I Don’t Know WTF To Write.

But, damn, do I miss it. I miss mind dumping and writing essays and asking questions and cracking jokes. I miss dissecting bullshit arguments and linking to the people I find rather brilliant.

I miss blogging.

And I’m slowly coming back to it.

to no one in particular:

(from my tumblr)

fear is what keeps your reflexes razor-sharp when there’s danger about. in case of fire, alligator, beehive attack, or hailstorm, you need fear. it’ll kinda clear your mind of the bullshit that doesn’t count.

fear is not for everyday stuff like going to the grocery store, calling your bank, smiling at someone you think is attractive, or even getting out of bed to go shower.

if you’re paralyzed by fears that you recognize as abnormal compared to your usual stuff-to-be-afraid-of (stingray fear is not the same as fear of answering the door for the UPS guy), please reach out & get yourself some support. talk to someone you trust. talk to someone who works in a supportive capacity for folks who need to be directed towards help. please, please, please, PLEASE do not let it swallow you up.

this has been yet another “i’ve been there, please don’t do it to yourself” production.

peace to the brokenhearted.

counting (up and) down to 30.

it’s time for my birthday wish list!

primarily, i posted it here & here, with this as a bonus.

i generally love sparkly shit. this is not a surprise.

train wreck!

soooo i was on twitter mindin my own beeswax, being the benevolent servant of the god/dess that i am. & i tweeted that i wasn’t even finna read jill scott’s essence column on interracial dating & why it hurts her feelings.  (because they are her feelings. & what’s my reading gonna do?) shortly thereafter, i was @ replied by @Interracial_Mag with a link to a blog post about their (i’m guessing the guy in the profile picture, who IDs as the primary writer of the blog, a white hetero cisgender man) view on jill’s essence column.  now, i was gonna sit down and do a well-thought-out comment on this man’s blog. but i realized after some back-and-forth w/ him on twitter that it may be better for me to go paragraph-by-paragraph and really express what it is i think/ feel about this. and maybe i’ll put all my little comments into a neat package and send them to the writer of the interracial love magazine blog… or not. either way, i had to say something. cuz i’m a bigmouth.  my notes are in italics and bracketed. i call this the lazy blogging method.

Jill Scott, Interracial Dating, and Interracial Love Magazine!

“Not a day goes by that the question of “What do you think of interracial dating?” is not asked somewhere in social media land. It continues to be one of the hottest, highly debated, and most controversial topics of our time.” – Interracial Love Magazine, 2010

Due to the response of Jill Scott’s recent celebrity contribution to Essence Magazine, we decided to write our response.

But first, an introduction is on order. We are Interracial Love Magazine. We blog on topics that primarily support interracial love, sex, and dating between white men and black women. Unlike many blogs within our niche/category, Interracial Love Magazine is written primarily by a white male. [my first question: why is it called interracial love magazine, instead of black women dating white men magazine? race isn’t just about black & white folks, is it?]

As the site has grown, as well as the topic of interracial dating, we have felt the need to expand our content to discuss issues of white and black culture, race, and even celebrity news.

In Jill Scott’s case, you get all of the above!

We used to think that any attention to the subject of interracial dating was a good thing. But, Jill Scott dispelled that theory with one fell swoop.

For black women, there are internal mechanisms within themselves and their culture that prevent them from pursuing interracial relationships. Part of our work here on Interracial Love Magazine is to overcome these barriers. [what are the internal mechanisms within black women? name them specifically. can’t it be argued that those mechanisms are directly related to larger societal conditions/ norms that impact all ppl within US society, not just mechanisms within the culture of US black women only? if the primary writer of this blog is a white man and the writer of this post is that same white man, why is it his job to overcome barriers that aren’t his, unless those barriers serve specifically to keep him from dating black women? this implies that black women need saving from themselves. no good.]

In our view, nothing defies the social stigma of racism, prejudice, discrimination, oppression, and hate than interracial union. Jill Scott’s impulse to “wince” when she discovers her friend has a white wife defies this principle. [how so? maybe racism, prejudice, discrimination, oppression and hate are present in her life as a black woman in this world. this suggests a “sweep it under the rug” stance.  or, “it’s not a problem for me (white cis man in the US), so why/ how is it a problem for you?” not okay. how is this helping anyone, again, except the writer?]

In her article from Essence Magazine, she goes on to give a graphic account on the treatment of black people and how the white woman was revered and regarded in American society. She also mentions how black men and women stood together and shared a common struggle. This is true. And it’s important that we remember this part of American history. It should never be forgotten. [forgotten? possibly. depends on whose history you’re telling/ reading. often ignored & dismissed as an antiquated stance that has not evolved to conceal itself or withstood a shift in larger social consciousness? absolutely.]

“If a Black man even looked at a White woman, he would have been lynched, beaten, jailed or shot to death” – Jill Scott

Fortunately, since the days of slavery, and the beginning of what would be the Jim Crow era, things have changed in this country.

We are surrounded with many examples of interracial relationships connected to iconic beauty within white culture like Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush… and Heidi Klum and Seal… just to point out a couple of the more recognized celebrities. [now, look. things have changed. but i don’t know how much they’ve changed w/ the very obvious lynching threats of the jena 6, and the noose found in the library (among other assorted madness) at UCSD this past february.  with these things — and what i imagine to be more incidents of racist fuckery, subtle as well as obvious — meeting black folks all over on the regular i can’t say that things have changed so much. i really can’t.]

Neither Seal nor Reggie Bush look fearful of retribution for their involvement with their white partners, do they? Do you think they look over their shoulder and wonder if a lyching [sic] rope (innit called a noose? shouldn’t you just call it that?) has been tied around the closest tree for them? …Please…  [reggie bush and seal, first off, have the luxury of being able to hire people to protect them from threats for being involved w/ non-black women. they have the luxury of having people read their mail for them, so they may never see any threats against them or their partners.  furthermore, reggie and kim k have breakup rumors swirling around them like flies around shit. why use them as an example at all? oh. wait.  nothing in your statement of intent says that your blog supports healthy relationships btwn black women and white men. never fucking mind.  (the argument that the person behind the twitter account said the kim & reggie example was used ‘for familiarity.’ plausible, but unwise in my opinion.  celebrities are usually not more familiar to us than people we actually engage with on the regular. are they? i mean, wait, does that mean i’m BFFs with erykah badu cuz i play her music a whole lot?)  also: that “…Please…” implies that jill’s calling to mind the jim crow era is exaggerated, or otherwise wrong. if that’s where her mind goes when she thinks of black men and white women, so be it. don’t be so dismissive.]

Also, Ms. Scott says: “Most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It’s frustrating and it hurts!”

I’m not quite sure what the message is here, do you? [aside from the grammatical error in this question: ask jill. or ask the essence editors. i’m sure someone will get back to you.  essence magazine has a great track record of engaging ppl in all kinds of discussion. for real.  also: this quote speaks to something that a white hetero man could never understand, because he’s never experienced it. the treatment of black folk as a monolith has fucked up repercussions. & i’ll leave it at that. but don’t start popping shit about something you’ve never experienced.  you don’t know what the message is because it really, really, really isn’t for you.  this is what privilege does: it lets you think everything is for or about you, even if/ when someone says ‘this isn’t for or about you.’]

If you read the statement, it implies that black men are shirking their paternal and financial responsibilities to their offspring and will only comply based on a judge’s order. Is that the case?  [in the context of the piece, it could definitely be suggested that she feels this way. again: ask. & ask some black men you know.]

If we said that here, every African-American reader would be leaving sharp biting comments to the effect we were “generalizing” or “miscategorizing” or “marketing negative stereotypes.” [you have no way of knowing what all of your black readership would say/ do.  but it’s quite possible that someone would take you to task for suggesting this. absolutely. the messenger, for some folks, has a lot to do w/ how the message is received.]

Yet, Jill Scott is free to slander black men at will. Is anyone offended here? Is she…”entitled?” [funny that entitlement would be mentioned here.  cuz you’re talking about something that wasn’t even pointed at you in the first place. i’m just saying, remember that you’re likely coming at this from a place of relative privilege. white privilege. male privilege. hetero privilege. cisgender privilege. mind your manners.]

It also suggests that the black woman feels abandoned and should be worthy of our concern and sympathy. [any human being is worthy of concern and sympathy, if you roll like that. i most certainly do.  and maybe some black women do feel abandoned! it’s valid if they’ve been abandoned, or told something along the lines of ‘you aren’t worthy of love’?  don’t you think? also, if you think that jill scott’s words paint black women as a group in need of rescue then kindly remove that fucked up and condescending tone from your line about the “internal mechanisms” of black women and our culture. again, mind your manners.]

We all are saddened by the plight and struggle of single mothers. [i don’t look at single parenthood as a pitiable plight. the writer of this blog post should speak for themselves. and i feel a “but…” coming on!]

But, that’s not Jill Scott’s agenda. Her goal is to “strike a nerve” among black men. [THERE’S THE “BUT”! where did she say that? if the writer of this post and i are reading the same piece, i sure as shit don’t see that. she said there’s a sting that has yet to stop burning.  & it’s true. because it ties into the idea that black women are not worthy of love. because emancipation was legal only, and did not make it so we received love and care. it did not stop the rapes, the mistreatment, the brutality, the distorted images.]

The reality is that black men have chosen to date outside their race for quite a while now. Black women could learn something from their male counterparts in this aspect. [shut the fuck up. black women could also benefit from an analysis of our situations as individual. especially when jill’s talking about us. to us. about black men. everyone isn’t dating the person they’re dating for the same reason. because we’re not a monolith. jill’s speaking from personal experience and possibly from conversations w/ other black women. you, if you are indeed the white man who’s primary writer of this blog, are speaking from what exactly? oh. your own personal experience? like i thought. back that train on up and remember that black women don’t owe an opening of their hearts to white men. the social stigma alone, which still exists ON ALL SIDES is a motherfucker.  nobody can undo years of conditioning by reading a blog post, or even through intense dialogue. leave individuals to their individual choices.]

Look, the bottom line is that black men do not owe anyone an explanation. Even Jill Scott. They are free to date anyone and any race of their choice. The same tactic is used on black women every day in blogs and social media to target them for “hating on their own race” or “emasculating their black men.” [that’s another generalization on the writer’s part. and what does “even jill scott” mean? did she say she wanted an explanation? does this writer know something that i don’t? what does an explanation have to do with the targeting of black women for emasculating black men? especially on twitter or facebook? this is not clear to me as a reader. honestly.]

Why is it that writers / bloggers are so selective and precise in their descriptions? [because they wanna be? creative license?]

Listen to how she delivers her “anonymous friend” to you in her piece: “handsome, African-American, intelligent and seemingly wealthy…”

Could you assume that if the gentleman that Jill Scott referred to in her article was some hardened thug, this article would have never been written?[it could be assumed. but if she was asked to write about interracial dating — black men w/ white women in particular — and the anonymous friend wasn’t part of a particular class standing, would the piece mean any less to certain folks? maybe. maybe not. we don’t know, cuz that isn’t what was published.]

In Summary

With Jill Scott’s influence and celebrity status in the black community, she could have set an enormous example by electing to throw her support behind equality, mutual respect and hope between black and white people in this country. [the path to mutual respect and equality begin and end w/ individuals. and i’m sorry, but why put that on her? and why this treatment of black women as a monolith who’ll listen to one person or go to one place for enlightenment? did jill say she hates white ppl? did she say any of that? i really don’t think that’s what was published… ]

Instead she added more confusion and dissention to an already complex issue. [dissent. not dissention. also: dissent implies that everyone was of one accord to begin with. probably not true. no group of people is a monolith.]

This is a blog. The advantage of a blog over a static website is that you have the opportunity to make a permanent impact with others simply by commenting on the articles here on Interracial Love Magazine. This is an important article. Leave your comments below.

Interracial Love Magazine is a monster on Twitter. We are very active and just as controversial. Follow us on Twitter here @Interracial_Mag.

Think about it. Want to be a leader? Follow Interracial Love Magazine.

**

my summary: jill scott isn’t the key to unlocking the imaginary ‘coloreds only’ chastity belts being worn by hetero black women in the states.  don’t put any of this on her. also: privilege is a motherfucker. i am choosing not to go into further discussion of this site, especially not its questionable (to me) sponsorship or overall tone of racial fetishizing, which slapped me in the face from the first time i clicked the link from twitter.

seven days in new york: observations.

here are a few observations i’ve made since i’ve made this city my new home:

– there are train routes that are solely ugly, solely short, and solely smelly. (i see you, D train!!! no eye candy at ALL.)
– people in this city really don’t go anywhere they don’t have to. this includes to other sides of their very own boroughs. i am slightly perplexed by this. (aka, if i move to bay ridge, don’t fucking complain about coming to see me. either do it or don’t. i’m not opposed to traveling.)
– the ‘neighborhood’ supermarkets, in most areas, are shit.
– if you speak a little spanish when you move here, you’ll leave here speaking a lot of spanish. win!
– too many kids are selling candy on the train to feed themselves. it stings a little.
– there are too many train stations without elevators and escalators. too many folks w/ strollers are navigating these stairs alone, w/ impatient & inconsiderate assholes rushing them down the stairs. no bueno.
– the 4 train, once you hit the bx, is WAY FAR ABOVE GROUND. geez.
– there’s more to life than brooklyn. you can’t tell the brooklynites that, though.

i’ll be missing philly in approximately 6 weeks when i have a cheesesteak craving at noon on a saturday and realize that i’d have to make a 3 hour trip just to get one. oy.

couldn’t have said it better myself!

my big sister omi just laid it allllllll the way out in this blog post.  (i’ve italicized it for clarity between it and my own words.)

12.12.2009
an exercise in restraint
i’ve done a bit of meeting and greeting lately. feels good. i am grateful for the confidence and clarity it’s brought. plus, i haven’t done deep visualization in a long time, so it’s been catalyzing.

it’s also reminded me how impatient i can be in the “will he/won’t he call” stage.

typically, i don’t mind doing a little legwork if i think the guy’s worth it. if you want something, go get it, right?

since i’m nearly always operating from my intuitive, heart-self and not my head, i often see and am attracted to said potential. therefore, my natural inclination is to give them what they need without deep regard as to whether or not they are able to return the favor. i always get the basic, “decent guy” packaging, so they are at least willing to try to reciprocate.

unfortunately, where i can get ocean-deep, they often flounder. and that’s when things fall apart. so i’ve decided it’s probably better to step back and let them show themselves first.

now more than ever, i am totally focused on cultivating intentionality in my relationships–even in the beginning stages.

love can come and will be reciprocated as applicable. i’m open to that. and i’m still gonna get mine when i want it. however, there will be no commitment without real, tangible outcomes, and i have no problem stating that very clearly.

you want me? that’s sweet. prove it.

over the last thirteen years, i’ve learned three big lessons: first, there’s a thin line between mysterious, creative depths and the masking of unearthed and unacknowledged pain. second, if i need a crowbar and forceps to approach your psyche, it’s not gonna work. third–and probably most important–a well-rehearsed melange of coping and defense mechanisms is not a personality.

lots of really “nice guys” have all that going. in spades.

so, yeah. i’m ready to hop back on the merry-go-round.

…just understand that i am heavily armed.

this goes, for friends, too. shit.

food for thought: a stream of consciousness & general rantiness

nuggets of  truth & hilarity from my marathon talkfests with fiqah, of possum stew.

– racism doesn’t need hate in order to function. no form of oppression does. in fact, ignorance is quite the consummate fuckery fuel. think about how many times you have been confronted with information to the contrary of your (racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or otherwise oppressive-to-a-group-of-people) opinion or belief & found that information was all you needed to set your lil brain in the right direction? that doesn’t, of course, mean that hate isn’t fuel for oppression.  it means that even without hate, these things exist & still manage to fuck people over.

– love can move mountains. it can also be used to justify the ugliest things humans do/ say.  love doesn’t erase fucked up shit. it can and does exist alongside this fucked up shit. don’t excuse the fucked up shit.

– when talking to a child, imagine that what you’re saying is the last thing you will ever say to that child. especially if that child is your own. what do you want their last thought of you to be? don’t assume shit. (i personally believe that this should be extended to everyone.  you can tell someone about themselves without destroying them or dragging them into a fight.  don’t be that asshole who tries to climb in the fucking casket at your girl’s funeral cuz you weren’t doing right by her before she passed away.)

– either you play the victim role or act as a survivor. you can’t throw up the shield of “i’ve been hurt” and then use that as a reason to treat people like shit. to generalize. to lump folks into the same group because it’s convenient to do so.  this includes jumping to conclusions based on something that’s triggered you instead of simply keeping yourself aware that something triggering just happened. also: if your responses to triggers of all sizes are rarely or never proportionate to said triggers, you’re fucking up. big time. & there may be a lot more healing left undone by you.

– never eat the pickles from a bodega. the pickle jars are older than that bottle of fucking steak sauce in the back of your mama’s fridge. no, really.  eww.

– most folks who feel they have alter egos may be just afraid of being their whole contradictory selves. there’s nothing wrong w/ admitting that, and eventually working that shit out.

– people who insult you in snide ways are often so intimidated that they really don’t know how to engage with you without saying some fucked up shit. cuz they are SCARED. shit. don’t feel bad. (not that i didn’t know that. but fiqah reminded me.)

– it is not absurd to love someone deeply as a person, think they’re a great lay, & then find them as a mate to be worthy of a kick across the face. the same is true of people who’d be awesome co-parents, but terrible long-term or lifetime partners.

– just because you’re louder than i am, doesn’t mean you win. allowing yourself to be dragged into a fight is feeding the bullshit.

more fiqah wisdom as it comes. i love that woman.

after much contemplation, i’ve realized:

i’m everything i could ever want in a mate. & i’m not mad at that. not one bit.

i’ll be marrying myselves sometime between my 30th birthday & the day i die. invitations pending, i suppose.

i am made of love.

treat me that way.

thanks.

i contain multitudes. (affirmations/ mantras)

i believe in the infinity of myself.
i am never alone.
i am love and i am loved.
my steps are ordered.
i belong to no one but myself.
i am light; i attract light.
peace of mind is my birthright.
my gifts are mine & mine alone; no one can take them from me.
my timing is the right timing for me and my affairs.

dulled my senses & blurried my sight.

& i used to love HIM . . . meaning god. as a man. because i was raised christian, and therefore any idea of a woman in the bible (from what i was taught in 2 years of christian day school) was never really positive. the first woman mentioned in the bible is eve. and eve instituted the downfall of mankind by eating the apple, etc. i was never taught, in my schooling (or my home discussions, or in church) about positive women in the bible, aside from the virgin mary — who was really just a vehicle for the christ. she was insignificant. she did not matter. and, it was implicit that she did not matter. i’m sure that in some situations, it was plainly stated that since she didn’t ‘save anyone’ that she wasn’t of any import. and mary magdalene was a whore — she couldn’t have possibly been an actual apostle or jesus’ wife. and so on, and so on.

so, being the me i was at 14-18, i had to think twice about all of that. every time i went to church and was told that i should feel the presence of god the father, i would feel numb. i would feel like i wasn’t getting everything i should have from that spirit. if it makes any sense at all to anyone besides me: i felt like i was getting an abridged version of god. like there was more to the whole experience, something people weren’t talking about or even thinking of in their own ruminations on the creator.

so, i strayed from that path i’d been told to follow. i went to a quaker school, participated in a guided meditation group (complete w/ chakra cleansing!) led by a former nun who worked as a teacher at my school, and read about religions that were not anything like christianity. i wasn’t particularly moved, but definitely intrigued. and i noted that i only felt connected to any higher power when singing or surrounded by music — secular or religious. i was concerned. because of the teachings i’d had as a little kid, i thought something was wrong with me. that something was broken. that god could not reach me because i was not right or pure.

per anyone i’d ask, or any research i’d done (by reviewing sermons) the alternative to feeling the way i did was throwing myself fully into a faith practice that never felt 100% right. that didn’t make sense to me, either. so, i drifted.

and then i read it: i found god in myself/ & i loved her/ i loved her fiercely

it meant everything all of a sudden. it meant freedom. it meant i needed to learn about oshun, i needed to research ishtar, and that maybe lilith wasn’t just the name of some music fair.

& then i learned that god isn’t male or female, necessarily. something a christian minister once told me was that the god of your own understanding is the god you serve. purely. truthfully. honestly.

& through orisha worship, through ancestor reverence, through living my life in a way that makes me feel full and right?

i saw the divine. she, the divine feminine. he, the father. the holy spirit. i touched it. it filled me up. i saw the balance, i saw both sides.

(this is likely going to be fleshed out later, to tie back into the title. but gimme some time, my laptop ain’t shit and i’m moving!)

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.

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.

before you go getting all tight . . .

know this:

my home internet service has been canceled due to lack of funds.

my laptop is sometimey. you remember having that ol janky wall-unit phone in your house (mine was in the kitchen) that would shut off if you moved too far in any direction? well, that’s what goes on with my laptop. the cord just isn’t stable. so, combine my need for internet with my laptop’s apparent jankiness and you have a bit of a mess. oh, well.

i’m not really in a writing mood. i’m in a doing mood. so i’ve been doing stuff. i will update this blog in a real way sooner or later.

in the meantime, i’m workin on some special projects and will be back from my summer blog vacation soon.

oh, jill.

jill, jill, jill. i feel this song fully.

i’ve been there. with more than one paramour, quite honestly. it seems like they all end up the same way, too.
we split up for whatever reason(s), you get somebody new, i get somebody new . . . we both live our lives, & may even still be really good friends. but i know deep down inside that i feel like i’m not finished, that you’re not finished. not so much a regret that we split — when something isn’t working, it’s just plain not working — but something like a deep want to try again. i’ll ignore it, because you’ve got someone else you’re kicking it with (you’re not wasting any kind of time, since you don’t want the chance to miss me) & i’m doing whatever i’m doing . . . i won’t let myself regret you. i won’t convince myself that i should apologize profusely & call you up trying to see if there might be a way back in. this is primarily because i can’t handle the idea of being rebuffed when i want to be desired & refuse to try too hard at anything i’m prone to suck at. i’m prideful that way. i’m trouble that way. & she isn’t. that’s why you like her so much — she doesn’t challenge you to be a better person, quite honestly. she’d never encourage you to reach for everything you’ve ever wanted — because you’re all she’s ever wanted. a daddy, financier & lover all in one. you have the bankroll for her to hit target without flinching — note, i said her, because she’s never considerate of your money situation. it only matters when she has to pay. you don’t think i know she sees you as an open wallet/ bank account/ whatever, even though you essentially make the same amount of money she does? you don’t think i’ve noticed all these things when you talk about her to me the way you would one of your homeboys?
but you’ll allow it, because it’s easier than being alone. because it’s easier than trying to get back to what you know was harder to keep, but more worth your time.
& maybe that’s why i let go, too. because i’m too comfortable running shit & it’s not even about control issues — the only issue i have is that i wanna be in control. period. when i’m not at the helm, it’s only because i let you be. i think that you enjoyed that as much as i am accustomed to it.
so now here i am, after the fact, wondering why the fuck i even care.
because i love you. & in the back of my head, i imagine where we’d be had we stuck it out or reloaded the whole thing. if we’d said “let’s try one more time,” & said yes to a do-over. i wonder if you would have taken my hand, had i extended it.
i don’t live w/ regrets or guilt, but the what-ifs surely can be a beast.