working on whichever facet vexes us the most. that still doesn’t give anyone the space to condemn anyone else for surviving the best way they can. and that has nothing to do with knowledge of what’s ‘better.’ if they can’t do it, does it matter? i’d like for someone to trade me my food allergies for their diet CHOICES — dripping in privilege as much as racism/ sexism/ classism/ ableism — and tell me i’m wrong for eating chicken. go to the ER with your mom at 3 in the morning because you don’t know why she has hives and can’t keep water down, and then find out that it’s because of soybeans, which are virtually everywhere, and tell me she’s wrong for eating what doesn’t make her seriously ill.  i cannot and will not be sorry for being  a meat eater. i cannot and will not limit my diet to impossibly expensive gluten- and soy-free flour choices so that i can make my own bread.  i will not subsist on beans and rice forever just because it’s a vegan dish. for WHAT? when people who look like me are dying just as immediately or as slowly from drug addiction, abuse, police brutality, and violence against one another? no. sorry. not gonna happen. the quality of life for underprivileged (or poor or lower class or whatever words we use to dehumanize the situation) people has as much to do with the food choices they make as the availability of quality food. at the end of the day, the suburbanites have just as shitty food choices when you really think about it.

at the end of the day i refuse to be sick for anyone. i don’t care how wrong it is or isn’t. i’m surviving the best way i can.

the hierarchy of food.

i used to be a vegetarian. or, i should say, a pescetarian. i didn’t eat birds, cows, lambs, sheep, deer, or pigs. i ate lots of vegetables, lots of meat substitutes, etc. i drank lots of water. i thought i was healthier than meat eaters to some extent, but i was largely a veggie because i was disgusted by the idea of consuming flesh. it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. i went back to meat, cuz i love chick-fil-a.
i never really thought much about it, until sometime in 2006 when i became a vegetarian more or less by default. i couldn’t afford meat. and i didn’t like to cook it, then eat it. so, i very rarely prepared meat at home — i’d have pre-cooked, or somewhat processed (lots of stuff from trader joe’s, maybe a cheesesteak from a local spot) meat items. but one day, i started getting really sick. i was diagnosed with IBS and though there’s no real treatment for it, i did what i could to lessen its symptoms and impact. less stress, etc. but it got worse, especially when i finally returned to ‘regular’ food.

about 6 months after my first visits to the GI doctor, it really started to click: i ate a handful of pretzels. i was sick for two days and had hives on my arms. the pretzels contained wheat and soy. i assumed it was wheat, though i’d long ago suspected that soy was giving me lots of womb issues. so, bit by bit i had to eliminate things in my house. no more faux-meats (except for quorn products, which are often gluten free and soy free but not always vegan), no more bread, pasta, etc. i had to stop eating a lot of different prepared foods, as they almost always contained soy. soy lecithin, soybean oil, vegetable oil . . . the list goes on and on. i had to change how i ate. when i was broke, the cheapest things to eat were always pasta and baked tofu & veggies with some discounted tomatoes made into a sauce. i had to change that. i had to eat rice noodles. i had to use mushrooms, squash & zucchini when i prepared my ‘broke bitch’ food. i was cool with that. less food prep was involved, etc.  but the more i thought about it, the more frazzled i became.  why? because the things i could eat were very limited.  if i were hungry and on the go, i had to pray that i’d find something that didn’t involve eggs, soy, wheat, or dairy. because, of course, when you eat one fucked up thing there’s always another two or three or ten lurking behind. i am allergic to fish. i don’t eat eggs, because they make my stomach hurt (but i’ll eat something with egg as an ingredient, i.e. a gluten- and soy-free cake that has egg in it).  and so on.  i had to describe myself at one point as a vegan meat eater — that is, when i felt comfortable with my food restrictions enough to eat what i could, instead of what was available.  sometimes, the foods that i am most allergic to are the least expensive (see: ramen noodles — not that i ever ate them regularly — and lunchmeat & bread), depending on where i am (i live within walking distance of two supermarkets where i’m able to get what i need).  i wondered how this impacts folks who don’t have the same resources i do.  what if i come to a place in life where i no longer have those resources? and what’s caused these reactions? am i “lesser” for not choosing to be a locavore, vegetarian or vegan?

i don’t argue w/ the veggies/ vegans anymore on the animal cruelty tip. my reasoning is very simple. being who you are, in this country, in this place, in those clothes, etc. means you are dominating someone else on this planet. whether it’s a fellow citizen or a sweatshop worker, a child laborer, a kidnapped female sex worker, or war prisoner, you dominate with everything you do. if you desire to advocate for the lives of farm animals instead of human beings, i can’t stop you. but understand that it’s all connected. industrial farms are no different than puppy mills, no different than the factories that employ the people who make the nikes, et cetera. yes. i know this. but if you’ve never been allergic to fish, soy, eggs, milk, and wheat (possibly all gluten, including oatmeal), i don’t think you have room to talk shit about how someone chooses to get their protein. my sister, for instance, is allergic to mushrooms, tomatoes, soy, fish, eggs, dairy and onions, but can eat wheat.  tell her she needs to be a veggie, and she’ll laugh in your face. it’s her choice (as well as it is mine, and my mom’s, and anyone else’s) to get her protein from lean meats from locally raised animals, if from local farms at all. shit.   usually, people take care of themselves, the best way they know how and are able to.  we have to be equipped to do these things, right? 

** sort-of sidebar: animal cruelty is reflective of larger and deeply-rooted societal issues, in my opinion. how many ‘famous’ murderers first practiced on animals? how many people who are ill equipped to adequately deal with their own emotional shit pick on defenseless, smaller, or supposedly subordinate beings?  isn’t destructiveness of what can be broken down usually the result of a feeling of disenfranchisement elsewhere in one’s existence? wouldn’t that help to explain why dog fighting is so popular in working class communites and communities of color? **

so i’m saying, it’s taken me close to 12 hours to write this blog post.  and i don’t feel any closer to a conclusion.  i feel like choosing to be a vegetarian or vegan or locavore as a means of protesting big business farms/ food distro is a great idea. it is impactful when part of a bigger organizing.  i feel that by itself,  it falls short in some ways. no method is perfect. i also feel that it is classist, or at the very least excludes persons whose resources are severely limited. it is no secret that, in this country, the ‘healthier’ food options available to us are often more costly than the ‘regular’ food options. what do you do when you make “too much” for food stamps? what do you do when that $8 worth of antibiotic-free, free range, hormone-free, vegetarian-fed chicken is not enough for you alone to eat for more than two meals? i don’t know. i suppose it’s the same thing as understanding and implementing environmental justice instead of simply ‘going green’ in the hood.  you kinda have to see the bigger picture in order to even come close to knowing what your work is going to do.

and on another note, you can’t tell people how to live the best life for themselves without knowing intimately what their situation is. i’ll never forget the sideways look i got from someone for talking about how good bacon is. at one time, i didn’t eat pork or red meat because i was so thirsty for an identity i thought that super bohemian afro queen of the universe might suit me — and what better place to begin than with my food choices?  it failed. because i wasn’t coming from a place of my own understanding, but instead doing something that i thought would ally me with other folks.  i’m older, wiser, more traveled, and a lot more mellow.  i come back to the same thing i’ve said repeatedly to folks about my life: what’s right for you is not always — and sometimes never — right for another person.  we do not have the space to judge. we have the space to be ourselves, and live our best lives. and if we are truly concerned with that, picking on someone for eating meat (or not eating meat, or being homosexual, or being trans, or being a person with a disability, or WHATEVER) isn’t going to fucking matter.

i love | i need | i want

it’s kind of been forever since my last post like this. so, here i am.  something i love, something i need, something i want.  heeere we go:

love:

like, yum. seriously.

like, yum. seriously.

indian food. channa, dal, basmati rice (with cumin!), chicken tikka masala, tandoori naan, roti, pakoras, samosas . . . dude. dude. DUDE. chicken vindaloo? biryani? i can’t live without the stuff. it’s going to be my undoing someday. especially with two indian restaurants within a 5 minute walk of my place.

need:
(there is no photograph to illustrate what i need.)

a particular itch scratched. i need some really good, gold foil, can’t speak in coherent sentences afterwards, sweating like a preacher during tent revival, let me make you meals between sessions sex. the kind that makes my neighbors think something real crazy is going on in my apartment, cuz all they hear is grownup noises & all they smell is bacon & waffles & shit being made. it’s so crucial. my toys cannot keep up. sending telepathic beams to the object of my desire right now. i need you to work me out again, sweets. like, over the course of 24 hours. please?

want:

(it seems that wordpress is being a ho about photo links right now. maybe i just need to go the fuck to sleep?)

a custom made dress from fly tie. somewhere between this maxi dress & this hooded dress.  really.  her blog is ill (see the first link), but her shop will take your breath away!

she’s a real sweet gal. you should check her out.

full moon gratitude.

new beginnings
silence
willful isolation
sundresses
florida water
abundant change
random phonecalls
cumin
onion powder
babies
chosen family
pink dresses
libraries
vinegar
bloggity goodness
raspberry sorbet
cheap wine
pink eye shadow

continually, i sit at the seat of bliss.

self love. self preservation.

there is no way on earth i’ll ever go back to letting someone else tell me how to love myself.

there are examples that we give one another. how to love strong. how to love from within first, so that the outside parts match the inside. so that i may tell new people in my life precisely how i receive and give love. it’s important. it’s valuable. it’s not a trifle. i think that it’s apparent to most of us, what happens when we aren’t protecting/ preserving/ healing/ caring for ourselves. it’s ridiculous to me, at this point in my life, to act like i don’t. when i neglect myself, i become reckless. that is not healthy. recklessness can mean anything for anyone, but i presume it’s usually characterized by destructive behaviors & an unwillingness to slow the fuck down. but i can only speculate on what it’s like for anyone but myself.
but like i said, other folks can’t tell me how.
cuz this is my shit.
& in that space of loving oneself, there is that awakening of the fiercest instinct to protect oneself. to be honest with yourself because there’s no space or time for lies & bullshit, no willingness to allow farces to be the order of the day. we remove the mask. we, little by little, get back to our inner children & allow them to kind of run the show. not the inner child who couldn’t drive or cook a meal. but the inner child who used to snap out if mommy passed us to the wrong person. that person is the one who, through lots of anti self-love programming (that’s what i call it), learned to hide. polite & respectful are not the same. politeness smacks of fakeness. respectfulness implies an allegiance to one’s whole & full self. (for example: no apologies. respectfully disagreeing & agreeing to do so without name calling, taunting, or other shenanigans.)
preserving your core. looking out for your star motherfucking player, like katt williams said. making sure you have yourself to get around with, like the lady in green. acts of self love are likely to keep you from needing to be rescued.
it’s a thought. you don’t have to believe it yourself. but i know i do. nothing feels quite like me, to me.